About a year ago a friend said he had found a French website for genealogy which might be useful. The name of the site was Geneanet.org. It is useful, and some of it is free and some costs 40 euros a year. I have personally only experienced the free section, so all of my comments unless otherwise identified are from that area.
First, while it has a heavy French emphasis, much of Europe and a growing number of Americans are using it. Much of Europe as one knows speak English as well as their own language.
Second, signing up is standard with your own User Name and Password. They appear to follow proper Privacy rules.
Third, by identifying the surnames in which you are interested – in my case Artz, Lang and Simon – you are sent a weekly e-mail Alert of new entries into their database for your specified surnames. Here is an example: For August 28 Artz had 7 new entries, Simon 2070 and Lang 519.
While Artz with 7 is easily reviewed quickly, the others are imposing numbers. However, Geneanet offers some helpful data: It tells you the dates involved with each, so that if you believe 1880-1890 would catch the people you are after, you can quickly scan the data appropriately. In addition the data offered includes the Place or town, the Region and the Country. So in the example I will later describe I am told a Mr. Didier Ott posted data on my Artz from the town of Haguenau in the Bas Rhin region of Alsace Lorraine, France in 1879.
Since I do not speak French well, I had a friend who does prepare a brief e-mail asking for help expanding the data which I had. This e-mail I copy/paste into a new one for the new people who appear to have some possibilities to help.
Mr. Ott in this case responded immediately with a copy of an 1836 Census report, seen here.
Notice family names and a street address. In addition the husband appears to have died and the wife is working as a journaliére or day-worker.
Some years ago I had my French speaking friend call the Catholic priest in the town to ask about my grandmother, who was a Lang but descended from the Artz family. The priest was not helpful, though willing. But now I have an address within a very small town of 2,300 people and this could possibly lead to a home which has been in the family for years but faced name changes as marriages occurred. I am hopeful this will open doors previously shut and a brick wall destroyed.
Fourth, continuing to describe Geneanet, I am sent (free) a brief newspaper like e-mail weekly. Here are some recent titles:
- Early Advertising of the West, (U.S.) 1867-1918
- Legacy Family Tree 126.96.36.199
- DNA Test to Identify Fromelies Dead in Mass Grave of WW1
- Korea, Russia to Exchange History Archives
- Did Your Ancestors Fight at Agincourt
Well, you can see this is not a French site, but a universal one here reflecting the U.S., Australia, Korea, Russia, French and software.
I like this site more and more.