"You have to know where you come from, if you want to know who you are. We are also our origin. The wishes, the life images, the life expectancy of people who have lived before us are entered in our presence. To track them, means to learn more about yourself."
About The Glarus Family Tree Project
For many years, I run the family research on the Glarus families as my hobby. About five years ago I have started an ambitious project which will show the family links between the about 200 original families from Glarus. Starting point of my family research is always the outstanding genealogical oeuvre of Johann Jakob Kubly-Müller. In more than 30 years of work (1893-1923) Kubly-Müller created this unique reference book. It comprises a total of 36 large and small volumes as well as the registry on the older Glarus genealogy and an alphabetical index. Built on the entire stock of the parish books of the Canton of Glarus and supplemented by historical directories, documents and material from public and private archives, Kubly Müller's monumental book lists all Glarus families from the 15th century to the present in their sequence and links in a clean and readable font.
Whenever possible, I have included the Kubly-Müller reference in The Glarus Family Tree. In addition, I also use information which I find on relevant websites (e.g. Ancestry.com, Finde A Grave etc). Since such information has to be accepted with some reservation, I try whenever possible to verify the information gathered from the internet. I publish my results on various websites, one is my own site on Tribalpages, another on is Geneal-Tree, a German website and the third one is the Ancestry which is subject to a fee (links see below). Through these websites, I get access to interested genealogists with whom I like to share further available information and so in return receive additional information which will support my project. Family history is not only to collect dates of birth, marriage and death. Family history is interesting and accessible only by individual stories and photos. Therefore, whenever possible I incorporate photographs and historical facts in the Pedigrees. I get most of these documents by the ever-widening circle of interested hobby genealogists. Therefore, any additional information on missing family members is always highly welcome.
The Glarus Family Tree with more than 210'000 individuals on
Ancestry (with cost / German and English / living people are disabled and can only be viewed with special granted access) / Update real-time
With a voluntary donation everyone can contribute to the financing of The Glarus Family Tree project. These donations are used, in order to settle the costs of Web space, Webhosting and domain. The webmaster of this website expresses his thanks for your donation.
Please use the following link:
Family Research In Switzerland
Civil Status: Civil status documents (birth, marriage, divorce, death) have only been recorded by Swiss authorities since 1876. Prior to this, civil status was recorded by the Roman Catholic and Protestant (Calvinist and Zwingli) churches. You do want to discover which religion an emigrant belonged in Switzerland. Records would be held in a Catholic or a Protestant church prior to 1876. It is rare for people to change religion upon emigration, so if in doubt, it can be assumed that the religion practiced overseas is the same as in Switzerland.
Place of Origin: Where is the town of origin. This refers to city, small town or commune/community where civil documents are kept. Town is known as the "Bürgerort”. This place of origin is handed down from father to child, and to the wife upon marriage. Until recently, a woman would acquire the place of origin from her husband and lose her own.
Documents concerning changes in civil status are recorded in the the place of origin, regardless of the location where the event actually took place. This has been true since 1876, although in some cases since the end of the 17th century.
There is however one important exception: the places of origin registers only those documents which are sent to them. In past centuries when a person emigrated it was very seldom that changes in civil status were reported back to Switzerland and therefore the family registers were not kept up to date.
Switzerland’s data protection regulations have made finding living relatives more complicated. The Federal Civil Registry Ordinance requires a cantonal research authorization, which is subject to a fee which is set by the Canton. The Swiss law on data protection has been translated into English: Federal Act on Data Protection 235.1
Family Research In Glarus
Data from persons born before 1918 or dead since 1988 can be viewed without authorization. For access to data of persons who are younger than 100 years or not yet 30 years dead, an approval from the cantonal civil registry office is needed. A respective application has to be sent in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org the reasoning of such an inspection. The permit will be normally given without any problem if you want to do research about your own family. If you need support, cklick here.
The Kubly-Müller volumes with all the family information are archived in the Landesarchiv in Glarus.
Landesarchiv des Kantons Glarus
Before you are going there you must ask for permission resp. reserve a desk:
Wappen und Genealogie
Phone: +41-55 646 63 11
Wednesday until Friday from 8am to 12pm and 1.30am to 5pm, on Thursday until 5.30pm
Plan for enough time for your research. It may take 5 minutes or it may take several hours. I prepared a User Guide On How To Read The Kubly-Müller Records.
