Our Schwenningen Ancestors

Article Covers
Benzing, Bentzing
Buerck, Birk
Flaig, Fleig
Hausser, Hauser
Jaeckle, Jackley, Jakl, Yackley, Yaeckle
Jauch, Yauch, Yauck
Majer, Maier, Meier, Mayer
Weiler, Weyler
Wuerthner, Wirthner
Hausen ob Verena
Year range
1500 - 1930

This project began as an attempt to find one researcher's ancestors in Schwenningen, Württemberg, Germany. Due to the small size of the town and the limited number of surnames, the project grew to include documentation of the entire town from at least 1650 (and in some cases further back) to about 1875-1900, and in some cases to the present day in the U.S.

This all volunteer effort has resulted in numerous U.S. families finding their Schwenningen origins as well as distant cousins. (So far, if one person is descended from someone from Schwenningen, they are related to all other persons descended from someone in Schwenningen.)

Until we figure out how best to place it here (it's huge), the Schwenningen GEDCOM can be found at WorldConnect.


Sources of Information

A variety of sources have been used to build this town genealogy, including (but not limited to):

  1. Schwenningen Kirchenbuchs starting in 1651. This is the primary source for the bulk of the data, being as it is microfilms of the original church records.
  2. Häuser Höfe Hofstätten by Manfred Reinartz (1990), is a compilation of additional and earlier records, including the Inventuren-u. Teilungen, an attempt to identify property ownership after the Thirty Years War.
  3. Quellen zur Schwenninger Geschichte 890-1600 by Otto Benzing
  4. Individual contributors (see below)
  5. IGI - various batch numbers including LDS member contributions as well as church record extractions

About Spellings in this GEDCOM


To ease the finding of relatives in the database, a consistent spelling for specific surnames was chosen for pre-emigration individuals. Therefore, while original church records may have used JÄKL or JÄKLE, the surname used in the Schwenningen GEDCOM is JAECKLE.

Reading the old German script has been challenging. There are some names that look VERY similar to each other. Therefore, if you see such names, you might want to check out their potentially misspelled "partner" name:

  • Kaefer / Kaiser / Lauffer / Hausser

All four of these names can be mistaken for each other, although Kaefer and Kaiser are easier to confuse, as are Lauffer and Hausser to each other. (If you saw them in the old script, you'd see why.)

  • Mueller / Hausser / Lauffer
  • Schlenker / Schrenk / Schneckenberger
  • Gerster / Hausser

Because the initial purpose of this GEDCOM was to find relatedness to direct-line ancestors of the initial researcher (Jillaine Smith), she used UPPER CASE SURNAMES to distinguish her direct-line ancestors from others in Schwenningen. This enabled her to easily and visually determine her relatedness to other Schwenningen descendants. Those upper case surnames may or may not remain so once the GEDCOM has been installed at WeRelate.

Here is a more-or-less full list of surnames that appear in the Schwenningen database.

Given Names

This town "recycled" a fairly limited palette of given names. These names appear again and again. In fact, it's often easy to determine who was NOT from this town by finding a name that does not appear on this list (when the same name has different spellings, those in bold are used in the database):


  • Agatha
  • Agnes
  • Anna / Anna Maria / Maria
  • Barbara / Anna Barbara
  • Catharina / Katharina
  • Christina


  • Andreas
  • Balthas / Balthasar
  • Bartho / Bartholomew
  • Caspar / Kaspar
  • Christian
  • Conrad / Konrad
  • Erhard / Erhardt
  • Georg / Jerg / Gorgus
  • Hanss / Hans / Johannes
  • Jakob / Jacob
  • Martin / Hanss Martin

Less common:

  • Caspar
  • Elias
  • Friederich
  • Heinrich
  • Hieronymus
  • Joseph
  • Ludwig
  • Mattheus / Matthias / Theis / Thais
  • Melchior
  • Michael
  • Paul / Paulus
  • Philipp
  • Thomas
  • Ulrich
  • Valentin
  • Veith / Vitus / Viti

You will notice the near-complete absence of such German names as:

  • August
  • Bernard
  • Carl / Karl
  • Ernst
  • Franz
  • Rudolph
  • Wilhelm

Telling them Apart

While this recycling of given names in a town with a limited number of surnames was workable early in the recorded life of the town (i.e., 1600s), as the 1700s progressed, the pastors needed to better distinguish the heads of household. They did this by using nicknames (e.g., "Maendliss") or adding the given name of the male's father (e.g., casparsohn for son of Caspar, or Vallis, for son of Valentin). If the male's father held a prominent position, the pastor might use that (e.g., vogt sohn, heligen pfleger sohn).

Additionally, in this GEDCOM, we used I, II, III and IV, etc. to distinguish a continuous line through a family of a given male name. In general, Schwenningen records do not record the names this way, but this designation was added to help identify a line of male descendants and further distinguish repeated names.


