Austria Church Records

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The FamilySearch moderator for Austria is SugdenHG.

The GenTeam Gazetteer[edit | edit source]

The town your ancestors lived in belonged to a parish, which may have a different name. GenTeam Gazetteer is an online gazetteer that covers the current countries of Austria, Czech Republic, and Slovenia (most of the area belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire). It gives former (German) and current names of locations, the name of the parish the town belonged to, the beginning year of the records, and the archive that holds the records. It will also give details on earlier parishes the locality belonged to. It then links to the website of that archive.

This is an example of a typical parish record entry that you will see: Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 7.22.07 PM.png

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Catholic Records[edit | edit source]

Burgenland--Diocese of Eisenstadt[edit | edit source]

Carinthia (Kärnten][edit | edit source]

Lower Austria (Niederösterreich)[edit | edit source]

Roman Catholic Dioceses of Austria

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Upper Austria (Oberösterreinch)[edit | edit source]

Salzburg[edit | edit source]

Styria (Steiermark)[edit | edit source]

Tyrol (Tirol)[edit | edit source]

Vorarlberg--Diocese of Feldkirchen[edit | edit source]

Evangelical-Lutheran Records[edit | edit source]

Diocese of Burgenland[edit | edit source]

Diocese of Carinthia (Kärnten) and East Tyrol (Tirol)[edit | edit source]

Diocese of Lower Austria (Niederösterreich)[edit | edit source]

Diocese of Upper Austria (Oberösterreich)[edit | edit source]

  • Matricula: Oberösterreich: Ev. Kirche A.B
  • DORIS- historical portal of Oberösterreich, digitized Roman Catholic church records [originl books only] and Evangelical parish registers, available up to 1939. To use, click on WebOffice Core. In the left sidebar click on Katholische Kirche or Evangelische Kirche a.B., then on the respective parish in the map. Good images. Typing the town/parish name in the search box on the top right brings up a map showing the locality, with links to the parish[es] and online church books.

Diocese of Salzburg and Tyrol[edit | edit source]

Diocese of Styria (Steiermark)[edit | edit source]

Diocese of Vienna[edit | edit source]

Greek Orthodox Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

For records not available online, try writing directly to the parish. It is customary to first provide a donation to the parish with your request, and then to inquire what further costs they would like covered.

Addresses for Catholic Parishes[edit | edit source]

Addresses for Evangelical-Lutheran Parishes[edit | edit source]

Church records (Kirchenbücher or Matriken) and parish transcripts (Kirchenbuchduplikate)[edit | edit source]

  • Before 1895, vital records were recorded by church officials: births and baptisms; marriages, marriage proclamations; deaths and burials; confirmations; church censuses, memberships, and family registers.
  • Records exist for many denominations and for military units.
  • Transcripts are similar in content to original parish registers and civil registration. Printed forms were used and indexes added that make them easier to search than parish registers.
  • Occasionally transcripts have more complete data than parish registers. Sometimes the originals have more.
  • Very often separate transcript registers were kept for major towns in the jurisdiction of each parish, whereas the originals have only one register which includes all towns.

Time Coverage[edit | edit source]

The first Protestant regulation for the keeping of Church books was in 1533, and the first Catholic regulation to do so was in 1563, however, a few isolated parishes had already begun in 1379 in Tirol, 1517 in Dalmatia, 1518 in Hungary and 1523 in Austria. Many early church records were destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War 1618-1648 and in subsequent conflicts. Generally, registers exist for the following denominations:

  • Evangelical Lutheran (Evangelisch-Lutherisch) 1533-
  • Evangelical Reformed (Evangelisch-Reformiert), 1556-
  • Moravian Baptist/Hutterite (Hutterer) 1561-
  • Brethren (Brüdergemeine) 1561-
  • Catholic (Katholisch) 1563-
  • Orthodox 1600-
  • Orthodox (Uniat) 1697-
  • Jews (Juden) 1709-
  • Salzburger (Salzburger Protestanten) 1731-
  • Others: Baptists, Methodists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Old Catholics.

Transcripts begin as early as 1784, but some do not start until later. They extend until the advent of civil registration.

Information Content[edit | edit source]

Baptismal/birth Records[edit | edit source]

  • Dates and places of birth and/or baptism
  • Names of children, parents (often mother's maiden name is given)
  • Names of godparents and sometimes their relationships to infants.

Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

  • Names of couples
  • Date of marriage and/or date of proclamation
  • Often names of parents, names of witnesses.

Marriage Contracts and Banns (Heiratskautionen und Belege)[edit | edit source]

  • Names of couples,
  • Dates of intention of marriage,
  • Places of residence,
  • Occupation,
  • Names of witnesses,
  • Often names of parents and sometimes other relationships.

Death/burial Records[edit | edit source]

  • Names of deceased,
  • Date of death and/or burial;
  • Often age and cause of death;
  • Often name of spouse, especially of women;
  • Names of Parents of Deceased Children.

Confirmation Records[edit | edit source]

Children were confirmed between the ages of 12 and 16.

  • Name of child,
  • Age,
  • Place of residence and
  • Name of father.

Church censuses, membership lists, family registers[edit | edit source]

  • Names of married couples,
  • Their ages or birth dates and places,
  • Sometimes dates of marriage,
  • Names of children,
  • Ages or birth dates,
  • Death or burial dates of children.
  • Sometimes marriage dates and names of spouses of children are given.

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

You do not have to be fluent in a foreign language to read church records! Only a limited vocabulary is used. Most Catholic records were written in Latin until the 1800s. Protestant records were usually written in German. Local dialects may have affected the spelling of some names and other words in the church records. In German areas under French domination during the early nineteenth century, many church records were kept in French. Sometimes the records combine two languages.

German Paleography Seminar at FamilySearch.

Downloadable Handouts[edit | edit source]

These printable handouts can be used for ready reference when reading German Handwriting.

Vocabulary found on Specific Records:

Dates, Numbers, Abbreviations:

Miscellaneous Vocabulary:


  • Fraktur Font--Many forms and books are printed in this font.

Feast Dates[edit | edit source]

  • Each day of the year had several patron saints and was a feast day to honor those saints. Some vital events are recorded in church records only by the holy day (feast day) on the church calendar. For example, the feast day called “All Saints Day” [Allerheiligentag] is “1 November.” An online feast date calculator may be found at the Albion College website. Simply enter the year and click "Calculate."

Using "Left side-right side" Films[edit | edit source]

A FamilySearch Catalog entry may indicate that a German record was filmed "l.s.-r.s.", meaning "left-side- right side". The researcher must be aware that two sets of records (odd and even pages) must be searched. Sometimes each side of a book is found on a separate microfilm. In that case, it may be helpful to load both films on adjacent readers. If the entries go across both pages in the book, the side that identifies the key individuals (such as child and parents) must be searched first. Often the child and parents are listed on the left side of the page, and the year and birth/baptism date on the right. Thus it is very important to note the sheet numbers on the tag and identify the relevant entry with its position on the page.