Three Oral Traditions About the First Zumbrun in America

The nature of family oral traditions is that they’re a little bit unreliable. Like an inter-generational game of telephone, details get invented, or are misremembered. Sometimes grandma and grandpa invent stories out of nothing to entertain children, that then get passed along as gospel. The story your friend tells you about how he’s 1/32nd Cherokee? It’s probably false.

Zumbruns don’t seem to believe they’re Cherokee Princes, but I’m aware of three oral traditions about the family in the 1700s. What follows are the legends I’ve found, and an analysis of their accuracy.

Read more …

Translating the Von Schweinsberg and Der Frauen entry in the Nobiliaire Militaire Suisse

The Schweinsberg Castle in Attinghausen

The Schweinsberg Castle in Attinghausen
Roland Zumbuehl via Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-3.0

The entry on the Attinghausen family in the Nobiliaire Militaire Suisse also contains a genealogy of the Barons of Schweinsberg and the Der Frauen.

Like the Zumbrunnen, the Von Schweinsberg family and the Der Frauen family descend from the Barons of Attinghausen, although they broke off from the main branch of the family several generations after the Zumbrunnen did. Diethelm von Schweinsberg, at the beginning of this genealogy, would have been a second cousin of Burkhard Zumbrunnen II. The Der-Frauen are even more distant cousins.

The Schweinsberg Castle, seen here, is located in Attinghausen only about a quarter mile away from Attinghausen Castle. The Von Schweinsberg used the name of this castle, even though they relocated to the town of Signau which is a little bit east of Bern. (For a map of these locations, see here.)

Read more …

Translating the Attinghausen entry in the Nobiliaire Militaire Suisse

The title page

The title page

The Nobiliaire Militaire Suisse was an incredibly ambitious effort by an Abbot named Jean-François Girard in the 1700s to compile genealogies of aristocratic Swiss military families. Too ambitious in fact. The first volume, published in 1787, was over 700 pages. It documented 50 families from Aa-Ayent in extensive detail.

Sadly for families B-Z, the author never finished even the second volume, let alone all 26. But luckily for us, he did document our ancestors because (in a rare example of our family benefiting from alphabetical order) he included them in the entry for the Attinghausen family, from which the Zumbrunnen family originated.

This work is an especially important source because just a dozen years after its original publication, a major fire devastated the town of Altdorf in 1799, destroying many of the records to which Girard had access. Had he not written down this information in excruciating detail (and had Google Books not recently digitized it!) it’s likely that the full story of the Zumbrunnen and Attinghausen family would have been forever lost to time.

Read more …

The Origin of the Surname Zumbrun/Zumbrum/Zumbrunnen

Fountain Bern

A distinctive octagonal Swiss Fountain.
Nikolai Karaneschev via Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-3.0

The most direct and literal translation of the name Zumbrunnen is “to the fountain.” Zum is a German contraction that means “to the” and Brunnen is the German word for “fountain.” Zumbrun, Zumbrum and Zumbrunn have no other meaning, they are simply a shortening of Zumbrunnen.[1]

This German word Brunnen is especially used for a distinctive type of Swiss fountain that served as the town well, often located in a central square. These fountains typically had a basin in the shape of a hexagon or octagon. In their center was a pillar with multiple spouts. The top of the pillar would typically have a decoration at the top. (The fountain at the right has a sculpture of Samson killing a lion.)

The earliest members of the Zumbrunnen family used a drawing of the distinctive Swiss fountain on their coat of arms.

There is, however, a very specific story about the original adoption of the Zumbrunnen surname that has never before been shared in English (but exists in a number of old Swiss history books).

Read more …

Branches of the Zumbrunnen Family in Switzerland

Genealogists have always concluded that the last name Zumbrun or Zumbrum is a shortening of the Swiss name Zumbrunnen. (As a general rule of thumb, Germanic surnames beginning with Ze, Zem, Zum, Zur are characteristically from Central Switzerland, though there are of course exceptions).

Heinrich, the first Zumbrun in America, was married in a Rhine Valley town called Schwegenheim and although many genealogies say Heinrich was born in Switzerland[1], he was originally from near the town of Crailsheim, in Baden-Wurttemberg.

The Zumbrunnen family in Crailsheim was very small, however, and likely originated in Switzerland.
This is a quick overview of several branches of the Zumbrunnen family in Switzerland from which Heinrich could have descended, as well as a few minor ones that don’t seem to be likely candidates for our direct ancestry.

Read more …

Known Records of Heinrich Zumbrun and Maria Eva Lehr

Heinrich Zumbrun and Eva Lehr are the immigrant parents of the Zumbrun family in America. It is my belief that everyone who spells the family name Zumbrun or Zumbrum is descended from this couple. (People with the spelling Zumbrunn or Zumbrunnen are from branches of the family that immigrated separately.)

This is an overview of all the known records pertaining to this couple.

First, church records for a Lutheran Church in Schwegenheim, Germany show a large Lehr family, including a Maria Eva Lehrin, daughter of Sebastian Lehr and Anna Lehrin. In Germany at the time it was common for grammatical reasons to add an “-in” to female’s last names, so Lehrin and Lehr are the same family (as are Zumbrunnin and Zumbrunn).[1]

Read more …

A Glossary of the Swiss Political Offices Held by the Zumbrunnen

The Zumbrunnen family was deeply involved in Switzerland’s civic life for many generations. This is the reason that records exist for the family dating all the way back to at least the 1200s. Members of the family held a wide number of official leadership posts for which records have been kept. These are some of the senior offices for the Swiss Cantons (cantons are similar to U.S. states although in the time of the Zumbrunnen, Swiss Cantons were significantly more independent, almost their own small countries).

