Bas-Rhin, France Genealogy
|France Research Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
Guide to Bas-Rhin ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers.
- 1 History
- 2 Localities
- 3 Online Church Records and Civil Registration
- 4 Writing for Records
- 5 Learning to Read Enough French, German, or Latin to Do Genealogy
- 6 Online Census Records
- 7 Online Local Databases and Extracted Records
- 8 Microfilm Records of the FamilySearch Library
- 9 Land
- 10 Military
- 11 Notarial records
- 12 Schools
- 13 Taxation
- 14 Societies and Libraries
- 15 Websites
- 16 References
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 River to the Queich River. With Napoleon's second defeat in 1815, the Congress of Vienna reassigned the areas north of the Lauter to Bavaria, and those territories are now presently located in the neighboring 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 then again briefly during World War II from 1940 to 1945.
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.
- 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. For a demonstration of navigating archives websites, watch the video, Using France Department Archives Online.
- 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.
Writing for Records
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
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.
Here are some resources for learning to read German Records:
- German Genealogical Word List
- Reading German Handwritten Records Lesson 1: Kurrent Letters
- Reading German Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Making Words in Kurrent
- Reading German Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Reading Kurrent Documents
- Old German Script Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (German Church and Civil Records)
- German Church and Civil Records
- German Script Tutorial
Here are some resources for learning to read French records.
There is a three-lesson course in reading handwriting in old 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
These lessons focus on reading church record and civil registration records:
Another resource is the French Records Extraction Manual, with this linked Table of Contents. You will be able to practice on actual documents.
- FRENCH RECORDS EXTRACTION MANUAL
- Chapter 1: OLD FRENCH RECORDS
- Chapter 2: PARISH CHRISTENING AND CIVIL BIRTH ENTRIES
- Chapter 3: MARRIAGE ENTRIES
- Chapter 4: OTHER ENTRIES
- Chapter 5: FRENCH HANDWRITING AND SPELLING
- Chapter 6: NAME IDENTIFICATION
- Chapter 7: GENDER
- Chapter 8: DATES
Some Catholic church records will be in Latin.
Online Census Records
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
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.
- 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.
- 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
- Atelier Généalogique de l'Arrondissement de Wissembourg et Environs
- Familles d’Alsace du Nord
- Association Généalogique et Héraldique du Val de Liepvre
- Société d'Histoire des Quatre Cantons Benfeld, Erstein, Geispolsheim, Illkirch-Graffenstaden
- Fédération Généalogique de Haute Alsace
- Recherches en Alsace
- Actes en ligne 67
- Registres en ligne
- Les Fritsch
- Généalogie des mariages du Val-de-Villé de 1600 au début de l'Etat Civil
- French Civil Record Index for Select Villages in Bas-Rhin (Index de l'état civil français pour certains villages du Bas-Rhin)
- Alsaciens-Lorrains opting for German nationality (1872-1873)
- 1542-1900 - France, Civil Registration, Various Communes, 1542-1900 at FamilySearch — index
Microfilm Records of the FamilySearch Library
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 Bas-Rhin , find and click on "Places within France, Bas-Rhin," and choose your locality from the list.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Archives départementales du Bas-Rhin
English explanation of Archives site
French language Archives for Bas-Rhin
- Répertoire numérique de fonds de l'état civil (sous-séries II E, III E, IV E) FHL Film 962676 Item 4, book 944.3835 A5rn ser. 2E-4E
Numerical index to the departmental archives of the Bas-Rhin, sub-series 2E-4E, civil registration.
- Répertoire numérique de la série L (documents administratifs de la période révolutionnaire, 1790-An VIII) FHL Film 962651 Item 10, Book 944.3835 A5rn ser. L
Numerical index to the departmental archives of the Bas-Rhin, series L, administrative documents from the revolutionary period, 1790-1800
Family History Centers
- Tout en Un Bas-Rhin
- GenWeb, Bas-Rhin Portal
- Cousins 67
- 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.