25 Incredible Record Breaking Animals You Might Not Know About Genealogy in Switzerland – A Longenecker Family Search

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Genealogy in Switzerland – A Longenecker Family Search

I recently visited Langnau, Bern, Switzerland and spent two days immersed in all things Langenegger. My wife and I arrived at the Langnau train station on June 25, 2004, exhausted from a long flight from San Francisco. As we exited the train station, we were immediately struck by the unique character of this area.

Outside the train station are the remains of a cobblestone road, now patched with asphalt. Everywhere we looked were beautiful Swiss homes and buildings – many of them hundreds of years old – and all colorfully decorated with pink and red begonias placed in flower boxes under every window. As we later discovered, Emmental is also a wonderland of covered bridges, friendly people, church steeples with Swiss clocks and chimes, jingling cowbells – everything you expect Switzerland to be.

As we walked to our hotel in Bareau, we noticed how friendly and polite the locals are – stopping to let us cross the road and smiling as we passed with a friendly “Hallo” or “Guten Morgen”. The city is filled with long stone tanks with well water that flows into one end and drains out the other. They look something like a stone horse tank. These are available to anyone who wants a fresh drink of well water.

After settling into our room at the Hotel Landgasthof Adler, the owner kindly invited us to take a short drive into the countryside where we saw the most beautiful houses and pastures. After we got back we asked some locals in the hotel restaurant about the Langenegger farm and they had a good laugh. Turns out there are a lot of Langeneggers out there and we didn’t know the name of the people who lived in the original house we came to see.

The hills are about 1200 meters above the valley floor and very green with grass and forest areas visible from anywhere in the city. Langnau is small – maybe three or four long blocks across and the hills seem very close. Black and white cows break through the greenery and make a lovely tinkling sound as they graze around ringing bells around their necks. The towering bells worn by sheep and goats mingle with the bong-bong of cowbells creating a delicious backdrop to the landscape. That’s the last sound we heard as we drifted off to sleep under a feather duvet on our first night in Langnau.

The birds woke us up to the wonderful green world that is Langnau in summer. We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of homemade bread and jelly provided by our host, Stephen. We hoped to go to church but found our information was incorrect and arrived too early. Instead, we started our walking tour of Langnau early. Langnau is a small town and we walked all the main streets around noon when we took a break for lunch to share a small cheese cake and an apple pie from a small shop near the center of town. At that time, the local museum was opened. It is set in one of the oldest houses in Langnau and is a great opportunity to look around inside one of these magnificent buildings and see all the ornate furniture made by the builders. It is also a large museum with a number of permanent and rotating exhibitions depicting the history of Langnau and its inhabitants.

The museum docent has lived in Langnau for 70 years and knows the name Langenegger very well. She quickly found a book containing the Langenegger family crests – one for those in the valley (Langenegg Ey) and one for those higher up in the hills (Langenegg Unter). She also loosely parsed the name into Lange (Long in English – pronounced ‘Long’ in German too) and negg (hill in English – pronounced ‘neck’ in German). I haven’t been able to confirm the word ‘negg’ anywhere – but that’s what she said. The book also included a statement, “Ulrich, von Langnau, wanderte 1748 nach Pennsylvanien [USA] Aus (Faust 61)” which roughly translates to Ulrich Langenegger immigrated to Pennsylvania in the United States in 1748. This is our ancestor Ulrich Langenegger Sr. The book does not provide a further source for this information. On the map, Langenegg Unter is only about 30 minutes walk up the hill from the museum and Langenegg Ey is about a mile downriver from Langnau. Since the Unter had been owned by someone other than a Langenegger for many years, we decided to take a closer look at the Ey estate in the valley to see if we could at least take a picture of the house and maybe, if we were really lucky, meet a distant relative.

Margaret and I walked along the river where many of the locals were taking a break from regular life to cool off. We were pleasantly surprised by the number of covered bridges in and around Langnau – all still in use. We even drove past Langnau.

As we neared the long road to Langenegger’s house, two women came out of the river, and one of them spoke English. She told us we were in the right place and that the Langenegger family lived here. She offered to escort us to the right house among a cluster of several houses and buildings located on the property. With a cheerful German “Woo hoo” she called people in and introduced us to my 9th cousin who lives in the house where Ulrich Langenegger Senior was born in 1664 (the same one mentioned in the book who immigrated to Pennsylvania).

