Information on family research in Switzerland
Place of citizenship
The place of citizenship or community of origin is the municipality for which a person possesses rights of citizenship. The place of residence is generally not the same as the place of citizenship. Changes in civil status (birth, marriage and death) are recorded by both and this makes it particularly important for genealogical research.
Mario von Moos, Bibliography of Swiss Genealogies
Mario von Moos, Familiengeschichtliche Bibliographie der Schweiz
2nd ed., Zurich 1994
(Arbeitshilfen für Familienforscher in der Schweiz, Nr.6, published by the Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Familienforschung). Edited through ca. 1990
The Bibliography of Swiss Genealogies records works on certain families.
Works were included that are available in at least one library or archive:
- Printed works (independent works, separate extracts, non-independent works)
- Duplicated works
- Typewritten works
- Individual sheets such as family trees, family tablets, ancestry and clan tablets and similar witnesses
Register of Swiss surnames
Familiennamenbuch der Schweiz=Répertoire des noms de famille suisses = Repertorio dei nomi di famiglia svizzeri = Cudesch dals nums da famiglia da la Svizra = Register of Swiss surnames
3., bound and corrected edition. Zurich 1989
The Register of Swiss surnames records all families with Swiss citizenship in alphabetical order and lists the applicable place of citizenship (data valid through 1962).
It can be viewed in the reading room at the NL under JA 929.4209494 FAM. It is also online available and it is provided by the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland:
Civil Register and Church Registers
Back to overview History and Geography
The governmental registration of civil status was introduced in 1876, and the Civil Register has recorded births, marriages and deaths since then. The Civil Register at the place of citizenship is responsible for maintaining the register and it gives permission to see the files.
The Church Registers are the most important sources for the period prior to 1876. Other important aids include supplemental registers such as citizenship rolls, household or family registers. There are no uniform rules on how to archive church and citizenship registers. Some cantons store them in one location in the state archive, while church registers remain at the office of the Vicar in other cantons.
Last updated on: 14.10.2010