The following is a translation of the original book, "Die Familie Stirnimann In Den Kantonen Luzern Und Aargau" written by Prof. Joseph Stirnimann in Swiss-German. I have tried to have the translations as accurate as possible. However, there is no guarantee of this accuracy. Notes in square brackets [ ] are my notes.

Walt Sterneman March 5, 1999






Joseph Stirnimann



In the Area Luzern

In Sempach

In Southern Aargau

When The Reformation Came To Luzern

Descendants of the Immigrants

The Ruswil Family

Table I

Table II

Table III

Table IV

Table V

Table VI

Table VII


This paper is developed from the lecture, which the author gave on the occasion of the first conference of our families on September 6, 1970 in Ruswil. Before a family publication was applicable, they needed many members and prospective customers. The results, which at that time were limited mainly to the start in the areas of Luzern and the Ruswil family, had to be completed by further research. First, the canton Aargau was to be included into the investigations. Into it, went the domiciles and migrations of the family during the 15th and 16th century.

The most important sources researched, were the numerous foundations, that have directories of properties and taxes of the religious gentlemen in today's cantons Luzern and Aargau since their establishments: the Cloister Beromuenster and Zofingen (public records Aarau), the Benedictine monastery Muri in the free office (public records Aarau and Kollegium), the Cistercian monastery St. Urban (public records Luzern). Public records Solothurn (s. source directory) were furthermore consulted, the city files Sursee, Willisau and Zofingen and numerous parish archives. Investigations into the Bern files had to be moved to later.

The results exceed all expectations. The most important statement: Since 1531 carriers of our name - with their families - moved into Protestant Aargau from the northern part of canton Luzern within a few years. Thus today great quantities remain in most kinship of the Luzern family, their fore fathers at the time of the reformation immigrated to the Luzern area, their documented acknowledgement found. The common origin of the Luzern Stirnimanns and the Aargau Stirnemanns is not to be doubted. Meanwhile, a question remains open, when and under what circumstances in the middle the 15th Century in Aargau Uerkheim a proven name carrier arrived from the Luzern family.

Among the most pleasing discoveries of the last years, kept in the file of the monastery Muri (Kollegium), was the Latin diary of the Benedictine monk Jost Stirnimann (1654-1706), who originated from the Ruswil family - a source welcome for the chronicling and genealogy of the family - as well as two magnificent glass paintings with the coat of arms of the order man.

It was the tendency of the author to enter and arrange in the genealogy all main kinships and family trunks of the cantons Luzern and Aargau with their name representatives (living persons are not mentioned). For further notes, supplements and possible corrections the author is grateful.

The Ruswil family, which are all most numerous and well researched, is represented in the most detail. Kinship history expands here to farm and property history. You are referred to the family trees in the tables at the end of this book.

The managers and personnel at the archives facilitated the work by giving their assistance and making valuable notes; the advice of librarians, for me specialists, and cousins also promoted my investigations with valuable information. Dr. Alfred von Speyr, Hergiswil NW, provided a most welcome service, by placing this small family history into the magazine "Swiss Family Researcher - Le Généalogiste Suisse" which is drawn up by him. The print shop of Beromünster, did everything to arrange the special edition. I here cordially thank everyone, as well as anonymous people, who contributed to the success and appearance of this publication.

Luzern, in the Dezeniber 1973 the author


The Family Stirnimann

in the Cantons Luzern and Aargau

with special consideration of the trunk of Ruswil

  • It is beautiful to follow the tracks of ones family; because the tree of a family is for the individual what the history of the native country is for the whole people.

  • In the Area Luzern

    The origins of the family, for which the following is written, are situated in the area of Luzern. The first documents originate in the mid 14th Century. It was at this time, when the rising young city at the discharge of the Reuss, under the guidance of its farsighted mayor Peter von Gundoldingen, aligned to free themselves from the rule of the house of Austria and to achieve full national independence. First, Luzern followed the three Waldstätte, who in the year 1332 swore to the eternal federation [Switzerland's beginning]. In all other respects the city had to find means and ways, in order to carry out their political plans. The most important of these means consisted of the fact that Luzern, similar to Bern and Zurich, accepted inhabitants of neighboring and distant communities to the city and actually bound them to the community. Because this "Burger" [citizen] lived outside of the walls of the city, they were called "Ausburger" [out-citizen]; the contemporary realm calls them "Pfahlburger" [stake-citizen]. The Ausburger belonged to the city, were members of the urban community, and enjoyed its advantages: they lived under the protection of the city and were liberated. The municipal jurisdiction partially sheltered the Ausburger, but on the other hand, the Ausburger had to make their own contribution to military conflicts with the farmers and had to perform with extraordinary duty. The Ausburger differed originally from the established citizens only by their domicile and the special rights resulting from it; they were allowed to move into the city however, at any time and become established citizens.

