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Genealogical Research in Luxembourg - A Guest Post


Bryna O’Sullivan, the author of this post, is a US based professional genealogist and translator of French to English, specialising in U.S.-Canada, Luxembourg-American, and Connecticut genealogy, and in the translation of historic French documents. You can reach her online at For a brief period, what is now Luxembourg was a part of the French First Empire. Should you ancestors have been there, the following suggestions from Ms. O'Sullivan may help you in your research.


5 Ways Your Experience Researching French Ancestors Can Help You Find Your Family in Luxembourg

  1. France and Luxembourg used the same system for recording births, deaths, and marriages: France invaded Luxembourg in 1795 and made it part of the Department des Forets1. As a result, it fell under the Decree of 20 September 1792 and was required to keep civil registration (birth, death and marriage records).2 The system for keeping records in Luxembourg came directly from France. And even better, Luxembourg’s records have been digitized on FamilySearch at
  2. Early Luxembourg records also used the Republican Calendar. Record keeping was established under the Republican Calendar, so that calendar was used until the calendar was ended in 1805.3 Use the calendar information on to calculate the date in the modern Gregorian Calendar (
  3. The census plays the same role in Luxembourg research as it does in the French: In the U.S., we tell people to start with the census. Because it’s usually searchable, you can trace your family member over time and figure out when and perhaps where he or she was born, married, had children, and died. While Luxembourg’s census can still help you find out more about your family, it isn’t an easy starting point – because it is hasn’t been completely (or even partially) indexed. To search the census, you have to know exactly where your family was living and when. It’s sorted by location and then by year on FamilySearch at The first census enumeration is in 1843, and enumerations occur about every three years after. If you can find your family, you will get helpful hints on their family structure, occupation, marital status, and possibly date of birth.
  4. Notarial records are incredibly important: The notary doesn’t even exist in American research. The closest equivalent would be combining a recorder or clerk’s office with a probate court. The notary’s work includes everything from guardianship papers to land sales.4 Luxembourg and France both have incredible collections of notarial records. You can access Luxembourg records from 1621 to 1821, the originals of which are at the National Archives of Luxembourg, on FamilySearch at
  5. The language is (sometimes) the same: Although Luxembourg was granted independence by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and eventually ended up in a German principality, local clerks continued to use French in record keeping. The 1843 census of Niederanven was recorded in French.


Many thanks, Ms. O’Sullivan!


Anne Morddel

French Genealogy



[1] Richard Brookes, The General Gazetter. N.p.: J. Johnson, Clarks: 1809. Now on Google Books at

[2] “What was the Decree of 20 September 1792, and why do I care?” Researching Luxembourg Genealogy ( 25 May 2016.)

[3] “The Republican Calendar,” ( accessed 25 May 2016.)

[4] “Array of Notarial Records,” The French Genealogy Blog ( accessed 25 May 2016.)