Sunday, December 8, 2019

Hans Rudolf Sidler 1742 - 1801

Hans Rudolf Sidler 1742 - 1801, and his wife, Elisabetha Sidler 1747 - 1807, lived in Ottenbach. Sidler is also Elisabetha's maiden name. Hans Rudolf Sidler's church record lists him as a Nachtwächter, Wachtmeister or a policemen at night and Julius Billeter calls him a Wachtmeister and furrier or field recorder during the day. Wachtmeister means master of the village guard or local policeman. Often they were referred to as Landjäger in the country villages. The Wachtmeister was in charge of the local prison, every bezirk (district) had such a jail. Small villages put the prisoners in the house of the fire brigade (Feuerwehrhäuschen, Note: in German nouns are capitalized).

Night Wachtmeister
The Nachtwächter played a vital role. Back when fire constituted a permanent threat to villages built of wood, he was an essential part of a network of watchmen, who patrolled the streets. From his perch, the watchman was tasked with sounding the alarm at the first whiff of smoke. Sometimes he used the church tower as a lookout. (The

What happened to their children?
Hans Jakob Sidler 1768-1769 died at 5 years 2 months 5 days
Dorothea Sidler 1769-1844 married Hans Kaspar Bär 4 December 1792, had 8 children, died 17 June 1844, lived to be 74 years 6 months 14 days
Anna Barbara 1771-1774 b 21 Jan 1771 died 14 May 1774. She was 3 years 3 months 23 days old.
Caspar Sidler 1772-1811 married Elisabetha Hegetschweiler in 1799, Elisabetha gave birth to a still born child on 24 September 1800, two days later Elisabetha Hegetschweiler died at age 23, Caspar and his second wife, Margaretha Berli, had four children, lived 39 years, 5 months 9 days
Johannes Sidler 1773-1774 b 25 Oct 1773 died 17 May 1774, lived 6 months 22 days.
Johannes Sidler 1774  infant death
Hans Jakob Sidler 1776-1777 lived 1 year 9 months 10 days
Johannes Sidler 1777-1834 child out of wedlock with brother Caspar's widow, married Susanna Jenta, tailor, had three girls, large posterity, lived 56 years 6 months 7 days
Elisabetha Sidler 1779-1828 second wife of Heinrich Berli who had 3 wives, no children, lived 49 years 10 days according to her death record
Anna Sidler 1780-1846 married Rudolf Hurter of Affoltern, lived to be 66.  According to FamilySearch she had 12 children, lived 65 years 7 months 28 days
Heinrich Sidler 1781-1786 lived 4 years 8 months 6 days
Jakob Sidler 1783-1862 married Elisabeth Gut, no children (Billeter made a mistake on this person) lived about 61 years
Hans Ulrich Sidler 1784-1826 married Anna Barbara Schneebeli, had a stillborn daughter and a son who married
Hans Caspar Sidler 1786-1841 married Anna Häberling, 2 children, the boy married the girl didn't lived 54 years 2 months 2 days
Melchior Sidler 1788-1843 "since 1812 carpenter in Vienna", died in Ottenbach 54 years 5 months 18 days

There were also the Nachtwächter or night guard, who had to observe the closing hours of restaurants and where important to alarm fires. They normally would also call the hour, every hour with a little song: "Liebe Leute lasst Euch sagen, es hat zwei geschlagen." (Dear people let it be known that the church watch shows 2 o'clock).

The Canton Landjäge (police) usually wore a saber on the left hand side, some type of pistol and a big moustache to generate more respect. One of their duties was to prevent foreign beggars and other vagabonds from entering the town or village. They chased them out of the city limits. Often the best trick was to give them a voucher for a meal with the condition that they had to leave by evening at which time they went to the next town. The word Landjäge also means pork sausage. So the joke goes like this: What happens if you throw a stone in the window of the police office? A Landjäger comes out. Rudolf may well have been involved in keeping strangers out of Ottenbach. He certainly had a more simple uniform and carried a pistol.
Night Watchman from Wikipedia:
The task of the night watchman was to go through the streets and alleys of the city at night and to ensure peace and order. He warned the sleeping citizens of fires , enemies and thieves . He monitored the proper locking of the front doors and city ​​gates . Often one of the tasks of the night watchman was to announce the hours - less as information than more to indicate that he was doing his duty properly. This announcement could also take the form of a night watchman song. [1] The night watchman had the right to stop, question and, if necessary, arrest suspicious people who were out and about at night.