    By the naturalization of farmers the city gained a foothold in the country. The "Ausburger" recruited the farmers for the political objectives of the city, creating prerequisites for the education of the later city state [canton]. The accommodation of Austrian subjects of near and far environments within the city walls, and the huge taxes of the Austrian rule, led Luzern finally in 1332 into incessant arguments with its rulers, the dukes of Austria, and finally to the Sempach War (July 9, 1386). The political meaning of the "Ausburger" was only lost, when the city became a free realm in 1418.1

    The guests (hospites) were legally worse off than the Ausburger. Guests were those who were at the place, without incurring city rights. The relation of the guests to the "Burgern" was regulated in Luzern by old statutes. The guest did not enjoy the same advantages as the Burger and Ausburger.2

    Guests, Ausburger and Burger of the city Luzern

    Public records at Luzern keeps tax rolls of the city from the year 1352, the oldest of which we reviewed. 3 The roll registers the names of the Burger, Ausburger, Guests and real estate properties, upon which in June 1352 an extra tax (2 Pfennig per Pound wealth) was levied for repayment of war expenses. 4 The tax which must be paid is listed with each name and in individual cases the amount paid is also attached to each name. We have before us here at the same time the oldest directory of the Burger, Ausburger and Guests of Luzern. Under the Guests and real estate properties of the parish Horw it calls:

    Heinis Stirnimanns child, Schilling 16, dedit 9 Schilling 5

    Heini Stirnimann died, probably not before too long a time, perhaps during the plague of 1349. Therefore, property control is given to his child, probably a son. Tax rolls call a large number of children, sons and daughters, who are consulted in place of their parents for property control. Heini Stirnimann paid more taxes altogether than 53 taxpayers of Horw. His tax debt amounts to 16 Schilling, that is 192 Pfennig (1 Schilling = 12 Pfennig). Of it 9 Schilling is already paid. Since 2 Pfennig per pound of fortune is the tax rate, Heini's fortune is estimated at 96 Pounds. Two examples may illustrate the purchase value of the cash at that time: in the 14th century a cow cost 12 to 20 Schilling, an ox about 12 Schilling. 6

    Still our attention goes to another name on the tax rolls. Under the "Ausburgern", under the title "The sint mosluet and Tribschen" is called:

    Ueli von Stirnrüti, Schilling 12, dedit 7

    The Mosluet were the people who inhabited the far region southeast of today's main station by the lake in Luzern, bordered by Tribschen and Geissenstein and by most, the region was considered abundant. This area today to a large extent goes under the name Moos. Like many people of the tax rolls from well-known locations of this area (e.g. in Horw ) they are designated: Ueli von Winkel, Heini von Langensand; (in Tribschen): Werne ze Geissenstein, Ueli von Schönenbül. Then the name of the Ueli von Stirnrüti is also derived from the name of the community in Horw, which has been kept until today. Stirnrüti was a free region, and a recently revived farm, at the southwest slope of the Bireggwaldes above today's Blindenlieim. The German name researcher Guntram Saladin assumed, the family name Stirnimann occurred for the first time in Horw which was developed from the Horw name Stirnrüti. "The Stirne - as written - is the upper, forest-free edge of the Hügelhanges." 8 Ueli von Stirnrüti no longer lived in Horw in 1352 but Heini Stirnimann a child, lived in the neighboring Moos or perhaps in Tribschen.

    In the year 1385 we meet a Uelli Stirnemann in the oldest census book 9 of Luzern. He is sponsor for a Heini Seiler in Littau, who took residence in the Luzern city walls.10 This Uelli Stirnemann already possessed the citizen right of Luzern, i.e. he was an established "Burger". Whether he is the same as the previously mentioned Ueli von Stirnrüti, naturally cannot be determined any longer.

    Lehenbauern (fief-farmers) of the monastery St. Leodegar

    Horw was, with Moos and Tribschen, one of 16 realms which was the oldest possession of the Alsaceian Benedictine monastery Murbach. In the first half of the 8th century they created a subordinate Luzern monastery St. Leodegar in the realm - the predecessors of today's Cloister foundation. The farmers, who inhabited and cultivated these Murbach farms, were so-called church people - a status of moderated freedom. They paid an annual rent to the monastery in kind. 11 In the 13th century they performed the monastery's landlord service and collected personal taxes and as interest were repaid in capital. The church people became full-free owners of the land, which remained theirs with a mortgage.12 In all respects the owner could have his property freely, leave it, pawn or sell it with permission of the Cloister. But at inheritance, or with sales, the monastery catches up with the transfer (the "fief to receive") and the buyers had to pay a passage of ownership fee.

    There was property of the free farmers, who transferred it as repayment to the church within the area of the Murbach realm, without their personal liberty completely restored.13

    In the year 1291 the Abbott of Murbach surrendered the city of Luzern including the remaining realm to Austria. In most realms the inheritance of people no longer belonged to the church, but to either the Propstei or one of the offices for monastery in his capacity.14 The Propst of the Benedictine monasteries in the realm rented from then on and took the property back.

