Bas-Rhin, France Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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

France Wiki Topics
Flag of France.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
France Background
Local Research Resources
The FamilySearch moderator for France is SugdenHG
Bas-Rhin Department
Ask the

History[edit | edit source]

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).[1]

On 1 January 2021, the departments of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin will merge into the European Collectivity of Alsace.[2]

Localities[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:

Fortunately, these records are available online from the archives of each department:
Here is the website for the Department Archives of Bas-Rhin, where you will find these records.

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.

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 Bas-Rhin , find and click on "Places within France, Bas-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:

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]

Land[edit | edit source]

  • 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[edit | edit source]

  • 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[edit | edit source]

  • 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[edit | edit source]

  • 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[edit | edit source]

  • 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.)

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Introduction to Family History Centers

  • 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,,, and many CD based collections can be searched free of charge.

Finding a Family History Center

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Bas-Rhin (France). Archives départementales and François J. Himly. Chronologie de la basse Alsace: 1er-XXe siècle (Strasbourg: 1972), 126. WorldCat 222898250; FHL Book 944.3835 N2b(accessed July 11, 2016)
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Bas-Rhin," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed June 3, 2020).