Canton Genève, Switzerland Genealogy

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Guide to Canton Genève ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

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Beginning Research
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Local Research Resources
Canton Genève


Getting Started[edit | edit source]

If you are new to Swiss research, you should watch this introductory course. Then study the articles on church records and civil registration, as almost all of your research will be in those two record groups.

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History[edit | edit source]

In the first half of the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation reached the city, causing religious strife during which Savoy rule was thrown off and Geneva allied itself with the Swiss Confederacy. By the 18th century, however, Geneva had come under the influence of Catholic France, which cultivated the city as its own. France also tended to be at odds with the ordinary townsfolk, which inspired the failed Geneva Revolution of 1782 in an attempt to win representation in the government for men of modest means. In 1798, revolutionary France under the Directory annexed Geneva. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, on 1 June 1814, Geneva was admitted to the Swiss Confederation. In 1907, the separation of Church and State was adopted. Genève is a French speaking canton.

Geneva (Wikipedia)

Compiled Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Emigration Records[edit | edit source]

These records have a restriction for use only at a Family History Center near you.

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Civil registration began in Canton Genève in 1798. To understand the records available, read the Wiki article, Switzerland Civil Registration.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church Records Online[edit | edit source]

Genève parish church records have been digitized online and can be accessed in the following ways:

  • The Genève archive has digital records in color. A list of all digitized church and civil records can be found here.
  • FamilySearch also has microfilmed and digitized records for the entire canton. These records can be accessed from the FamilySearch Catalog (click on Places within Switzerland, Genève to select the parish). There may be restrictions on viewing these records.

Indexes[edit | edit source]

Some handwritten indexes are found at the Genève archive and can be found here.

For information on the coverage and content of church records, read Switzerland Church Records.

FamilySearch Microfilmed/Digitized Records[edit | edit source]

All parish records have been microfilmed and have been digitized. These records may have a restriction for use only at a Family History Center near you.

Instructions:

  1. Click on Switzerland, Genève FamilySearch Catalog.
  2. Open the list "Places within Switzerland, Genève". Select your town.
  3. A list of record categories will open up. Click on "Church records".
  4. A list of available records will appear. Click on the record title you are interested in searching.
  5. Scroll down to the list of microfilm numbers. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

This search strategy will help you determine what to write for. Limit tour requests to just one of these steps at a time. Once you have established that the parish is cooperative and perhaps more willing to do more extensive research (for a fee), you might be able to ask them for more at a time.

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected.
  • When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.