Re: Research individuals in France #france

Bernard Flam

Hi from Paris,
Dear detectives,
As I have told often on this forum, privacy is very well protected in France : no hope to enter a name as we do on "Ancestry" for USA and then discover data registered all their / your life long.
Even for our family emigrating to France, what do we use to find Jewish migrant traces when we start with a name only?
1.      From 1881 to 1939 :

1.1.   Naturalization was easy after some years living there, especially after WW1, as 1.5 million of French men had been killed. Naturalization files were not only a form, but a file filled by 10 to 30 documents, including list of parents & siblings living in foreign countries, vital records, places of life from old country to France, attestations of wages, housing... These files were established by administration and are carefully kept in French National Archives. So we always start by getting a copy of each file.

1.1.1.     for each person, acceptance of naturalization was made by a Presidential decree and each decree was / is published in the "Journal Officiel de la République Française, Official publication of laws of French Republique". From 1880 to 1949 (confidentiality of 70 years), you can find all decrees by searching your "names" at;2&lang=EN

1.1.2.     In this same databases, you will also find decrees of "denaturalization" during Shoah in France when new Jewish French citizen were deprived from their citizenship by collaborationist Petain's government.

1.1.3.     During same period, also decrees of "aryanisation" of Jewish business and shops (even very small), transferring Jewish property to non-Jewish collaborators.

1.1.4.     With reference of naturalization decree, you must fill an inquiry to French National Archives to get a copy of your file (or visit archives, a few metro stations from Paris):

1.1.5.     Unfortunately, they are still closed due to Covid pandemic.

1.1.6.     Important notice: for French Revolution, France applies "jus soli", each child born in France is French, even from foreign parents. So these children aren't registered in these archives.


1.2.   If your relatives were living in Paris, you can find census of Paris, school lists, registration of business ( even a small shop)  in Paris Archives :


2.      during WWII & Shoah in France

2.1.   Comparable to USHMM, Memorial de la Shoah in Paris is our main institution, you can search deportees from France at

2.2.   French administration keep deportees' files completed after 1945 for administrative purposes :

2.3.   French Army archives to search soldiers, KIA, POW, including voluntary engagement of foreign Jews in Foreign Legion in 1939/1940

 Even if most of our archives haven't recovered a normal activity, you can start searches & inquiries.


Bernard Flam

Archives & history of Medem Center - Arbeter Ring (Bund) of France

Jewish genealogy workshop of Medem Center


Searching : FLAM, AGID around Olesko, Brody & Lemberg




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