Discerning Patterns in Austrian Marriage Record Entries

Marriage entries in Austrian Catholic church records can best be understood by dissecting them into basic structures. No one pattern exists for all marriage entries in every time period, parish, or for every priest, but isolating fundamental elements can be a very helpful place to begin extracting accurate information. Here is a basic marriage entry pattern prior to 1784:

Date

Groom
   Location of Groom
   Father of Groom
   Mother of Groom

Connector

Bride
   Father of Bride
   Location of Bride or her Father
   Mother of Bride

Witness(es) of Groom
Witness(es) of Bride

As you will see from the following pre-1784 examples, this pattern varied based on a couple of key circumstances: 1) when the groom was a widower, 2) when the bride was a widow, 3) when the priest neglected to record some information, or 4) when he chose to add additional information. The amount of data which constituted a complete marriage entry appears to have varied dramatically during various time periods and according to the priest's preferences. My purpose is not to present a complete transcription or translation of the samples below, but rather to illustrate a few examples of various patterns.

Before you start, here are a few very simple tips:

1. Look for a connector (mit, Cum, etc.). This will help you separate the groom's family from the bride's family.

2. Look for the key words "Sohn" and "Tochtor." These will help you determine if the other listed family members are parents.

3. Look for the key word "Wittib" in its many forms including the Latin "vidua" & "viduus." In the case of the bride, it will help you identify her deceased husband so that you do not mistake him for the bride's father. In such instances, the bride's recorded surname will be that of her deceased husband rather than her maiden name. It will also notify you that previous marriages exist for the widower and/or widow that will likely provide additional information.

4. Marriage entries will often identify whether parents of both the bride & groom are still alive or are deceased. This can provide a helpful parameter when searching for the death entries of each parent. Key words are provided further down this webpage that may assist in this effort.

5. Tracking the name and location of witnesses might assist you in linking families in some circumstances. They may help illuminate familial patterns and provide clues that could be helpful in your research. For example, it is not uncommon to see the same witnesses listed in multiple family record entries, particularly in baptismal records. This obviously does not constitute proof of relationship, but it may provide helpful clues that can be substantiated using other sources.

Sample marriage record entry - 1672 2 October
Hans Samper (groom) of Jacob Samper (father) & Eva (mother)
[Segment ends with word "Sohn"]
mit [with] (connector)
Maria Holzerin (bride) of Simon Holzer (father) & Elisabeth (mother) [Segment ends with word "Tochter"]
Witnesses Groom with locations
Witnesses Bride with locations
[Locations of bride & groom at time of marriage not recorded]
Sample marriage record entry - 1672 10 _______
Andreas Nagl (groom) von [from] location of Paul Nagl (father) &  Susanna (mother) [Segment ends with word "Sohn"]
[no connector]
Margaretha (bride) of Ambros Leidinger (father) zu [at] location & Anna Maria (mother)
[Segment ends with word "Tochter"]
Witnesses Groom with locations
Witnesses Bride with location
Sample marriage record entry - 1672 1672
Udalricus Schweinögger (groom) widower ex [from] location
[As a widower, the groom's parents were not recorded]
[no connector]
Regina (bride) widow [of] Michael Gißrindel (deceased husband) ex [from] location
[As a widow, the bride's deceased spouse not her parents were recorded]
Witnesses [not distinguished between bride & groom] with locations
Sample marriage record entry - 1672 29 July
Georg Pöckhstainer (groom) von [from] location of Colman Pöckhstainer (father) von [from] location Elisabeth (mother)
[Segment ends with word "Sohn"]
mit [with] (connector)
Barbara (bride) of Elias Wilhelm (father) vocation zu [at] location Catharina (mother)
[Segment ends with word "Tochter"]
Witness Groom with vocation & location
Witnesses Bride with vocation & locations
Sample marriage record entry - 1683 2 February 1683
Thomas Hanpökh (groom) Udalric Hanpökh (father) zu [at] location et [and] Anna (mother)
(no connector)
Maria (bride) Thomas Zänkhel (father) zu [at] location et [and] Ursula (mother)
Witnesses Groom with vocation & location
Witnesses Bride with location
Sample marriage record entry - 1683 24 May
Gabriel Holzabfel (groom) of Gröger Holzabfel (father) & Eva (mother) "Sohn" zu [at] location
Cum [with] (connector)
Barbara (bride) of Philib Hueber (father) zu [at] location & Maria (mother)
[Segment ends with word "Dochter"]
Witnesses [not distinguished between bride & groom] with vocations & locations
Sample marriage record entry - 1693 6 October 1693
Paul Clammer (groom) of Michael Clammer (father) location & Anna Maria (mother)
[Segment ends with word "Sohn"]
Cum [with] (connector)
Anna Schrämbl (bride) widow of Mathias Schrämbl (deceased husband) No location 
[Entry ends with word "Wittib." or widow]
No witnesses
 

