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Military records of the Austrian Empire include a number of valuable genealogical sources. The military played a significant role in the lives of citizens of the Austrian Empire. Prior to 1802 a soldier’s term of service was for life, although he was not necessarily on active duty the entire time. Those exempt from military service were the clergy, the nobility, certain government officials, and workers employed in mining, iron production, and necessary agricultural occupations.
One facet of Austrian military life that was unusual for the time period was the absence of segregation and discrimination against non-conformist religious groups. Protestants, Orthodox, and Jews served alongside the Catholic majority in the military services. Soldiers from each group had all of the rights of military membership and there were many who held high positions in the Austrian military.
After 1802 the term of service was reduced to ten years, but many were still exempt from military service. In 1868 a universal conscription went into effect. Every male citizen was obligated to serve three years of active duty in the military. This was modified in 1912 to a two-year term of active service.
The War Archives (Kriegsarchiv) in Vienna contain documents relating to the Austrian military from the 16th century until the end of World War I. Generally earlier records contain less genealogically relevant information than those of later years. Some of the more recent records were turned over to modern successor nations including Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, and the Ukraine.
Family History Library Collections
The major collections in the Vienna War Archives were microfilmed and are available in the Family History Library and Family History Centers. Indexes to some of the records are available, particularly if your ancestor happens to be an officer, staff member or official. It is estimated that over 10% of soldiers were officers.
In addition to indexes of soldier's names, indexes of regiments and recruitment places are available. Enlisted men can be located when the name of the regiment or military unit, or place of recruitment can be discovered. If the regiment is not known then place and regimental indexes must be consulted. Fortunately there were a high number of officers in the Austrian army compared to those of other nations.
Recently filmed alphabetical personnel files or sheets called Grundbuchblätter for soldiers born in areas corresponding to the states of modern Austria have been made available.
A wiki article describing this collection is found at:
Specific Military Collections
Below are links to articles about specific military collections in the Austrian Empire by Steve Blodget:
- Austrian Personnel Sheets, 1800 - 1864
- Czech Personnel Sheets, 1800-1864
- Personnel sheets related to Austria
- Austrian Personnel Records by Regiments
- Officer's Index to Austrian Muster rolls, 1740-1820
- Austrian Muster Rolls by Regiment, 1740-1820
- Austrian Officers' Index to Muster rolls, 1740-1820
- Austrian Military Guardianship Records, 1702-1882
- Austrian Military Marriage Bonds, 1749-1828
- Austrian Military Widow and Orphan Records, 1749-1828
- Austrian Military Staff Records, 1753-1825
- Austrian Military Pension Records, 1770-1920
- Austrian Military Church Records by Regiment
- Austrian Empire Recruiting Location Tables A-O
- Austrian Empire Recruiting Location Tables S-Z
- Finding Austrian Military Records in the Family History Library Catalog
Below are links helpful in the military research in the Hungarian Kingdom :
- A MAGYAR ORSZÁGOS LEVÉLTÁR HONLAPJA
- Austro-Hungarian Army - Armed Forces 1914
- Family History in Hungary continued
- Hadtörténeti Intézet és Múzeum
- Hungarian Empire Army records' http--feefhs.org-austrian.pdf
- Microfilm Projects in East European Military Archives
- Recruiting map
An excellent Guide for Locating Military Records for the various Regions of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is available online.
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