    By a lucky incident a document was received from the year 1361, according to which a Heinrich Stirnimann gave his taxes to Moos, i.e. into the hand of the Propst of the Benedictine monastery, or his deputy. The document, which is kept in the family file at the Rhyn in the Schlößchen Geißenstein 15, has the following wording:


    To all who see this letter or hear it read, I, Andres of Mörsberg, treasurer of the church of Lucern and representative of ... Hugo von Signouwe of Bern, prior of the same Church of the Saint Benedictine Order, announce that Heinrich Stirniman came for me and gave to my hand an offering: land. In Mose behind the town of Gundoldin and behind the meadow that one calls Strelarrun in the name, that I Ulrich Fönnen, citizen of Luzern, when he the above described property legally sold and completely paid for [?] ... [I can't make much sense of the rest of this sentence, but it appears that the Church is going to receive annual interest or something yearly from the land or real estate arrangement. The next section appears to be a description of witnesses who were present when the land was exchanged, given...?] This happened in Luzern at the fish market... [More witnesses, I think.] And moreover, this happened in front of me and with my hand the above named men so I have placed his seal on this letter as a true deed of this matter ... on the 27th day of April in the 1300 year after God's birth in the 61st year [27 April 1361]. 17

    The property is the subject of this legal transaction and these two people are named expressly as taxes are defined.

    Heinrich Stirnimann probably transferred this property from his father, like he from his father etc., where the father of Heinrich is perhaps the same as mentioned in the tax roll of 1352, established as Ueli von Stirnrueti. It is possible that Heinrich and his ancestor were free farmers. Heinrich sold his inheritance to the Luzern citizen Ulrich Fön, who is probably the same citizen as the tax roll of 1352 specified Uolrich Föno resident in the town. 18 Heinrich Stirnimann the farmer left and probably finally established himself in the city. Anyhow the family is present there in the years 1384 19, and 1394 20. In the year 1400 a Verena Stirnimann lives in Obern Grund.21

    In the Service of Luzern

    Luzern troops under the guidance of the Schultheissen Ulrich Walker drew toward Livinental at the end of June 1422, in order to bring assistance to Urnern and Obwaldnern which were pressed by the duke of Milan before Bellinzona. The deliberate enterprise ended with a destroying defeat. One of the 93 Luzern mercenaries, who died a heroes death on 30 June 1422 in Arbedo and whose name is perpetuated in Luzern battle lore, was Heini Stirnimann. 22 He was thus surely a Luzern Ausburger, if not Burger and therefore liable for military service.


    In Sempach

    Since 1408 the family is documented in Sempach in connection with the lake township. In the year 1434 Jenni (= Hans) Stirnimann, who probably held the occupation of fisherman, stated before court twice he had fished Winkel for 50 years.1 This concerns the bay of Vierwaldstättersees well-known under the name Winkel south of Horw. The Sempach Stirnimanns surely then originated from Horw in the 15th Century, where Heini Stirnimann and his child are already proven as the first name carriers in 1352.

    In the years 1441 and 1447 Henzmann (= Heinrich) Stirnirnann holds the office of the Schultheissen in Sempach. 2 He, which the name suggests, could have been a descendant of Heini Stirnimann proven in Horw in 1352. The Schultheiss, who was mainly an administrative man and a judge, had lost much of its meaning in Sempach since the accommodation of the city in the Luzern castle (1386). Luzern conferred to Sempach the right to suggest the selection of the Schultheissen from four men that Luzern selected "der uns gevalt und gut bedunkt".3 Schultheiss, Heinrich Stirnimann made a donation of an annual measure of oil or as much cash of a Sempach married couple to the chapel of Our Blessed Lady in Nottwil documented on 29 January 1441. Therefore the mark of the Schultheissen, it is worth mentioning, does not have his own seal but has Kuonz von Egersvil around his seal (it shows a multiple plow in the sign). The document is kept in the file of the parish church Nottwil. 4

    In Southern Aargau

    Around the middle of the 15th century the surname Stirnimann disappears in the canton of Luzern. At that same time it meets us again, first sporadically, then more frequently in the canton of Aargau which has Luzern on its southwest border. The earliest document of this area and outside of the canton Luzern at all, which mentions our name, is probably a document of the Cloister St. Mauritius in Zofingen from 25 February 1457 1; it concerns the parish church of the village Ürkheim, also Ürken which was located northeast of Zofingen. Under the date mentioned a transaction, Werna Stirneman, that this the church deacon to the church Uirtken in the name of this church makes a purchase of 16 Rhine guldens. Here Werna (= Werner), church deacon, must have had his family established some time in Ürkheim. It was unusual to entrust new people in a small community to hold public office. Probably Werner's father or grandfather had established themselves in Ürkheim. This could have occurred in connection with the conquest of Aargau (1415), where Luzern expanded its territory up to today's northern boundary. One is reminded of the fact that the Ausburger was a citizen of a city and liable for compulsory military service. If Heini Stirniman was in the year 1422 under the Luzern mercenaries, as stated by Schultheiss Ulrich Walker before Bellinzona in the battle with Arbedo, then a member of the family could have taken part in the campaign in Aargau in April 1415. The Austrian king Sigismund the neighbors of the outlawed Austrian duke Friedrich IV had requested assistance; it is conceivable that he was assigned to a Luzern border garrison, perhaps in Wikon, where the Luzern troops conquered one of the three castles which were in the neighborhood where Ürkheim is located. We do not overlook the fact that the new north boundary of the Luzern city state was an artificial boundary, it probably separated the country and people of the Wiggertales and the adjoining areas, which always formed a geographical or ethnical unit, into a southern and northern half. For centuries the family, legal and economic linkages, relations and mechanisms of the world, however which were deep rooted, could not possibly cope. Thus, the community land certainly going back to the German immigration remained between Zofingen, Bottenwil, Ürkheim, and was only removed when Luzern and Wikon become further victorious in the years 1788-1790. 2

    Finally one is reminded of the fact that the Gotthardweg led to the north from Luzern by Sempach, Sursee and Zofingen, which had as a consequence caused people to move between these cities and their homeland.