Typical equipment of a night watchman included a halberd or similar polearm , lantern, and horn . The night watchman, although he carried out an important job in the city, such as the skinner or the hangman , was mostly one of the dishonest professions and therefore lived in very modest circumstances. There are several exceptions to this rule. In Bavaria Friedberg , , for example, the night watchmen were taken in turn by the guild boys. In Speyer , the city council set up a well-endowed "night council" with city council powers, which was capable of reading and writing and which must have previously achieved the rank of sergeant. In Mainz , the military kept the night watch, for which the Walpode was responsible.

At the beginning of the 19th century the task of the night watchman changed insofar as there were increasingly "silent" night watchmen, which was made possible by the invention of the watchman's noctuaries and laborer's regulators by the Englishman Samuel Day (1803). These are mechanical watches in which the night watchman had to put a slip of paper into a previously covered hole at certain hours as evidence of his regular tour. In the morning, a police officer checked that all the holes were filled.

in his features section published in 1843 Berlins Moral Neglect writes , Karl Gutzkow :

“The theft in easier by Berlin is made the lack of supervision and the furnishing of the houses. The number of night watchmen is far too small. These 'purrs' are old, retired military personnel or other prospects who, out of desperation, take up a service that they almost only do pro forma. The night watchmen in Berlin are often decrepit old people. With a meager salary, they are on the sports of dependent their service. [...] The Berlin night watchman has a bunch of a hundred house keys hanging on his body and unlocks anyone who wishes to enter the first best house after ten o'clock in the evening. The are his tips earnings . You can see that there is no place in the world where thieves are as comfortable as in Berlin.

The night watchman's area is too spacious. He has more streets under him than he can supervise. Busy with his tips, he cares very little about street life. He only listens to someone calling him to be let into a house. [...] The tours through the streets are made without paying any attention. [...] If he makes his tour, his pipe announces him and the thieves have time to disperse while he is passing.

Berlin must triple the number of guards and place them under a military discipline like Hamburg . The Hamburg Guardians are a real protective guard against the enemies of order and property. "

- Karl Gutzkow: Berlin - Panorama of a cosmopolitan city
Ulrich Neitzel: The word Wachtmeister (usually without Umlaut!) has had varying meanings over time. Basically it was a lower rank designation in the military and police ( In colloquial language it refers to a uniformed police officer. In a small community like Graben a Wachtmeister had probably a bunch of official duties, including but not restricted to the oversight of the local detention cell. 

Robert Seal: Here is an article about the "Nachtwächter" as a profession from the German Wikipedia:  This may provide additional information to what you already have. Robert

Field observer means Feldmesser or Feldschreiber.  He measures the fields and records the measures and the owners into the real estate books, or registers (Grundprotokoll or Grundbuch). He is a kind of notary public in the country side. The Ottenbach area has large fields and rolling green hills which to record. The Reuss River flows from Lake Lucerne past Ottenbach providing 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 Rudolf 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; photos of old Ottenbach)

During their lives:
1753 Village fire reduces the whole Ottenbach village center, with the exception of the restaurant Engel, to rubble and ashes. The Engel aka Angel was the only building in the centre of Ottenbach to live through the village fire of 1753. From 1881 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  Ottenbach population. (Ottenbach Told by Bernard Schnider and Salomon Schneider and Erika Schmid; This building, with half timbers, is located in the center of town and can be seen on a postcard at the end of text. The Ottenbach Reformed Church was unaffected by the fire.)

