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Family History: A Moment of Profound Change, 1899

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Family histories are fascinating, and each one is unique:  They mirror the changing times, the cultures in which they form, and here in Switzerland they often represent the international, innovative and traditional yet open mindset of the Swiss.  I was born and raised in America, immigrated to Scotland at the age of 20, and eventually met my Swiss husband there.  So “my” family history spans from the frontier plains of Kansas to the Highlands of Scotland to the Swiss Alps.  A few years ago I put together a Swiss family history and photo album, digitalizing faded, torn, close-to-extinction photographs.  Here’s one of the family stories.

1899 - Tochter Elisabeth, Vater Josef German, Tochter Josephina Steinauer

1899 – Tochter Elisabeth, Vater Josef German, Tochter Josephina Steinauer

The photograph above was taken in 1899, on the occasion of the imminent emigration of Elisabeth Steinauer from Einsiedeln, Switzerland to America.  Her widowed father Josef and sister Josephina would never see her again; emigration was a permanent change back then, with only the extremely wealthy ever making a return voyage back to Europe to visit relations.  Elisabeth met a Mr. Schönbächler in Sacramento, California; they were married and settled down on the far side of the new frontier; up until at least 1960 she was still alive and well, writing letters home from America.  She was not without family, however; her elder sister Meinrada had emigrated to Sacramento 4 years earlier; incredibly she had done so as a single woman of 30 years old!  There she met a Swiss man by the name of Birchler, with whom she had actually gone to school with as children in Switzerland, and they were married.

By the time this photo was taken, Josephina had married Franz Xaver Hüsler of Einsiedeln, Switzerland,  and had had six of their eight children (only two of which preceded her in death).  One of her surviving children, Josef Hüsler, became my husband’s grandfather.

Though this will likely only be of interest to family members, below is the Hüsler Family Tree, from 1600 to present; I put it here so that it can be accessible to those who would like to see it.  It is incomplete, so if anyone has more information to add, please contact me in the comments below!  Click on the images to enlarge.Hüsler Stammbaum 1, 1600-1770sHüsler Stammbaum 2, 1780s-1930sHüsler Stammbaum 3, 1940s-Gegenwart

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About Trinity

A melancholic pragmatist with a wide streak of mischief and an active imagination that turns into novels.

6 responses »

  1. Erhard Huesler

    Well, this then must be a photo of my great-great-grandfather and Josephina is my great-grandmother.

    Josephina (1864 -1933) married to Franz Xaver Huesler. They had 8 kids, amongst them my grandfather Anton Huesler (1893 – 1973), who again had 10 kids. My father Peter Huesler (1927 – 2013) being No. 2.
    This family branch mainly stayed in Switzerland, nevertheless, some ventured to Taiwan, Greece, Brazil, the US, but most of them came back.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Wow! Then we are related! Are you in Switzerland too?

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      Reply
    • .. and here’s another member. Erhard (who related this blog) is my nephew. I’d need a graph to understand the relationship, to be honest.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      • Hello, Laurenz! Anton Hüsler (son of Franz Xaver & Josephina Steinaur) is the brother of my husband’s grandfather, Josef (1891-1972). If Anton was your father, you would be the cousin of my father-in-law, Meinrad Hüsler, and your children would be his first cousins once-removed; that would make them my husband’s second cousins.
        I have a family tree, if you would like to see it – I think I can upload it to this article; it is incomplete – but it would be great to have your family’s additional information (connections, names, spouses, birth years, year of death, etc.).

        Like

      • Hello, Trinity! The tree would be great. (on our side, Erhard has a tree, if I remember correctly, and a member of the wider family in Steinhausen collected information.

        You can contact me via Facebook’s Messenger or email.

        Like

      • I will send it to you – it would be great to get your family’s branch as well!

        Like

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