Canton Nidwalden, Switzerland Genealogy

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Guide to Canton Nidwalden ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

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Canton Nidwalden


Getting Started[edit | edit source]

If you are new to Swiss research, you should watch this introductory course. Then study the articles on church records and civil registration, as almost all of your research will be in those two record groups.

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History[edit | edit source]

Under the Helvetic Republic imposed in 1798 by French Revolutionary troops, Switzerland became a united country but the ideas of the French Revolution were not popular in Nidwalden. The cantons were accustomed to self-government and many resented the limits on the freedom of worship in particular. When rebel forces threatened the Republic, Nidwalden was attacked by French troops on 9 September 1798 and the canton's infrastructure was badly damaged. After the end of Napoleonic rule in 1814, most of the changes were reverted. Only in 1877 did Nidwalden introduce a new constitution.
Nidwalden is a German speaking canton.

Nidwalden (Wikipedia)

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Civil registration began in Canton Nidwalden in 1876. To understand the records available, read the Wiki article, Switzerland Civil Registration.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Nidwalden parish records are only available onsite at the Nidwalden archive. The archive has detailed information about the time period the parish records cover. Due to limited space, be sure to make an appointment before viewing the records at the archive.

You will be able to write your request in German with the help of the German Letter Writing Guide.

For information on the coverage and content of church records, read Switzerland Church Records.

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

This search strategy will help you determine what to write for. Limit tour requests to just one of these steps at a time. Once you have established that the parish is cooperative and perhaps more willing to do more extensive research (for a fee), you might be able to ask them for more at a time.

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected.
  • When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.