It is in these hills and valleys that my great-great grandfather grew up. It is in Alsace that he married his first wife and had a child. He served in the French Army from 1837 to 1842. Within 5 years of after getting out of the army he emigrated from Alsace to America. Within a few short years after that he gave up all loyalty to France and its King and became a US Citizen. We have a photo of him as an old man with medals pinned on the left breast of his coat. Proud of his service? Perhaps. But in census records this man never said he was from France. The records almost always say “Alsace”. If not Alsace it was Germany. I blame the census takers for that. Alsace Lorraine was always changing hands between Germany and France so it’s understandable that they would be confused.
If you’re interested, the Bas-Rhin has incredible genealogical records online for free. You can browse birth records, marriage records, death records, etc. It’s fantastic….as long as you know where your family came from. While browsing through the archives I found when my great-great grandfather married his first wife. I learned that they had a daughter. I discovered that he had at least four siblings (two brothers and two sisters). I found his father married to his second wife. And, nearly 171 years to the day, I found his father’s death certificate. Thank you Archives of the Bas-Rhin! If Moselle would follow your lead and put their information online I would be even more happy.
Alsace, some day I will visit you. I will walk your hills and valleys. I will gaze upon your rivers and forests. I will drink your wine. Some day, Alsace, you and I shall meet.