Luxembourg Emigration and Immigration

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Online Records[edit | edit source]

Finding the Town of Origin in Luxembourg[edit | edit source]

If you are using emigration/immigration records to find the name of your ancestors' town in Italy, see Luxembourg Finding Town of Origin for additional research strategies.

Luxembourg Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

"Emigration" means moving out of a country. "Immigration" means moving into a country. (See Immigration into Italy.)
Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or arriving (immigrating) in the country. These sources may be passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, or records of passports issued. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, destinations, and places of origin or birthplaces. Sometimes they also show family groups.

Immigration[edit | edit source]

  • The immigrant population of Luxembuorg increased in the 20th century due to the arrival of immigrants from Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, and Portugal, with the majority coming from Portugal.
  • In 2013, there were about 88,000 inhabitants with Portuguese nationality. In 2013, there were 537,039 permanent residents, 44.5% of which were of foreign background or foreign nationals; the largest foreign ethnic groups were the Portuguese, comprising 16.4% of the total population, followed by the French (6.6%), Italians (3.4%), Belgians (3.3%) and Germans (2.3%).
  • Since the beginning of the Yugoslav wars, Luxembourg has seen many immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia. [1]

Italian Immigrants[edit | edit source]

See Italy Emigration and Immigration, Wiki page with record links.

  • Between 1886 and 1914, the iron and steel industries in Luxembourg boomed and these new businesses needed workers. With native Luxembourgers emigrating in droves, there was a real shortage of manual labour.
  • To resolve this problem, the iron and steel industries would be forced to look for workers outside the Grand Duchy, sparking the first stream of immigrants to Luxembourg. Southern Italy was overpopulated and underdeveloped, resulting in high levels of unemployment and mass emigration. Most of those who left went to the United States or Argentina, but an important number would find themselves crossing the Alps to work in the booming industrial fields of Luxembourg.
  • The development of the iron and steel industries led to a dramatic rise in the Italian population in Luxembourg, from 439 in 1890 to 7,432 in 1900 and over 10,000 in 1910.[2]

Portuguese Immigrants[edit | edit source]

See Portugal Emigration and Immigration, Wiki page with record links.

  • In the 2001 census, there were 58,657 inhabitants with Portuguese nationality, up from negligibly few in 1960.
  • From 1875 onwards, Luxembourg's economy relied upon the immigration of cheap labour to work in the country's steel mills and to counter the natural demographic decline of the native Luxembourgish population.
  • The mid-1960s saw the arrival of the first Portuguese guest workers (including Cape Verdeans, who also had Portuguese citizenship). At the time deteriorating conditions in Portugal's colonies put pressure on many young Portuguese people to emigrate.
  • The two countries signed a treaty in Lisbon in 1970 to allow family unification.[3]

Emigration[edit | edit source]

  • Between the mid-19th century and the early 20th century, approximately one-third of the Luxembourgish population emigrated. Luxembourg was, at the time, a poor country with an economy dominated by agriculture.
  • Despite the rather small number of Luxembourgers, there is a relatively large diaspora, in Europe and elsewhere. Particularly, there are populations in the surrounding countries of Belgium, France, and Germany. For the most part, this is due to historic reasons, especially the three Partitions of Luxembourg, which led to former territories of Luxembourg being incorporated into each of the three surrounding countries.
  • There are also significant populations in the Americas, with the largest contingent being in the United States. However, many people of Luxembourgish descent also live in Canada and Brazil, to which large waves of Luxembourgers emigrated in the nineteenth century.
  • Others migrated to Hungary along with Germans during the first phase of German eastward settlement in the 12th century. Transylvanian Saxons and Banat Swabians are the descendants of these settlers.[4]


Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png One option is to look for records about the ancestor in the country of destination, the country they immigrated into. See links to immigration records for major destination countries below.

Brazil[edit | edit source]

See Brazil Emigration and Immigration, Wiki page with database links.

  • There are an estimated 50,000 Brazilians of partial Luxembourgian descent. Luxembourgian immigration to Brazil occurred mainly around 1828, when nearly 1,000 Luxembourgers settled there.[5]

United States[edit | edit source]

See United States Emigration and Immigration, Wiki page with database links.

  • According to the United States' 2000 Census, there were 45,139 Americans of full or partial Luxembourgish descent.
  • In 1940 the number of Americans with Luxembourgish ancestry was around 100,000.
  • The first families from Luxembourg arrived in the United States, around 1842, fleeing of the overpopulation and economic change in the newly independent country.
  • Substantial Luxembourgish emigration to America took off from about 1845, for several reasons. Advances in medicine caused the rate of infant mortality to decline. This resulted in overpopulation. The lack of work in industry led many to despair. The country could no longer feed its population. In the large families of the time, the dividing up of inheritances led to fragmentation of land ownership. The portion of each child was reduced to a few hectares, which was barely enough to feed a family. Selling one's portion to the elder brother, however, provided enough money for the other siblings to pay for the voyage to America and to start a new life there.
  • Travelling was becoming easier in this period as well. Previously, it had taken as long to go from Luxembourg to Paris as from there to America. *After a while, the news came to Europe that there was much unused land available in America. The Homestead Act offered fertile land for low prices. Many therefore took the step of attempting a new start, since staying in one's home country would mean death by starvation.
  • Luxembourgers arriving in the United States would not necessarily be registered as such by the authorities, but instead as Belgians or Germans.
  • Luxembourgish Americans are overwhelmingly concentrated in the Midwest, where most originally settled in the nineteenth century. At the 2000 Census, the states with the largest self-reported Luxembourgian American populations were Illinois (6,963), Wisconsin (6,580), Minnesota (5,867), Iowa (5,624), and California (2,824).[6]

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

There are additional sources listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Luxembourg", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxembourg, accessed 13 May 2021.
  2. "Italians in the Grand Duchy", in RTL Today, https://today.rtl.lu/culture/exhibitions-and-history/a/1470074.html, accessed 14 May 2021.
  3. "Portuguese Luxembourger", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_Luxembourger, accessed 13 May 2021.
  4. "Luxembourgers", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxembourgers, accessed 13 May 2021.
  5. "Luxembourgian Brazilians", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxembourgian_Brazilians, accessed 13 May 2021.
  6. "Luxembourgian Americans", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxembourgian_Americans, accessed 13 May 2021.