At long last the city of Paris archives has begun the process of providing online access to their central cemetery database. BUT, and there are in fact several BUTs, you must pay close attention to the multi-step process to find a particular individual.
First, the database covers just 19 cemeteries managed by the city of Paris and the period 1804-1918. Registers for the years 1919-1968 are available only in the reading room of the city archives.
Second, you must know the name of the deceased, the date (or at least a date range) of death, and the cemetery in which he or she is buried.
Finally, you’re going to need patience, perseverance and your own intuition to finish your search.
HOW IT WORKS
First follow this link: http://archives.paris.fr/r/216/cimetieres/ Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Répertoires link. Enter the name of the cemetery, deceased (surname is fine), and death date range. Click the eye symbol to load the relevant pages and then scroll through to find the person’s name. Now, note the date of inhumation.
Now return to the main cemetery page and scroll down to the Registres link. When prompted enter the name cemetery and date of inhumation. For example, 12 August 1830 would be entered as 12/8/1830. Again, open the group of pages provided and scroll through them until you find the date of inhumation and then look for the deceased’s name. Along with the name should the person’s age, the arrondissement they died in and the location of the grave.
If you are unfamiliar with French by all means use your translate feature in your browser. (I use Google as needed and it works just fine.)
This process is neither quick nor easy to use but for historians and genealogists it is a huge leap forward in accessing critical information. For relatives of loved ones buried in Paris, I would still suggest contacting the relevant cemetery directly for details.
1804-1815 PÈRE-LACHAISE DATABASE BY MARIE BELEYME
Marie Beleyme has posted a user-friendly database more than 3,000 of the earliest burials in Père-Lachaise online: http://perelachaisehistoire.fr/releve-des-inhumations-au-pere-lachaise-1804-1815/.
Drawing on her exhaustive study of the daily registres in the cemetery (part of step two above) she provides a quicker and easier way of accessing critical information for those earliest burials in Père-Lachaise: you can arrange her database by order of burials, name, or date of inhumation (typically one-three days after death). You can also use the search box to track down specific individuals.