Friday, November 22, 2019


Johannes grew up in a large family 12 miles southwest of Zurich in Ottenbach, Switzerland. When Johannes Sidler was born on July 25, 1777, his father, Rudolf, was 35 and his mother, Elisabetha, was 29. He had ten brothers and four sisters. Johannes was such a common name that Julius Billeter, the famous Swiss genealogists, abbreviated it as "Joh" thousands of times.  Johannes was the 8th of fifteen children. The family name is distinctly associated with Ottenbach because Sidler was a founding family. Even today if you ask a resident of Ottenbach they will tell you the names of the founders like Hegetschweiler, Sidler, and Beerli. The Sidler's went back hundreds of years. The word Sidler means settler. Today as you walk through the churchyard in Ottenbach you'll see modern day graves of Sidler's and Hegetschweiler's. Graves in Switzerland are rented. They are prepaid for a period of 25 years. When time is up, the marker is returned to the family and the plot reverts to the church for another occupant.  Old tombstones are rare except near cathedrals in large cities. (Kent Gardiner)

Johannes' father, Hans Rudolf Sidler 1742 - 1801, and his mother, Elisabetha Sidler 1747 - 1807, lived in Ottenbach. Sidler is also Elisabetha's maiden name. Johannes' father Hans Rudolf Sidler's church record lists him as a watchmaster or a policemen at night and Julius Billeter calls him a furrier and field recorder during the day. The Ottenbach area has large fields and rolling green hills which to record. The Reuss River flows from Lake Lucerne past Ottenbach which gives plenty of water, brush and large stands of trees. It is the perfect bio-system for fur bearing animals for a furrier to work with. According to a descendant of Hans, Andreas Sidler,  the coat of arms for the Sidler family is a black deer head exaggerated by black rust. The area is ideal for wildlife. During the summer there are small boats on the river and it is safe to swim and play in the water.  Hans married Elizabeth Sidler and they had 15 children. Hans died in 1801 at 58 in Ottenbach leaving Elizabeth alone for 6 years, dying in 1807. That was way before Johannes married and had children. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler, by Julius Billeter, page 49)

1753 Village fire reduces the whole Ottenbach village center, with the exception of the restaurant Engel, to rubble and ashes. The angel was the only building in the centre of Ottenbach to live through the village fire of 1753 which survived. From 1981 until the closure of the Restaurant in 1994, the angel, led by a Collective, had a symbolic character as a so-called alternative pickling bath for the social opening of the Ottenbach population. (This building, with half timbers, is located in the center of town and can be seen on a postcard at the end of this text.)
1799 Construction of the political community Ottenbach (municipality), which also includes the five Obfelder hamlets. The quartering of French troops leads to a debt of the community. Ottenbach counts at that time many unemployed textile homeworkers. (Ottenbach Municipality website, Ottenbach Told by Bernard Schnider and Salomon Schneider and Erika Schmid)

1798 French army under the command of Napoleon invaded Switzerland. Switzerland was completely overrun by the French and was renamed the Helvetic Republic. The Helvetic Republic encountered severe economic and political problems. In 1798 the country became a battlefield of the Revolutionary Wars, culminating in the Battles of Zürich in 1799. The Second Battle of Zurich (25–26 September 1799) was a key victory by the Republican French army in Switzerland led by André Masséna over an Austrian and Russian force commanded by Alexander Korsakov near Zürich. (Wikipedia)

1801 The Helvetic Government grants Ottenbach the license to carry out any transport with the Reuss ferry. Previously, the ferry was only approved for its own use.
1802 Swiss revolt forced French army to leave Switzerland.
1803 - 1804 Zurich declares the Unfair Salt of Goods Act.  (Ottenbach Municipality website)

1798 "Napoleon invades Switzerland" Towards evening, a troop of stormy French approached the mill, (1 mile south of Ottenbach) surrounded them noisily, and demanded entry with bayonets. Out of the big sacks the soldiers carry on their backs, stolen goods from Central Switzerland stood out. Cluttering, they invaded the house. But when the delightful scent of freshly cooked hams and soup poured out of their kitchen into their noses, they threw aside their weapons and sacks and rushed wildly at the food. Frau Miillerin kept calm and always scooped up the plates of soup and meat. She served the horde as generously as she could and did not spare the wine from the big barrel in the cellar. The soldiers filled their bellies and when they were full, they crawled into all corners and fell asleep. In the morning, she awoke them with scent of fresh coffee and freshly baked bread. With a full stomach and peacefully tuned, the soldiers then left the mill Rickenbach, without letting anything run and moved on. Thus, the mill and probably the whole village escaped the feared fate, thanks to the brave Mrs. Regula Funk. (This story was published in December 1985, in the village booklet "De Ottebächler" Nr.25. Publisher: Gewerbeverein Ottenbach)

