Austria

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Contents

Political Divisions

  • Provinces (Bundesländer)
    • Kärnten (Carinthia)
    • Niederösterreich (Lower Austria)
    • Oberösterreich (Upper Austria)
    • Salzburg
    • Steiermark (Styria)
    • Tirol (Tyrol)
    • Capital City, Wien (Vienna)
    • Vorarlberg
  • Cities
    • Bregenz - capital of Vorarlberg
    • Eisenstadt - capital of Burgenland
    • Graz - capital of Styria
    • Innsbruck - capital of Tyrol
    • Klagenfurt - capital of Carinthia
    • Linz - capital of Upper Austria
    • Salzburg - capital of Salzburg
    • St. Pöten - capital of Lower Austria
    • Wien (Vienna) - national capital

Religious Divisions

  • Roman Catholic Archdioceses

Salzburg

Dioceses: 

Feldkirch Graz-Seckau Gurk-Klagenfurt Innsbruck Vienna

Dioceses: 

Eisenstadt Linz St. Pölten

The present-day country of Austria came into existence in 1918, following the end of the First World War. The previous history of the region can be found in the Austro-Hungarian Empire page.

Associations and Societies

It may be advantageous to become a member of the Heraldic-Genealogical Society Der Adler [The Eagle], Address:

Heraldisch genealogische Gesellschaft der "Adler"
Universitätsstrasse 6/9b
A-1090 Wien, AUSTRIA.
Email: society.adler.vienna@chello.at
Library opening hours each wednesday 17h-19h.
E-mail address: society.adler.vienna@chello.at.

The society was founded in 1870 and maintains a library devoted to genealogy, including obituary notices, heraldic crests, seals and periodicals. Inquire from the society regarding admission and costs.

The society provides information (not by phone, however) and may be able to get you in contact with people that can help you in your research. When contacting the society from abroad include IRCs (International Reply Coupons). Membership in the society is about 70 DM per year, not including preparation of family trees or related research.

A similar society in Germany is

Der Herold Verein für Heraldik, Genealogie und verwandte Wissenschaften
Archivstrasse 12-14
D14195 Berlin (Dalem)
GERMANY

This society publishes the quarterly Herold and other works.

Genealogical and Historical Records

Introduction

First, look through all records in your possession. It often happens that records are scattered within families through marriages or bequests.

Note: Parish books and property registers were kept in the old German script, which is not used any more and may be difficult to decipher. It will be necessary to learn this script, either through self-study or from classes offered by German community colleges, to be able to read the entries when visiting an archive. Find out more at the Frequently Asked Questions page for soc.genealogy.german and further tips for Old German Script.

It is suggested that college notebooks or pads should be used instead of taking notes on loose paper slips. Paper is the cheapest material in research work, there is no reason to conserve it. Use a new page for each record and leave the back of the pages blank. Date each entry, the date can be invaluable later for reconstructions. Leave a wide margin at the right of the entries for later additions and notes.

A magnifying glass often helps to decipher the old scripts. When taking notes in archives, use only pencil and never use the old books as a backing when taking notes. Inquire about making photocopies, many archives and parish offices have copiers. It may give an undesirable impression if you carry a laptop computer as this could indicate that you plan to use your research results commercially. This is often frowned upon and the Roman Catholic Church prohibits it explicitly. However, the larger archives (e.g. diocesan archives) allow the use of such laptop computers.

Church Records

The most important sources outside those kept by the family are the local church archives, and the central archives of the bishopric. There you can view the parish books, Matriken, which are used to record church events such as baptisms, marriages, consecrations, announcements, obituaries, etc.

As the Roman Catholic Church as well as the Evangelical Church in Austria do not permit their records to be microfilmed, you may only view documents in its archives or in the parish church on location.

Before visiting an archive, you will need to request a permit for the visit in writing from the relevant diocese. Permits are, as a rule, free of charge for amateur genealogists. At the same time, inquire into the parish office hours. Permits are normally issued for a duration of one year (individual dioceses may have different regulations). As the archives are only accessible under supervision, a small fee will be charged. More easily legible copies have been made of church records of the period between about 1835 to 1959. These can be viewed in the central archives of the bishopric. Another advantage is that these archives contain information from many parishes and expert help is available. Original records date partially back to 16th century, but mostly back to about 1650.

In the Diocese of Burgenland, original records exist back only to about 1805. Before that they are not in the parishes, but instead are collected in the diocesan archive at Eisenstadt. Further information may be found in private archives, libraries or archives such as the national archives (Staatsarchiv) in Vienna, state archives (Landesarchiv) in the respective local capitals, city archives (Stadtarchiv), the national library in Vienna, the military history archive (Kriegsarchiv) in Vienna, etc.

Employment

Employment Book Registers list name, occupation and the actual location of the registration and are available on FHL microfilm. The originals are known as Arbeitsbücher or Dienstbücher and document all the work places of the owner. Land

Property books, many of which date back to the Middle Ages, are also available. They are stored in circuit archives usually at the circuit courts (this is valid for more recent periods only). Older land (title) registers may be found in State archives (Landesarchiven), private Seignorial (Herrschaft) archives, Municipal archives, Diocesan archives, University (Stifts) archives, etc.

Military

Military records may be viewed at the Vienna War Archive

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