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Genealogy

Family tree of the Erlach family (AD 928)

Scale up Family tree of the Erlach family (AD 928)

If you are interested in researching your family history (also known as "genealogy"), the parish records (Kirchenbücher in German) are very important. These records of baptisms, marriages and deaths kept by the parish priests were the forerunners of today’s civil registers.

The parish records for most Bernese parishes from the time of the Reformation until the Federal Marital Status Act came into force in 1876 are now stored in the State Archives. The parish records for the parishes of Frutigen, Guttannen, Lenk and Saanen are not yet available in the State Archives.

In order to preserve them properly, all parish records have been microfilmed. Since February 2017, they have been available online.

What you need to do

Researching your family history on the basis of the Bernese parish records is only possible if your family’s place of origin is in the canton of Bern.

Research into a family history begins with its most recent members. Information about family members must as far as possible be obtained from the relevant civil register office. If you have information dating back to around 1870, then you can continue your research with the aid of the parish records. You can do this at the State Archives or you can do it online from your own home.

The parish records were handwritten in old German script (in German Kurrentschrift, Spitzschrift). You therefore need a basic knowledge of how to read this script.

Researching your family history in the State Archives

The digitalised parish records can still be inspected every Friday on computers that have been specially set up for this purpose. If you are interested, you can make an appointment to use one. Unfortunately the State Archives cannot guarantee that a computer will always be available.

Researching your family history online

In order to access the parish records online, click on the following link www.be.ch/kirchenbuecher. Click on the “+” symbol to navigate to the desired parish, or to the records that you are looking for. 

Representation Onlineinventar, archive plan search

Scale up Representation Onlineinventar, archive plan search

Double-clicking on the desired parish record book (e.g. K Aarberg 1 Taufrodel …) will give you a detailed view of the record. In the lower third of the data sheet, under “Files“, you will find the digitalised parish record book as a pdf file. By double-clicking on the underlined name you can open the file. Please be patient – the files are very large and it may take a moment or two before they open.

Representation Archivplan context

Scale up Representation Archivplan context

In order to get back to the overview, click on “Localize in archive plan” in the blue column on the left. 

The following professional genealogists can offer your further information on genealogy or help in researching your family history:


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Information about this website

http://www.sta.be.ch/sta/en/index/staatsarchiv/staatsarchiv/genealogie.html