Schirrhein, Schirrhoffen, Hagenau

Contributed by Vince Falter.

Any person researching Schirrhein should also carefully research Schirrhoffen as well. Schirrhein is laid out, running from south to north, along a main street that runs for about a half mile.

At the northern end of Schirrhein there is a city limit sign which marks the end of the village and the beginning of the adjoining village of Schirrhoffen. In fact, if the sign were not there, it would be impossible to recognize that you were leaving one village and entering the other. The houses continue without interruption. Schirrhoffen is smaller than Schirrhein, with a 1990 population of 516. It was once larger than Schirrhein but its subsequent growth has been much slower, probably due to the fact that the church was in Schirrhein, and the church was the center of all activity. In 1766 Schirrhoffen had a population of approximately 125 persons and, by 1794, the population had swollen to 406, again as a result of the settlement of refugees who fled the Revolution.

St. Nicolas is the only church (it is Catholic) in either town and it serves both Schirrhein and Schirrhoffen. St. Nicolas church maintained separate parish books for each community for many years. The reason for this unusual arrangement is not known, definatively. It is suspected that this might have something to do with the history of the two towns. According to the volume on Bas-Rhin in the series Paroisses et communes de France, Schirrhein was the parish, But historically Schirrhein belonged to the city of Haguenau while Schirrhoffen was part of the Seigneurie de Warstatt. When Alsace was first divided into départements, arrondissements and cantons during the French Revolution Schirrhein and Schirrhoffen were put into different cantons, despite their proximity. That indicates there were probably administrative reasons for keeping separate records.