Translating the Zumbrunnen 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. But luckily for us, he did document the Zumbrunnen family as the “second branch” of the Attinghausen family.

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 (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.

The Zumbrunnen branches, translated below, conclude an entry that also contains the Attinghausen family and Von Schweinsberg and Der Frauen families. The Zumbrunnen, the Von Schweinsbergs, and the Der Frauen, all descend from Werner, the Baron of Attinghausen.

Note the numbering scheme below begins with #2. That’s because Werner, Baron of Attinghausen, is #1. What follows is a sentence-by-sentence translation. (My own commentary, provided for context, is in parentheses and highlights like this) The original is on Google Books and any improvements to the translation would be welcomed.

Second branch known as Zumbrunnen

  • 2. Walter of Attinghausen, known as Zumbrunnen, first of the name. Lord of the Zumbrunnen Castle, son of Werner I and Richenza von Löwenstein. He inherited the castle by virtue of the division of the property of his father, ordered in 1209. There was never a castle in the Canton of Uri which bore this name, which suggests that it might have been a castle in the village of Brunnen on the shore of the lake in the Canton of Schwyz. The house of Löwenstein, which possessed it, lived in the Canton of Uri, where it did have a castle in its name. Walter Zumbrunnen, also von Löwenstein, was still alive in 1226. He left, besides several children who died young: 1. Burkard, who follows. 2. Herman, whose son Arnold died without male children. (Other sources say Arnold had a son who was a prominent abbot.)
  • 3. Burkard Zumbrunnen, first of the name. Landammann (For an explanation of these Swiss titles, see this glossary.) of the Canton of Uri from 1241 until 1251, was deputy this last year to swear the alliance concluded with the city of Zurich. We do not know the name of his wife, with whom he had 1. Burkard, who follows. 2. Conrad, named in a certificate in 1296.
  • 4. Burkard Zumbrunnen, second of the name, the younger. Occupied the eminent position of Landammann from 1273 to 1287. He was father of 1. Henry who follows. 2. Johann who still lived in 1360 and wrote in Latin the history of the Abbey of Seedorf. 3. Melchtilde, wife of Johann Puntener of Brunnberg.
  • 5. Heinrich Zumbrunnen, first of the name, killed at the Battle of Laupen in 1339.(This made Heinrich into a hero, and seems to be the origin of the family tradition of naming people Heinrich/Henry.) Was the father of:
  • 6. Walter Zumbrunnen, second of the name, who served his country in the wars against the House of Austria toward the end of the fourteenth century. His wife was Hemma Fürst, of the same family as Walter Fürst, one of the three founders of the republic. (Hemma’s ancestor Walter Fürst is one of the main characters in the story of William Tell. Walter Fürst was approximately the right age to be Hemma’s grandfather or great-grandfather.) He left:
  • 7. Walter Zumbrunnen, third of the name, Landammann from 1435 to 1439. Married Idda von Branberg of an illustrious family of Lucerne, of which were born: 1. Johann, who follows. 2. Johann the younger, bailiff of Sargans in 1466 who, besides several children who died young had Ulrich, bailiff of Sargans in 1495, who died without posterity. 3. Marguerite, wife of Werner Zumberg.
  • 8. Johann Zumbrunnen, first of the name, Landammann in 1469, 1470, 1481, 1482. Married Margarita Hofer, daughter of the Landammann Arnold Hofer, and left:
  • 9. Johann Zumbrunnen, second of the name, bailiff of Baden in 1477, Landammann in 1515. Captain-General the same year, he commanded the Uri at the famous Battle of Marignano where, according to Paolo Giovio (A famous Italian military historian; will have to see if I can track down his account of Johann Zumbrunnen), he fought fiercely and bravely and lost his life gloriously and was worthy of a better fate, if there be one more envious than that of shedding his blood for his country. He had married Dorothea von Beroldingen in his first marriage. In his second Verena Reichmuth. Out of his first bed came 1. Mansuetus, who follows. 2. Andreas, married to Catherine Zukas of Bliggeringen, whose son, Martin, married Anne de Weingarten, and left only Anne, allied to Pierre Schlooser. Of the second bed was born Anne, married to Melchior Wollaeb, Amman of the Urseren Valley from 1531 to 1546, citizen of the Canton of Uri.
  • 10. Mansuetus Zumbrunnen, first of the name, treasurer of the Canton from 1527 to 1537, Landammann in 1548, deputy to the Helvetic diets in 1530, 1531, 1532. Died in 1549. He had married Barbara Aschwanden, with whom he had: 1. Johann, Lieutenant of the Regency in 1577, Landammann in 1579, deputy to the Swiss diets in 1579 and 1580, in charge of the affairs of Switzerland at Rome, married without children to Anne Schuler. 2. Erasmus, married without posterity to Gertrude Kluser. 3. Madelaine, wife of Jacques de Behsler. 4. Margaretha, married to Johann Imhof of Blumenfeld. 5. Walther, captain of the Pope’s guards, married without children to Anna Reichmuth. 6. Dorothea, wife of Colonel Peter a Pro. 7. Lucretia, married to Sebalde Magnus Bessler of Wattingen. 8. Mansuetus, following. 9. Kunigunda, wife of Jakob Jauch, Counselor. 10. Hugo David, secretary of state, without alliance. 11. Josua, author of the third branch.
  • 11. Mansuetus Zumbrunnen,, second of the name, chancellor of Lugano, in the name of the 12 constituent cantons. His wife was Dorothea Imhof de Blumenfeld, daughter of Caspar and his second wife Dorothea von Hassfurt of Attisweil, had:
  • 12. Johann Zumbrunnen, third of the name, bailiff of Pollegio in 1626. With his wife Veronica de Reppulin had: 1. Caspar, Ensign without alliance. 2. Melchior. 3. Francois. 4. Catherine. 5. Anne Marie, wife of Sebastien Lusser. 6. Balthasar. 7. Madelaine, allied to Francois Tanner. 8. Mansuetus. 9. Joachim, Ensign, without posterity.