    It may be safe to consider that the Stirnimanns in Ürkheim and other Aargau communities, originated from Luzern, because the name, before the middle of the 15th century in the whole of today's German-Swiss language is proven only in Luzern. Also, only upon exception did new surnames developed in our area after 1400.

    The descendants of the church deacon Werner Stirnimann were located in Ürkheim to approximately 1530 based on a tax record for three land transactions in Gösgen and Wartenfels, and four farms in Ürkheim which were taxable.

    The tax records of 1481 3 calls as the owner of the first farm Hanns Stirnenman, the second Werli Stirnenman. The first owes annually 14 quarters of Dinkel (also SpeIt is called out, a type of wheat), 14 quarters oats, 1 Pound Geld, 1 Malter oats, 1 Muett oats, 1 Muett Dinkel; the second owes annually: 1 Malter Dinkel and 14 Schilling.

    Hans and Werli (= reduced form of Werner) might be brothers and as such sons of the church deacon Werner; they had probably divided the parent's farm. Unfortunately for this time the most important source, which for genealogy of the family could give a better explanation, is missing to us. The year book of Ürkheim; like those of most Aargau parishes was destroyed or has been lost during the reformation.

    The tax record does not indicate the names of the two farms and their individual lots and fields, this information we get from the land records of 1528 4 and 1536 5: the first farm belonged to different owners:

    das Teaffenthal der Hofacker

    die Buchmatt der Banacker

    die Rolirmatt der Fluoacker

    der Bilgersacker

    The second farm mentioned, belong to Wilhelmshof:

    die Mockenmatt die Grabmatten

    eine Matte, Geßlerin genannt

    ein Acker by Weinlis Brünnen (designated after Wernli Stirnemann)

    ein Acker im Stampfental der Hofacker

    der Blöwacker der Langacker

    der Moosacker das Grünächerli

    In the land records of 1528, 1536 and 1540 the name Stirnimann is no more mentioned. 6 In the land record of 1540 on the first farm at the border it is noted that this Stirneman had: Hans (also: Ulrich) Lienhart, usually called Kleinbuob, gave annually of his business, so Stirneman left [contract purchase?]. 7a

    Also to the north of Ürkheim at Safenwil a Stirnimann resided before the reformation, who cultivated a fief-farm of Zofingen; they left Safenwil around 1531. 7b

    One or more families of Stirnimanns very probably moved from Ürkheim and Safenwil at the time of the introduction of the reformation to the Luzern area of Wiggertal. More moved in the next period of time before the earliest Ürkheim ascertainable name carriers of the remaining Aargau communities are enumerated.

    In Zofingen a Stirnimann was patriated toward the end of the 15th century. 8 Whether they came from Ürkheim or directly from Luzern is uncertain.

    The oldest contractor guild book of the city of 1528, the revised version of an earlier collection, continued to 1608, 9 mentions in its membership register the millers and bakers, after 1484:

    f. 8v: Henntz (= Heinz) Stirnenman

    Hanns Stirnenman, miller

    The latter is listed in a document from 23 December 1513 as the superior of a miller and as Burger of Zofingen 10 and employer. He drowned in 1519 on a pilgrimage, during the plague, to the much-visited Holy Mother's sacred relic in the Schöntal in Baselland. 11

    Furthermore the contractor guild book calls from the time before the introduction of the reformation:

    f. 9v: Hans Stirneman 1520 Rudolf Stirnenman

    Following are names of actual Reformers of Zofingen listed in the membership as the first new convert preacher appointed from Bern and: Toctor Sebastian Hofmeister, diser zytt predicant, who came in May 1528 to Zofingen and on 26 June 1533 died 12 mentioned the tax role of 1534 13:

    Hanns Stirnenman, träyer [= lathe operator?]: 8 Schilling.

    Hanns Stirnenman, müller: 20 Plappart.

    On 30 October 1533 Friedli Stirnemann renewed his citizenship. 14 A permit to do business document from 2 June 1566 mentioned Fridolin Stirneman.15 The baptism lists 16 of Zofingen in the years 1575 to 1601 registered ten children of the married couple Fridlin Stirnemann and Elizabeth Rubi.

    The document book of the city Zofingen continues to mention: on 25 July 1556 Bartlin Stirneman. 17 His tree garden [nursery?] is located at the highway to Brittnau.

    According to the Zofinger master registers in the 16th century the family disappeared from Zofingen. 18 It is possible that they left Zofingen.

