Lucerne Canton, Switzerland Genealogy

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Lucerne Canton
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Guide to Lucerne canton ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

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Getting Started

If you are new to Swiss research, you should watch this introductory course. Then study the articles on church records and civil registration, as almost all of your research will be in those two record groups.

History

In 1415 Lucerne gained Reichsfreiheit and became a strong member of the Swiss confederacy and the city developed its own infrastructure, raised taxes, and appointed its own local officials.
After the victory of the Catholics over the Protestants in the Battle at Kappel in 1531, the Catholic towns dominated the confederacy. The future, however, belonged to the Protestant cities like Zürich, Bern and Basel, which defeated the Catholics in the 1712 Toggenburg War. Lucerne was also involved in the Swiss peasant war of 1653.
In 1798, nine years after the beginning of the French Revolution, the French army marched into Switzerland. That is when the old confederacy collapsed and the government became democratic.
From 1850 to 1913, the population quadrupled and the flow of settlers increased.
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Compiled Genealogies

Civil Registration

Civil registration began in Lucerne Canton in 1876. To understand the records available, read the Wiki article, Switzerland Civil Registration.

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Online Church Records

For information on the coverage, content, and locating of church records, read Switzerland Church Records.
Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, and FindMyPast collections can be view free of charge at a Family History Center near you.

FamilySearch Microfilmed/Digitized Records

Several parish records have been microfilmed and are currently being digitized. Eventually, all of them will be digitized, so check back frequently. These records may have a restriction for use only at a Family History Center near you.

Instructions:

  1. Click on Switzerland, Lucerne FamilySearch Catalog.
  2. Open the list "Places within Switzerland, Lucerne". Select your town.
  3. A list of record categories will open up. Click on "Church records".
  4. A list of available records will appear. Click on the record title you are interested in searching.
  5. Scroll down to the list of microfilm numbers. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

Writing for Church Records

Reading the Records

Search Strategy

This search strategy will help you determine what to write for. Limit tour requests to just one of these steps at a time. Once you have established that the parish is cooperative and perhaps more willing to do more extensive research (for a fee), you might be able to ask them for more at a time.

  • 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.