Genève Canton, Switzerland Genealogy

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Guide to Genève 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 the first half of the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation reached the city, causing religious strife during which Savoy rule was thrown off and Geneva allied itself with the Swiss Confederacy. By the 18th century, however, Geneva had come under the influence of Catholic France, which cultivated the city as its own. France also tended to be at odds with the ordinary townsfolk, which inspired the failed Geneva Revolution of 1782 in an attempt to win representation in the government for men of modest means. In 1798, revolutionary France under the Directory annexed Geneva. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, on 1 June 1814, Geneva was admitted to the Swiss Confederation. In 1907, the separation of Church and State was adopted. Genève is a French speaking canton. [1]

Compiled Genealogies

Emigration Records

These records have a restriction for use only at a Family History Center near you.

Civil Registration

Civil registration began in Genève Canton in 1798. 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.

Geneve State Archives

FamilySearch and Partner Website Collections

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, Genève FamilySearch Catalog.
  2. Open the list "Places within Switzerland, Genève". 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.