Tracing your Ancestors in Vienna - Records and databases (2024)

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.

Online Databases

A lot of information on people in Vienna is already available online.

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.

How to find birth, marriage or death certificates

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:

Applications for birth and death certificates from 1939 onwards and marriage certificates later than August 1st 1938: Ordering copies of civil status documents online (birth, marriage, registered partnership, death)

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) (German).

How to find coroner records

We have an almost complete register of the coroner records in Vienna from 1648 up to (and including) the year 2004. These are in chronological order and only partly indexed. A promising search demands the exact year of death.

How to find probate records

We have probate records for the period between 1783 and, approximately, 1975. To find a probate record, you would need several specifications: name, year of death, last address (only after 1850).

How to find an address

  • 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: Information from historical residence registration records - application
    Due to legal regulations and conservation issues, it is not possible to provide copies of residential registration records. For scientific projects that need to go through large amounts of records it is possible to use all records that are available on microfilm. Be aware that this is only possible if a request to lift data protection and retention periods is granted.
  • after 1975: Registry Office (German) at every Municipal district department.

How to find military records

Certificate of citizenship

In 1849, the right of residence was introduced in Austria. It regulated a person's membership in a specific community, the right to residence and to be cared for in case of need. This law was repealed in 1939 and replaced by the certificate of citizenship in 1945. The municipal department 35 – Immigration and Citizenship is responsible for citizenship issues.

Academic studies and certificates

Further steps

  • Visiting the archives
  • Enquiry service
Tracing your Ancestors in Vienna - Records and databases (2024)
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