    In the first half of the 16th century it is documented that the family was in the communities Zetzwil and Gränichen:

    Zetzwil: 1523 Stirnenman, the muiller of Zettzwil. 19

    Gränichen: 16. January 1540 Hanns Stirnenman, derzyt undervogt zuo Grencken. 20

    From the Stirnemann family of Gränichen - today the most numerous family in the community - originated Erwin Stirnemann (1885-1970), engineer, town councilor of Zürich and executive committee of the board of works I 1935-46, 1. Vice-president of the town council since 1942, national council 1943-46, founder the "Pro Sihltal". 20a

    Since 1589 to the middle of the 17th century the Stirnimann Lehenmüller are in Aarburg. 21

    When The Reformation

    Came To Luzern

    After varying for many years with noticeable uncertainty, there came in several faith mandates, organized by the Bern main council from 6 to 26 January 1528, in the Barfüsser church the well-known faith discussion, which helped the reformation in Bern and in Aargau, to victories. The Protestant Richard Feller, one of the most important Bern historical researchers of the past, describes the arbitrariness and unilateral nature without gloss, with which the authority directed the faith discussion and implemented in consequence the reformation in city and country. 1 Feller speaks, particularly of the demand of the church authority through the state, of an "arbitrary action, with the unit of the Christian world uncultivated". 2 As painful loss came to the general public on the Bern landscape, together with the inconsiderate destruction of paintings and church decorations, the abolishment of the mass was felt. The authority left the subjects uncertain over their true intentions regarding the mass initially, as their procedure was from selfish tactics. Ever after the circumstances recommended, they practiced indulgence for the time being and restraint, for resistance was struck down relentlessly, if necessarily with weapons as in the upper country of Bern. 3a Typically, Bern advanced against Zofingen. A letter from the Bern Council on 20 July 1528 to the Schultheiss, Council, and community citizens of Zofingen demands the punishment of those, who still behave against the new teachings, rejecting and refractory healing, and comply with: "Wo aber jemands sich sperren und die Straf nit tragen wöllt, den wellen wir üch helfen temmen." 3b Only in the knowledge about what actually took place at that time, are we able today to judge perhaps the mental distress of those many people who wanted their church and conviction to faithfully remain, to the last and most difficult determination: to leave their traditional homeland and to move into a catholic area. Soon after 1528 the unfaithful to the reform moved because they were ordered out. 4 They obviously saw that each resistance was fruitless, for it connected with unfavorable consequences and change was no more hoped for. The emigrations grew to a larger extent after the battle with Kappel, or after the second Kappel treaty. By the defeat of Zurich with Kappel (11.10.1531), where Zwingli fell [Zwingli is the predecessor of John Calvin in the Swiss reformation], the propagation of the reformation in the confederation was stopped. In November 1531 the second Kappel treaty permitted the individual cantons to remain with their faith. Those who rejected the faith in their canton, had to emigrate. Joseph Schacher has documented a large number of single persons and whole families who immigrated, during the reformation, from today's Aargau to Luzern. 5 To these - he-does not mention Schacher - the Stirnimanns are counted, and in those years settled themselves in the northern area of the canton of Luzern.

    The Escaped Cross

    In March 1528 in Zofingen the Images of the Founder Church of St. Mauritius were publicly burned. The chroniclers of the small town report, how believer, a man named Stirnimann saved an old image from the destruction. Deacon Johann Jakob Frickhardt writes:

    It happened in the Church that the people tore down three of the large images and burned these to ashes in the court. They carried the remaining images and ornaments out in front of the ? [something to do with riflery or armaments] behind the court where the same was done to them.

    One of these images reportedly was rescued undamaged before the fire by a citizen named Stirnemann and was taken to Reiden where the same [individual] was a citizen.6

    This no doubt concerns the same occurrence, which the Luzern writer Hans Salat in his well-known reformation chronicle wrote as follows:

    When one in Zofingen destroyed and burned the pictures, a good, honorable man took a pretty and very large crucifix ... carried because of the stormers away from them to Reyden [probably Reiden of foregoing paragraph] to the mountain in Saint Joannis church 7

    The two reports complement each other. Frickhardt's writings only a specific image, which was saved to Reiden, according to Salat, it was more precisely a crucifix, which after he saved it was brought to the main parish church of Reiden's on the mountain, the church of Johanniter-Kommende; the name of he, who saved the cross, to Salat either is unimportant, or not interesting; it is however understandable that the name of the man, whose courageous act is not so soon forgotten, is well spoken of in Zofingen. 8

    The mentioned cross is very probably today in the Wikon Castle chapel. Impressive, late-Gothic, the 115 cm [45-1/4 in.] high Christ fastened to a baroque cross - written on the inscription is - in the reformation time "at a place" was thrown in the fire in vain and brought later by the magistrate of Wikon, Jost Rüttimann (1699-1705). 9

    This testifies that the Stirnimann family is in Reiden since the middle of the 16th century. They probably go back to the immigrant, from whom the speech is taken.

    In Wiggertal and Umgebung

    Within the short period of approximately four years, six carriers of the name Stirnimann - it is assumed with their families - established themselves at six different places in the northern part of the canton Luzern, particularly in Wiggertal, the seventh followed about three years later. We know the full names of all seven due to contemporary sources, from six of them the exact or approximate date of their address in the new homeland is known. It is notable that all seven emigrant families established themselves within a narrow, limited area. It probably concerned the members of a kinship closely connected, who planned and executed their emigration together. They all established themselves - with exception of the last immigrant - in communities or on farms, which belonged to and were taxed by the powerful Cloister of St. Michael in Beromünster (Langnau, Triengen, Kätzigen) 10 and the Cistercian Cloister St. Urban (Buchs, Uffikon, Witelingen), who had wealthy estates in this area since old. The foundations and monasteries of the catholic towns were bulwarks in the defense of the new teachings, they allowed faith refugees to all comers, understanding and assistance expected. The land record, 11 the taxes 12 and treasury directories of Beromünster and St. Urban, in addition to the archives of 1528 of Bern, the foundations of Zofingen, together with the year books of the parishes, were the main sources, for us their descendants, about the first immigrants, whose possessions and fates give information. We turn now to the first immigrants and their descendants in the localities concerned.


