Switzerland, Schaffhausen Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: Switzerland, Schaffhausen Church Records, 1540-1875 .
Foreign Language Title
Schweiz, Schaffhausen Kirchenbücher
Collection Time Period
Church records in this collection begin in 1540; they are kept through the present day but because of privacy laws, are only available online through 1875.
Event types were often compiled in separate volumes, for instance, baptisms in one volume and marriages in another. In some parishes, however, event types were intermixed and grouped into a volume according to year range. When this is the case, the baptisms, marriages, and burials for one year (e.g. 1785) were grouped together before the baptisms, marriages, and burials for the next year (e.g. 1786), and so on.
Records in this online collection can be browsed by locality (Ort) first, then by event type, and then chronologically. The event types are given in German: Taufen, Ehen, Tote (Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths). Name indexes (Namenverzeichnis) and event indexes (e.g. Ehenregister) are included when available. A variety of record formats are contained within these records.
In Switzerland, a parish was an ecclesiastical jurisdiction consisting of many villages and hamlets, with one of the villages designated as the main parish town.
Swiss church records are typically in German or Latin. Regional dialect affects the spelling of some German words and the use of vocabulary words. For example, in Schaffhausen, Gatte is used for groom and Gattin for bride, instead of Bräutigam for groom and Braut for bride.
Record ContentThe key genealogical facts found in most baptism records are:
• Names of the child, parents, and witnesses or godparents
• Date and place of birth
• Date of baptism (sometimes even the time of birth and baptism)
• Residence and religion of the parents
• Occupation of the father and the other males listed
• Whether the child was legitimate or illegitimate
The key genealogical facts found in most marriage records are:
• Names of the bride, groom, their parents (usually the fathers) and witnesses
• Date and place of marriage and marriage proclamations or banns
• Residence of the bride, groom, and their parents
• Occupation of groom and other males listed
The key genealogical facts found in most burial records are:
• Names of the deceased
• Sometimes names of deceased’s spouse and/or deceased’s parents were included
• Date and place of death and burial
• Age, residence, and house number where event occurred
• Cause of death
How to Use the Records
Use these Schaffhausen church records to identify ancestors (individuals, their parents, and their spouses) and make family connections.
Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes to baptisms, marriages, and death or burials make it possible to access a specific record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:
• The place where the event occurred.
• The name and surname of the person.
• The approximate date of the event.
• The name of the parents or spouse.
Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the records. Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.
• Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
• Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
• Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
• Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
• Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
• Use the parent’s birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
• The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
• Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom, this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
• Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
• Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages.
• When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
Keep in mind:
• The information in church records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
• Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800.
• There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another.
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
• Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
• Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
• Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
These church books cover a majority of the population for the Canton of Schaffhausen; located in the northern part of the country, it is one of the 26 cantons in Switzerland.
Catholic Church records began as early as the mid to late 1500s; most church records, however, began in the late 1600s. Church records continue to be kept in the present day.
Why This Collection Was Created
Church records were created to record church sacraments associated with life events (e.g. baptism after birth, burial after death) and those who had received these ordinances.
Church books are the one of the most reliable and accurate family history sources. Accuracy in the records is, however, dependent upon the accuracy of the informant’s knowledge coupled with the priest recording the information correctly. Ages, birth dates, and birth places recorded in marriage and death entries have a higher probability of being inaccurate.
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Sources of Information for This Collection
"Switzerland, Schaffhausen Church Records", database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org); from Schaffhausen City Archive (Schaffhausen Stadtarchiv), Switzerland. "Switzerland, Schaffhausen church records." Schaffhausen - Stadtarchiv, Schaffhausen, Switzerland.FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt lake City, Utah. USA.
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