Canton Luzern, Switzerland Genealogy

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

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Beginning Research
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Local Research Resources
Canton Luzern


Getting Started[edit | edit source]

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.

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History[edit | edit source]

In 1415 Luzern 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. Luzern 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.

Lucerne (Wikipedia)

Compiled Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

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

Church Records[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch has microfilmed and digitized records for the entire canton. These records can be accessed in two ways:

  • The Luzern archive has organized these records by parish and parish book. Click here to access the records. Click on the plus icon next to the parish, and double-click on the record of choice. Then click on the external URL link to go to the first image of the film.
  • The FamilySearch Catalog (click on Places within Switzerland, Luzern to select the parish). There may be restrictions on viewing these records.

There are partial indexes of church records. They can be accessed in these collections:

For information on the coverage and content of church records, read Switzerland Church Records.

FamilySearch Microfilmed/Digitized Records[edit | edit source]

All microfilmed parish records have been digitized. 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.

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

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.