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Genealogy Guide: Austria

Brief Historical Background

Like the borders of most European countries, Austria’s borders have changed considerably over time.  In 1690 the Austrian Hapsburgs completed the reconquest of Hungary and Transylvania from the Ottoman Turks.  From 1867 to 1918, Hungary achieved autonomy within the “Dual Monarchy,” or Austro-Hungarian Empire, as well as full control over Transylvania.  After World War I, Austro-Hungry was split up among various other countries, so that areas formerly under Austro-Hungarian jurisdiction are today located within the borders of Austria, Bosnia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. The primary focus of this fact sheet is Austria within its post-World War II borders.  Research guides for other countries formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire are also available (online at

How to Begin

Follow the general guidelines in our research guides on starting your family history research, immigration records, naturalization records, and finding your ancestral town (  Determine whether your town is still within modern-day Austria, and in which county and district it is located. 


A good resource for starting your research is “Beginner’s Guide to Austrian Jewish Genealogy” by E. Randol Schoenberg.  This manual is accessible on the JewishGen Austria-Czech Special Interest Group (SIG) website at additional guide may be found  in Henry Wellisch’s chapter on “Austria” in the book Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy, Sallyann Amdur Sack and Gary Mokotoff (eds.), pp. 223-25 (Available at the Genealogy Institute; call number: CS 21 .A98 2004).