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American yodelers search for their ancestors in Glarnerland

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

From New Glarus the yodel club comes on visit in the middle of June. Together with the Heimatchörli Ennenda and the Chinderjodelchörli Glarnerland it gives a concert in Ennenda. And they are looking for their ancestors.

Fridolin Rast, Südostschweiz from 20.5.2023

Tradition in the new home: The New Glarus Yodel Club poses for a group picture.

Switzerland was once an emigration country. In the times of need and hunger of the 1830s and 1840s, almost 200 people from Glarus emigrated together to the USA and founded New Glarus in 1845. For over 100 years, this first group was followed again and again by people from Glarus and all over Switzerland to North America. They took traditions with them to their new homeland, including yodeling, which the New Glarus Yodel Club cultivates.

On the weekend of June 16 to 18, the New Glarus yodelers will now visit the Federal Yodel Festival in Zug and then come to Glarus. Here they will give a joint concert with the Heimatchörli Ennenda and the Chinderjodelchörli Glarnerland in the church of Ennenda on Monday evening, June 19. Afterwards, a meeting with refreshments is planned in Ennenda.

Finding common roots

"We are looking forward to the joint concert and to a friendly, social gathering," says Tony Zgraggen. He is co-organizer of the trip and has lived in New Glarus for over 40 years. He is originally from Erstfeld, and even today he speaks a straightforward Urner German.

The group will number about 40 to 45 people, according to Zgraggen, 16 yodelers, most of them accompanied, further about Matt Streiff with family, Dorene Disch and some members of the family of Damion Bäbler. When they come to Glarus on Sunday afternoon, June 17, they also want to experience a guided tour of Glarus and then visit Klöntal on Monday, June 18. "If people from Glarus want to come along, there will certainly be some nice encounters already here," says Tony Zgraggen.

"Glarus has always been good to New Glarus, they still maintain good relations today."

Tony Zgraggen, has lived in New Glarus for more than 40 years

The New Glarner would have wanted to come to the Federal Yodeling Festival in 2020, the year after the 175th anniversary of New Glarus. But Corona got in the way, so the trip will now take place three years later. "We maintain contact with the Glarnerland, even I as a Uri native," says Tony Zgraggen. He knows three generations of the Vogel hotelier family from the 'Märchenhotel' in Braunwald and earlier also from the 'Glarnerhof'. And another contact in the Glarnerland had existed with Alois Imhof. This "Sand-Wisi" was a great uncle of Zgraggen and worked for about 40 years at Therma in Schwanden.

Kläsi, Schindler, Disch ...

Several visitors from New Glarus have given Tony Zgraggen information about their ancestors. They now hope that Glarus residents might also find great-great-aunts or great-great-great-uncles among them, and perhaps also wish to establish contact with their descendants - nearer or more distant cousins.

Then old familiar names from Glarnerland or elsewhere in Switzerland appear: Aebly, Becker, Blumer, Disch, Dürst, Elmer, Freitag, Geiger, Hefty, Hodel, Hösli, Klassy, Knobel, Kundert, Legler, Marti, Marty, Rhyner, Schiesser, Schindler, Schneider, Schönenberger, Schräpfer, Stauffacher, Trümpy, Tschudi, Zentner, Zilt(e)ner, Zweifel. Among the pastors are also a John Etter (1859 to 1895) and before him a John Zimmermann, as the website shows in a picture.

Threshing in New Glarus: The man on the far left is probably Paul or Baltz Kundert, the boy in the center of the picture is Werner Stauffacher. The machine in the foreground is a so-called "donkey", an early gasoline engine, from which the threshing machine in the background is driven by a belt drive. Image New Glarus Historical Society/no date given.

Contacts endure the years

"Glarus has always been good to New Glarus; they still maintain good relations today," says Tony Zgraggen. For example, on the occasion of its 150th anniversary in 1995, Glarus donated the Fridolin staff, a sculpture by Glarus artist Tina Hauser, to the daughter settlement in Wisconsin.

In the 1920s and 1930s, there were fewer contacts. "But from about 1950, travel became more popular, and there were more visits to the old homeland again." In the Streiff family, it was the fifth generation of emigrants who renewed the contacts.

Tony Zgraggen is the only one in the yodel club who still speaks Swiss German. He is the one who recites the words to the yodel songs at rehearsals and then checks the pronunciation in the choir. For contact between the New and Old Glarners, however, it has become easier: "Today, many in Switzerland also speak English, they will be able to converse well." Zgraggen definitely wants to help maintain the contacts. Some of his fellow travelers are coming to the Chliital for the first time, he says, and are getting to know their roots better. "And they'll say, 'Wow, this is where our ancestors lived and left for a new life 150 or more years ago.'"

Encounter festival and contacts

The Jodlerklub New Glarus, the Heimatchörli Ennenda and the Chinderjodelchörli Glarnerland will give a joint concert on Monday, June 19, at 6:30 pm in the church of Ennenda. At 8 p.m. there will be a meeting evening at the "Gesellschaftshaus" (GH) in Ennenda with an official welcome and refreshments. Further information is also available on the homepage of the Heimatchörli Ennenda:

The details of the New Glarner and -Glarnerinnen to their ancestors are published under in the Internet. If you find your own relatives among them and would like to get in contact with them, please send an e-mail to:

- Josef Tschudi, Ennenda,

- Tony Zgraggen, New Glarus, Wisconsin, USA,

Who is related to these families from New Glarus?

