The author of the article takes his readers with him as he ventures back to France to search for his father's family from the South Western end of the Cote d'Azur.
The author and family researcher, Chris Granet, reconnects with the charming homeland of his father. He provides a glimpse into the process of searching for French ancestors, noting the vastness of genealogical records within the archives of most of France's 101 Departements.
I am proud of my Irish and Scottish Ancestry but I drool every time I glance at French surnames on my family tree. Stumbling my way through the French language since high school French Class, I dream of a life in France, but occasional short trips will have to suffice. And though I am certain my family's culture was heavily influenced by our Irish Ancestry, I like to think the small bit of French on our tree added whimsy and flare.
I have struggled with the identity of my closest French ancestors: the parents of my paternal great-great-grandfather. The little dark-haired, dark-eyed Frenchman from Arkansas left few clues, strangely absent from census records until 1870. And though I have worked my fingers raw, few records have been found. Just my father's descriptive notes of a French grandmother, one census record stating my ancestor's mother was born in France and few fragments more.
Deeper along the lineage, French Huguenots dot the branch as it moves toward the 1600's but for me, I always search for the details of my closest immigrant ancestors--it just feels more real and touchable.
So I continue my struggle, hoping some day to stumble upon the identity of my French great-great-great-grandparents living only a couple of hours away (minus about 160 years.)
In a salute to my French Ancestry, I began a page of links for French genealogical websites. Though the search can be cumbersome due to obvious language barriers, they are worth looking at if you have any inkling of French Heritage. And of course there is quite a bit of information on French Huguenots.
The French Genealogy Blog is well done and in English; informative with fabulous research tips. Also, numerous real French Ancestral Records can be found on Family Search.org.
The Huguenots France.org has an English option, as does Huguenots Picards and several other sites seem friendly to non-French researchers.
If not already, I highly recommend becoming familiar with the geography and Departement Divisions within the country--obtaining a good map for reference while researching is highly recommended.
So take a look at my new French Links Page and come back often as it continues to build. I hope it gives you a peek through your French ancestral window and in time...mine too.
Keep searching for answers,
(Source: France; North America's best-selling magazine about France. September 2012