Saturday, February 27, 2016

Canton Zurich Marriage Registers Extracted, 1525—1700

Canton Zurich Marriage Registers Extracted, 1525—1700

Jean M. Hoffman, CGSM

The State Archives of Canton Zurich (Staatsarchivs des Kantons Zürich) provided an extract of passport applications to America or Australia, 1848—1870 that I found in 2007. It was easy to use despite being in German. Eight members of the Hoffman family are listed in those extracts. I recently wanted to review the source and update any page links.

A brief page for genealogists in English has a link to the pdf file of passport applications at I also found a link to marriage records extracted from parish registers that are housed at the state archives. The link leads to pages and information only in German, but I was able to peruse some of the marriages and found an interesting addition to the Homberger family.

The name of the project is Zürcher Ehedaten des 16. bis 18. Jahrhunderts (Zurich Marriage Data From the 16th to the 18th Century) also defined as 1525—1800 though few parishes kept the records as early as 1525. The reports currently only go to 1700. The marriages are in alphabetical order by surname then first name and chronological within name. Grooms and brides are each indexed. The pdf files of the reports are fairly large (10 to 16 MB,) so prepared in four segments for the men and four segments for the women. Columns contain the names of the couple, comments, marriage date, marriage place, and the archive numbers to locate the page in the register. The numbers link to a chronological list for that parish. Other parish books will be listed as well. The data looks like a real treasure.

I had to look first at grooms named Hoffmann from Oberglatt. The surname was only spelled Hofmann even though both spellings were used and for different families. Other “normalization” of names seems to have been used. For example, where I copied a name as Elsbeth, the list reads Elisabeth. I found other similar changes.

Elisabeth Homberger, widow of Johannes Hoffmann, was the mother of our immigrant Hoffman family and also came to Illinois. Her father was a citizen of the gemeinde (community) of Egg, adjoining Oetwil am See where the family lived after her husband died. It was the home of her mother's family. Elisabeth was the 2nd great-granddaughter of Rudolf Homberger and Elsbeth Buchmann the most distant Homberger ancestors we've found.

Rudolf and Elsbeth had children baptized in Egg beginning in 1701 but had older children by 1697. We estimated they married about 1696 but found no marriage record for them in Egg. Now we know why. Rudolf Homberger was from Binzikon (which is a small place, possibly not a gemeinde) and Elisabeth Buchmann was from nearby Hombrechtikon. They were married 30 June 1696 in the parish of Grüningen, very close to Binzikon. Rudolf was a widower. The preceding record in the list was also for a Rudolf Homberger of Binzikon marrying Elisabeth Hürlimann of Hombrechtikon in Grüningen on 21 June 1681. It is very likely she is the wife who died leaving him a widower fifteen years later. All because of the arrangement of this data we found an actual marriage record we had only guessed at and the new data that Rudolf had a prior marriage. The map shows how close all the communities mentioned are to one another.

There is additional information in the pages of the state archives, but I will need German translation to understand much of it.

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