Doubt grows with knowledge, said Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. And so I recently had to part with my assumed knowledge about the “Amsler in Bözen”. There are new findings: the Amsler of Bözen actually originate from Effingen. This article describes how the Amsler family spread in the Bözen parish in the 16th and 17th century.
The first Amsler in the Bözen parish
In the register of the court officials in the Schenkenberg area from1591-1617 (source: #AA 1221, Aargau State Archives), a Hanss Ambssler in Effingen is mentioned for the first time on November 26, 1593. In the following years, he appears several times as member of the local court and probably belonged to the village upper class.
On December 21, 1595, Hans Amsler and Anna Falck had little Kaspar Amsler baptized in the church in Bözen. The church records began in 1562 and the baptism of Kaspar was the first mention of the Amsler family in the baptismal register of this parish. This indicates that his father Hans Amsler had moved to this area after 1562.
Around 1617, the register of the court officials mentions “Hanns Ampsler the young“. So it seems that two persons with the same name lived in the parish at the same time. However, it is not clear if they were father and son or if there was any relationship at all.
The baptisms which took place in the church of Bözen were recorded by the pastor. He not only recorded the baptisms, but also diligently noted the origin of the parents. These records indicate that the parents of Kaspar Amsler came from Effingen.
From January 1616 Johann Heinrich Frey was the new parish priest and from then on the origin of the baptizing parents was no longer recorded. But with the exception of the few and clearly recognizable Amslers from Densbüren, they were still Amslers who lived in Effingen. A census of 1653 provides proof of this.
In 1653, the Bernese government initiated a census of the fireplaces and households in its territory (source: B II 283, Bern State Archives). Fortunately, lists are available for some of the bailiwicks of Schenkenberg, which mention all household heads by name, village by village. In the parish of Bözen, there are a total of 79 fireplaces or households. About one hundred years later, there are already more than twice as many, namely 187 households.
At the end of this post, the surnames of all inhabitants of the Bözen parish are listed. At that time all Amsler families lived in the municipality of Effingen.
The Amslers move from Effingen to Bözen
It was only a few years after the census of 1653 that the first Amsler moved to Bözen. In 1677, the first explicit reference is found in the Effingen court records for a sales transaction: “Hans Amssler in Bötzen sells the following property to Hans Spengler in Efigen…”. The list of estates includes eight properties, the selling price was 315 guilders. According to the deed of sale, Hans Amsler is a citizen of Bözen.
The same Hans Amsler is mentioned around 1680 as the main debtor of a deed of 200 guilders. The guarantors are Ruedi Heuberger and Jogli Fuchs. This Hans Amsler could be “Beldi Hans”, who had married Anna Heuberger, shortly before in January 1679. Often the guarantors were related to the principal debtor. Anna Heuberger indeed had a brother named Ruedi. The guarantor could therefore have been the brother-in-law of Hans Amsler.
In the 1653 census, all the Amslers were still living in Effingen. In the Bözen parish this situation changed around 1677. From that time on, part of the now fairly large Amsler family lived in Bözen. Another branch remained in the ancestral home in Effingen.
The Amslers in Bözen become more numerous
In the census of 1766, Bözen already had seven Amsler households with a total of 30 family members; Effingen had four with a total of 16 family members between the ages of 3 and 70. As the number of Amsler in Bözen increased, the number of Amsler in Effingen decreased. With the introduction of the family registers towards the end of the 18th century, most of the Amsler now lived in Bözen.
According to the Swiss Family Name Book, there were still Amsler with the hometown of Effingen in the 19th century, but the family eventually disappeared there. The last Effingen Amsler became citizens of Reinach BL in 1962. Thus, today the Amsler are only naturalized in the municipality of Bözen.
Below are the first five generations of the Amsler family in the Bözen parish. The names highlighted in color are the progenitors of the Amsler lines in Bözen and Effingen:
Of the three surviving sons of Kaspar Amsler (1595-1668), Heinrich (*1638) moved to Gallenkirch on the Bözberg, his branch is extinct.
The eldest son Johannes Amsler (1625- 1657) married Verena Brändli in 1647. After his early death, Johannes’ widow remarried. Her second husband was Uli Beldi from Rüfenach, Canton Aargau. He became the stepfather of the children of Verena’s first marriage.
The newlywed couple moved to Bözen. The family name of Verena’s second husband was the origin of the nickname of this Amsler branch as “Beldi’s”. This was the origin of the “Bözen line“:
The Amsler in Effingen
The youngest son Jacob Amsler (1640- 1709) remained in Effingen and was married twice. His first wife was Elsbeth Heuberger from Bözen, his second wife was Elsbeth Fricker from Oberflachs. The next picture shows the descendants of Jacob and his first wife Elisabeth Heuberger. This marriage produced three children, Kaspar, Hans and Elsbeth. Their descendants were numerous.
Jacob’s second marriage with Elsbeth Fricker from Oberflachs produced seven more children. Here we see their descendants:
Jacob Amsler (1640-1709) was a respected member of the community. He served in the choir court as well as the civil court. We find many references to Jacob and some interesting tales about his life. The source for these stories is found in the proceedings of the assemblies of these “honorable men”.
Surnames in the Bözen Parish according to the 1653 census
The following is a list of the inhabitants of the Bözen parish, and thus all the surnames for the municipalities of Bözen, Effingen and Elfingen. Families in italics are no longer naturalized there today. The Amsler families in Effingen are listed in bold letters. At that time all Amsler families still lived exclusively in Effingen.
Abraham Heüberger and his mother, the miller
Hanß Joggli Falck
Hanß Joggli Heüwberger
Hanß Joggli Fuchs
Hanß Jog Amsler
Hanß Joggli Rubli
Caspar Amsler the bailiff
Hanß Joggli Hubeli
Hanß Joggli Hürliman
Hanß Heinrich Kehrer
Uli Amsler, lives at a poor widow’s home
Hanß Joggli Schneitler
Hanß Urech Sigrist
widow Elsi Summerhalder
widow Anni Koprio
widow Klin Vereni Kolerin
widow Adeli Heüberger
widow Margreth Koprio
Hanß Joggli Sigerist
Hanß Joggli Heüwberger
Hanß Heinrich Büchli