Sankt Gallen Canton, Switzerland Genealogy

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Guide to St. Gallen 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

In 1526 the Protestant Reformation was introduced into St. Gallen. The town converted to the new religion while the abbey remained Roman Catholic. While riots forced the monks to flee the city and remove images from the city's churches, the fortified abbey of St Gall remained untouched and the abbey would remain a Catholic stronghold in the Protestant city until 1803.
The Helvetic Republic was widely unpopular in Switzerland and was overthrown in 1803. Following the Act of Mediation the city of St. Gallen became the capital of the Protestant Canton of St. Gallen.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the first embroidery machines were developed in St. Gallen. In 1910 the embroidery production constituted the largest export branch in Switzerland and more than half of the worldwide production of embroidery originated in St. Gallen. However, World War I and the Great Depression caused another severe crisis for St. Gallen embroidery. St. Gallen is a German speaking canton.
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Census Records

Population or census registers of the Reformed Parishes in the Synod of Zürich, Switzerland. Names, ages, and sometimes baptism dates are shown for members of households. Includes some registers for Anabaptists, Catholics, and others. Includes towns now Canton St. Gallen.

Civil Registration

Civil registration began in St. Gallen Canton in 1867. To understand the records available, read the Wiki article, Switzerland Civil Registration.

Online Church Records

For information on the coverage, content, and locating of church records, read Switzerland Church Records.
NEW! Original images taken from the archives' copy of FamilySearch microfilms are now available at the St. Gallen State Archives. They can be accessed here.
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, Sankt Gallen FamilySearch Catalog.Sankt Gallen". Select your town.
  2. A list of record categories will open up. Click on "Church records".
  3. A list of available records will appear. Click on the record title you are interested in searching.
  4. 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.

Jurisdictions