The Zumbrunnen Family in Lutheran Church Records in Baden-Württemberg

Beginning in 1716, the church kept a detailed handwritten record of attendees at church services. The first list here seems to be people who took communion at the Epiphany service.

Beginning in 1716, the church kept a detailed handwritten record of attendees at church services. The first list here seems to be people who took communion at the Epiphany service.

In the early 1700s, a small Zumbrunnen family was living in Baden-Württemberg, the German state just to the north of Switzerland. This post is an overview of the records pertaining to this family found in the church book of the Lutheran Parish Waldtann, located outside the town of Crailsheim, Germany.

This book includes baptisms, marriages, deaths, and church attendance. The attendance records begin in 1716 and almost immediately there are at least four different Zumbrunnens in the church books: Johann Peter (Petrus) Zumbrunnen, Anna Ursula Zumbrunnen, Balthasar Zumbrunnen and Barbara Zumbrunnen.[1]

The handwritten records can be very hard to read. The surname appears to be written variously as Zumbrunnen, Zumbrunnenin, Zumbrunn, and Zumbrunnin. (German-speakers in this region added “-in” to women’s surnames in this era). Sometimes there’s a space after Zum and sometimes not. Later in the records, they tend to favor the shorter spellings. These records support the theory that the family was originally named Zumbrunnen and that this branch truncated the spelling in the early 1700s.

The records contain detailed attendance lists that appear to be the people who took communion at the major holidays like Advent, Pentecost, and so on.

Balthasar and Barbara appear to have been in the front row for attendance at Pentecost in 1726. Note her name appears to be written as Zumbrunnenin and she's identified as a widow.

Balthasar and Barbara appear to have been in the front row for attendance at Pentecost in 1726. Note her name appears to be written as Zumbrunnenin and she’s identified as a widow.

In 1729, for the first time, we find a new name in these records: Johann Heinrich Zumbrunnen. Johann Heinrich Zumbrunn was the immigrant ancestor of the Zumbrun family in America. He was married in Schwegenheim, Germany in 1749, but prior to his marriage, neither Heinrich nor any other Zumbrun was listed in their church books. Heinrich’s hometown was somewhere else. These records have finally revealed where.

Joh. Heinrich Zumbrunn on the top line, below him appears to be family members Anna Marga Zumbrunn, Ursula something, Eva Maria Hahsin, and then Ursula Zumbrunn.

Joh. Heinrich Zumbrunn on the top line, below him is Ursula Zumbrunn.[2]

Heinrich Zumbrun would be about 12-years-old in 1729. He first appears in records in this year, because this is the approximate age Lutherans began taking communion at this church.[3]

In some of his early records you can see his name written pretty clearly as Zumbrunnen, but as the records go on the family shifts toward the spelling Zumbrunn.

the second name on this list: "Joh. Heinrich Zumbrunnen Serv."

The second name on this list from 1732: “Joh. Heinrich Zumbrunnen Serv.”[4]

He also appears fairly early on in these records as just Heinrich Zumbrunn (dropping the Johann). It was not uncommon for Germans to go by their “middle names.” We know that when he arrived in America he signed his name as just Heinrich Zumbrun, without the Johann.

Heinrich is the fourth person listed on this  attendance record from 1732

Heinrich is the fourth person listed on this attendance record from 1732.[5]

Other new family members begin to appear in the records. In 1732, there’s a Johann Georg Zumbrunnen.

The second name on the list: "Johann Georg Zumbrunnen Serv."

The second name on the list: “Johann Georg Zumbrunnen Serv.”[6]

A cool observation is the similarity between the writing in the church lists and the way Heinrich wrote his own name upon signing the Oath of Allegiance in Philadelphia.


Heinrich's signature disavowing the pope.
The first is Heinrich’s name in the church records; the second is his signature upon arrival in Philadelphia. While clearly written in different hands, they both write capital H’s that look like G’s or L’s, big swoopy concluding h’s, both write swoops over their u’s, and both insert a space after the Zum.

So what is the relationships of all these Zumbruns? There are enough baptisms and marriages in these records to make sense of it.

