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France 1793-1805

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France Project > France Orphaned Profiles Team > France Orphan Trail 1793-Present > France Orphan Trail Resources 1793-1805


France Orphan Trail 1793-1805

Welcome to the second part of the 1793-1900 Orphelin Trail: The Revolutionary period!

First, select one profile in the list of 1793-1805 profiles. You will work on this profile [the same way as you did with profiles in the post-1805 period].

1793-1905 Sources

The sources you will use for the 1793-1805 period as the same as those used for the 1806-1900 period, but there are a few differences that make this period a bit more challenging:

  • Early civil registration records are often more difficult to read. They are not numbered, there are no notes in the marging, handwritings can be challenging and spelling mistakes are more frequent.
  • 10-year index tables are often missing and there are, very often, no end-of-year tables.
  • Most importantly, during all this period the Gregorian calendar was replaced by a Republican calendar, meaning you will nead to convert all dates to be able to navigate.

The Revolutionary Calendar

The French Republican calendar (French: calendrier républicain français) or French Revolutionary calendar (calendrier révolutionnaire français) was used from late 1793 to 1805.

The Republican calendar year began the day the autumnal equinox occurred in Paris, and had twelve months of 30 days each, which were given new names based on nature. The five or six extra days needed to approximate the solar year were placed at the end of each year and were not given a month designation, but called Sansculottides or Complementary Days (jours complémentaires). Years were written in Roman numerals. The beginning of the "Republican Era" was 22 September 1792.

The twelve months were:

  • Autumn
    • Vendémiaire, starting 22, 23, or 24 September
    • Brumaire , starting 22, 23, or 24 October
    • Frimaire, starting 21, 22, or 23 November
  • Winter:
    • Nivôse, starting 21, 22, or 23 December
    • Pluviôse, starting 20, 21, or 22 January
    • Ventôse, starting 19, 20, or 21 February
  • Spring:
    • Germinal, starting 20 or 21 March
    • Floréal, starting 20 or 21 April
    • Prairial, starting 20 or 21 May
  • Summer:
    • Messidor, starting 19 or 20 June
    • Thermidor, starting 19 or 20 July
    • Fructidor, starting 18 or 19 August

Below are the Gregorian dates each Republican year (an) began while the calendar was in use:

I (1)22 September 1792
II (2)22 September 1793
III (3)22 September 1794
IV (4)23 September 1795
V (5)22 September 1796
VI (6)22 September 1797
VII (7)22 September 1798
VIII (8)23 September 1799
IX (9)23 September 1800
X (10)23 September 1801
XI (11)23 September 1802
XII (12)24 September 1803
XIII (13)23 September 1804
XIV (14)23 September 1805

In practice

Registers were kept using the Republican calendar, the dates written on all acts use the Republican calendar.

  • You will need the date an event took place according to the Republican calendar in order to find it in the registers.
  • You will need to convert Republican dates back to the Gregorian style in order to enter them in WikiTree data fields.
  • We ask that you spell out the date in both styles, Republican and Gregorian, in the biography of each profile with events in that era.

There are lots of converters available online, we recommend using this one: The Republican Calendar (in English) or this one Calendrier Républicain (in French).

If you would like to know more about the intricacies of the Republican calendar and the names (inspired by nature and agriculture) that were given to each day in the year, see Wikipedia.



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