Elsass-Lothringen, German Empire Genealogy
Guide to Elsass-Lothringen, German Empire ancestry, family history, and genealogy before 1920: birth records, marriage records, death records, family history, and military records. In 1920, Elsass-Lothringen became Alsace-Lorraine in France. See those articles for further information.
|Elsass-Lothringen, German Empire Genealogy|
|Major Elsass-Lothringen Record Types|
|Reading the Records in German|
|Reading the Records in French|
|Local Research Resources|
Historical Background[edit | edit source]
- The Imperial Territory of ‘’’Elsass-Lothringen’’’ was a territory created by the German Empire in 1871, after it annexed ‘’’most of Alsace and the Moselle department of Lorraine' following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War.
- It was divided in three districts:
- The modern history of Alsace-Lorraine was largely influenced by the rivalry between French and German nationalism. France long sought to attain and preserve its "natural boundaries", which were the Pyrenees to the southwest, the Alps to the southeast, and the Rhine River to the northeast. German nationalism sought to unify German-speaking populations. As various German dialects were spoken by most of the population of Alsace and northern Lorraine, these regions were viewed by German nationalists to be rightfully part of hoped-for united Germany in the future.
- When the World War broke out in 1914, recovery of the two lost provinces became the top French war goal. French troops put the region under occupatio bellica and entered Strasbourg on November 21, 1918. The Nationalrat proclaimed the annexation of Alsace to France on December 5, even though this process did not gain international recognition until the signature of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Alsace-Lorraine (Wikipedia)
Getting Started[edit | edit source]
Getting Started with Germany Research
Links to articles on getting started with German research:
Germany Research Tools
Links to tools and websites that assist in German research:
Historical Geography[edit | edit source]
into Modern Alsace Lorraine, France
Finding Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for Elsass-Lothringen[edit | edit source]
Most of the information you need to identify you ancestors and their families will be found in two major record groups: civil registration and church records. To locate these records, follow the instructions in these Wiki articles.
1. Find the name of your ancestor's town in family history records.[edit | edit source]
Records were kept on the local level. You must know the town where your ancestor lived. If your ancestor was a United States Immigrant, use the information in the Wiki article Germany Finding Town of Origin to find evidence of the name of the town where your ancestors lived in Germany.
2. Use gazetteers and/or parish register inventories to learn more important details.[edit | edit source]
Your ancestor's town might have been too small to have its own parish church or civil registration office. Find the location of the Catholic or Lutheran (Evangelical) parish that served your ancestor's locality. Find the name of the civil registration office (Standesamt) that serves your ancestor's locality. Use the Wiki article Finding Aids For German Records for step-by-step instructions.
You can also consult Elsass-Lothringen Parish Register Inventories to learn the Lutheran or Catholic parish that would have kept records for your town.
Germany was first unified as a nation in 1871. An important gazetteer, Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-lexikon des deutschen Reichs, "Meyer's Gazetter" for short, details the place names of villages, towns, counties (kreise), and higher jurisdictions used at that time. In the Research Wiki, FamilySearch Catalog, and FamilySearch Historical Records, the records of Germany are organized using those place names.
Translating the German Town Name to French[edit | edit source]
When you look for church and civil registration records in the Department Archives of France, it will help to know the name of your ancestors' town in both languages. Use this gazettee4r:
3. For birth, marriage, and death records after 1792, use civil registration.[edit | edit source]
Follow the instructions in Elsass-Lothringen, German Empire Civil Registration.
4. For baptism, marriage, and death records, use church records or parish registers.[edit | edit source]
Follow the instructions in Elsass-Lothringen, German Empire Church Records.
More Research Strategies and Tools[edit | edit source]
- Alsace-Lorraine - Activity, Answer Key
- Alsace-Lorraine: Converting French Republican Calendar Dates - Instruction
- Alsace-Lorraine: Department Archive Records Online - Instruction
- Alsace-Lorraine: Translating German and French Names and Place Names - Instruction
Use this gazetteer to find the current French name of your ancestors' town:
German Records[edit | edit source]
- Germany Online Classes and Tutorials
- German Paleography Seminar - Lessons on German Handwriting
- Old German Script Transcriber (alte deutsche Handschriften): See your family names in the script of the era. Type your name or other word into the font generator tool. Click on the 8 different fonts. Save the image to your computer and use it as you work with old Germanic records.
- Finding Aids for German Records
- Research Tips and Strategies
- German Research, BYU Independent Study, no cost.
- These printable handouts can be used for ready reference when reading German Handwriting.
- Vocabulary found on Specific Records:
- Dates, Numbers, Abbreviations:
- Miscellaneous Vocabulary:
- Fraktur Font -- Many forms and books are printed in this font.
- German Given Names:
- List of Names in Old German Script -- A comprehensive list of German given names, written in old script, with possible variations.