It's very easy to confuse:

  • January / June / July (Jany, Juni, Juli)
  • March / May (Marz, Mai)

In addition, early records included such month names as:

  • 7bris (this is September, not July)
  • 8bris (this is October, not August)
  • 9bris (this is November, not September)
  • 10bris (this is December, not October)

Towns Covered in the SCHWENNINGEN GEDCOM

While the primary focus of this project is the town of SCHWENNINGEN, the GEDCOM also includes individuals from at least 33 different towns in Southern Germany, including:

Bad Cannstatt

Ebingen, Esslingen

Hausen ob Rottweil

Hausen ob Verena
Kircheim unter Teck
Langen Denzlingen


Sankt Georgen



Talheim / Thalheim
Trosslingen / Trossingen
Tunningen / Thuningen


Early 1800s: to Bessarabia

This needs drafting.

1847 Town-Subsidized Emigration to North America

Read about and track the emigration of the group of poor residents who were shipped to America by the town of Schwenningen in 1847.

North American Emigration 1850-1900

USA Towns Where Schwenningers Settled:

Part of this effort includes tracking what happened to the emigrating Schwenningers. Areas in the U.S. where Schwenningen-region emigrators (or the first generation after) settled include (grouped by STATE):

Los Angeles
Santa Clara

Denver </td>

Adams Co.
Brown Co.
Cass Co.
Clay Co.
Cook Co.
Hancock Co.
Lake Co.
Morgan Co.
Pike Co.
Richlard Co.
Schuyler Co.
Warren Co.

Boone Twp.
Lake Co.

Tippecanoe Co.

Kent Co.
Osceola County

Erie County
Monroe Co.
Rensselaer Co.

Allen Co.
Auglaize County
Butler Co.
Cuyahoga Co.
Hamilton Co.
Montgomery Co.

Benton Co.


King Co.
Kitsap Co
San Juan Islands
Snohomish Co.

Door Co
Elmwood, Pierce County
Rock Elm

Ship: City of Berlin (Liverpool; arr NYC 1 Sep 1879)

This ship had many Schwenningers on it, including (starting on page 6):

  • A. Mueller, f, 18
  • Cath. Benzing, f, 18
  • Johann Burke, f, 20, spinster
  • Johanna Hauser, f, 20, spinster
  • Jacob Kaiser, m, 21, laborer

(page 7)

  • C. Speck, f, 17
  • Johannes Burke, m, 23
  • Andr. Kirchberger, m, 20, laborer; settled initially in Buffalo, NY where he married (a week after arriving) Ursula Mueller, another Schwenninger. By late 1890s they'd moved to Marshalltown, Marshall, Iowa, where he died in 1896; she went on to live until 1937.
  • Agnes Jauch, f, 17
  • Geo Jauch, m, 23
  • Agnes Burk, f, 19
  • ...
  • J (or F) Benzing, 26, m
  • Johann. Jauch, 22, m
  • J. M. Jauch, 24, m
  • C. Haller, 34, m

To Canada

This needs contributors more familiar with the Canadian descendants of Schwenningen...

To England

This needs drafting.

Action Items

Complete Recording the BMD from the Kirchenbuchs

See the "Our Schwenningen Ancestors" Source Table for what has been transcribed/recorded and what remains to be done.

De-Dupe This GEDCOM

Attempts have been made to de-dupe entries in this tree prior to its upload; this is an ongoing effort especially difficult for the following reasons specific to this town:

  1. The above list of surnames and given names are repeated again and again and again throughout the church records. This might lead to a belief of duplicates when there is none; for example, in the 1830s, there were three Christian Schlenkers married to three different Maria Jauchs-- these two surnames and given names being perhaps the most common.
  2. Name spellings vary from record to record, e.g., Hans on a baptism, Johannes on a marriage record.
  3. We may have a specific birthdate for one person, and an "abt" birthdate for another, when in actuality, they're the same person.

So please be very careful when merging any records related to this town.

Priorities for de-duping are finding the appropriate full-date births (and marriages) for those records that currently say "abt (YEAR)". In many cases, notes already exist in the Comments areas for possible candidates for such people.


Prior to this project being installed at WeRelate.org, many wonderful people generously contributed their research and data and time, including:

  • Axel Bauder
  • Beate Graf
  • Carl W. Gray
  • Gerald Bensing
  • Gerald Irion
  • Hans Joerg Rall
  • Jean Emerson
  • Jeanine Scholz
  • Jillaine Smith
  • Karl Weiler
  • Kristen Ahlstrom
  • Marilyn Peters
  • Michael Schlenker
  • Peter Schifferdecker
  • Rose Schiller
  • Sharon Chick Shepard