Here’s a glossary of definitions of some of the major offices held by the Zumbrunnen family in Switzerland (primarily in the Canton of Uri).

Read more …

Translating the Zumbrunnen Entry in the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland

The Historical Dictionary of Switzerland is an incredibly detailed reference work on the history of Switzerland, compiled over the last century by hundreds of Swiss historians. There’s an online version of it, that has a brief entry on the Zumbrunnen family of Uri, Switzerland. But there’s also a physical version, which I believe to be long out of print, that has a very detailed entry on the Zumbrunnens.

Read more …

Family Tree

    Werner, Baron of Attinghausen ═══╦═══ Richenza von Löwenstein
      ║                              ║                              ║  
   Werner II                      Waltert                        Ulrich
Von Attinghausen                Zumbrunnen                 Von Attinghausen
      ║                              ║
      ║                             ╔╩═══════════════════════════════╗
      ║                             ║                                ║
   Werner III                    Burkhard                         Herman
Von Attinghausen                Zumbrunnen                      Zumbrunnen
      ║                             ║                                ║
    ╔═╩═══════════════╗           ╔═╩═══════════════╗                ║
    ║                 ║           ║                 ║                ║
 Werner IV        Diethelm     Burkhard          Conrad           Arnold
    Von              Von      Zumbrunnen       Zumbrunnen       Zumbrunnen
Attinghausen    Schweinsberg      ║                                  ║
     ║                            ║                                  ║
     ║                 ╔══════════╩═══╦══════════════╗               ║
     ║                 ║              ║              ║               ║
    Johann           Johan        Mechtilda      Heinrich         Conrad
Von Attinghausen   Zumbrunnen    Zumbrunnen     Zumbrunnen       Zumbrunnen
                    Walter             Hemma
                  Zumbrunnen ════╦════ Furst                  
                              Walter               Idda
                            Zumbrunnen ════╦════ von Branberg
    ║                             ║                             ║
  Johan          Margareta    Margareta                      Johan Jr.
Zumbrunnen ═══╦═══ Hofer      Zumbrunnen                    Zumbrunnen
              ║                                                 ║
              ║                                                 ║
           Johan              Dorothea                       Adelreit
        Zumbrunnen ═══╦═══ Von Beroldingen                  Zumbrunnen
    ║                                 ║               ║                     
 Mansuetus          Barbara         Anna           Andreas       Katharina
Zumbrunnen ═══╦═══ Aschwanden     Zumbrunnen     Zumbrunnen ═══╦═══ Kas
              ║                                                ║                                     
      ╔═══════╩════════════╦════════════════════╗              ╚═══╗
      ║                    ║                    ║                  ║
   Josue              9 others:             Mansuetus            Martin        
 Zumbrunnen      Dorothea, Lucretia,       Zumbrunnen          Zumbrunnen 
m. Margareta     Kunigunda, Hugo David     m. Dorothea         m. Agatha
    Von          Johann, Erasmus              Imhof            Weingarten
Fleckenstein     Magdalena, Margareta,          ║                 
       ║         Waltert                        ╚═════════╗ 
       ║                                                  ║
     ╔═╩═════════════╦═══════════════╗          ╔═════════╩═════════╗
     ║               ║         2 daughters      ║             2 daughters:
  Heinrich         Johann      Margareta      Johann          Margareta
 Zumbrunnen      Zumbrunnen    Barbara      Zumbrunnen        Dorothea
  m. Maria       m. Barbara                 m.Veronika  
   Jauch           Hahsin                    Ringglin
     ║                 ║                        ╚═══════════════╗  
     ║                 ╚═════════════════╗                      ║
   ╔═╩═══════════════╗                   ║                  9 children:
   ║              4 others:      ╔═══════╩═══════╗          Anna Maria,
Johann Heinrich   Fridolin,      ║               ║          Maria Magda,
Zumbrunnen        Josue, Franz   ║           4 others:      Joachim,
m. Magdalena      Johann       Burkhard      Erasmus,       Mansuetus,
  Reding                       Zumbrunnen    Mansuetus,     Balthasar,
Von Biberegg                    m. Ana       Magdalena      Franz, 
    ║                          Katherina     Barbara        Melkior,
 Anton Zumbrunnen               Behsler                     Rusg(?),  
m. Maria Elizabetha                 ╚═════════╗             Katharina  
  von Beroldingen                             ║ 
      ║                                ╔══════╩══════╦═════════════╗    
    ╔═╩═════════════╗                  ║             ║        5 others:
4 others:         Ana Margareta      Josue      Johann Karl   Ana Barbara,
Franz Florian,     Zumbrunnen ══╦══ Zumbrunnen   Zumbrunnen   Burkhard,
Heinrich Burkhart,              ║                m. Verena    R.D. Franz, 
Anton Johann,                   ║                 Ibargan     Maria Magdalena,
Maria Magdalena      ╔══════════╝                    ║        R.P. ???    
                     ║                               ║ 
     ╔═══════════════╩═══════════════╗            ╔══╩════════════╗                
9 with 1st wife Ana:         2 w/ 2nd wife        ║          2 daughters:   
Burkhard,                    Barbara Von      Karl Franz     Maria Elizabeth,
Maria Elisabetha,            Beroldingen:     Zumbrunnen     Catherine
Sebastian,                   Franz,
Anton Johann,                Heinrich Burkhard
Heinrich Burkhard,
Franz Florian,
Maria Ana Katherine,
Maria Barbara