Tracing your Ancestors in Vienna - Some Guidelines
In order to search for a person the complete name and an additional distinguishing mark is needed (date of birth, address at a given time).
A service of the Municipal and Provincial Archives of Vienna
The pursuit of family history demands a step by step approach, beginning with family tradition and documents and passing on to main and then to supplementary record sources. The most successful way to use records is to consult the main sources first, working backwards in time from the most recent information to establish a framework which can be filled in from supplementary sources.
With very few exceptions private documents are not kept in our Archives. Photographs for passports are not archived.
Records on people in Vienna
The Municipal and Provincial Archives of Vienna only keep records of Viennese inhabitants and not of inhabitants of the other Austrian provinces! If your ancestors stated "Austria" as their nation of origin, they did not necessarily come from within the boundaries of modern Austria. They came from the Habsburg empire, a multi-national, multi-ethnic conglomerate. The records of the former crownlands and parts of the Austrian Empire are now in the archives of the modern states.
A lot of information on people in Vienna is already available online.
- Friedhöfe Wien - Burials in Viennese cemeteries
- DÖW Datenbanken - Victims of the Holocaust
- Familia Austria - Vienna death index
- FamilySearch - Jewish birth, marriage and death records
- Friedhofsdatenbank der IKG - Jewish burials in Vienna
- Heraldisch-Genealogische Gesellschaft Adler - Vienna death index
- Lehmanns Allgemeiner Wohnungs-Anzeiger - Viennese address book
- Matricula Online - birth, marriage and death records
- Yad Vashem - Victims of the Holocaust
- Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon - Austrian biographic lexicon
To avoid misunderstandings, it is necessary to use the European style of day, month and year. Spell out the name of the month and write the year in full. For example, write 10 December 1889 or 10-12-1889, but not 12-10-89.
In Austria there is no central register where you can find persons by name. Civil registration of birth, marriages and deaths was introduced in Austria in 1938. Before this year the registers were kept by the religious communities (parishes), which are still keeping these documents and data in their own archives. Generally you have to know your ancestors religious affiliation and - if your ancestors were of the catholic faith - the parish they came from.
Certificates until 1938 can be found here:
- for Catholic church records: Matricula Online, Erzbischöfliches Ordinariat, 1010 Vienna, Wollzeile 2
- for Lutheran (A.B.) and Reformed (H.B.) church records: Evangelischer Oberkirchenrat, 1180 Vienna, Severin-Schreibergasse 3
- for Jewish records: Israelitische Kultusgemeinde, 1010 Vienna, Seitenstettengasse 4
Applications for birth and death certificates from 1939 onwards and marriage certificates later than August 1st 1938: Urkunden (Geburt, Eheschließung, eingetragene Partnerschaft, Sterbefall) - Online-Bestellung (German)
The records of people of unrecognised religion or not affiliated with a religious community were stored by the Civil Registry, kept today by Municipal Department 35 - Immigration and Citizenship (MA 35).
We have an almost complete register of the coroner records in Vienna from 1648 up to (and including) the year 1938. These are in chronological order and only partly indexed. A promising search demands the exact year of death.
We have probate records for the period between 1783 and, approximately, 1960. To find a probate record, you would need several specifications: name, year of death, last address (only after 1850).
- Wiener Adressverzeichnis "Lehmann" (since 1859): only proprietors and tenants, but not subtenants listed. It can be consulted online in the Wienbibliothek digital - Lehmann Online (German)
- Meldearchiv in the Vienna city archives: Historische Meldeunterlagen 1904-1975 (German).
- after 1975: Registry Office (German) at every Municipal district department.
- Military records until 1918: war archive (Kriegsarchiv) (German)
- Records after the year 1918: archive of the republic (Archiv der Republik) (German)
Academic studies and certificates
- Vienna University Archives
- Archive of Vienna University of Technology
- University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) - Archive
- University of Veterinary Medicine - Historical Archive
Municipal and provincial archives of Vienna (Municipal Department 8)