Some History





Vital records and parish books of Alsace

Some problems with genealogical research exist in Alsace due to the diversity of languages and of religions. The former province of Alsace consisted of the present départements of Haut-Rhin, of Bas-Rhin and the Territory of Belfort. From the 9th Century to the end of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) these territories were part of the Holy Roman Empire, but later Alsace was gradually divided into a mosaic of virtually sovereign landlordships. The Reformation brought the "cujus regio ejus religio" rule, forcing the people to adopt the religion of their prince. Between 1648 and 1871, Alsace moved little by little from a feudal system under the control of the German Empire to the absolute monarchy of the french regime.

It must be noticed that the church books were managed distinctly according to the religion: one book for the Catholic churchgoers and another for the Reformed faith. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) had quite no impacts in Alsace and a complete freedom of practicing their religion was left to the ministers of the Lutheran Church. Alsace is the only region of France were the Protestant Church books are so comprehensive.

By decision of the Council of Trent, the records of the Catholic Church of the dioceses of Basle, Speyer and Strasbourg were written in Latin until after the end of the Second World War.

The parish books of the Protestant, the Reformed or the Lutheran Church were written in German.

Another important point that must noticed is the presence in Alsace of a major jewish community. By his imperial edict of 1808, Napoléon forced them to choose a hereditary family name in order to register their certificates in the French civil records. This obligation generated the creation of cross-reference lists of old and new family names. The most interesting documents of this religion are marriage settlements, even if they are written in hebrew. Since 1701, these records had to be deposited by the Royal notarial offices. A census was made in 1784 as a counting of jewish prople who settled in Alsace. It is of greatest interest for genealogical research.

From 1792 until 1871, civil records were written in French according to the French law. After the Treaty of Frankfurt, Alsace and the german-speaking part of Lorraine were annexed to Germany until 1918. Only the Territory of Belfort was left to France. Civil records were written in German between 1871 and 1918. In 119, the departements of Lower Rhine (Bas-Rhin) and of Upper Rhine (Haut-Rhin) went back to France and the civil records were written in French again until 1940. Between 1940 and 1945 the civil records were written in German


Hilly Alsace

Some bits of history

This name was given to a region that was built from territories that were the former county of Nassau-Saarwerden, the manor of La Petite Pierre (Lützelstein) and the manors of Diemeringen and of Asswiller. This region was separated from the surrounding territories of the catholic duchy of Lorraine by the Vosges forest.

Between 1525 and 1697, the dukes of Lorraine contended with the counts of Nassau about the ownership of their county. The lutheran Reformation worked its way in 1557 and, as soon as 1559, the county of Nassau-Saarwerden was used as a place of refuge by huguenots who were expelled for religious reasons from the french territory or from Lorraine. The region remained peaceful and flourishing until the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). In 1629, the catholic lorrainers occupied the county and the protestant ministers were expelled. Starvation, diseases and other damages of war made many families of the area run away. Between 1649 and 1670, the county was occupied by the lorrainers, and the lutheran religion was forbidden. From 1671 to 1697, France annexed the territory of the county. In 1698, the county was returned to the counts of Nassau-Saarwerden and the lutheran religion became the official religion again. Until its annexation by France in 1793, the county remained a German protestant lordship. Until 1766, Bockenheim (Bouquenom) and Saarwerden constituted in the middle of the county an enclave that was owned since 1629 by the duke of Lorraine.

The villages of the county of Nassau-Saarwerden in the 18th century :

Siltzheim, Herbitzheim, Oermingen, Keskastel, Voellerdingen, Schopperten, Domfessel, Lorentzen, Butten, Hinsingen, Bissert, Altwiller, Harskirchen, Neu-Saarwerden, Zollingen, Rimsdorf, Mackwiller, Thal, Diedendorf, Pisdorf , Burbach, Berg, Rexingen, Wolfskirchen, Eywiller, Eschwiller, Weyer, Drulingen, Ottwiller, Hirschland, Siewiller, Kirberg, Rauwiller, Goerlingen

The villages of the county of La Petite Pierre :

