Swiss Archives offers a simple point of entry to research in the Federal Archives. The database enables online searches in almost all archival fonds. Users must register at Swiss Archives before ordering documents from the Federal Archives.
The Swiss Archives database contains the metadata of documents in the Federal Archives. You can use full text search, extended search (field search) or archive plan search to look for the source materials you require. For a thematic introduction to research, we recommend searching in the fonds overview or in the topics. Information on documents newly acquired by the Federal Archives is continually added to the Swiss Archives database.
Some dossiers from the fonds of the Federal Archives are not included in the Swiss Archives online database. They are dossiers that
- are catalogued by individuals’ names and contain sensitive personal data or personal profiles and
- are still within the statutory closure period.
A further database, Local Swiss Archives, can be used to search for fonds and sub-fonds whose dossier metadata are not or not yet searchable online. It contains entries on all the documents in the Federal Archives, but is only accessible in the reading rooms.
Please register on Swiss Archives before your first visit to the Swiss Federal Archives. Once your account has been activated, you will be able to use all the functions of our online services (e.g. advance-ordering dossiers) as well as other services when visiting the Archives in person.
The fonds overview offers a thematic summary of the approximately 2,000 sub-fonds on the Federal State from 1848 onwards. It is a good entry point to searches for relevant (sub-)fonds on a particular topic, such as justice or health.
It is available in four languages: German, French, Italian and English. The series and dossiers on Swiss Archives that are linked from the overview are in the original languages.
Do you need assistance with your search on Swiss Archives?
The Swiss Archives handbook (PDF, 905 kB, 22.11.2016) explains how to conduct searches in the database. Separate video instructions also explain the most important steps in your search.
Last modification 14.12.2015