The Typed Family Group Records from the Parish Registers
We mentioned that the Piedmont Project organized the people named in the parish registers into families. This was done by using a process called Controlled Extraction.
A roll of the microfilmed parish registers was assigned to 2 trained people knowing how to read the French of the parish registers. They were to write down all information of genealogical value—all births, christenings, marriages, deaths, and burials. When they finished that roll of microfilm, a 3rd person, more experienced and with advanced training, compared the 2 entries. If the “extracted” information was identical on both papers, the paper easiest to read was kept the other one discarded. But if the two “extractions” did not agree, the 3rd person then went to the microfilm personally and reviewed the entry, to determine which entry was correct.
We can therefore have great confidence that the Piedmont Project records are highly accurate—for 2 people saw the record independently and agreed on what it revealed about the person or family.
After those entries were organized into individual families, with the details being recorded by hand on family group records, the next step was to have each of those family group records typed and proofread. The final step was then to organize all those Family Group Records alphabetically so that users could easily find the family they sought.
How the Piedmont Project Family Group Records Are Organized
These Family Group Records are arranged alphabetically by surname. Then, within the surname, they are found alphabetically by the husband's first name. Finally, whenever there is more than one husband with the same first name, they are arranged chronologically, from the earliest husband of that exact name to the most recent one represented in the collection.
Gardiol, Antonio would come before Gardiol, Augustin.
Gardiol, Jean (1710) would come before Gardiol, Jean (1765), and both of these would come before Gardiol, Jean Pierre (1695).
Some information from the Piedmont Project can be found in New FamilySearch and Family Tree, however, a crucial part of the project work is missing. You can find the individuals organized into families and even with pedigrees. But what you cannot yet determine is which documents were used as the source of information for the individual and the family.
Because some research has been done by people with little experience and because of the Falsified Waldensian pedigrees, you should not accept any Waldensian genealogy or family history without knowing specifically what the source of the information was.
To learn about the Falsified Waldensian pedigrees, click HERE.
The change from paper copies of the Piedmont Project records (and all other paper collections at the Family History Library) to a computerized format required such a massive effort with such diverse data that a realistic way of capturing the free-form sources of documentation wasn’t feasible.
Recently Family Tree added a practical way to cite the source(s) of information. But that is happening from this time forward, and source documentation for people already in the FT system is only available as descendants (or other relatives) add the documentation, one source at a time, from this point forward.
But now the challenge is that anyone can make changes to any of the data for any person at any time for any reason. That has strong advantages but also significant disadvantages.
Many users are still learning that they should make changes only from dependable sources and many are also learning that they ought to document each change. Some users are not yet doing either of those things. Because of that, sometimes well documented details are replaced by people using mere family tradition or passed-down notes, without trying to verify those details.
Because of this lack of documentation tied to the specific event (birth/christening, marriage, death/burial) and even documentation to establish the actual relationship between the people, to avoid errors in your pedigree, it is to your advantage to utilize the Piedmont Project Family Group Records. They do record the sources of information, and, if you wish, you can check the original source to be sure the details are correct.
We are working earnestly with Family Tree administrators to remove the bogus Waldensians from that site, but that will take quite a while to accomplish. So please use information from Family Tree on the Internet only as a baseline to your ancestry, if you can link to those people. But consider the results to be merely tentative until you verify them through the Piedmont Project or the original records. The falsified pedigrees were made up after the Piedmont Project was finished.
Let’s suppose you are seeking the ancestry of Paul Gardiol, who according to the parish register married Marguerite Sarret. In Family Tree, as well as in some of the other records discussed just a little later, his parents are given as Barthélémy Gardiol and Susanna Roncaglia. The problem is that this starts one of the falsified pedigrees.
There is no such couple at this time period in the parish registers. (The Notary Records discussed elsewhere on this site also prove this couple didn’t exist, but also provide evidence of the correct pedigree.)
The point we emphasize is that you should not accept compiled sources unless the documentation is precisely given and uses trustworthy sources. Even then, you should verify the key information, using the original record, if possible, to guard against falsified information—or even unintentional copying errors.
