Monday, April 7, 2014

Schenk family of Signau that lived in Vechigen

The methodology of Billeter’s research to place everyone in their heimat regardless of where they lived has led to countless errors.  While both Schenk families were from Signau, only one actually lived in Signau. Take the example below:
I began to look at the parents of Anna Schenk of Signau and was surprised to find that the line is incorrect.  It is the result of Billeter’s research in the 1930’s. Christian Stettler married Anna Schenk (KHCL-WLP) in Bolligen in 1809.  The marriage record says her father’s name is Hans Ulrich.  There are two Anna Schenk’s born in 1788 when she was born.  Ulrich Schenk and Anna Kupfer had a daughter, Anna (LDMF-Z5N), in May of 1788 in Schwimmbach; and Hans Ulrich Schenk and Elisabeth Krayenbuhl had a daughter, Anna (KHCL-WLP), in February of 1788 in Vechigen.  The records indicate that the Anna from Schwimmbach, died 3 November 1792, age 4.  Schwimmbach is a hamlet in Signau parish. Vechigen is about 12 miles east of Signau.  When Anna Schenk died in 1859 her birth is recorded as February 1788.  Three months after their marriage in Bolligen their first son, Christian, was born in Vechigen as well their second child, Anna.  The witnesses to the ten children of Christian Stettler and Anna Schenk are inconclusive in identifying possible relatives of Anna.  It is obvious that the Anna Schenk that married Christian Stettler is from Vechigen and counter to the conclusion found in Billeter’s research.

Upon looking at the Hans Ulrich Schenk who lived in Vechigen I find additional errors.  Billeters research provides no clues as to where the children were born other than Signau which is the heimat of this Schenk family.  Hans Ulrich Schenk had 12 children with 2 wives.  The first 3 children were born in Worb where he married Elisabeth Rüfenacht, he had three additional children in Vechigen and then Elisabeth Rufenacht died in 1778.  He then married Elizabeth Krayenbuhl in 1779 and had 6 additional children, one of which was Anna in 1788.  Hans Ulrich then died in Vechigen in 1811 at the age of 75 years and 7 months which puts his birth in February 1736.
Billeters research divides the two families of Hans Ulrich Schenk into two separate families with one connected to a Hans Ulrich born in 1837 (KH5M-2S9) and the other Hans Ulrich born in 1842 (KZ5B-GT3). The Hans Ulrich born in 1837 may be the correct person since the age is within a year, yet with all the other inconsistencies I find in Billeter’s research concerning this family I doubt any conclusions found. The research appears to be based on convenient guessing rather than real research.  In fact, some of errors are so obvious it appears to be an act of disinformation. 

I might mention Ulrich Schenk and Anna Kupfer had a son, Christian who was a well known mechanical engineer or inventor, and grandparents of Johan Karl Schenk a famous pastor, politician, and member of the Swiss Federation Council. 

If you have any Schenk ancestors from Signau it may be a good idea to revisit the research and verify the accuracy of the current research in the FamilyTree.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I have Schenk ancestors from Signau and Langnau. Walter born August 31, 1876 is my dad's grandfather. Walter's dad was Johann Christian Schenk and mom was Maria Luthi. Walter had 3 brothers and 5 sisters. Hoping to contact any cousins who may still live in the area as we visit Switzerland fairly often. Any and all help will be appreciated. Thank you!