Austro-Hungarian Empire Genealogy
Empire Wiki Topics
The Holy Roman Empire was the major political entity in the heart of Europe between 1500 and 1806. The Austrian Empire begin in 1814 and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or the Dual Monarchy, after 1867. The Empire lasted until the end of World War I in 1918.
Background[edit | edit source]
When Austria and Hungary merged together in 1867 to create the Austro-Hungarian Empire, each side retained much of its autonomy. They shared some powers, but most of the administration of the two countries was separate. For this reason, it is necessary to know which side of the empire your ancestors came from—the record types, languages encountered, and the jurisdictions will vary depending on which half they lived in.
Foreign relations & defense
Governing Bosnia & Herzegovina
Official languages (German & Hungarian)
Types of records created
Jurisdictions (Austria: crownlands, Hungary: counties)
Border Changes[edit | edit source]
There were many border changes after the dissolution of the empire in 1918. Austria-Hungary was carved up among many different successor states, and then some borders changed again after WWII and later in the 20th century. The chart below can help you identify the general border changes for different regions of the empire over time.
|Crownlands (Austria) or regions of Hungary||Successor Countries (circa 1918)||Modern Countries (circa 2021)|
|Bohemia, Moravia||Czechoslovakia||Czechia (Czech Republic)|
|Galicia and Lodomeria||Poland
Ukraine (Soviet Union)
|Hungary (central & west)||Hungary||Hungary|
|Hungary (western edge)||Austria||Austria|
|Hungary (eastern & southeast)||Romania||Romania|
|Hungary (south & southwest)||Yugoslavia||Croatia
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||Yugoslavia||Bosnia & Herzegovina|
For Austria-Hungary Research, You Must Know Your Ancestors' Town[edit | edit source]
- Records in Europe were (and are) kept on the town or parish level, which means an exact town of residence must be known before research can be done in most cases. You will need to find the name of your ancestor’s hometown in records in the country they immigrated to before jumping back to Europe.
- Details about the town will also help:
- the county of that town,
- where the closest Evangelical Lutheran, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, etc. parish church was (depending on their religion),
- where the civil registration office was, and
- if you have only a village name, you will need the name of the larger town it was part of.
Finding a Hometown[edit | edit source]
If you do not yet know the name of the town of your ancestor's birth, there are well-known strategies for a thorough hunt for it.
- Pay attention to the languages they spoke, which countries they said they were from, and how these details changed over time. Their religion and ethnicity can also help to narrow down the region.
- Austria was used an abbreviation for the whole empire, so don't assume that your ancestor can't be from the Hungarian half if they reported they were from Austria. However, if they reported they were from Hungary, that is usually significant.
- Search records in the country they immigrated to that list the hometown. The article Gathering Information to Locate Place of Origin can help you exhaust every possible record to find the hometown. It was written for Germany, but the same methods apply.
- Pay special attention to family tradition or records
- Especially any records in a foreign language or letters
- Make sure to research extended family or friends of your ancestor too. They may have reported their hometown when your ancestor did not and families and friends often immigrated to the same location together.
- Men generally appeared in more records, so if you are looking for a woman, research her male relatives too.
If You Know the Town, Next Use the GenTeam Gazetteer[edit | edit source]
GenTeam is an online gazetteer that covers the current countries of Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, 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 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.
Research Help[edit | edit source]
The chart and map below are clickable and will lead to instructional articles for each region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Österreich (German name)
Österreich (German name)
CLICK ON THE NUMBERS ON THE MAP OR THE ABOVE CHART.
Other Geographic Names[edit | edit source]
Some of these regions temporarily were known by other names:
- Illyria: existed from 1816-1849, split into Carniola, Carinthia and the Austrian Littoral.
- Istria: the Istrian Peninsula within today's Croatia, formerly part of the Austria Littoral (Küstenland)
- Sudetenland: in the first half of the 20th century, Bohemia, Moravia, and part of Silesia.
- Lodomeria: Galicia was referred to as Galicia and Lodmeria, although Lodemeria was not a separate geographic region, just part of the name.
- Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca: a part of Austrian Littoral, now in Italy.
- Trieste: a small city-state in Austrian Littoral, now in Italy.