    The earliest immigrant meets us in Buchs, which covers up to 1809, from Altishofen, which belonged to the vast parish of the Wiggertals. The parish was property the German order command Hitzkirch, which placed the minister - a German order priest - and the administrator of the order agency authority. Also the Beromünster and Zofingen foundation sat on Buchs property. Around 1530 the Zofingen foundation - as with other well-cared-for monasteries and foundations - created farm rental account roles of whose income claimed from the second fief farm mentioned in the books to the great disappointment of the farmers now gone from Bern,:

    f. 90 r: Stirneman sol 2 malter korn und 15 schilling von 1 hof ze Duchs 13

    The year book of Altishofen recorded the presumed first name of this fief farmer: Vester i.e. Silvester. According to a note in the year book Vester Stirnimann has in the year 1536 on the field Hardere Rüti as told in the book of Zügholz responsibility for farm rent of an annual donation. 14 Without doubt the same Vester Stirnimann, the year book reports, that on October16, he for a property in the books replaced the high boss, 15, and designated the annual donation of farm rent to be used for the large bell 16. In the year concerned the Kirchmeier is expressly authorized to settle and relieve them, for the field in question, on which the pledge adhered. Therefore this Vester Stirnimann was Kirchmeier i.e. manager of the church property. This statement adds itself well into the situation at that time in Altishofen. Around 1535 the Luzern authority intervened in Altishofen - as also in Hitzkirch - the new faith minded minister Hans Hüssler issued a law and Damian Egli originating from Luzern was appointed. Until 1542 Luzern administered the parish and the address of the German order in Altishofen - as in Hitzkirch - by a particular guardian and official people. The guarantee of unconditional faith and reliability might have offered 17 a faith refugee in these years of confusion distrust for the post of the Kirchmeiers.

    Silvester Stirnimann is also named in the tax roles of 1555 of the parish church Knutwil.18 Based on this document as well as the land record of St. Urban 19, we know the extensive property of Silvester, to whom also the mill in Buchs belonged, was divided among his four sons, his heirs: Lorenz, Lenz (married Anna Mangolt), Hans (married Anna Thuner) and Bartholomäus or Bartil (married Elisabeth Gut) 20; in 1559 Ammann are last to Altishofen, 21 such that he had descents entitled to take in during the German order-command Hitzkirch.

    Probably the Stirnimann in Buchs and Uffikon came out of Ürkheim. There indications that the first name Silvester, was popular in the Stirnimanns of the Wiggertales until 1700, while it occurred previously in this area. The holy Pope Silvester (314-355) was patron of the parish church of Ürkheim 22 - by the way the only parish church with this patron saint in the entire central Switzerland, 23 which explains again the rarity of this baptismal name. It was already of time immemorial and is until today in catholic areas a most popular custom to name one of the children after the patron of the local church. 24

    In the progress of the 17th century, the Stirnimanns in Buchs leave. In 1687 one of them acquired the mill of Burgrain near Alberswil. 25


    From 1531 to 1544 in Uffikon the book attests, in the nearby neighboring parish Mtishofens, Stephan Stirnimann as a fief farmer of the Zofingen foundation and St. Urban. He might be a brother of Silvester in Buchs 26. The Zofinger of land record 27 is to be taken that Stephan bought around 1530/31 in Uffikon the farm of Hans Vogt, according one land record 28 he also acquired property in Buchs; both plots of land lay obviously nearly together in the boundary zone of the communities Uffikon and Buchs. A son Stephan was perhaps Jon (married Anna Suter), who since 1562 was demonstrable and died on 13 January 1565. 29 In the year book of Uffikon his son Jakob (married Ottilia Gut) was found constable. 30 A latter son Gabriel (*4.4.1608) of Knutwil became the master father of the family there. Silvester Stirnimann was judge in Uffikon in 1662.30b


    The oldest possession, the farm Kätzigen (Kätzingen) belonged to the Cloister Beromünster and Zofingen foundations on one of the forests surrounding Hang southwest of the village of Buchs. The current two towns, Ober- and Unterkätzigen, belong to the community Dagmersellen. A share of the Zofingen foundation retired in 1570 from Bern at St. Urban, in Abtausch against properties situated in St. Urbans in the canton Bern. In the interest-land record of around 1531 Jakob Stirnemann is mentioned in the Zofingen foundation 31 as an earlier owner, he could be therefore the first of the family who immigrated.