Waldhambach, Volksberg, Rosteig, Wingen sur Moder, Weislingen, Frohmühl, Puberg, Adamswiller, Tieffenbach, Struth, Hinsbourg, Gungwiller, Bettwiller, Durstel, Petersbach, La Petite Pierre, Lohr, Schoenbourg, Eschbourg, Graufthal, Hangviller, Wintersbourg, Zilling, Vescheim, Berling , Pfalzweyer, Weinbourg

The villages of the manor of Diemeringen :

Diemeringen, Dehlingen, Ratzwiller


Origin of the "Krummes Elsass" (Curved/Bent/Hilly Alsace) designation

It is often said that this name was given to the northwestern part of the nowadays 'departement of Bas-Rhin' to point out the geographical swelling that this enclave in the 'departement of Moselle' makes on the 'back' of Alsace.

However, this designation seems to be much older because there is a "Alsatia curva" in the book "Vita latina Sanctae Odiliae" written by the Premontre Father Hugues Peltre and published about 1680. By this time, one can suppose that this "Curved Alsace " was made of the counties of La Petite Pierre and of Saarwerden and of the lordship of Diemeringen (present cantons of La Petite-Pierre, Drulingen and Sarre-Union).

But may be some day someone will discover that this name is much older.

Source: Revue Pays d'Alsace, # 68, IV-1969, SHASE


Canton of Sarre-Union, arrondissement of Saverne, population in 1990 : 356 inhabitants

Parish books
Protestant (evang.-luth.): Baptisms: 1705-1797 Marriages: 1705-1797 Deaths: 1704-1797
Also see Butten (3 E 71) and Diemeringen (3 E 94)
Catholic: see Domfessel (3 E 98) and Lorentzen (3 E 274)

Microfilms of the Church of JC of the LDS:

RP BMD 1704-1775: film FHL 721698
RP BMD 1776-1794: film FHL 1144356 item 2
EC TD 1792-1862 N 1793-1862: film FHL 721699
EC M 1793-1862: film FHL 721700
EC D 1793-1862: film FHL 721701
EC TD 1863-1872 M 1803-1804: film FHL 1761949 items 4-5
EC NMD 1863-1872: film FHL 1144367 item 4
EC NMD 1873-1882: film FHL 1712975 item 1

Origin of the placename

From the German name 'Dallo' and -ing suffix.
Deluquifiaga, Diluquifiaga en 737
Dahlingen, 1212
Dalingen, 1321
Delinguen, 1361

From the 13th century to the French Revolution, the history of this village of Hilly Alsace was linked to the fate of the lordship of Diemeringen to which it belonged, like the village of Ratzwiller did. Archeological diggings proved that the place was already inhabited as early as the Neolithic age, but it was in a donation record written in 737 at the Wissembourg Abbey that the name of the village was cited for the first time. And it was only in 1212 that Dehlingen appeared in its present day spelling, named after the knights dynasty who lived in the village.

Like the county of Salm and the lordships of Puttelange and Morhange, the lordship of Diemeringen was part of the possessions of the Palatine Electors or Rheingrafen, also called Wild Counts.

The Reformation settled in Dehlingen about 1570, as it happened in the whole lordship. During the 18th century, the village was used as a refuge by many protestant refugees.

Between 1670 and 1673, several trials for witchcraft sent a dozen of inhabitants of the lordship to the stake.

A jewish community, of up to a hundred people about 1850, lived in Dehlingen from the late 1700's to the early 1900's.

Dehlingen was incorporated into France in 1793.

Dehlingen counted 440 inhabitants in 1776, 491 in 1801, 824 in 1831, 755 in 1836, 698 in 1851, then the population continued to decrease and there were less than 600 people in 1885, the 535 in 1910, lesz than 500 in 1931 and 356 inhabitants in 1990.

The first church book of the Reformed Parish of Dehlingen dates back to 1704. Before this date Dehlingen depended on the parish of Diemeringen.

The village of Dehlingen is located near the Eichel Valley, on the slope of a hill in a part of Alsace called Hilly Alsace. The place was inhabited as early as the Neolithic Age. About 200 A.D., the village was close to a Roman road, therefore it had a real economic iomportance at this time. The mainly calcareous soil produced small crops but it provided the material used to build the houses. This is the reason why the village hosted more craftsmen than farmers. The main farms of Hardtwald and Langenwaldt are located on more fertile grounds above the village. In the valley, the Klappacher mill is no longer in use and stopped its work a long time ago.

