Switzerland, Bern, Civil Registration - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Switzerland, Bern, Civil Registration, 1792-1876
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Bern, Switzerland
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Flag of the Swiss Confederation
CH Locator Map Switzerland Bern.png
Location of Bern, Switzerland
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Location of Switzerland
Record Description
Record Type: Civil Registration
Collection years: 1792-1876
Languages: German, French
Title in the Language: Schweiz, Bern, Zivilstandsregister, 1792-1876; Suisse, Berne, registres d'etat civil, 1792-1876
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Staatsarchiv Bern

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This genealogical collection will include records from 1792 to 1876.

Civil registration records were microfilmed from originals kept at the State Archives for the Canton Bern, in Bern, Switzerland. The record text is written in German or French, depending on the locality where the records were created.

This collection of civil birth, marriage, and death records for Bern includes the years 1792 to 1876. At this time, civil registration had not yet been implemented by the government, but was handled by church authorities.

The civil registration of birth, marriage, and death was not implemented nationally in Switzerland until 1876. Therefore, the records in this collection were mostly recorded by Catholic Church or Protestant Church priests, who were responsible for registering changes in the civil status of the citizens. In earlier years the civil registry kept two separate sets of books: A-registers included the records of births, marriages, and deaths of citizens in the community and B- registers included the births, marriages, and deaths of citizens outside the community.

Civil records were created to record important events in the lives of the people of the land. This recording of data also helped provide citizenship benefits and statistics for civil authorities.

Civil records are a reliable source for genealogical research as well as church records. These are generally correct as far as the information goes, as the event was registered by eyewitnesses of the event. Barring spelling errors or faulty memory; civil records are as accurate as they could be.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images.

For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Switzerland, Bern, Civil Registration, 1792-1876..

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:


  • Name of child
  • Date and place of birth
  • Parents’ names
  • Parents’ residence and occupation


  • Bride and Groom’s names
  • Bride and Groom’s ages, residence, and occupation
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Parents’ names, residence, and occupation
  • Names of witnesses


  • Name of deceased
  • Deceased age at time of death
  • Sometimes the place of birth or occupation
  • Cause of death
  • Name of surviving spouse and sometimes of the children
  • Name and residence of informant
  • Sometimes the name of the parents is given

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • Name of the person
  • Approximate date of the event

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name by visiting the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select Place
  2. Select Event type and years to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

The most important information one can take from this record is the place of origin of the immigrant, but it is first necessary to know the place where the person requested his/her citizenship and when he or she did so.

Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the age in the citizen to find an approximate birth year to begin your search in church or civil records
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have moved, been recruited or lived nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify. Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual. This compiled list can help you identify possible relations that can be further verified by researching vital records indexes in the country
  • When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Switch to a different record collection. Depending on the time period, either Civil Registration records or Church Records may be more useful
  • While searching, it is helpful to know such information as the ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as an ancestor and that the ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times
  • Keep in mind that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images. Pay special attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try variations on the pronunciation
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names
  • Search the indexes and records of local genealogical societies
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Switzerland.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.

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