Other useful documents
The information contained in deeds are more comprehensive than vital records and parish registers. They give a better reflection of the lifestyle of our ancestors. Our ancestors who themselves even poorer, had frequently used the services of lawyer who might well be asked to write several dozens of different types of acts.
- Minutes: These are the original deeds made and kept by notaries.
- Major: These are copies which notaries deliver to their customers. The statutory period of consultation of deeds is 100 years for the minutes and directories.
The Marriage Contract
The notary noted the material and financial contributions of both spouses' families, to avoid any subsequent misalliance or dispute. The marriage contract also specified the division of property if married widowhood. A marriage contract was drawn up even when both spouses came from a modest background. Several members of the family attended the institution of marriage contract. They were more numerous than the sums involved were significant. The contract of marriage states the names of all persons present during the preparation of the contract, and their relationship with the husband. The marriage contract is essential to the genealogist. It in effect gives information on the broad relationship of husband and indicates fairly accurately the level of family wealth.
A will is an individual act, which has no effect unless the person concerned is deceased. The testator, i.e. the testator may change at any time until his death. The will is of interest to the genealogist since it gives not only information on the properties of an ancestor, but above all he shows his lifestyle and concerns. It is significant to note, for example, that an ancestor could bequeath his hat, his gold watch. The will also shows the distribution of property and wealth of a person after death.
The real testament is safer because it is indisputable. It is necessarily given in the presence of two notaries or a notary and two witnesses. The notary himself writes at the dictation of his client. He then reads and everyone sign, except if the client is unable to do so.
The mystic will, rarely used, the advantage to remain secret. The client gives it to his lawyer in a sealed envelope in the presence of two witnesses. Only the client knows its contents. However, the notary can not verify its legal effectiveness. It is the major drawback of this form of will.
The holograph is most prevalent. Written, dated and signed by the hand of the testator, it is easy and inexpensive. However, it can sometimes lead to disputes when it is not written with the help of a specialist lawyer.
The Estate Inventory
The noble families and even some less wealthy families established a probate inventory that allowed to have a remarkably clear vision of the material situation of the family at his death, and therefore his lifestyle before his death through the listing of all the finances and assets possessed by the person before death.
The estate inventory mentions: property owned by the deceased, his income, his cash, furniture, silverware, clothing, jewelry and valuables. For poor families, the property mentioned are often quite mundane, such as beds and other furniture, dishes, linens, rustic furniture, etc.
The Act of Recognition
This act is widely known and used in parentage. Now, proof of inheritance is settled by many means. It is not derogated nor used for issuing certificates of ownership or inheritance by the judicial or administrative. Proof of inheritance may result from an act of recognition prepared by a notary at the request of one or more dependents. The act must be listed on the sidelines of the death certificate.
The act of recognition should be for the death certificate of the person whose estate is open for succession and make reference to documents that have been produced, such acts of civil status and, possibly, the documents concerning the existence of donations upon death may affect the devolution of property. It contains the statement, signed by the beneficiaries or the applicants, their vocation, alone or with others they designate, to collect all or part of the estate of the deceased. Any person whose statements seem useful can be called to act. The statement in the act of recognition does not, by itself, constitute acceptance of the succession.
The act established reputation and is authentic until proven otherwise. He who relies on it is presumed to have hereditary rights in the share therein stated. The heirs designated in the act of notoriety or their agents are deemed common to the third parties holding assets of the estate, having the free disposal of such property and, if funds, freely available thereof to the extent stated in the deed
Census records are an inventory of the population of a country, to identify demographic trends. You can find the age and marital status of each person. They often include wider information: age, occupation, nationality and religion.
The purpose of cadastral tax is essentially because they can determine the surface and the owner of each parcel of land. The tax can then be determined from these data, for the sake of accuracy and justice.
Government surveys permits, by comparing records from different years, allow to find out about the development of your ancestors. They inform on plots owned by them and the types of use of such land: house, barn, arable land, meadow, etc.
Land Register Deeds
It is possible to consult the land register against a modest sum. These records contain bills of sale and there are often information of a descent upon the sale or purchase of real property when there are minor children. It is also possible to trace back what has become of the heritage left by our ancestors.