Sunday, July 13, 2014

An outsider looking in...

I am part Luxembourger. In the US, that makes me Luxembourg-American.
    But like who were raised outside of central Iowa, I have almost no connection to Luxembourger culture. Why? My Luxembourger ancestor married German. Their child married an American born child of another heritage. Everything said and done, I am only 1/8th Luxembourger. The rest is a mixture of other American cultures, including Irish and colonial New England. And the Luxembourger history - minus a few random references to Black Peter - disappeared in the mix.

   Where does that leave me? Sometimes a little bit lost. I find the heritage of my Luxembourger ancestor fascinating. But it is extremely difficult to learn about what his daily life was like before he immigrated to the United States. I haven't been able to find any good books about Luxembourger culture. And where I'm located (New England), the other resources - like Luxembourg-American cultural societies - are not easily accessible. I know two words of Luxembourgish. Ironically, as an American trained French-speaker, I feel like I know a lot about my French-Canadian ancestor's daily life. I wish I had that knowledge of my Luxembourger ancestor.

    I would love to learn more. More about my ancestor's life. More about my past. Maybe even Luxembourgish. But how do I start?


  1. Bryna, I know how you feel. My Luxembourg line was severed when my great-grandmother (first generation American to Luxembourg immigrants) died young and the three children were parceled out. My grandfather went to live with his paternal Irish family, and until I started researching my family, I had no idea that that family was anything but Irish! I can tell through my research that my Luxembourg ancestors were very attached to their culture, and it saddens me that I don't think any of that came down to me. I've finally accepted that I'll have to rely on my research to understand that part of me you, I'm not entirely sure how to start. I do know that some of my relatives were involved with the Aurora (IL) Luxembourg Independent Club and I believe one of the local societies holds some records. There was also a book published called Luxemburger Immigrants to Aurora, which I intend to read. These of course are specific to my family that came to (and stayed) in Aurora, Illinois.

    There is also some great information in the book Luxembourgers in the New World... in Volume II, there is a chapter for each relevant state (pretty sure Iowa was one of them), but if so, that might help. This book also contains info on researching and has a section dedicated to the "causes and development of the emigration movement" by time period. Other than that, maybe contact the LACS and see what advice they may have. Good luck!

  2. Julie,
    Thanks for your wonderful advice. In many ways, I'm lucky. My Luxembourger ancestor was a frontier photographer, and that family left an incredible oral tradition as well. I can trace my ancestors back to the 1790s in Luxembourg (they immigrated in the 1860s). But some ways, the hints make it more frustrating. For example, from the language the children learn, my ancestor spoke French. How did that happen? I wish I knew!