Research in Luxembourg #6
Therese Becker © 1998
    Parish Registers in Luxembourg
Microfilming of the parish registers was done by the Genealogical
Society of the LDS church in the early 1960's. The parish registers
filmed usually stop about 1796 but sometimes they go up to 1815
with some gaps. For the years 1808-1810 parish registers were
filmed in Metz as part of a French filming project.
Theoretically, all the Church records existing in Luxembourg at the
time of filming were microfilmed, but we also know that records
sometimes wander around and later re-appear from nowhere.
Therefore, there is no harm in remaining alert to what may be yet
found but until then it may be wise to continue searching in other
sources.
The existing parish registers may start as early as the mid 1600's
or start as late as 1779. Please see the Family History Library
Catalog of the Genealogical Society at your local Family History
Center for microfilm numbers. You may order these films on loan for
a small fee and view them at the Center when they arrive.
Although the time period covered by microfilmed parish registers
may overlap with microfilmed civil registers, it is important to
search both sets of records when both exist, for several reasons:
- Civil registers usually have yearly indexes which makes them
easier to search. Also it is important to pick up all information
pertinent to your family and complete your families from the civil
registers before trying to go back in the parish registers, because
civil registers usually contain more detailed information and are
more complete.
- A civil certificate may contain a given name or surname different
from the one found in christening certificate.
For example:
born 4 Feb 1812 Nicolas Becker son of Nicolai Becker and Anna
FABER (source: civil registers)
christened 4 Feb 1812 Nicolas son of Nicolas Becker and Anne
SCHROEDER (source: church records)
It is the same child but the mother is recorded by two different
surnames.
- A couple may be married civilly in a town and have the church
ceremony in another town meaning a record of the marriage in two
different places.
"PiŠces de mariage" are documents such as release from military
obligation, birth certificate of the bride or groom, death
certificate of one or both parents or of a previous spouse, consent
of the parents, etc. as the case may be. These were kept in the
town where the civil marriage occurred. Many "PiŠces de mariage" in
Luxembourg have been microfilmed. They may start as early as 1813
and go as late as 1881. Therefore they may contain transcriptions
from parish registers.
In Luxembourg, Parish Registers are written mostly in latin, a few
may be in German (gothic script) or even in French. Some records
may appear in duplicate especially after 1779. One copy may be in
latin and the other in German.
Because surnames were not fixed prior to 1808, families in
Luxembourg and in the Rheinland may be most difficult to trace
prior to that time. It may be necessary to study all the families
in a given parish, searching for the parents given names rather
than their surname in order to find a direct line family. Be sure
to examine carefully the names of the Godparents. Even this
may not be fool proof (see file on house names.)
The earliest parish registers may contain some Family Entries which
means that birth marriage and death of individuals may have been
grouped on a same page under the name of the house but the
relationships may be difficult to figure out. These Family Entries
are not comparable to the German Family Books.
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