Working with Austrian Church Books – Part 3: Finding the Right Book

Working with Austrian Church Books – Part 3: Finding the Right Book

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
Part 2: Finding the right Roman Catholic Parish

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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 3: Finding the right Church Book

In my last post of this series, I showed you how to find the right parish. Now, we want to move forward to find the right book.

There are three main types of church registers:

  • Baptismal Records
  • Marriage Records
  • Death Records

Although the registers are usually separate books, particularly in earlier times, all three records were entered in one book, in separate sections.

I will use the example of Theresia Wallner to show you, how to find the right book: Theresia Wallner was born on 17.2.1799 in the village of Thann. Thann is a part of the parish of Pottschach in the Arch-Diocese of Vienna.

 

Using Matricula, you can see that the following information:

In total, there are 28 books („Bücher“) available for the parish of Pottschach.

  • „Signatur“ means the title number of the book
  • „Kirchenbuch/Sakrament“ gives you the type of records in the book
  • „Laufzeit“ is the term for which entries are recorded

You can sort the list according to all of the above.

In the list, there are different types of books:

  • Taufbuch: Baptismal Records
  • Trauungsbuch: Marriage Records
  • Sterbebuch: Death Records
  • Tauf-, Trauungs- und Sterbebuch: all of the above combined in one book
  • Index Taufe: Index of baptismal entries (Sometimes, if a church book does not include an index of entries, there is a separate index for a certain term)
  • Index Trauungen: Index of marriage entries
  • Index Sterbebuch: Index of death entires

As we are looking for a baptismal record in 1799, this would be the book, we are looking for:

By clicking on the camera-symbol beside the book, you even get more information:

Beside the type of entries in the book („Buchtyp“) and the time period covered („Zeitraum“), you can also see that this particular book includes an index of the entries („Enthält: Index“) and the location of the original book („Lagerungsort“) which in this case is the local parish.

Finally, by clicking on the camera symbol again, you can access the particular book directly. (If you would like to go back to the list of entries, click on „Liste der Bücher“ which means „List of books“.)

In the next part of the series, we will search for the right entry in the book.

All the vocabulary above is also entered into my Vocabulary List here.

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

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History and Genealogy in Austria – Maria Theresia (1717-1780)

History and Genealogy in Austria – Maria Theresia (1717-1780)

History is an important part of genealogy, as the knowledge about history helps you understanding your family history.

300 years ago, on 13th of May 1717, Austrian Empress Maria Theresia was born in Vienna.

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In 1736, she married Franz Stephan of Lorraine. She and her husband had 16 children, of which 10 survived infancy.

After the death of her father Karl VI in 1740, she assumed the reigns of government of Austria. (She was never officially Empress of Austria, although people did call her Empress.)

Her first years of regency were impacted by a European war, the „Österreichischen Erbfolgekrieg/The War of Austrian Succession“ (1740 to 1748).

Under her regency, many reforms were implemented. Some of those reforms had a clear impact on the daily lives of our ancestors:

  • The empress initiated a reform of state finances which also included the introduction of a uniform income tax for all inhabitants – thus ending the tax privileges of nobility and clergy. The following taxes had to be paid per year (1 Gulden = 60 Kreutzer):
    (Source: „Felix Austria” by Stephan Vajda, published 1980 Verlag Carl Überreuther)

    • Ordinary workmen/farmhands: 4 Kreutzer
    • Day labourers: 12 Kreutzer
    • Farmers: 48 Kreutzer
    • Craftsmen: 1-3 Gulden
    • Lords of the manor: 200-400 Gulden, depending on the size of the property
    • Bishops: 600 Gulden(To compared those amounts: a meal cost about 12 Kreutzer, as stated here.)
  • Maria Theresia also introduced the first paper money in Austria.
  • In 1770, the numbering of houses in Vienna was concluded and other Austrian cities followed.

Maria Theresia also ordered the first census in Austria-Hungary in 1754 which was then called „Seelenbeschreibung“. The Census covered 17,437,181 inhabitants of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy. She implemented the first form of a land register (then a register of houses) in 1770.

Maria Theresia died on 29th of November 1780 in Vienna.

If you would like to find out more about Empress Maria Thresia, I recommend this link.

Research Template Church Book Index

I have to admit that my research has been really unorganized in the beginning, but I guess I was overwhelmed by the available information. On the internet, I have found some research templates in the meantime for a better organization. However, none is fully practical for me. Therefore, I tried designing my own template.

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You can download the template here as PDF. This template is intended for the collection of entries of an index of a church book when searching for a particular surname. The template also includes a detailed explanation on the last page.

While I so far took note of all the entries on a piece of paper which I could not find any more months later, I now intend to keep this filled-in template and if I am researching a certain name/book for more details or for relatives of the persons in my family tree at a later point in time, I do not have to undertake the entire seaching again.(Although it can also be quite useful to start again from scratch, as it is always possible that I did not notice some relevant information the first time).

Anyway, I hope you find the template useful as well!