Map of Where the Zumbrunnen Family Lived in Switzerland

Most of the ancient Zumbrunnen were based in Altdorf and Attinghausen, but the story of the Zumbrunnen family takes place in many locations across Switzerland. Since most of these locations were completely unfamiliar to me I created a map to help keep it straight.

Map of significant locations for the Zumbrunnen family

Key locations for the Zumbrunnen family.
Modified image from Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 1.0

Altdorf – the capital of the Canton of Uri, located near the shores of Lake Lucerne, one of the world’s most stunningly beautiful mountain lakes. Along with neighboring Attinghausen, it is where most of the Zumbrunnen lived and worked. It is perhaps most famous as the location of the story of William Tell.

Attinghausen – the ancestral home of the Zumbrunnen. Attinghausen and Altdorf are located on opposite banks of the Reuss River. Though technically separate towns, they are now and always have been essentially the same community. Other towns that bleed right into Altdorf and Attinghausen, therefore making up the central community of Uri are Seedorf, Schattdorf and Flüelen. As you can see on the map, Attinghausen is along the Gotthard Pass trade route. It is also the home of Attinghausen Castle, the family’s ancient ancestral seat.

Baden – a northern frontier territory for which several Zumbrunnen served as Landvogt. It is the location of the Bailiff’s Castle of Baden.

Basel – one of the largest cities in modern Switzerland. Located on the Rhine Valley. There’s a branch of the Zumbrunnen family who moved here in the late 1600s or early 1700s, and this may have been a stopover point for our ancestors before coming to America.

Bern – the capital of modern Switzerland. The Battle of Laupen was fought to the east of Bern. The Emmental Valley, where the Von Schweinsbergs lived, was about 15 miles east of Bern. Beginning in the mid- or late-1500s, there’s a large branch of Zumbrunnen who lived in the Bernese Highlands. Despite the name, this is fairly remote from Bern, in a difficult-to-reach mountainous alpine region.

Brunnen – a lake-front city which was the Canton of Schwyz’s main access point to Lake Lucerne. Because it was on the lake, it always had close economic and cultural ties to Uri. There was once a Castle Zumbrunnen, from which Walter Zumbrunnen took his name. One possibility is the castle was in the town of Brunnen, but this is uncertain.

Fribourg – a small branch of Zumbrunnen lived in Fribourg in the 1500s. For many generations, young Zumbrunnen men moved to Fribourg for a number of years to attend a Jesuit College, now the University of Fribourg. The university has a number of records of its Zumbrunnen students beginning in the early 1600s. Vaulruz Castle, where Hans Zumbrunnen served as landvogt, is about 15 miles southwest of Fribourg.

Geneva – by the mid- to late-1700s there were some French-speaking Zumbrunnen in the area of Geneva.

Gotthard Pass – one of the only North-South routes through the Alps. (I’ve highlighted the route itself, the pass is technically a brief stretch of it). Ultimately, this was one of the only ways to travel between Milan (and the regions that are now part of Italy) and Bavaria (and regions that are now part of Germany). The Canton of Uri primarily controls the entire northern valley of this route, that stretches from Lake Lucerne to an area northwest of Livinen. Uri was thus an important trade route. Today, the Gotthard Pass is the location of the world’s longest transit tunnel.

Livinen – Uri and the other central Swiss Cantons gained control of the Leventina Valley and administered it via a Landvogt in Livinen. It was the second key part of the trade route. Several Zumbrunnen served as this Landvogt. I think the Landvogt of Livinen would have lived in the town of Faido, Switzerland.

Lucerne – a branch of the Zumbrunnen family lived in the town of Lucerne, on the northwest of Lake Lucerne. The St. Urban Abbey, where Conrad Zumbrunnen was abbot, is about 10 miles northwest of Lucerne.

Lugano – the largest city in the Italian-speaking parts of Switzerland, where several Zumbrunnen held administrative jobs.

Milan – the Zumbrunnen were involved in many conflicts between Switzerland and the Milanese. Milanese culture was also very influential in Uri. Many of the Zumbrunnen would have spoken Italian (in fact, probably something closer to Lombardy or Ticinese rather than Standard Italian), probably would have prized Italian-style clothing and furniture, and have preferred Italian art.

Sargans – another territory that Uri and the other central Swiss Cantons controlled via a Landvogt. The Landvogt of Sargans lived in Sargans Castle in the town of St. Gallen. A least four different Zumbrunnen men served as the Landvogt of Sargans.

Thurgau – also a territory administered by a Landvogt. The Landvogt of Thurgau lived in the Castle of Frauenfeld.

Uri – the home Canton of the Zumbrunnen family from the 1200s to the early 1700s. Its capital is Altdorf. Uri is primarily the enormous mountain valley of the Reuss River. It was one of the founding members of the Swiss confederation.

Zürich– the primary city of central Switzerland that would have controlled Uri for much of the Middle Ages. Louis the German, the grandson of Charlemagne, created the Fraumünster Abbey in 853 for his daughter Hildegard, and gave the abbey control of Uri. Many of the earliest records of the Zumbrunnen are in the records of the Fraumünster. In 1251, Burkhard Zumbrunnen helped forge an alliance between Uri and Zürich.

10 Comments

  1. […] 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.) […]

  2. […] the village of Altdorf, beyond the Reuss River in the Canton or Uri.(For a map of these locations, see here.) Attinghausen gave its name to one of the most ancient, most illustrious and most respectable of […]

  3. […] city of Bern — today the capital of Switzerland — had been growing in wealth and power and […]

  4. […] fortresses are primarily in regions along the modern borders of Switzerland. (You can see these locations in this map). The Landvogt was appointed by the central cantons to live in these castles and be the chief […]

  5. […] beginning in the 1100s, with most of the modern structure completed in the 1500s. It sits in the town of Sargans in the Swiss canton of St. […]

  6. […] Zumbrunnen family originates from the Swiss towns of Attinghausen and Altdorf, in the Canton of Uri, and if you’d ever heard of these towns before it’s very likely because of William […]

  7. […] Louis was a powerful enough king that he could afford to give something to his daughter and so, in the year 853, he created a convent in the already-ancient city of Zürich. The Benedictine Convent, which became known as the Fraumünster, was built on the banks of the Limmat River in the very heart of the city. To preserve the lifestyle his daughter Hildegard was accustomed to he gave her the convent, which was endowed with all the nearby lands, among them the Valley of Uri. […]

  8. […] register of baptisms at the church in Altdorf begins in 1648. Earlier records were destroyed in a fire in 1799. These baptisms don’t seem […]

  9. […] The article discusses three branches of the Zumbrunnen family, but it’s the third branch in Uri that is the interesting […]

  10. […] alma mater was the Jesuit Collège Saint-Michel[1], or the College of St. Michael, in Fribourg, Switzerland. The school was founded by Father Peter Canisius, S.J., in 1582. Amazingly, the school has some […]

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