Canton Aargau (AG)


General Information


The Aargau is a canton comprising 1405 square kilometers in north-central Switzerland, bordered on the north by Germany (state of Baden-Württemberg), on the west by the cantons of Baselland, Solothurn and Bern, on the south by the canton of Lucerne and on the east by the cantons of Zürich and Zug. Its capital is at Aarau.

is taken from this Switzerland map.

The Aargau consists of four former regions (sub-districts in brackets):

The first three regions were predominantly Roman Catholic while the Unteraargau region was mostly Protestant.

See Districts and Parishes under Genealogical Data.

Map with links to (almost) all communities anf their history.

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Information about the Kanton Aargau includes basic statistics: area, population, capital.

Statistisches Amt des Kantons Aargau (Statistical Office of Canton Aargau : in German).

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(Note: see also the general history of Switzerland)

Living in the present-day canton of Aargau during the last centuries BC were the Gallic Raurics and Helvetians. After conquest by Julius Caesar, this land became part of the province of Upper Germania. Important towns in Roman Aargau were Vindonissa (today Windisch) whose great amphitheater can still be seen today, Confluentes (Koblenz), Tenedo (Zurzach) und Aquae Helveticae (Baden).

In 259 AD the region was penetrated by Germanic tribesmen called the Alemans who eventually came to settle the middle territory from Lake Constance to the Aare River. Their descendants were in turn overcome in 496 by Clovis and the Franks, who annexed the region. Following the division of the Frankish Carolingian empire in 843, this region was allotted to the eastern, German kingdom. In the disorderly times which followed, it became part of the kingdom of Burgundy and remained so for much of the Middle Ages. Burgundy was a part of the Holy Roman Empire, but due to its proximity to France and the Italian Peninsula, often a rather independent-minded member.

The Aargau (Latin Argovia, also Araris pagus, Arguna, Argogia or Argoya) first received its name in 763, deriving it from the river Aare which flows through its heart. The first differentiation between Upper and Lower Aargau (Oberaargau and Unteraargau respectively) came in 861. With the expiration of its ruling houses, the Counts von Kiburg and von Lenzburg, the Aargau, partly in 1173 and fully in 1264, came into the control of the house of Habsburg. In 1415, the Swiss Confederation managed to conquer the Lower Aargau, which thenceforth went partly to Bern in the west and smaller parts to Lucerne and Zurich in the east. The rest was subordinated to the eight other cantons. Fricktal consisted of the bailiwicks of Rheinfelden (at that time consisting of the lands Fricktal (proper), Rheintal und Möhlinbach) and Laufenburg and remained under the Habsburgs until 1801.

The Reformation arrived in the Bern area in 1528.

In 1798 Switzerland was occupied by the forces of Napoleon's France and became a French protectorate. In the same year, the constitution of a new, unified Swiss Republic was proclaimed. This gave rise to cantons of Aargau and Baden. Napoleon in 1803 proclaimed the so-called Mediation Act including a new constitution by which Switzerland would be unified. The existing cantons were joined by a few new ones, including the Aargau, to which the Fricktal now belonged. It was in 1805 that the Aargau became a sovereign canton of the Swiss Confederation. In 1814 the young canton succeeded in defying the attempts of Bern to grab its territory. As in some of the other cantons, the constitutional revision of 1831 divested the aristocrats of their former powers in the Aargau.

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There is no Aargau genealogical society. Depending on the area in Aargau genealogists are likely to join:

You are further invited to discuss your questions with other researchers interested in canton Aargau on the "Genealogieforum Aargau" (dialogue in German or French). The archive is open to visitors to read; in order to be able to respond or start a new thread, however, registration (free of charge) is required. When posting, please, keep in mind that only topics related to Aargau should be placed here; for topics related to other regions, please, change to the corresponding canton or to the forum for Switzerland in general (dialogue in German or French).

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Staatsarchiv des Kantons Aargau (in German only)
Entfelderstr. 22
CH - 5001 Aarau

Register of libraries and archives in Canton Aargau.

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1. Official Home Page of Canton

2. Home Pages of Tourist Offices and the like:

3. Private Pages on Canton:

Der Aargau - Fenster zur Welt : (mostly in German) written by students of "Diplommittelschule Wettingen" during a history competition "Der Kanton Aargau auf dem Weg zu seinem 200. Geburtstag" (Canton Aargau on it's way to the 200th anniversary).

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1. Family Pages

2. Sources

By Location:
[Use SwissGen's link to the LDS microfilmed villages to find the villages listed below]
(P) = FHL Parish microfilms exist
(MM) = FHL Memorial Mass records (1400-1500) exist

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This page is maintained by Elisabeth Huber-Brun. / Last updated 28 February 2007(wws).
Tomas Edlund (state of FHL records), Helmut Flacker (history) and Rick Heli have contributed to this page.
Please forward any comments and/or additions to this webpage to the WebMasterCH.