    Owners of the Beromünster taxable properties were:

    1542-72 Andres Stirnimann (married Maria Kleeb), in 1572 in Uffikon bought the farm of Uh Fischer 32

    1572-90 Heini Trochsler in the name of Melchior Stirnimann 33

    1590-95 Bartlin Stirnimann in the name of his constable daughter Anna Stirnimann (probably daughter of Andres) 34

    1595-1603 Wolfgang Hunkeler 35


    The family has been demonstrated in Langnau, in Richenthal and Melsecken the largest, which up to the canton boundary belonged to Beromünsters in Wiggertal, since 1532. The chamber book, that is the income-index of the foundation, wrote in 1532 as the first fief farmer to Langnau a Häflinger, under the same hand: gytt jetz Stirnimann. 36 The log of the tenth addition of 1536 gives the first name: Klaus 37; in the chamber book of 1542/43 he is named Kläwy Stirniman. 38 He possesses a sitting house with tree garden and storage, 5-1/2 man work wise country and 16 Jucharten farmlands, which distribute themselves according to the medieval three fields economy among three aimed. 39 From Klaus in 1557 follows Jakob, 40 without doubt his son. In 1570 Klaus Stirnimann sells the inheritance of his farm to Heini Widmer. 41 Around 1571 a Klaus Stirnimann (m. Agatha Schmid), probably a son of Jakob and grandson of Klaus, acquires some property in adjoining Melsecken where the Schmid, and Welnauer, properties were located. 42


    In the years 1534 to 1538, the chamber books of the Propstei Beromünster in Triengen indicate a Heiny Stirnimann 43 the second of three fief farmers who received his farm from Daniel Kesler, who is aforementioned in the chamber book of 1532 still at his place. 44 There is no chamber book between 1532 and 1534, the possibility exists that Heiny Stirnimann already came, in the meantime to Triengen. In the chamber book of 1542, the next after 1538, the name Stirnimann is no longer found.


    3 km south of the village Pfaffnau lays the farm Witelingen (Witteldingen), a fief-farm of the monastery St. Urban and into the 16th century also Niedern Hospital in Burgdorf subject to the payment of interest, comprised 30 man works meadow land and 150 Jucharten of fields and meadows. The farm bordered on Roggliswil and the farms Hertmelingen, Eppenwil, Renzligen and Linegg. 45 The land record (middle 15th Century) registers the sequence of the fief farmers:

    Hentz von Badachtal Peter Stirnenman

    Mathis Knüsel Uoli Bluom (+ after 1562)

    Out of a judicial decree of the Schultheiß and Advisor to Willisau of 5 December 1548, we learn, that Peter Stirnimann [my 10th great grandfather] has acquired the farm Witelingen on Tuesday before St. Nikolaus day 1534. Subject of the complaint was the contract claims of St. Urban. The fief farmer stated before the court how the farm Witelingen had come to him, and that since he had previously paid the rent, as their salesman had indicated, he was to not be charged further interests and be no longer troubled. Under the documents, that he submitted to the judges, we located the letter mentioned above written in the year 1534 46.

    Peter Stirnimann was the only fief farmer of his family in Witelingen. The buyer was Uoli Bluom, his son Hans Bluom without doubt followed between 1662 and 1593. With near certainty we can determine, that Peter Stirnimann had two sons named Heinrich and Ulrich. Heinrich (married Kunigunde Sinner, probably out of the old established family of Pfaffnau) moved to Luthern. Ulrich as the master father of the line of Eppenwil; two of his sons were called Klaus, farmer of Eppenwil, and Andres, probably Müller to Melsecken. 47


    The last immigrant, Sebastian, established himself in Schötz. According to the year book of Altishofen, he has owned there since the year 1537 two plots of land, on which the property taxes of these two yearly donations adhered: the Banholz and the Ufgend field. 48 On both years at the edge it is noted that Bastian Stirnimann has the property at Schötz in the year (15)37. Both plots of land can no longer be assessed, it is certain only that they are to be found in the northern half of the current parish Schötz, that belonged until 1867 to the parish Altishofen.

    Descendants of the Immigrants

    The Stirnimann families before 1800 in the canton Luzern might prove to be descendants of the immigrants resident here from the Reformation. Of the first master seat, the families branched out in the 16th and 17th centuries mainly into the following communities: Reiden, Knutwil, Pfaffnau, Altbüron, Großdietwil, Ettiswil, Neuenkirch, Ruswil. Only those of Knutwil and Ruswil are closely investigated by the families of these communities, of which that remain until today.


    The family is attested in Reiden since 1558. Peter Stirnimann living 2 km north of the village Wikon, is Untervogts [lower constable] of the administration office of the village Wikon in the years 1558-86 49, and in 1569 he is also attested as an Amtssechser. 50 Position and authority of the Untervogts of an office was the same as with the Amtsweibel [Court Sergeant]. Upper position and authorities of these offices is in the last paragraph of this speech. On 4 November Peter Stirnimann erected at the current parish church in Reiden, where Wikon was until before short parish consolidation, a memorial for himself, his three wives Anna Murer, Barbara Kastler and Katharina Lenner, for all their parents, ancestor and descendants. 51 The son Gabriel was also Untervogts to Wikon (1596-1622) 52 and Amtssechser. Also he established in Reiden a memorial (erected 4.4.1623) for himself, his two wives Magdalena Kaufmann and Barbel Schürmann, for his parents Peter and Barbel Murin and for its children Magdalena, Elisabeth, Jakob, Anna, Katharina, Verena, for his ancestors and descendants. The former official, who knew to appreciate obviously a cheerful round entered, - an original in the year foundations - that 3-1/2 guilders of the annual rent was tolerable "an einen ehrlichen Trunkh gewärt werden". 53

    Further sources of the 16th century mention the name carriers:

  • 1564 - Jakob Stirnimann of the Beromünster foundation receives 2 man works named Moßmatten, for it he pays 8 Schilling.

