Haut-Rhin, France Genealogy
Guide to Haut-Rhin Department ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.
|France Wiki Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
History[edit | edit source]
Haut-Rhin is a department of the Alsace region France. It is one of the original 83 departments that were created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It borders on Switzerland to the south and Germany to the east. Its name means Upper Rhine. Haut-Rhin is the smaller and less populated of the two departments of the former administrative Alsace region. Its boundaries have been modified many times:
- 1798, it absorbed Mulhouse, formerly a free city, and the last Swiss enclave in the south of Alsace;
- 1800, it absorbed the whole département of Mont-Terrible;
- 1814, it lost the territories which had been part of Mont-Terrible, which were returned to Switzerland, except for the old principality of Montbéliard;
- 1816, it lost Montbéliard, which was transferred to the département of Doubs;
- 1871, it was mostly annexed by Germany (Treaty of Frankfurt). The remaining French part formed the Territoire de Belfort in 1922;
- 1919, it was reverted to France (Treaty of Versailles) but remains administratively separated from Belfort.
- 1940, it was annexed de facto by Nazi Germany.
- 1944, it was recovered by France.
On 1 January 2021, the departments of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin will merge into the European Collectivity of Alsace. 
Localities (Communes)[edit | edit source]
Church Records and Civil Registration (Registres Paroissiaux et Etat Civil) Online[edit | edit source]
The vast majority of your research will be in church records and civil registration. For more information on these records and how to use them, read France Church Records and France Civil Registration. Additional instructions and practice activities are available:
- Alsace-Lorraine - Activity, Answer Key
- Alsace-Lorraine: Department Archive Records Online - Instruction
Fortunately, these records are available online from the archives of each department:
Here is the website for the Department Archives of Haut-Rhin, where you will find these records.
- Follow these steps for Department Archives of Haut-Rhin
- Click on the link above and a pop-up screen will appear.
- Click J'accepte les conditions and you will be allowed to access the records.
- Online Collections:
- 1792-1919 France, Haut-Rhin, Civil Registration, 1792-1919 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index
- 1793-1892 Haut Rhin, France, Births, Marriages, and Deaths 1793-1892 at Ancestry — index & images, ($)
For a demonstration of navigating archives websites, watch the video, Using France Department Archives Online.
Online Census Records[edit | edit source]
Census records can support your search in civil and church records. They can help identify all family members. When families have similar names they help determine which children belong in each family. See France Census.
Online Local Databases and Extracted Records[edit | edit source]
Groups devoted to genealogy have also extracted and/or indexed records for specific localities, time periods, religious groups, etc. Since church records at the departmental archives are generally not indexed, you might find an index here that will speed up your searching.
- FamilySearch Collections:
- 1536-1897 France, Protestant Church Records, 1536-1897 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index and images
- 1542-1900 France, Civil Registration, Various Communes, 1542-1900 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index
- Tout en Un (All in One) Online Databases Check for online databases and records in right column. Check back occasionally to see if new databases have become available.
- Filae, index and images, ($).
- Tout en Un (All in One) Local Databases Here you may find extracted/translated records, record indexes, and other helpful records such as cemetery, land, or military records.
- Geneanet Collaborative Indexes Search by locality (parish or commune).
- Cercle Généalogique d'Alsace
- Centre de recherches sur l'histoire des familles du Haut-Rhin
- Société d'Histoire "Les amis de Thann
- Alsace Généa
- Tout la généalogie du val de Lièpvre
- GeneaFrance Recherches en Alsace
- History of the Jews of Alsace
- Huguenots of Alsace
- Boite à outils du généalogiste Alsacien
- Alsaciens-Lorrains who opted for German nationality (1872-1873)
Microfilm Records of the FamilySearch Library[edit | edit source]
The church and civil registration records have all been microfilmed. Currently, they are being digitized, and plans are to complete that project by 2020. Check back occasionally to see if your records have become available. In the meantime, some of them might be available at a Family History Center near you. To find a microfilm: Click on Haut-Rhin , find and click on "Places within France, Haut-Rhin," and choose your locality from the list.
Writing for Records[edit | edit source]
Online records tend to cover only the time before 100 years, due to privacy laws. You can write to civil registration offices and local churches who might honor requests for more recent records of close family members for the purpose of genealogy.
For a civil registration office, address your request to:
Monsieur l'officier de l'état-civil
Mairie de (Town)
(Postal code) (Town)
For a parish church:
Monsieur le Curé
(Church --see The Catholic Directory for church name and address)
(Town) (Postal Code) France
For other addresses and for help writing your request in French, use French Letter Writing Guide.
Learning to Read Enough French, German, or Latin to Do Genealogy[edit | edit source]
It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in French or German 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. Because this region once belonged to Germany, many records are written in German.
German[edit | edit source]
Here are some resources for learning to read German Records:
- German Genealogical Word List
- German Paleography Seminar
- Old German Script Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (German Church and Civil Records)
- German Church and Civil Records
- German Script Tutorial
French[edit | edit source]
Here are some resources for learning to read French records.
These lessons focus on reading church record and civil registration records:
Another resource is the French Records Extraction Manual. The full manual or individual lesson chapters are downloadable from this webpage. A number of helpful lessons are available here, but the first five lessons are especially useful.
- Chapter 1: Old Records
- Chapter 2: Christening, Marriage, and Other Entries
- Chapter 3: Marriage
- Chapter 4: Other Entries
- Chapter 5: French Handwriting and Spelling
Latin[edit | edit source]
Before 1539, many church records are in Latin. In 1539 French was made the administrative language of France through the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts. As a result, there is only the occasional Latin word or phrase in church records after 1539.
Search Strategy[edit | edit source]
- Begin with the death information of the focus ancestor and locate the death record.
- Use the information on that death record to locate the ancestor's marriage record.
- Use the information on that marriage record to locate the ancestor's birth record.
- Once the birth record is found, search for the focus ancestor's siblings.
- Next, search for the marriage of the focus ancestor's parents. The marriage record will have information that often helps locate the birth records of the parents.
- 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. It is possible they may have moved or boundaries changed.
Genealogical Societies and Help Groups[edit | edit source]
Family History Centers[edit | edit source]
- Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of FamilySearch and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah (United States), located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources to assist you in the research and study of your genealogy and family history by:
- Giving personal one-on-one assistance to patrons
- Providing access to genealogical records through the Internet or microfilm loan program
- Offering free how-to classes (varies by location)
- There is no cost to visit a Family History Center or FamilySearch Library. They are open to anyone with an interest in genealogical research. They are operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Partner sites such as Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, Findmypast.com, and many CD based collections can be searched free of charge.
Websites[edit | edit source]
- Tout en Un Haut-Rhin
- GenWeb, Haut-Rhin Portal
- Cousins 68
- Geneanet Surname Search
- France Geneawiki Genealogical Sources includes instructional discussions of various records available.
- French Republican Calendar. This site will help you translate dates used by France from 24 October 1793 to 31 December 1805.
- There are parallel articles also available on the French Language Wiki. Because they are maintained by different authors, links may be added there that do not appear here. Generally, the articles translate automatically to English when accessed.
References[edit | edit source]
- Wikipedia contributors, "Haut-Rhin," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haut-Rhin (accessed June 22, 2019).