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.


Tuesday, April 06, 2021

The 1825 Saint-Aubin Map

The 1825 Saint-Aubin map breaks the cemetery down into quadrants matched with a locator numbering system so you have to use the book (see bibliography) along with the map.

M. P. Saint-Aubin, Promenade aux Cimetières de Paris. . . second edition. Paris: Panckoucke, 1825. 


Monday, April 05, 2021

The 1824 and 1830 Maps

The 1824 Giraldon-Bovinet and 1830 maps provide plenty of tantalizing clues to the locations of hundreds of early graves. However, both maps use the same numbering system which is different from the present division numbering system, and as a result I refer to those as “sections.” Given the six-year gap between the publication of the two maps there are several deviations (noted below). 

See the previous post for additional information about the Giraldon-Bovinet maps.

Both maps from gallica.fr.

August 1824


Divisions 1, 2 and 3 are in section 1 of map 1824; in map 1830 division 1 is section 2 and divisions 2 and 3 are section 1.

Division 4 is section 56 on both maps. 

Divisions 5 and 6 do not yet exist on either map. 

Division 7 is section 3, which includes the Jewish section. 

Division 8 is section 4 and division 9 is section 5. 

Division 10 is broken into sections 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. The old section 6 consists of graves in the lower left portion of D10, bordered by Chemin Père Eternel and Chemin de l’ancienne Porte (which no longer runs through the division) and Avenue Latérale du Sud, and extends roughly two-thirds of the way up the hill when it becomes section 7 bordered by Chemin Denon. Sections 8 and 9 are small and about midway across the D10 laterally and bordered by Chemin Denon. Section 10 consists of the lower middle section between 6 and 11 and bordered by Chemin du Coq. Finally, old section 11 consists of the left third or quarter of the D10 and bordered by Chemin Denon and then Chemin du Coq. 

Division 11 is broken into two sections, 15 and 16, with the backside of the bosquet Delille being the approximate dividing line. Section 16 consists of the bosquet and faces D12 across Chemin Talma. Section 15 faces the lower portion of D13 along Chemin Méhul. 

Division 12 is section 17. 

Division 13 is broken into four distinct sections: 12, 13, 14 and 18. Sections 12 and 13 comprise what is today that part of D13 between Avenue Casimir Périer and Chemin Méhul. Section 14 is a small area between the Rond-Point and Chemin Méhul while section 18 is that part of the division between Avenue de la Chappelle and Chemin Méhul.  

Division 14 is also in section 3. 

Division 17 in broken into two sections, 19 and 20. 

One of the more challenging sections is 21 which apparently includes present day divisions 16, 32, 33 and most of 34. 

Section 22 includes the remainder of division 34, which centers on Ragon-Gillet. 

Section 23 consists of division 31 and 36. 

Section 24 (May 1824) consists of divisions 35 and 36. 

Section 24 (May 1830) consists of division 38. 

Section 25 (May 1824) consists of most of division 38. 

Section 25 (May 1830, assumed) consists of division 35. 

Section 26 consists of divisions 30, 37 part of 38 (?), 

Section 27 is present-day division 18. 

Division 19 consists of part of section 31 and 32.  

Division 20 consists of sections 28, 30 (not shown on Map 1830) and part of 31. 

Division 21 consists of section 29. 

Section 32 is divided lengthwise by present-day Chemin des Chevres with the upper portion consisting of division 19 and the lower portion, along Avenue des Acacias, division 30. 

Section 33 is division 27, section 34 is division 29, section 35 is division 28, section 36 is division 39, and section 37 is division 40. 

Section 38 consists of divisions 35, 41 and 42. 

Section 39 is division 43. 

Section 40 is division 25, 41 is division 26, 42 is division 24, 43 is division 23 and section 44 is division 22. 

Section 45 is division 51 and section 46 is division 50. 

Section 47 consists of two divisions, 44 and 45, today separated by Chemin du Quinconce. 

Section 48 consists of part of D46. 

Section 49 consists of the rest of D46 (graves closes to the original wall, now the line separating D46 from D80), part of D80 and D47. 

Section 50 is division 48. 

Section 51 consists of division 49, which is today broken into two distinct sections, 1 and 2, separated by Chemin Casimir Delavigne. 

Sections 52, 53 and 54 are divisions 52, 53 and 54 respectively. 

Section 55 in the 1824 map is listed as fosses communes (but listed in the 1830 as concessions temporaire) and comprises divisions 56, 57 and 58. 

Section 56 on both maps is division 4 (noted above). 

Section 57 on both maps is division 59. 

The 1830 map adds section 58 as concessions temporaire, which today includes parts of divisions 67 and 68, section 59, which today is division 60, sections 60 to 63 are listed as fosses communes while 64 is open land and section 65 would eventually comprise portions of future divisions 14, 5, 6 and 73.

Sunday, April 04, 2021

The 1820, 1822, 1824 and 1828 Giraldon-Bovinet Maps

Produced by Giraldon-Bovinet for F. M. Marchant de Beaumont, these four maps are incredibly valuable for the researcher of early graves in Père-Lachaise. 

Although the maps repeat most of the same monuments from one to another, nevertheless their listings are extensive and in fact grow year over year: the 1820 map begins with locating 700 monuments, the 1822 map identifies 900 graves, the 1824 added added another 300, and the 1828 version identified some 1,500 graves. 

The maps use a numbering system different from the present-day division scheme. (The 1824 and 1828 maps included here.)

See F. M. Marchant de Beaumont: Le Conducteur au Cimetière de l’Est, ou du Père La Chaise. . . Paris: Flassan, 1820; Vues Pittoresques, historiques et morales du P. La Chaise, Paris: l’Auteur, October 1821. Manuel et itinéraire du curieux dans le cimetière du Père La Chaise, . . .Paris: Emler Frères, 1828.

1820 map

1822 map

1824 map

1828 map

Saturday, April 03, 2021

The 1815 Roger Map

Roger breaks the cemetery down into six sériés to which he assigns a name of one of the prominent graves in that area. 

He uses a number system to identify 21 of the more notable gravesites.

Roger et fils, In Le Champ du Repos Le Champ du Repos, ou Le Cimetière MONT-LOUIS, dit du Père Lachaise. . . two volumes. Paris: Lebegue, September 1816.


Friday, April 02, 2021

The 1815 Arnaud Map

Arnaud uses a letter system to highlight several of the major locations such as the fosses communes, the (original) chateau, and the original basin, and a number locator is used for specific graves. 

No distinction is made for either division or section.

From C. P. Arnaud, Recueil de Tombeaux des quatre cimetières de Paris. . . Paris: Arnaud, 1825.