Working with Austrian Church Books – Part 2: Finding the right Parish

Working with Austrian Church Books – Part 2: Finding the right Parish

Austrian Roman Catholic Church Books are the main source for Family History Research in Austria. This post is part of a series explaining how to find information you are looking for in Austrian church records.

Please also see:
Part 1: Finding the right Roman Catholic Diocese

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UPDATE JUNE 2017: Matricula has introduced a new design with new functionalities. Details can be found in my new post: New Design of Matricula online

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Part 2: Finding the right Roman Catholic Parish

Using my ancestor Mathias Schindl as example, I will show you ways to find the right parish. I know from other sources that he was born in Finsternau.

The easiest way to find out where to look is the gazetteer at Genteam. Genteam is a free database for genealogical research in Austria (and some other countries of the former Habsburg monarchy). You only have to register to use its many possibilities.) If the page is in German, there is a button in the upper right corner to switch to English.

According to Genteam, there is only one village called Finsternau which belongs to the parish of Brand near Gmünd in Lower Austria. The details in Genteam give even more information. This parish belongs to the diocese of Lower Austria/St.Pölten. There are church registers available as of 1784. Before belonging to the parish Brand, Finsternau was part of the parish of Zuggers in Bohemia.

Matricula-online
(Vienna, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg , Carinthia and Vorarlberg)

In Matricula, where we will find the church registers for Brand, there is also an integrated search, which however will not work for all dioceses. It does work for Lower Austria. At Matricula you can also switch to English in the blue banner on the top. Next to the language switch is the „search button“. If you enter „Finsternau“ in the field „Search Word“ and click on „Show all results“ afterwards, it will lead you directly to the parish of Brand/Gmuend.

You would also get there by selecting the following in the window on the left:
„AT Österreich/Austria“ – „AT DSP St.Pölten“ (which is the capital of Lower Austria) – „A…C“ and then „Brand/Gmuend“.

In the subsequent overview screen, there is plenty of information available (the vocabulary is also included in my Vocabulary sheet):

  • Zeitraum von – Records available as of
  • Zeitraum bis – records available until
  • Verwaltungsgeschichte – Historic scope of the parish
    • Aktueller Pfarrbereich: Lists all villages currently within the scope of the parish
    • Historische Abweichungen – Differences in scope in the past
  • Matrikenführung: details on register types and availability (Gegenwart meaning now)

The most important button is „List of all records of record group“ – there you will see all church registers of the parish.

Styria

The possibility to search for villages exists also in the diocese Graz-Seckau (Styria). There is a field „Pfarre/Ort“ where you can enter the village you are looking for. In the window on the left you can also look for the right parish.

Tyrol

In the upper left corner you will find a field to search for a village or parish – just enter the name and click „Suchen“ (Search).

One important note: Parish boundaries did change over time. Particularly in 1783/1784, many new parishes were founded. So if you do not find a record in a parish, it always makes sense to look in surrounding parishes as well.

In my next post of the series, I will give you details on the different church books in Austria. If you have any specific questions regarding the work with church registers, please leave a comment.

This post is part of a series:
Part 1: Finding the right Roman Catholic diocese
Part 2: Finding the right Parish
Part 3: Finding the right Church Book
Part 4: Finding the right Entry
Part 5: Information given in Baptismal Records
Part 6: Information given in Marriage Records
Part 7: Information given in Death Records
Part 8: Other Religious confessions

Buffalo Zither Club – Friday’s Faces from the Past

I love old photos. They make history come alive. Names in my family tree get a face. Although, you sometimes may not know all names of the persons in a photo.

I have a photo of my ancestors who emigrated from Austria to Buffalo in 1913. The photo shows my Austrian ancestors Anton Hetzendorfer, Florian Hetzendorfer as well as Ernst August Surborg from Germany playing music together with other persons I do not know.

I would really like to know the names of the unknown members of the music group. The photo must have been taken around 1915 in Buffalo.

I tried to find persons who lived in Buffalo through online databases – without success. Then, I tried searching for „Buffalo“ and „Zither“ (the instrument played in the photo). I found a page http://www.zither.us where a story is told about Buffalo Zither Clubs. There was a photo of such a „Buffalo Zither Club“ taken in 1917 which really showed one of the persons who was also in my photo! I was excited!

And I was even more lucky, the page stated the name of that person:

„Josef Mayerhofer (..) was born in Dingolfing, Germany, in 1875.“

I think, there is also a second Zither player in that picture who is in my photo as well, but no name was given form him.

I would not have thought it possible to identify the people in my photo, but it actually worked!

Historic Austrian Newspapers

A real treasure chest for researchers of family history are historic newspapers. At ANNO (Austrian Newspapers Online, a digitalization initiative of the Austrian National Library) you can search through the text of an enormous amount of historic newspapers and magazines from 1689-1945. ANNO does not only include Austrian Newspapers, but papers from all over Europe, some even in other languages like English, French, Italian or Polish.

