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Swiss Roots - Your Stories
Swiss Roots - Your Stories

Swiss Center Family Stories - 2

Family Search by  Chontell Guerraz
My fathers side of the family originates from Chateau d'Oex and Lausanne...Guerraz, Oguey, Vial, Perakis, Freymond.
There's more, but I am still currently looking for more relatives.
So far we know of three Guerraz members that came through Ellis Island...Adeline, Flora (grandfather's aunts) and Flora's son George... My grandmother and grandfather came through Hoboken in 1948.
The Guerraz family has proven to be a mystery, most of the very old records for Chateau d'Oex were destroyed in a fire...(not for everyone, just a handful..we happen to be that handful).
I have been lucky enough to go back to the early 1600's on the Freymond side..( My grandmother's mothers side). So I continue on my journey to find new relatives, new information, and some very interesting stories about them.

Miraculous Return to Roots by James Roth
My Dad was born in Switzerland in 1924. He lived in Speicher of Appenzel, but was born in Trogen. His mother, Emma, walked to Trogen during labor because that is where the nearest hospital was located. Emma had returned to Speicher to care for her elderly mom Anna. Emma did not know that she was with child. Her husband, Alfred, remained in NYC and worked while Emma and her two boys went back to Speicher to care for Anna. The boys and Alfred were also born in Switzerland. Emma ended up staying in Switzerland after giving birth for 6 years until 1930 when my Dad was 6.
All the while, Alfred would send money from the US to support Emma and the now three sons. She came back to the US in 1930 and that is when my Dad, Henry, met his Dad for the first time. My dad passed away in 1998-he never went back to Switzerland.
Due to certain circumstances in my life right now, I wanted to travel to Switzerland to at least say that I was there. I am first generation in the USA, and I wanted to see my heritage. We had always been told that my dad's house was gone. I had a picture of it with my great grandparents in front. I sent that picture to the owner of the guesthouse in Speicher to explain why I was visiting. Relatives had told us that the house was gone. But apparently not. Lost in the translation of renovation, it was confused as replaced.
When we got to Speicher, the guesthouse owner also thought that the house was no longer there, but had taken the picture I sent to her to Town Hall in Speicher. When we arrived she handed me a map and walked my family and me to the church in town and pointed down a hill. She said that maybe down there is where it was. We walked down the hill and my son noticed that the hills in the photo were right ahead of us. I noticed that the two houses in the background were still there as well. When we walked a little further, sure enough, the house was still there. It was quite emotional and sentimental to see it and touch it.
We spoke to neighbors there who told us the house was 240 years old and that the former owners were embroiderers. That fits my history because my aunts and uncles in this country owned an embroidery factory where my grandmother Emma worked in her golden years.
It was quite a trip. Driving through the Alps was like a religious experience. So Beautiful and so vast. I took some flowers from Speicher and buried them on my fathers grave in the US. So now he has some of his homeland with him at his resting place here on Earth. Although I know he is smiling in heaven. It was truly a miracle for our family.

My Swiss Connection by  Martin Suter
My father, Lorenz Suter, was one of four brothers from Muotathal to immigrate to America. Three settled in St. Louis, Missouri and my father went on to Oregon.
Later, during the Great Depression, Uncle Theo returned to live in Switzerland.
My father arrived by ship in New York, Elllis Island, in 1923.
He was attracted to dairy farming and since his uncle, Joseph Betschart, had settled in Tillamook, Oregon a few years before, here was a connection for him.
At that time, Tillamook had many Swiss immigrants. There in 1937, he married my mother, Mary Hurliman (Hürlimann). The Hürlimann family had immigrated from Walchwil in 1910. The picture above right is of my parents in 1937 and picture on left, my mother's parents 1912.
I remember growing up in this Swiss community, the old-timers speaking Schwyzer-Dütsch and playing Jass.

The Springs from Racholtern by  Amy Brizendine
My grandfather's mother was Rose Anna Katherine Spring Cook. Her parents were Jacob and Elizabeth Fahrni Spring. The family home they left behind was in Racholtern, Canton Berne. They were members of a church in Steffisburg. Many years ago, a relative of mine visited there and took pictures of these places.
I am searching to try and find if there were any relatives of Jacob and Elizabeth left in Switzerland. They always claimed there weren't, but I've had reason to believe recently that this is not true.
Jacob's father was Peter Spring. That is all I can tell you about Jacob's family. Jacob was born about 1830 and Elizabeth in 1848. They arrived in America in 1881.

Swiss-Irish-American Adam Hollinger by  James Alfred Miller Jr.
Most American Hollingers, especially of Pennsylvania origins, are of German Hollinger descent. But my Adam Hollinger, who in the 1770's owned large Hollinger's Island off Mobile, Alabama, was a Swiss-Irish Hollinger.
The Mobile, Alabama, Catholic church marriage record to my Mdm. Marie Josephine de Juzan, says Adam was "a native of Ireland". 1770s state of Georgia sutlers and distillers, Titus and William Hollinger, were also from Ireland. Allegedly an earlier Irish-Hollinger was Philip Hollinger who settled Kent County, Maryland, USA, 1724. And a Col. Andreas Hollinger was a brother of William and Titus?
All the Irish Hollingers to America, allegedly descend 1749 Irish militia Capt. Ruprecht Robert Hollinger, born 1590, Waldshist, Switzerland and married 1640 Holland.
Adam Hollinger had other Indian blood wives and an acknowledged "outside" son, William Hollinger, also of Indian blood. Wife Mdm. Marie Josephine de Juzan Hollinger, the daughter of "Don Pedro", Pierre Francoise Gabriel de Juzan, His Spanish Majesty's Indian Commissioner to Alabama (his father was French, killed in combat against Chickasaws) by wife Mdm. Marie Henriette Rochon of Kaskaskia Illini blood.
Mdm. Marie Josephine de Juzan Hollinger's tomb is behind the Mobile Public Library, adjoining her son-in-law, U.S. Senator, Col. George Washington Owen, Mayor of Mobile. Her tomb says she lived in Mobile under four flags.
I descend from her daughter Margaret Hollinger who 1815 in a one-week wedding celebration, Hollinger's Island, wed 3rd U.S. Infantry, Col. Gilbert Christian Russell, Sr., for whom Russell County, Alabama, is named. Mrs. Margaret Hollinger Russell's daughter, Ann Maria Russell, wed Capt. Edward Malone,Sr., CSA, Mobile and Galveston cotton broker.