Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Resolution Time

  I've learned a few things in terms of my research into Luxembourg-American genealogy this year.
1) There just aren't any courses. There are some good webpages online, but after you exhaust those, the only way to learn is to do research. There are experienced researchers who can help with this.
2) If you're like most Luxembourg-American families, you exhaust your ability to online research after about three generations. If your ancestor came over in the 1820s, you can only research one ancestor in Luxembourg- the earliest available records are from the 1790s.
3) You probably will need to be able to learn to read French and German. Your family's records could be in either language.

So my resolutions are as follows:
1) Organize my research on my own family. This will mean starting with my most recent Luxembourg ancestor and working backwards... This may take awhile
2) Convince my local library to become an FHL branch so I can order the earlier records!
3) Look for a course in either Luxembourger or German, so I can learn more about my heritage.

What are your resolutions?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Latest Resources in Luxembourg research?

  I've spent the last few days playing catch-up with my Luxembourger research. And it's made me curious. What new resources are available for Luxembourger research? What are your favorite resources? What do you suggest to a "newbie?"

Friday, August 2, 2013

Follow Friday: The Mill

  Have you ever thought of writing your family history through the life of their home? This kind of history is called "house history." Usually it's written about the site, rather than the family. In short, if the home changes hands - the story changes topic.
  Jim Heckenbach follows both the site and his own family in his article " The Mill at Boulaide, Luxembourg, and the SCHLEICH, SPARTZ, SCHUlLER, BIERCHEN, MICHELA, and Nilles Families."  His grandmother was born in the old mill, and the story intrigued Heckenbach. He begins by providing the history of the site. Using old maps, he places the mill in the history of the royal holdings on the edge of modern day Luxembourg.
   The mill was sold into private hands at the end of the 18th century - and that's where its modern story begins. Era after era, Heckenbach is able to take the old mill into the post-World War II era. Definitely a good read.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Follow Friday:Kahn Family Genealogy

   I admire the families who work across borders to share their family history. The effort requires not only good personal research but also communication skills. You have to stay organized- and not duplicate each other's efforts.
   The Kahn family is just starting their work. Most members are based out of Canada or the United Kingdom, but their tree expands across most of Europe. Right now, the site functions around profile posts. Arthur Kahn, a native of Paris, is one of those profiled. A short biography provides his birth, death, and work information.  If you're at all related, the site is worth a look.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Luxembourger families stay together

  So believe it or not, I finally found one of my missing ancestor's graves. She's buried with her sister's family. Lesson learned - look for all Luxembourger families in the area before giving up. Your ancestor may be buried with a relative.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

  Let the games begin... I've been trying to piece together the migration patterns of my Luxembourger family. Thus far, they stretch from the Midwest to the West Coast. Which raises a question... has anyone succeeded in determining why Luxembourger families went where they did? Or how best to chart it?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Talented Tuesday: Piecework Magazine

  I picked up Piecework Magazine from my local library on a whim. For those of you who don't know, I'm an avid cross-stitcher. While the magazine wasn't of much use for cross-stitch, I had a great time reading about lace and more. Why? Because I really love the format. The first part of the article tells how the writer became interested in the craft - usually from a unique family history - and the second tells how to make the item. For a genealogist or family history lover, this is nirvana.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Follow Friday: GenBlog Julie

 I've mentioned Julie Cahill Tarr's blog before. It's time to mention it again. It's just that good.
  This time I want to profile Julie's post on the Kremer family. Written to address the "Surname Saturday" post, the post very neatly outlines the lineage of the Kremer family. The family began in Luxembourg and ended in Illinois. She's carefully outlined her own family in blue. It's an interesting way to view the family's life.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Follow Friday: The Heritage Huntress

  I'm always on the look-out for new Luxembourg bloggers... There are so few of us that one new blogger may end up being connected to multiple families. Amber's new blog The Heritage Huntress has thus far focused on her British Isles ancestors. Entries include sections from various family documents and appropriate commentary. I can't wait until she talks about her Luxembourger side.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Those Places Thursday: Research in Jackson County, Iowa

   Do you have Luxembourg ancestors who passed through Jackson County Iowa? (Imagine my raised hand here!) Here are a few ideas for researching their past...
1) Start with reading more about the history of Jackson County in my previous posts: 
     a) http://luxembourggenealogy.blogspot.com/2012/05/society-saturday-jackson-county.html
     b) http://luxembourggenealogy.blogspot.com/2012/05/mappy-monday-jackson-county-maps.html
2) Check out what's available on FamilySearch.  These records trace birth, marriage, and deaths.
    a) https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/list#page=1&countryId=51

3) There's some historical information on Genealogy Trails.

