Canton Schwyz, Switzerland Genealogy

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

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Canton Schwyz


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]

On 1 August 1291, the cantons of Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden entered into an Eternal Alliance that would eventually become the Swiss Confederation. As early as 1320 the name of the canton was applied to the whole of the confederation. It was only in 1803, however, that the name Schweiz as derived from the canton of Schwyz became the official name of Switzerland.
As the Confederation expanded, Schwyz took a leading role in the new organization. The aggressive, expansionist foreign policy of Schwyz led to its name being applied to the entire Confederation.
In 1655 the canton of Schwyz began prosecuting those Protestant families who had remained in Schwyz. After the Protestant victory at the Second Battle of Villmergen, religious equality was established in the Confederation. Switzerland following the Congress of Vienna, with the borders of Outer Schwyz and Inner Schwyz. The two half-cantons were reunited under a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for all residents in 1833.
In the mid-1890s, the liberals began to push for another constitutional revision. Their revisions included language that would give the government authority over the monasteries and their assets. The conservatives fought back with a platform of protecting the religion of most Schwyzer. In response, the government created a second version, which dropped the controversial religious portions but was otherwise unchanged. Schwyz is a German speaking canton.

Canton Schwyz (Wikipedia)

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

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

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Schwyz church records are only available onsite at the Schwyz archive. All research must be done in person; the archive staff is only available for limited questions.

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.