In this book we will explore the roots of the Austerlitz family (as you may know Fred Astaire was born Frederick Austerlitz) and will see in particular the background of his father’s European origins from the XVIII century to the first half of the XX century. A few news on Fred Astaire childhood and life are also presented as a reference to the story line. The information for this presentation come mostly from the vital records of the various city archives of the towns where the family lived, accompanied by news of the main historical events that characterized the various periods. “Austerlitz sounded too much like a battle” is the phrase with which Fred Astaire once explained the reason why Claude Alvienne, his first dance teacher in New York in 1905, and his mother Ann decided to change the family name from Austerlitz to Astaire in prevision of a glorious theatre career. In researching information about this side of the family it appeared that "Austerlitz" actually sounded like a battle. But not for Napoleonic reasons.