Third Branch, Resulting from the Previous

  • 11. Josua Zumbrunnen, first of the name, chancellor of Lugano in 1565. Married Margarita von Fleckenstein and had: 1. Heinrich, who follows. 2. Josua, author of the fourth branch. 3. Marguerite, wife of Captain Philip de Mentlen. 4. Madelaine, without an alliance.
  • 12. Heinrich Zumbrunnen, second of the name, ensign in the service of France, died young, married Marie Jauch, daughter of Captain Joffe and Dorothea Schmid of Uri, granddaughter on the paternal side of Joffe, Service of France, killed at the siege of Orleans, and Barbara Behsler, on the maternal side, of Louis Schmid of Uri and Catherine of Mentlen.(This is a convoluted passage in the original, and it’s unclear if Heinrich was killed at the Siege of Orleans or if his wife’s grandfather was. Either way, it’s not the right time period for the famous Siege of Orleans.) He had: 1. Johann Heinrich who follows. 2. Fridolin, without alliance. 3. Josua, Captain. 4. Francois. 5. Johann, Captain in the service of France, killed in Flanders.
  • 13. Johann Heinrich Zumbrunnen, first of the name, Knight of the order of St. Michael, Colonel in the service of France, Treasurer of the Canton of Uri from 1611 until 1617, Lieutenant of regency from 1617 until 1621, Landammann In 1621 & 1622, 1637 & 1638, Captain General from 1638 until his death in 1648. He was known as one of the most celebrated magistrates of the republic, and obtained glory in the career of arms and politics. (Will explain this story in some future post.) In September 1622, the Swiss, at the requisition of the Emperor and Archduke Leopold, resolved to send their Ambassadors to the Congress of Lindau, to conciliate the means of putting an end to the troubles with the Grisons. The Landammann Zumbrunnen was deputized by his Canton to represent them there, but the conference was unsuccessful. In the month of September 1625, he attended a Swiss diet in which the Spaniards, who were then strongly accredited in some cantons, demanded a free passage for their troops. Inviolably attached to France, he contributed, by his speeches, to the resolution which had been taken to discourage the Spaniards, and to grant a regiment to France to help subdue the Grisons. He was named Colonel, and repaired to the country of the Grisons, where he soon complained of the bad quarters assigned him by the French commanders, who, in their turn, made a very disadvantageous portrait of him to the Marshal de Grisons, Bassompierre. It is well known that in such cases it is necessary to be careful not to throw all the stones on one side. Be that as it may, the Marquis de Coeuvres highly praised his valor, and the severe discipline which he had observed among his soldiers, till the month of September 1626, that he brought his regiment back to Switzerland. (Some Zumbruns in America have had an oral tradition that their ancestors were Hessian Mercenaries. Although not Hessian, the regiment referred to here is indeed a mercenary regiment that Johann Heinrich Zumbrunnen owned, which may be the origin of that oral tradition.) Ogliani, the Spanish ambassador, welcomed him badly on his return because Ogliani was persuaded that the continual refusals were Johann Heinrich’s work. Ogliani endeavored, but in vain, to discredit Johann Heinrich with his mouth and in writing. Johann Heinrich was also sent to the Helvetic diets in 1637, 1638 and 1644. From his wife Madelaine Reding von Biberegg, he left Anton following.
  • 14. Anton Zumbrunnen, raised a company in the regiment of Swiss Guards in France in May 1638. He served in 1640 at the fief of Arras; to the army of the Marshal de Meilleraye, in the Boulonnois in 1641; the same year at the taking of the Bassée. In 1642 he marched into Roussillon, where he helped to carry the sword in his hand, the Forneuf, near Collioure on the 16th of March; To repulse an exit of the besieged on the 19th and to storm the fort of the tower of St. Theresa, on the 24th of the same month. He commanded the Swiss guards on this last expedition with Captain Jean-Baptiste de Salis; He knew of the blockade of Perpignan, and possessed his entire company until 7 February 1645, which he gave to Captain Josse Schmid of Uri. From his marriage with Maria Elizabeth von Beroldingen, he left: 1. Heinrich Burkard, who died without posterity. 2. Anton Joseph, without an alliance. 3. Madelaine, allied to Charles Ernest de Roll de Bernau and Captain Jean Charles Schmid de Bellikon. 4. Margarita, married to Josua Zumbrunnen. (Josua is #14 below. He would have been her second cousin, once removed.) 5. Franz Florien, without alliance.

Fourth Branch


  1. […] Jean-François Girard who wrote the Nobiliaire Militaire Suisse, which contains one of the oldest histories of the Zumbrunnen family. There are both benefits and drawbacks from relying on historians of this later period. Von […]

  2. […] Burkhard Schüpfer who served across this period. The old historians Franz Vinzenz Schmid and the “Nobiliaire Militaire Suisse” both say two separate men: a father and son, both named Burkhard Zumbrunnen, held these jobs, as do […]

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