Zumbrun and Zumbrunnen Immigrations to America

I had initially believed that most American members of the Zumbrunnen and Zumbrun family descended from Heinrich Zumbrun, who immigrated to America in 1754.

I’ve since learned, however, that in fact at least 8 different groups of our extended family had arrived in the U.S. by the late 1800s. Here’s an overview of these different immigrations, when and where they initially settled, and the different permutations of how people spell the name. This page is a work in progress, so if you have any more information on any of these families, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Group One: Heinrich Zumbrun from Schwegenheim to Philadelphia

Heinrich Zumbrun (b. 1717) and family arrived in Philadelphia aboard the ship “Brothers” in 1754. This family had lived in Schwegenheim, Germany before immigration, though Heinrich was born in Crailsheim. His family initially settled in Berks County, Pa., before moving to Frederick County, Md. Over the course of the 1800s they mostly lived in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Indiana.

Heinrich was born Zumbrunnen, his family shortened the spelling to Zumbrunn while living in Germany and he used Zumbrun in America. His children and grandchildren also spelled the name Zumbrun. Most of his living descendants use the spelling Zumbrun but one branch in Pennsylvania and one in Ohio adopted the spelling Zumbrum. Most, but not all, people who spell the name Zumbrun or Zumbrum are descended from Heinrich. One branch of Heinrich’s family also changed the spelling back to Zumbrunn (but most people named Zumbrunn are descended from one of the immigrants below). As far as I know, none of Heinrich’s descendants use the Zumbrunnen spelling.

Group Two: Jacob ZumBrunnen family from Zweisimmen to Wisconsin

Nearly 100 years after Heinrich arrived on the ship “Brothers”, Jacob ZumBrunnen (b. 1802-1869) of Zweisimmen, Switzerland (in the Bernese Highlands region) immigrated to the U.S. He arrived in New York on 4 Oct 1852 aboard the ship “Gallia” and his family almost immediately immigrated to Green County, Wisconsin.

He had 5 sons and nearly 30 grandsons. One of his sons, Gottlieb ZumBrunnen, served in the Civil War (I’m working on a post on the Zumbrun/Zumbrunnen family in the Civil War). There’s no evidence that Jacob had any ties to the Zumbrun family that had arrived nearly a century earlier. This ZumBrunnen family was, however, related to several of the groups that followed (including Groups 3, 5 and 6).

This branch largely used the spellings Zum Brunnen/ZumBrunnen or zumBrunnen/zum Brunnen.

Group Three: Several Zumbrunnen families to Ohio

This is the most complicated group and I haven’t figured out all their relationships.

In the 1860s and 1870s, a string of Zumbrunnens migrated from Switzerland to Ohio. The first seems to be a John Zumbrunnen (b. 1832-1907) who immigrated in 1862 and settled in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. His obituary says he was from Canton Bern and that he had a brother who lives in Indiana. The brother appears to be Rudolf Zumbrunnen (b. 1842-1922) who immigrated in 1874, and Census Records show settled in De Kalb, Indiana. (Immigration dates according to Census records, I don’t know at this point what ships they traveled on.)

The cemetery in which John is buried has an Elizabeth Bemunger Zumbrunnen (1804-1877) who is presumably his mother. Marriage records in Switzerland say an Elizabeth Baenninger, from the town of Embrach, near Zurich was married to a Johann Zumbrum of the town of Wimmis.

These two brothers appear to also be connected to Anton Zumbrunnen (1813-1890) of Zweisimmen who immigrated to the U.S. with sons Jacob (1844-1931) and Anton (1856-1917). I believe Anton was a second cousin of the Zumbrunnen family that immigrated to Wisconsin. Anton’s oldest son Jacob applied for his passport on the same day in 1869 as Christian Zumbrunnen (1849-1924), with both listing Aeschi bei Spiez as home town. (These towns of Wimmis, Aeschi and Zweisimmen are all just a few miles from each other in the Bernese Highlands).

Christian and Jacob appear to have immigrated together, suggesting that they too may have been relatives. Jacob Zumbrunnen is listed as a passenger on a ship named “City of Dublin” that arrived in New York on May 7, 1869. It’s likely he sailed with Christian and it’s possible that others of the group traveled on this ship, but I don’t have proof.

Finally, a John Zumbrunnen (1850-1917) arrived 15 Mar 1892 aboard the ship “La Normandie,” also settling in Alliance, Ohio, suggesting some sort of relation to the others.

Most descendants of this family use the spelling Zumbrunnen, but Jacob sometimes went as Jacob Brunner, and some of his descendants used the name Brunner, instead of Zumbrunnen.

Group 4: Johann Zumbrunn family from Ringgenberg to Nebraska

Johann Zumbrunn (1827-1903) immigrated from Ringgenberg, Switzerland to Platte County, Nebraska, with at least four sons: John, Peter, Christian and Mathias. They arrived 26 Mar 1874 in New York aboard the ship
“Westphalia.” Their genealogical connection to the rest of the family is unclear.

