- Today’s Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was formed in 1839 and is only one-third of its original size. Three historic partitions took place over the years and parts of the former Duchy of Luxembourg are now located in France, Germany and Belgium. So your ancestor’s community of origin might actually be in a different country at this point of history! Partition maps of Luxembourg are available at the RC to assist you in your research.
- It is common for the spelling of Luxembourg surnames to be inconsistent from one source to another (i.e. church records, civil records, census, even within the same family of origin). For instance, the surname “Schmit” might also be spelled Schmitt, Schmidt, Schmid, or Smith depending on the source. The surname “Calteux” has 43 known variations. The surname “Goniva” became “Gonwa” in the United States. The surname “Jung” can appear as “Young” or “Jungblut” as “Youngblood”. Don’t let inconsistencies/variations in spelling throw you off – this is typical in Luxembourg genealogy!
- Dates found in civil records, church records and even family registers do not always jive! Record all dates and document sources consulted.
- Luxembourgers are often “mislabeled” as other nationalities especially in census records, passenger lists, obituaries, etc. Don’t be shocked if your ancestors are mislabeled as German, French, Belgian, or Dutch.
- Luxembourgers tended to immigrate and settle with other Luxembourgers, often from the same town or region of Luxembourg. They also frequently intermarried. Finding information on other local Luxembourg families might help you discover more information about your own family.
- Luxembourgers often settled in or near German settlements in the US because, for the most part, Luxembourgers used German to read and write. Their native language, Lëtzebuergesch, was traditionally a spoken language and normally not written. Thus, the common connection of language with German communities. Luxembourgers were often perceived and generically labeled as “Germans” because of their fluency in German.
- There are definite migration patterns for Luxembourgers coming to the US. Emigration began to New York state in the 1830s, then to Ohio, followed by Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa soon after to Minnesota and later to the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas and parts further West. Often immigrants settled in one area for a period of time and either the immigrants or their first generation children moved further west, frequently to other Luxembourg enclaves.