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.
(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.
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.
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