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.
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.