1799 Construction of the political community of Ottenbach, 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. (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)

Why did so many Sidler's stay in Ottenbach?
The Johannes Sidler line has about 117 direct line ancestors including 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? Transportation was difficult because horses were expensive as stated. Most people traveled on foot and many stayed in their village most of their lives. 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 Rudolf attend?
The Reformed branch of Protestantism in Switzerland started in Zürich in 1519 by Huldrych Zwingli.  He changes the country from Catholic to Protestant. 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 Ottenbach. The rectory bulletin board displayed a wide variety of activities. (Wikipedia)

Two Interesting Men
Two of the most interesting people on this family tree or any tree are Susanna Jenta's father and father-in-law. First of all they had the same name: Rudolf. The name is of Ancient Germanic origin meaning “fame”, “glory” and olf meaning “wolf.”  Both men were civic leaders, Jenta on a village council, Sidler as a village policeman.  In 1900 Jenta lived in a village of 434 inhabitants with 119 households. Sidler lived in a village of about 900 people and 200 households. Both grew up and lived out their lives in small Swiss villages. Jenta lived to 51.5, Sidler lived to 58 and 9 mo. (Our World Data, Wikipedia Ottenbach, FamilySearch)

Childhood Mortality
Susanna's in-laws Rudolf Sidler and Elisabetha Sidler had 15 children. Nine lived to adulthood and married. Susanna’s parents Rudolf Jenta and Lisabeth Frei had twelve children and one more with Mary Huber making thirteen. Seven lived to adulthood and married. Rudolf Jenta died 1 year 4 months after his last child was born leaving 30 year old Mary Huber with 7 children from 20 years old to 1 year four months to raise. Strange as it may seem, even though Rudolf Jenta married at 21 and had a large family he died two years before any of them married so he never saw any of his children marry and never saw a grandchild. The reason for this is because his first child, Barbara, died at 20.5 and his next three died in infancy. Rudolf Sidler also never saw any of his three girls marry or saw any grandchildren. The reason is because didn't begin  having his family until he was 48 and only lived to 57. Even his illegitimate son Jakob didn't start to have grandchildren until five years after Johannes' death. Compared to today, life was difficult for these strong Swiss. They were aquatinted with a lot of death.

We often see that from the age 20 years on, when marriage was allowed by the church, the parents had 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 Barbara died, they continued the name until one survived the first years. From this Julius Billeter 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,)

If a woman died after the birth of a child (this was a dangerous process because of infections), her younger sister stepped in as new wife, or replacement. The husband (here farmer in the country) absolutely needed a wife to look after the children and farm house (cooking etc.). So he normally got remarried a second, or third time within a few months; later a one year period was recommended. Often these wives were widows themselves. So there was constant giving births and dying on the farms, similar to what happened in the stable with the animals. Death was seen as natural. Only medicine and hygienic measures lowered the infant and childhood mortality rate. However, there were very bad pestulenza waves in the 17th century in our regions. Many villages lost 30 to 40% of the population. (Peter Bertschinger)

Susanna was 27 years younger than Johannes. They 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. Susanna's father died two years previously and her mother 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)
Hans Rudolf Sidler died from Abschlaachung which is also referred to as Auszehrung, Abzehr, or Schwindsucht. He died from the getting thinner and thinner, which in those times was often caused by tuberculosis. In the 1800s TB killed one out of every seven people living in Europe and the United States. TB was commonly called “consumption.” It was also called the “Captain of all these men of death.” Tuberculosis is spread the same way a cold is by breathing in the infected droplets put into the air when someone sneezes, coughs or spits. From the lungs the bacteria spreads to the rest of the body. It can lay dormant for many years but when it becomes active it slowly wastes people away. Until the 1950s the only treatment was rest, good food, gentle exercise for years. The first sanatoriums were established in places like Switzerland in the 1850s to cater to those people. There people learned self control. They controlled their coughing and taught to think good thoughts.

