Austria Military Records

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Introduction

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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.

Military records (Militärakten)

Research use: Useful when there are gaps in parish and other registers. Often military records are the only source in an area where parish registers have been destroyed.

Record type: Military registers, service records, conscription lists, mercenary lists.

Time Period: 1648-present.

Content: Names and residences of soldiers and mercenaries; ages, rank, date and place of muster. Birth registers and lists of 17-21 year old males, their parents, places of residence, physical descriptions.

Location: City and state archives, Vienna National War Archives.

Population coverage: 35%.[1]

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:

Austria, Carinthia Military Personnel Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Austria Military Websites

Specific Military Collections

Below are links to articles about specific military collections in the Austrian Empire by Steve Blodget:

  1. Austrian Personnel Sheets, 1800 - 1864
  2. Czech Personnel Sheets, 1800-1864
  3. Personnel sheets related to Austria
  4. Austrian Personnel Records by Regiments
  5. Officer's Index to Austrian Muster rolls, 1740-1820
  6. Austrian Muster Rolls by Regiment, 1740-1820
  7. Austrian Officers' Index to Muster rolls, 1740-1820
  8. Austrian Military Guardianship Records, 1702-1882
  9. Austrian Military Marriage Bonds, 1749-1828
  10. Austrian Military Widow and Orphan Records, 1749-1828
  11. Austrian Military Staff Records, 1753-1825
  12. Austrian Military Pension Records, 1770-1920
  13. Austrian Military Church Records by Regiment
  14. Austrian Empire Recruiting Location Tables A-O
  15. Austrian Empire Recruiting Location Tables S-Z
  16. Finding Austrian Military Records in the FamilySearch Catalog

Below are links helpful in the military research in the Hungarian Kingdom :

An excellent Guide for Locating Military Records for the various Regions of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is available online.

References

  1. 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.