Austria Church Records
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Austria Church Records
Church records (Kirchenbücher or Matriken) and parish transcripts (Kirchenbuchduplikate)
Research use: Primary source for compiling pedigrees and family groups prior to civil registration. Some parish registers are indexed. The transcripts are usually indexed and easier to read, but have more gaps and cover a short time period.
Record type: 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.
Time period: 1379 (1523-) present. The first Protestant regulation for 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. 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.
Contents: Baptismal/birth records: 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: Names of couples, date of marriage and/or date of proclamation; often names of parents, names of witnesses. Death/burial records: 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: 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: 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.
Location: Local parishes and/or church archives. Some regional state and/or church archives. Transcripts usually in civil archives and diocesan archives.
Population coverage: 20% before 1700; 55% between 1700 and 1800, 70% after 1800.
The Catholic Church in Austria
Today the Catholic Church in Austria is divided into 9 dioceses (2 of which are arch dioceses: Wien and Salzburg) and a Military Ordinate).
The nine territorial dioceses cover the nine provinces of Austria, with the exception of the archdiocese of Salzburg (province of Salzburg and North Tirol east of the Ziller), the archdiocese of Vienna (the capital of Vienna and the eastern part of Niederösterreich , and the diocese of Sankt Pölten (the western part of Niederösterreich).
The nine territorial dioceses are divided into two Church Provinces:
Church Province of Wien
Archdiocese of Wien (founded in 1469, 55 deanships, 660 parishes)
Diocese of Sankt Pölten (founded in 1785, 25 deanships, 424 parishes) Diocese of Linz (founded in 1785, 39 deanships, 472 parishes) Diocese of Eisenstadt (founded in 1960, 12 deanships, 171 parishes)
Church Province of Salzburg
Archdiocese of Salzburg (founded around 700, 20 deanships, 208 parishes) Diocese Graz-Seckau (founded in 1218, 26 deanships, 389 parishes) Diocese Gurk-Klagenfurg (founded in 1072, 24 deanships, 335 parishes) Diocese Innsbruck (founded in 1964, 19 deanships, 244 parishes)
Diocese Feldkirch( founded in 1968, 9 deanships, 124 parishes.
Formerly the diocese of Brixen, (containing Tirol and Vorarlberg and Osttirol), the diocese of Gran (Burgenland, previously belonging to Hungary) and the diocese of Steinamanger (Slovenia) also belonged to the area that is Austria today.
Military Church Records
Protestant Religion in Austria
A helpful site, although in German, which explains the Protestant Religion in Austria can be found at this link.
Marriage contracts and banns (Heiratskautionen und Belege)
Research use: Gives marriage information, identifies family relationships, shows places of residence not shown in parish registers.
Record type: Marriage information and documentation.
Time Period: 1300-present.
Contents: Names of couples, dates of intention of marriage, places of residence, occupation, names of witnesses, often names of parents and sometimes other relationships.
Location: City and state archives.
Population coverage: Possibly 5-10%.
A wiki article describing an online collections is found at:
- The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Austria,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1987-1999.