Here the official new User Guide prepared by the Landesarchiv in Glarus
The Church Books in Glarus
The introduction of church books in Glarus happened relatively late, that is nearly 100 years after the appearance of the oldest church books in Switzerland (in Pruntrut 1481). It is true that the Council of Trient of 1563 had passed resolutions on the introduction of church registers, but in very markedly Catholic communities like Näfels they did not begin until 1655, while, for example, the Protestant community of Mollis was the first to have these registers in the Canton from 1570 onwards. The use of the church registers will have to be clear on the basis of which church congregations existed at which time and where their inhabitants belowent to church before. The community of Bilten belonged until 1607 to Niederurnen, Netstal until 1699 (Protestant) resp. 1708 (Catholic) to Glarus, as well as Mitlödi before 1725, while Luchsingen belonged until 1753 partly to Betschwanden and partly to Schwanden. Mühlehorn belonged until 1760 to Obstalden and Ennenda before 1774 to Glarus. Oberurnen, which was raised as the last church before the introduction of the civilian registers in 1868 to its own church community, had until then belonged to the parish of Näfels.
The church books before 1876 leave many wishes open, as the control of the organs of the church commission and the synod was of little effect. Some parishioners put little emphasis on careful management of the register. Moreover, in 1861, the oldest church book of the church community of Elm was burnt down. Also the church community of Obstalden suffered a loss which was almost irreparable when in 1834 all church records were burned in the flames at the fire of the parsonage. The church books of Catholic Glarus suffered up to the year 1733 a similar fate.
B: Birth and Baptism records
M: Marriage records
D: Death records
Betschwanden: B: 1598-1875 / M: 1606-1875 / D: 1771-1875
Bilten: belonged before to Niederurnen / B: 1607-1875 / M: 1607-1875 / D: 1607-1875
Braunwald: belonged to Betschwanden and Linthal
Diesbach: belonged to Betschwanden
Elm: B: 1595-1875 / M: 1595-1875 / D: 1595-1875
Engi: belonged before to Matt / B: 1801-1875 / M: 1801-1875 / D: 1801-1875
Ennenda: belonged before to Glarus / B: 1775-1875 / M: 1775-1875 / D: 1775-1875
Filzbach: belonged to Kerenzen (Obstalden)
Glarus Protestant: B: 1598-1875 / M: 1598-1875 / D: 1620-1875
Glarus Catholic: B: 1800-1875 / M: 1800-1875 / D: 1800-1875
Hätzingen: belonged to Betschwanden
Haslen: belonged before to Schwanden / B: 1801-1875
Kerenzen (Obstalden): B: 1834-1875 / M: 1834-1875 / D: 1834-1875 (reconstruction of earlier years based on old church protocols)
Leuggelbach: belonged to Schwanden
Linthal Protestant: B: 1601-1875 / M: 1601-1875 / D: 1640-1875
Linthal Catholic: B: 1654-1875 / M: 1654-1875 / D: 1654-1875
Luchsingen: belonged before partly to Betschwanden and partly to Schwanden / B: 1752-1875 / M: 1752-1875 / D: 1752-1875
Matt: B: 1595-1875 / E: 1595-1875 / D: 1595-1875
Mitlödi: belonged before to Glarus / B: 1725-1875 / M: 1725-1875 / D: 1725-1875
Mollis: B: 1571-1875 / M: 1627-1875 / D: 1617-1875
Mühlehorn: belonged before to Kerenzen (Obstalden) / B: 1761-1875 / M: 1761-1875 / D: 1761-1875
Näfels: B: 1655-1875 / M: 1655-1875 / D: 1655-1875
Netstal Protestant: belonged before to Glarus / B: 1698-1875 / M: 1698-1875 / D: 1698-1875
Netstal Catholic: belonged before to Glarus / B: 1861-1875 / D: 1861-1875
Nidfurn: belonged to Schwanden
Niederurnen: B: 1680-1875 / M: 1680-1875 / D: 1680-1875
Oberurnen: belonged before to Näfels / B: 1868-1875 / M: 1868-1875 / D: 1868-1875
Riedern: belonged to Glarus
Rüti: belonged before to Betschwanden / B: 1809-1875
Schwändi: belonged before to Schwanden / B: 1801-1875
Schwanden: B: 1611-1875 / M: 1611-1875 / D: 1662-1875
Sool: belonged before to Schwanden / B: 1750-1875 / M: 1750-1875 / D: 1750-1875
Swiss Cemetery Information
In North America, cemeteries can be an important resource for gathering genealogical information. Tombstone inscriptions and plot placemens can lead to new information about your ancestors. Find a Grave is a website which helps you to find tombstones all over the world.
