Resources for Swiss Genealogy Research:

  • Censuses 18th -> 20th
    • When: From 1764 for the city of Bern, 1798 for Geneva, 1811 to 1850 at 15 years intervals in some cantons. 1850 to present at 10 years intervals throughout Switzerland.
    • What: Names of family members and servants; age, occupation, place of residence, and often town or parish of birth.
    • Where: State and city archives
  • Emigration records 14->18th centuries
    • What: Lists of expatriates with their names, towns of origin, and sometimes places of residence outside the canton.
    • Where:State Archives in German-speaking cantons and Fribourg.
  • Passports issued 19th century
  • Citizenship records 11th-> 20th century
    • When: From the 11th century to present, but mainly since the 14th century.
    • What: Names, dates, places of origin, and perhaps fathers' or wives' and father-in-laws' names. After the 17th century often date and place of birth and marriage, father's date of death , data on other family members and ancestors.
    • Where: In print for Baselland and the cities of Bern, Geneva, St Gallen, Sissach, Thun, Winterthur, Zofingen and Zurich. Other names are in "books of inhabitants" such as the "Livre des habitants de Genève" by Geisendorf.
  • Guild records 16th-> 19th
    • When: From 16th to 19th century
    • What: These documents may have various names (registers held by journeymen). Names, ages, birth dates, places of residence and often of origin, parents' names, family's hometown.
    • Where: City and State archives. For the 19th century in local Guild Administration Offices (these records were kept principally in large cities).
  • Military records 15th -> 20th
    • When: From the 15th to the 18th century for canton conscriptions and mercenaries. From 1848 to present for the milice (federal army).
    • What: Names and place of residence of soldiers, later also age and rank. Conscription records with names of 19-20 year old men, birth dates and places, names of parents, places of residence (sometimes abroad), physical descriptions.
    • Where: State archives. Information may also be obtained by the Historical Office of the Federal Military Department.
  • Parish Registers 16th -> 20th
    • When: Protestants: from about 1525 to present, Catholics: from about 1580 to present Note: in Catholic cantons couples often went to favorite shrines (Einsiedeln, Mariastein) for their wedding .
    • What: Baptism records (Taufbücher): dates and places of baptism; babies' names, parents, and sometimes their relation to the babies. Mothers are not named in early records. Note: When records call a person citizen of a town he may not have been born there, but holds citizenship there because a close or remote ancestor lived there and held citizenship
      • Marriage Records (Ehebücher): Names of couples, date and place of marriage. After 1700 often names of the father and sometimes mother of the groom and bride.
      • Burial Records (Beerdigungen - Sepolture): Name of deceased, date of death and burial; often name of spouse, especially if it is a women; names of parents of deceased children.
    • Where:State archives in Neuchâtel and Solothurn
      • Protestant cantons: civil registrars
      • Catholic cantons: parish or diocesan archives
  • Clergies Family registers 17th -> 20th
    • When: For some of them since about 1620. Most often from 1700 to 1900
    • What: Vary from town to town. Some early records give birthdates. Data in family group sheet. May omit parents' birth dates and places.
    • Where: Those made by the Protestant clergy are generally kept in civil registration offices. Recent records and records kept by the Catholic clergy can be found in church archives.
  • Genealogical records
    • When: From 15th to 19th century.
    • What: Pedigrees, descendant charts, family chronicles of old and prominent families.
    • Where: State and city archives. Some have been published, like the "Livre des habitants de Genève".

Sites of interest[]