Our newfound cousins ​​were gracious and greeted us warmly even though we just showed up on their doorstep after over 250 years without a Christmas card! We had a short chat about the family and saw some of the information they had there. Coincidentally, the sister-in-law of the couple next door was in Pennsylvania attending a Longenecker reunion while we were in Langnau. We have shared contact information so that we can follow up with information that we find may be useful to them. They kindly offered us a cool drink from their well before we took a short walk around the farm to take some photos. The cows were in the barn as it was extremely hot that day. The milk from their cows is sold to a cage of local farmers who make it into cheese. If you’re looking for some authentic Langenegger cheese, look for the Emmentaler variety as that’s what they make there. It is sold in the US simply as Swiss cheese – the kind with holes in it. I have to admit it tasted much better in Langnau than in California.

The house is an easy walk across the river from Langnau and consists of the original house plus several outbuildings and outbuildings. I found the house a challenge to photograph myself. It is a typical Swiss farmhouse arranged with living rooms and barn under one roof. On one side is a dirt ramp that goes directly to the loft above the barn that is used to move hay into that area for storage and winter use.

The roof is steep by American standards, but not as steep as I’d expect in an area that gets a lot of snow. Most of the roofs in the area are tiled and include a series of brackets about six inches high that hold the snow in winter so that it doesn’t all fall at once. Some buildings had a simpler system with just a set of brackets near the end of the roof supporting a four-inch pipe that ran the length of the house—presumably for the same purpose as the brackets on other buildings. In addition, this system probably uses snow to insulate the roof from the cold. Another interesting thing about some roofs and houses – builders sometimes put their initials and the date of construction on the roof using different colored tiles. Others painted this information under the eaves or on the face of the building under the eaves.

Langenegger’s house is not as ornate as some in the city, but it is large and includes some ornate joinery that we saw repeated inside the museum, on the covered bridges and elsewhere in the area. The main structure appears to be large beams carefully joined at right angles so that they are strengthened when more weight is added to them – and held together by wooden pegs. On a bridge near the town we saw a metal strip that seems to have been added later.

The farm business is centered around dairy cows. Next to the house was a large planted corn field along with a well-kept garden that seems to adorn every house we saw in Switzerland. Along the driveway to the farm are several cherry trees with mostly green fruit just starting to turn pink in places. The rest of the farm seemed to be in grass. My friend John Garland in Oklahoma would call the fence “psychological fencing” – not much of a barrier for an animal that wants to get out. We noticed that many fences appeared to be temporary and electrified so that cows could easily be moved to fresh grass as needed. We even saw an electric fence connected to a solar panel high in the mountains a long train ride from Langnau. Out of respect for the time and space of the current residents, we only stayed a little.

We returned to our hotel via a path that runs along the river and stopped to rest in the shade of an old covered bridge. We were exhausted again and happy to meet our distant relatives and see the old house.

Research: If you are researching this area, no genealogical information is available on Langnau. The census office has records from 1886, but does not release them without the permission of the people named in the records, and the charges for doing so are very high. You’ll have much better luck in Bern where most of the Swiss records are held. There is almost always someone around who speaks English, and registration offices are no exception. The data is neither computerized nor indexed – but it is very well categorized by location and time frames. You will need to tell them exactly who, where and when you want to watch in order to get the right microfilm. Then there’s old-fashioned search that browses records written long ago using unfamiliar styles and fonts. The lockers are located outside the office in the corridor and you should leave your backpack, bag, etc. there. It’s free and safe.

The archive of I’Etat de Berne is located at Falkenplatz 4, CH-3012 Berne near the main railway station. It was easy to find the third time I tried. The railway station is large and busy and on several levels. Find the elevators at one end of the station and take them to the top. If you have trouble, follow the students and signs to the university to find the elevators. Once at the top, head towards the campus – the only way you can really go – and pass between two large university-looking buildings. Falkenplatz 4 is the first building on the right after passing through the campus area. There is a little street stand right across from the little park where students gather for a cheap and good sandwich – get there early as they run out of sandwiches soon after noon. The office is open from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM every weekday except Friday when it closes at 4:30 PM. If you want to confirm before you go, their phone numbers are 031/633 51 01, fax 031/633 51 02. Copies are one Swiss franc per page – so bring plenty of cash to get everything you want . You can easily spend 50 francs in an afternoon depending on the records you want. I didn’t have time, but you might also want to check out these resources provided by the museum in Langnau. . .

Zivilstands-und Burgerrechtsdienst

Des Cantons Bern

Eigerstrasse 73

3011 Bern

031/633 47 85

Fax: 031/633 47 39

Nieisen Paul-Anthon

Biochstrasse 7

3753 Oberhofen am Thunersee

033/243 24 52

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