How to

Tuesday’s Tip: Hints on Using the 1843 Luxembourg Census from the Enumeration Instructions

I’ve been reviewing the enumerator’s instructions for the various Luxembourg census documents in order to better prepare myself for client work. Why does it matter?

In many cases, not all the information available for the census was listed on the census forms. Do you know, for example, when it was taken? An ancestor could have been born after the census date and therefore not listed on the forms, even if they were born in the same year . Who took it? Did they speak the same language your ancestors spoke? Could information have been misrecorded because of language issues?

The enumeration instructions can help answer these questions. In most cases, they were printed in that year’s Legislative and Administrative Memorial for the year the census was taken. Many have been digitized and are available online. The instructions – and the decree in which they were issued – were printed in both French and German.

The 1843 instructions are available here. They come from the 1843 Memorial, beginning on page 754.

A few useful hints on using the census:

1) The enumeration had to take place in late December 1843 (after 16 December and before 24 December), so if someone died before that date, they will not be listed.  The goal was to measure inhabitants on 1 January 1844.

2) Enumerators were chosen by the local commune (smallest administrative unit). In theory then, they should be familiar with the language and community’s culture.

3) The household was recorded with the head listed first, then his wife, male children, female children, and then everyone else.

4) You were recorded where you were living not where you were travelling or serving in the military.  If you were absent that night, you’d still be recorded.

Ready to go check out the 1843 census? It’s available here, organized by commune.

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