New book published by INED (in "Études et enquêtes historiques")

‘L'enquête TRA, histoire d'un outil, outil pour l'histoire. Tome I. 1793-1902’ by Jérôme Bourdieu, Lionel Kesztenbaum and Gilles Postel-Vinay

Extending over an exceptionally long period, and characterized by flexibility and by the universality of its sources, the TRA survey, which covers all individuals whose surname begins with the letters TRA, is the very first of its kind. The aim of this book is to describe the genesis of this research tool built upon an exceptional set of historical data, namely a sample of individuals – representative of France as a whole  – who lived in the 19th and 20th centuries, with information on their  ccupation, residence, education, marital status and assets. This survey provides a unique tool for analysing the history of French society over the last two centuries and its key transformations.
The TRA survey, a truly 'continuous creation', has been developed in successive waves building upon an initial survey of 3,000 families devised and launched almost 30 years ago by the demographer Jacques Dupâquier, and whose ambition at the time was to exploit a single source, that of France's vital records, to reconstitute the genealogies of families since the early nineteenth century. In the late 1980s, the project was expanded through the addition of data produced by the  Enregistrement to register assets at time of death.
This book presents the way in which this information was produced by tracking data from the original sources up to their incorporation in electronic databases, and examines the historiographical problems that the use of these data may entail. It also shows how the survey creates a common matrix with considerable potential for other uses.
The TRA survey also reflects a context of major historical change. The state that was born out of the Revolution produced very detailed vital records which have constantly evolved since then, notably in the early 19th and 20th centuries. This first volume covers the period 1793-1902.

For more information:
on the book:
on the survey: