From GenWiki

Jump to: navigation, search


Regional Research > States > France > Alsace



General Information

The former Alsace (German Elsaß, Latin Alsatia) comprised what are now the departments of Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin and (before 1871) Belfort in France. Together they form a north-south strip which lies between the Rhine River on the east and the Vosges Mountains on the west.

The political border to the north and east is with Germany, the states of Rhineland-Palatine and Baden-Württemberg respectively, to the south with Switzerland and to the west with the French departments of (see Lorraine) Doubs, Haute-Saône, Vosges and Moselle.

Political Division

  • 1871-1918: Alsace was part of the Alsace-Lorraine Reichsland, which was divided into 3 districts, two of which were in the Alsace:
    • Bezirk (district) of Ober-Elsass with capital Kolmar and (6) Kreise (counties):
      • Altkirch
      • Gebweiler
      • Kolmar
      • Muehlhausen
      • Rappoltsweiler
      • Thann
    • Bezirk (district) of Unter-Elsass (sometimes Nieder-Elsass) with capital Strassburg and (8) Kreise (counties):
      • Erstein
      • Hagenau
      • Molsheim
      • Schlettstadt
      • Strassburg-Stadt
      • Strassburg-Land
      • Weissenburg
      • Zabern
  • 1945-present:
    • Bas-Rhin: department 67 Bas-Rhin (Lower Rhine) in the north has Strasbourg as its administrative center.
    • Haut-Rhin: department 68 Haut-Rhin (Upper Rhine) has its center at Colmar with Mulhouse also an important city. (The city of Belfort is the center of the Territoire de Belfort, department 90, in the southwest, now part of Franche-Comté.) A hierarchical list of the arrondissements, cantons and communes, The Communities of Alsace has been assembled by Robert Behra.

Court Districts

In 1900, during the Alsace-Lorraine period, the highest court was the Oberlandesgericht in Kolmar. The lower courts were

  • Landgericht Kolmar with (15) Amtsgerichte:
    • Barr
    • Ensisheim
    • Gebweiler
    • Kaisersberg
    • Kolmar
    • Markirch
    • Markolsheim
    • Muenster
    • Neubreisach
    • Rappoltsweiler
    • Rufach
    • Schlettstadt
    • Schnierlach
    • Sulz
    • Weiler.
  • Landgericht Mülhausen with (11) Amtsgerichte:
    • Altkirch
    • Dammerskirch
    • Hirsingen
    • Hueningen
    • Masmuenster
    • Muelhausen
    • Pfirt
    • St.Amarin
    • Sennheim
    • Sierenz
    • Thann
  • Landgericht Strassburg with (15) Amtsgerichte:
    • Benfeld
    • Bischweiler
    • Brumath
    • Erstein
    • Hagenau
    • Hochfelden
    • Illkirch
    • Buchsweiler
    • Finstingen
    • Loerchingen
    • Luetzelstein
    • Molsheim
    • Oberehnheim
    • Pfalzburg
    • Rosheim
    • Saarburg
    • Schirmeck
    • Wasselnheim
    • Zabern

Religious Divisions

  • Before 1648: Alsace was a complicated mosaic of territories, some Catholic, others Lutheran, still others Calvinist. Roman Catholic parishes were organized into dioceses with bishops at Strasbourg and Basel.
  • 1648-1789: Bas-Rhin was in the Diocese of Strasbourg with smaller parts belonging to that of Spire (Speyer), in present-day Germany, whereas Haut-Rhin belonged to that of Basel (Switzerland).
  • 1945-present: Modern Alsace forms a single Catholic diocese, with Strasbourg as the seat.

Historical Abstract

see Alsace/History

Genealogical and historical Societies

Genealogical Associations and Societies

  • Cercle Généalogique d'Alsace
    Archives du Bas-Rhin
    5 rue Fischart
    67000 Strasbourg
  • Fédération Généalogique de Haute Alsace [Genealogical Associations of Upper Alsace]

Historical Associations and Societies

  • Federation des Sociétés d'Histoire et d'Archéologie d'Alsace
    23 rue du Maréchal Juin
    67000 Strasbourg
    The Federation is the mother organization for over 90 affiliated historical societies in Alsace which in aggregate comprise nearly 60,000 members pursuing interests from regional to local levels.
  • Société de l'histoire du Protestantisme
    54 rue des Saints-Pères
    F-75007 Paris
    The Society can help in finding obscure, older Protestant church registers.
  • Société d'Histoire du Sundgau

Genealogical und historical Documents

Minitel in France has started a searchable index of on-line vital records from the period 1539 - 1897 as collected by genealogical societies. It is also possible to check which communities have been collected so far.

