Original Sources: The Oldest Church Death Book in Altdorf

Nearly all early church records in the Zumbrunnen hometown of Altdorf, Switzerland, were destroyed in a fire in 1799. The oldest book of church death records that has survived is one that begins in 1649. This church book was therefore started after the Zumbrunnen family had branched off to the Bernese Highlands region of Switzerland, and may also have been published after a branch of the Zumbrunnen family ended up in Baden-Wurttemberg.

A copy of this record was published in the “Journal for Swiss Church History” in 1911. As far as I can tell, this record isn’t available on any of the various genealogy websites. The deaths of 16 members of the Zumbrunnen family are recorded in this church book (I think, strictly speaking, most of these are the dates of funeral services rather than death dates), and are listed below:

Note: I’ve preserved the different renderings of the name. It seems the family during this period was inconsistent in the spacing and capitalization of the name (sometimes Zumbrunnen vs zum Brunnen vs Zum brunnen) although I don’t know if there’s any significance to this; it could merely reflect different styles of handwriting. Most of these entries include some additional identifying information which I’ve included below. (My own commentary, which is provided for context, is in parentheses and highlights like this).

  • April 17, 1648, Lord Johann Heinrich zum Brunnen, knight, old Landammann and captain.
  • March 2, 1649, Captain Josue Zumbrunnen. (There are several Josue’s and I’m not sure which one this record refers to. The Josue who was Johann Heinrich Zumbrunnen’s brother is said in other sources to have died in 1643.)
  • May 8, 1655 Carolus Ernestus a Roll. Born 1631 and married to Magdalena zum Brunnen
  • April 20, 1657, father P Bernhardi Zum brunnen.
  • September 12, 1667, Joannes Gualtherus Rothuet, married to Anna Barbara Zum Brunnen.
  • February 18, 1672, Captain Burkardus zum Brunnen. Married 1st to Anna Katharina Behsler and 2nd on October 3, 1651 to the widow Maria Elisabetha Blatler von Unterwalden.
  • January 7, 1678, Captain Sebastianus zum Brunnen.
  • December 21, 1684, Josue zum Brunnen.
  • October 10, 1687. Henrichus Burkardus zum Brunnen. (Because there are three different people named Heinrich Burkhard Zumbrunnen — I, II and III — it’s unclear which one this is.)
  • June 23, 1689. Anna Maria Margaritha Zumbrunnen, wife of Josue Zumbrunnen (Her maiden name was also Zumbrunnen; Josue was her second cousin once removed.)
  • March 21, 1690. Maria Magdalena Zum brunnen, wife of Ernst von Roll and married a second time to Johann Karl von Schmidt.
  • May 8, 1690. Henrichus Burkardus Zumbrunnen. Listed as mentally incompetent. (As above, there are three different Heinrich Burkhards — I, II and III — and it’s unclear which one this is.)
  • May 9, 1699. Maria Magdalena zum Brunnen. (There was a Maria Magdalena Zum Brunnen married to Johann Martin Straumeyer, although if this is her it’s unclear why her married name isn’t mentioned.)
  • September 30, 1700. Anna Barbara zum Brunnen.
  • March 26, 1705. R. D. Franciscus Zum Brunnen, died at age 62. Son of Burkhard and Anna Catherine Behsler.
  • September 3, 1729. Maria Elisabeth Crivelli, born zum Brunnen. Wife of Heinrich Anton Crivelli.

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