His family had already shortened the name to Zumbrunn in Switzerland and his descendants use that spelling.

Group 5: Albrecht Suter Zumbrunnen from Zweisimmen to Idaho
Albrecht Suter Zumbrunnen (1841-1919), the son of Albrecht Suter and Catherina Zumbrunnen, immigrated to Idaho in 1877. He and his wife Martha (or Magdalena) Kunz had 9 children, at least some of whom were born in Switzerland. I don’t know why he would have used his mother’s surname as his own, and only used his father’s surname as a middle name. This family settled near Bear Lake, Idaho. Albrecht was a distant cousin (I think a fourth cousin) of the Zumbrunnens who immigrated to Wisconsin and Ohio in Groups 2, 3 and 6.

Some of his descendants used the spelling Zumbrunnen but others use Zumbrennen.

Group 6: Gottfried and Christian Zumbrunn families from Zweisimmen to Kansas

Gottfried (1853-1916) and Christian Zumbrunn (1850-1944), apparently brothers and possibly the sons of Christian Zumbrunnen (1821-1904) of Zweisimmen, Switzerland arrived together in New York on 12 May 1880 aboard the ship “Labrador.” They almost immediately settled in Geary, Kansas. They are distant cousins of Groups 2, 3, and 5. (Fourth cousins to each.)

They appear to have shortened their name from Zumbrunnen to Zumbrunn upon arrival, and their descendants use that spelling.

Group 7: Gottfried Emanuel Zumbrunnen family from Erlenbach im Simmental to Utica, New York

Gottfried Emanuel Zumbrunnen (1837-99), married to Susanna Katharina Abbuehl, immigrated in the 1880s to Utica, New York, with children Gottfried “Fred” (b. 1867), Gottlieb (b. 1873-1954), Louise (b. 1870-1957) and Albert (b. 1875-1945). There were originally from the town Erlenbach im Simmental, also in the Bernese Highlands. A large group of 9 Zumbrunns arrived aboard the ship “Canada” in 1880, possibly this family.

They shortened the spelling to Zumbrun upon arrival and descendants of this family continue to use that spelling.

Group 8: Albert Zumbrunn family from Switzerland to Nebraska
Albert Zumbrunn (b. 1847-1916) arrived 4 Apr 1883 in New York on the ship “Canada” and quickly immigrated to Thurston, Nebraska. His genealogical connection to the rest of the family is unclear but he is possibly related to Group 8 as they both traveled on different voyages of the ship “Canada” and both have the name Albert in the family, but this is just circumstantial. It’s also possible that he’s connected to group 4 who also immigrated to Nebraska, although these parts of Nebraska are about 100 miles apart.

Albert changed his name to Zumbrum upon arrival, and his descendants spell the name Zumbrum.


  1. Melanie Zumbrunnen says:

    My father is Roy Llyod Zumbrunnen, born Aug 9th 1919 in Kirtley WY. His father’s name is Roy Leslie Zumbrunnen born in Red Oak Iowa 9/14/1885 :evil:

  2. Melanie Zumbrunnen says:

    Seems I’m a group 2 relative. Jacob J. Zumbrunnen V. Bern Switzerland baptized 6/17 1742

  3. Ruth Lucas says:

    My great-great grandfather was the John Zumbrunnen who settled in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. I am related to group 3.

    • Chris Zumbrunnen says:

      Hello Ruth My Name is John Christian Zumbrunnen Jr. I live in Moundsville WV. I am also in group 3. My Great Grand Father was Christian Zumbrunnen mentioned above in Group 3.

  4. Peter Frutiger says:

    Mein Urgrossvater Heinrich Zumbrunn, geb. 1861,
    war von ca. 1880 – 1888 in Amerika. Er kehrte nach Ringgenberg BE zurück, wo er auch geboren wurde.
    Weiss jemand Näheres über ihn (Ankunft in USA, Wohnort, Tätigkeit) usw.
    Vielen Dank und Grüsse

  5. Peter Frutiger says:

    My great-grandfather Heinrich Zumbrunn, born 1861,
    was in America from about 1880 – 1888. He returned to Ringgenberg BE, where he was born.
    Does anyone know more about him (arrival in USA, place of residence, job) etc.
    Thanks and Regards

  6. Heidi L Mair says:

    Hi, I am in group 2 – my great-grandfather was Jacob Zumbrunnen, but I have never seen his passport. He traveled with his brother Anton and parents. They lived with Bieri’s and Oesh’s in Columbiana County before moving to Alliance, Ohio. I have a picture of Jacob that my mother gave to me.

  7. Robyn Shackelford says:

    Hi, I am in group 6. Albrecht and Martha Zumbrunnen are, I believe, my grandmother’s parents. Her name was Elma. She was raised near Bear Lake, Idaho in a town called Montpelier. Does anyone out there know more about this family? Thank you for any info you can share.

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