Research in Luxembourg #5
Therese Becker © 1998
Sources to determine place of origin.
An extremely high percentage of the Luxembourg population emigrated
to the United States in the 19th Century. Their descendants are
anxious to find their place of origin in Luxembourg.
Follows a few ideas on sources which may help.
- It is always best to find the town of origin by searching the
American sources. The LDS church has compiled a booklet "Tracing
Immigrant origins." It may give you ideas about American sources
which you had not thought of.
When you have done all that you can on the American side with
American sources and you still do not know where your ancestor came
from, consider the followings:
- "Nicholas GONNER - Luxembourgers in the New World" 2 volumes by,
Jean Ensch, Jean-Claude Muller, Robert E. Owen.
Volume 2 contains an alphabetical index of the names found in the
"Luxemburger Gazette." This newspaper published in Dubuque, Iowa,
started 4 August 1871 and continued to be published in the German
language until 1918. Under each name (surname and given name) are
listed the dates of the newspaper and the page number on which that
These newspapers have been filmed and are available through the
circulation system of the Family History Centers of the LDS church.
They are very difficult to read because there are 5 or 6 columns to
each page, therefore the writing is very small and of course the
gothic script was the only German writing used at that time. It
does not contain just birth, marriage and death announcements but
arrivals from Luxembourg, celebrations and any worthwhile
happenings in the Luxembourg community often giving a clue to a
place of origin.
- "Emigrants et remigrants Luxembourgeois de 1876 a 1900 Etats-Unis
d'Amrique, Argentine et pays extra-europens" by Anders Hatz -
Archives Nationales - 1994.
This book is in two parts: the first part contains localities each
followed by a list of emigrants from that locality. The names have
been numbered consecutively but are not in alphabetical order. The
second part is an alphabetical name index (surname and given name)
which gives a reference number to the first part. This book is a
gold mine if your ancestor came between 1876 and 1900. In his
introduction Mr Hatz mentions that the population of Luxembourg
emigrating to the New World is estimated to have been 70000 perhaps
even 72000 between 1840 and 1900. A law was passed in
1875 requiring that a declaration of change of residence be made at
the town hall. This is the reason that Mr Hatz book starts only
with 1876. Prior to that date things are more difficult BUT NOT
- "Arlonais fondateurs de Belgium-Wisconsin" by Jean Ducat 1993.
(Arlon, Autelbas, Bonnert, Guirsch, Heinsch, Toernich et anciennes
sections de Hachy: Fouches, Sampont.) Contains 33 pages of name
index listing where the emigrants were born, where they left from
and other information. This book is only useful descendants of
people who left from the province of Luxembourg in Belgium.
- "Luxemburger Familienname (nach der Volkszhlung von 1930).
Luxembourg - Imprimerie de Gasperich 1989.
This book contains an alphabetical list of surnames showing the
frequency of each surname in various localities in 1930. Therefore
you may want to start your search in the ten-year indexes (see
chapter on civil registration) of the localities shown for your
surname. You may want to extend your search to the surrounding
This book is available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake
City but is not microfilmed. If you ask them for a xerox copy of a
page, please be sure to include your postal address.
- The LDS church has microfilmed all the civil registers of
Luxembourg and ten-year indexes. You need to search all the
ten-year indexes on microfilms. (Someone has posted the numbers on
this site.) If you happen to be at the Family History Library in
Salt Lake City, you can search all the ten-year indexes of the
Grand Duchy in 5 to 10 hours. In the old filming of the Grand
Duchy, the ten-year indexes were all "item 1" (on the first part of
the film) but that filming was poorly done. The new filming which
is a much better quality is less practical because the ten-year
indexes are no longer item 1 but maybe item 3 or item 5, etc.,
therefore farther on the film. This means that you need to use a
reader that winds and rewinds easily.
- If you are not exactly sure if your ancestor came from the Grand-
Duchy or from the former province of Luxembourg now in the
Rheinland, you may want to consider searching the Emigration lists
from the Rheinland which are found in the Family History Library
And now if you have not yet found the place of origin of your
ancestor, please remember "NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP."
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