How to do Luxembourg-American genealogy: the census

Most of us have family stories about where our ancestors came from, but confirming them can be a challenge. Sometimes families hid their past to avoid unpleasant memories; other times, it was changed simply out of convenience.

The first place to start in the process of confirming your ancestor’s Luxembourg-American heritage is the U.S. census. Census documents are available for the time period in which most Luxembourgers immigrated the United States (1850 to 1920). If Luxembourg is listed as place of birth, your ancestor is likely Luxembourger. They would have had little reason to lie. There was no American stigma against Luxembourg. However, if Luxembourg is not listed, don’t end your search quite yet. I’ve seen my Luxembourger ancestors listed as German (the Luxembourgish language sounds very much like German) and Dutch (likely a slurring of the German word for German).

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