Land Registers and Family Research – Family Weihs in Sachsendorf, Austria

As entries in land registers offer a good insight into family history, I would like to write about this topic today.

Introduction of the land register in Austria

Maria Theresia started a first register of houses in 1770 (see also here) which was the predecessor of our modern land register. Land registers contain a lot of information on properties and their owners. Today, I would like to focus on the owners.

Documents at Familysearch

At Familysearch, there are many Austrian seigneurial records available online (free registration required). To get to the right records, use the menue “Search” and there “Catalogue”.  As location, enter “Austria”. You will get to a long list of different records, where you have to select “Court Records” and there you are:
Austria, seigniorial records = Österreich, Herrschaftsakten, 1537-1920

Family Weihs in Sachsendorf, Lower Austria

Using the example of the family Weihs of Sachsendorf (district Kirchberg am Wagram, Lower Austria), I would like to illustrate the support which a land register can offer for family research.

Mathias Weihs was my Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather. So far, I know that he was born in 1724 in Kollersdorf close to Sachsendorf and that he was married to Anna Maria Leuthner (widow of Stephan Kienast). I did not do much more research on his family yet (except for my direct ancestor, his son Paul).

Titel Grundbuch Sachsensdorf, NIederösterreich

Title page of the land register Sachsensdorf, Lower Austria, source citation see end of the blog post

Transcription and Translation: “Land register of the village of Sachsendorf of all properties with houses and all agricultural properties”

Through the above shown land register  („Haus-Überland-Grundbuch Amt Sachsendorf“) which is available online at Familysearch (Source citation see end of the blog post), I found out that Mathias Weihs owned several properties in Sachsendorf.
This was one of them:

 

Titel des Grundbucheintrages, Quellenangabe siehe Ende des Posts

Name/Title of the property, source citation see end of the blog post

Transkription and translation: “Von einem Bauernhaus, dareingehören 3 1/2 Joch Acker” – Of one farm house, including 3 1/2 Joch fields; Joch is an old square measure

From the entry in the land register, one can see the following chain of owners:

Besitzerkette Eintrag Grundbuch Sachsendorf, Quellenangabe siehe Ende des Posts

Owners in land register entry Sachsendorf, source citation see end of the blog post

Thus, the following persons were owners of the farm house:

  • Mathias Weihs and his wife Anna Maria („ux.“ is short for uxoris, wife) as of 1759
  • Franz Weihs, first unmarried as of 1788 and subsequently with his wife Elisabeth as of 1790 (from Sachsendorf, formerly written as Saxendorf)
  • Joseph Weihs, unmarried as of 1817 by acquisition (for 4,000 Gulden, the former Austrian currency, abbreviated as „fl.“)
  • Joseph Weihs und his wife Anna Maria as of 1817 by marriage
  • Johann Weihs, unmarried, living in the farm house- by acquisition in 1849 for 1,200 Gulden

All this information give a good overview and there are enough facts for a more detailed research. As mentioned in the illustration of the scope of the parish Kirchberg am Wagram at Matricula-online, the parish Kirchberg am Wagram includes Sachsendorf until 1784, afterwards, the parish Altenwörth includes the records for Sachsendorf (both are within the Arch-Dioceses of Vienna).

From research in the church books, I found out the following:

  • Mathias Weihs and Anna Maria Leuthner married on 22.7.1759 in Sachsendorf.
  • According to the land register, Franz Weihs married in 1790, which simplifies the search in the book of marriages of the parish Altenwörth:
 On 22.1.1790, Franz Weihs, son of Mathias Weihs and Anna Maria Leuthner married Elisabeth Nesterl. From the entry, one can also deduct the year of birth of Franz Weihs: He was 25 years of age at the time of the wedding, therefore he was born in 1765. It actually was on 27.5.1764, as the baptismal book of the parish Kirchberg am Wagram shows.
  • Joseph Weihs acquired the property from the couple Franz and Elisabeth Weihs (who by the way died in 1830 and 1828 respectively).
 Now it is getting more difficult, as the land register does not give information on the relationship between Joseph and Franz. Brother? Son? Nephew?
    As the next two entries in the land register have both been made in 1817, it can be assumed that it is for the same Joseph, who was married to a woman named Anna Maria in 1817. And there really is a wedding of Joseph Weihs and Anna Maria Entlang on 11.11.1817 in the church book. The church book gives us the information that Joseph was the son of Franz and Elisabeth Weihs and that he was born in 1791.
    By the way, this is the starting point for further research, as I have to try to find the purchase contract between Franz and Joseph. How could son Joseph afford to buy land for 4,000 Gulden which was quite some money at that time?
  • The next and last owner in the land register is Johann Weihs who also acquired the property. He was unmarried.
    During the time in question, there were three baptisms of boys named Johann Weihs. It is most probable that the right Johann is the son of Joseph and Anna Maria Weihs who was born on 15.8.1825. Any doubt can however only be eliminated through looking at the purchase contract.

Finally, I could establish the following facts with the support of the land register:

Ahnentafel Johann Weihs Kopie

Source Citation Familysearch – Land register:
“Österreich Herrschaftsakten 1537-1920,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9K9-BS3H?cc=1929847&wc=MYCG-BZQ%3A1062206102%2C1047408502%2C1062215703%2C1062215702%2C1062221701 : 20 May 2014), Österreich  \> Lower Austria (Niederösterreich) \> Kirchberg am Wagram \> Herrschaft Grafenegg mit Freihof Etsdorf \> image 13 of 200; Landesarchiv, Österreich (national archives, Austria).

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

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

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
    Update March 2017: Tyrolian church books are partly online at Matricula as well
  • 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

Useful Links for Genealogical Research in Austria

When researching ancestors in Austria, the following links might prove extremely useful:

  • ICARUS/Matricula
    http://icar-us.eu/
    ICARUS is a non-profit association with more than 160 archives and similar institutions from more than 30 European countries, the USA and Canada as members.
    They offer various online-sites. For starting research in Austria, the most important is “Matricula”. http://icar-us.eu/cooperation/online-portals/matricula
    This site provides access to Austrian (and international) church books and is also available in English.
  • Familia Austria
    http://www.familia-austria.at
    Familia Austria is an Austrian association aiming at promoting genealogy in the area of the former Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy.
    Some information provided there is free, other is tied to a membership.
    The site is in German, though.
  • Genteam
    http://www.genteam.at
    GenTeam is a loose association of independent genealogists who cooperate to fill data bases. The site is free (registration required), it is however also in German.
  • ANNO – AustriaN Newspapers Online
    http://anno.onb.ac.at
    ANNO is provided by the Austrian National Library. There, you can search online in historic newspapers.
  • Familysearch
    https://familysearch.org
    Family Search, the World’s leading organisation for genealogical research, provides also  a lot of documents and information relating to Austria.
  • myheritage
    https://www.myheritage.at
    This data base requires payment, but there are quite a lot Austrian family trees online.

There are of course numerous other sources for information. However the ones listed above have proven to be the most helpful for starting research in Austria.

I will in due course provide help on how to use non-English sites.