Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Hans Jakob Hoffmann (1704-1758)

Prolific Father of 15 Children

Joining in on Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) on Sunday, Father’s Day, I looked at the Hoffman family and found one father far surpassing all others in the number of his children.

Hans Jakob Hoffmann, a citizen of the gemeinde (community) of Oberglatt in Canton Zürich, Switzerland, was baptized there on 26 October 1704. His parents were Hans Hoffmann and Barbara Albrecht. He was the last generation in our line to remain in Oberglatt. On 13 January 1728 he married Anna Margareth Meier, daughter of Anthony Meier and Euphrosina Bünninger. This Meier family had citizenship in the village of Seeb in nearby Bülach.

With Anna Margareth he fathered twelve children, the second of whom was our progenitor Hans Kaspar Hoffmann baptized 4 September 1729. He would marry Rosina Vetter and settle in Burg across the Rhine River from Stein am Rhein. Anna Margareth died 19 September 1748 in Oberglatt. Widower Hans Jakob married a second time to Elsbeth Rösch, apparently from Kloten, another nearby community. Elsbeth presented Hans Jakob with three children the first of whom, also named Elsbeth, was baptized 25 January 1750. The last of the fifteen children was named Felix and he was born 28 November 1756. The patriarch of the family died on 3 August 1758.

I have followed very few of the other children in this family mostly because many of them died very young. The first one after our Hans Kaspar to survive and marry was the eighth child, Jakob, born in 1740. The youngest two children, another Jakob and Felix, born in 1752 and 1756, also survived and married. With so few children surviving, this huge family suddenly appears much smaller and their hard lives illustrated.


All the documentation came from Oberglatt parish records on microfilm at the Family History Library. In addition to church registers of baptisms, marriages and deaths, there are household registers (haushaltungsrodel) and population registers or census (bevölkerungsverzeichnisse, 1633-1767) of Reformed Parishes in the Synod of Zürich, Switzerland.

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