Austria Military Records

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Military Records

Battle of Turin

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.


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.
Enlisted men can be located when the name of the regiment or military unit, or place of recruitment can be discovered. 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.

Below are articles about specific military collections in the Austrian Empire.

  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