Canton Vaud, Switzerland Genealogy

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

Switzerland Wiki Topics
Beginning Research
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Canton Vaud

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.

Ask the

History[edit | edit source]

At the beginning of the 15th century the land was occupied by troops from Bern. By 1536 the area was completely annexed. Reformation was started.
The Bernese occupiers were not popular among the population. In 1723, a revolt against Bern, in protest at what was seen as a denial of political rights of the French-speaking Vaudois by the German-speaking Bernese.
In 1803, Vaud joined the re-installed Swiss confederation and in spite of Bernese attempts to reclaim Vaud, it has remained a sovereign canton ever since.
In the 19th century, the canton of Vaud was an outspoken opponent of the Sonderbund Catholic separatist movement, which led to what is called the Sonderbund War. The current constitution dates from 14 April 2003, replacing the one from 1885. Vaud is a French speaking canton.

Canton Vaud (Wikipedia)

Districts[edit | edit source]

  • Aigle
  • Broye-Vully
  • Gros-de-Vaud
  • Jura-Nord vaudois
  • Lausanne
  • Lavaux-Oron
  • Morges
  • Nyon
  • Ouest lausannois
  • Riviera-Pays-d'Enhaut

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Civil registration began in Canton Vaud in 1821. To understand the records available, read the Wiki article, Switzerland Civil Registration.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch has microfilmed and digitized records for the entire canton. These records can be accessed from the FamilySearch Catalog (click on Places within Switzerland, Vaud to select the parish). There may be restrictions on viewing these records.

There are some incomplete indexes available online from the following collections:

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

FamilySearch Microfilmed/Digitized Records[edit | edit source]

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


  1. Click on Switzerland, Vaud FamilySearch Catalog.
  2. Open the list "Places within Switzerland, Vaud". 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.

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

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.

Research Tools[edit | edit source]