Genealogy of the French in North America

Convention (places)


If not stated otherwise, a place is in the province of Québec.  If located elsewhere, the modern name is used if that name is known, except for Acadia.

For France, a place is shown with the modern name of the town (they are named communes), its INSEE code (code to identify each town with a number) and its départements.  For example: Perpignan, 660136, Pyrénées-Orientales.  This work uses a special form of the INSEE code with 6 digit to avoid confusion with the postal code.

If the place is in North America, except in Québec and old Acadie, the state or province is shown in English.  In general, countries are displayed in English (on the English version) but towns in French.

If the name of the place has changed, the format is: old name auj. new name, i.e.: Seuilly-l'Abbaye auj. Seuillyauj. means aujourd'hui, i.e. today.  If the place disappeared after merging into another place, the format is: old name com. new name, i.e.: Rocquefort com. Yvetot, that is, the town called formerly Rocquefort is now a part of another town Yvetot.  You will see Yvetot on a modern map but Rocquefort on an ancient map or record.

In a few cases, the place is shown in the language of that place.  Slashes surround the place in the foreign (not French) language, i.e. Londres /London/.

The name of a place can be followed by a question mark, for example if the source is not clear about the place, if the probability is too low, etc.  Generally, if there is not accurate date (i.e. about 1712, before 1685), the place is presumed.  These places may be studied more closely later and a new format may be introduced for some cases like when the marriage place is known from another record but there is accurate date of marriage, when the place if the area of activity of the notary even if the marriage is not yet known, etc.

If no accurate date is given (i.e.: before 1751, about 1812, after1912-01-14), the place is presumed and this means usually that:

  • the couple was living there but the marriage records are missing;
  • the couple has an immigrant child who gave that place as his/her origin;
  • the current searches stop in that area (no record available, no search was done, etc.).

Codes of places

Many improvements are planned.  Places are coded in view of some planned developments.  Some codes may be changed so for now, don't hardcode them.  Many coding patterns are used at this time.

Code pattern

Region and link to the regional list


A or a

Native American (Amérindien)

«A» means, depending on the record, this is a couple of Natives with unknown marriage or marriage not recorded.  «a» is used if the names look like Native but the persons are not identified as Native in the record.  In a few cases, one such person can be a European.



This is a place in the old Acadia, mostly between 1632 and 1758.  The first digit is the area, the 2nd is the county and the last is the place itself.

  • A0 : West half of Nova Scotia
  • A1 : East half of Nova Scotia except if A2
  • A2 : Île Royale (today, Cap-Breton Island or Île du Cap-Breton)
  • A3 : Île St-Jean (today, Pince Edward Island or Île du Prince-Édouard)
  • A4 : South of New Brunswick
  • A5 : North of New Brunswick
  • A6 : Newfoundland or Terre-Neuve
  • A999 : during the exile, unknown place
  • AC : unknown place, presumed to be in Acadia because of the year



The code is that of PRDH and ANQ for the microfilms of Québec's parishes before 1876.  These codes embed no protestant parish because they were used to describe the catholic records microfilmed by LDS in 1976.  Those codes have the format Q112, that is the letter Q, 2  digit for the county and 1 digit or letter for the parish.

So as to cover protestant records and parishes created after 1876, encoding was modified.

  • In a first step, codes have the format Q12x, the x meaning only the county is coded;
  • Later, the format is changed for Q120.345, that is Q, the county number, zero, a dot, 3 digit for the parish.



In other places, the pattern is that of INSEE modified with 6 digit.  The INSEE is the French institute for statistics.  Its codes are used to identify towns in France and foreign countries.

  • In France, the code has 2 digit for the département, 1 zero to avoid confusion with the postal code, and 3 digit for the town itself.  A commune (town) is an official administrative entity with a mayor.  A commune may include many villages or hamlets each having a nam.  Paris is a special case, divided into arrondissements, each having its own INSEE code.  There are 96 départements from 01 (and not 1) to 95, Corsica forming 2A and 2B.
  • France has some territories not in Europe.  The codes with 97 are for overseas départements (DOM) while those in 98 indicate overseas territories (TOM).
  • In other countries, the code begins with 990.  The 4th digit is the continent and the last pair is the country.  When necessary, the name of a subregion (province, US state, etc.) follows
    • 9901 : Europe
    • 9902 : Asia
    • 9903 : Africa
    • 9904 : Americas
      • 990401 : Canada, then the 2-letter code for mail (i.e. NF for Newfoundland and not  TN for Terre-Neuve)
      • 990404 : United States of Americain, then the 2-letter code for mail
    • 000000, FR can be used for a place in France with no more detail.  There are other codes for places unknown, province or diocese known, etc.


Unknown place

The place can't be found.  Usually, it is an immigrant with unknown origin.  In some cases, there is double code like FR/QC to mean the marriage may be either in France or in Québec.  Without more data, I presume someone married in the same place as the child or parents.

Many codes are designed for unknown places so that regional specialists can give their suggestion.  The effect is where the entry appears in the regional index.  For example, if the diocese is known, then the code of the bishop is used (with dioc as suffix).  If it is a small province, it is the code of the capital while for a large province, the code is that of the département that better fits the province or where is the capital so that this code will be at the end of the regional index.

Genealogy of the French in North America
© Copyright 2006 Denis Beauregard