Switzerland, Church Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Switzerland

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Switzerland, Church Records, 1277-1992
CID1640373
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Switzerland
Flag of Switzerland.png
Flag of the Swiss Confederation
Switzerland Cantons.png
LOC Switzerland in Europe.jpg
Location of Switzerland
Record Description
Record Type: Church Book Extracts
Collection years: 1277-1992
Languages: German
Title in the Language: Schweiz, Kirchenbücher, 1277-1992
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Family History Center, Pratteln


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection contains images of original church records (christenings, marriages, burials, etc.) from various cantons of Switzerland for the years 1277-1992. The images for the canton of Bern can only be viewed at the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, and by members of the supporting organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Images for Basel-Stadt and Schaffhausen are unrestricted and can be viewed by all users. Original records are maintained in Basel-Stadt, Bern, and Schaffhausen State Archives.

In Switzerland, a parish was an ecclesiastical jurisdiction consisting of many villages and hamlets, with one of the villages designated as the main parish town. 

Evangelical Church records began as early as the mid to late 1500s in Switzerland; most church records, however, began in the late 1600s. Church records continue to be kept in the present day. 

Event types were often compiled in separate volumes, for instance, baptisms in one volume and marriages in another. In smaller parishes, however, event types were intermixed and grouped into a volume according to year range. When this is the case, the baptisms, marriages, and burials for one year (e.g. 1785) were grouped together before the baptisms, marriages, and burials for the next year (e.g. 1786), and so on. 

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Records in this collection begin in 1380 and go through 1917. Most of the church records contained in this collection, however, begin in the mid 1500s and end by 1910. 

Church records were created to record church sacraments associated with life events (e.g. baptism after birth, burial after death) and those who had received these ordinances. The church records also served as official (civil) records.

Church books are one of the most reliable and accurate family history sources. Accuracy in the records is, however, dependent upon the accuracy of the informant’s knowledge coupled with the priest recording the information correctly. Ages, birth dates, and birth places recorded in marriage and death entries have a higher probability of being inaccurate.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images.

For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Switzerland, Church Book Extracts, 1550-1875.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

These records may include the following information:

  • Taufen (baptisms)
  • Taufenregister (baptism index)
  • Ehen (marriages)
  • Ehenregister (marriage index)
  • Eheverkündigungen (marriage announcements)
  • Eheverkündigungenregister (marriage announcement index)
  • Familienbuch (family book)
  • Familienbuchregister (family book index)
  • Konfirmanden (confirmations)
  • Konfirmandenregister (confirmation index)
  • Toten (deaths/burials)
  • Totenregister (death index)

The following information may be found in these records:

Baptism

  • Names of the child, parents, and witnesses or godparents
  • Date and place of birth
  • Date of baptism (sometimes even the time of birth and baptism)
  • Residence and religion of the parents
  • Occupation of the father and the other males listed
  • Whether the child was legitimate or illegitimate

Marriage

  • Names of the bride, groom, their parents (usually the fathers) and witnesses
  • Date and place of marriage and marriage proclamations or banns
  • Residence of the bride, groom, and their parents
  • Occupation of groom and other males listed

Burial

  • Names of the deceased (sometimes along with names of deceased’s spouse and/or deceased’s parents)
  • Date and place of death and burial
  • Age and residence
  • Cause of death

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select Canton
  2. Select Place
  3. Select Religion
  4. Select Event type and Years to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the age in the citizen to find an approximate birth year to begin your search in church or civil records
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have moved, been recruited or lived nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify. Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual. This compiled list can help you identify possible relations that can be further verified by researching vital records indexes in the country
  • When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Switch to a different record collection. Depending on the time period, either Civil Registration records or Church Records may be more useful
  • While searching, it is helpful to know such information as the ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as an ancestor and that the ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times
  • Keep in mind that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images. Pay special attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try variations on the pronunciation
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well
  • Search the indexes and records of local genealogical societies
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Switzerland.

Known Issues[edit | edit source]

Click here for a list of known issues with this collection.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.