Johannes' grandfather was named Hans Kaspar Sidler 1705 - 1768. Hans's occupation is listed as a treasurer in the village of Ottenbach. A treasurer is a Seckelmeister, or cashier.  In Switzerland since the late Middle Ages it was a designation for "manager or managers of a takings of public funds or goods", be it in the state administration, in an association or a political party. Julius Billeter says Hans is a former Sekelmeister, meaning he did well and retired. 

On the 16 November 1728, when Hans was 23, he married  Veronica Schneebeli, born in 1709 in Ottenbach. Veronica Schneebeli was four years younger and they had 5 children. She died in 1746 when she was just 37 years old and a year later, on 22 August 1747, Hans married Elisabeth Schneebeli of Affoltern, a relative but not a sister to his first wife. They had one child in 1751. Hans died 17 years later in 1768. Elizabeth died 5 August 1765 at age 53 years old. Hans was alone for 3 years. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler, by Julius Billeter, page 37)

During their lives:
1742 In Ottenbach there are 543 people, 122 are adults and are 4.5 people per home meaning there were 120 homes in the community.  (Ottenbach Told by Bernard Schnider and Salomon Schneider and Erika Schmid)
1710 - 1772  On the occasion of the famine, Zurich enforces potato cultivation in all rural communities    
1600 - 1800 Switzerland is a loose confederacy of 13 cities and small valley communities dominating the rest of the country. A few families control state affairs. The country is proud of its tradition of democracy. (Ottenbach Municipality website)

Great Grandfather
Jakob Sidler was born 1665. When he was 25 he married Verena Haberling from Bickwil who was 5 years younger. Bickwil is about a mile south of Ottenbach. The little hamlet is now part of Obfelden and is in the Ottenbach Parish. They had seven children. Jakob was also a Sekelmeister in Ottenbach. Verena lived to be 58, dying in 1728. Jakob lived another 13 years dying in 1741 at almost 76 years old. Jakob lived alone for 13 years. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler, by Julius Billeter, page 25)

During their lives: 
1727 Ottenbach plans for the construction of a Reuss bridge which fails because of the resistance of Lucerne.  Ottenbach can continue to ferry their goods and citizens beyond the Reuss.  (Ottenbach Municipality website)

Great Great Grandfather
Hans Rudolf Sidler was born in 1635, during the Thirty Years War, and married Margaretha Grob, (who was born in 1637) in 1662 when Hans was 27 years old and Margaretha was 25. They had eleven children. Margaretha died in 1683 at 46 years old. Hans remarried 4 years later to Margaretha Jilli in 1687 and they had a child in 1690.  She died in 1692. Hans died 18 years later in 1710 at 75 years old. Hans was alone for 18 years. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler, by Julius Billeter, page 18)

During their lives:
1618 - 1649 The balance of power between the Reformed and Catholic estates leads the Confederation to stay out of the Thirty Years' War(Ottenbach Municipality Website)

The Thirty Years' War was a war fought in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. One of the most destructive conflicts in human history, it resulted in eight million fatalities not only from military engagements but also from violence, famine, and plague but the Swiss confederacy is a "peaceful island." (Wikipedia and Ottenbach Municipality)

Pork, beef, poultry and other meats were processed and preserved at home. Even the menus were seasonal; during the spring and summer, more fruits and vegetables were eaten because they were fresh and ripe, while in the winter families relied on preserved foods. (Wikipedia)

Great Great Great Grandfather
Jakob Sidler born 1608. He married Vronegg Urmi born about 1608 from Rifferswil which is six miles southeast of Ottenbach. They had 7 children. He was a "Wagner" or a carter or cartwright. cartwright (or wainwright) is a tradesperson skilled in the making and repairing of carts or wagons. They lived in a time of great religious persecution of the Mennonite Church. Some members of the church were imprisoned or died in the Ottenbach Prison. Vronegg died at 49 years old and Jakob lived to be 85.5 years old in 1693 which is a record in the family.  He was alone for 36 years. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler, by Julius Billeter, page 11)

