Logo Kanton Bern / Canton de BerneState Archive
  • de
  • fr
  • en

Important source records and research topics

Our selection of important sources will make it easier for you to get to grips with your research topic. If you are researching a specific person or the history of a private property, you will also find valuable tips here.

Collections of legislation and dispatches

History of the administration

Cantonal Parliament Gazette (Tagblatt des Grossen Rates)

Transcripts of the debates in the Cantonal Parliament appear in the Tagblatt.

Minutes and decisions of the Cantonal Government

Please note: as the minutes of meetings and decisions of the Cantonal Government may contain sensitive personal data, a closure period of 110 years applies.

  • Cantonal Government manuals (Manuale des Regierungsrates) 1832–1894: A II 1134–1451, with volume indexes (in the manuals), as well as a general index E I 34–41 in the reading room
  • Minutes of the Cantonal Government (StAB AD.BE 31) 1896–1935, followed by volumes of minutes and attachments (1936–1973)
  • Cantonal Government decisions (StAB AD.BE 32) from 1974 (in each case index + decisions)
  • Search the Cantonal Government decisions (public Cantonal Government decisions from 2011)

Elections and votes

  • Explanatory reports (Botschaften) on cantonal votes (StAB AD.BE 27)
  • Results of votes since 1999
  • For the period before 1999: Reports on votes in the records for the Staatsschreiber / Amt für Zentrale Dienste der Staatskanzlei (Reference: A 3.1.3001 ff.)
  • Results (Yes/No votes) also in: daily newspapers, Cantonal Administration reports (Kap. Staatskanzlei)
  • Results of elections to the Cantonal Parliament: see Tagblatt des Grossen Rates (in the reading room: StAB LS AMS 3 TGR), also A 3.1.3468 (photocopies of Amtsblatt 1926-2002)

Biographical information

Please note that the State Archive is primarily an administrative archive responsible for archiving records from the cantonal authorities. The online inventory lists the archive holdings and archive units, not details of persons, events or topics. Information on specific persons can normally only be found in our archive if you know when and how this person was in contact with the cantonal administration.

  • When making a search, we recommend that you first consult relevant reference material.

Biographical information can be found in the following sections and series of the State Archive in particular:

Researching architectural history

The documents and plans relating to a privately owned building are in principle the responsibility of the owner and so remain in their possession. In the canton of Bern, the communes are primarily responsible for planning permission, with recourse in the case of dispute being made first to the local prefecture (Regierungsstatthalteramt). The State Archive thus primarily contains documents relating to the buildings constructed by the cantonal authorities.

For historical monuments and buildings, see the inventory of historical monuments of the:

If you are researching the history of a private house or farm, we recommend that you trace back information starting from what is currently available. Since 1806 the Canton of Bern has maintained a land register, in which the owner of each property must be registered. We therefore recommend that you first consult the land register to trace the owners of a given property. You must get permission from the land registry concerned to conduct this research.

You may also wish to research the history of the house or of the various buildings on a property. However, it is difficult to reconstruct this from the sources in a public archive. A good place to start is with fire insurance documents. The State Archive holds the «Lagerbücher» (log books) of the «Brandassekuranz» (fire insurance), which give a rough description of the building and record significant changes in building structure.

The following sources relating to architectural history can be found in the district archives under «Amtsschreiberei / Grundbuchamt»:

  • Land registers (from 1806): The State Archives now contain the old cantonal land register by parishes and the transition documents (Übergangsbelege, dating from 1803-1911). Requests to inspect files relating to documents (Belege) that are still active are processed by the land registry concerned; special protection and access regulations apply in accordance with Art. 970 of the Swiss Civil Code. The land register files from 1912 onwards are kept by the land registries.
  • Fire insurance log books (Lagerbücher) (from around 1806): Not all log books from before 1911 have been passed onto the State Archive. Those not passed on and log books from 1912 onwards are kept by the land registries. 
Share this page