Research in Luxembourg
by Therese Becker © 1998
THE PRESERVATION OF GENEALOGICAL RECORDS
Since the beginning of the world and throughout the generations of
time, man has felt the need to preserve the history of the family.
This was done by recording names of ancestors or of posterity.
Examples: in the Bible we find "Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac
begat Jacob, etc.
Throughout the history of mankind, we find that a multitude of
information was recorded and some of it has survived until our day.
Some records may have been kept for the purpose of collecting
taxes, but such records may contain only very scanty information
such as names of property owners, or names of head of families.
It is not until sometime in the 16th century that ministers started
to keep records of baptisms and later, records of marriages and
deaths, more commonly known as parish registers or church records.
But even when such records were kept, many of them have become
partially or totally destroyed or became missing and only a portion
of these has been preserved until today.
Sometime after the French revolution (1789), the civil authorities
in various European countries decided to take charge of record
keeping. This became known as CIVIL REGISTRATION or the keeping of
births, marriages and deaths. It started in 1793 in France, 1796 in
Belgium and Luxembourg, 1812 in Holland and around 1876 in some
parts of Germany while areas under Napoleon started much earlier.
The majority of the above records is kept and preserved in various
civil and church archives but has not been totally immune from
destruction, as we can see from the various inventories, which too
frequently are annotated by the mentions: - missing - burned during
the war - gap from ... to ... - no longer exist - etc.
Our generation is seeing a rapidly growing interest in tracing
roots. It is no longer a hobby of the old people but a subject
which is sometimes mentioned or even taught in schools. A Chinese
proverb says that "when we do not know where we are going, we need
to know where we come from." In our Society we observe a gradual
disintegration of the Family and a loss of identity. On the other
side of the scale, Genealogy is the art of reuniting the Family and
finding one's identity. We often see those who were abandoned at
birth, spending large amounts of money trying to find an unknown
parent, They WANT TO KNOW their roots. Their Ancestry, their
Family, their noble birthright, becomes an anchor for them to hold
With a fast increasing handling of the original records, those
records which still exist today, will no longer exist tomorrow,
unless the originals are preserved, in one form or another, from
THE GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF UTAH - FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY
The "Genealogical Society of Utah" of the Church of Jesus-Christ of
Latter Days Saints, often referred to as "Mormon Church", started
a microfilming program, many years ago, of some of the vital
records of many countries. About 250 microfilm camera operators are
filming births, marriages, deaths, and a few other records, in 53
countries. At present (August 1997) this collection of microfilms
is over 2 millions.
For the preservation of these microfilms, a very large vault was
dug at great expenses in the Granite Mountains of the Wasatch
front, near Salt Lake City where the original microfilms are
preserved in controlled climatic conditions. A large self service
library "Family History Library" is located down town Salt Lake
City at about 20 miles from the Vault. It is open to the public 83
hours a week (closed on Sunday). It is open on many Holidays except
Christmas and New Year, but with limited staff and services. It's
collection includes only about 1 million rolls of microfilms. Other
film copies not permanently stored in the Library must be ordered
from the vault, prior to your research visit.
There are about 2800 Family History Centers or branches of the
Family History Library, throughout the world. Many of them exist in
Europe. These are only small branches, but they all have the
complete catalog of the microfilm collection which lists the
microfilm numbers. Please be aware that a few microfilms have
circulation restrictions placed on them by the Archives from which
they were microfilmed. All unrestricted films can be ordered on
loan and there is a small fee to defray the postal costs. There is
a waiting period for the delivery of the films which need to come
from a service center. After they arrive, the films must be viewed
at the Center. It may be a little slow and requires a little
patience, but many researchers have traced their genealogy without
having to go very far.
Since these centers are maintained by volunteers, please call them
in advance to find out their schedule.
So with the understanding of the record-keeping, we proceed to various aspects of the research in Luxembourg.....
1. Microfilms of Luxembourg
2. Civil Registration (Vital Records)
3. French Republican Calendar
4. French Sample Documents
5. Sources to Determine Origin
6. Parish Registers in Luxembourg
7. Notarial Records in Luxembourg National Archives
8. List of the Notaries in Luxembourg
9. Ten Years of Indexes