Rudolf Sidler, 59, like his predecessors, was buried in the Ottenbach Reformed Church grounds on the 7 January 1801. His wife Elisabetha, who would live another thirty years, was present, as well as Dorothea 32, Caspar 29, Johannes 24, Elisabetha 22, Anna 21, Jacob 18 and Ulrich 17. Seeing as he probably knew everyone in the town of 900 people, there must have been many neighbors and cousins. He had helped the town of Ottenbach be safer and protected from the ravages of fire. Others may have had their land deeds recorded by him or have a hat or coat made of fur he gathered. It was a sad beginning to the year when they said goodbye to Rudolf Sidler, night watchman, furrier, Fieldmesser, husband, son and father.

Documents related to Rudolf Sidler:

Rudolf Sidler birth 1 April 1742 online FamilySearch Film 8014328 page 418
Pastor Balthasar Zwingli did a great job on this entry. 

Hans Kaspar Sidler b 1705 in the 1749 Church Census  film 8014124
page 91 the last entry is Rudolf as a 7 year old.

Rudolf and Elisabetha Sidler marriage January 26, 1768
online FamilySearch film 8014328 page 600

Sidler and Hegetschweiler Temple Record by Julius Billeter, page 49 - 50

1795 Ottenbach Haushaltungsrodel, image 197 film 8126955)
Rudolf Sidler family record, See notes next to Johannes's name

Zurich Archives Ottenbach Family record, E III 88.19, S. 72

Death of Hans Rudolf Sidler

Rudolf Sidler death 7 January 1801 FS online film 8126955 page 822

Rudolf Sidler death 7 January 1801 FS online film 8126955 page 822
The cause of death on right namely Abschlaachung

1742 Rudolf Sidler birth with death date noted by parish priest.
Rudolf Sidler birth 1 April 1742, Film 8014328 page 418

Rudolf Siedler, Wachtmeister 

Rudolf Siedler, Wachtmeister, computer version of German script

Hans Rudolf Sidler Timeline:

Birth 01 Apr 1742 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland 1742

Marriage 26 Jan 1768 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
Elisabetha Sidler (1747–1831)
25 years old

Birth of Son Hans Jakob Sidler(1768–1769)
25 Oct 1768 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
26 years old

Death of Son Hans Jakob Sidler (1768–1769)
13 Apr 1769 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
27 years old

Birth of Daughter Dorothea Sidler (1769–)
10 Dec 1769 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
27 years old

Birth of Daughter Anna Barbara Sidler (1771–1774)
27 Jan 1771 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
28 years old

Birth of Son Hans Kaspar Sidler (1772–)
09 Feb 1772 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
29 years old

Death of Father Hans Kaspar Sidler (1705–1772)
18 Jun 1772 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
30 years old

Birth of Son Johannes Sidler (1773–1774)
24 Oct 1773 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland 1773 31

Death of Daughter Anna Barbara Sidler (1771–1774)
14 May 1774 Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
32 years old

Death of Son Johannes Sidler (1773–1774)
17 May 1774 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
32 years old

Birth of Son Johannes Sidler (1775–)
01 Jan 1775 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
32 years old

Birth of Son Hans Jakob Sidler (1776–1777)
28 Jan 1776 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
33 years old

Birth of Son Johannes Sidler (1777–)
25 Jul 1777 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
35 years old

Death of Son Hans Jakob Sidler (1776–1777)
06 Nov 1777 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
35 years old

Birth of Daughter Elisabetha Sidler (1779–)
21 Feb 1779 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
36 years old

Birth of Daughter Anna Sidler (1780–)
17 Jun 1780 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
38 years old

Birth of Son Heinrich Sidler (1781–1786)
16 Sep 1781 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
39 years old

Birth of Son Jakob Sidler (1783–)
12 Apr 1783 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
41 years old

Birth of Son Hans Ulrich Sidler (1784–)
28 Nov 1784 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
42 years old

Death of Son Heinrich Sidler (1781–1786)
23 May 1786 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
44 years old

Birth of Son Hans Kaspar Sidler (1786–)
05 Nov 1786 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
44 years old

Birth of Son Melchior Sidler (1788–)
27 Dec 1788 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
46 years old

Death from Abschlaachung, or TB
07 Jan 1801 • Ottenbach, Zürich, Switzerland
59 years old