Project: French Roots

Categories: Ethnic Roots Projects | European Projects | French Roots Project | France

Bienvenue sur le projet French Roots!
Welcome to the French Roots Project!

Version française

The mission of the French Roots Project is to support research and collaboration on profiles of French people, as well as people of French heritage or origin.

Are you interested in the French Roots Project?french_roots.gif


Project Goals

There are not many French profiles on Wikitree, compared to the size of the country and its importance in history. If you are just adding your own ancestors from France, with proper sources and using Wikitree Styles and Standards, you are already helping the project in a big way.

Our tasks and goals include:

  1. Work on sources for unsourced profiles: search out original rather than derivative documentation and add sources.
  2. Check the Error report for France and try to correct errors on French profiles. Make to sure to read the guidelines before proceeding. All significant changes must be justified with a source.
  3. Profile biographies should be cleaned up, free of any GEDCOM junk, broken links, Ancestry trees, etc., and ideally have an actual written bio. Use WikiTree Styles and Standards to clean up residue and broken links.
  4. Add any relevant categories to the profiles, as well as appropriate stickers. Add the project template to those profiles that need special monitoring or Project Protection.
  5. Profiles of family members are correct and documented.
  6. Add related profiles, checking for existing profiles to avoid duplication. If any duplicate profiles exist, request merges, starting with the oldest generation.
  7. Profiles are linked to the greater WikiTree: try to find the connection, check with the Connectors project for hints and unconnected branches.
  8. Contact Isabelle to request PPP status for those profiles that meet the criteria for project protection. This will protect them from an incorrect merge or the addition of incorrect or uncertain parents.
  9. Work with the related projects such as the Huguenot Migration project, the Quebecois project and the Acadians project to make sure that the genealogies of migrating ancestors ancestors are correct, sourced, and free of dubious ancestors or collaterals.
  10. Identify profiles for French Notables that need work, as well as French notables needing a profile, if there is not one yet.
  11. Develop sub-projects for Francophone communities not yet covered by existing projects (Belgium, Luxembourg).

To-do List

This table is for specific items that need to be completed, not for general goals like "merge all French duplicates". If you don't feel comfortable editing a wiki table but want to add a to-do item to the list, please list it below the table and one of the project leaders will integrate it into the table.

To volunteer to work on an item, find where it says Volunteer Needed right beneath the task you want to work on. Replace Volunteer Needed with your name and WikiTree ID (be careful not to remove the | at the start of the line).

Task Volunteers Related Category Notes G2G link to Discussion
Develop example profile Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, George Sand, Charles de Gaulle ?
Develop Departement free-space profiles See Départements Français (departments of France) sub-project page
Catherine de Baillon's lineage clean-up Contact Greg Lavoie See special free-space page
Source and clean-up family of Etienne Chastain Contact Isabelle Rassinot Huguenot ancestor. See also Chastain spurious genealogy space page
Sort out Langlois ancestors, starting at Noël Langlois Contact Isabelle Langlois Family Fabrications Coordinated with Québécois Project. Almost done!
Create and maintain project categories. Add maintenance categories and stickers to profiles. Contact Emma MacBeath Data Doctor and/or Categorization experience is helpful for some of these tasks France Specific Database Errors List
Translation of help pages into French Contact Isabelle or Guy Constantineau See French Portal
Writing and Translation of biographies into French Contact Emma MacBeath see this French Translation Needed for profiles waiting to be written or translated to French
Writing and Translation of biographies into English Contact Emma MacBeath See this English Translation Needed for profiles waiting to be translated to English
Family lines and gedcoms in need of clean up Please add your name next to each task you are working on. See the French Roots Members Sandbox for these tasks


French Roots Project Box

When a profile is eligible to be managed by the project, the French Roots Project template should be added. Add

{{French Roots Project}}

at the top of the profile, just below Categories and above the == Biography == heading:

... ... ... has French origins.
Join: French Roots Project
Discuss: french_roots

For the French version, use:

{{French Roots Project|lang=fr}}

... ... ... a des origines françaises.
Join: French Roots Project
Discuss: french_roots

Note that all profiles with the French Roots project template should be managed by the project. Previous managers of the profile will not be removed.

French Roots Sticker

If you wish to recognize the French ancestry on a profile which is not to be managed by the project, use the French Roots Sticker. Add

... ... ... has French origins.

{{French Roots}}

at the top of the Biography section, just under the == Biography == heading:

Guidelines on Names

The following naming conventions do not apply to French nobles. For French aristocrats, use the Name Fields for European Aristocrats naming conventions.


