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Switzerland, Bern, Civil Registration - FamilySearch Historical Records

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: Switzerland, Bern, Civil Registration, 1792-1876 .


Title in the Language of the Records[edit | edit source]

Suisse, Berne, registres d'etat civil, 1792-1876 (French)
Schweiz, Bern, Zivilstandsregister, 1792-1876 (German)

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. The Switzerland, Bern, Civil Registration 1792-1876 records can only be viewed at the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, and by members of the supporting organization: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Record Description[edit | edit source]

These records are in German and French.

Genealogical collection will include records from 1792 to 1876.

Civil registration records were microfilmed from originals kept at the State Archives for the Canton Bern, in Bern, Switzerland. The record text is written in German or French, depending on the locality where the records were created.

This collection of civil birth, marriage, and death records for Bern includes the years 1792 to 1876. At this time, civil registration had not yet been implemented by the government, but was handled by church authorities.

The civil registration of birth, marriage, and death was not implemented nationally in Switzerland until 1876. Therefore, the records in this collection were mostly recorded by Catholic Church or Protestant Church priests, who were responsible for registering changes in the civil status of the citizens. In earlier years the civil registry kept two separate sets of books: A-registers included the records of births, marriages, and deaths of citizens in the community and B- registers included the births, marriages, and deaths of citizens outside the community.

Civil records were created to record important events in the lives of the people of the land. This recording of data also helped provide citizenship benefits and statistics for civil authorities.

Civil records are a reliable source for genealogical research as well as church records. These are generally correct as far as the information goes, as the event was registered by eyewitnesses of the event. Barring spelling errors or faulty memory; civil records are as accurate as they could be.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Switzerland, Bern, Civil Registration, 1792-1876..

Record Content[edit | edit source]

Birth records usually contain the following information:

  • Name of child
  • Date and place of birth
  • Parents’ names
  • Parents’ residence and occupation

Marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Bride and Groom’s names
  • Bride and Groom’s ages, residence, and occupation
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Parents’ names, residence, and occupation
  • Names of witnesses

Death records usually contain the following information:

  • Name of deceased
  • Deceased age at time of death
  • Sometimes the place of birth or occupation
  • Cause of death
  • Name of surviving spouse and sometimes of the children
  • Name and residence of informant
  • Sometimes the name of the parents is given

How to Use the Record[edit | edit source]

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • Ancestor's name
  • Identifying information such as the approximate date of the event or the place where the event occurred

Search the Collection[edit | edit source]

To search the collection by name:

Fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

To browse the collection by image:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "Place"
⇒Select the appropriate "Event type and years" which takes you to the images

Using the Information[edit | edit source]

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

For example:

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Use the parents’ birth places to find former residences and establish a migration pattern for the family.

Tips to Keep in Mind[edit | edit source]

  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname. This is especially helpful if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have married nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
  • The information in church records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?[edit | edit source]

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Search the records of nearby localities.
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Don't overlook FHL Place Switzerland, Bern items or FHL Keyword Switzerland, Bern items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see Switzerland Archives and Libraries.

Related Websites[edit | edit source]

Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

How You Can Contribute[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citations for This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.  

Collection Citation:

"Switzerland, Bern, Civil Registration, 1792-1876."Index and Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2016.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Switzerland, Bern, Civil Registration, 1792-1876.

Image Citation:

When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Switzerland, Bern, Civil Registration, 1792-1876.