What the Family Piedmont Project Group Records Contain
The example below was chosen from the families represented in the oldest records included in the Piedmont Project (from the parish registers). Notice that some of the children were born after the parish registers recommenced, but others, and the parents, were born before. For now, we will consider the type of information found on these forms. Later, we'll return to this family group record as we discuss other details.
The above family group record provides birth or christening dates for most of the children, the marriage and estimated birth dates for the parents, the names of each child’s spouse, and the places where the key events happened (sometimes also estimated, shown by the word “of”).
Notice the estimated dates on the above family group record. Research is certainly easier when you can find a birth or christening record. But what if no such record exists? This problem surfaces regularly in the first two generations represented in the Piedmont Project. The parents and grandparents appearing on the earliest Family Group Records were born (and many of them, also married) before the Parish Records were kept again. In such situations, it is necessary to estimate the dates, being as accurate as possible.
For help in estimating birth and marriage dates from evidence in the documents,
Decoding the Sources of Information
As noted before, for many of these families, you can get that much information from Family Tree. What this form provides in addition is the sources of information (identifying the actual documents used to reconstruct this family).
Glance again at the family group record above and notice the sources of information given toward the bottom of the sheet. The abbreviations represent the cataloging system used by the Family History Library before they switched to the Dewey Decimal System. It looks very complicated, but for the Waldensian records, decoding them is really quite simple.
On the family group record shown above, the source is the "Piedmont par[ish] reg[ister]s." The "F" that follows stands for "film." The information on this family group record comes from the Angrogna and San Giovanni parish registers. You can determine that in two ways. First, each of the events (birth/christening, marriage, death/burial) with an actual date (not an estimated date) also shows a place. This is different from an estimated place, indicated by the word "of" before the name of the locality. Using "of" merely means the person was known to reside in that place, but it is not known for sure whether or not that event (the birth/christening, marriage, death/burial) actually happened in that place.
Second, the abbreviation given as the source of information begins with the first letter of the name of the village. In the above example, the "A1" in the source stands for the first reel of microfilm of the Angrogna parish register; the "S1" means the first reel of the San Giovanni register. By using these clues, together with the dates of the events listed on the family group record (births/christenings, marriages and deaths/burials), you can determine which reel contains the information you want to verify.
For example, the first source entry reads, "S1 pt 5: 1764." That doesn't tell you what kind of event is documented there, but by scanning the family group record, you realize that it must refer to the death record of child #5, Daniel, who died in 1764. If you wished to see if that death record provides additional clues to help your research, you would now know that you should review the San Giovanni parish register, reel 1, part 5, deaths for 1764. You would then skim the entries until you come to April, where you would find the entry for Daniel.
For a list of the film numbers of those parish registers, enabling you to find the original record of the actual events, click HERE.
Finding the Typed Family Group Records
The typed (and proofread) set of Piedmont Project Family Group Records exists now only on microfilm, from the former Main Archives section of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Waldensian Family Group Records were there interfiled with all the other family group records from anywhere in the world—tens of thousands of them.
You can access these records through your nearest Family History Center (FHC). To learn where your closest FHC is, click HERE.
Sometimes the same surname appears on two successive rolls of microfilm. In such a case, you should request both rolls with the surname you seek. You're likely to find a father or grandfather whose family group record is on the other roll.
To make this as efficient for you as possible, click HERE for a complete alphabetical index of the film numbers of this crucial collection.
There are about 2,000 reels of microfilm in this one collection, and trying to determine the proper film number from the Internet is not easy. The set covers film numbers 1,273,501 through 1,275,491, with addendum family group records (additional forms, missed in the first filming) on film numbers 1,750,758 through 1,750,764. That's a very large number of films! But it is also a marvelously helpful collection.
Let's suppose, for example, that you were seeking some Beus ancestors. As the list shows, you would need film number 1273641. That film begins with the family group record for a man named Betz, Jacob, born in 1585, and finishes with one for a man named Bevill, McNeil Sr. The family group records for the Beus family would therefore be found on this film because “B-e-u-s” comes after “B-e-t-z” and before “B-e-v-i-l-l.”
Requesting Copies of Piedmont Project Family Group Records
The Family History Library staff is not able to do research for you; you have to specify exactly which family group record(s) you want copied.