In 1776, 440 people lived in Dehlingen, most of them were of protestant religion, but there were also 22 jews and 3 catholics. The village was annexed to France in 1793. Before 1821, the population of the village had highly increased and reached 788 inhabitants. During the next years the increase was less important and then from 1850 the population decreased as low as 361 inhabitants today.

Dehlingen was a jewish settling that had its synagogue and its cemetery. After WWI, most of the jewish inhabitants left the village and settled in bigger towns looking for better economic conditions.

In the past the population of Dehlingen earned its living by agriculture and handicrafts. But year after year, many villagers abandonned their agricultural and artisanal activities for economic reasons. More and more frequently farmers had a secondary activity at the pottery workshop of Diemeringen or at the crockery workshop of Sarreguemines and this work became progressively their main activity. Today many inhabitants work in the big german factories in the neighbourhood of Dehlingen.


Canton of Drulingen, arrondissement of Saverne, population in 1990 : 1550 inhabitants
Annexes Butten, Dehlingen, Lorentzen, Mackwiller, Morhange, Ratzwiller, Raville (Ralling), Waldhambach
Sarre-Union too (3E 434)

Origin of the placename :

probably from the germanic anthroponym Theudemar and the -ing suffix.
Villa Rimoni, Teurino villa 712
Dymringen, Dimeringa castrum 1275
Deimeringa 1300
Diemaringen 1378
Dimringen 1483

Parish books :

Protestant(évang.-luth.): BMS 1586-1715 ; 1716-1794
Catholic : see Domfessel (3E98) and Lorentzen (3E274).

Microfilms of the Church of JC of the LDS:

RP BMS 1588-1715: film FHL 742365
RP BMS 1716-1794: film FHL 742366
EC TD 1794-1862 N 1793-1830: film FHL 742367
EC N 1831-1862: film FHL 742368
EC M 1799-1862: film FHL 742369
EC D 1799-1862: film FHL 742370
EC M 1793-1803 D 1793-1799: film FHL 1767599 item 10
EC TD 1863-1872: film FHL 1761949 item 12
EC NMD 1863-1872: film FHL 1144370 item 1
EC NMD 1873-1882: film FHL 1712978 items 2-3

The foundations of a mausoleum dated from the 2nd century A.D. show the presence of people on the territory of the village at the Gallo-Roman times. The name of the place of Dymringen was first mentionned in 1275; the village obtained privileges and exemptions from the lord of Fénétrange-Brackenkopf and was likely the capital city of Eichelgau, a part of the Saargau that was administered during the 12th and 13th centuries by the Sarrebrück-Deux-Ponts dynasties. The lordship of Diemeringen was then made up of the villages of Voellerdingen, Butten, lost in 1422, Ratzwiller and Dehlingen. In 1467, the Moers-Sarrewerden and the Neuchatel-Montagu came into the possessions of Jean of Fénétrange-Schwanhals, lord of Diemeringen. A few years later in 1491, the Rhingraves got one half of the lordship and purchased the other half. In 1520, the Rhingraves of the younger branch of the Kyrburg came into the lordship and they introduced the Reformation there in 1565. The whole lordship suffered from the damages of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) before the destructions made by Turenne's troops in 1677. In the 1700's, the lordship was divided in five and later four portions due to inheritance. In 1793, its annexation to the French territory occurred and was confirmed by Treaty of Lunéville in 1801.


Canton of Sarre-Union, arrondissement of Saverne, population in 1990 : 279 inhabitants

Parish books :

Protestant (évang.-luth.): annexe Voellerdingen, also see Diedendorf (3E90).
Catholic : 1603-1629 ; 1679-1700 ; 1749-1792
annexes Berg, Butten, Dehlingen, Diemeringen, Lorentzen, Lutterbacherhof, Mackwiller, Ratzwiller, Thal, Voellerdingen, Waltermuch.

