Swtizerland, Bern, Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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This article describes a collection of records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
Bern, Switzerland
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Flag of the Swiss Confederation
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Location of Bern, Switzerland
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Record Description
Record Type: Marriages
Collection years: 1532-1910
Languages: German, French
Title in the Languages: Suise, Berne, registres protestants (French); Schweiz, Bern, Kirchenbücher (German)
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archives de l'Etat de Berne

What is in the Collection?

This collection consists of images of original church records (christenings, marriages, burials, etc.) from Canton Bern, Switzerland for the years 1277 to 1992. Images are only available at the Family History Library, in FamilySearch Centers, and by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Original records are located in the Bern State Archives.

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians.

These images can be viewed online by members of the supporting organization(s), at a Family History Center near you, or the Family History Library.

For additional information about image restrictions, please see the Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections page.

Collection Content

Baptism records may contain the following information:

  • Name of the child
  • Names of parents
  • Names of 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
  • Whether the child was legitimate or illegitimate

Marriage records may contain the following information:

  • 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

Death records may contain the following information:

  • Names of the deceased (sometimes along with names of deceased’s spouse and/or deceased’s parents)
  • Date and place of death
  • Age and residence
  • Cause of death

How Do I Search the Collection?

You will be able to browse through images in this collection when it is published.

To search by image:

⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the "Town and Church"
⇒ Select the "Ort und Kirche"
⇒ Select the "Volume Number, Record Type, Years"
⇒ Select the "Band Nummer, Quellengattung, Jahren" which takes you to the images

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • Name of your ancestor
  • identifying information such as birth date or spouse's name

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors 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.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the age in the citizen to find an approximate birth year to begin your search in church or civil records.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have moved, been recruited or lived nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify. Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual. This compiled list can help you identify possible relations that can be further verified by researching vital records indexes in the country.
  • When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors.
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Switch to a different record collection. Depending on the time period, either Civil Registration records or Church Records may be more useful.
  • While searching, it is helpful to know such information as the 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 an ancestor and that the ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
  • Keep in mind that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images. Pay special attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try variations on the pronunciation.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of local genealogical societies.
  • 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.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

“Switzerland, Bern, Church Records, 1277-1992.” Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Archives de l'Etat de Berne (State Archives, Bern).

Image Citation:

The image citation will be available once the collection is published.

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.