Computerising the French nobility on the eve of the French Revolution.
Why? How? Can you help? John Dunne, School of Humanities, University of Greenwich
After two hundred years of argument about the size of the late eighteenth-century French nobility specialist opinion is polarised between a low figure of 110-120,000 nobles and a high one of over 400,000. The project with which this paper is concerned aims to resolve this dispute while at the same time creating an invaluable electronic resource for both the academic research community and genealogists.
The paper begins with a brief outline of the two stages of the project. The first stage will convert two nominal-type sources from the 1780s into tables in a web-mounted database, containing in total approximately 40,000 records; the second stage will attempt to design and implement an IT solution to the number of nobles problem based on the computer-assisted linking (or ‘non-linking’) of records within the database. The main part of the paper identifies specific IT issues still to be resolved in both stages of the project but focuses in particular on the key issue of the choice of matching techniques and technologies.