During their lives: 
1639 Hans Muller was a powerful factor in the Mennonite Church and so zealous were the officers to find him, that like ravening wolves they ran through his neighbors' houses to find him. He had escaped from his house and when they came to it and broke it open and found he was gone, they broke open chests and drawers and took all the property they could get. They threatened his little children with bare swords that "they would kill them if they did not reveal his whereabouts." They took his wife and put her bound in the loathsome Ottenbach prison. Then a proclamation was announced in the Reformed churches of Zurich, that no one would be allowed to lodge or give food or drink to Hans Muller, from the Groeningen Bailiwick under severe penalty.  Then they deceived him and sent abroad a proclamation that he would  be allowed a three weeks' safe conduct to argue with him, if he came forth. He trusted this and went to the convent specified to discuss the matter but as he was about to leave he was arrested in breach of faith and taken to Ottenbach; imprisoned 60 weeks, of which he spent 16 weeks in chains. (Mirror, p. 1053)

1640 In Ottenbach there are 52 adults, 42 single, 319 inhabitants, 6.1 per household or 52 homes in the community. (Ottenbach Told by Bernard Schnider and Salomon Schneider and Erika Schmid) 1689 - 1694 Hunger crisis leads to large population losses
1661  Construction of the first Ottenbach schoolhouse
1645 - 1647 Construction of a mill wheel on the Reuss river
1638   Construction of the Ottenbach rectory. 
(Ottenbach Municipality Website)

Jacob Baumgartner an old man of  70 years had been imprisoned for his  faith 5 times and each time escaped,  but was now again apprehended and  thrown into Ottenbach prison. He  was fastened to chains, deprived of  his clothes and clad in a gray coat,  fed on bread and water, put in irons  and hand-cuffed and his property sold  for 500 gilders and the money taken  by the government. (Mirror 1064)

1620 Kleinhanserchtold von Wasterkingen showed scant respect for the authorities, wanting them to be struck by lightning.  Jorg Haupt from Steinmauer was even more explicit in 1650. He swore that lighting should strike the authorities, and "by a thousand sacraments and the sacrament of blood, he wanted thunder and hail to strike the Ottenbach (the local prison).  Unsurprisingly, this insubordinate subject found himself in court. (Dealings with God: From Blasphemers in Early Modern Zurich to a Cultural History of Religiousness By Prof Dr Francisca Loetz)

1639 The same year Jacob Egle, a Mennonite, of Gruningen district near Zurich, was arrested and after a short trial at Zurich was imprisoned in the Ottenbach dungeon,  during a year and a half. He was so miserably treated that he died in prison, rather than give up his faith. (Mirror 1054)

1637 - Hans Meyli (Meili) was imprisoned as an old man in 1637 with sons, Hans (Jr.) and Martin, for about 3 years for their religious beliefs. Two women named Barbara and Elizabeth, probably the wives of Hans and Martin, were imprisoned in 1639 and escaped the prison (Ottenbach prison). Hans Martin's property was confiscated, and they were all held in chains and handcuffs; his sons' children were put out among strangers. Hans was a Swiss.  (Mirror p.1052)

Great Great Great Great Grandfather
Johannes Sidler born in 1583 married Katharina Kleiner born 1584.  They had 11 children from 1606 to 1625. Katharina died when she was 44 in 1627, 2 years following the birth of her eleventh child. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler, by Julius Billeter, page 7)

During their lives: 
Everyday food for the poor in the Middle Ages consisted of cabbage, beans, eggs, oats, and brown bread. Sometimes, as a specialty, they would have cheese, bacon or poultry. All classes commonly drank ale or beer. Milk was also available, but usually reserved for younger people. (Wikipedia)

Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather
Johannes Sidler born 1586 married Magdalena Stalin and they had 10 children.
Johannes died in 1611. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler, by Julius Billeter, page 4)

Before their lives:
831 The name Ottenbach, which can be derived from Otto, is first mentioned in documents in 831 as "marcha Hottumbacharia" (=Ottenbacher March). In 1169 it was called Ottonbac, 1255 Hottenbach and 1278 Ottenbach. It is believed that this is called Bach of the Hotta or Otta or Bach of Otto (Ottenbach Municipality Website. 
1485 The church tower with the typical Kasbissen roof was built around 1485, the nave of the church Ottenbach is even older.  A Kabillssen roof is a wedge shape, like a slice of cheese. (Ottenbach Told by Bernard Schnider and Salomon Schneider and Erika Schmid.)