  • Church Records
    Parish registers, either Catholic or Protestant, usually exist going back at least to 1685, but many exist for earlier periods, in some rare cases back to as early as mid-16th century. These records were kept in single copies and are mostly recorded in Latin, when Catholic, in German (Gothic script) when Lutheran, and in French when Calvinist, but there are exceptions. The earliest Lutheran and Reformed registers date from 1524. Legally, Reformed Church registers were forbidden during 1685-1787, but some records were kept in spite of this. There are only a few remaining registers for Mennonite and Jewish congregations.
    Parish records exist on microfilm for the period prior to 1793 and are available, for example, at Family History Centers. Between 1794 and 1801, responsibility for recordkeeping was transferred to civil authorities and parish records on microfilm cease. However, conversion to the new system does not seem to have been instantaneous in all areas and it is sometimes that case that in the period 1794-1801 a record will be found in the parish recordbooks, but be absent from the corresponding civil record. Thus the parish records of 1794-1801 are useful to scan; although in most cases they have not been filmed by the Family History Library, they can be viewed at the respective [departmental archives].
  • LDS (Mormon) microfilms of sources[1]

Civil Registration Records

Responsibility for recordkeeping was taken from the churches and given to civil authorities in Alsace in 1793. These records are available on microfilm with the caveat that French law prohibits records less than a century old being made available to the general public. As a result, new records are released each decade. Family History Library records are current through 1882; at the [Centre départemental d'Histoire des Familles], records for Haut-Rhin are available through 1892.

Civil registration also inaugurated the practice of keeping separate, 10-year indexes of births, marriages and deaths, the decennales, also available on FHL microfilm. Civil records also began to record various types of marginal notes (list compiled by Adeline Vigelis) including

  • adoption by the nation (after 1917)
  • delayed declaration of birth (after 1919)
  • divorce (as of April 18, 1886)
  • legitimization of a child (after 1897)
  • marriage noted in birth record (after 1897)
  • opposition to a marriage
  • general corrections
  • etc.

Gazetteers, Atlases and Maps


  • "Alsace-Lorraine: Atlantic Bridge to Germany"

The first book to be completed in the new "Atlantic Bridge to Germany" series is "Alsace-Lorraine". It has been completely revamped with new maps (from 1876-1898 era) showing the majority of the more than 5,600 places named in the book. Each place is identified by German and French names, Kreis (county), Bezirk (government district), and what years there are records available at the Family History Library. The first sixteen pages contain Alsace-Lorraine information dealing with history, geography, websites, books of interest, several mpas showing historical divisions, and more.

Compiled by Linda Herrick and Wendy Uncapher. 192 pages, paperback, 8.5" x 11". Cost $20.00 plus $3.00 shipping and handling for the first book and $1.00 for each additional book. WI residents add appropriate sales tax.

Order from: Origins 1521 E. Racine St. Janesville, WI 53545


  • Bisch, Alphonse and Agnes Muller-Zeiger, Les habitats du Bas-Rhin / Dictionnaire toponymique francais-allemand-dialectal [The places of Lower Alsace / French-German-Alsatian Gazetteer]:
    • Tome 1er (volume 1), "Les communes" (The Communities), Strasbourg 1994, 42 pages
    • Tome 2eme (volume 2), "Toponymie des habitats" (Toponymie of Places), Strasbourg 1995, 132 pages
    • Tome 3eme (volume 3), "Habitats disparus" (Vanished Places), Strasbourg 1997, 84 pages

The three volumes comprise 6,300 entries for 562 places in Lower Alsace. In addition, there are 1,330 entries for 970 places which no longer exist, at least under the old names. An appendix contains an index of existing monographs on specific communities, a bibliography, and a directory of castles, strongholds and ruins.

  • Thode, Ernest, Genealogical Gazetteer of Alsace-Lorraine, 1986, Indianapolis, Heritage House (PO Box 39128, Indianapolis, IN, 46239, USA), 137 pp., maps. [Also available from Ernest Thode, RR 7, Box 306, Kern Road, Marietta, OH 45750-9437, USA. Cost $17.50 postpaid, $18.64 postpaid in Ohio (state sales tax)].

The gazetteer (place-name dictionary) portion of this book is arranged alphabetically, with French, German, and a few Latin and English place-names, including rivers, streams, mountains, castles, and the like, all arranged in a single list. It assumes no special knowledge of French or German diacritical marks and symbols. Listings show some records availability -- town archives, Catholic records, Jewish records, LDS records, military vital records, Protestant records, university records, and civil vital records.

