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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4 Tips for Using the Index to the Luxemburger Gazette

I’ve been spending time recently working with the index to the Luxemburger Gazette  (volume II of Luxembourgers in the New World), filling in details on family trees.

I’ve gathered a few tips to make beginning  your research a bit easier.

  1. Know when you start that the index entry is day/month/year followed by the page number. Don’t read it “American style” by accident or you may end up with the wrong issue.
  2. Look for all the variations of the name: T., Theo and Theodore may refer to same person. But they have separate sections in the index.
  3. Look for the same index entry under multiple names with that surname. Knowing Anton, John and Anna appear in the same article can help you identify whether or not it refers to your family without reading the article. This is a huge time saver if you don’t read German.
  4. The Gazette was printed in Gothic script, so plan some extra time to identify the correct article. The letters don’t look like what you’d expect.
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Mappy Monday: A helpful book for tracing Luxembourg’s history in maps…

To find your Luxembourg ancestor’s records, you’ll need to know who has them. While many are in Luxembourg, due to boundary changes, others are stored by Belgium, France, and more. How do you know where your ancestor’s records might be? You’ll need to see where the ancestor was living at the time – not just where the town or city is now located. Check Luxembourg as well, but if the town was, for example, located in France (as all of Luxembourg was between 1795-1815), make sure to check if records for your ancestor can be found in France.

How do you follow the boundary changes? I’ve added a new book to my wish list, The Family Tree Historical Maps Book: Europe, a Country-By-Country Atlas of European History, 1700s-1900s. Using maps between 1723-1925, it traces how the boundaries of “Benelux” (aka Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) have evolved over time. Unfortunately, the maps of Luxembourg aren’t detailed, but it should be enough to give you a starting point.

Happy hunting!

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Church Record Sunday: I have the parish name in Latin: now what?


Luxembourg started keeping records by commune in the early 1800s. While the commune structure has changed a little over time, it’s consistent enough that if you have a commune name and a date, you’re almost guaranteed to be able to find a record.

But about before 1800? Until the mid-1790s, Luxembourg relied on churches to record birth/death/and marriage records. So if you want to find a record, you need to search a specific parish by date. But to find the parish, you need to know the modern village or commune.

Not a problem until you realize you don’t know where the parish was located…


I ran into this case recently. Using civil registrations, I was able to determine where my ancestors were married. And then I got stuck… Why? Because handwritten documents are best read by someone who specializes in that language if you want to get all the information. I specialize in French, not Latin.


Thanks to help from Fiona Fitzsimmons of Eneclann (http://www.eneclann.ie/about-eneclann/meet-the-team/#fiona), we determined the bride was from Robinbour.

Big problem: Rodinbour doesn’t exist anymore… So where was this parish located?

Thankfully, AnLux can help. Thanks to their parish tables (http://www.anlux.lu/multi/fr/outils-pratiques/80-anlux-francais/static-text/114-repertoire-paroisses-avant-1803), I was able to determine Rodinbour is probably  Rodenbourg, part of the commune of the same name… Now to find her parents!

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