Life in Ottenbach
In the 19th century about 1,000 people  lived in Ottenbach. Since the end of the 18th century, the textile industry expanded as a home industry which merchant-employers “put out” materials to rural producers who usually worked in their homes but sometimes labored in workshops These home based businesses were run from Zurich. employed more than 200 people in Ottenbach from the village and the surrounding area. There is evidence that both Susanna and Anna Sidler were married to Labrecht Bar.  In any case, Labrecht wrote an autobiography in which he states that his wife was the "number one dress maker.” (Ottenbach Wikipedia)

Parishes did censuses called haushaltungsrodel (household registers). The 1795 census says Johannes was a tailor in Affoltern but is again in the house (of Rudolf). Apparently he moved home and is working as a tailor in Affoltern which is 3 miles East of Ottenbach.  (Haushaltungsrodel, Ottenbach image 197 microfilm 8126955 FHL)

The first sewing machine emerged in 1790, and later, Josef Madersperger began developing his first sewing machine in 1807, presenting his first working machine in 1814. The introduction of the sewing machine sped up garment production. The silhouette of men's fashion changed in similar ways: by the mid-1820s coats featured broad shoulders with puffed sleeves, a narrow waist, and full skirts. Trousers were worn for smart day wear, while breeches continued in use in the country. (Wikipedia)

For festivals the Swiss woman wore the dirndl which consists of a bodice and skirt or a pinafore dress, a low-cut blouse with short puff sleeves, full skirt, and apron. While appearing to be simple and plain, a properly made modern dirndl may be quite expensive as it is tailored, and sometimes cut from costly hand-printed or silk fabrics.  (Wikipedia)

Men wore Lederhosen which was never intended to be a traditional costume. Rather, they were created as work wear for peasants. For centuries, Germans had already been using leather to make clothing articles such as boots. Leather was a good high-endurance material for laborers and farmers to wear in demanding work conditions.  (Wikipedia)

At the beginning of the 19th century movement was largely along dirt roads and depended on horses or walking. Canals, some associated with the Industrial Revolution, existed in a few places, but movement along the canals was also dependent on animal power. It could take weeks to cross Europe. (University of Chicago Library)

From 1645 onwards, the millers of Ottenbach and Rickenbach used, in addition to the ditches in the village, the water of the river Reuss to grind the grain, because those did not supply enough water during the summer months. In 1833, the Canton of Zürich granted the license to use the water to operate a grain mill. In 1836 the miller, Jakob Beerli, built a canal with a dam in order to bring the water of the Reuss to the mill wheel in a more regulated manner. Today the old Mill is  Haas Shopping with small shops and is a block or two from the river Reuss. (Wikipedia: Ottenbach Small Hydro)

Why did so many Sidler's stay in Ottenbach?
The Johannes Sidler line has about 117 direct line ancestors including their children who lived in Ottenbach. To give this perspective Johannes had 29 direct line ancestors in Ottenbach, 7 in Zurich, 1 in Knonau, 2 in Bickwel, 2 in Erienbach, 2 in Ettenhausen, and 1 in Birr.  Why? 

In the 19th century it was rare for people to move from their home village. German expert genealogist, Larry Jensen, did a year long study in Germany and found only 7 percent changed locations from 1500 to 1900. Why? In these nobility areas the ruling monarch didn't want to lose valuable workers and taxpayers. Also unions or guilds made it difficult. For the middle class the guild controlled commerce and who worked and sometimes even who married whom. Also once a person was born in a community the church was held responsible for the individual. If they moved away and got into debt their village took them back and worked out the problem. Even today in Switzerland a person's birth location is very important and citizens feel an allegiance to their village of origin. (Larry Jensen, 2019, genealogist)

What church did Johannes attend?
The Reformed branch of Protestantism in Switzerland started in Zürich in 1519 by Huldrych Zwingli Zwingli was killed in battle against Catholic forces from central Switzerland in 1531. Until the late 1870s, most cantonal reformed churches stopped prescribing any particular creed. Today 2 million Swiss citizens call this Evangelical Reformed Kirche theirs. When we visited Ottenbach in 2019 we observed a mid-week meeting in the rectory next to the Evangelical Reformed Church of OttenbachThe rectory bulletin board displayed a wide variety of activities. (Wikipedia)

