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

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.