You won’t find that resource in Switzerland. Very few graves are older than 25 years. Switzerland is a very small country with limited land availability. Therefore, it is important to know that grave sites are rented for 25 years. After that, a new headstone will go up for 25 years.
Families can purchase space, or rent it on a very long-term basis. You might also find a headstone of a pastor or a citizen of prominence that could date back more than 40 years. But for most, once the grave is dug up, the headstone is returned to the family or recycled.
What happens now when the term of the graves expires?
In addition to the official announcement and posting at the cemetery, the communities also inform the relatives a few months in advance about the impending grave clearance. An extension of the grave dormancy period is not possible for row graves, but it is possible for family graves or other rental graves. However, in these cases the grave site is also subject to a fee.
The clearing is always done in blocks. Therefore it can happen that some graves exist exactly as long as the legal term allows, others a little longer - depending on the difference of the burial date between the first and last grave of the field.
In the case of grave dissolution, the grave is only cleared above ground. All this clearing work only goes 15 to 20 centimetres deep, i.e. far above the buried urns and coffins. Then fresh humus is added at the same level and sown. The human remains or the urn with the ashes of the deceased person remain in the ground. It takes 60 to 80 years until the next burial, depending on the space required, until a coffin is buried in the same place again. During this time nothing is left of the former buried person, because today's cemeteries are constructed in such a way that there is no waterlogging. Also a good ventilation of the earth is provided. The decay of urns is also accelerated, because they have to be made of lightly burnt material.
Publication of civil registrations in Switzerland and specifically in Glarus
The publication of civil status cases (births, weddings or funerals) only began with the introduction of the cantonal civil status system on 1.1.1870. From this time on, civil registrars had to publish all entries in the civil status registers in a shortened form in the cantonal official gazettes.
From 1978 onwards, the publication of a civil status case could be omitted on the basis of a substantiated request from the persons concerned to the civil status office. In the Canton of Glarus, births and deaths were published in the Official Gazette at the request of relatives.
As of 1 July 2017, Article 57 of the Federal Ordinance on Civil Status was repealed for data protection reasons, so that the cantons may no longer authorise the civil registers to publish civil status cases. In the Canton of Glarus, since the amendment to the Federal Act, marriages, births and deaths are no longer automatically reported to the Official Gazette, and from 1 July 2019, no civil status reports have been published in the Official Gazette. However, relatives may report events to the public themselves by means of a private announcement.
The website Todesanzeigenportal.ch publishes all obituaries published in Switzerland in magazines or online.
In the communes, it is important for residents to be informed about life in the village or commune. It is not for nothing that birth, marriage and death notices are among the most widely read sections of newspapers and newsletters. Civil status announcements published online are always among the top news items and are read the most. The argument that the publication does not correspond to a predominant interest must therefore be contradicted. In the autumn session 2019, National Councillor David Zuberbühler therefore submitted a motion to the Council to lift the ban on publication of civil status reports.
Counting your Ancestors
Many of us are interested in where our families come from as well as who our ancestors were. What and where are our ‘roots’? Some of you might even have researched your genealogy or family history. Yet have you ever seriously considered how many direct ancestors you really have? Obviously it’s a lot, but how many? You might have even heard statements to the effect that all Europeans are descendants of Charlemagne in the eighth century or that all people of English ancestry are descended from 86% of the people living in England at the time of William the Conqueror almost a thousand years ago. If you live in North America and have English or European ancestors the same questions apply. Indeed wherever you live and whatever your ethnic ancestry the questions of descent and ancestry are the same. A short article which was posted in 2012 in the The Wild Peas Blog attempts, in a non-mathematical way, to answer or at least elucidate some of these issues.