3 November 1693
Wolf Stanöchkher (groom) widow zu [at] location
Cum [with] (connector)
Magdalena (bride) of Christoph Edlinger (father) zu [at] location & Maria (mother)
[Segment ends with word "Tochter"]
No witnesses

Sample marriage record entry - 1675 Germbs: (marriage location)  18 June
Bernhardt Frükh (groom) of Georg Frükh (father) zu [at] location Eva (mother)
[Segment ends with word "Sohn"]
mit [with] (connector)
Maria (bride) widow of Andre Langthaller (deceased husband) von [from] location
[Segment ends with word "Wittib."]
Witnesses and locations


Langschlag (marriage location)  28 July
Abraham Moringer (groom) of Wolfgang Moringer (father) zu [at] location Ursula (mother)
[Segment ends with word "Sohn"]
mit [with] (connector)
Clara (bride) of Simon Besenbekh (father) zu [at] location & Maria (mother)
[Segment ends with word "Tochter"]
Witnesses and locations

Note that one hundred years later, the same pattern is discernable:

Sample marriage record entry - 1781 3 July
Johan Pöhm (groom) of Maximilian Pöhm (father) zu [at] location, Anna Maria (mother)
mit [with] (connector)
Maria Anna Pöhmin (bride) of Simon Pöhm (father) zu [at] location, Anna Maria (mother)
Witnesses and locations

This basic pattern appears to have been the norm with some variation until about 1784 when record keeping reforms were implemented throughout the Catholic Church in Austria.

(Special thanks to the Sankt Pölten Catholic Diocese Archives for use of these marriage record samples.)

You will discover that a number of additional key words or phrases were frequently used in marriage record entries. These will assist you to better understand some of the more the subtle details contained in these entries:

 adhuc  still, as yet (i.e. adhuc in vivis - still alive)
 ambo  both (i.e. ambo p.m. - both individuals are deceased)
 at mater dicit  then the mother said (i.e. who father of her child is)
 alda    all from there
 alhier    all from here (this place or parish)
 auch  also (i.e. auch ledig Standes - also single)
 beede/beide  both (i.e. beede ledig Standes - both single status)
 Braut  bride
 Copulirt/copulati   those married
 cum   with
 des  of (i.e. Wolf Böhm des Johann Böhm)
 et  and
 ex  from, out of
 hinterlassen  leave behind/left behind (i.e. widow)
 incerto  not for certain (i.e. father's name)
 ledig Standes/LSt:   single status (unmarried)
 nescitur  not known (i.e. nescitur pater - father not known)
 noch  still, yet (i.e noch ledig Standes - still single)
 noch in leben  still alive (i.e. describing parents of bride/groom)
 p.m.     post mortem/individual is deceased (i.e. parent)
 p.p.m.m.  two individuals are deceased (i.e. both parents)
 seelig (seel)   deceased
 Sohn  son
 soluta    single (female)
 solutus    single (male)
 sponsa    fiancé (female)
 sponsus/sponsi  fiancé (male)
 testes    witnesses
 Tochter/Dochter  daughter
 ud (und)    and
 ux. (uxor)    wife
 vidua/viduus  widow/widower
 vivis  living
 von    of
 weiland  late; deceased
 Wittwe/Wittib/Wittwer  widow/widower
 zu  at, to

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