The yodel club New Glarus comes to visit the home of the ancestors. And names that could lead to relatives in Glarus.

Times gone by: A horse-drawn carriage is on the road in 1960s New Glarus. Image New Glarus Historical Society.

The New Glarus Yodel Club and relatives are coming to visit Glarus on June 18 and 19. For their search for relatives in the homeland of their ancestors, some of them have listed names from their families to Tony Zgraggen, who is organizing the trip. It is quite possible that Glarus families will find common ancestors here.

The New Glarners ask that possible Glarners (or Swiss) relatives contact one of the following addresses if they would like to meet or otherwise make contact with the New Glarners on these days:

- Josef Tschudi, Ennenda, e-mail:

- Tony Zgraggen, New Glarus, Wisconsin/USA, e-mail:

The New-Glarner and -Glarner with their ancestors are:

- Yodel club member Damion Dionne Babler (Bäbler) has ancestors from several Glarus communities and knows a family tree that goes way back. His great-great-great-grandfather Albrecht Bäbler came to New Glarus from Elm in 1853. Damion Babler names his parents Dionne Harlan Babler (*1953) and Linda Sue Hartmann (*1954), then on his father's side his grandparents Harlan Glenn Babler (*1927, +2003 in New Glarus) and Nellie J. Wirth (*1928), great-great-grandparents Glenn Johann Babler (1894-1982) and Louise Elizabeth Legler (1895-1988), and John Wirth (*1894 in Hundwil AR / + 1959 in Monticello WI) and Leonia May Staley (*1897 / +1991 in New Glarus). Great-great-great grandparents are Albrecht (Albert) Babler (*1865 in New Glarus / +1912 in Monticello) and Elisabeth Legler (*1873 in Mt Pleasant / +1955 in Wisconsin) and David A. Legler (*1873 in New Glarus / +1953 in Monticello) and Bertha Schlittler (*1872 in Washington WI / +1968 in Monticello), then George Staley (1867-1900) and Amanda Helen Kundert (*1873 in New Glarus / +1942 in Monroe). Great-great-great-grandparents are Albrecht Bäbler (*1832 in Elm / +1912 in Monticello) and Anna Barbara Vögeli (*1836 in Rüti / + 1911 in Monticello), Johannes (John) Legler (*1852 in New Glarus / +1912 in Monroe) and Maria (Mary) Blumer (*1856 in Monticello / +1934 in Monroe), Georg Legler (*1830 in Diesbach / +1903 in New Glarus) and Barbara Schindler (*1837 in Schwändi / marriage 1855 in New Glarus / +1876 in Schwändi), Jakob Schlittler (*1833 in Niederurnen / 1919 in Monticello) and Barbara Schlittler (*1843 in Niederurnen / + 1899 in Monticello). The great-great-great-great-grandparents generation of Damion Bäbler includes quite a number of the founding emigrants and emigrant women: Christof Bäbler (*1805 in Elm /∞1826 in Elm / *1884 in Monroe / farmer) and Cleophea Elmer (*1808 / +1834 in Elm), Johannes Vögeli (*1809 in Rüti / *1854 in New Glarus) and Regula Schindler (*1816 in Rüti / +1901 in Monroe / weaver), David Legler (*1803 in Diesbach / ∞1851 in New Glarus / +1857 in New Glarus) and Elisabeth Schürch (*1819 in Schaffhausen / +1875 in New Glarus), Johannes (John) Blumer (*1816 in Schwanden / +1900 in Mount Pleasant / watchman in Schwanden) and Anna Maria Stüssi (*1827 in Linthal / +1901 in Monroe), then Fridolin Legler Sr. (*1794 in Diesbach / +1868 in New Glarus) and Barbara Hefti (*1792 in Luchsingen / +1871 in New Glarus / weaver), Fridolin (Fred) Schindler (*1805 in Schwändi / +1872 in Schwändi / blacksmith) and Elsbeth Schiesser (*1807 in Schwändi / *1891 in New Glarus). The family tree sent in by Damion Babler goes back to the 16th century with a total of 15 generations.

- Ed Brand names the following ancestors from Canton Glarus: Peter Zweifel (*1824) and Barbara Zweifel (*1839) from Linthal, Johan Peter Klassy (*1822) from Luchsingen, Barbara Schiesser(*1825) from Diesbach, Christina Schraepfer, (*1863), Johann Peter Knobel (*1840) from Luchsingen, Margaretha Tschudi (*1852) in Schwanden.

