University of Bern, Swiss immigrants, genealogy, Genoa, Ballif family
Over a dozen years ago, a young man entered my office. He was a stranger to me. He placed his briefcase on my desk, opened it, and brought out several old books. He talked rapidly, giving me information faster than I could assimilate it. I soon learned that the books were from the shelves of the library at the University of Bern in Switzerland, and that they were written by my ancestors. I also learned that Gabriel Jacob Ballif, my fourth great-grandfather, was the author of one of the books. It is entitled Systematic Physics, and was published in 1713. My visitor informed me that the reference card for this book was located in the card catalog next to a card describing a German translation of a book I had co-authored in 1969 entitled Conceptual Physics. The thoughts that came to me while holding that old book written by Gabriel Jacob kindled a fascination and respect for my ancestors, which has driven me to learn about them. It is clear that there have been common elements in the lives of the most influential members of the Ballif family throughout their seven-hundred-year known history. Furthermore, these family values survived the changes in religion, culture, and even country of my great-grandfather, Serge Louis Ballif. This article is about him, his ancestors and his descendants. It focuses on the characteristics that appear frequently in members of this family including community responsibility, a love for books and learning, a desire for progress, and a faith that motivates action.
Ballif, Jae R.
"Serge Louis Ballif: A Swiss-American,"
Swiss American Historical Society Review: Vol. 34:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/sahs_review/vol34/iss1/5