Marginal annotation in a French birht certificate
French genealogy know-how

How to use marginal annotations in French records

19 November 2022

Marginal annotations are, as we saw in a previous post, a precious element of French documents. Although they are valuable in descending genealogy, they may contain traps that can be avoided.

All our ancestors did not die at age 50, and we may find exceptionally marginal mentions of death, on births dating from the 1850s 1860s.

As with every record, it is important to stay cautious regarding marginal mentions. They may be subject to processing errors by the registrar:

  • City hall of the place of death which forgets to send a notice to the town hall of the place of birth
  • Employee forgetting including the marginal mention on the record
  • Employee including the marginal mention on the previous or following act.

Though, the absence of mention of marriage does not necessarily mean that your ancestor remained unmarried. The same applies to the absence of a statement of death. Your ancestor may have died in another city, without papers to identify him.

Marginal mentions are important for tracking and locating an individual or a family.

So, the marginal mention on Françoise Bouzignac birth certificate, as we saw it in the previous post, The marginal mention provides us the dates of her marriages, as well as the names of her partners. Those deeds will give us more information regarding her parents:

  • Were they alive in 1912 and 1924? If not, we may have the dates and places of death. 
  • Did she give birth to any children from her first marriage?

The mention of the death may lead us to a new city. 

Marginal annotation in a French deth certificate

In the case of Marthe Lalanne, we discover she got married in another city and died in that same place. We will then seek her children in this town or go through the censuses to piece together the family.

source: Annotation of death _ Archives de Toulouse _ Naissances (1891-1910) _ 1E575

As well, the annotation on Marie Roques birth certificate, we will search for her death certificate under the name of Mandou, and not Roques. 

source: ROQUES Marie Madeleine legitimization _ Archives de Toulouse – Naissances (1846-1856) – 1E364

Marginal annotation in a French birth certificate

Main marginal annotations

Infography of the main marginal annotations on French birth certificate

In conclusion, marginal annotations are as many as indications that will allow you to follow your ancestors in the French civil registrar. But do not forget, it is only an indication. You will have to confirm by yourself, in finding the certificate, or you may follow a wrong lead!

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  1. Hi Sophie!
    I found your website as I was researching who, how, and where civil records officials report the ‘marginal annotation’s that we see in French birth records. That’s when I came across your site!! Your website is fabulous. It provides the kind of information we Americans fumble around for. I’ve quoted you in several sections on my ‘margin info’ page. I used your name and provided links to your ‘about me’ page and your ‘Marginal Annotations in French Records’ pages. Is there a special way to cite you and your quotes?

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