Johannes grew up in a large family 12 miles southwest of Zurich in Ottenbach, Switzerland. When Johannes Sidler was born on July 25, 1777, his father, Rudolf, was 35 and his mother, Elisabetha, was 29. He had ten brothers and four sisters. Johannes was such a common name that Julius Billeter, the famous Swiss genealogists, abbreviated it as "Joh" thousands of times.  Johannes was the 8th of fifteen children. The family name is distinctly associated with Ottenbach because Sidler was a founding family. Even today if you ask a resident of Ottenbach they will tell you the names of the founders like Hegetschweile

November and December can be foggy and rainy. The first snow can be expected around the beginning of December. More snow, which never stays for more than a couple of days, comes back in January which is normally the coldest month in Ottenbach.

Johannes Marriage/Children
Johannes had an older brother named Caspar born in 1772.  Caspar married Elisabetha Hegetschweiler in 1799. She gave birth to a still born child on 24 September 1800. Two days later Elisabetha died at age 23. Caspar and his second wife, Margaretha Berli, had three children. Caspar died in 1811 at 39.  

Fourteen months later, when Johannes was 35 years old he had a child out of wedlock with his older brother's widow, Margaretha Berli. He fathered Hans Jakob Sidler on 14 September 1812. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler, by Julius Billeter, page 74 and Zurich Archives Family Record E III 88.19, S. 434 and E III 88.19 S. 550.)

Twelve years later, 47 Johannes married Susanna Jenta from Ettenhausen, Wetzikon Parish, Switzerland in 1824. Ettenhausen is 37 miles to the east of Ottenbach. You have to go all the way around Lake Zurich to get there. It is a long way. How Johannes and Susanna got together is anyone's guess. Maybe they met in Zurich when Johannes was there on business. (Archives Family Record E III 88.19, S. 434)

The Jenta's

Susanna's father Rudolf Jenta was a municipal councillor on the local council of Ettenhausen. Ettenhausen was a small community of farms. Jenta family is not from here, they came from Germany. Susanna's great grandfather Conrad Jenta born 2 May 1698 came from Schmidmüllen, Oberpfalz, Bavaria.  He was a Gerber or tanner of cowhides. Conrad married Elisabeth Landis 11 December 1732 who was from Wengi, near Aegust am Albis near Affoltern am Albis, Canton of Zurich in the Church of Aeugst in 1732. The church was built in 1667, after the Reformation and during the Renaissance and  is five miles from Ottenbach. Susanna would later come back to the same area and marry Johannes. Most people in the 18th and 19 centuries married people from their community. Not Conrad and Elisabeth. From Schmidmüllen to Aeugst am Albis is 321 miles which is a long way back then when people traveled using horses. How they met is a mystery.  

The Jenta-Family first lived in Untermedikon on the west of the river. Untermedikon and Robank are part of Wetzikon in the West of a little river called Aa-Bach. This area early attracted industrial activities along this river.  So it is easy to imagine the first Jenta's coming there to tan cowhides into leather. The couple had two children Kaspar, Susanna's grandfather, in 1741 and Anna 1748. In Germany the name is also spelled as Jentha. (Peter Bertschinger)

When Susanna's grandfather Kaspar was 10 years old  in 1751 the family became Swiss citizens in Ettenhausen. To do so they had to pay for it (buy-in). It normally takes some years after moving to a community that you can become citizen and you had to buy a house. The Jentas lived in one of the few houses west of the main cantonal street, probably a street today called Winkelstrasse. Susanna's grandfather Kaspar Jenta, became a Schulmeister or schoolmaster to teach the "dumb" farmer children In Ettenhausen. Kaspar and his wife Anna Wolfensberger had 7 children. So Susanna was actually German. (Jenta history researched by Peter Bertschinger, Full history, & photos of Ettenhausen by Peter Bertschinger)

Two years after Susanna was born, in 1806, they took a census and found 434 inhabitants or 119 households in Ettenhausen.  At least they had a primary school where Kaspar taught. Susanna was the sixth of 13 children. Her mother, Elisabeth Frei, died when Susanna was 12. About 9 months later her father married Margaretha Huber and they added the 13th child. Susanna Jenta was born in 1804 14 years after her schoolteacher grandfather Kaspar died. (Peter  Bertschinger and Zurich Archives Wetzikon E lll 139.21 p 1734 and Wetzikon E lll 139.13 p 533)