Microfilms of the Church of JC of the LDS:

RP BMS (cath. and prot.) 1603-1743: film FHL 721696 items 1-2
RP BMS (cath. and prot.) 1744-1792: film FHL 1807542 item 11
EC TD 1794-1862 N 1799-1862: film FHL 721696 items 3-4
EC M 1799-1862 D 1794-1862: film FHL 721697
EC TD 1863-1872: film FHL 1761949 item 16
EC NMD 1863-1872: film FHL 1144371 item 1
EC NMD 1873-1882: film FHL 1712941 item 2

Origin of the placename :

from Latin domnus
Domus vasallorum
Dunnvaszel, Dunnfassel 1300
Donnebassel 1344
Dunnefasseln 1377
Donnevasle 1400's
Domfassel 1542
Dumfassel 1650
Dungfaessel 1650

Domfessel, an annexe to the lordship of Sarrewerden, belonged to the bailliage of Harskirchen under the Nassau-Saarbrücken family. Melanchton is said to have come to this place to preach in 1524 at the time of the Reformation.


Canton of Sarre-Union, arrondissement of Saverne, population in 1990 : 1460 inhabitants
Annexes until 1726 : Altwiller, Harskirchen, Herbitzheim, Hinsingen.

Origin of the name :

Roman anthroponym Caesar or German word 'Kesse' or 'Chazo', or German word 'vergt' and Latin word 'castellum' (castle)
Caesaris Castellum
Caistres 1291
Castle 1340
Kesekastel 1376
Keisercastel 1661
Kaeskastel 1670
Kastel, Castel, Cassell, Keescastel

Parish books :

Protestant (évang.-luth.): 1698-1793
Catholic : 1642-1699 ; 1691-1797

Microfilms of the Church of JC of the LDS:

RP (prot.) BMS 1698-1794: film FHL 768149
RP (cath.) BMS 1642-1793: film FHL 768150
EC TD 1794-1839: film FHL 768151
EC TD 1794-1872: film FHL 1767603 item 3
EC N 1794-1839: film FHL 768152
EC N 1840-1862: film FHL 768153
EC M 1794-1862: film FHL 768154
EC D 1794-1862: film FHL 768155
EC NMD 1862-1872: film FHL 1144845 item 1
EC NMD 1873-1882: film FHL 10713503

Celtic traces that were found in the forest prove the antiquity of the human implantation on the site where a tradition places Julius Caesar castle. Many vestiges of the Gallo-Roman times in the village and on the territory of the community confirm the thesis of the crossing of Roman legions, even if the emperor's stay is not proven. An annexe to the county of Sarrewerden and to the abbey of Herbitzheim, Keskastel is part of the jurisdiction of the county.


Canton of Drulingen, arrondissement of Saverne, population in 1990 : 259 inhabitants

Likely origin of the name :

Germanic anthroponym 'Aigo' and Latin word 'villa'
Erialdouilleri 700
Einswiller 1578
Iville, Iwillre 18th century

Parish books :

Protestant (évang.-luth.) : 1746-1799

Microfilms of the Church of JC of the LDS:

RP BMS (prot.) 1746-1822: film FHL 1143961 item 3
RP BMS (prot.) 1671-1846 Wolfskirchen, Bischtroff, Hirschland, Inswiller, Burbach, Diedendorf : film FHL 1069790
EC TD 1792-1862 N 1794-1862: film FHL 749356
EC M 1793-1862: film FHL 749357
EC N 1795-1796 M 1795: film FHL 1767599 item 4
EC D 1793-1862: film FHL 749358
EC TD 1863-1872: film FHL 1761950 item 8
EC NMD 1863-1872: film FHL 1144810 item 2
EC NMD 1873-1882: film FHL 1713115 item 3
EC NM 1873-1875: film FHL 1713116 item 1

In the beginning of the 16th century, the village was completely destroyed by fire. In 1559, Eywiller began to be repopulated by Protestants like the other "welsches" villages of Hilly Alsace. A new reconstitution of its population occured after the Thirty Years War, but with inhabitants of the Catholic and Protestant communities this time. But the Catholic church was located in Eschwiller. The territory of Eywiller was shared mainly between the Priory of Lixheim and the counts of Sarrewerden before falling in 1745 to the Nassau-Weilburg family. The village went to France in 1793.


