Transition from the Parish Records to the Civil State register

With the birth of the Republic was the death of the Church. As so, the people felt that it was a new age. The Civil State Register was born, and the people were now required to register their births, marriages, and deaths with the mairie or Town Hall and no longer the parish; therefore referring to NMD or Naissance, Marriage, Décès.

As the church was set aside and separated from the governement, it seemed appropriate to abolish the Gregorian calendar, which is followed today, and begin anew with the year 1 on September 22, 1971, or the fall equinox. Twelve new months were created, and the endings of each season would end the same. The poetically chosen names would also represent the month by the rural life. As an example, Vendé(miaire), the first month beginning in September, was also the harvest season, or vendange.

Autumn (–aire)Winter (-ôse)
Vendémiaire (Sept 22 ~ Oct 21)Nivôse (Dec 21~ Jan 19)
Brumaire (Oct 22/ ~ Nov 20)Pluviôse (Jan 20~ Feb 18)
Frimaire (Nov 21~ Dec 20)Ventôse (Feb 19 ~March 21)
Spring (–al)Summer (-idor)
Germinal (March 21 ~April 19)Messidor ( June 19 ~July 18)
Floréal (April 20 ~May 19)Thermidor (July 19 ~Aug 17)
Prairial (May 20 ~June 18)Fructidor (Aug 18 ~Sept 16)

Although the new calendar kept the four seasons and twelve months, each month was divided into 30 days and each week into 10 days, resulting into 3 week months. However, the plan resulted in a 360 day year calendar and evidently missed a few days to complete the lunar cycle. Therefore, 6 complementary days were added to complete the cycle.

6 Complimetary days

  • September 17 or 18 ~ Day of Vertu
  • September 18 or 19 ~ Day of Génie
  • September 20 or 21 ~ Day of Opinion
  • September 19 or 20 ~ Day of Travail
  • September 21 or 22 ~ Day of Récompenses
  • September 22 or 23 ~ Day of the Révolution

This new calendar remained in use during 14 years. As January 1, 1806 came around, the Gregorian calendar was put back into place. However, the Etat Civil remained the primary place for registering the vital acts.

During the time period, the records were recorded with the dates according to the Republican Calendar. It is important to make the change back to the Gregorian Calendar for your own records, even if you keep the Republican date in the notes. Many calculators can be found online, such as this one:

Many converters from the French Republican calendar to the Gregorian calendar can be found online, such as this one.


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Transition from the Parish Records to the Civil State register