Why can’t I find records for my Luxembourg family when I know how their name is spelled?

I’ve had this question come up a few times lately… “I know my ancestor’s last name, but I can’t find any records. Why?”

The simple answer: you might be spelling it wrong – or more accurately in the wrong language! Keep in mind, Luxembourg alternates between using French, German, and Latin in its historic records. Latin spellings are usually used only in the church records, while French and German spellings can be interchangeable in historic records. So, when doing research, be sure to look under both spellings.

Only know one spelling? Here are a few rules that can help:

  1. French may drop a consonant in a series of two or more. Can’t find a family name with the common German -dt ending? Try looking for just a -d.
  2. German ü is often replaced by oe in French.

Want more spelling ideas? Feel free to post comments. I’ll be glad to respond!

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About Bryna O'Sullivan

A Connecticut-based professional genealogist, I love working with beginners of all backgrounds. I also do specialty research in Connecticut and Luxembourg-American genealogy.
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2 Responses to Why can’t I find records for my Luxembourg family when I know how their name is spelled?

  1. Judy says:

    We’re having trouble finding ancestors with the last name Thomas. Any suggestions?

    Like

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