Canton of Drulingen, arrondissement of Saverne, population in 1990 : 630 inhabitants
Likely origin of the name : anthroponym 'Haganbal'
Disciacu, Ditiacus, Chagambac, Haganbach 713
Aganbac, Chaganbaci, Haganbache 723-725
Aganbach 788
Haganbahe 830
Hagenbach 1179
Hambach 1571

Parish books :

Protestant (évang.-luth.) : 1683-1720 ; 1720-1792

Microfilms of the Church of the LDS:

RP (prot.) BMS 1683-1720: film FHL 1071073
RP (prot.) BMS 1720-1792: film FHL 1071074
EC TD 1792-1862 N 1799-1827: film FHL 1071075
EC N 1828-1862: film FHL 1071076
EC M 1798-1862: film FHL 1071077
EC D 1799-1862: film FHL 1071078
EC TD 1863-1872: film FHL 1767379 item 9
EC NMD 1863-1872: film FHL 1166008 item 1
EC NMD 1873-1882: film FHL 1741026 items 2-3

The village of Disciacus existed at the Gallo-Roman times and became Villa Haganbah at the Franks times. The abbey of Wissembourg owned it during the Medieval times but the Lords of Lichtenberg progressively imposed their power. In 1544 the family yielded her rights to the count of Lützelstein and let the introduction of the Reformation thus. The village became French in 1681. The village took the name of Waldhambach in 1891 in order to differentiate itself from the village of Hambach in Moselle.


Canton of Sarre-Union, arrondissement of Saverne, population in 1990 : 251 inhabitants

Origin of the name :

Germanic anthroponyms 'Rim' and 'Dorf' (village)
Rimoniuilla, Remuneuuilare, Remune wilare, Mune uuilare, Uilare Rimane, Rimuuileri, Rimenvilare 8th century
Rimouilare, Rimonovilare, Rimuvillare 9th century
Rimestdorf 1350

Parish books :

Protestant (évang.-luth.) : 1777-1800

Microfilms of the Church of JC of the LDS:

RP BMS 1777-1801: film FHL 785854 item 1
EC TD 1793-1862 N 1794-1862: film FHL 785854 items 2-3
EC M 1795-1862: film FHL 785327
EC Public.M 1800-1801: film FHL 1769599 item 8
EC D 1794-1862: film FHL 785328
EC TD 1863-1872: film FHL 1767596 item 35
EC NMD 1863-1872: film FHL 1165352 item 1
EC NMD 1873-1882: film FHL 1732767 item 3
EC D 1873-1882: film FHL 1732768 item 1

The origins of Rimsdorf date back to the Roman times. Merovingian burials that used Gallo-Roman funeral monuments prove that. A property of the abbey of Wissembourg at the 9th century, the village was then part of the county of Sarrewerden and later, from 1745 to 1793, of the Nassau - Weilburg's domain. It depended then on the bailliage of Neusaarwerden./p>


Canton of Sarre-Union, arrondissement of Saverne, population in 1990 : 450 inhabitants

Origin of the name :

Germanic anthroponym 'Vullerd' and '-ing' suffix
Filterdingas 10th century
Vilderodingas 1120
Vilderadingae 1163
Vilderdingen 1344
Velderdingen 1551

Parish books :

Protestant (évang.-luth.) : 1603-1629 ; 1777-1798

Microfilms of the Church of JC of the LDS:

RP BMS 1777-1798: film FHL 774738 item 1
EC TD 1792-1862 N 1794-1862: film FHL 774738 items 2-3
EC M 1794-1862: film FHL 774739
EC D 1794-1862: film FHL 774740
EC TD 1863-1872: film FHL 1767379 item 5
EC NMD 1863-1872: film FHL 1166006 item 1
EC NM 1873-1882: film FHL 1741023 item 4
EC MD 1880-1882: film FHL 1741024 item 1

First mentioned in 1128 among the possessions of the abbey of Marmoutier, the village went to the Lords of Diemeringen and then to the counts of Nassau - Sarrebrück in 1421. After the joint possession it became a property of the Nassau - Weilburgs from 1745 to 1793, and then to France from this date.


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