Luxembourg’s Hospital History: Tuesday’s Tip

Michel Simong is teaching me far more than I ever wanted to know about Luxembourg’s hospital system. Michel died in Luxembourg City in 1808, just after the advent of civil registration. But apparently, he wasn’t living there. And I need to find out where he was living if I want to find out anything else about his past.

So, I’m delving into hospital records. France’s hospital system started about that point, so I assumed Luxembourg’s did as well. Turns out I was wrong. But if your ancestor entered the hospital system around 1900, there’s a detailed history that might help you better understand their experience. It opens with a guide to the major hospitals founded in the late 19th and early 20th century. Happy hunting!


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Tombstone Tuesday: Luxembourger Genealogy and Gravestone Research

Irish tombstones are invaluable for research, since they often list the individual’s original hometown. Are they equally valuable for Luxembourger research?

No, for two reasons.

  1. In the US, Luxembourgers generally wanted to assimilate. At least within my own family, I have yet to see a tombstone that doesn’t follow the American model: name, date of birth, date of death. If you don’t have that information, it’s helpful, but it offers little else.
  2. In Europe, Luxembourgers have limited land. Cemeteries take up space, and graves are generally recycled after a certain point. It’s rare to still have a tombstone extent from the time our ancestors left.

So, yes, tombstones are helpful to your research, but don’t expect to see any more information than you’d get from other American sources.

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Matrilineal Monday: What surname do I use to research my Luxembourger female ancestor?

Researching an American female ancestor is relatively simple: she uses the name given at birth until marriage and until recently, took her husband’s name after. If she married more than once, she simply adopted the name of the latest husband.

It’s not that simple with a Luxembourg ancestor. Different rules apply in the U.S. and in Luxembourg. In Luxembourg, a woman uses her maiden name, although her children will use her husband’s name. Once she comes to the U.S., she follows the American model.

So in U.S. records, use married names – and in Luxembourg, use maiden.

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Tuesday’s Tip: DNA testing and Luxembourgers

Time to throw a question to the audience: what companies are you using for your Luxembourg DNA testing?

I’ve had questions posed to me recently about solving genealogy problems through DNA testing. DNA testing requires samples for comparison in order to be accurate. In most cases, there are enough people of that heritage to get a reasonable comparison. But the number of Luxembourgers in the U.S. is relatively small. Which raises the question: which company has the biggest sample set – and therefore the most accurate testing?

I haven’t had any good answers to date, but I’d love to hear what you’re using!

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Luxembourg Civil Registrations are finally searchable…

Well, sort of. Thanks to Cathy Meder-Dempsey for catching this before I did!  FamilySearch has made the Civil Registration of Esch searchable, a huge upgrade on having to search through each and every year by hand. I just wish they had done it a little differently. Going to the start page for Luxembourg Civil Registration now brings you to a search screen, but there’s no indication of what’s being searched. Stop with the search screen, and you risk missing thousands of records. A good start, but I hope more will be done shortly!

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Church Record Sunday: Finding the Current Contact Information for a Parish

I’m trying to determine the parentage of a child born in 1817. Since his civil birth registration only lists his mother, I’m hoping that his baptismal record might have a few more details… But the parish registries on FamilySearch end before his birth. I’ll need to get the record from the church itself. But how do I contact the church?

It’s pretty easy actually. The Archdiocese has a parish directory sorted by town name. Click on the commune for the parish contact information, including emails. Now to see if they can provide the record for me.


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Those Places Thursday: 4 tips for working with obituaries in the Luxemburger Gazette

Who doesn’t love digging up new information in the obituaries? But how do you handle the Luxemburger Gazette when you don’t speak German?


Tip 1: The obituaries are organized by place not name. To find an obituary quickly, make sure you to know where your ancestor died.

Tip 2: The name is generally the first thing after the place – but might not be. In the above obituary, the section within the parentheses explains that it was created from correspondence with the Gazette.

Tip 3: Know that the Gazette was printed in Gothic Script. This is an older version of German that uses letters which look slightly different  from the ones we use today. Here’s a great guide.

Tip 4: Look for place names. Locations the US are often places of death, while locations in Luxembourg are usually places of birth.

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