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. 


  1. Are you related to Alexander Maurer born in 1979? I believe October 25. Heather Maurer

  2. I have a copy of the birth certificate but don't read German.

    1. send it on over and I will see if I can read it