Swiss American Historical Society Review

Swiss American Historical Society Review


Van Gunten Family, Swiss


Greetings to All My Family:

The idea of a family history began this year when I attempted to identify my ancestors who preceded John and Anna von Gunten - an attempt to stretch backward the generations of our family tree. Other families overwhelm me with their pedigrees reaching into the 18th, even the 17th, century. So why shouldn't I trace my roots to a greater depth, hoping that our heritage would be revealed

In early 1989 I contacted a prof esmonal genealogist, asking if she would undertake a search of John's lineage. She declined, saying she did not specialize in this period of Swiss history. This did not deter my enthusiagn. So, armed with well-intentiooed instructions from many "how to find your ancestors" books, I persisted on my own. Coupled to these instructions was a fortuitous stroke of good fortune when Gervais von Gunten of Bienne, Switzerland responded to my inquiry: He is a fourth cousin who with his knowledge of our family extended backward by two generations our family tree.

I visited Bluffton, Ohio, meeting with people who had important inf or- mation which they gladly shared with me. On a brooder view I discovered many items of interest in the community around them, events in Switzerland which could have encouraged them to emigrate, and the nature of their new homeland.

I hope you will enjoy reading this family history of your ancestors.