A day that started with the idea of popping into the records office ended with over 3 hours of family ancestry tracing.
We were guided by the Jewish Museum to the DOW (Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance) archive at the Old City Hall, 6-8 Wipplingerstrasse where we duly filled in a pro-forma giving our details and reasons for searching. After 10 minutes with only a few results we were asked if we had been to the Jewish Records Archive (where we though we were!) in Sietenstettengasse as they would have the names and details we needed. Armed with more detail we could reapply to the DOW to learn of any deportation records.
The Archive was a short walk away however we arrived at a secure entrance to be told we needed an appointment but to wait. Seconds later we were told that the man we needed would see us.
We found our way to a smoke filled room with cabinets full of large leather-bound record books. It seems the archivists were all smokers who worked manically away answering calls via heatsets and flitting between the electronic archives called up on dual computer monitors to the official versions in calligraphy ranging from the bold entries to those in microscopic format.
From the surname, the first birth of my grandfather's eldest brother was found revealing the parents' names, origin of birth and significantly the date our surname changed! The trail was now open, the code cracked, and now marriage records could be traced for the female siblings and births and marriages for the males.
Volume by volume more entries and details were revealed along with the first time we had seen our name on a map - of pre 1918 AustroHungary.
Mentally and emotionally exhausted we crawled the side streets in search of coffee and cake before a last venture into the shops and obligatory circuit of the historic city Ringstrasse on the yellow tourist tram to finish off our personally historic visit to the home of my ancestors.