Translating the Zumbrunnen Entry in Hans Jacob Leu’s Dictionary

The General Helvetic, Confederate and Swiss Lexicon of 1750

The General Helvetic, Confederate and Swiss Lexicon of 1750

In Zürich in the mid-1700s, a historian named Hans Jacob Leu set about compiling a historical dictionary about Switzerland, especially the families and events that contributed to the development of Switzerland from a territory of the Holy Roman Empire into a unified confederacy. Leu would later go on to become the mayor of Zürich, which speaks to the political nature of such early dictionaries, which were intended to instill a sort of patriotism and shared history among the Swiss.

The fourth volume of his work (titled the General Helvetic, Confederate and Swiss Lexicon) was published in 1750 and contains an entry on the Zumbrunnen family. At the time Leu was writing, the Zumbrunnen family no longer lived in Uri, but he was aware that a branch of the family had moved away to Parma.

His entry on the Zumbrunnen family is not long, but importantly, his work was published several decades before these archives were destroyed by fire in 1799.

What follows is a sentence-by-sentence translation of his entry on the Zumbrunnen. (My own commentary, provided for context, is in parentheses and highlights like this) The original is on Google Books and, as always, any improvements to the translation would be welcomed.

zum Brunnen

A noble family formerly from the country of Uri, of which Bucelin notes in his genealogy, has the same origin as the von Attighausen. Werner von Aetting or Ettighausen in 1209 distributed his estates among his two sons, to Werner, the Schloss Attinghausen and to Walter, the Schloss zum Brunnen (Schloss typically translates as “castle” but generally applied to any respectable stone house. The post on Zumbrunnen family castles contains examples of castles both grand and more modest). Some say this Schloss was located where the village Brunnen stands in the canton of Schweiz. Both men became known by the names of their estates.

The family Von Attinghausen were landammann, as were those of the family zum Brunnen. Among the zum Brunnen family there were several Landammann of Uri:

  • Burkhard in 1273.
  • Johannes, who had previously been bailiff (the Swiss title of “landvogt.”) in the free states in 1468, 1470, was landammann in 1482.
  • Hans, in 1477 the bailiff to Baden and in 1484 an envoy at the agreement between the Confederates and the cities of Bern and Fribourg. He fought in the Battle of Marignano where, according to Jove, he killed a number of enemies with his great battle sword before dying.
  • Mansuetus in 1548.
  • Hans in 1579. Also bailiff to Baden in 1536 and 1564. (the date of 1536 might refer to Mansuetus, rather than Johann) Also, at some time, he was involved in the business of the Catholic confederates to Rome, and was an envoy to King Henry the III of France in 1582. His brother Walter became a papal guard captain, and his nephew Josua became captain of Uri.
  • In 1621 and 1637 the Landammann of Uri was Johann Heinrich Zumbrunnen, who was also at the same time the captain of Uri, and a Knight in the Order of St. Michael. In 1622 he was sent to the House of Austria during the violent disputes of the Gray League in Lindau. In 1625 he owned a regiment in the French services, recruited into the Valtellina(This was a brutal conflict in the Thirty Years’ War).
  • This family is now extinct in the land of Uri, but there is still a fund, founded by the family, at Altdorf, which is called the zum Brunnische Pfründe (A “Pfründe” is a German word that refers to an endowment that sponsors a priest. The English word for this is prebendary.). Some of the family moved to Parma, and there they are still propagating.

    There was also a Conrad zum Brunnen who was Abbot of St. Urban from 1349 to 1356, but whether he is of the same family is not known.

    Also, this family sometimes was called Lowenstein.

    One Comment

    1. […] to the shore of Lake Lucerne. The town of Brunnen is also identified in Hans Jacob Leu’s 1750 Swiss lexicon. The site is not hard to find today, and is circled in the aerial photo below. For many years, the […]

    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>