  • Les communes de l'Alsace-Lorraine. Ripertoire alphabetique avec l'indication de la dipendance administrative
    • Nomenclature francaise avant 1871
    • Nomenclature allemande de 1871-1915
    • Nomenclature allemande de 1915-1918. [The Communities of Alsace-Lorraine. Alphabetical Register with Indication of the Administrative Regions. I. French nomenclature before 1871 II. German nomenclature 1871-1915 II. German nomenclature 1915-1918] Published by UCGL, B.P. 8, F-54130 Saint-Max, FRANCE


  • Sittler, Lucien, L'Alsace: Terre d'histoire [features very good maps showing who controlled which parts of Alsace from the Medieval period to present].
  • Wolfram, Georg and Werner Gley, Elsass-Lothringischer Atlas, 1931, Frankfurt am Main: Selbstverlag des Elsass-Lothringen-Instituts, series: Veröffentlichungen des wissenschaftlichen Instituts der Elsass-Lothringer im Reich an der Universität Frankfurt [of especial interest for showing the distribution of Catholic and Protestant parishes]
  • Baedeker for Northern France, 1894 edition, includes two maps which show parts of Alsace at 1:250,000 scale.
  • Michelin Road Atlas of France covers all of France at 1:200,000 scale.


  • Michelin publishes a map titled "Alsace et Lorraine", no. 242 in their yellow series of maps at a scale of 1:200,000 (1 cm. = 2 km). They publish smaller sections of this area separately as well. For example, the northernmost section of both Alsace and Lorraine, encompassing a fair amount of the German area north of the border, is no. 57 ("Verdun-Wissembourg"); Alsace proper is no. 87 ("Wissembourg-Belfort"). Maps concentrating on the German side, but which include parts of Alsace and Lorraine, are no. 205 ("Karlsruhe-Basel") and 203 (Saarbrücken area). The same is true for the map concentrating on northern Switzerland, no. 21, which also takes in southern Alsace.
  • FHL microfilm 068814, Karte des Deutschen Reiches, scale 1:100000, 1km = 1cm covers Germany during 1914-1917.

Bibliography and Literature

note: listings in [brackets] indicate libraries holding the work.


