FRANCE and former colonies
National Archives of the French Republic
The list below shows some of the organizations that enable you to search for and trace your ancestors who emigrated from Procida or Ischia to France or North Africa. Through these archives, you will discover more about their lives and personal stories, as well as how they overcame the challenges of integrating into French society.
||Central Civil Service
Archives up to 100 years old
The Service Central de l’Etat Civil holds marriage, birth and death records for all French nationals living abroad or in the territories formerly under French administration. It was created by the government decree of 1 June 1965 to respond to the need created by the the accession to independence of the ex-protectorats of Tunisia and of Morocco, as well as previous colonial territories in Africa, Asia and the Indian Ocean, as well as of the former departments of Algeria. To obtain a marriage, birth or death certificate (less than 100 years old), contact:
Online applications are also possible:
Service Central d'État Civil
11 rue de la Maison Blanche
44941 Nantes Cedex 9
National Archives for Overseas
Located in Aix-en-Provence (France), the overseas Archives Center maintains archives relating to French colonial history and the French presence in Algeria. It does not, however, keep records pertaining to the protectorates (Morocco and Tunisia) which are maintained by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Paris.
29, chemin du Moulin de Testas
The National Archives contain records from the Merovingian period up until 1958 over several sites (Fontainebleau, Paris, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine). This organization contains archives maintained by institutions under the ‘Ancien Regime’ – (institutions abolished during the French Revolution) alongside records which have been added since by state institutions, private collections and legal records.
- Naturalization records (records showing individuals acquiring citizenship) are kept in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine. They are available on site but all requests can be made via the website. Navigate to the section Salle des inventaires virtuelle:
Naturalization records are particularly interesting because they provide a lot of information on an individual’s family and life.
||The Historical Service of the Navy in Toulon
The Service Historique de la Marine based in Toulon (France) collects, classifies, preserves and makes available records relating to all French shipping in the Mediterranean. Here you can view information relating to fishing, merchant shipping and the journeys, crew and passengers of ships and small craft belonging to fishermen and ship owners in the Mediterranean
The service is open to the public and registration is free. The reading room is located at the Passage de la Corderie. Public opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm. Archives are located in a different building and access must be requested at least two working days in advance, a fee may be payable. Requests for documents can be made on site, by email, fax or by telephone (+33 494020365). A photocopying service is available but is limited to unbound documents.
Service Historique de la Marine
83800 Toulon Armées
||Archives of the Ministry of Defense
If one of your ancestors died fighting for France during the First World War, consult the list on this site:
There is a search option (‘rechercher’) which allows you to search by surname, forename and date of birth. You can then view an online copy of the individual’s death certificate which contains useful information (surname; forename; regiment; date and place of birth; date, place and cause of death).
||The National Library of France
The National Library of France maintains a website called GALLICA, where you can often find interesting documents relating to your ancestors.
Documents available include:
- Books, manuscripts, maps, sound recordings, pictures, musical scores, magazines, local and national newspapers, legal documents, the Official Journal, videos
- World Wars, genealogy resources (heraldry, records pertaining to peerages and nobility, Official Journal, etc.)
- France, Africa, Asia, America, Europe