Sunday, September 13, 2015

Maurers in Zollikofen, Part 1

Back in 2013 when I first stared researching Swiss records I started to look at the Maurer family but the genealogy was in such disarray that I moved on to other families.  Now I have come back to the Maurer family after two years of viewing the online records.  I went down to the library and got a copy of Billeter's notes for the Maurer family.  His research which was conducted in the 1930's is completely inadequate.  On the FamilyTree I found that a Bolligen and Zollikofen family of the earliest generation had been combined into one adding to the cunfusion. Many more Maurers were from Bolligen than Zollikofen. In 1764 about 250 people lived in Zollikofen, over 5 times that many lived in Bolligen.  To add to the confusion Billeter only included 2 of 9 children for the family of Marti Maurer and Anna Wanzenried.   My ancestor Johannes Maurer (1724-1804) had 17 children in two marriages.  Billeter once again only notes 2 of the 6 children of his first marriage to Barbara Rohrer.  It must be remembered that up to the 1990's there was no access to Bern Canton Swiss records unless you were in Bern to view them at the archives.  In 1992-1993 filmed copies of the records made there way into the Family History Library in Utah.  Then came the challenge of being able to read and interpret the records. This meant that up to this point in time everyone relied on Billeter and other researchers for genealogical information.  Billeter by far being the largest contributor since he is credited with naming about 2 million names in his records many of which were in Bern Canton. 
A look at Billeter's notes (1930's) show that Johannes father is noted as being Daniel. Daniel and Martin were noted as being the same person as Johannes baptism record notes Martin as his father, yet Daniel born 1702 is noted as his father.  Ironically, Daniel born 1702 was Martin's last child with Anna Wanzenried.  It is rather illogical to say the two people named in the records, one as Daniel and one as Martin are the same person.  In my years of research I have never come across such a naming pattern such as this.  Upon further research I saw that Anna Wanzenried had died in January of 1723 and that a Martin had married in June of 1723 to Barbara Müller and there after Johannes was born.   Since Martin (Marti) is not a common name and no other possibilities exist, it is obvious that Martin remarried and had more children.  In past centuries it was common  for a man to remarry a much younger women after his 1st wife died.  Martin lived to 1736.  Billeter often did not use death dates, if he had he would have realized that Anna Wanzenried had died and soon after Martin remarried. His work for the Maurer family in Zollikofen seems to have been hastily created in the pre 1750 time period.
And yet another twist in this family which is not so common.  Barbara Müller remarried in 1738 to a widower, Jakob Zwygart and had 2 more children, Daniel and Christina Zwygart.  Thus we see Zwygart witnesses to Maurer baptisms post 1738. 
Another item worth mentioning is that the Bremgarten parish registers appear to have been tampered with. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Really, 140 year closure period for Switzerland

My most popular post on Switzerland is the post, 138 year Closure Period for Records in Switzerland.  Obviously those that research would like to have access to later records.  Genealogy seems to spark the interest of a few people in every family.  Since the closure period is across the board for birth, marriage, and death records, it basically affects is 160 to 170 years when it comes to research which is back before 1850. Most countries closure period are not the same for births, marriages and death records;  the closure period for deaths typically being in the 50 to 75 year time period.  For those living today, one has access to ancestors’ records that lived 4 to 5 generations ago who were alive in 1875.  This Swiss law has basically hindered genealogical research in its country for the past few generations.  Switzerland is known for its banking and digital privacy laws.  How that translates into people researching their ancestors I don’t know.  A great great grandfathers records are closed and considered private to prying eyes.  If you’re doing descendant research it would be great great uncles, aunts also cousins many generations removed from a direct line ancestor.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Bern Canton Online digtial images at FamilySearch

Create a Source for the Parish rather than the whole collection

The online FamilySearch references do not match with the volume references as created by the Bern archives. Reference the records according to the references established by the Bern archives. Consider the reference that FamilySearch has established as a finding aid, since it does not conform with the standard reference. It can be confusing to have two completely different references that refer to the same page; The family history library catalog provides a reference for each parish in Bern Canton with film numbers. Ironically the catalog does not provide volume numbers. (Münsingen in Catalog)
The film numbers are becoming less relevant, but until there are links to individual volumes in the wiki, they can be useful in navigating each parishes landing page. 
The wiki is being developed with volume numbers, descriptions, links, and film numbers for every parish in Bern Canton, so one can quickly go to a volume and have a reference for a particular record.  See the Münsingen parish page on the wiki that is being developed.
If the volumes and descriptions are not listed on the wiki then one must go to the pages before page one in the volume you are looking at where you will find the spine of the volume, there you will find a volume number and description.

Reference as establish by Bern archive / volume, page number
(Example of Münsingen Parish, volume16, page 22)
Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche Münsingen (Bern) Schweiz, Kirchenbuch, 1528-1875, digital images, FamilySearch (, volume K16, Taufenrodel 1796-1828; page 22;
both references refer to the same page in the Münsingen Kirchenbuch, yet have different elements to the created citation. Each page in the collection has its own URL, there are over 500,000 pages in the collection
FamilySearch Online Reference
(Example of Münsingen Parish, volume 16, page 22)
Schweiz, Kirchenbücher, 1277-1992," images, FamilySearch : accessed 31 May 2015), Bern > Münsingen > Evangelisch-Reformierte > Taufen 1796-1804 > image 14 of 49; Staatsarchiven von Basel-Stadt, Bern und Schaffhausen, Schweiz (Basel-Stadt, Bern, and Schaffhausen State Archives, Switzerland)
Bern Parish Records are part of an online collection by familysearch of Schweiz, Kirchenbücher, 1277-1992, thus it is not individualized for each parish.

If you go to the landing page for Münsingen you will see the sections that it was divided up into. The dates were assigned according to how it was filmed in an arbitrary manner. The dates may be links to many volumes or just part of a volume. The same methodology is used for every parish.  In the case of Münsingen some of the volumes ended up on the landing page of another parish, Mühlethurnen.

To view the images in the collection you must go to a LDS Family History Center located around the world, or be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints with a login to access it from your home computer.