It’s important to start with clarifying what customers want to know about their ancestors and family, and what they already know or what documents they have in their possesion – the more the better. As a genealogist, I need a starting point (person) from which I can begin my research. This clarification can take place at a personal meeting (only in Vienna) or by phone, e-mail or chat.
Think in advance what you want to know, gather as much information from your family as possible. Ask your relatives. Important are original documents (birth, marriage and death certificates, photos, letters, etc.).
Unfortunately, such documents have not been preserved in all families. If this is the case, before the actual research can take place (in church books), a detour via the registry office must first be taken. However, the legislature has set up a hurdle, because the data of the deceased are subject to a retention period of up to one hundred years (in Austria). You may have them issued in the form of a certificate, but only for direct ancestors (parents, grandparents, etc.) – with a power of attorney, others may apply for the certificates instead.
Since the registry office (civil status authority) was only established in Austria in 1938/39 (already in Burgenland in 1895), the denominations are responsible for births before 1938. With the catholic church one has to turn to the respective parish.
After this introductory phase, I check whether a baptismal or wedding entry can be found in the church book. With a successful hit the biggest hurdle is cleared and nothing is standing in the way of the actual research anymore.
The duration of the research is difficult to estimate in advance, since nobody knows where it leads to, which (if) information can be found in the sources, which (micro) migration history families have, if there were illegitimate children among the ancestors (many entries miss the information about the fathers).
Equally difficult to answer is the question of how far back it can go – not all church books have survived to this day. Mostly you get back to 1800, with good sources for individual lines also to the time of 1650-1700.
Upon completion of the research, the research report will be sent to a printing company that prints and binds the book, which takes about two days. For small orders, only the printing takes place.
The handover will be either personal or postal.