Switzerland, Vaud Terrier Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Switzerland, Vaud Terrier Records, 1234-1798
CID1809311
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Vaud, Switzerland
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Flag of the Swiss Confederation
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Location of Vaud, Switzerland
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Location of Switzerland
Record Description
Record Type: Vaud Terrier Records
Collection years: 1234-1798
Languages: German, French
Title in the Language: Terriers du Canton de Vaud, Suisse
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Les Archives cantonales vaudoises



Why Should I Look at This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Terriers were created to keep track of money and goods owed by tenants to their landlords. These records provide an alternative source of genealogical information, supplementing and extending the church records. For the period when there are no surviving church records, terriers are the main source of genealogical information. Tterriers can also suggest the names of other parishes whose church records should be examined.

What Is in the Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection includes digital images of terrier records from the Canton of Vaud for the years 1234-1798. The original records are now housed at the Archives Cantonales Vaudoises (ACV).

In the archive, these records are classified as "Series F." The volumes are arranged by bailiff (governor or custodian) or by district.

Images are being added to the collection gradually, eventually expected to reach a total of about 1,600,000 images. The first group to be posted is classified as ACV Fc, covering the district of Aigle.

During the feudal regime, land was usually held "in fief". That is, individuals held land under the obligation to make annual payments of money, commodities, or other duties to a higher authority such as a lord or "Seigneur", a religious institution such as an abbey or a local church, a city, or some other institution such as a charitable hospital or a confraternity. The various Seigneurs and institutions needed to keep track of the amounts that were owed to them, and therefore compiled books (or sometimes long scrolls) listing this information. These compilations are the "terriers".

Most of the terriers consist of "reconnaissances", a sort of legal contract. The literal translation in English would be "recognitions". The individual property holders "recognize" or acknowledge that they owe specific amounts of money, commodities, or other duties to the "Seigneur" or institution, in return for holding specific properties. From these transactions, the other term for these volumes is derived: "Grosses de reconnaissances", literally "fat books" of reconnaissances.

The "reconnaissance" has a relatively standardized format, with many similarities to modern contracts.  The names of the parties are given, along with the descriptions of the individual properties and the obligations that are attached to each one. The property holders acknowledge that they do owe, and legally should owe, the specific amounts, pledging all their assets to uphold and support the contract. There should be a specific date, the names of the witnesses, and a signature by the notary.

Most terriers have a "répertoire" at the front, either in the form of a simple table of contents or an alphabetical index of some sort. In this digital collection, the répertoires are normally found at the end of the series of images for each volume. The images of the répertoires will show an R before the page number. Until indexing of this collection is complete, the répertoires for each volume are probably the best way to locate individual transactions. A few cases are known where the répertoire now at the front of the volume is evidently the index to some other volume. In a very few cases, only the répertoire remains, the entire text having disappeared.

Reading These Records[edit | edit source]

These records are written in Latin and French. Before 1536, the records are mostly in Latin; after that year, they are mostly in French. For help with these languages, see the following pages:

These records contain many abbreviations. When a line is found over an m, an n, or a vowel, it usually means an "m" or an "n" has been omitted. There are also shorthand symbols for syllables ending in r, and for common word endings, both in Latin and in French. Other passages in the same terrier will usually reveal the correct reading of the abbreviations.

When the clerks who compiled the terriers made a mistake, they normally did not cross out or erase the wrong word. Instead, they would usually mark the incorrect word by enclosing it in a box of dotted lines or by underlining it with a dotted line. They would then write the correct word immediately after. Some sentences might also include unique symbols; these indicate that a word, phrase, or passage is to be inserted at that point. The inserted material is usually found at the bottom of the page, marked by a matching symbol.

Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Switzerland, Vaud Terrier Records, 1234-1798.

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

Click on images for a larger view.

The information found in these records may include:

  • The names of the present land holders as of a specific date. When there is more than one owner of a particular property, the relationships of the owners to each other are usually given. Names of spouses and fathers are often included.
  • The names of previous owners of the same properties. When the property has passed to the present owner through inheritance, or has been kept in the family by some other method, the relationship of the previous owners to the present owner is normally given, with the result that several generations of ancestry are often listed. Occasionally a reconnaissance will list 5 or 6 generations.
  • The names of adjacent property owners are usually found in the descriptions of the individual properties, often with additional genealogical information about them, too, such as names of fathers or spouses.
  • In the course of explaining how an individual came to own specific properties, marriage contracts, testaments, leases, and other legal documents are sometimes cited, with dates and the names of the notaries who recorded these instruments. With this information, it is sometimes possible to locate the original contracts. (Most of the surviving registers of the notaries of Vaud are available on microfilm from the Family History Library.)
  • Marginal notations often list later owners of the same properties. These notations sometimes include enough genealogical information to connect the later owners with the parties listed in the reconnaissance.
  • Some family names in Vaud have changed over the centuries. Terriers that give extensive history of particular properties may include information about these changes.

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

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Switzerland, Vaud Terrier Records, 1234-1798.

To search by image:

⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Place" category
⇒Select the "Volume" category which takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

Some finding aids are available (see the links below, under Related Websites). Information about the specialized vocabulary used in these records, both in French and in Latin, will be posted at a later date.

Within "Series F" at the ACV, the terriers are organized into subseries based on the traditional district most closely associated with each terrier. For example, ACV Fe covers the district of Vevey, Ff covers Lausanne, Fh covers Aubonne. This classification is to some extent arbitrary, because the lands belonging to a particular "Seigneur" frequently did not lie within the boundaries of a single district. 

Within each subseries, such as ACV Fh, volumes are assigned a sequence number, such as Fh 127.  The number assigned to each terrier is found in the inventories prepared by the ACV, which contain a brief description of each volume. 

Most volumes had folio numbers; that is, only the front side of each sheet was numbered. Frequently the folios are numbered in roman numerals. When "foliation" is present, it is traditional to call the front side, the one that is numbered, the "recto", and the back side, the one that is not numbered, the "verso". For purposes of citing folio numbers, the back side of folio 12 is referred to as "12v". Later volumes often used page numbers: that is, both sides of the sheet were numbered, and usually with arabic numerals. There are many irregularities in the numbering. During the preparation of the volumes for imaging, each side of each sheet was carefully and legibly numbered in pencil. These numbers should be visible on the images.

When citing a particular page, include the ACV catalogue number as well as the folio or page: ACV Fh 127, fol. 12v.

While most of the genealogical information is likely to be summarized within the first few pages of each transaction, there may be more details, sometimes including additional ancestry, names of other spouses, etc., buried in the text that describes the individual properties.

Known Issues With This Collection[edit | edit source]

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.  

Collection Citation:

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.

Image Citation:
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When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Switzerland, Vaud Terrier Records, 1234-1798.

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

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