If you know exactly which Family Group Record you need, you can request a copy online.
Including all of the following information, send an email to:
You can request 1 copy of up to 5 Family Group Records in each email.
You must include all of the following information:
- The exact microfilm number. (See below)
- State that you wish the Family Group Record for (give the full name of the husband, his year and place of birth, and also the wife’s full maiden name, birth date and place).
If you do not yet have all of those details, use FamilySearch Family Tree to find the missing information.
To review the Waldensian Naming Pattern and its importance to your research click HERE.
What To Do if the Details on the Piedmont
Family Group Record are Inconclusive
Especially for the families in the earliest generation or two in the Piedmont Project—and therefore the earliest families named in the Parish Registers—some of the information may be inconclusive or confusing, or it may be difficult to determine the relationship between people who seem to be related but the evidence is vague.
The Typed Piedmont Project Family Group Records were made up from “working-draft” Family Group Records. These were handwritten copies, compiled from the individual hand-written slips of evidence the volunteers made as they extracted all the genealogical information from the microfilmed parish registers.
On those working-draft (hand-written) Family Group Records, they also recorded hints from other records in the Parish Registers that, they hoped, would help them later link related families.
For instance, on one of these working-draft Family Group Records is the handwritten comment:
These parents seem to be related to the [X] family, for members of that family served as sponsors at the christening of children [Y] and [Z] in this family.
That comment was based upon the usual Waldensian practice at that time of having a sibling of the father and a sibling of the mother serve as sponsors at christenings.
But that comment does not appear on the typed “finished” Family Group Record because the Piedmont Project volunteers could find no further evidence in the Parish Registers to link those families.
But such a hint would be invaluable as you work through records not then available to the Piedmont Project volunteers. It could be invaluable to know that information, though, as you began to search in the Exile and then in the Notary Records.
The following table lists the film numbers of the Working-Draft Family Group Records of the Piedmont Project. Find your ancestral surname and then the film number(s) families with that surname appear.
You can rent (at a reasonable fee—covering only shipping and handling) a microfilm through the internet. The film will be sent to the Family History Center of your choice. To order a microfilm online, click HERE.
To discover the location of the Family History Center nearest you, click HERE.
Film Numbers of Piedmont Project Working-Draft Family Group Records
Note: These records are handwritten, with some of them not easy to read. But they are valuable.
|Beginning Name on Reel||Final Name on Reel||Film Number|
|Armando||Balmas, Vincent Jean Pierre||
|Balmas, Refin Barthelemy||Bau of Barl, P.||
|Beux, Michel||Bonnet, Jean Paul Etienne||
|Bonnett, Jean Pierre||Bounous, Pierre||
|Bounous, Pierre Alberg||Buttini||
|Constantin||Cougn, Jean Etienne||
|Cougn, Jean Henri||Durand, Jean Daniel||
|Durand, Jean David||Fieger||
|Franc, Daniel||Gaudin, Guy Daniel||
|Gaudin, Henri||Gaydou, Laurent||
|Guillelmet, Jean Jacques||Jourdan, Auguste||
|Jourdan, Barthelemy||Lausarot, Jacques||
|Meynier, Pierre||Mondon, Daniel Elisee||
|Pastre, Francois||Peyronel, Louis Barthelemy||
|Pons, Renaldo||Revel, Jean Paul||
|Revel, Jean Pierre||Ricca, Catherine||
|Ricca, Charles||Rivoire, Jean (born 1709)||
|Rivoire, Jean (born 1710)||Roman, Guy||
|Roman, Henri||Rostan, Orazio Alessio||
|Rostan, Paul||Soulier, Jacques Henri||
|Soulier, Jean||Tourn-Boncoeur, Jean Pierre||
|Tourn-Boncoeur, Jules||Turin, David Andre||
|Turin, Elisee||Villion, Pierre||
|Villot, Mr.||Zwicky, Jacques||
You can also find this information on the internet at familysearch.org by clicking HERE.
Select Search for Film Numbers and type in the number 472230. Then click on the link Piedmont project family group sheets. This gives the same information as the table.
You should make a photocopy of each ancestral working-draft family group record for your family archives. You will refer to it again and again as your research progresses.