Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Barbara Sidler 1825 - 1895

Ottenbach Church where Barbara
buried two of her children.
Barbara's parents married  23 December 1824 and had their first child, Barbara, 3 months 5 days later. Barbara was not considered illegitimate because her parents were married when she was born. Barbara's grandfather Rudolf Jenta died two years previously and her grandmother 8 years before so they were not there to share in the happy events. (Temple Record Sidler and Hegetschweiler by Julius Billeter, page 74 and Zurich Archives Family Record E III 88.19, S. 434 )

Barbara lived and died in Ottenbach. There are many Berli family members in this little Swiss community with rolling hills and vast forests. In fact they are founding members of the community and if you ask a citizen of Ottenbach today they will tell you that name is important to the community. 

Barbara's husband Jakob Berli was born October 24 1814, eleven years before Barbara. Jakob married A. Barbara Hofstatter December 15, 1845. Jakob was 31 and Barbara was 23. Their first child was Salina who was born 24 August 1846 and christened 6 September 1846. Salina was confirmation in 1863. She married Heinrich Leuthert. Then Barbara Hofstatter and Jakob had Jakob1 January 9 1850, but the child died 7 February 1850 and then came Jacob2 born 10 January 1851 who died  29 January 1851. Sad as it may seem a little more than two years later on the 29th of March 1853 Barbara died. All were buried in the Ottenbach Reformed Church grounds.

A year and a half later on the 11 December 3 1854 (the family record says the 11th but Pastor Rudolf Tappolet wrote the 3rd) Jakob married Barbara Sidler 29 who resided in the little village. The couple had three children Born Dead (stillborn) Berli born 11 January 1859,  Henrich Berli 10 May 1866 who was christened 20 May 1866. Henrich married 9 May 1893 and had a family. Their third child Karl was born 25 October 1871, and christened 27 October 1871 in the Ottenbach Reformed Church. Unfortunately the child died November 4, 1871.

So  only two of Jakob's six children lived to adulthood and married: Heinrich and Selena. In other words Jakob lost four of his six children. We often see that from the age 20 years on, when marriage was allowed by the church, the parents had at least one child every year, often stillborn. The rule for naming was that the godparents gave their first name to the child. For example if a child named Jakob died, they continued the name until one survived the first years. From this Julius Billeter, Swiss genealogists,  concluded that a child died young and noted a "dy" by their name. On average these big farmer families had about two boys and two girls that made it to adulthood and most of them got married. (Peter Bertschinger, FamilySearch)

Barbara lived 70 years 8 months 14 days. She died 1 December 1895 in Ottenbach where she was buried. Her son Henrich who had married 2.5 years previous, his wife and Barbara's step-daughter Selina standing stood at her graveside in the Ottenbach church grounds on that cold winter day. In addition  there was the parish priest Hans Kambli from Zürich and many neighbors and cousins. 

Excerpt from Jakob Berli Household Record Zurich Archives EIII 88.19, S.637

The word following Jacob Berli’s name looks like “Civis” which in Latin means “citizen” meaning he resides within the parish. In Switzerland if you are born in a parish/village, that village is responsible for taking care of you if needed in your old age even if you move. Very often if you moved to another parish and had a child or marriage it was recorded in the parish it occurred but the person would also go back to the parish they were originally from and have it recorded there also. The Ottenbach parish have sections in their records for those who were “nichtburgers” or non-citizens. (Neal Scheel, relative)

A citizen is called a Bürger in Switzerland. They had privileges. First they had the right to vote and elect in polls and get elected to a community position. They could take part in the community fortune and gets returns out of it, for example, wood from the forest. If you came from abroad or from another Canton or community you could buy-in, to have the above privileges and often you had to buy real estate as well. Citizens received a Swiss passport. Every Swiss person is citizen of a community and the Canton where their community is located. Even if you were born elsewhere and have never lived in your community before. The main advantage of citizenship was that if you become poor abroad or somewhere in Switzerland you could always go back to your community and they had to feed you (poor house). (Peter Bertshinger)

Documents relating to Barbara Sidler and Jakob Berli:

Barbara Sidler birth 18 Mar 1825 8126955 page 295

Barbara Sidler married to Jakob Berli 3 December 1854 film 8126955 page 867

Sidler and Hegetschweiler Temple Record
by Julius Billeter, page 74

Jakob Berli Household Record Zurich Archives EIII 88.19, S.637