Yesterday, I found out through ANNO that the sister of my Great-great-grandfather, Josefa Korinek was the eldest woman in Vienna when she died in 1939, aged 103. I was thrilled to read through the story of her life and there were even two photographs!

1938-korinek-josefa-2

Source: ANNO/Austrian National Library, Illustrierte Kronen Zeitung 6.3.1938, page 6

If you want to try ANNO, go to the ANNO Search page and enter the name you are looking for in the the field “Suche:” (Suche is Search in German). You can use search operators such as:

“First Name Last Name” will search for exactly this expression
“First Name, Last Name”~5 will do a context search where the two words are not more than 5 words apart (I mostly use this search with a family name and the name of a village).

Good luck searching! I hope you will get new information!

 

Working with Austrian Church Books – Part 1: Finding the right Diocese

Working with Austrian Church Books – Part 1: Finding the right Diocese

Austrian Roman Catholic Church Books are the main source for Family History Research in Austria. This post marks the start of a series explaining how to find information you are looking for in Austrian church records:

Part 1: Finding the right Roman Catholic Diocese

Austria is divided into nine Roman-Catholic dioceses by territory. There is also one special military diocese. The area of this dioceses is similar to those of the nine Federal States, but not identical. Particularly the Archdiocese of Vienna covers extensive parts of Lower Austria.

Each diocese has many parishes that in turn were responsible for keeping personal records such as baptismal records, weddings and deaths until 1938.

How do you find online records for dioceses? In the following you will find links to online records:

  • Matricula – www.matricula-online.eu
    offers records for the Archdiocese of Vienna and of Salzburg as well as the dioceses of St.Pölten (Lower Austria), Linz (Upper Austria), Feldkirch (Vorarlberg) and Gurk-Klagenfurt (Carinthia).
    While Viennese, Lower and Upper Austrian and Vorarlberg records are complete, the digitalisation of records of the other dioceses is in progress and new records are constantly being added.
  • Styrian records (Dioceses Graz-Seckau) are completely digitalised and are available here:
    http://matriken.graz-seckau.at
  • The records for Tyrol can be found here:
    https://apps.tirol.gv.at/bildarchiv/#14502836723930
  • The records for the diocese Burgenland are not digitalised. However, as this part of Austria was actually part of Hungary until 1921, records might possibly be found in the Hungarian records for the dioceses Györ/Raab und Szombathely/Steinamanger.

Many records are also available here on Family search (www. familysearch.org)

There is extensive information about Austrian church records online on the Homepage of Familia Austria, a genealogical association. This information is only available in German, though.

I am sure, some readers now have the legitimate question: „How do I know, which diocese is the right one for the village/city that I am looking for?“

I will show you in the next part of my series. But here is a sneak preview: We will use the gazetteer of Genteam (www.genteam.at). The site is free, but you have to register to use it – it is worth it, though, as there is a lot of information available there.

Please come visit my blog again for upcoming sequels:
Part 2: Finding the right Parish
Part 3: Finding the right Church Book
Part 4: Finding the right Entry
Part 5: Information given in Baptismal Records
Part 6: Information given in Marriage Records
Part 7: Information given in Death Records
Part 8: Other Religious confessions

Kurrent Script – Old German Script

Church books are very often written in Kurrent (Old German Script). At first glance, it looks like a secret code. However, it is not so difficult to read it – all you need is a little practice. Nevertheless, be careful – what looks like an “f” could easily be an “s” 😉!

Here’s how it works:
kurrentschrift

On this website, there are further tables with variations:http://www.deutsche-kurrentschrift.de/index.php?s=abc_fraktur

The readability is not improved by the fact that some handwritings are really difficult to read. In the beginning, there is certainly a degree of guessing involved, but I promise: It gets better!

And to start your training, here is the first of what I intend to make a series of: the Kurrent challenge! Can you read the following words (easy ones!)?

bildschirmfoto-2017-02-05-um-22-42-50

By the way, I am using a great tool for conversion into Kurrent: http://www.kurrentschrift.net/index.php?s=schreiben

Leopoldine Hetzendorfer (Hofbauer)

Here is another feature of my blog – I hope, you like it!

I will also use my blog to introduce my ancestors, starting with:

hetzendorfer_leopoldine

Leopoldine Hetzendorfer (maiden name Hofbauer) was born in 1854 in the Northern area of Lower Austria. Age 24, she married Anton Hetzendorfer whith whom she had seven children. In 1904, her husband passed away.

In 1913 (when she was 58 years old), the emigrated with most of her children to the US. From Ellis island records  (Ellis Island Passenger Search) I know, that her ship “Barbarossa” was sailing from Bremen, Germany to New York. The emigrants founded a weaving mill in Buffalo.

Leopoldine Hetzendorfer returned home in 1943, aged 88 where she passed away.

She and her family have introduced me to American genealogical research which is again fascinating, although different from Austrian, as it is more based on census records and civil registration (at least as far as I can tell) whereas in Austria, the main information was recorded in Church books.

Do you also have ancestors who emigrated from Austria? I’d love to hear their story!