=== Historical Literature === see separate page

Genealogical Literature

  • Baxter, Angus, In Search of Your European Roots, Genealogical Publishing, Baltimore, 1985
  • Bernard, Gildas, Guide des recherches sur l'histoire des familles, Paris National Archives, 1981
  • Ganter, A. and Ch. Grudler, Les Vieilles Familles du Sundgau, 3 volumes
  • Height, Joseph S., Paradise on the Steppe, 1972, Bismarck, North Dakota, North Dakota Historical Society of Germans from Russia. Order from GRHS
  • Hein, Dr. Gerhard. Dr. Hein has written two series of books. The title of the first series, books 1-17, is Die Einwohner des Krummen Elsaß und seiner Umgebung vor 1700 while books 18-79 are part of Die Einwohner des Krummen Elsaß und seiner Umgebung im 18. Jahrhundert. These books are available on microfilm from the FHL and also appearing on 3 CD-ROMs (for approximately 130DM):
  1. Das evang.-lutherische Kirchenbuch Hangweiler, 1975, 36 pp.
  2. Das evang.-lutherische Kirchenbücher Vinstingen, 1976, 109 pp.
  3. Die katholischen Kirchenbücher von Weyer (1680-1699), Bärendorf (1681-1699), Kekastel (1642-1699), Herbitzheim (1659-1699) vor 1700, 1976, 70 pp.
  4. see (3)
  5. see (3)
  6. see (3)
  7. Das evang.-lutherische Kirchenbuch Lützelstein vor 1700 und das Schatzungsregister der Grafschaft Lützelstein, 1975, 36 pp.
  8. Das evang.-lutherische Kirchenbuch von Bockenheim und Wolfskirchen; das katholische Kirchenbuch von Bockenheim, Personennamen, die im Zusammenhang mit Bockenheim genannt werden in den Büchern von J. Levy, Gustav Mathis and Dr. F. Cuny; die Familie Streff von Lauenstein (v. Münchenhausen), 1977, 592 & 310 pp.
  9. Die evang.-lutherischen Kirchenbücher von Durstel (ab 1695) and Waldhambach (ab 1683), 1977, 76 pp.
  10. see (9)
  11. Die evang.-lutherischen Kirchenbücher Diemeringen, 1977, 122 pp.
  12. Die evang.-lutherischen Kirchenbücher Domfessel/Völlerdingen (1603-1629), Lorentzen (1671-1685), Pisdorf, und Wintersberg vor 1700, 1978, 176 pp.
  13. see (12)
  14. see (12)
  15. see (12)
  16. Die Einwohner des Krummen Elsaß und seiner Umgebung in den Jahren 1350, 1542, 1570, 1610 und 1742, 1976, 252 pp.
  17. Die Einwohner des Fürstentums Lixheim vor 1700, 1976, 76 pp., with Albert Giradin and Christian Wolf
  18. Mackweiler, 1978, 57 pp.
  19. Das Dorf Dehlingen, 1979, 250 pp. (1705-1797 Lutheran)
  20. Assweiler, 1979, 149 pp. (1710-1793 Lutheran)
  21. Wolfskirchen, 1979, 200 pp. (Lutheran)
  22. Sieweiler, 1979, 120 pp. (Lutheran/Catholic)
  23. Burbach, mit Gerichtsbuch des Jörg Erhardt, 1979, 200 pp. (Lutheran/Reformed)
  24. Berg und Thal, 1980, 356 pp. (Lutheran/Reformed/Catholic)
  25. Drulingen, 1980, 212 pp. (Lutheran)
  26. Kirberg, 1980, 43 pp. (Lutheran/Reformed)
  27. Ottweiler, 1980, 30 pp.
  28. Weyer, 1980, 285 pp. (1745-99 Lutheran/Catholic)
  29. Bütten, 1980, 244 pp. (Lutheran/Reformed/Catholic)
  30. Zollingen, 1980, 38 pp. (Lutheran/Catholic)
  31. Schopperten, 1980, 120 pp. (Lutheran/Catholic)
  32. Völlerdingen, 1980, 82 pp. (Lutheran)
  33. Hirschland 1981, 346 pp. (Catholic)
  34. Pisdorf 1981, 312 pp. (Lutheran)
  35. Görlingen 1981, 37 pp. (Ref.)
  36. Diedendorf, 1981, 433 pp. (Luth./Ref.)
  37. Rexingen, 1981, 31 pp. (Luth.)
  38. Eyweiler und kath. KB Wofskirchen, 1981, 133 pp. (Luth./RC)
  39. Eschweiler, 1981, 68 pp. (RC)
  40. Altweiler, 1982, 288 pp. (1726-1794 Luth./Ref.)
  41. Harskirchen, 1982, 406 pp. (Luth.)
  42. Kekastel, 1982, 450 pp. (Luth./RC)
  43. Lorentzen, 1982, 284 pp. (Luth.)
  44. Rimsdorf, 1982, 54 pp. (Luth.)
  45. Siltzheim = Sültzen, 1983, 110 pp. (RC)
  46. Bärendorf, 1983, 182 pp. (1681-1793 RC)
  47. Herbitzheim, 1983, 484 pp. (Luth/RC)
  48. Diemeringen, 1984, 310 pp. (1700-1794 Luth.)
  49. Rauweiler, 1984, 364 pp. (Luth./Ref.)
  50. Lützelstein, 1984, 442 pp. (Ref.)
  51. Durstel, 1985, 258 pp. (1695-1792 Luth.)
  52. Neusaarwerden, 1985, 606 pp. (Luth.)
  53. Erckartsweiler, Zittsersheim, Sparsbach, 1985, 174 pp. (Luth.)
  54. see (53)
  55. Wimmenau, 1985, 157 pp. (Ref.)
  56. Tiefenbach, 1986, 402 pp. (Luth./RC)
  57. Örmingen, 1986, 204 pp. (1756-1794 Luth.)
  58. Waldhambach, 1986, 334 pp. (1683-1790 Luth.)
  59. Wingen, 1986, 156 pp. (1757-1792 Luth./RC)
  60. Altsaarwerden, 1986, 116 pp. (1738-1792 RC)
  61. Eschberg, Schönberg, Petersbach, Lohr, Graufthal, Büst, 1986, 282 pp. (Luth.)
  62. see (61)
  63. see (61)
  64. see (61)
  65. see (61)
  66. see (61)
  67. Weinberg, Sparsbach, 1987, 218 pp. (Luth.)
  68. see (67)
  69. Das Amtsprotokoll der Grafschaft Saarwerden von 1589, 1990
  70. Weitersweiler, 1987, 232 pp. (Luth.)
  71. Neuweiler bei Zabern, 1988, 456 pp. (Ref.)
  72. Ingweiler vor 1700, 1988, 263 pp. (Ref.)
  73. Die Grafschaft Lützelstein im 16. Jh., 1989, 450 pp. (Ref.)
  74. Die Grafschaft Lützelstein im 17. Jh., 1990, 520 pp. (2 volumes)
  75. see (74)
  76. Dossenheim vor 1700, 1988, 214 pp. (Ref.)
  77. Die Grafschaft Lützelstein im 18. Jh., 1990
  78. Das Kirchenbuch Vinstingen (1697-1792 Luth.) und Das Kirchenbuch Niederstinzel (1698-1790 Luth.), 1992, 88 + 38 pp.
  79. see (78)
  • Kleindienst, Jean-Louis, various. [M. Kleindienst has published a series of books, each devoted to a different surname in the areas of Ribeauvillé and Heiteren (in the Haut-Rhin). Write him for catalog and price list at the Section Généalogie du Cercle Historique de Ribeauvillé, Hôtel de Ville, F 68150 Ribeauvillé, FRANCE.]
  • Lobstein, J.-F., Manuel du Notariat en Alsace [Notarial Handbook of Alsace], Strasbourg, 1844, Treuttelet et Wertz [Available as FHL microfilm 1071429]
  • de Marsilien, Wetzel, Livre d'or de Strasbourg: Trois grandes familles strasbourgeoises. Sturm, Oesinger. 1991
  • Roll, Claude R., Manuel illustré pour la généalogie et l'histoire familiale en Alsace, 1991. [Available at Salt Lake City Family History Library]
  • Wesner, Doris, Alsatian Connections 1995, volume 1 [18th-century emigration from five villages near the Lorraine border: Butten, Dehlingen, Diemeringen, Ratzwiller, and Waldhambach. Includes short histories of each town and genealogies of all known emigrants are given, supplemented by information from church and civil records.]
  • Wesner, Doris, Bütten (Butten) im Krummen Elsaß. Band I: Ein Dorf und seine Geschichte(n), 1989, Drulingen Band II: Wer waren unsere Vorfahren? (Familienbuch), Drulingen o.J., 336 S.
  • Wesner, Doris, Dehlingen im Krummen Elsaß (Familienbuch). Drulingen 1997, 295 S.
  • Wolff, Christian, 1983, Guide des recherches généalogiques en Alsace, [Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Arlington Heights, IL; Harvard; Cornell; New York Public Library, Research Library; Bluffton College, Bluffton, OH; University of Virginia; University of Wisconsin, Madison (1975 edition)]
  • The Alsace Emigration Book, compiled by Cornelia Schrader-Muggenthaler, 1989-1991, Apollo, Pennsylvania, USA: Closson Press; ISBN: 1558560351 (volume 1) and 1558560866 (volume 2). [Idaho State Historical Society Library]

