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Canton Valais/Wallis (VS)

General Information


Located in the south of Switzerland, the canton Valais occupies the totality of the high valley of the Rhone between Gothard in the east and Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) in the west. It is bordered by France in south-west, by Italy in south-east, the cantons of Uri and Ticino in the east, the canton of Bern in north and the canton of Vaud in the North-East. Its highest summmit, the Monte Rose (Dufourspitz), is 4,638 m. (15,268 ft.) high. The canton covers 5,231 Km² (2020 sq. mi.)
The capital of the canton is Sion.

is taken from this Switzerland map.

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Information about the Canton Valais, , includes basic statistics: surface, population, capital.
Statistique Suisse - Canton du Valais (information from the Statistical Office of the Canton Valais: in French)..

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Conquered by the Romans aroun 57 AD, Valais was part of the Kingdom of Burgundy within the framework of the Abbey of St-Maurice, which was a significant place of christianity. It was bequeathed in 999 by last king of Burgundy to the Bishops of Sion who entered in competition with the counts of Savoy.
In the XVII century (1600's), Valais resisted the Reformation. Occupied by the French in 1798, the canton was estblished as an independent state in 1802, then attached to the French Empire from 1810 to 1815 under the name of "Department of the Simplon" (Département du Simplon) before entering the Swiss Confederation.

History of the canton Valais

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Association Valaisanne d’Etudes Généalogiques (AVEG)
Walliser Vereinigung für Familienforschung (WVFF)

The AVEG has more than 300 members, all of which love genealogy.

Société d’Histoire du Valais Romand
Historical Society of Valais Romand (French-speaking)
Founded in 1915, now with 1000 members, the SHVR duty is to promote historical and archaeological research in Valais to clarify the past of the canton and to share it with the public. It encourages the efforts of public and private organizations to save and conserve the findings of ancestral history and inheritance. It endeavours to create a flavor of the regional history for the the public and maintains relationships with associations that have similar goals.

To achieve its goals, the SHVR publishes an annual review, Annals for canton Valais, and organizes also visits, meetings and conferences in order to make it possible to researchers to expose the fruit of their work.


M. Jean-Henry Papilloud
Président de la SHVR
c/o Archives de l'Etat du Valais
Rue des Vergers 7
1950 SION
Tel. 027 722 91 92 
Fax 027 723 11 05

Société d’Histoire du Haut-Valais
Geschichtsforschender Verein Oberwallis (GVO):
Historical Society of Upper Valais:

Founded in 1888, the GVO has as a sphere of activity in Valais history. Though the GVO is German-speaking is is still part of the SHVR (French-speaking). The GVO organizes excursions, days of studies and publishes the annual review "Blätter aus der Walliser Geschichte."

Geschichtsforschender Verein Oberwallis
Postfach 246
3900 BRIG
Tel. 027 923 04 07 
Fax 027 923 04 08 

Public relations:

Joseph Guntern
Président GVO
Av. Petit-Chasseur 21
1950 SION
Tel. 027 322 78 80 

Gabriel Imboden
Secrétaire GVO
Postfach 246
3900 BRIG
Tel. 027 923 04 07 
Fax 027 923.04 08 

Institut Universitaire de Recherches sur l'Histoire de l'Arc Alpin
Forschungsinstitut zur Geschichte des Alpenraums

University Institute on Alpine History

In the German-speaking part Valais, the institute of Brig was created to research the economic, social and legal history of the alpine populations through the exploration of the documeents and files of the Stockalper family. It is an astonishing collection of 15,625 documents covering nine centuries, including more than 1,000 parchments and 82 books of accounts. The files commence in XVII century (1600's) and are of an exceptional historical interest, with fourteen folio volumes of accounts books, invaluable source of information on the everyday life of the time. Ten volumes of documents were already published.
Institut Universitaire de Recherches sur l'Histoire de l'Arc Alpin
CP 246
3900 Brig
Tél.: 027 923 04 07
Fax: 027 923 04 08
(Source: documentation from canton Valais published by the cantonal library of Valais) 

Le Walserinstitut
Walser Institute

In Brig also, the Walser Institute collects, develops, and shares the documentation concerning Walser. People of this family would have, in XII and XIII centuries (1100-1200's), left the upper Valais to colonize specific high valleys of the Alps, of the Savoy in Vorarlberg. Documentation currently includes works (approx. 1000), periodicals (45 titles), sound recordings (approx. 100), posters, postcards, slides, photographs, video-cassettes (4), newspaper cuttings, documentary and various catalogue files (authors, matters and place names).
Schlossstrasse 30
CP 572
3900 Brig
(Source: documentation from canton Valais published by the cantonal library of Valais)

Centre Régional d'Etudes des Populations Alpines (CREPA)
Regional center of Studies of Alpine Populations (CREPA)

In the French-speaking part of the canton, the CREPA (found in the village of Sembrancher) conserves and develops the cultural inheritance of the communities of the basin of Dranses (Bagnes, Borough-Saint-Pierre, Liddes, Orsières, Sembrancher and Vollèges) and of Sort (Finhaut, Salvan, Trient and Vernayaz).
The CREPA offers a space for meetings and reflexions around the problems of the alpine populations in their context, both past and present.
The Center also wishes to create a document center from the documents of private archives.
Genealogical research was undertaken in the community of Bagnes in 1975. It was extended to the communities of Finhaut (1991), Liddes (1993), Orsières (1993), Salvan (1991), Sembrancher (1994) and Vernayaz (1991).
It consists of the examination of the all of the church registers since their beginning (end of XVI - beginning XVII centuries 1500-1600's) and with the systematic constitution of the family trees of all the families.
Each community has its own director
Case Postale 16
1933 Sembrancher
Tél.: 027 785 22 20
Fax: 027 785 22 20
(Source: documentation from canton Valais published by the cantonal library of Valais)

Association Valaisanne d’Etudes Généalogiques (AVEG)
Walliser Vereinigung für Familienforschung (WVFF)
c/o Elisabeth Darbellay-Gabioud
Route de Somlaproz
1937 Orsières VS

You are further invited to discuss your questions with other researchers interested in canton Valais on the "Genealogieforum Valais" (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 Valais 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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Archives du canton du Valais:
Rue des Vergers 7
1950 Sion
Tel.: 027 606 47 00

Archives de l'Abbaye de St-Maurice
1890 Saint-Maurice

Cantonal library for Valais, 4 locations 

MEDIATHEQUE VALAIS (MV) - Bibliothèque cantonale, siège central, Sion
Rue des Vergers 9
1950 Sion 
Tél.: 027 606 45 50
Fax: 027 606 45 54

MEDIATHEQUE VALAIS - Image et son, Martigny
Av. du Grand-Saint-Bernard 4
1920 Martigny
Tel.: 027 722 91 92
Fax: 027 723 11 05

MEDIATEKWALLIS - Brig, Kantons und Stadtbibliothek 
3900 Brig-Glis
Tel.: 027 923 05 51
Fax: 027 924 36 13

Place Sainte-Marie
1890 Saint-Maurice
Tél.: 024 486 11 80
Fax: 024 486 11 84

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1. Official pages of the canton :

2. Official of the tourist bureau and similar pages : or

3. Private pages of the Canton :

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1. Sites of families

2. Sources

The parochial registers of the canton Valais

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This page is maintained by Guy-Michel Coquoz with the collaboration of Elisabeth Darbellay-Gabioud (AVEG). Translated by Dave Schmutz. Last updated 28 January 2006(wws).
Please forward any comments and/or additions to this webpage to the WebMasterCH.