Recording French Census data

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Guide to record a French census with Gramps


This guide explains how to record information about a home through the census. With Gramps 1.0.x we had to re-enter the information each individual. With the "drag and drop" Gramps 2.x and the tool Clipboard this repetition is reduced.

The French census are with Registrations, a very important source of information to validate family ties or fill gaps in the civil status. The first official (as today) census date 1790-1793 followed by 1816-1817. Finally, all 5 years, 1831 to 1946 with few exceptions.

The census gives the location of each household by street/city/neighborhood. Thus, we can reconstruct a family at one time and living in the same house.

Each census français is slightly different depending on the recorded information. For this guide will employ a sample taken from the 1850-1870 census which shows the family of Francis Xavier Wind.

Census Wind Family after 1870

This page is available census in a document, the so-called municipal archives of Strasbourg, it saves the following information:

  • Place: Strasbourg
  • The period: 1850-1870
  • The city: Robertsau (or street)
  • The number: 202
  • Name: Francis Xavier Wind
  • Place of birth: Minversheim
  • Date of birth: 26 October 1818
  • His place in the home, nationality and date of arrival in the town, as well as additional information.

The amount of information varies depending on the date of the census and the zeal of the enumerator.

The preliminary information

Figure 1 Add Source

Before we begin to introduce individual we must first save the source.

  • First, we should add the census as a source so that it can be mentioned when we add all the records of individuals. To create this source, click on the icon of sources in the list of icons on the left side of the window. Now right-click button to add. Fill in the dialog with the details of the source. Figure 1.
  • For example, Census 1850-1870, Strasbourg-Robertsau, No. 202. Then go on the label / tab Repositories, select or add a deposit and enter the call number field with the symbol/reference your source. Once all the written information, click OK of the dialog box. Figure 2.
Figure 2 Add repository
  • Now add the image of the page census gramps. You do not need to do this but this may help maintain the original documents. To add click the image on the label / tab Gallery the source editor. Now click on the icon to add the icon bar on the right. Locate the image and click OK to add it to gramps.

NOTE: gramps does not take a copy of the image it stores only a link to the image file in your memory. If you move or delete the image, gramps can not find it.

  • Once the image has been added, click the image name and choose Edit menu properties. You can fill much of the information of properties. You should at least complete information source. You should now fill the references to the source with information from the Census page. Figure 3 shows the dialogue achieved.
Illustration 3 Add a reference to source

You might have to write this information for each census-related information that you add to gramps. This can become rather tiresome after a few records. To help you re-enter information, the tool Clipboard can be used to easily copy a reference from one record to another.

Figure 4 Clipboard
  • To use this tool, you must click on the icon Clipboard in the icon bar above the main window gramps. You must now arrange your windows so you can see both dialog boxes. Once you have windows, you arrange to slide the reference of the list in the working area of Clipboard, keeping the left mouse button pressed. Figure 4 shows the drag in action.

Once you have copied the reference source in the work area click OK, keep Clipboard open. You can put it next to the window area and move it next to your screen. Note that close Clipboard crept retain data. But closing session Gramps, or use the Clean remove any information stored in the Clipboard.

Enter the head of the family

Illustration 5 The details of François Xavier Wind

Now that we have created the source we can begin to supplement individuals. We can start by the head of household. The information we have to write is:

  • Volume / Page: (for a book or publication)
  • Locations: Strasbourg
  • Address: 202, Strasbourg-Roberstsau
  • Name: Francis Xavier Wind
  • Sex: Male
  • Date of birth: 26 October 1818
  • Place of birth: Minversheim

Look at the list of person by clicking on the icon individuals on the left side of the main window and select a recording.

Enter the name, sex, date and place of birth on the first label (Figure 5 shows the label done). You can supplement this information with a reference source for the date, name and birth. You can do this by clicking the button next to the name, date of birth next to the entry fields. The dialog reference is given below:

The addition of reference for the source is the same for media objects. Click the button to add the positive reference to the new source for recording, this shows some of the information found on the census. You can enter information by hand, however, because the reference source is the same as we have already written to the image, it can be filed on or after Clipboard. Arrange your windows just so you can see Clipboard and sources and so drag the reference.

Illustration 6 Recording address.

Each individual information can have its own source. The reference is added so we know where it comes from. This is useful if you have a number of sources for the person you want to remind you that contributed to a detail information.

Now we must add the remaining information to Francis Xavier Wind. Change to address the label and click the button to add a positive new address (or identification or residency). See Figure 6 dialogue achieved address. Do not forget to add the reference source to the label. Once the address is complete click OK and then drag the recording addresses on Clipboard. The registration address will be reused when we complete the rest of the family.

Figure 7 Adding Event

You can also add an attribute (if needed)and other events. See Figure 7 Dialogue event.

It meets about Francis Xavier Wind. Then we write the rest of the family. Now that the record of Francis Xavier Wind is complete, click OK the dialog of the editing window.

Enter the rest of the family

Figure 4 Clipboard
Illustration 8 Add marriage

To write the rest of the family we will use for family. This will capture the relationship between family members that we add to the database. To move the family to click on the icon of family in the list of icon on the left side of the main window. This shows a family with Francis Xavier Wind chosen as a person. The first person that we want to add is his wife.

On the right side of the window of relationship, there are three buttons. The highest of these three buttons add a new person in the database as wife of Francis Xavier. Click the button and complete the registration of the person. Remember that you can use the information already present in the Clipboard to facilitate data entry. Otherwise, you may use the share event button. See illustration 9.

Illustration 9 Share an existing event

Once the new person registration is complete, click OK. As you add the new person as a spouse, you will now be sought information on marriage. Fortunately, some agents with complete information after the census. Figure 8 shows the dialogue achieved.

When you click the button OK, as you leave the properties editor for marriage. Unless there is more information on marriage that you already know, other sources can simply be added, otherwise click OK to return to the family.

Figure 10 complete recording of the family

Now that both parents have been added, we can add the children of the family. The right side of the window of children there are four buttons. The second button down from the top add new children to the database. Click this button and add information for the first child. Repeat for other children shown on the census registration.

Once all children are presented, information contained on the census is complete. Finally the family to be shown in the illustration 10.


Censuses contain much information. Gramps provides the flexibility required to capture information and to record exactly the correct sources for each item. It may be a long exercise in writing any information. Perhaps one day gramps can automate some of the other processes...

See Also