Saturday, June 15, 2013

138 year Closure Period for Records in Switzerland

Now we know that the family lived in Recherswil we can look at marriages of the children. The seven girls in the family would have married men from the area, so they would not be found in Affoltern registers, except for their marriages. The women took the hiemat of their husbands. It doesn't matter anyway. In Switzerland the closure period for records begins in 1876. This means that those who married after 1876, there is no marriage record available for viewing; therefore, all those young people who married post 1876 cannot be traced to the next generation. It is not possible to trace post 1876 descendants in Switzerland. When I was at the zivilstandsamt in Tracheswald some years ago I was able to get the familienschein for the Christen family. The familienscheins are limited to direct line ancestors; although, I’m not sure how they police this standard since I produced family group sheets of the family as evidence of my connection. I would assume this 138 year closure period is why so few Swiss genealogies can be found, and those found with people after 1876 can be considered unreliable since no records can be used to verify the accuracy.
I used to think a hundred year closure period was harsh. When they do change the closure period to 1900 it will take many years for the records in the form of microfilm or online images to become accessible. Probably after 2025.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Did your Swiss ancestor live in their hiemat?

The concept of recording the hiemat of a family for a birthplace rather than where they lived or born is and was a wide spread practice in Swiss research. It is for one simple reason, their records were kept there; however, a record was kept where they lived as well. As time marched on more and more people were no longer living in their hiemat. I have wondered how Anna Christen (1861-1917) from Affoltern met and married Gottfried Jaggi (1860-1918) in 1883 in Kriegstetten, canton of Solothurn. The family group sheets of the past provide no clues. I followed the paper trail (parish registers) of Anna’s family from when her parents, Peter Christen and Maria Bürki, married in 1860 in Affoltern im Emmental. They had 11 childern from 1860 till 1881. They never lived in Affoltern im Emmental after they married. For 9 years after their marriage they lived about 8 miles north of Affoltern in Rohrbach parish, and many years in the town of Lemiswil. About 1870 is when they arrived in Recherswil. Both Anna and Peter died there.

Distances: Affoltern im Emmental to Rohrbach – 8 miles; Rohrbach to Lemiswil – 3 miles; Lemiswil to Recherswil – 12 miles Distances

  • Family group sheet prepared in the 1950’s by Gottfried Jaggi
  • Jaggi Stettler website; Peter Christen and Anna Bürki
  • A picture of the baptism record of Anna Christen (1861-1917) (#29)
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  • Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    Swiss Records Online

    Researching Swiss ancestry has just become a lot easier. The parish records of canton Bern have been put online at; since 3/4 of my Swiss ancestry is from canton Bern this makes it easy to access the records from home. What makes these records at familysearch so valuable is the ability to link the records to the ancestors in the Family Tree. I have linked over 500 such records to names in the family tree. Now anyone can go to the tree and will find a source with a link to the original document from which the information was obtained. It will take some study of the handwriting to decipher what it says. Since our grandparents came to this country over 100 year ago they have been submitting information and participating in the various genealogical programs by the church. All the submissions of the past have been based on the hiemat or community or parish from which the family originated from many 100’s of years ago. This means that regardless of where they lived in Switzerland a record of a marriage, baptism, or death will be found in one place. Some had not lived in their home parish for decades, but I have found that almost all of them remained in canton Bern. The baptism, marriage, or burial is recorded also where they were living, so there are multiple entries in the registers for one event. It is of value to check all the entries since more information may have been recorded by one parish clerk than the other. By looking at the genealogy of the past one would think that everyone lived in one place. NOTE: If there is no source linked to a person in the Family Tree then add one.