Church Records of Canton Bern, Switzerland – Daniel R. Lilienkamp

March 21st, 2019 by National Genealogical Society Blog Editor

Daniel R. Lilienkamp

Church Records of Canton Bern, Switzerland

SESSION: T215, TIME & DATE: Thursday, 9 May 2019 9:30 a.m.

The church records of Canton Bern consist of 832 rolls of microfilm and 82 printed volumes, which are written in three languages (German, French, and Latin).

These records use an unfamiliar handwriting style which may seem challenging to many genealogists and family history researchers. Fortunately, a number of print and online finding aids and guides are available that can drastically simplify the process and make these records accessible to most researchers.

Consider the case of Anna Maria (Werdtmueller) Litzsinger. A Find A Grave record for her suggests a Canton Bern birth year of 1862. It suggests her death occurred in 1886 in St. Louis. St. Louis records prove her death and marriage, but provide few details of her life and family prior to their arrival in Missouri. The church records of Canton Bern will help us learn more about her origins and ancestry. In fact, they will take us back more than 200 years.

Through the study of Anna Maria Werdtmueller, attendees will gain insight on how to approach researching in the Canton Bern church records and how to overcome some of the potential challenges. The session will examine some unique resources that could help locate a place of origin for a Swiss family. Together these will give researchers the confidence they need to begin finding their own families.

BIO: Daniel R. Lilienkamp, JD, is a Reference Specialist at History & Genealogy at St. Louis County Library where he advises researchers on sources to help them find information about their families. Dan regularly contributes articles to the department’s online newsletter, PastPorts. He has been researching his own family for more than 20 years and is known for his lectures on complex sources for U.S. frontier, African American, Quebec, German, Alsace-Lorraine, and Swiss research.