Genealogical Periodicals

  • Balliet, Pierre, "Die krummelsässische Auswanderung im Hungerjahr 1817" in Bulletin Annuel 1998, Association pour la Sauvegarde et l'Utilisation du Temple Réformé de Sarre-Union, S. 7-14 (has about 300 surnames of emigrants to Russia and the USA)
  • Hecht, Dr. L., "Les Colonies Lorraines et Alsaciennes", Memoires de L'Academie de Stanislas,, 1879.
  • Law, Hugh T., "Locating the Ancestral Home in Elsass-Lothringen", German Genealogical Digest, Vol VI, Number 3, 1990, $8.
  • Lynch, Katherine A., "French Family and Urban History in the Census" in French Genealogist, Issue 3, p. 102, also in Continental European Family and Local History, vol. 7 [available at the FHL], also in The Augustan Society Omnibus, book 8, 1986, pp. 148-55.
  • Vigelis, Adeline, "Alsace Family History Research" in The German Connection, Vol. 18, no. 3, third quarter 1994, published by The German Research Association (GRA)
  • Bulletin d'études et de Recherches Généalogiques en Haute Alsace (BERGHA) [Bulletin of Study and Genealogical Research in Upper Alsace] is published by the Centre départemental d'Histoire des Familles.
  • Bulletin du Cercle Généalogique d'Alsace, published by the Cercle Généalogique d'Alsace offers "Service d'entr'aide", a regular surname query feature.
  • "Researching in Foreign Archives", in The German Connection, Vol. 14, no. 1, January 1990, published by The German Research Association (GRA) [how to use the Bas-Rhin Departemental Archive in Strasbourg]


Upper Alsace:

Familienbücher (family books) exist for the following Haut-Rhin communities:

  • Altenach
  • Aspach
  • Battenheim
  • Berentzwiller
  • Blodelsheim
  • Bouxwiller-Werentzhouse
  • Brunstatt
  • Buhl
  • Dornach
  • Durmenach
  • Eglingen
  • Friesen-Largitzen
  • Hartmannswiller
  • Illfurth
  • Lautenbach-Zell
  • Ligsdorf-Bendorf
  • Logelheim
  • Lucelle
  • Luppach
  • Mariastein (in Switzerland)
  • Munchhouse
  • Richwiller
  • Riedisheim
  • Rimbach-Zell
  • Rixheim
  • Seppois-le-Bas
  • Westhalten
  • Wihr au Val
  • Zimmerbach

In preparation are books for: (as of June 1996)

  • Mertzen
  • Munster
  • Niederentzen

Availability: for Haut-Rhin, these books can be purchased from the president of the Cercle Généalogique de Mulhouse, M. Michel Schmitt, 34 rue du fossé, F 68270 Wittenheim, FRANCE. Write him for the complete list for Haut-Rhin, with prices. Published in 1909 was Livre d'Or De La Ville De Soultz by A. Gasser, which describes family genealogies of most families of Soultz, Haut-Rhin, from the earliest occurrence of the surname in the town records. In French.

