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).

Michael Stangerer, “Ship rider”

Today, I would like to introduce you to my 6times Great-Grandfather, Michael Stangerer. He lived in the 18th century and his profession was “Ship rider”. Until I wrote this post, I had no idea what a ship rider was doing. Now I know that he led an exhausting life.

Michael Stangerer was born on the 7th of May 1712 under the baptismal name Johann as son of Georg and Eva (maiden name unknown) Stangerer. They were living in Perg, Upper Austria, at the address “In den Judenleüthen”.

This address is derived from the term „jugent“ which means “Young Forrest”. “Leithen” is a slope. The address therefore describes a slope with a forrest.

On 22nd of September, aged 27, he married Rosalia Rüttner, the 45-year-old widow of Simon Büttner, an inhabitant of St.Johann close to Grafenwörth at the river Danube in Lower Austria.

(Translation: “here, Michael, currently ship rider in Stockerau, legitimate son of Georg Stangerer, dead, in the Judenleuthen from the parish of Perg and Eva his wife, living, with Rosalia, widow of Simon Rüttner, inhabitant of St.Johann”
Transcription in German: „allhier, Michael derzeit zu Stockerau ein SchiffReuther deß Georg Stangerer, sel. in den Judenleüthen auß der Pfarre Perg, Eva dessen Ehewirthin noch im Leben beider ehelich erzeugt hinterlasster Sohn mit Rosalia deß Simon Rüttner gewester Nachbar zu St. Johanns hinterlasstene Wittib“)

This marriage entry gives important information on Michael Stangerer: At the time of the marriage, Georg Stangerer, father of the groom, had died already. The profession of the groom is given as “ship rider” in the town of Stockerau in Lower Austria. The profession of the best men is also interesting: Gabriel Hann and Hans Walleneder were both boatmen in Stockerau.

By the way, some church books in the parish of Grafenwörth have a very informative idea, including all information of the entry, which makes working with these books very easy:

Sipping on the Danube in the 18th Century

Before the course of the river Danube was regulated, St. Johann was situated at the bank of the river and was a trans-shipment center for all kinds of goods and a resting place for boatmen.

Shipping on the Danube was the most important way to supply the fast growing City of Vienna with wood from the forrest of Bavaria and Bohemia. Also salt was transported frequently on the river.

However, the Danube was never as important as other European rivers as Rhine or Rhone for transportation purposes, as the Danube’s waters flow in the “wrong” direction, away from the trading centers in the West and the North of Europe.

Ships going upstream were tied together and were pulled by horses (up to 60, depending on the size of the ships) which were going on the path beside the river, the “Treppelwege”. The whole process was called “Treideln”.

The chain of ships was built according to a certain scheme, the biggest ship being first in line. After that, smaller ships followed. The chain of ships was accompanied by smaller dinghies.

There were ropes with a length of about 80 meters tied to the mast of the ships. The steersmen had to try to keep the ships away from the banks of the river. In that manner, ships were moving slowly and could only make 4-6 hours per day.

So, what exactly does a ship rider do? The ship rider was the person riding on the horses which were pulling the ships, directing the horses on the path beside the river. Mostly, they were sitting sideways on wooden saddles, thus keeping an eye on the ship and the rope.

Bild: Alois Greil in Die österreichisch-ungarische Monarchie in Wort und Bild, Band Oberösterreich, Wien 1889

Picture: Alois Greil in Die österreichisch-ungarische Monarchie in Wort und Bild, Band Oberösterreich, published in Vienna in 1889

By the way, in 1812 the first steamboat started its operations in Vienna, through which the profession of ship rider lost importance.

Coming back to my ancestor: Through the mentioned marriage, Michael Stangerer no longer had to accompany the ships. His wife obviously has inherited a house in St.Johann from her late first husband. Thus, Michael Stangerer subsequently became an inhabitant of St.Johann and stayed there.

 

He married there four times and had seven children, two of whom died in infancy.

(Translation: Geburt=Birth, Heirat=Marriage, Tod=Death)

On 24th of October 1790, Michael Stangerer died from a lung disease at the age of 78 as widower at the address St.Johann No. 10.

Sources (in German):

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

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

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

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
    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