Schwyz Canton, Switzerland Genealogy

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

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Getting Started

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.

History

On 1 August 1291, the cantons of Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden entered into an Eternal Alliance that would eventually become the Swiss Confederation. As early as 1320 the name of the canton was applied to the whole of the confederation. It was only in 1803, however, that the name Schweiz as derived from the canton of Schwyz became the official name of Switzerland.
As the Confederation expanded, Schwyz took a leading role in the new organization. The aggressive, expansionist foreign policy of Schwyz led to its name being applied to the entire Confederation.
In 1655 the canton of Schwyz began prosecuting those Protestant families who had remained in Schwyz. After the Protestant victory at the Second Battle of Villmergen, religious equality was established in the Confederation. Switzerland following the Congress of Vienna, with the borders of Outer Schwyz and Inner Schwyz. The two half-cantons were reunited under a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for all residents in 1833.
In the mid-1890s, the liberals began to push for another constitutional revision. Their revisions included language that would give the government authority over the monasteries and their assets. The conservatives fought back with a platform of protecting the religion of most Schwyzer. In response, the government created a second version, which dropped the controversial religious portions but was otherwise unchanged. Schwyz is a German speaking canton.
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Civil Registration

Civil registration began in Schwyz Canton in 1876. To understand the records available, read the Wiki article, Switzerland Civil Registration.

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Online Church Records

For information on the coverage, content, and locating of church records, read Switzerland Church Records.
Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, and FindMyPast collections can be view free of charge at a Family History Center near you.

FamilySearch Microfilmed/Digitized Records

Several parish records have been microfilmed and are currently being digitized. Eventually, all of them will be digitized, so check back frequently. These records may have a restriction for use only at a Family History Center near you.

Instructions:

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

Writing for Church Records

Reading the Records

Search Strategy

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.