Switzerland Church Records

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Protestants first required the recording of baptisms and marriages in 1525; Catholics in 1563 at the Council of Trent. However, many of the early church records have been lost.

The records can be written in German, Latin, French, Italian, or Romantsch.

Generally church records exist for the following denominations:

  • Reformed (Reformierte Kirche/Eglise réformée) 1525-
  • Roman Catholic (Katholische Kirche/Eglise catholique) 1565 (1481)-
  • Swiss Baptist/Mennonite (Wiedertäufer, Mennoniten/Eglise baptiste, Eglise mennonite) 1622-
  • Brethren (Brüder/Herrnhuter) 1661-
  • Jews (Jüdische Gemeinde/Congrégation Juive) 1759-
  • Free Churches (Freie Kirchen) 1817-
  • Russian Orthodox Church (Russisch-Orthodoxe Kirche) 1817-
  • Methodists (Methodisten) 1856-
  • Christian Catholic (Christkatholische Kirche) 1872-

Other churches in Switzerland prior to 1900: Seventh-day Adventists (Adventisten vom 7. Tag), Swedenborgian (Schwedenborgianer), Anglicans (Anglikaner), Society for Propagation of the Gospel (Gesellschaft zur Ausbreitung des Evangeliums), Scottish Presbyterian Church (Schottische Presbyterianer Kirche)[1]

Types of church records:

  • Baptisms, marriages, burials, confirmations
  • Lists of communicants
  • Family registers (soul registers)
  • Lists of ministers in the parish
  • Church council minutes
  • Notations about those who have fallen away, i.e. Anabaptists
  • Church censuses, membership lists
  • Church consistory minutes
  • Annual masses for the dead

Whenever possible, events concerning citizens of the home parish that took place in other parishes are listed in the home parish as well. Hence, there may be separate sections in the parish register, which in the FamilySearch Catalog entries may be described as “Auswärtige”.

The women‘s maiden names are usually given in the church records throughout their lives. However, they may be buried under their married or maiden name. Also, the record keeping conventions vary somewhat by region.

Surnames may be abbreviated. Also, there are many unusual forms of given names.

Online

Switzerland Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Switzerland, Canton of Basel-Stadt Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Switzerland Burials (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Switzerland Church Book Extracts (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Switzerland Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Switzerland Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)

References

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Switzerland,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1984-1998.