In France, the expression Departmental records indicates at the same time the administration in charge of the management of the files produced in a department and the building where these files are preserved and consultable by the public.
The departmental records were created in each department under the terms of the Loi of the 5 Brumaire An V (October 26th 1796). They were intended to preserve the files of the Ancien Mode (including those of évêchés, abbeys, etc disappeared) as well as the files of the new institutions.
The law of the 28 Pluviôse An VIII provides that the prefect is in charge of the monitoring of the files. It seems that the latter were worried some rather little then. The law of the May 10th 1838 makes conservation of the files an obligatory expenditure for the departments. It is supplemented by several circulars and “instruction” of the ministry for the Interior establishing a uniform framework of classification in particular (see below) . In same times, departmental archivists, resulting in particular from the School of the charters and Committee of historical and scientific work, with the titles of “archivist of the Rhone, Oise, etc”.
This situation supports the classification and the sorting of the files, as well as the development and the impression of instruments of research.
Several departmental records underwent destruction, sometimes very important, during the Première and the Second world war.
After the Release, the departmental records know one period plus ostentation, with an increase in their personnel. It is often the occasion to build new buildings of files.
The laws of Décentralisation of 1983 entrust to the departments the management of the Departmental records, officially called “Departmental services of files”. The State continues however to play a part in the Departmental records.
Statute and missions
The Departmental records are mainly a service of the department, placed under the authority of the president of the general advice and, subsidiarily, a service decentralized of the State placed under the authority of the prefect and the Minister for the Culture.
The Departmental records exert indeed missons reserved for the State:
- by preserving files which remain the domanial property of the State;
- by exerting a scientific and technical control on the files of the common , their groupings and public corporations.
The decree of July 1st 1921 bearing payment general of the Departmental records defined of it officially the composition in these terms: a) Titles of the institutions and establishments of the Old Mode removed in 1790 and following years, and papers of the private individuals sequestered during the Revolution; b) Papers of the administrations and public institutions which followed one another in the departments since 1790 until year VIII (departments, districts, municipalities of canton, courts or commissions revolutionary, inspection committees, companies popular, etc); c) Papers of the administrations and establishments whose laws, decrees or payments prescribed or authorized the payment in the Files départementales.
The list of the types of documents preserved, managed and emphasized by the Departmental records from now on are fixed by of the general Code of the territorial collectivities:
- documents of Old Mode which were allotted to him since the year V (or later on);
- clean files of the department since the Revolution;
- files of the decentralized services of the State and the public corporations, whose seat is located in the department (Préfecture S, vice-chancellorships, DRASS, but also universities, agencies of water…) ;
- the Solicitors records of the notaries of the department;
- some Communal records whose deposit is, according to the cases, volunteer or obligatory;
- private archives deposited or them files of private origin from which the property was transferred (by gift, Legs or sale) to the department.
Moreover, the departments including/understanding the chief town of the area can, by convention with the district council, to preserve the regional files or a part of them.
The framework of classification of the departmental records
Concept of “framework of classification”
The classification of the files rests on a tallies of classification , commun run at all the French departments, composed of series identified by a letter (capital). The possible numbers of under-series can vary according to the history of the department and that of its deposit of files: the deposits and payments of the notaries for example will be classified under-series 3rd in such department and under-series 5th in such other.
After the identification of the series or under-series, the consultation of the inventories or numerical repertories of this series must provide a dimension or essential reference for the communication of the desired article.
In certain departmental services of files, the framework of classification comprises installations taking account of the spécifque institutional history of these departments and of the existence of atypical funds of files (overseas departments, management by the Company of the Indies under the Old mode, etc). Certain series can thus not be present in certain deposits.
Series or under-series without limitation of dates
series E (variable under-series): civil statue (Can contain, by exception, of the articles after 1790); Solicitors records (Can contain, by exception, of the articles after 1790)
- Série E-deposit: parochial registers, of civil statue and communal records deposited ( communal collections deposited ) - (all dates
- Series H-deposit: hospital files deposited (all dates)
- Series J: Various documents (entered by extraordinary way) (all dates)
Old series (files former to 1790)
Series a: Acts of the sovereign capacity; Field
- Series b: Court S and jurisdictions: Parliaments, Bailliage S, présidiaux, Seneschalsy S, admiralty, jurisdictions seigneuriales
- Series C: Provincial administrations: Intendance
- Series D: State education, sciences and arts
- Series E: Feudality; family archives; corporations
- Series F: Documents and various funds of files; civil files.
- Series G: secular Clergy
- Series H: Regular clergy
- Series I: Protestant Funds
Series of revolutionary age (1789 to 1800)
Series K: Law S, ordinances, stopped S (1789-1940) ( partly )
- Series L: Funds of the revolutionary period (1789-1800): administrations; courts
- Series Q: Field S; recording; Mortgage S ( partly )
Modern series (1800 to 1940)
- Series NR: departmental Administration
- Series O: Municipal authorities
- Series P: Finance S; tax S, Land register
- Series Q: Field S; recording; Mortgage S
- Series R: War military S and businesses
- Series S: Public works; Transport S
- Series T: Teaching; Culture; Sport S
- Series U: Justice
- Series V: Worship S
- Series X: Public assistance
- Series Y: Penal establishments
- Series Z: Sub-prefecture S
Series W: Public records after 1940 (July 10th, 1940)
The series W was created on December 31st, 1979 to deal with the payments of the administrative services and the jurisdictions for the period after 1940.
The series W is founded on the principle of the payment like indexing and dosage in load, classification unit of the files. The payments are defined as the whole of the documents of the same source entered in the same date in the Files.
The principle is that of a continuous classification of the payments:
- from 1 to 999 for the payments entered before to 1980,
- as from 1000 for the payments entered starting from January 1st, 1980.
In order to allow an easier research, an indexing is associated in theory with the series W, which is based on the Thésaurus W. In addition, by principle, it is advisable to present the instruments of research of the series W according to the producing services (see Respect of the funds).
Fi Series: Chart S, plans and illustrated documents entered by extraordinary way
- Semi Series: Microfilm S
- Series AV: Files on audio-visual support
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