How many people have ever lived on earth? Link to the article
Table showing the theoretical number of ancestors, the age and the birth year of all your direct ancestors
Download this list and you can calculate the age and year of your ancestors by filling in your birth year as proband (e.g. 1960)
Degree of Kinship Chart
Degree of Kinship is the level of relationship between two persons related by blood, such as parent to child, one sibling to another, grandparent to grandchild or uncle to nephew, first cousins, etc.
Anthropologists call the process of figuring out cousin relationships “collateral degree calculation”. Multiple removes and degrees of cousinhood can get complicated, but you don’t have to be a scientist to get it right. The chart below will help straighten out your cousin confusion; just follow the instructions for using it. For example, to figure out how you’re related to your great-great-grandfather’s brother’s son, first determine the ancestor you share with him: your great-great-great-grandfather (third-great-grandfather). Find him on the chart, then count down one generation for the brother and one more to the brother’s son. He’s your first cousin three times removed.
Click here for downloading another diagram which shows the same as above but including the DNA data (average shared centimorgans) to estimate your relationship to a genetic match.
Due to limited mobility in our ancestors’ day, most of us have instances in our family trees of cousins who married, whether knowingly or unknowingly. That means you can be related to the same person in multiple ways. This leads also to the so called Pedigree collapse or loosely translated a loss of lineage.
Someone you’re related to by marriage, rather than by blood, isn’t your cousin. You might be in-laws, or your relationship might not have a name other than (we hope) good friends. You can read more about collateral degree calculation in Dozens of Cousins by Lois Horowitz and Jackie Smith Arnold’s Kinship: It’s All Relative.
Ancestor Communities - our distant kinship
In genealogy, ancestor community refers to the consensus between persons in relation to common ancestors. A full equilibrium ancestor community has full siblings due to their identical ancestors.
In genealogy, an ancestor community between two persons is given, when their last common ancestor is dated back at least five generations. Often such a distant blood relationship does not appear until a detailed comparison of their two ancestral lines will be done. They may, for example, be descended from the same great-great-grand grandmother, but subsequently their two sides developed separately. Particularly in the formerly usual used forefather lines the information about ancestors of the maternal sides was given less attention. If test subjects from different generations are compared, each reference person has a different number of generations from the last common ancestor.
Until the kinship in the fourth generation of ancestors, concrete names of the relatives are used, for example cousins or cousins of the third degree with the common descent of great-grandparents. If the last common ancestor is further back, the unspecific is called an ancestor community.
Starting from the image of a large pedigree, two branches can be traced back until they reach the point of their branching, where they branch off from one another. Viewed from the bottom, the whole tribe and the main branch belong to the same ancestor community, while the (lateral) lines of the kinship developed separately from each other after the diversion. As a result, all the branches of the tree in the past share an ancestral community which, depending on the individual branch, continues to pass. In this way, innumerable living people are even blood-related without being aware of this fact.
For example, out of the last common ancestor in the 11th pre-generation of the great-great … grandparents, each child of these parents has statistically reckoned 1024 offspring (210), provided the line is not extinct and no pedigree collapse was seen in it. The presently living descendants of these side lines are to each other cousins 10th degree. Numerous such side lines branched out in previous generations as in later ones, with a corresponding number of descendants. Each person within one of these lines is (remotely) related to all other persons from all other side lines, and forms with them an ancestor community that goes back to the time of primitive times.
By comparing their own family tree with those of famous personalities, they often find surprising common ancestors, sometimes even their own direct descent from the well-known person. In the German cultural area popular cross-relations are with the Frankish king Charlemagne. Many Glarner families are able to trace their lines back to him.
To determine all ancestor communities will hardly be possible with today's means. Perhaps later generations will be able to easily identify and prove these progeny by means of an advanced DNA test or by means of analyzes which are still unknown. Approaches to this already exist, the so-called Genetic Communities.
Genetic Communities are groups of persons who are connected through DNA most likely because they descend from a population of common ancestors, even if they no longer live in the area where those ancestors once lived. For example, some Genetic Communities trace their roots back to groups of people who were isolated geographically. Mountains, rivers, lack of roads, or other barriers made it likely that each new generation would marry someone who lived close to home. Others have their roots in groups who typically married others of the same religion or ethnic group. In each case, these groups came to share a significant amount of DNA. Modern-day descendants who inherited some of that DNA make up Genetic Communities (see Ancestry Genetic Communities White Paper).