Help with Swiss handwriting -- 1837

+1 vote

I am trying to read some names on an 1837 census page from Ried-Mörel in Switzerland:

I believe page 2 shows my Kummer ancestors in positions 18-23 (I am very excited, since before I learned of this census today my only documentation for years about these people was the word of my great-great grandmother written down by my grandfather in the 1930s!) 

The forename in positions 4, 11, 26, and 42 seems to be a common male name, and I believe it may be "Joannus" or a variant. It is just hard for me to believe that the initial part is "Jo". 

Then I am especially interested in person 20. An unsourced online tree states that the family had a son "Joannes Joseph". I suppose the name could end in "zf", and it does look to begin with the same characters that I believe start the name "Joannus". But the middle of that name has me stumped.

Can someone help me out with the exact spelling being used for these forenames? Thank you in advance.

WikiTree profile: Valentin Kummer
in Genealogy Help by Barry Smith G2G6 Pilot (233k points)

1 Answer

+3 votes
Best answer
The name in lines 4, 11, 26, and 42 is "Clemens" (in the old German handwriting, an "e" looks very similar to an "n", and you have to count all the downstrokes to see that the nine downstrokes in the middle of the name resolve to "emen"; the character looking like a bracket at the beginning of the word is a "C").

The name in line 20 I read as "Hansiosepf" - the first part, "Hans", is a common German short form for "Johannes" (like Bill for William), and I believe you can recognize the "iosepf" as "Joseph". The first letter "H" is differentiated from the first letter "C" in "Clemens" by the left-curling stroke below the line of writing).

The other forenames in lines 18-23 I read as: 18 Valetin (missing the n after the e), 19 Annumaryij (this is a name I am not familiar with, but occurs repeatedly on this page - apparently some form of Anna Maria), 20 Hansiosepf, 21 Luvisa, 22 Katrin, 23 Annij

Edited to correct reading of line 19
by Anonymous Geschwind G2G6 Mach 8 (83.8k points)
selected by Barry Smith
Thank you! Yes, Clemens was reportedly another family name, so that would make sense. And the H in Hansiosepf matches the H in the surname "Holzer" on page 1. The unfamiliar name definitely should be a form of Anna Maria, as Valentin reportedly married Anna Maria Stucki. Are you sure about the 'j'?s The name Schwery was common in the village and takes up most of page 4. I have been assuming the final character that looks kind of like an umlauted 'y' was y.

For a (very long and technical) discussion of the "ij", especially as it relates to the Dutch language, see In the German context, it most likely represents a "long i". For example, in German the months May, June, and July are now spelled "Mai", "Juni", and "Juli", but in old churchbooks I have often seen these as "Maij", "Junij", and "Julij". And yes, there are definitely cases where the "ij" has been converted into a "y" (which in German is pronounced about the same as "i")

Very helpful! Thanks again!
I decided to transcribe the whole thing, as best I can. There are a couple of names that are really stumping me, so I thought I'd see if you'd be willing to give a little more help (fine if you don't -- don't want to come across as demanding!)

The 9th Minnig down on page 3: looks like "Pelec" to me. Could this be the German equivalent of the English name "Peleg", which long ago went out of fashion? (It seems to be the name other than Hans that people like to append with "iosepf")

Then the 8th Schwerij down, looks like "Blausen". It doesn't look like the 'B' in Barba from page 1, but it doesn't look like any other capital letter I have seen either.
No problem at all.

What you see as "Pelec" is actually "Peter" (the crossbar on the "t" is rather faint, but can be seen connecting it to the next letter).

The other one is "Glausen" - the only other occurrence of that capital letter I saw is on p. 1 at the very top in the next-to-last column, which reads "Gemeinde Ried" (Gemeinde means municipality) - compare the printed word "Gemeinde" in the heading of that column. I do have to admit that I don't recognize "Glausen" as a German feminine name.
Thank you!

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