Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Paris cemetery records online

Paris cemetery records covering the years 1804-1968 are now online! Available records cover 19 of the 20 city cemeteries (there are no online records for Calvaire).

BUT. . . 

In order to proceed you must know: (1) the full name of the deceased, (2) the date of death or at least a date range, and (3) the cemetery. 

The search process is in two stages: the répertoires annuels d’inhumation (annual burial directories) and the registres journalliers d’inhumation (daily burial registers). If you know the date of death/interment you can skip steps 1-8. Typically interment would be one-three days following death.

If you do NOT have all this information you will need to contact the Central Cemeteries Service at 71 rue des Rondeaux, 50202, Paris and must provide proof of familial connection. 

So, how do you access a burial record?

Let’s say you’re looking for the grave location of Henriette Percheron who died sometime between 1812 and 1818 and is buried in Père-Lachaise in eastern Paris. 

1. Go to the Paris city archives website for cemetery records: http://archives.paris.fr/r/216/cimetieres/. (figure 1)

figure 1

2. Scroll down and click on the répertoires annuels d’inhumation (annual burial directories). (figure 2)

figure 2

3. In the dropdown menu choose the cemetery; in this case Père-Lachaise.  (figure 3)

figure 3

4. Enter the date range: in our example 1812-1818. (figure 4) Click rechercher (search).

figure 4

5. In the next window you’ll see one or perhaps two groups of images; if your search isn’t successful in the first group go to the second. 

6. Select the top group by clicking on the eye. (figure 5)

figure 5

7. The annual burial directory lists are alphabetical so move from one image to the next until you find the name you’re searching for: in this case Henriette Percheron is on the first page. (figure 6)

figure 6

8. Make a note of the number on the left-hand column: in this case 1753, since this is “order of interment” in the cemetery. Also make note of the date; in our example Henriette was buried 6 June 1814.

9. Return to the main cemetery screen and scroll down to select registres journalliers d’inhumation (daily burial registers). (figure 7)

figure 7

10. In the next screen select the cemetery from the dropdown menu (in our example Père-Lachaise). (figure 8)

figure 8

11. Enter the date de l’inhumation (date of interment) we wrote down from the annual directory; in our example “6/6/1814” (remember to use day-month-year). (figure 9)

figure 9

12. Click on the eye of the image group in the next screen. (figure 10)

figure 10

13. Again, we have a group of images to scroll through, arranged chronologically. We can use either the date of death (if known) or the burial order number (1753). In our case we use the order no.

figure 11

14. After locating the burial register page (figure 11) with Henriette’s entry we are now faced with deciphering the 2 pages of data elements for each listing (figures 12 & 13).

LEFT PAGE: (figure 12) Henriette’s listing at no. 1753. 

figure 12


Column 1: order of interment
Column 2: date of interment (not date of death but typically 1-3 days later)
Column 3: surname; married women are listed as either femme (wife) or veuve (widow)
Column 4: first or given name
Column 5: age; listed in ans (years), or for infants mois (months), semaines (weeks) or jours (days)
Column 6: place of death; usually by arrondissement (old enumeration)

RIGHT PAGE: (figure 13)

figure 13

Column 7: size of grave space, by meter, and whether permanent or temporary
Column 7a: if grave is permanent
Column 7b: if grave is temporary
Column 8: location in the cemetery, typically in descriptive terms, frequently by present-day division no.
Column 9: observations; typically if the grave was removed elsewhere or transferred out of the cemetery. 

So, what did we learn about Henriette Percheron who died between 1814 and 1818?

Her full name was Henriette Victorine Adrienne Percheron, aged 5 years and living in the 1st arrondissement (old enumeration) when she was buried on 6 June 1814. 

2. She was buried in temporary grave no. 65 located originally along the 18th line prendre du clos á gauche, prés le tertre donnant sur Mesnil-montant; probably about where D49 is today. 

3. However, in the observations column we learn that she was exhumed (exhme.) to grave no 12,189. This means she was possibly removed to somewhere else in the cemetery. And indeed, by tracking down burial order number 12,189 we learn she was removed to D07 where she was buried with her younger brother Adrien Victor Percheron (1815-1821).










Monday, April 12, 2021

The 1908 Moiroux Map

Jules Moiroux was a former conserveteur of the cemetery and his map takes a totally different approach: he lays out the cemetery as we would recognize it today but then uses an alphanumeric grid system to locate specific graves.

Jules Moiroux, Guide Illustré du cimetière du Père-Lachaise: sépultures des personnages ayant un caractère Historique, Artistique & Parisien, Paris: 1908. 


 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The 1865 Astrié Map

This particular map is unique: Astrié notes both the locator number as well as the page number in his text for 405 burial sites. 

He uses a complicated, and, I think, confusing system of numbering the divisions. He refers to massif or “clumps” of graves within a division system that is unique to his book. 

The cemetery layout he illustrates, however, does resemble the present layout so figuring out grave locations isn’t terribly difficult.

Théophile Astrié, Le Cimetères de Paris: guide topographique, historique, biographique, artistique, Paris: A. Faure, 1865. 


 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

The 1855 Salomon Map

Accompanying F. T. Salomon’s exhaustive effort to precisely locate thousands of graves listed as permanent concessions this map is an extraordinarily helpful resource.

F. T. Salomon, Le Père-Lachaise recueil general alphabétique des concessions perpétuelles établies dans ce lieu. Paris: L’Auteur, 1855. 


 

Friday, April 09, 2021

The 1854 Henry Map

No division or section numbers are provided but the map does use locator numbers and actually sketches out a facsimile of the tomb in/near its actual location. This map accompanies Henry’s collection of over 400 grave listings.

M. A. Henry, Le Père Lachaise: Historique, Monumental et Biographique, Paris: Chez Henry, 1854. 


 

Thursday, April 08, 2021

The 1839 Rousseau Map

Like Perrot 1836 the 1839 Rousseau map does not identify divisions or sections but does places the name of the grave directly on the map location.

Rousseau, Marty & Lassalle, Promenades pittoresques aux cimetières du Père Lachaise, de Montmartre, du Montparnasse, et autres, ou choix des principaux monuments, Paris: A. Fourmage, 1844. 


 

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

The 1836 Perrot Map

The 1836 Perrot Map This handy map from Aristide-Michel Perrot and Jenny George lists over 200 gravesites. Although no division or section number, Perrot does provide locator numbers and once you’re familiar with the present division layout the map is easy to use.

Aristide-Michel Perrot, Tombeaux de personnages marquants enterrés dans les cimetières de Paris, editions 1855-65, Paris.