Purpose of this Genealogy Website
AustrianFamilyHistory.org has two primary purposes. First, to provide a helpful source of information and tools to assist you to conduct successful Austrian genealogical research. I believe that you will find assembled here a wealth of training resources not available from any other source. Second, to promote family history focusing on the Southern Waldviertel region of Lower Austria and publish genealogical research from that area. You will find these two main purposes reflected in links to the right.
Southern Waldviertel Family History Project
Unbeknownst to me, my interest in the Southern Waldviertel began many years ago as a teenager. During a visit with my grandfather, he presented me with an aged marriage record that his grandfather had received from the Martinsberg Parish office prior to his emigration to America in 1884. With the help of devoted Austrian friends the information this document contained, eleven years ago a virtual door was opened to my Waldvierteler ancestors.
I bear the Waldvierteler surname of Stütz, and as far back as records exist there, my ancestors lived in this region of Austria. Having researched their records and walked their lands many times over the past eleven years, I am bound to the Southern Waldviertel and to its people.
The Southern Waldviertel Family History Project's objective, although grandiose, is very straight forward. It is to document every individual and family who lived in select Southern Waldvierteler parishes during the years 1600 to 1900 as far as records will allow. This website currently documents 24,226 individuals in 6,592 families from the southern and central portions of the Waldviertel in Lower Austria. One may access this information by clicking on the "Genealogy Project Data" link to the right.
What is the Waldviertel?
The Waldviertel or "Forest Quarter" is a picturesque semi-mountainous region less than an hour's drive west of Vienna, Austria. Its name is derived from the extensive forest covering much of its 2,850 square miles. Agriculture, forestry, and the production of glass and textiles have historically played a pivotal role in this area's economy. The Waldviertel is bordered on the south by the Wachau Region with its Danube or Donau River, which served as a lifeline for much of Central Europe. Castles dot its landscape and point to a former age of feudal rule. Although dominated earlier by Protestants, their expulsion or conversion during and immediately following the Thirty-Years War (1618-1648), referred to as the Catholic Counter-Reformation, transformed the Waldviertel into a bastion of Roman Catholicism. The Baroque Monastery at Melk lies near the Waldviertel's southern base and serves as the gateway to this mystical region.
Maps Identifying Südliche Waldviertel Project Location
Lower Austria Seignorial Records go Online!
Herrschaft records can be an amazing source of genealogical information. These early feudal records document marriages, probate following deaths, land and house purchases, taxation, and so forth. These records are housed by the Lower Austrian State Archives in St. Pölten and Bad Pirawarth, but The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently added these digitized records to their free website - FamilySearch.org. For more information about how to locate your ancestors in the Lower Austrian Seignorial collection, please click on the Feudal Records link to the left. Additional information and digital images are available through the FamilySearch link below.
The Southern Waldviertel Family History Project is pleased to join forces with other genealogists and contibute data to the new online resource - GenTeam Austria. Please follow the link below to enjoy free access to this new collection of indicies and genealogical information.
St. Pölten Diocese Archives Provides Online Access to Digital Parish Records
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