- Dorene Disch names her paternal grandfather Caspar John Disch (1891-1952); her great-grandparents Caspar M. Disch (1868-1948) from Elm and Maria Elsbeth Meier (1870-1942) from Trin; her great-great-grandparents Kaspar Disch (*1843 and +1880 in Elm) and Katharina Rhyner (*1844 in Elm / +1928 in New Glarus) and then the great-great-great-grandparents on the one hand Kaspar Disch (1808-1871) and Anna Elmer (*1815 / +11.09.1881 in the landslide of Elm) and on the other hand Tobias Rhyner (1821-1896) and Susanna Marti (1825-1907). On the mother's side there are: Grandmother Louisa A. Disch-Marty (1891-1981), great-grandparents Fred Adam Marty (*1867 in Chicago / +1929) and Katharina (Kate) Kundert (1870-1947); on the one hand, great-great-grandparents Fridolin Marty (1838-1896) and Louisa Dietz (*1847 in Illinois) with great-great-great-grandparents Fridolin Marty (1806-1869) and Ursula Zentner (1807-1850), on the other hand great-great-grandparents Balthasar (Baltz) Kundert (*1852 in New Glarus / +1895) and Agatha Disch (*1853 in New Glarus / +1933) with great-great-great-grandparents Thomas Kundert (1813-1882) and Amalia Schindler (1820-1889) as well as Martin Disch (1822-1899) and Katharina Zentner (1833-1909).

- JoAnn Marty Cruse names her father Henry Marty, her grandparents Henry Melchior Marty and Rosa Gehrig (from the area of Langnau and/or Wichtrach BE), great-grandfather John (born 1843 in Engi), great-great-grandparents Johannes Marti (*1818 in Engi) and - in first marriage - Magdalena Stauffacher. Their children born in Switzerland were John, D(i?)etrich, Jacob, Magdalena, Faime (Euphemia?), Adam and Mathias. The family emigrated to the USA in 1863, Johannes married for the second time in Wisconsin in 1890 and had two more children.

JoAnn Marty mentions the following dates of the men of seven Marti generations in the Sernftal: her already mentioned great-great-grandfather Johannes Marty (*1818 in Engi), son of Johannes Marti (*1779 in Engi), this son of Captain and Kirchmeier Johannes Marti zum Gigerhof (*1714 in Engi), that son of Tagwenvogt Johannes Christoph Marti (*1683 in Engi), this in turn son of Tagwenvogt Hans Marti (*1647 in Engi), who was son of Kirchmeier Mathias Marti (*1614 in Engi), son of Kirchmeier Mathias Marti (born around 1577 in Engi). However, JoAnn Marty also lists her relatives on her mother's side: Mother Carol Priewe (Wisconsin), grandparents William Priewe and Hilda Matzke (Monroe WI), great-grandparents Frank Matzke and Anna Trümpy. Then great-great grandparents Henry (Heinrich) Trümpy and Elsbeth Aebly. Heinrich Trümpy (*15.02.1827 in the canton of Glarus) came to the USA at the age of 18 with his father Jost in August 1845. Jost Trümpy (*24.09.1794 / +28.09.1846 in New Glarus) was one of the first settlers in New Glarus. Jost's wife was Catherine Baker (ev. Becker), his parents were Heinrich Trümpi and Anna Magdalena Hösli. The Trümpis would be mentioned in Glarus, Ennenda, Mitlödi, Schwanden and Filzbach, for example Richter Fridli Trümpi 1545 as owner of the Fronalp, Hans Trümpi 1536 as co-owner of the ore mine.

From Linthal and Elm to Appenzell

- Tim Pauli lists: his parents Mary Pauli (*1936, née Gruetzman) and Robert Pauli (1933-2011) and grandparents Fred Pauli (1898-1957) and Mary Pauli-Zentner (1902-1988). From the grandmother the Zentner family tree follows in male line in each case with the siblings within the generation: Siblings of the grandmother (thus great uncles and great aunts) are Eufemia Dürst-Zentner (*1895), Kaspar Zentner-Dürst (*1896), Niklaus Zentner-Legler (*1900), Ernst Zentner-Hösli (*1904), J. Werner Zentner-Ziltner (*1909). Then the great-great grandparents from Elm Caspar Zentner (1868-1963) and Susanna Disch (1876-1910), with Caspar's siblings Anna Maria Zweifel-Zentner (*1867), Verena Dürst-Zentner (*1870) and Werner Zentner (*1877). The great-great-grandparents are Niklaus Zentner (*1837 / +1888 in New Glarus) and Eufemia Zentner-Elmer (*1845 in Elm / +1919 in New Glarus), Niklaus Zentner's siblings are Barbara Elmer-Zentner (*1833), Regula Freitag-Zentner (*1835), Gilg Zentner-Elmer (*1843), Maria Zentner (1845-1847), Maria Weiss-Zentner (*1847), Anna Marti-Zentner and then Blumer (*1855). Great-great-great grandparents are Caspar Zentner (*1811 / 1887 in New Glarus) and Maria Zentner-Schönenberger (1817-1898) from Mitlödi, great-great-great grandparents are Niclaus Zentner (1776-1848) and Barbara Zentner-Freitag (1777-1850) from Elm.

Original article in Südostschweiz from 20.5.2023, published with permission of the author:

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Translated article in Südostschweiz from 19.6.2023 regarding the New Glarus Yodelchörli at the Zug Yodel Festival

SOS - Jodelfest Zug New Glarus Jodelchoerli en-US
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