4) Google News has links to modern newspaper articles.

And there's much more available!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tech Tuesday: New FamilySearch Luxembourg collection

  I have to learn to stop skimming FamilySearch.org announcements of new collections - especially when they come through Dick Eastman's blog. I keep missing new Luxembourg collections. I did it again this week!
   Turns out FamilySearch has a new Belgium, Luxembourg collection. That's right... Belgium, Luxembourg. Are you confused yet? Wikipedia offers a good explanation. But the basic gist is this - sometime in the 1830s, part of Luxembourg broke off from the rest of the country. That part of Luxembourg is now part of Belgium. So if you have ancestors from that region, the Belgium Luxembourg collections should offer a good resource.
    What's actually in the collection? Like most civil registrations, it contains images of the town's birth, death, and marriage records. According to the collection descriptions, the records begin in 1795 and run through 1912. You'll need to know the town name to access the records. Click on that, and you'll have to choose the type of record and period. Click on that to search by page. Happy research!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Follow Friday: Weydert/Weidert Family History

   Do you have Weyderts or Weiderts in your family line? Run by Luxembourger Jean-Pierre Weidert, Weydert.com is an online tree. You can search by location, surname, and more. To see personal details, you'll have to create a user account and log-in. The site also offers links to the author's articles on the family history. Since the site is run by a person interested in one surname, you may have a harder time tracing your family line... but at least you'll have a place to start.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Those Places Thursday: Google Images

   This is one of those things I should have figured out a long time ago... but I guess logic finally caught up with me. I've always loved seeing where my ancestor is from. Unfortunately, much of the time going there in person isn't feasible. I've been lucky enough to visit the hometowns of many of immigrant ancestors, but I know that there are some I may never reach. Google Maps is a nice substitute - if it has street view. Street view does not exist for Luxembourg.
  So where to go from there? Google Images actually offers great photos of Luxembourg towns and cities. The search chooses images from sites that use your search terms. The end result may leave you with some photos you'll need to ignore - I ended up with photos of local construction sites - but also some nice images of town. It's a good place to "start" your visit.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Useful Tips for Tracing Luxembourg-American Families

  I've been doing a lot of digging in my Luxembourg family tree recently. I've hit a lot of blocks  - but also learned new research tricks. I thought I would share a few of my favorites.
    1) Work from specific to vague.  I know a lot about my family, which in theory, should help my research. Except when the family name is misspelled. I've seen spellings recently that had no resemblance to the actual family name. How did I find them? I started dropping information from my searches - and turned up a few things I wouldn't have found otherwise.
    2) Be open to looking elsewhere.  I've actually found Luxembourger relatives in Canada. Lose the location you expect  - you don't know what you'll find!
     3) Trust your instincts. I guessed about where one ancestor had died based on the last place I could find him living in the census. When I finally was able to check the death indexes, there he was.

I know these are basics, but it's amazing how I forget them!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Follow up to tech Tuesday: new Luxembourg database

   It took much longer than anticipated, but I finally managed to locate my ancestors in the 1851 Luxembourg census. Am I thrilled? A little. I would have loved for them to be in the first 150 images, but that's life. What did  I find that was new? First of all, one of my ancestors was a skilled laborer. This is atypical for a Luxembourg-American immigrant. Most were day laborers and left after being hit by the land crisis. My ancestor was older - and may have left to follow his sons Second, I confirmed what I suspected. My immediate ancestor had a sister who does not appear on their immigration lists. I had hoped that she stayed behind in Luxembourg. Unfortunately, she also does not appear on the 1851 census. Since she would have been an infant at the time, it's valid to assume that she died soon after birth  Back to the death records... The only downside to new records is that you have to recheck old ones!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tech Tuesday: New FamilySearch Database for Luxembourg Research

 Thanks to Julie Cahill Tarr for introducing me to a new Luxembourg research database on FamilySearch. I'll let you visit her blog for more details, since she explains things better than I ever can!
  I'm looking forward to finding out more about my family. They should appear on the 1851 census, but I have yet to find them listed in their commune. It's definitely going to require some patience. I've gone through 136 pages and have more to go. What am I hoping to find? Not too much, as I already have the family's marriage and birth records. I would like to know which of the family's children are still alive in 1851. (I suspect we had a few cases of infant mortality.) I'd also like to know my ancestor's occupation. I'm pretty sure it was farmer... but here goes.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Luxembourger genealogists Bob Arens and Fausto Gardini

  It's been a long time since I've done a "Thankful Thursday" post, but I wanted to give a shout out to Luxembourger genealogists Bob Arens of Luxembourg American Families and Fausto Gardini, a writer and blogger on Luxembourg. Both maintain extensive lists of Luxembourger immigrants to the United States and have willingly shared that information with descendents of these men and women. While their information isn't always perfect, their work provides new genealogists with a starting point for researching their families. Merci!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Can't figure out where your ancestor was buried? Try Wikipedia...

