Switzerland Civil Registration
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Civil registration is the government record of births, marriages, and deaths. These civil registers are kept by the Zivilstandesamt of each political community. Originally the Zivilstandesamt kept two separate sets of books: A-registers [records of births, marriages, and deaths occurring in the community] and B- registers [births, marriages, and deaths of community citizens that occurred outside the community]. In 1928, the B-registers were discontinued and replaced by Familienregister [family registers] kept by the civil registrar.
Nationwide civil registration began on 1 Jan 1876. Several cantons began keeping records earlier.
- Pre-1876 civil registration records are also available for the following cantons:
- Basel-Land: 1827
- Fribourg: 1849
- Geneva: 1798
- Glarus: 1849
- Neuchâtel: 1825
- St. Gallen: 1867
- Schaffhausen: 1849
- Solothurn: 1836
- Ticino: 1855
- Vaud: 1821
- Valais: 1853
Bürgerbücher or Bürgerrodel (Citizens’ Books) were kept by some communities as early as the 1820s.
Type of Information Given in Civil Registration Records
- Date and place of birth of child
- Names, residence and occupation of the parents
- Names, ages, residences, and occupation of bride and groom
- Date and place of marriage
- Names, residence, occupation of parents
- Names of witnesses and person who performed the ceremony
- Name of deceased
- Sometimes place of birth
- Date and place of death
- Name of surviving spouse
- Name and residence of informant
- Cause of death
- Sometimes names of parents
- Sometimes names of children.
Familienregister (Family Register
This volume consists of a separate page for each married couple and their children. Entries may include the couple’s parents’ names and notes about occupation, emigration, or other unusual circumstances.
Bürgerbücher or Bürgerrodel (Citizens’ Books)
These contain about the same information as found in the modern Familienregister.
Accessing the Records
- Requests for information concerning ancestral families may be obtained by writing to the appropriate Zivilstandesamt.
- Access to records less than 100 years old is generally restricted to direct-line relatives.
- An up-to-date Excel file with contact information for civil registration offices nationwide can be downloaded at: Addresses for Civil Registration (Zivilstandesamt) Offices (.pdf)
- Consult the Language Map of Switzerland, and then write your request in the appropriate language: