The search usually begins with a consultation of parish registers in which pastors recorded baptisms, marriages and deaths. The Valais State Archives conserve only copies of the old parish registers, the originals being the property either of the Diocese of Sion or the Abbey of St. Maurice. These copies cover the period between the 17th century (seldom before) and the 19th and 20th centuries. Parish registers had the status of official acts until 1876.
Indeed, in the Valais, as in the rest of Switzerland, public cantonal registers were introduced only in 1876, in accordance with the new Swiss Constitution of 1874, which gave federal authorities a legal basis for registering population movements.
NOTE – applications to consult parish registers require written permission from the pastor of the relevant parish. For more information on statutory limits of protection, you can consult the following website: https://www.vs.ch/web/culture/delais-de-protection
Requests can also be addressed directly to the Diocese:
Diocèse de Sion,
Rue de la Tour 12
CP 2124, 1950 Sion 2
Tel + 41 27 329 18 18
Fax + 41 27 329 18 36
There is a detailed list of the parish registers available at the Valais State Archives at our database ScopeQuery under the heading "Collections, Registres de paroisse".