Genealogy is an interesting activity, but also very demanding and time-intensive. In contrast to many other countries, Austria has no central registry of citizens. According to the circumstances, you may have to visit several places in various districts to gain access to the diverse records and supplementary sources of information.
Inspect first of all your private material and family papers, since you need some basic data to start your research. As a starting point it is essential for you to read material that introduces you to genealogy. Make a note of every detail, even if it appears unimportant; it could turn out to be important in some later context. And you should always write down the source.
A large number of the sources exist only in hand-written form and are to be found in parish churches and the most varied archives. Please get information from the homepages of the Austrian StateArchive / Österreichisches Staatsarchiv and the Municipal and provincial archives of Vienna / Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv concerning their holdings.
Genealogical research at the Austrian National Library
In the Austrian National Library there are many reference works which are of interest to genealogists
- Introductory literature
- Literature to facilitate finding hand-written sources in parish churches and archives; published hand-written sources
- Literature on interpretation of records you have found
- Biographical reference works, lexicons on the nobility, schematic name-diagrams, registers of names, etc.
Because of the obligatory delivery of specimen copies, which by 1918 had been extended to a large part of the Empire, the literature of Austria within its political boundaries at any time, that is, also in the former Austrian crown lands, is available. To some extent therefore the literature of other countries is also included.
There is no specialist genealogical section in the Austrian National Library. The relevant literature are displayed in the most varied areas of the institution. In the freely accessible areas of the reading room of the Picture Archives you will find, under the classification GEN, a compilation of many and varied works of research into families. You can approach the staff of the Research Department with your questions.
Institutions that specialise in genealogical research please see German version point 6. Under German version points 2 to 5 (see the right-hand column) you will find a selection of relevant works. Those are only a small section of the relevant literature that is held. So please make sure you check our catalogues too.