  • On Aug 26, 1715, Peter Zumbrunn marries Anna Ursula Schens. His father’s name appears to be Johann and hers George. (p 588 of 1216 on the microfilm)
  • On May 1, 1722, Balthasar Zumbrunn marries a Barbara. Her last name is illegible to me. (p. 723 of 1216)
  • On Aug. 22, 1722, Catharina Barbara Zumbrunnen, daughter of Balthasar and Barbara Zumbrunnen is baptized.(p. 647 of 1216)
  • On Feb. 5, 1724, Anna Maria Magdalena Zumbrunn, daughter of Peter Zumbrunn and Anna Ursula Zumbrunn is baptized. (p. 648 of 1216)
  • In 1727, Ursula Zumbrunn is identified as a widow. I haven’t found a burial for Peter but he also doesn’t appear in attendance anymore.
  • On Feb. 10, 1727, Georg Michael Zumbrunn, son of Balthasar and Barbara Zumbrunn is baptized. (p. 651 of 1216)
  • On Aug. 18, 1728, Georg Michael Zumbrunn, son of Balthasar Zumbrunn, dies. He is buried on Aug. 19, 1728. (p. 755 of 1216)
  • In 1729, Johann Heinrich Zumbrunn first attends services with Ursula Zumbrunn.
  • In 1732, Johann Georg Zumbrunn first attends services, sometimes sitting with Heinrich.
  • On Aug. 5, 1734, Balthasar Zumbrunn’s wife is identified as Anna Barbara Hoffman. Two possibilities from this record. One is that this is the same Barbara listed on the baptisms. Second, is that his first wife died and he married a second woman also named (Anna) Barbara. (p. 731 of 1216)
  • On Aug. 3, 1736, Georg Michael Zumbrunn, son of Balthasar Zumbrunn and Anna Barbara is baptized. (p. 662 of 1216)
  • In 1736, Catharina Barbara Zumbrunnen first attends services (we know from her baptism that she would be about 13 or 14).
  • In 1737, Maria Magdalena Zumbrunn first appears with Ursula Zumbrunn. (Magdalena would be about 13)
  • On Dec. 1, 1739, Johann Christian Zumbrunn, son of Balthasar Zumbrunn and Anna Barbara is baptized.
    (p. 665 of 1216)
  • In a nearby German church called Mariäkappel, there’s a record from March 23, 1756 of Johann Georg Zumbrunn marrying Maria Elisabetha Rescher. His father is identified as Johann Peter Zumbrunn.
  • Anna Ursula Zumbrunnin dies at age 73 and is buried on Dec. 26, 1756. (This makes her year of birth approximately 1683).

The church book has a lot more material that’s completely unindexed (several hundred pages, at least). There might be earlier church books too. The church archive in Stuttgart, where these records are kept, would almost certainly have more information. But the above records are enough to mostly untangle two family units:

  • (Johann) Peter Zumbrunnen (d. 1727) and Anna Ursula Schens (b. 1683-1756)
    1. (Johann) Heinrich Zumbrunnen (b. abt 1717)
    2. Johann Georg Zumbrunnen (b. abt 1720)
    3. Magdalena Zumbrunn (b. Feb. 5, 1724)
  • Balthasar Zumbrunnen and Barbara/Anna Barbara Hoffman
    1. Catherine Barbara Zumbrunnen (b. Aug. 22, 1722)
    2. Georg Michael Zumbrunn (b. Feb. 10, 1727, d. Aug. 18, 1728)
    3. Georg Michael Zumbrunn (b. Aug. 3, 1736)[7]
    4. Johann Christian Zumbrunn (b. Dec. 1, 1739)

I could not find a baptism record for Heinrich but his family was attending church in Waldtann by 1715, and so if he was born in 1717 as these records (and his immigration records) suggest, then he was born in Crailsheim, Germany.

Some Questions for Further Research

  • What other information can be deciphered from these handwritten and un-indexed records?
  • Are there other records from Crailsheim, Germany and Baden-Württemberg during this period and earlier that might tell us more about what the family was up to during this period?
  • How many Barbara Zumbrunn’s are there? Did Balthasar’s first wife Barbara die, and then he married Anna Barbara? Or is this the same woman? Was there a third “widow Barbara” who was perhaps from an earlier generation?
  • What’s the relationship between Balthasar Zumbrunnen and Johann Peter Zumbrunnen. Two relationships seem likely: either that Balthasar was a brother of Peter (who was much younger or lived much longer), or that Balthasar was Peter’s older son.
  • Are there other ties between this Lutheran Parish Waldtann and the Lutheran Church in Schwegenheim or the Zions Moselem Lutheran Church that Heinrich attended in America?

1)The attendance records have not yet been indexed, so you cannot search them with a text query. They are available on if you have a paid subscription to the international records. The originals are at the State Church Archive in Stuttgart. There are four or five different church books that have been digitized into a single file on The church attendance records in Waldtann, referred to throughout, begin on page 150 of the Waldtann Church Book (page 799 of 1216 on the digitized microfilm.)

2) I don’t know what this abbreviation “Serv” means. This is page 836 of 1216 on the microfilm.

3) Here’s a useful guide to German church book handwriting. Two letters that are helpful to study are the “H” which looks more like an English “L” or “G” and the German “u” which was typically written with a swoop over it. You can often distinguish Zumbrunnen from Zimmerman because Zumbrunnen will have two swoops, and Zimmerman will just have a single dot.

4) This is from page 853 of 1216 of the microfilm.

5) This is from page 845 of 1216 of the microfilm.

6) Page 848 of 1216 of the microfilm.

7) It was common at the time, when a child died in infancy, to give a subsequent child that same name, like with the two Georg Michael Zumbrunns here. Heinrich Zumbrunn and his wife Eva Lehr also gave two daughters the name Anna Dorothea Zumbrun, after the first died young.


  1. […] In her marriage to Johann Heinrich Zumbrunn, she is identified only as Maria Eva W. David Degen. Only by tracking down her first marriage do we find the maiden name of Lehr. No Zumbrunns had previously appeared in these church records and it’s clear this was never their home town. Apparently born Johann Heinrich Zumbrunnen, he grew up near the town of Crailsheim, Germany and his family began shortening the name from Zumbrunnen to Zumbrunn in the 1720s and 1730s. An overview of the Zumbrunnen family in Crailsheim is available here. […]

  2. […] 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. […]

  3. […] 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. […]

  4. […] The Zumbrunnen Family in Lutheran Church Records in Baden-Württemberg […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

question razz sad evil exclaim smile redface biggrin surprised eek confused cool lol mad twisted rolleyes wink idea arrow neutral cry mrgreen

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>