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Monday, August 19, 2019

The Village of Our Ancestors

On Saturday Werner drove us just down the road from Lenzburg to the town where our ancestors lived... Othmarsingen.  The area has long been inhabited.  Prehistoric grave site and the remains of a Roman theater have been found nearby.  The first recorded mention of the village goes back to around 1190.  Today Othmarsingen has a population of around 2700 people.

Our first stop was the town church, a structure which has been declared a Swiss heritage site.  It was built in 1675 after the Reformation had spread to the region.




Ohio cousin Gail in front of our ancestors' church.




Our Swiss cousin Werner, a native of Othmarsingen, at the gate to the church.



The interior is beautifully maintained.






Our family lived in Othmarsingen for centuries.  It is humbling to imagine that the baptisms, weddings and funerals of generations of our ancestors were held right here in this church.

We drove by this house which was the home of Gail's great grandfather and my great grandmother before the family emigrated to Ohio in 1874.  They probably would not recognize the structure which has been renovated and modernized.  It originally had a thatched roof, and it was divided into two parts... one part for the family, the other for the farm animals.




We had lunch reservations at Maiengruen, a little restaurant in the forest beyond Othmarsingen.  It's an out-of-the-way place that only a local would be able to find.



Joining us were Niklaus Wirz, a former councilman of Othmarsingen (at the front to the left), and his girlfriend (across the table from him).  "Nick" is the person who made the connection with my Swiss family possible.  I had known that my great grandmother, Susanna Marti, was born in Othmarsingen, and, according to family stories, there were still cousins there.  I discovered that this little Swiss town had a website, so on its guestbook I left a message asking if anyone had any information on the Marti family.  Nick saw the message, and sent me records from the archives tracing my family back a couple more generations in Othmarsingen.  He then tracked down a Marti living in town who was related to me.  Werner's father, Andreas Marti knew that one branch of the family had long ago emigrated to Ohio, and he remembered a great aunt of mine who many years ago had visited Switzerland.  Nick gave me the address for Andreas, and I wrote to him.  Sadly, he passed away shortly afterward, but contact had been made.  I now have a Swiss family... Werner, his sisters and brother, and all the other relatives.  They may be distantly related, but they have all welcomed me with open arms as their cousin.

And I have Nick Wirz to thank for this!  I will forever be grateful to him!


    Danke schoen, Nick!

4 comments:

  1. How amazing! How gracious of Nick and thanks for the wonderful photographs. Just an incredible day and experience.

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    1. Yes, the way in which I made contact with my Swiss cousins is quite incredible, and it was the kindness of Nick that made it possible. This is my third trip to Switzerland to visit my relatives, but for my Ohio cousin Gail this was her first time meeting the cousins and seeing our ancestral village. It was a very emotional experience for her.

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  2. I told Nick that his willingness to search for our family members was a great act of kindness that will always make us grateful. It is a philosophy I follow to do whatever I can to make another person happy.

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    1. If it weren't for Nick all the great experiences with the Swiss family would have never happened, and indirectly, you and I would have never met. If I had not written about Othmarsingen, you would not have found my blog and made contact.

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