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How to Use Marginal Annotations in French Deeds

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Written by Sophie Boudarel

Original text written in French


Marginal annotations are, as we saw last month, a precious element of French deeds. Although they are useful in descending genealogy, they may contain traps that must be skipped.

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All our ancestors did not die at age 50, and we may find exceptionally marginal mentions of death, on births dating from the 1850s 1860s.

As with every record, it is important to remain cautious regarding marginal mentions. They may be subject to processing errors by the registrar :

  • Town hall of the place of death who forgets to send a notice to the town hall of the place of birth
  • Employee forgetting to include the marginal mention on the record
  • Employee including the marginal mention on the previous or subsequent act

Though, the absence of mention of marriage does not necessarily mean that your ancestor remained unmarried. The same applies to the absence of a statement of death. Your ancestor may have died in another city, without papers to identify him.

Marginal mentions are important for tracking and locating an individual, or a family.

Thus, the marginal mention on Françoise Bouzignac birth certificate, as we saw it last month, The marginal mention gives us the dates of her marriages, as well as the names of her spouses. Those deeds will give us more information regarding her parents (where they alive in 1912, and 1924 ? if not, we may have the dates and places of death), did she had any children from her first marriage ? …

The mention of the death may lead us to a new city. In the case of Marthe Lalanne, as we discover she got married in another city, and died in that same place, we will then search her children in this town, or go through the censuses, to piece together the family.

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Annotation of death _ Archives de Toulouse _ Naissances (1891-1910) _ 1E575

As well, the mentions on Marie Roques birth certificate, we will search for her death certificate under the name of Mandou, and not Roques.

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ROQUES Marie Madeleine legitimization _ Archives de Toulouse – Naissances (1846-1856) – 1E364

Marginal mentions are as many as indications that will allow you to follow your ancestors in the French civil registrar. But do not forget, it is only an indication. You will have to verify by yourself, in finding the deed, or you may follow a wrong lead !


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