Lower Alsace

  • For Bas-Rhin, write M. Gérard Heiligenstein, 12 villa Poirier, F 75015 Paris, FRANCE, of the Cercle Généalogique d'Alsace.
  • A book on the community of Burbach may be available from either the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Saarlandische Familienkunde or the Historischer Verein für die Saargegend g.V. Saarbrücken.
  • A book about the families living in the town of Harskirchen during the 18th century was written by Gerhard Hein and published in 1982. [Out of print, a copy is viewable at the AKdFF library in Sindelfingen, Germany.]
  • Books have also been published for the following communities:
    • Berstett
    • Breuschwickersheim
    • Duntzenheim
    • Eckbolsheim
    • Furdenheim
    • Gries
    • Handschuheim
    • Hangenbieten
    • Hurtigheim
    • Ittenheim
    • Kolbsheim
    • Kurtzenhouse
    • Lampertheim
    • Melsheim
    • Niederhausbergen
    • Oberhausbergen
    • Olwisheim
    • Pfulgriesheim
    • Quatzenheim
    • Reitwiller
    • Vendenheim
    • Weitbruch
    • Wolfisheim

Archives und Libraries


If you are considering writing to one of these archives, be aware that letters are usually not welcome if the sender asks for research, because research requires extensive expertise and effort, for which exist professionals who are accustomed to be compensated for such efforts. Of course, this may differ from archive to archive. In general, you can expect a reply from an archive to answer that, according to law, archives can be freely consulted by anyone (under the usual restrictions), but that they only do the required research when asked by an administrator or notary. However, the archive will generally provide the address of a local or regional genealogical association, or even that of a professional researcher, should you wish to contact them to follow-up your research questions.

  • Bas-Rhin
    • Archive of the Department
      Archives Départementales du Bas-Rhin, 5 rue Fischart, 67000 Strasbourg, FRANCE, tel: 388-45-94-54, fax: 388-60-44-52, Hours: 8:30-12:45, 14:00-17:00 Monday-Friday, Bus: line 15, Golbery station or line 10, Université-Brant station

      Research requests by mail are not accepted.

      The archive is within walking distance of central Strasbourg. When you arrive at the front door, you must ring the bell. Upon entering tell them that you would like to do some genealogical research and that it is the first time you have been there. You will be directed to go up the stairs to the first floor (American second floor) and present a piece of identification, which for Americans is their passport. You will be asked to register for a "carte de lecture" or reader's card. Usually there is someone there who can speak English.

      The archive is within walking distance of central Strasbourg. When you arrive at the front door, you must ring the bell. Upon entering tell them that you would like to do some genealogical research and that it is the first time you have been there. You will be directed to go up the stairs to the first floor (American second floor) and present a piece of identification, which for Americans is their passport. You will be asked to register for a "carte de lecture" or reader's card. Usually there is someone there who can speak English.

      You are not permitted to bring any attaché cases or shoulder bags into any of the reading rooms, so you must check these in the lockers on the ground floor. You have to insert a 1 franc coin in the slot on the inside of the door, in order to remove the key. You will get the 1 franc back when you take your things back out.

      If you want to examine any of their reference books, you should go into the reading room on the first floor (American second floor), choose a free chair at one of the tables, and then ask for the appropriate books at the counter.

      If you want to examine the microfilm records for births, marriages, and deaths, you should go into the reading room on the ground floor. You should first go to the desk at the back of the room and tell the person there that you want to do some research and that it is your first time there. You should then choose a microfilm reader machine that is unoccupied and note its number.

      To determine the microfilm code numbers, you must go to a series of loose-leaf binders which are on a table in the center of the room. These binders are arranged alphabetically by location within the department of Bas-Rhin. You will find the available microfilms listed separately for births, marriages, deaths, and other judicial proceedings, etc., which are then broken down by time periods. The code number will be made up of the village number, followed by a slash, followed by the specific reel number. You can request up to three reels at one time. You then go to the computer terminal and follow this procedure:
  1. Type in your reader card number, then press Enter.
  2. Type 1 (meaning "Demande de Communication"), then press Enter
  3. Type the microfilm code number without any blanks, e.g.: 5MI203/7 then press Enter
  4. Repeat step 3 for each microfilm
  5. Press F4
    Then you wait until the reels are delivered to the shelf against the back wall in the slot corresponding to your microfilm machine number. You then report to the person at the desk next to the shelf, and she will ask you to sign a paper to formally checkout that microfilm. She will move the microfilms to another shelf which you can then access.