Susanna was 27 years younger than Johannes.  They married  23 December 1824 and had their first child, Barbara, 3 months 5 days later. Susanna's father died two years previously and her mother 8 years before so they were not there to share the joy. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler by Julius Billeter, page 74 and Zurich Archives Family Record E III 88.19, S. 434)

The district doctor in Ottenbach at the time was Jakob Hegetschweiler a relative of the Sidler family. He was born in Ottenbach 1792 and died in 1845 at 53 which was a common age to live at the time. Most likely he delivered Johannes' three girls namely: Barbara 1824, Anna 1827. and Susanna 1832. Dr. Hegetschweiler was later honored with a grave marker/plaque on the side of the Ottenbach Reformed Church for providing the community with a Retirement Home. The marker has been preserved and can be seen today. (Translation of headstone on Ottenbach Kirche by Kent Gardiner, 2019)

Population of Ottenbach 
During Johannes's lifetime  about 1,000 people lived in the village of Ottenbach. If historical population data holds true that amounts to 200 married couples and 120 single adults which  comes to 5 people per household. Interestingly enough there are numbers for livestock in the community. In 1830, when Johannes was alive, there were 7 horses, 11 oxen, 134 cows, 13 cattle, 24 calf, 65 pigs, 8 sheep, and 3 goats which totals 182 cattle and 18 draught animals. draught animal is an animal, usually domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks. They may be animals trained to provide tractive force, such as draft horses. In the case of Ottenbach they had a total of 18 horses and oxen. It seems unusual that the community had only 7 horses for 320 adults. Walking must have been the primary mode of transportation for the Sidler family. (Ottenbach Told by Bernard Schnider and Salomon Schneider and Erika Schmid, Wikipedia, Ottenbach Municipality Website, see end of this post for charts) 

During their lifetime:
1830 Pastor Locher obtains the construction of the first poorhouse in Ottenbach.
(Ottenbach Municipality Website)

Johannes died at 57 in 1834. At the time his son Jakob was 22, and the girls were Barbara, 14, Anna 9 and Susanna just 2. So that left Susanna at 30 to raise the children.  What did she do? The community had jobs in spinning, weaving or she may have followed her tailor husband and made clothes. Her daughter, Susanna, could have learned the trade of seamstress from her Susanna.

Johannes's daughter, Anna Sidler, has a child out of wedlock in 1847 naming her Anna Hegetschweiler. Emma Bachman Scholl reports Anna's father first name as Jakob. A year or so before her birth the free-corps (citizens wanting freedom) are destroyed which shakes all liberal Switzerland like a thunderbolt. Everywhere the liberals are scoffing and cursing the free-corps. The ferment of a second insurrection was already at work in the free-bailiwicks of Aargau, but when the troops of Zurich, suddenly ordered out by the Diet, unexpectedly crossed the Reuss from Ottenbach, and the roll of their drums was heard near Muri, the reawakened desires were at once extinguished. (  Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler, by Julius Billeter, page 89 and The History of Switzerland, for the Swiss People By Heinrich Zschokke, Emil Zschokke and)

In one Munich parish district from 1820 to 1824 around 2,000 legitimate and 1,000 illegitimate children were baptized.  In a neighboring parish district the minister estimated that the number of illegitimacies had increased about nine times since 1770.  In Lamstedt, Hannover, Germany the percentage of children born out of wedlock went from 13% from 1701 - 1770 to 44.7% from 1851 - 1900. When a child was born out of wedlock sometimes the pastor would enter their birth information upside down. It also became difficult for the child to find employment. (Research of Larry Jensen, 2019, genealogist)

During Anna Hegetschweilder's childhood:
1847 Separation of Obfelden and Ottenbach: The five hamlets are merged into the political community Obfelden, the mill and Rickenbach (an area nearby) remains at Ottenbach.
1847 The Sonderbund War of November 1847 was a civil war in Switzerland, then still a relatively loose confederacy of cantons. It ensued after seven Catholic cantons formed the Sonderbund in 1845 to protect their interests against a centralization of power. The war concluded with the defeat of the Sonderbund. (Wikipedia)
1850, In the early 1850s some 60% of the population still worked in the agricultural sector. By 1888, the share had fallen to 36%,
1854 - 1864, the rail network grew from 38 to 1,300 km. (Switzerland in the 19th century - EDA)

A year after Anna was born in 1848 public opinion was ready for a new Federal Constitution combining elements of the U.S. constitution (Federal State with central and cantonal [state] governments and parliaments) and of French revolutionary tradition. The Principles of this constitution are still valid today. (A Timeline of Switzerland's History)

Susanna Jenta, wife, mother, German and sole provider  died at 53 years of age in 1858. Susanna had been without her husband Johannes for 24 years.

