In 1940 Friedhelm Treude travelled to every one of the Banat villages to microfilm the church records from the beginning (in most cases, about 1770-1790, but many from the 1720s) up to about 1830-1850 (in a few cases, even the 1870s), apparently whenever the first book of records ended). The aim was to research the origin of all settlers and to build a card index of the ancestors of all Germans in foreign countries. It is clear that it was impossible to realize this idea during the war. Dr. Treude and his staff were the only ones who microfilmed the registers of about 130 Banat parishes. These films are now owned by
Institut fuer Auslandsbeziehungen
Tel. (0711) 22 17 66
All film rolls were copied for the FHL. There are no records of Batschka parishes in the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, only from the Banat area. The note "filmed by G.S. at Staatsarchiv Ludwigsburg 1971" refers only to the place and time of making the films, not the ownership of the original sources. In no case were the original registers taken to Germany. All record books should be available in Romanian archives or parishes. After the war, in some areas, the church or state authorities transferred parish archives to central archives because the villages were depopulated. It is possible that in a very few cases original books or part of them were stolen and sold in other countries. Sometimes the priest or parish members took the registers when they took refuge from the partisans to leave the country. It was very dangerous and in most cases the books were destroyed.
It was not the idea of the work of Friedhelm Treude to identify Germans for service in the German army. This was done by the German army itself and local authorities. Church records from the beginning of the 19th century would not help for this job.
Josef Schmidt has compiled a list of the records there in the informative booklet Die Banater Kirchenbücher, eine Bestandsaufnahme der verfilmten Banater Kirchenbücher in der Bibliothek des Instituts für Auslandsbeziehungen Stuttgart, 1979, AKdFF, 86 pages. The above information is derived from that publication.
The Institute does honor long-distance loan requests, even to North America. In the case of short articles, it will for an extra charge send photocopies.
Scheidter Str. 114
although inquirers have been re-directed to the Stuttgart archive.
State offices require a personal visit to retrieve birth, marriage and death records, and contain records only from 1900 onwards. It is best to write one or more of these archives before visiting. (See Sample Letters to an Archive.) Even so, keep in mind that here it is very rare that someone will answer your letters (sending money is not recommended) because it is very difficult to find information with the archives in their current (January 1998) state of disarray. The best plan is probably to simply ask whether the archive has any records for the place and time you need, which is likely to be answered. You would then need to follow-up by visiting personally or hiring a genealogist to do so.
Listed below are the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and volumes of records (in meters) held at Vojvodina Archives taken from a 1992 (1996) reference. As can be seen from its name and the number of meters of records, the main and best archive is the one in Sremski Karlovci, (very near Novi Sad), which has records dating from 1530. However, even here records are in a mess and there is nothing on computers (as of January 1997). Records are written in Latin, old Greek, old Slavic and German (Gothic script). (See Guide to Eastern European Languages.)
From outside Yugoslavia, all telephone numbers listed need to be prefixed with "381", the Yugoslavia country code. If you plan to call an archive, be prepared to be able to speak Serbo-Croatian, Hungarian or German.
January 1998 Update:
A recent visitor to the archives reports that they are in an unbelievable state of disarray, that most of the resource papers are in boxes and a long time is needed to find anything. Records from different years are mixed together as are boxes of papers with microfilms and other items. This is particularly true of the archive in Novi Sad and at that location there is no one to help. The archive at Sremski Karlovci is difficult to access, but conditions are just the same. It is compared to trying to find a book in the library without any list or librarian. Sending a letter to the archives appears to have no chance of receiving a reply.
February 1999 Update:
For the Belgrade area, some have reported receiving help from the "Germanistische Institut" of the University of Belgrade. This is the Department of the University which teaches German as a foreign language. The head of this Institut is Dr. Zoran Ziletitsch. His deputy is a German lady from the former East Germany who is married to a Serb. Her name is Sylvia Bryzs and her e-mail (via her husband's office in Germany) is email@example.com
(note: ~ denotes ~ over following consonant.)
Nottendorfer Gasse 2
The State Archive has a separate subdivision called the Vienna War Archive which holds all the personnel records of the former Austro-Hungarian army, navy and air force. If you have an ancestor who served and wish to research this, please consult this summary from our Austrian pages.
It is advised that you send everything you know regarding your Banat-born ancestor, e.g. name, birth date and place, parents' names, and the name of the military regiment in which the father served. There is no fee involved. It is advised to enclose two International Reply Coupons and write your letter in German. The reply will also be in German.
Should you be in Vienna, Austria:
1. The archive is located on U-Bahnlinie 3, Endstation Erdberg
2. Hours open to the public: Monday and Thursday, 9:00 - 17:00, Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:00 - 18:00, Friday, 9:00 - 13:00
3. Anyone can visit and search in the archives. (In other words, you can hire somebody in Vienna to search in the archives for you. The archives itself however do not offer such a service beyond answering basic mail inquiries).
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The archdiocese includes all of Syrmia (Szerem County), including portions in both present-day Croatia and Serbia. Reports are that the archive is responsive and that they are willing to forward any queries to the local parish churches. Only baptism registers survive at most churches, although some (Mitrovica is one) have burial registers back to 1900. Successful querents have written in Croatian and English (see sample letters, included two International Reply Coupons and cash to (two $5 bills) defray expenses. Response times may vary.
Attila Szabo, Leveltaros (Archivist)
Archdiocese of Kalocsa
Erseki Hatosag, Szentharomsag ter 1
Postfach 29 Kalocsa H-6301
You may write in English (use air mail and include a few International Reply Coupons) stating what you are looking for. You will receive a typewritten reply in English in about four weeks detailing what certificates are available. Upon receiving this information, you may order copies for $5-10/each. The Hungarian banking system currently cannot handle checks or money orders, unless they are of the type known as International Draft. Any money should be sent via Registered Air Mail. Some have managed to get away with sending cash, but this practice is dangerous and not recommended.
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The library is open three days a week: Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, except holidays, and visits are free for members, $2 for non-members. (Sorry - They don't do Interlibrary Loans). Dues are $20/year. The IGS will do some searching for you for a price. Send a SASE to them giving specifics of what you are after.
Library address: Mailing address: 1310-B W. Magnolia Blvd. P. O. Box 7369 Burbank, California Burbank, CA 91510-7369 Phone: (818) 848-3122 USA
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