Saturday, October 8, 2011

Using Luxembourg Civil Registrations on FamilySearch

First, a BIG thank you to two wonderful people who took the time to transcribe and translate the birth record I found for my second great-grandmother.  You can read more about the record and see the transcription and translation in the comments in my post Can Anyone Translate?.  Thanks again to Genealady and Ralph for their efforts!

And since these wonderful people offered such great assistance, I was able to find many more records for my Luxembourg clan.  I haven’t found everything yet, but I’ve been able to confirm a set of third great-grandparents and now have the names of a set of fourth greats, all in my Schwartz line.  This is very exciting stuff!

But the reason for this post isn’t about my research specifically.  I wanted to share with you how to use these records.  They are quite easy to use, once you know how the records are organized and how to navigate the images.

The Luxembourg Civil Registrations, 1793-1923 collection is available as digital images through FamilySearch.  They are not indexed as far as being able to perform a search through FamilySearch, however, the records themselves do contain indexes.  When you go to the “browse images” page, you are presented with a list of all of the towns for which records are available (scroll to the right for more). 

I was working in both Consdorf and Echternach, but to be fair, I checked out other records in other parts of the country and they pretty much seem to be the same.  I will be using Consdorf as an example throughout the rest of the post.

When you click on a link for a town, you get a list of the record batches that are available for that area.  They could include births (naissances), marriages (mariages), or deaths (décѐs).  There might also be 10-year indexes (tables décennales) available in certain locations. 

I found that it was much easier to use the actual record set and not the 10-year indexes, so the rest of the discussion will focus on using the records.  For each record type, there is an alphabetical index for each year AT THE END of the year. 

I was looking for a birth that likely took place in 1866 or so.  I chose the first item in the list for births between 1798 and 1880.  When you get to the digital images, it’s just like using the microfilm version.  Similar to advancing and rewinding the film, you will use the image numbers and arrow buttons to move thought the images.

Given that the year range for this item was 1798-1880 and there was another set of records at the beginning, I jumped to image #1000 to get close to the 1866 year I was looking for.  I of course landed in the middle of a year, at record numbers  54-57, which were for births that took place in September.  Since there is no number indicating a year, I decided to use the arrows buttons to advance forward until I got to the end of the year to see where I was at (the year is indicated in each record, however if you can’t read German, you won’t be able to decipher it since it’s a written word and not a number).

When I got to image #1008, I learned that I was in the year 1851, so I still had a little ways to go to get to 1866.  I jumped to image #1200 and repeated the process, getting to image #1202 and the year 1862.  A few more numbers and arrow clicks, and on image #1267 there was the index for 1866.  And there in alphabetical order on that page was a listing for Margaretha Kremer, born 31 October 1866.  The index indicated her record was #38.

Now I had to go backward in the images to find her record (remember, the index is at the END of the year).  I used the arrow buttons to move back and found her record on image #1265.

Now, had I not found her in 1866, I would have begun the process of looking a few years before and after, following the same process to jump around in the images.  Alternatively, you could use the arrow buttons to move through the records image by image.  But because each image has to load, you’re better off trying to get into the neck of the woods you need to save a little time.

After I found her record, I then began to search for her husband in the Echternach records.  Using the same process, I found him rather quickly (his birth year was at the beginning of the set).  After I found his, I then decided to search for his brother and any other Schwartz surnames, looking at each year before and after his.  Since I was acclimated to a particular spot in the images and knew about how many births occurred on average, I entered images numbers to get me close to the index and used the arrow buttons to navigate to the index. 

It took about six to seven hours total to go through several sets of records, looking for all entries for the surname Schwartz, including all of the birth records for the years available and marriages for the years 1845-1857.  In the end, I found my second great-grandfather, Johann Schwartz, and his brother Heinrich, both of whom I’ve been working on in American records.  I also found several siblings for them, and suspected the others were cousins.  After finding their father’s birth record, my third great-grandfather, Ferdinand Schwartz, I learned who his parents were (putting me back another generation on this line) and found at least two brothers, providing the link to the other Schwartzes I had uncovered as suspected cousins…they are absolutely cousins.

I still have several marriage records to go through, and then on to the deaths.  Then there is of course Margaretha Kremer’s clan in Consdorf that I need to research.  I am excited to keep going on this journey and am very thankful that these records are available online through FamilySearch for me to peruse at my convenience.

Once I get through these records, I will come back to my American research and hopefully start answering some of the outstanding questions I have about these families.  And when I answer some of those questions and continue to learn more, I’m sure I’ll be back to uncover more information in the Luxembourg civil registrations…at my convenience, of course!



Luma73 said...

Thank you so much for these instructions. I was feeling overwhelmed by the FamilySearch Luxembourg records, and these instructions really helped me. I have been finding records much faster than I ever thought possible. Thanks!

Julie Cahill Tarr said...

You're very welcome. Glad it helped!

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