Sunday, June 4, 2017

Liecht Family of Obergoldbach in Biglen

A study of the Liechti family of Biglen has turned out to be more complex than thought. Biglen, Arni, and Landiswil are the three gemeinden within the Kirchgemiende of Biglen. In genealogies and FamilySearch family tree everyone is noted as being from Biglen. Biglen gemeinde cover about 1 ½ square miles while Arni and Landiswil cover about 4 square miles each. The distance between Landiswil dorf to Biglen dorf is about 4 miles.

My last count of families in Biglen from 1700 to 1750 is at 30 with an average family size of about 5 children, of course, some children did not survive childhood. Obergoldbach is not only a dorf but also one of three districts within Landiswil. I’ve found four families in Obergoldbach district from the following places, Längacker, Schlöttermoos, Aspi, and Obergoldbach. The records in this time period only noted the hamlet, so it is necessary to have a map to determine where the places are located.

My fifth great grandmother, Anna Liechti, was born 6 October 1754 in Obergoldbach. The records indicate that her father Niclaus Liechti (1728-1797) was a gerber. A gerber is a tanner. A tanner is someone who makes leather from rawhides. Occupations are occasionally recorded in the records, but it implies that others in the family followed this occupation. In a 1798 census, a cousin of Anna Liechti’s was recorded as being a gerber. Most people worked on the land, so this is an identifying characteristic for this family.

Joseph Liechti and Barbara Haggi are one a few Liechti families from the Obergoldbach area. They had 9 children from 1710 to 1731. Four of their children are noted in this blog; Peter (1717-1776), Catharina (1722-1797), Niclaus (1728-1797), and Barbara (1731-1800). Christian and Ulrich are known to have survived to adulthood.

Each baptism record provides possible clues to relatives as there are 3 witnesses recorded for each baptism. Some records note a direct relationship while others are inferred in the context of what is known. While some witnesses show an obvious connection others show no connection. Broadly looking at all the contemporary families allows one to see the importance of any particular witness.

My direct line ancestors, Niklaus Liechti (1728-1797) and Catharina Aeschlimann, married on 30 January 1750 and had 5 girls. The following witnesses of consequence are found in the records: Hans Liechti von Obergoldbach; Barbara Liechti, Christian Minder’s wife; Christian Haggi von Goldbach; Barbara Haggi, widow of Joseph Liechti. In summary the records note Niklaus’s mother, Barbara Haggi; and a sister, Barbara Liechti. Hans Liechti a relative is also noted. The records also note that Niklaus is von Obergoldbach and that he is a gerber.

Anna, the only child of Christian Minder and Barbara Liechit (1731-1800) was born in 1756. An important relationship is noted. Catharina Liechti wife of Hans Liechti’s from Ramisberg is directly noted as being a sister of Barbara’s. This entry has the perfect elements of a witness. It notes the relationship, her husband, and where they were living, Ramisberg.

Upon looking at the children of Hans Liecht von Ramisberg and Catharina Liechti (1722-1797) from Obergoldbach other connections are found. Barbara Liechti, Christian Minder’s wife is noted. Elisabeth and Christian Liechti from Obergoldbach, and Anna Rüfenacht from Worb are noted. I am still debating whether Ulrich Liechti noted as a witness in 1750 belongs to Hans or Catharina.

Now we turn our attention to another sibling, Peter (1717-1776). He married Anna Rüfenacht in 1750. Ten children were born to them. They lived in Müsingen from about 1750 to 1765 and can also be found in Worb and Biglen records in that time period. When a child was born 1755 in Biglen, one witness, Christian Liechti is noted as being a sibling of Peters. Cathri Liechti, wife of Hans Liechti from Ramisberg is also noted. When a daughter, Anna, was born in 1762 the witnesses, Niklaus and Catharina are directly noted as being siblings to Peter. In about 1765 they moved from Münsingen to Worb where 4 family members are noted in the burial records in the 1770’s.

In summary: Many of the same people appear as witnesses from family to family. We have a possible 60 witnesses since 20 children were born within a 21 year period from 1750 to 1771. Of course, Peter was not living in Landiswil, so it would be expected that most of those witnesses would not be connected.

In Post 1700 the places the Liechti families lived is paramount in determining how they connect. Families often stayed in the same place or hamlet for generations within a parish. The minister of the parish noted where each family lived so he could differentiate between families. A couple with the same surname of Liechti married, so we know that some of them are not closely related. With the FamilySearch family tree being so fragmented it becomes a struggle to determine how families connect from generation to generation. There are certainly other connections to be made in this generation and in following generations. I have included some sources on my website that support my conclusions.