Origins of Many Swiss-German (and perhaps Holland Dutch)

Finding origins of immigrant families can be a difficult task–and it is becoming much easier because of the work of numerous genealogists.  Here are just a few for Swiss-German ancestry:

  1. Apart from the World: An Account of the Origins and Destinies of Various Swiss Mennonites who fled from their homelands in remote parts of the Cantons of Zurich, Aargau, and Bern as well as Alsace, the Kurpalz, and later along the edges of the American Frontier in Pennsylvania and Virginia; Namely the Families Bachman, Bar, Bruppacher, Houser, Hiestand, Leaman, Ringger, Schmidt, and Strictler, 1495-1865.  1997.  J. Ross Baughman.  Also available on microfilm, FHL #2055473.  Includes pedigrees, migration routes, and many other families who intermarried with (and perhaps traveled along with) Baughman’s ancestors.
  2. The Chain Rejoined; Or, The Bonds of Science and History Amongst Family, including Many Attempts to Recover Ties Across the Atlantic Ocean to Ancestors and Cousins of Baughmans and Bachmanns.  2005.  J. Ross Baughman.  Shenandoah History, PO Box 98, Edinburg VA 22824. Includes an extensive glossary of terms found frequently in records dealing with German and Swiss background ancestors.
  3. Harvest Time: Being several essays on the History of the Swiss, German, and Dutch Folk in Early America named Baughman, Layman, Moyer, Huff, and Others; Across New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Four Centuries.  1994.  J. Ross Baughman.  Shendoah History, PO Box 98, Edinburg VA 22824.

These three volumes by J. Ross Baughman include copious footnotes referencing some very interesting emigration-immigration sources not usually consulted in the compilation of what is basically a genealogy study of specific families.  And you know that I read the footnotes first! The volumes also include numerous maps showing where the people come from, where they settle, and where they migrate to.  Land ownership maps have been drawn for several families and their neighbors.

If you have a German or Swiss background ancestry, you will benefit from reading these volumes–whether your ancestors are listed in the indexes or not.

4. From the Rhine to the Shenandoah:  Eighteenth Century Swiss and German Families to the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and their European Origins. 3 vols. 2002.  Daniel W. Bly.   Available from the author, Box 242, Mt Sydney VA 24467.  (Printed by Gateway Press, Inc., 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202-3897.)  Genealogies of many families.

5. Kentucky’s German Pioneers by H. A. Rattermann. 2001. Translated and edited by Don Heinrich Tolzmann.  Heritage Books 1540E Pointer Ridge Place, Bowie MD 20716.  Based on articles written by Rattermann in Der Deutsche Pioneer (1877-1880).   These writings are 3-4 generations closer to the actual settlement period and they include names and migrations into and from Virginia not found in other sources!

Make February a time of study in the origins and migration patterns of your German, Swiss, and perhaps Holland Dutch ancestors too.  Begin with these titles and then search out the additional references cited by the above authors.

Make 2010 a new beginning of successful searching by standing on the shoulders of writers who have ploughed the way.  Your favorite Virginia genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  My presentation on Virginia at the St George Family History Expo is brand NEW.  You won’t want to miss it.  Register now and plan to attend 26-27 Feb 2010 at the Dixie Center in St George UT

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