  Normally, I'm not a huge fan of Wikipedia for genealogy - there isn't enough detail on the towns I study - but I have to admit, it can come in handy in unexpected ways. I've mentioned a few times that I'm currently studying one particular ancestor. She's proven quite hard to trace. We have no idea when she immigrated or where she was buried.
   I've almost gotten one of those problems solved - thanks to Wikipedia. Her death certificate lists where she's buried, but the only cemetery of that name was founded four years after her death. I would have given up, but I happened to notice something in the article. The cemetery was called the "new" cemetery. The old one had been moved... and the article told where.
   Lesson learned. Next time I can't find a cemetery, I'm checking Wikipedia. I may find nothing. But I may find gold.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tip of the Day: Trace Family Groups for Alternative Spellings

   I just was reminded of important tip - trace the family group for more information on your family.  The idea of a "FAN club" has been well explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills (you can see her explanation here). I applied the idea in looking for a Luxembourger ancestor who "appears" in the United States in the early 1870s. Despite my best efforts, I've been unable to find her immigration record. I know she had several siblings immigrate to the United States. There was a slight chance they traveled together, so I decided to take a look. It was a dead end.
   So why am I happy? Because in all my searching, I discovered that her siblings used a different version of the last name than the one we knew. On a whim, I pulled it into FamilySearch. Bingo! I now have the date of her marriage - and more details than just the year!

Thrifty Thursday: Emigrant Biographies, Institut Grand-Ducal

  I've probably mentioned the Emigrant Biographies on the Institut Grand-Ducal website before, but honestly, I've never taken them as seriously as I should. What are they? Information on various Luxembourg-Americans compiled from their obituaries in the Luxemburger Gazette. When I saw the site originally, my first thought was - oh, that's nice.
  Of course, that was before I realized the site covered one of my Luxembourger ancestors. It only goes up to the letter "E," but as it turns out, my ancestor was in the first bunch. The entry was pretty simple. Birth, death, marriage - in German- but it also included details about where my ancestor lived in the United States and when. The information on movement was more than I every would have found on my own.
  Learn from my mistake :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration Monday: What would our Luxembourger ancestors have thought?

   I've spent the last few weeks putting together a family narrative on two of my Luxembourger ancestors and, given the presidential inauguration, realized that I had left one major question unanswered: what did my ancestors think of American politics?
   My ancestors arrived in the United States in about the mid-point of Luxembourger immigration, which is to say, right around the American Civil War. Both were too young to fight in the conflict. As a result, I can't tell much about how they would have chosen sides from the records. But it leaves me to wonder: what did they think of their country, and its politics?
   Honestly, I may never know. The records I have indicate that my male ancestor was very involved locally, but say nothing about the national level. He definitely read the Luxemburg Gazette and not the New York Times. Was he concerned about the national government?
  I can say definitively yes to that. Because he was naturalized years before one had to be. The only good reason to go through the process was to vote. And he did.  So, hopefully, he would be proud watching today's inauguration. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Remember to Check Both Spouses

   I know, I know. I should have remembered this on my own. But at least I thought I'd share so that my silly mistake wouldn't be repeated.  I've been working on tracing a distant family line. Since I'm related through the wife, I'd focused all my energy on her. On a whim, I entered her husband during a search. I found one additional child for this family... and I'm just getting started.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Write - and Review - as You Go

   I'm sure you've heard the idea of "write as you go" a lot in the last few weeks. The idea is simple. Once you gather information on a person, work it into some sort of narrative. It could be a family history, a story, a conference paper, something. It's just to prevent you from throwing everything in a file and forgetting it's there.
    I'm adding a second part to that tip. As you write, review what you know about that person. Don't just copy things from your database or file. Make sure that what you're writing makes sense and that you can back it up with documentation.
   Why do I care? Because I just followed my own advice. I'm putting together a family narrative. Looking for more sources, I followed the tree a few generations down. And low and behold, someone in my file had the wrong first name. Easily remedy, but it almost sent me off on the wrong track.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Follow Friday: Palen and Pletschette Genealogy

  I had some serious reservations about publicizing this blog - the author makes her political views a little too clear for my taste - but I thought it might be helpful for anyone with Palen genealogy. The Palen and Pletschette Genealogy blog traces the writer's direct line ancestors. Each post profiles one branch of her Luxembourger family tree. Entries are basic b-m-d form, but they may provide new information if you are working on this tree. Good luck!