Bas-Rhin, France Genealogy

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EuropeGotoarrow.pngFrance Gotoarrow.png Alsace Gotoarrow.png Bas-Rhin

Guide to Bas-Rhin, France ancestry, family history, and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

History

Bas-Rhin is one of the original 83 departments created on 4 March 1790, during the French Revolution.

In the mid-1790s, following the French occupation of the entire left bank of the Rhine, the northern boundary of the department was extended north beyond the Lauter to the Queich river to include the areas of Annweiler am Trifels, Landau in der Pfalz, Bad Bergzabern, and Worth am Rhein. However, upon Napoleon's second defeat in 1815, the Congress of Vienna reassigned the areas north of the Lauter to Bayern; and those territories are now presently located in the neighbouring German state of Rheinland-Pfalz.

The department has twice been incorporated into Germany: from 1871 (after France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War) until the end of World War I in 1918, and again briefly during World War II (from 1940 to 1945).

A chronology of those who ruled Lower Alsace from the 1st to the 20th century. (Chronologie de la Basse Alsace 1er - XXe siècle) WorldCat 222898250 FHL Book 944.3835 N2b

Places/Localities

Communes

Online Church Records and Civil Registration

The vast majority of your research will be in church records and civil registration. Fortunately, these records are available online from the archives of each department.

Finding Church Records and Civil Registration Online

Each Department of France has archives that provide digitized images of these records.
Here is the website for the Department Archives of Bas-Rhin, where you will find these records.

Department Archives of Bas-Rhin

  • Registres paroissiaux (parish registers)
  • Registres d'état civil (civil registration)
  • Censuses (Recensements)

See Using France Online Department Archives for step by step instructions on finding and reading these records.

Search Strategy

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.


How to Read the Records

Learning to Read Enough French to Do Genealogy

  • It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in French to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read French records.
French Genealogical Word List
French Handwriting.
  • There is a three-lesson course in reading French Records:
Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 1: The French Alphabet,
Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Key Words and Phrases
Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Reading French Records

Jewish Records

  • Les Communautés juives du Bas-Rhin en 1851 FHL Book 944.3835 K3k
  • Recueil des déclarations de prise de nom patronymique des Juifs du Bas-Rhin en 1808 FHL 944.3835 D4k (4 vols)
    Collection of Jewish names for the area of Bas-Rhin in France before 1808

Land

  • Emigration und Nationalgüterveräusserungen im Pfälzischen Teil des Departements du Bas-Rhin FHL Book 943.43 R2m
    The settlement of and purchase of government land by private individuals in the Pfalz region of Germany during the French occupation from 1791 to 1815
  • Répertoire numérique détaillé de la série Q, domaines nationaux FHL Film 908803, book 944.3835 A5rn ser. Q
    Numerical index to the departmental archives of the Bas-Rhin, series Q, national lands

Military

  • Les Bas-Rhinois dans les armées de la Révolution et du 1er Empire FHL Book 944.3835 M2L
  • Registres militaires et tableaux de recensement, 1817-1856 FHL 50 rolls
    A census of 19 and 20 year old males from the arrondisements of: Saverne, Sélestat, Strasbourg and Wissembourg

Notarial records

  • Numerical index of the notarial archives of the former area of Basse- Alsace, now in the department of Bas-Rhin, France. Includes an index of notaries and clientele. (Répertoire numérique des archives notariales de Basse Alsace) FHL Film 962552 Item 2

Schools

  1. Directory of the Evangelical Lutheran clergy, parishes, communities, and schools of higher learning, 1525-1694. (Die evangeliche Gemeinden und Hohen Schulen in Elsass und Lothringen von der Reformation bis zur Gegenwart) FHL Film 1045340 Item 4, Book 943 B4b v. 16

Taxation

  • Register of the revenue and list of taxpayers for the bailliage of Uffried. (Registres des revenus du bailliage de l'Uffried, 1561) FHL Film 1165973 Item 2
    Includes registers of Stattmatten, Dalhunden, Sessenheim, Rountzenheim, Roeschwoog, and Roppenheim.

Societies and Libraries

Family History Centers

Websites