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Parish registers now online

Genealogical research can be tedious and time-consuming. St Pölten, the capital of Lower Austria, is the first diocese of Austria, which has put all parish registers online. This means that everybody in the diocese can easily find out about their ancestors.

Churches served as registry offices for more than one and a half centuries – until 1939. "Our Parish registers started in 1591 and we are now at volume 41", Herbert Döller, priest of Waidhofen/Ybbs stated.

All parish registers were taken to St Pölten where they were scanned. The diocese archive thought that they could scan all 15,000 parish registers in three years. It actually took five years to put five million pages online. All of them are grouped according to parishes and parts of them even have an index.

"There is a huge demand for the parish, marriage and death registers which are kept here. Not only people from the diocese ask for them but also people from the whole world. Why? More and more people are interested in the history of their families", Thomas Aigner, head of the diocese archive explained.

Register books are sources of the church life and state administration. In consequence of the Council of Trient (1545-1563), parishes started registering the administered sacraments by establishing parish, marriage and death registers.

They are a source for the era of the Early Modern Period and the 19th century. The register books can thus serve as a basis for many historical questions.

As they contain personal information, there is only data on the Internet, which does not affect people who are still alive.

More information can be found here: http://www.dsp.at/

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