    The first time they will help you load the microfilm onto the machine. Most of the machines have a photocopy attachment so that you can make photocopies for 1 franc each.

    The format for most of the records is as follows:
  6. a cover page giving the year and the type of records
  7. the individual records entered chronologically, each consecutively numbered, usually with several per page.
  8. an index of the names for that year (or part of a year) given alphabetically

You should first advance the reader to the index and search for the name you want. If it appears there, note the corresponding entry number, and then go back to the entry with that number.

Birth records will give the name and date of the child born, the names of both parents, their ages, their occupations, and their address. Marriage records will give the names of the bride and groom, their ages, and the names of their parents. Death records will give the name, age and birthday of the deceased.

If the family did not move around much, you can trace back the generations easily from the birth records, by noting the age of the parents, and then searching the birth records for the corresponding year. It is usually possible to go back to 1793, when the civil records were begun. Before 1793, the records were kept by the churches, which may or may not be microfilmed.

As you finish with each microfilm, you return it to the return table near the shelves.

    • City of Strasbourg

Archives Municipales, 8, place de l'Hôpital, 67000 Strasbourg, FRANCE, tel: 88-36-01-74, Hours: 9:30-12:00, 14:00-17:00 Monday-Friday (city archives with original records, no photocopies)

    • City of Hagenau

Archives Communales de Hagenau, B.P. 261, 67504 Hagenau Cedex, FRANCE (city archives)

    • City of Sélestat

Archives Municipales, Bibliothèque Humaniste, BP 163, 67604 Sélestat Cedex, FRANCE (city archives)

  • Haut-Rhin
    • Archive of the Department

Archives Départementales du Haut-Rhin, Cité Administrative, 3, rue Fleischhauer, F68026 Colmar cedex, FRANCE

    • City of Colmar

Archives Municipales, BP 528, 68021 Colmar Cedex, FRANCE (city archives)

    • City of Mulhouse

Archives Communales de Mulhouse, 4 rue des Archives, 68120 Mulhouse cedex, FRANCE (city archives)

    • City of Kayserberg

Archives Communales de Kaysersberg, Hôtel de Ville, 68240 Kaysersberg, FRANCE (city archives)

  • Territoire de Belfort
    • Archive of the Department

Archives Dpartementales, 4 rue de l'Ancien Thtre, 90020 Belfort Cedex, FRANCE

    • City of Belfort

Archives Municipales de Belfort, Place d'Armes, 90000 Belfort FRANCE (city archives)

  • US National Archives

Contains the Einwanderungszentralstelle (EWZ) Anträge, records of ethnic Germans in France applying for German citizenship during the period 1939-45.


  • Family History Cente

In the Strasbourg area, Bas-Rhin, it is located at 100, Route du Général de Gaulle in Schiltigheim. tel: 88-33-21-0

  • Centre départemental d'Histoire des Familles at Guebwiller, Haut-Rhin
    Besides complete parish records prior to 1793, the Departmental Center for Family History has around 4000 reels of old Haut-Rhin civil records dated 1793-1892 on microfilm. The Center provides research for people from far away, or those who aren't mobile. For a modest consideration, the center provides post-research copies of documents and their precise meanings in French, German, or Latin. In addition to local history and genealogy reviews, the Center compiles files by family or locality.

Write 402 Florence Street, Castroville, Texas 78009, USA or e-mail to

Other States and Places


Census Records

A census was taken in about 1819 which only listed heads of households. During the period 1836-66, there was a census every five years in both Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin, including all persons. Nineteenth-century French censuses are discussed in the article "French Family and Urban History in the Census" (see literature below). See also, Military Records below.

Regional publishing Companies and Bookstores

Professional Genealogists

This page is constantly asked to recommend professional researchers. The only individuals we can recommend are those that list with us on our Genealogy Mall. If you are a professional researcher and wish to be listed, please contact the person listed at the bottom of the Mall page.


  • Alsace Emigration Index
    This is a compilation of persons who emigrated from or through Alsace or Lorraine in the period 1817-66, including names, age, occupation, place of origin, residence, destination, passport date and source microfilm number. About half the emigrants came from southern Germany. [FHL microfilms 1125002-7]
  • The Alsace Emigration Book
    compiled by Cornelia Schrader-Muggenthaler, 1989-1991, Apollo, Pennsylvania, USA: Closson Press; ISBN: 1558560351 (volume 1) and 1558560866 (volume 2). This book was compiled from the above index plus other emigration records, passenger lists, genealogies and newspaper articles. Over 20,000 entries from the period 1817-70.
  • Options of Alsatians and Lorrainers
    In 1871, many people desired to leave Alsace-Lorraine and their names were recorded in these records of 523,000 persons, arranged in 395 alphabetical lists which the French government published in supplements to the Bulletin Des Lois [Bulletin of Laws]. They list birth dates, place of birth and some list destination. Family History Library microfilm numbers are: 787154 (middle) to 787166. (Note: The last two films also give information on persons emigrating to the USA and Canada.)
  • Options in hardcopy
    These records have also been transcribed into book form. They are collected in 11 volumes organized by destination. See Publishers for information on availability from the Centre départemental d'Histoire des Familles.
  • Einwanderungszentralstelle (EWZ) Anträge
    Records of ethnic Germans in France applying for German citizenship during the period 1939-45.
  • See also a number of more specialized books on emigration in the Bibliography section.

Emigration Waves

  • 17th century: a great deal of immigration from Switzerland particularly following the depopulation of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) (also from Austria, Germany, Lorraine and Savoy)
  • late 18th - early 19th centuries: emigration to Donauschwaben lands conquered from the Turks by the Austrian Empire
  • 1803-4, 1808: emigration to Russia by invitation of Catherine the Great during the French Revolution
  • 1814-1824: large scale emigration to Russia, Canada, and the United States
  • 1825-1871: greatest period for emigration to America
  • 1838: Alsatian community established in McHenry County, Illinois of settlers from Drachenbronn, Lower Alsace
  • 1843-: emigration to Texas, USA, including the Alsatian community of Castroville "The Little Alsace of Texas"
  • 1871-: emigration to other regions of France following incorporation of Alsace into the German Empire including 70,430 net emigrants in the period 1871-75

Jewish Records

A new class of record arose in 1808 when Napoleon required all Jews to adopt hereditary surnames. These declarations, which often include signatures in Hebrew, are now kept at the departmental archives.

Marriage Records

Marriage contracts in the Alsace only name the parents and not the grandparents as in some other areas. After 1808, the documents include the real and personal property of each marriage party so as to enforce new rules regarding division of property upon death, as well as guardianship and inheritance of income.

Military Records

For Bas Rhin only, the FHL offers a set of 50 rolls of microfilm of a census of 19- and 20-year old males for four arrondisements in Bas Rhin. These records cover the period 1817-1856 and can be particularly helpful for finding the village of origin in this region (after you have exhausted the Alsace Emigration Index (see below). These films are catalogued under Bas-Rhin-Military Records under Locality Search for France. The first roll of the series is numbered 1165977 for reference.

Notarial Records

Mostly unfilmed, notarial documents came into general use after 1648. They include marriage settlements, land sales, wills, codicils of wills and other contracts. Going to the trouble of a notary was historically only of use to those who owned significant property. Royal notaries were authorized as of Louis XIV and kept systematic records stored by date. Notarial documents were also kept by royal scribes, city clerks and others. Their records are usually grouped in one of four categories:

  • inventories at time of death
  • wills
  • marriages and contracts
  • guardianships and related

In 1873, notaries attached to a local lord were required to send in all their pre-1791 files to the departmental archives with the exception of the court clerks (greffiers) whose records remained with the city archives. Post-1791 documents are still with the notary offices, up until 1870.

The languages used in notarial documents varied. Church notaries tended to use Latin while secular scribes and clerks preferred German. The French king's notaries preferred his language, while Jewish notaries used Hebrew for their marriage contracts (which started going to the notary by law after 1701).

A guide to notarial records is the Manuel du Notariat en Alsace (full reference under Literature below).

Notes: At the Family History Center, look for your records both under Germany, Elsaß-Lothringen and France, Bas-Rhin or Haut-Rhin. To be thorough, you might also check France, Alsace. The web page Les dé d'archives en France contains a nice summary of records available in France, which is partly applicable to Alsace.

Regions of Settlement today


  • Gregorian Calendar adoption

The Gregorian calendar had been adopted in France in 1582, but at this time Alsace was not yet under its domain. Thus, in Alsace, this change did not occur before 1648, when a big part of it became French, but only in towns and lordships that were in majority Roman Catholic. In Protestant territories, the King of France imposed this calendar in 1680-82. The town of Mulhouse converted only in 1701. As a consequence, there was a delay of 10 days in the calendar between Catholic and Protestant territories, for many years. In the records, you may find the following abbreviations after a date: "st.v." and "st.n.", which stand for stylo vetero (Julian) and stylo novo (Gregorian), respectively. (source: guide by Christian Wolff, see Bibliography).

  • French Revolution

The calendar in France was dramatically changed during the revolutionary period, 1792-1805.

  • Alternate Month Names
    In some records you may find alternate names for the months. These are Germanic names, established by the Emperor Charlemagne in the 800s. For details, see Swabia.


Genealogical Websites

  • ALSRL, the Alsace-Lorraine Research list web page is sponsored by FEEFHS

Additional Websites

Personal tools
In other languages