Four of Johannes' Family Join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Twenty-two years after Johannes died and two years before Susanna Jenta died four members of Johannes's family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In the 19th century converts of the Church in Ottenbach were baptized in the River Reuss and this is the most likely place for their baptisms. In fact the Church membership records often has the name of a river as the place of baptism. Two of Johannes' daughters and two of his grandchildren joined:

First to join in Bachman and Sidler lines

1. Anna Sidler age 29 born 4 February 1827 in Ottenbach baptized 1 January 1856 in Ottenbach by D Bonnelli, confirmed H Bar. (Note: Anna was the first in our family line to join the church in both the Sidler and Bachman families. Anna and her child died from the impact of a canon ball at age 35 in the Morrisite War, UT.) (page 21 microfilm 128145, Emma Scholl, Anna's granddaughter.)

Three months later:
2. Verena Sidler age 19, born 5 March 1837, oldest daughter of Jakob Sidler born 1812 baptized 30 March 1856 by D Bonnelli, confirmed H Bar. (Note: Verena's father Jakob Sidler lived with Barbara, Anna and Susanna because he was their half brother. Verena is Johannes granddaughter.) (page 21 microfilm 128145)

Three months later:
3. Susanna Sidler age 23, born 15 December 1832, baptized 6 July 1856 in the Sihl River, by H. Hug, confromed by H. Bar,  (page 22 film 128145)

4. Anna Hegetschweiler age 8, born 29 September 1847, baptized 6 July 1856 in the Sihl River by H Hug and confirmed by H Hug. (Note: The Sihl is a  45 mile long Swiss river that rises near the Druesberg mountain in the canton of Schwyz, and eventually flows into the Limmat river in the centre of the city of Zürich. Heinrich Hug converted and was baptized with several of his family on 31 January 1853 by the pioneer missionary in that part of Switzerland, George Mayer.)

During their lives:
Persecutions in Zurich and surrounding areas continued to grow as described by Elder William S. Budge who labored with elder Mayer in Weiningen a small village outside Zurich where the following incident took place about 8 o'clock in the evening while brother Henry Hug had gone to baptize two persons a crowd gathered around the house howling and swearing at us. They forced open window shutters … and entered where they were met by two or three of the Hug boys who endeavored to persuade them to leave… the mob being in search of Elder Mayer and myself … several men …dragged me to the door/ The brethren … made an effort and succeeded in rescuing me when a general fight began seven or eight persons against fifty who composed the mob. At this stage a small light … was extinguished … Sister Ragula Hug immediately whispered … to follow hero her. I did so and by some crowding we reached the doorway when a man got hold of me by the hair I quickly gave him a thrust in the stomach with my elbow … I ran from the house …decided to walk to Zurich where I arrived about 2 o’clock in the morning my body bruised, my head uncovered and my clothes very much torn.

Knowing the situation to be dangerous but not willing to forsake the Zurich saints Budge returned to Weiningen where he was arrested and marched eight miles at gunpoint to Zurich where he was imprisoned. (Hyrum L Andrus, Mormonism Mormonism and the rise of Western Civilization and the second American Revolution Era of  Preparation, Brigham Young University Extension 1966 p. 3)

For the next five years (Heinrich) Hug roamed the Protestant cantons, they were not admitted into the Catholic ones, in search of converts keeping a careful and complete record of the 201 souls he was able to bring into the fold. Because he had traveled as a missionary for four years, Heinrich knew virtually every member in Switzerland. By 1858 he was permitted to leave and led a group of Swiss Saints to Utah a year later, settling for the time being in Salt Lake City in 1860 prior to the call to southern Utah.) (page 22  microfilm 128145, Dialogue V26N04_125.pdf)

Two years later
Susanna Jenta died in 1858 in Ottenbach. 

