Vienna, Austria Genealogy

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Guide to Vienna Capital City and State ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

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Vienna Capital City and State
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History[edit | edit source]

In 1440 Vienna became the resident city of the Habsburg dynasty. It eventually grew to become the de facto capital of the Holy Roman Empire from 1483 to 1806. Hungary occupied the city between 1485 and 1490. In the 16th and 17th centuries Christian forces stopped Ottoman armies twice outside Vienna and a plauge ravaged epidemic ravaged Vienna in 1679 killing nearly a third of its population.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries many Eastern European Jews spent time in Vienna.[1] In 1938, after a triumphant entry into Austria, Austrian-born Adolf Hitler spoke to the Austrian Germans from the balcony of the Neue Burg, a part of the Hofburg at the Heldenplatz. Viennese Jews were looted, deported and murdered. Between 1938 and the end of the Second World War, Vienna lost its status as a capital to Berlin as Austria ceased to exist and became a part of Nazi Germany. It was not until 1955 that Austria regained full sovereignty. Vienna fell eleven days later. Austria was separated from Germany, and Vienna was restored as the republic's capital city, but the Soviet hold on the city remained until 1955.
Vienna is in exactly a similar position to Berlin. It is surrounded by a Soviet Zone of occupation and we have our sector of responsibility in Vienna the same as the Americans and the French.

In 1804, during the Napoleonic Wars, Vienna became the capital of the Austrian Empire and continued to play a major role in European and world politics, including hosting the Congress of Vienna in 1814/15. After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, Vienna remained the capital of what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1918, after World War I, Vienna became capital of the Republic of German-Austria, and then in 1919 of the First Republic of Austria. Between 1938 and the end of the Second World War, Vienna lost its status as a capital as Austria ceased to exist and became a part of Nazi Germany. It was not until 1955 that Austria regained full sovereignty. After the war, Vienna was part of Soviet-occupied Eastern Austria until September 1945. As in Berlin, Vienna in September 1945 was divided into sectors by the four powers: the US, the UK, France and the Soviet Union and supervised by an Allied Commission. The four-power control of Vienna lasted until the Austrian State Treaty was signed in May 1955.[2]

For Austria Research, You Must Know Your Ancestors' Town[edit | edit source]

  • To begin using the records Austria, just knowing that your family came from Vienna will probably not be enough. Vienna was made up of many different parishes. Records are kept on the local level, so you will have to know the town they lived in. It will also be helpful to know where the closest Evangelical Lutheran, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, etc. parish church was (depending on their religion).

Research to Find the Town[edit | edit source]

If you do not yet know the name of the town of your ancestor's birth, there are well-known strategies for a thorough hunt for it.

  • Use Gathering Information to Locate Place of Origin as a guide in exhausting every possible record to find what you need. It was written for Germany, but the same methods apply.
  • Also, search the many databases listed under Online Records. Many of them cover all of Vienna, and if your ancestor is listed in them, there might be information that narrows down the search.

If You Know the Town, Next Use the GenTeam Gazetteer[edit | edit source]

GenTeam is an online gazetteer that covers the current countries of Austria, Czech Republic, and Slovenia (most of the area belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire). It gives former (German) and current names of locations, the name of the parish, the beginning year of the records, and the archive that holds the records. It will also give details on earlier parishes the locality belonged to. It then links to the website of that archive.

This is an example of a typical parish record entry that you will see:

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Research Help[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

  • Roman Catholic Baptisms
  • Roman Catholic Marriages (1542-1850/1860)
  • Roman Catholic Burials
  • Coroner Records
  • Protestant Records
  • Jewish Community
  • Zivilgeburten
  • Civil Marriages
  • Jewish Resignations 1868-1914
  • Jewish Resignations 1915-1945
  • IKG Scheidungen
  • Converts in Vienna
  • The Index Proselyten
  • Foundling Baptisms
  • Jewish Cemeteries
  • Jewish Cemetary Währing
  • Medical Doctors from Vienna
  • Jewish Grand Bourgoisie of Vienna 1800-1938

Microfilm Copies of Records at a Family History Center[edit | edit source]

If the locality and time period you need are not included in the online records, the next step is to check for them in the microfilm collection of the Family History Library. Some microfilms may be available for viewing at Family History Centers around the world. To find a microfilm:

a. Click on "Places within Austria, Niederösterreich" (Vienna province was part of Niederösterreich during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The catalog is organized by Austro-Hungarian Empire place names.)
b. Select your record type: Church records and civil registration are the most important.
c. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
d. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor.
e. 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.

Important Microfilm Collections[edit | edit source]

Some important collections are only available on microfilm, but many have been digitized and are available on the FamilySearch Catalog. See Catalog: Austria, Niederösterreich, Vienna for more records.

