Austria Seigniorial Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Austria Seignorial Records, 1537-1888 .
Title in the Language of the Record
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Austria, Seigniorial Records, 1537-1920.|
This collection includes feudal documents from many places throughout Upper and Lower Austria for the years 1537 to 1888. The documents pertain to legal matters, complaints, property, insolvencies, orphans, criminal proceedings, etc,--everything that was later handled by the court system. This collection will continue to be updated as records are acquired. The original records are located in the Niederösterreichischen Landesarchiv, St. Pölten, and in the Oberösterreichischen Landesarchiv, Linz, Austria.
For a list of localities currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
Local jurisdictional authority in Austria was held by Seigneurs prior to 1848. Seigniorial authority was granted by the Emperor to individuals who reigned as lord over their manor (Herrschaft) within a given village or community. Civil records created within a manor are referred to as Herrschaft or Seigniorial records. The older Herrschaft records of the four Lower Austrian Kreisgerichte (KG) are stored at the Landesarchiv in St. Pölten. In 1848, a modern court system was implemented in Austria, and the Seigneurs were instructed to transfer all records needed to continue administration of justice to the recently established district courts (Bezirksgerichte). This generally included all Herrschaft records back to about 1750-1800. The earlier records, those that had been closed prior to 1750, were transferred to Kreisgerichte. However, a significant quantity of these records remain in private hands or have become a part of the archival collections of other institutions.
Seigneurs created these records to record the events in the life of the people in their communities and to help in the administration of their manors.
The information in these records is usually reliable but depends upon the reliability of the informant and the recorder of the record.
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Marriage contract records (Verehelichung) may include the following information:
- Date of marriage contract
- Names of bride and groom
- Place of event
- Fiscal considerations
Wills or estate inventory records (Inventurprotokoll) may include the following information:
- Date of death
- Place of residence
- Name of the deceased person
- Names of the surviving spouse, children, and in-laws
- Ages of all involved
- Settlement of the fiscal account
Real property records may include the following information:
- Date of the business transaction
- Names of the grantors and grantees
- Place of the property
- Settlement of the fiscal account
Land registers (Grundbuch) may include the following information:
- Names of the sequential property owners
- Place of the property
- Tax payments and fiscal data
How to Use the Record
To search the collection:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the “Country”
⇒Select the “Province”
⇒Select the “Place”
⇒Select the “Seigniory” category
⇒Select the “Record Description” which takes you to the images.
Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
Seigniorial records supplement existing church and civil records and provide information in those time periods where church and civil records do not exist. These records are very helpful in establishing family relationships that are difficult to identify; differentiating between individuals and families with similar given and surnames; documenting family locations, arrival and departure dates; and so forth.
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information about other people listed in the record. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.
- Use the baptism date and place to find the family in census records.
- Use the residence and names of the parents to locate civil and land records.
- The father’s occupation can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
- The parents’ places of origin can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- A couple’s marriage date and place may help you find records of their children
- The burial place may also help you identify their migration pattern
It is often helpful to extract the information on all children with the same parents. If the surname is unusual, you may want to compile baptism entries for every person of the same surname and sort them into families, based on the names of the parents. Continue to search the baptism records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who were born, married, and died in the same place or nearby.
As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
For Help Reading the Records
These records are in German. For help reading the records, see the following wiki article:
German Word List
|FHL Place Austria items or FHL Keyword Austria items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog.|
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: Austria, Seigniorial Records, 1537-1888
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
Citation for This Collection
|The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Austria, Seigniorial Records, 1537-1920.|
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- "Austria, Seigniorial Records, 1537-1888." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013.