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Canton Glarus Family History Now Online


December 6, 2018

In the following paragraphs you will read how collaboration has made a number of resources available for those investigating their Swiss Glarner families. The Green County Genealogical Society Research Center, located in the lower level of the Monroe Public Library, has Bob Elmer’s newsletters, a number of family histories, a surname file, and information on Swiss research. If you don’t have Glarner ancestors, don’t worry. The Research Center also has many resources for families from Green County and surrounding counties, Germany, and other states and countries. After Christmas, the Research Center will be by appointment until February. Please call Donna Kjendlie at (608) 921-1537 to make an appointment and leave a message if we are not available to answer.

When it comes to researching ancestry, area families with Canton Glarus, Switzerland, roots have had a distinct advantage compared with others of Swiss background. This advantage lies in the meticulous records held in the Canton Glarus archives in the Village of Glarus. Thirty-six volumes of hand-written family vital statistics are the result of a 30-year project begun over a century ago by Johann Jakob Kubly-Müller. Kubly-Müller transformed assorted church records into orderly, numbered family entries, most of which extend back to the 1500s. These systematic volumes are exactly what one might expect of the renowned Swiss attention to detail. Until recently, access to these records required a trip to Glarus to study and transcribe the records, or typed ancestry reports were available for a fee from the archives staff.

Today, a new source of this genealogical information exists providing yet another advantage for Glarner-Americans. Patrick Wild, a Swiss family historian (and lawyer and banker by profession), has taken Canton Glarus genealogy and history into the 21st Century. He has developed a website called “Glarus Family Tree” at which is designed to be “one-stop-shopping” for those interested in Canton Glarus family history. At its core, the Glarus Family Tree is a genealogical database of more than 185,000 individuals. Each individual entry contains birth, marriage and death dates, names of parents, spouses and children, and often the individual’s occupation. As is the case with most genealogical databases, the individuals found in Patrick’s database are linked. Clicking on one individual’s name will take you to their page of information. Clinking on the name of a parent or child will advance you to their page of information. Multigenerational charts of both ancestors and descendants can be generated.

Patrick Wild’s vision is to provide more than just names and dates. To that end, he has included information of the history of the canton and its villages. He has included historic photographs, maps and demographic tables. The unique coats of arms for the Glarner families are displayed. Books relevant to Canton Glarus history, genealogy and culture are listed. Even visiting tourists can find information about the canton. Since this is an ongoing project, new materials are added as they become available.

For example, recently added to Wild’s Glarus Family Tree are copies of the “Family History Notes” newsletters written and researched by New Glarus native Robert A. Elmer. Bob Elmer’s newsletters contain wide-ranging family history and local history information, much of which has never been published by local historians. All 52 past newsletter issues can now be read and printed using Wild’s website. The names found in all issues of the “Family History Notes” newsletters have been indexed by Sherry Anderegg of the Green County Genealogical Society. And a link to Sherry’s index can also be found on the Glarus Family Tree site. Patrick, Bob and Sherry possess a shared passion for history. They have collaborated in recent years helping put people across America in touch with their Glarner roots.

Should Americans with Glarner ancestry still wish to visit the Glarus archives in person, Patrick Wild also includes a user guide for understanding and navigating the original Kubly-Müller books. Due to increased privacy concerns in Switzerland, advance permission is now required to view these archived volumes. This is not a difficult procedure and Wild’s site provides the necessary steps and email links.

The Glarus Family Tree database is now accessible from your home or library computer, proving how online research is getting increasingly more comprehensive, faster, and even less expensive. Despite these advances, a research trip to Glarus, Switzerland, remains an inviting option.


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