Includes names, birth date and place, residence, sometimes parents', spouse and children's names. Arranged alphabetically with males listed first, then females.
Includes names, birth date and place, parents, residence, spouse and children's names.
Includes name, date and place of death, residence, age, spouse's name, sometimes parent's names. Alphabetical by death year.
Includes name, date and place of death, residence, age, spouse's name, sometimes parent's names. Arranged by death date.
Records for over 40 different cemeteries in Vienna have been filmed. ::Includes name, date and place of death, age, sometimes names of relatives. Arranged by death date.
Register of Jewish births, marriages, deaths, and indexes for Wien, Niederösterreich, Austria. Includes Leopoldstadt, Ottakring, Hernals, Währing, Fünfhaus and Sechshaus.
Circumcision and births of Jews in Wien, Niederösterreich, Austria.
Births, marriages and deaths of Austrian Jewish military personnel in Wien, Niederösterreich, Austria. Text in German.
Registers of male births for military conscription. Also includes death dates and towns where individuals relocated.
Registers of births, marriages, deaths, and some burials for the Jewish Community of Vienna (Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien).
Household Registration Cards for families living in the city of Vienna, Austria. The cards contain the name of the head of the household, spouse and children and include birth dates and places, occupation, religion, dates and places of former and current residence.
Population Registers for individual residents of the city of Vienna, Austria. The cards include name, birth date and place, marital status, old and new places of residence, dates of arrival and departure.
Passports of citizens recorded at Vienna, Niederösterreich, Austria.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

See German Letter Writing Guide for help and translations.

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Civil registration, the government records of births, marriages, and deaths, began in Austria on 1 January 1939. The office that keeps these records is the Standesamt.

Archives[edit | edit source]

Diocesan Archives Vienna (Catholic, see map.)

Wollzeile 2 (Archbishop's Palace)
A-1010 Vienna, Austria

Tel .: 0043/1/51 552-3239
Fax: 0043/1/51 552-3240
E-mail: / Inst / 14428073

Archive of the Evangelical Church in Austria (Lutheran)
Evangelical Church in Austria Church
Severin Schreiber-Gasse 3
Dept. of Matriculation, Archives, Library
A-1180 Vienna, Austria

Tel .: +43/1/4791523/519
Fax: +43/1/4791523/440
E-Mail: archiv @

Magistratsabteilung 8, Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv (State)
Guglgasse 14, 5th floor, Top 508
1110 Vienna, Austria

Phone: +43 1 4000 84808
Fax: +43 1 4000 84809

Local Churches[edit | edit source]

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

  • It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in French and German to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read German records.
German Genealogical Word List
German Handwriting
  • These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:
  • Also online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:

This converter will show you how any phrase or name might look in German script:

  • Kurrentschrift Converter (enter German genealogical word, click on "convert", view your word in Kurrentschrift (Gothic handwriting)

Latin Records[edit | edit source]

Records of the Catholic church will usually be written in Latin:

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

  • 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.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Lehmann[edit | edit source]

The Lehmann directories were produced irregularly from 1859 to 1870 then annually until 1942 with the exception of a single edition for 1921-1922. Work began on updating an edition in the August or September preceding the year of publication which occurred at the beginning of the calendar year. So, for example, the upheavals of 1938 are reflected in the 1939 edition. Starting in 1893, the Lehmann was divided into two volumes.

Whilst the reliability of the data is considered to be generally high, complete accuracy can not be assumed. The editorial regularly complained about the tardiness and poor legibility of letters received. Moreover, the publishers decided that with the rapid expansion of the city, they could no longer aspire to be complete, especially in the personal directory.

Alphabetical sorting order: the Lehmann uses some sorting rules which would not be found today. For example, in some editions the letters "I" and "J" are treated as the same letter; the street name "Kleine Pfarrgasse" is found under the letter "P" and not "K".

Generally speaking, the directory has five parts of genealogical interest although the order and naming of the parts change over the course of publication:

  • names of residents in alphabetical order. Only household heads who own or rent a dwelling; does not include sub-tenants or servants so many working class families and individuals will not be found. An entry will typically give the surname, given name, occupation rank or status, Vienna district, street name and number.
  • street register. In the early years, the naming and numbering of streets was neither stable nor consistent and this is reflected in the Lehmanns. It can be even more confusing to find that housenumbering was not continuous. The 1859 first edition divides Vienna into three parts: the inner city, the 34 Vorstädte (inner suburbs outside the old city wall but within the Linienwall) and the 36 Vororte (outer suburbs). Over editions one can see the effects of reforms in the naming of streets and the numbering of houses (for example, from 1862-1864), urban expansion (in 1874 the creation of Favoriten as the 10th district, the first outside the city limits, then set by the Gürtel ring road; the decision in 1890 to integrate the Vororte into the city proper; in 1904 the creation of the 21st district from villages on the left bank of the Danube) and the changes following the great political upheavals (1918, 1934, 1938). Post war developments mean that it can be difficult to map old Vienna addresses using modern mapping tools such as Google Maps.
    For the editions of 1925, 1926, 1932-36 and 1938-42 the street directory is expanded into a home listing which adds to the alphabetical listing of Vienna streets by listing the dwellings in that section with the details of the householder.
  • company.
  • industry
  • authorities. The content of this section varies over time but includes government offices, infrastructure, educational institutions, health care institutions, associations, newspapers. Some groupings moved into and out of this section according to the times; for example: landlords, banks, doctors and lawyers. There are details of embassies and lists of elected officials.

The Lehmanns have been digitised and made available online by the Vienna Library: Lehmann Online in German.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Johnson, Baerbel K. "Jewish Research - in the U.S. and on the International Floor," Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 23 February 2006.
  2. Wikipedia collaborators, "Vienna," Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed December 6, 2017)