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Family researcher "collects" ancestors

In the leisure center two genealogists reported on their work

REGENSDORF – How did the ancestors live? What professions did they pursue and how did fate influence their own family history? A genealogist like Manuel Aicher asks himself these questions. He and Mario von Moos, chairman of the Zurich Genealogical-Heraldic Society, reported on their work at the Regensdorf leisure facility.


Collecting is currently one of the most popular hobbies. During the time when other people are exchanging coffee cream lids, arranging valuable stamps and looking around for empty perfume bottles, the family researcher “collects” ancestors.

As much data as possible is found: from the dates of birth, baptism and death to the number of children and professional career, nothing should remain undiscovered by the hobby genealogist. This activity can become a great passion because it never really ends. Every ancestor recently discovered has parents and grandparents who are still unknown to the researcher.

witnesses of the past

The main sources used are church records and registry office registers. “In Switzerland we are very fortunate that we also have access to the register of citizens,” explained Manuel Aicher. With the help of these registers, which are kept at the respective place of residence, it is relatively easy for the hobby researcher to get to the middle of the 18th century.

What the professional genealogist describes as "rather effortless" is often very time-consuming research in archives and libraries. If you want to look for long-dead ancestors in the old books, you also have to be familiar with the old writings. «I recommend studying these characters carefully!» emphasized Mario von Moos. There would be plenty of other problems to come. The books are often not properly kept, entries are missing or entire volumes have disappeared without a trace. In order to prevent such a disappearance, the church records have had to be handed over to the state archive for safekeeping since the beginning of this century. But by no means everyone in the canton adheres to these regulations.

Private family research

Especially at a time when social changes are taking place, some people are beginning to take an interest in their family history. If you start researching there, you should have enough time and patience. Systematic work is a prerequisite for successful research. The data can be written on loose family sheets, recorded on ancestor lists or converted into a scheme.

Of course, there are also modern EDP programs today that can organize and manage the various data. But even if the programs are a relief, the following still applies: Research is not done on the PC, but primarily in archives and libraries (bn)

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