Two years later
Johannes' 2 daughters and One Granddaughter Emigrate to America
Friday March 30, 1860, Anna Sidler, her daughter, Anna Hegetschweiler, her sister, Susanna Sidler and Suzanna's husband Labrecht Bar, sailed from  Page 208 New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891 )

Population growth, a dearth of job opportunities, famine and economic crises forced many Swiss people to emigrate in the 19th century. There were three main emigration waves – 1816-1817, 1845-1855 and 1880-1885 – which saw the Swiss settle in all parts of the world, especially in North America. (Switzerland in the 19th century - EDA)

What happened to Johannes' 2 children who didn't emigrate?
Johannes oldest daughter Barbara was born out of wedlock on 18 March 1825 and married Jakob Berli on December 3, 1854. Jakob was eleven years younger. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler, by Julius Billeter, page 74 and page 867 film 8126955, which records Barbara Sidler/Jokob Berli's marriage)

Johannes oldest son Jakob born 1812 married Anna Sidler born 1811 from Ottenbach.  They had five children Verena born 5 March 1837 (joined the church on 30 March 1856), Barbara born 17 June 1842 (had an illegitimate son named Jakob), Anna 12 December 1844, Lizabeth 8 December 1846 and Johannes born 20 March 1854.  Jakob died in 1869 and Anna died at 85 on 19th January 1900 which is a record in the Sidler family. (Zurich Archives E III 88.19, S. 550)

Ottenbach in the 19th century
As long as the Sidlers were in Ottenbach the ferry took people across the Reuss. With the opening of the new Reuss Bridge in August 1864, the centuries-long ferry service in Ottenbach was discontinued. (Wilfried Leutert, 100 years pontoon driving club Ottenbach 1888-1988, Letzi- Druck-Ottenbach - village on the Reuss Zurich)

Symbols of Ottenbach on a 1903 postcard. The Church, Reuss RiverSchoolhouse and Angel hotel/restaurant.

In 1900 there are 1,107 homes in Ottenbach which means this 1900 map is not accurate in homes displayed.
(Ottenbach Told by Bernard Schnider and Salomon Schneider and Erika Schmid)

Ottenbach Reformed Kirche:

The church tower with the typical Kasbissen roof was built
around 1485, the nave of the church Ottenbach is even older.

Dr. Jakob Hegetschweiler marker on the side of the Ottenbach Church. 2019

Johannes Sidler b 1777

  Johannes Sidler 1777

The family register from Ottenbach, volume 1, 1712 - 1858 (signature E III 88.19)

1801 January 17 Death of Rudolf Sidler b 1742

Rudolf Sidler 1742

Rudolf Sidler married 1768

Rudolf Sidler born 1742

Rudolf Sidler 1795 haushaltungsrodel (household register). (Haushaltungsrodel, Ottenbach image 197 film 8126955 FHL)

Hans Kaspar Sidler 1705

Jakob Sidler 1665

birth 1665

Hans Rudolf Sidler Family 1670 census Ottenbach

Verena Haberling born 1670

Verena Haberling death 1728

Jakob Sidler and Jagli Haberling married 1690

Jakob Sidler death 1741

Hans Rudolf Sidler 1635

Hans Rudolf Sidler birth 1635

Hans Rudolf Sidler family

Hans Rudolf Sidler died 1710

Margaretha Grob Sidler died 1683

Margaretha Grob born 1683

Jakob Sidler 1608

Jacob Sidler born 1698

Jacob Sidler and Verena Urmi married 1629

Johannes Sidler 1583 and Katharina Kleiner 1584

Kathrina Kleiner died 1627

Johannes Sidler 1568 and Magdalena Stalin 1568

Population 1643 - 1742

Ottenbach Told by Bernard Schnider and Salomon Schneider and Erika Schmid

Population of Ottenbach according to the Ottenbach Municipality Website:
146722 Households
Animals in Ottenbach:

Ottenbach Told by Bernard Schnider and Salomon Schneider and Erika Schmid

Ottenbach Coat of Arms, symbol: "In silver a standing black cock
with red comb, red neck and feet."

Church, parsonage and former schoolhouse 1985
The church tower with the typical Kasbissen roof was built around 1485, the nave of the church Ottenbach is even older. 

Interior of Kirche Ottenbach:

Ottenbach Kirche exterior, interior and bells: