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Zürich Canton, Switzerland Genealogy

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Guide to Zürich 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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

The Reformation resulted in major changes in state matters and civil life in Zürich, spreading also to a number of other cantons. Several cantons remained Catholic and became the basis of serious conflicts that eventually led to the outbreak of the Wars of Kappel.
The Helvetic Revolution of 1798 saw the fall of the Ancien Régime. Zürich lost control of the land and its economic privileges, and the city and the canton separated their possessions between 1803 and 1805.
In 1893, the twelve outlying districts were incorporated into Zürich, including Aussersihl, the workman's quarter on the left bank of the Sihl, and additional land was reclaimed from Lake Zürich. Zürich is a German speaking canton.

Parishes in Canton Zürich[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of the church parishes of Canton Zürich as they existed by 1875.

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Census Records Online[edit | edit source]

Starting in 1633, all Reformed residents of Canton Zürich and some parishes in surrounding cantons were recorded in census records. The latest census record was created in 1767. For a list of censuses available for your parish, see the corresponding parish page in the Research Wiki.

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

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

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Zürich Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

  • The Zürich State Archive has a canton-wide marriage index, for every parish, through 1800. Click here to access the search feature. You can also access PDFs of the marriage index by clicking here

Instructions[edit | edit source]

To learn how to use the Zürich Marriage Index, check out the "How to" Guide.

Links[edit | edit source]

Zürich marriage records have been indexed through 1800 by groom or bride, then by surname. This index can be accessed at the following links:

1500s-1700: Organized by groom:

1500s-1700: Organized by bride:

1701-1800: Organized by groom:

1701-1800: Organized by bride:

Online Church Records[edit | edit source]

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

FamilySearch Microfilmed/Digitized Records[edit | edit source]

Most Zürich parish records have been digitized. These records may have a restriction for use only at a Family History Center near you.


  1. Click on Switzerland, Zürich FamilySearch Catalog.
  2. Open the list "Places within Switzerland, Zürich". 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 at least one record on 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[edit | edit source]

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

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.

Research Tools[edit | edit source]