How to find your ancestors in Vienna

IMG_8403

“Parterre in Schönbrunn” by Alois Greil (1841-1902) from the book “Die österreichisch-ungarische Monarchie in Wort und Bild”, Band Vienna, Vienna 1886, page 115

History of Vienna

Particularly in the second half of the 19th century, Vienna, then capital of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, was a fast-growing city. During this area, the city railway and the “Hochquellwasserleitung” (water pipeline from the Schneeberg mountain) were built.
While Vienna had 726,000 inhabitants in 1880, this number grew to 1,365,000 in 1890 through the incorporation of the suburban villages. In 1910 2,031,000 people were living in Vienna (1).
Additionally, many war fugitives came to Vienna during World War I.
Currently, Vienna has 1,841,000 inhabitants, by the way.

Due to this massive migration to the city, Vienna also becomes interesting for genealogists whose ancestors moved there.

Family Research Sources for Vienna

It is actually not so easy to find ancestors in Vienna. Therefore, I would like to introduce you to some useful sources and give you some tips.
Some of the links I provide in the following, are only available in German, but I will try to explain the functionality and hope, it can provide help to English-speaking researchers.

Address Book of Vienna: “Adolph Lehmann’s allgemeiner Wohnungs-Anzeiger”

The socalled „Lehmann“ („Adolph Lehmann’s allgemeiner Wohnungs-Anzeiger“) is a very good start for Viennese research. It is a directory of Vienna’s inhabitants which has been published annually in the years 1859 – 1942. The Lehmann directory has been digitised and is available online for free on the Homepage „Wienbibliothek Digital“ (follow this link).

The directory includes the head of the family (not wife or children), mostly with a profession. Servants, trade assistants and day laborers are not included.

Each annual book consists of several chapters which can be chosen in an online register. There are (among several others) directories of magistrates, companies, sights and newspapers. For genealogists, the directory of names (“Namenverzeichnis”) is surely the most important one.

Very often, there is also a street directory (“Straßenverzeichnis”), in which the responsible parish for the address is included.
For some years (e.g. 1925), there is also a directory of houses (“Häuserverzeichnis”). This is a directory of inhabitants sorted by address. Through this directory, you can establish who lived in a certain house, for example to find neighbors of your ancestors.

Functionality:
Here, you are at the right page to choose a year. Once, you have established the year, you will see a page, where you can choose the part of the directory (“Band”). As the content of books varies, try all available options, until you find, what you are looking for. The chapters written in bold script, are the important ones. Look for the clues: “Namenverzeichnis” – Directory of names
“Häuserverzeichnis” – Directory of houses
“Straßenverzeichnis” – Directory of streets
Subsequently, you can select a letter or an address to proceed.

Search for Deceased Persons by  Viennese Cementeries (“Friedhöfe Wien”)

The search for deceased persons of the Viennese cemeteries (follow this link) is available for currently existing graves and for graves that no longer exist and thus is a valuable source to find deceased ancestors.

This is the search form:

Fields:
– Name: Enter first and/or last name of the person you are looking for
– Friedhof (Cemetery): You can restrict your search for a specific cemetery, but do not
  have to
– Jahr der Bestattung (Year of burial): You can restrict the time frame you are looking for.
– Historische Grabsuche: Select “aktuell” for existing graves and “historisch” for graves
  that no longer exist.
– Suchen: Search / Neue Suche: New Search

The search result can contain very useful information as age, date of birth, and date of death (varies from record to record). Additionally, all other persons buried in the same grave are shown which are very probably relatives, wife, husband or children. However, it has to be noted, that for the historic search, other people buried in this grave do not necessarily have to be related, as they may have been buried there at a different time.

In any case, it is usually worth to try both searches – historic and current. There is also a map showing the exact location of the grave.

Population Cards Familysearch

Familysearch offers an interesting collection in its catalogue:
Austria, Vienna, Population Cards 1850-1896

The time period given might be confusing. The collection actually includes population cards as of approx. 1905, which have been issued for persons born before 1897.
The search result includes information on the date and place of birth, spouse/wife and district in which the person lived (no detailed address).
The original population cards are available in the Vienna Municipal and Provincial Archive. You can search the collection for free there. There is also a possibility to ask the Archive for the document and detailed address (see here for details). However, there is a fee charged by the archive for research: EUR 35 for every half hour.

Further Data Bases

The data bases of  genteam (free registration required) and of Familia Austria (partly free, partly tied to a membership) both give information on baptisms, marriages and deaths of Viennese inhabitants. At Familia Austria, the deceased persons whose death was published in the Viennese Newspaper have been collected. Those are also available at ANNO of the Austrian National Library through a search for the name.

Historic City Maps and Photos

There is a  Wien-Wiki which offers historic maps of Vienna.

There is also a street directory (“Liste topographischer Objekte“), where you can search for a street and get information, as e.g. responsible parish or special sights in the street.

In the Photo Gallery (“Bildergalerie“), there are several pictures of historic houses. If you are lucky, the house you are looking for is among them. If not, you at least get an idea, how an area in Vienna looked like in the past centuries.

There are also interesting historic maps at the Vienna Library Online (“Wienbibliothek digital).

Source:

(1) https://www.wien.gv.at/kultur/archiv/geschichte/ueberblick/stadtwachstum.html

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s