Bern Canton, Switzerland Genealogy

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

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In 1353, Bern joined the Swiss Confederacy, becoming one of the eight cantons of the formative period of 1353 to 1481.
Bern invaded and conquered Aargau in 1415 and Vaud in 1536, as well as other smaller territories and become the largest city-state north of the Alps by the 18th century.
Bern was occupied by French troops in 1798 during the French Revolutionary Wars, when it was stripped of parts of its territories. It regained control of the Bernese Oberland in 1802, and following the Congress of Vienna of 1814, it newly acquired the Bernese Jura. At this time, it once again became the largest canton of the Confederacy as it stood during the Restoration and until the secession of the canton of Jura in 1979. Bern was made the Federal City within the new Swiss federal state in 1848.
Bern is a German speaking canton.

Getting started with Switzerland - Bern research

Bern parish church records have been digitized online, so you can access the records from home. The parish pages lists all of Bern parish. Some of the parish wiki pages have direct links to the church volumes, otherwise you must go to the landing pages for each parish to locate volumes

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Research Tools

Place name list

See the page Switzerland Bern Gazetteers for a list of municipalities (civil communities) and corresponding parishes in Canton Bern.

Various Resources

See "Swiss Genealogy on the Internet" for links to various resources and indexes. To access information in English about Canton Bern, click on "Information on individual Cantons", then "Bern" under the British flag. The page includes general information about the canton, archive addresses, and  list of genealogical resources.  

Online Records

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

Switzerland, Canton Bern Civil Registration (FamilySearch Historical Records)