General Information
Site Index and Keywords
Getting Started
Finding a Place
Finding a Surname
Obtaining Copies of Records
LDS Microfilms
Census Data
Tips and Advice
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Site Index

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Keyword Comment
AddressUse the Austria Phone Directory to find address and phone numbers of parishes and individuals
Form Letters 
HandwritingDeciphering old handwriting & print
ImmigrationShips, passenger lists, etc.
JewishBeginner's Guide to Austrian-Jewish Genealogy
LatinDeciphering old handwriting & print
NewsLatest updates on the AustriaGenWeb
Nobility An index to the Starke Verlag's Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels.
Passenger ListsShips, passenger lists, etc.
ScriptsDeciphering old handwriting & print
ShipsShips, passenger lists, etc.
TranslationFree translation services

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Getting started (in Austrian Genealogy)

The following is a quick guide to genealogical research in Austria via the Internet. Your comments and suggestions for improvement of this list will be greatly appreciated.

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Finding a surname (person of Austrian origin)

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Getting confirmation & documentation

  • Recent records (post 1938) are maintained by the civil authorities. See: Personenstandsurkunden (in German).

  • Establish the person's religion. All pre-1938 records are held by the respective churches.

  • Detailed information about ealiest baptism, marriage and death records in the individual parishes can be found in reference books such as Handy Guide To Austrian Genealogical Records by Dagmar Senekovic (published 1979 by Everton Publishers, Inc. and available from Storbeck's for $ 5.50 plus shipping/handling).

  • A number of useful publications are also available from IHFF

  • Personal visits to the parishes or snail mail enquiries are the only solutions at present; see tips & advice.

  • If the person served in the military, try the war archives.

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LDS Microfilms

Use the Family History Library Catalog for lookups.

See the list of LDS Austria microfilm and publication holdings.

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Austrian Census Data

The Statistisches Zentralamt in Vienna has the RESULTS of the census (Volkszaehlung) in the Austria Empire (without Hungary) in 1869, 1880, 1890, 1900 and 1910. Here you can find e.g. statistical information about number of inhabitants and houses per village/town -- but NO NAMES of individuals.

The source documentation (the enumeration sheets) was largely destroyed in the Palace of Justice fire in 1927. Some documentation is still available at the Staatsarchiv in Vienna but most of it is badly damaged (by fire and water), is difficult to handle, nearly impossible to read and may not be photocopied.

new2.gif - 0,14 KHowever, there is some good news:

The FEEFHS - Federation of East European Family History Societies has published some interesting findings concerning the Austrian census in former Galicia:

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Tips & Advice

German is the language spoken in Austria; letters to Austrian institutions are more likely to be answered if they are written in German. Check the form letters and translation services.

See the LDS German Letter-Writing Guide.

Remember that research costs time and money. When making snail-mail inquiries, as a matter of courtesy, always enclose 2 international reply coupons and an addressed envelope.

Problems reading old documents ? Click here.

Genealogical research in Austria tends to be difficult for a number of reasons:

  • Genealogy has a slightly negative "flavour" in Austria. It is often associated with the misuse of genealogical research during the Nazi era and many Austrians unfortunately consider it as old fashioned and as a pastime for nobility and would-be-aristocrats.

  • Austrian data privacy laws are very strict; lookups are difficult and frequently require valid powers of attorney, proof of descent, etc.

  • The boarders of Austria have changed over the centuries. Austria used to be a large empire; today Austria is a small country and a member of the European Union.

This and other considerations are well described in the introductory pages of IHFF (a commercial research company located in Vienna).

I will attempt to answer e-mail queries but keep in mind that I do this as a hobby. I, like many of you, am not a professional researcher. In any case your queries will be posted for the benefit of other users.

Important: researching can be difficult -- but never give up. If you're down, just click on the smile:

Click here

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Last Update: 8 Nov, 2007