Carinthia, Austria Genealogy
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Guide to Carinthia State ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.
- 1 History
- 2 For Austria Research, You Must Know Your Ancestors' Town
- 3 Research to Find the Town
- 4 If You Know the Town, Next Use the GenTeam Gazetteer
- 5 Online Records
- 6 Microfilm Copies of Records at a Family History Center
- 7 Writing for Records
- 8 Reading the Records
- 9 Search Strategy
The Duchy of Carinthia was finally split from the vast Bavarian duchy in 976 by Emperor Otto II, having come out victorious from his quarrels with Duke Henry II the Wrangler. Carinthia therefore was the first newly created duchy of the Holy Roman Empire and for a short while comprised lands stretching from the Adriatic Sea almost to the Danube. In 1040, the March of Carniola was separated from it and about 1180 Styria, became a duchy in its own right. After the death of Duke Henry VI of Gorizia-Tyrol in 1335, Carinthia passed to the Habsburg brothers Albrecht II. and Otto IV, and was ruled by this dynasty until 1918. After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire 1806, Carinthia was incorporated in the Austrian Empire's Kingdom of Illyria which succeeded Napoleon's Illyrian Provinces, but recovered its previous status in 1849 and in 1867 became one of the Cisleithanian "crown lands" of Austria-Hungary.
In late 1918, it became obvious that the breakup of the crumbling Habsburg monarchy was imminent, and on 21 October 1918 the members of the Reichsrat for the German-speaking territories of Austria met in Vienna to constitute a "Provisional National Council for German-Austria". Prior to the meeting the delegates agreed that German-Austria should not include "Yugoslav areas of settlement".
In the treaty of Saint-Germain on 10 September 1919,, a referendum was to be held in southern Carinthia as suggested by the Allied Commission, which was to determine whether the area claimed by the SHS-State was to remain part of Austria or go to Yugoslavia.
It was, however, hard hit by the Great Depression around 1930, which pushed the political system in Austria more and more towards extremism. This phenomenon culminated at first in the years of Austrofascism and then in 1938 in the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany. At the same time the Nazi Party took power everywhere in Carinthia, which came together with Nazi leaders. During World War II, Slovene Partisan resistance was active in the southern areas of the region. Toward the end of the war, tried to implement a Nazi plan for Carinthia to become part of the projected Nazi National Redoubt; these efforts failed and the forces under the Germans control surrendered to the forces of the British Army. Once again as at the end of World War I, Yugoslav troops occupied parts of Carinthia, including the capital city of Klagenfurt, but were soon forced to withdraw by the British forces with the consent of the Soviet Union. Carinthia, East Tyrol, and Styria then formed the UK occupation zone of Allied-administered Austria. The area was witness to the turnover of German-allied Cossacks to the Red Army in 1945. The Allied occupation was terminated in 1955 by the Austrian State Treaty, which restored Austria's sovereignty. The relations between the German- and the Slovene-speaking Carinthians remained somewhat problematic. Divergent views over the implementation of minority protection rights guaranteed by Article 7 of the Austrian State Treaty have created numerous tensions between the two groups in the past fifty years.
For Austria Research, You Must Know Your Ancestors' Town
- To begin using the records of Austria, just knowing that your family came from the country will not be enough. Records are kept on the local level, so you will have to know the town they lived in.
- Details about the town will also help:
- the county of that town,
- where the closest Evangelical Lutheran, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, etc. parish church was (depending on their religion),
- where the civil registration office was, and
- if you have only a village name, you will need the name of the larger town it was part of.
Research to Find the Town
If you do not yet know the name of the town of your ancestor's birth, there are well-known strategies for a thorough hunt for it.
- Use Gathering Information to Locate Place of Origin as a guide in exhausting every possible record to find what you need. It was written for Germany, but the same methods apply.
If You Know the Town, Next Use the GenTeam Gazetteer
GenTeam is an online gazetteer that covers the current countries of Austria, Czech Republic, and Slovenia (most of the area belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire). It gives former (German) and current names of locations, the name of the parish, the beginning year of the records, and the archive that holds the records. It will also give details on earlier parishes the locality belonged to. It then links to the website of that archive.
Microfilm Copies of Records at a Family History Center
If the locality and time period you need are not included in the online records, the next step is to check for them in the microfilm collection of the Family History Library. These microfilms may be ordered for viewing at Family History Centers around the world. To find a microfilm:
- a. Click on Places within Austria, Kärnten (Carinthia)
- b. Select your record type: Church records and civil registration are the most important.
- b. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
- c. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor.
- d. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. . 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.
Writing for Records
See German Letter Writing Guide for help and translations.
Civil registration, the government records of births, marriages, and deaths, began in Austria on 1 January 1939. The office that keeps these records is the Standesamt.
Archive of the Diocese of Gurk (Catholic, see map.)
A-9020 Klagenfurt, Austria
Tel .: 0043/463 / 57770-1981
Fax: 0043/463 / 57770-1989
Archive of the Evangelical Church in Austria (Lutheran)
Evangelical Church in Austria Church
Severin Schreiber-Gasse 3
Dept. of Matriculation, Archives, Library
A-1180 Vienna, Austria
Tel .: +43/1/4791523/519
E-Mail: archiv @ Evang.at
Kärntner Landesarchiv (State)
St. Ruprechtstraße 7
9020 Klagenfurt, Austria
Telephone: (0463) 56 2 34/14
Fax: (0463) 56 2 34/20
Reading the Records
- It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in French and German to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read German records.
- These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:
- Also online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:
- Reading German Handwritten Records Lesson 1: Kurrent Letters
- Reading German Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Making Words in Kurrent
- Reading German Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Reading Kurrent Documents. In this lesson, you will explore several types of German genealogical records, including birth, baptismal, marriage, and death records.
- German Script Tutorial
This converter will show you how any phrase or name might look in German script:
- Kurrentschrift Converter (enter German genealogical word, click on "convert", view your word in Kurrentschrift (Gothic handwriting)
Records of the Catholic church will usually be written in Latin:
- 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.