Use the prefix field for such titles as Docteur, Prof. and for military ranks such as Colonel, Général, etc. It can also be used for religious titles such as Cardinal. Do not use it for noble titles. Titles such as Seigneur, Comte, Marquis, Prince etc. should go into the nickname field.


This field will rarely be used for French people. French people in general do not use Junior or I, II, III ordinals.

First Name, Middle Name and Preferred Name

First names, or Prénoms

All given names up to and including the preferred name should go in the First Name at Birth field. If you do not know what the preferred name was (this will often be the case for 18th to mid-19th century profiles), put all given names in the First Name at Birth field.

Many 18th century girls were called Marie followed by another name, which was likely (but not always) the call name. Put both names in the First Name at Birth field. The case is similar with Anne and with the male name Jean.

Preferred name, or Prénom usuel

This is the name used in everyday life. For someone with multiple names, it can be very difficult to establish which was the preferred names. It is quite frequent that the preferred name is not one of the given names at birth at all. Starting from 1831, censuses may be very helpful.

Hyphenated names

The use of hyphens changes from one record to another with the preferences of the clerks who wrote the records, and it is difficult to establish a clear guideline until about the 1940s, when compound names became very fashionable and the use of hyphens more systematic. A hyphenated name counts as just one name. Jean-Baptiste is one name and the two parts of the name should never be in different fields.

Middle name

There is no "middle name" concept in France. If you are sure of what someone's preferred name was, additional given names after the usual name may be pushed to the middle name field. Otherwise use the "No middle name" radio button.

Gender of given names

Some names may look similar to Anglo-saxon names but not have the same gender. Other names saw their use change over time. Here is a list, to be completed:

  • Claude, Dominique, Camille are used for both men and women.
  • Laurence and Valentine are feminine.
  • Jean is always male.
  • Anne could be used for men (though it is predominantly female).
  • Marie is often found as one of a man's given name, sometimes as first name, though it will rarely be the call name.
  • Jean-Marie is a man's name.
  • Marie-Josèphe is feminine. Marie-Joseph is indecise. In some areas (near the frontier with Hainaut), the name "Joseph" used to be was included in all names, for boys and girls.
  • The names Philippe, Eustache, Ambroise, Hilaire, Étienne, Antoine, and even Guillaume could be used for women up to the 18th century. They are now exclusively masculine.

Family Names

The spelling of last names was not definitively fixed before the middle of the 19th century. At this point however it became very strict, and errors were always officially corrected, which can be seen in the records. Put the variants in the Other Last Names field.

de, du, de la, le... Sometimes these articles are separated from the rest of the name (ex. de La Rue, Le Roux) and sometimes they are all together (Delarue, Leroux). Again, this was not set before the middle of the 19th century. Use the style you see on the records. NEVER use the mixed caps style (DuPont, LeMarchand....) this style is NOT used in France.

Saint, St, St. : If the family name starts with "Saint", write it in full. Do not use "St.". Use the hyphen if it is in the records.

Current Last Name for married women : a woman's legal name is, and always was, her maiden name and it is the name that is used on all records, including parish records as well as census records (up to the end of the 19th century). You can put the married name in the Current Last Name field if you are sure it is the name the person always used in everyday life. Otherwise put the married name in the Other Last Names field.

Location fields

Always use location names as they were at the time of the event. This means that modern departments should not be used for any event before the Revolution. It is useful to familiarize yourself with administrative divisions in France before working on locations - Wikipedia provides a good starting point.

Hyphens: Compound location names are always hyphenated in France. See Graphie des toponymes français (Wikipedia - in French).

Saint, St, St. : Do not use "St.". Write Saint in full, followed by a hyphen: Saint-Jean-d'Angély, Saint-Lô, Sainte-Anne-d'Auray.

After 1790

Departments were created in 1790. For 1790 to present, the location field should include:

Hamlet (lieu-dit, hameau) (if applicable), Municipality (commune), Department (département), France.

It is preferrable not to include the region. Departments are unique, so that regions are not useful to identify a place, and they change too much (they were created in 1960 and changed in 2016).

Before 1790

Use historic provinces instead of departments. Use maps like this one as a guide (detailed maps will be included, as much as possible, in the Departments of France free-space pages).


French Roots sub-projects

Related Projects and Groups

The following projects and groups are likely to have some overlap with this one, so members of this project may be interested in them as well:


The current list of members and their activities can be found in the Project Badge Report.

This page was last modified 04:05, 22 January 2018. This page has been accessed 1,802 times.