    1571 - this property goes to his son Peter. 54

    1567 - Uoli Stirnimann sold his Reiden property to Hans Fischer of Triengen. 55

    1577 - Andres Stirnimann sells his mill in Melsecken near Reiden to Heini Trocheler. 56

    1578/79 - Peter Stirnimann is attested as a proprietor to the Leuen. 57

    1582 - Vester Stirnimann, Untervogts to Reiden, is negotiator and arbitrator in a contention between the inhabitants of Melsecken and Brittnau.58

  • The important representative of the Reiden family in the 18th and 19th century is Anton Stirnimann (1771-1831), court clerk, governor of the district Altishofen 1801-1802, member of the council 1802, judge to Willisau 1805-11, grand counsel 1814-32, conductor the Johanniter command in Reiden. 59


    The master father of the numerous Knutwil families 60 is baptized as above under Uffikon notes, Gabriel, on 4 January 1608 in Uffikon as a son of the Untervogts Jakob Stirnimann of the Ottilia property. Gabriel (married Barb. Kaufmann) acquired in 1657 in Knutwil beneath the Schmiede the farm later named Gäbelihus (after Gabriel). Gabriel had four sons: Hans, Jost, Jakob and Gabriel. The descendants of the latter are mentioned:

    Joseph (b. 1777, d. 1842, m. Christina Fries), farmer, host to the cross, last clerk of the court of the office Knutwil, upper judge. From his ten sons were:

    Joseph Anton (1804-83), priest, Chaplain in Luzern 1830-39, minister in Romoos 1839-59, Cloister in Beromuenstr 1859, then Kustos 1869.

    Franz Xaver (1812-82), teacher, town clerk, town officer, municipality president, Fuersprech, host to the cross.

    Bernhard (1816-63), office veterinary surgeon.

    In the year 1600, Hans Stirnimann bought the farm Rüeggeringen located 2 km south of the village Neuenkirch from the Willisaü office of Georg and Ulrich Hiltbrand for 3500 guilders.61 The buyer, whose descendants were settled in Rüeggeringen into the 19th century and branched themselves far, came with certainty from Eppenwil.62

    Out of Neuenkirch came the Industrialist Franz Stirnimann (1885 - 1961), the founder of the universally known construction machine factory Franz Stirnimann CORP. in Olten. In the memory of his homeland community, he lived as its largest patron and benefactor.


    The Pfaffnau family stands in no direct connection with that of Witelingen. It has appeared in the church books since 1618. Out Of Pfaffnau, came the Luzern pediatrician M.D. Fritz Stirnimann (1877-1947), who stepped forward as a medical author.

    The family in Altbüron and Großdietwil, whose families are located chiefly abroad today, might have their origin in Eppenwil.

    The Stirnimanns of Ettiswil and Gettnau came from Schötz and Buchs, and branched out to Menznau, Sempach, Luzern and Winterthur. From Ettiswil came the artist painter Friedrich Stirnimann (b. 1841 Ettiswil, d. 1901 Luzern), whom connoisseurs called a fruitful and brilliant artist.63 Twice, in 1901 and 1945, he arranged for the Luzern art museum a display of his versatile work in which the portrait and the genre prevail. The painter trained himself in Karlsruhe, Munich and Paris and was connected in congenial friendship with Arnold Böcklin and Hans Thoma. The work of the master, who is occasionally called the Luzern anchor, has not yet found the appreciation, that he has earned. In Ruswil, the artist painted the Mother of God picture in the Aesch-chapel.

    The Ruswil Family
    [This is our family]

    The most numerous clan by far, until today has held together through strong volumes of friendship and solidarity and maintained its master seat for three and a half centuries in the hills of Ruswil. The origins of the Ruswil family, that were investigated by this author starts at the lakes, from the second year book of the parish church St. Georg in Sursee. That established around 1610, under the 16 April registered book has following wording:

    From Künigund Sinnerin and Peter Stirnimann, their son, ... through their soul's will, as well as Adelheit Bircherin, his wife, Hans, Peter, Hans Jacob, Maria, Barbara, their children, ...60 gulden so that the six priests with the school master shall have a vesper in the evening and in the morning a choral vigil as usual. The contribution was for each priest 12 schillings, the scholar 6 schillings, the sacristy 4 schillings, the patron 20 schillings. 1 18 ß

    In this person's group three generations confront us - in our areas a rather rare case:

    the master father of the Ruswil family: Peter Stirnimann, whose wife: Adelheid Bircher, their children: Hans, Peter, Hans Jakob, Maria and Barbara, the mother of Peter Stirnimann: Kunigund Sinner; but her husband is not called out for unknown reasons.

    The foundation donations are in that solemn year book usual: the six priests of the parish church should begin the year celebration at the eve of the 16 of April with the Seelvesper (Placebo Domino) and in the morning with Lauds, the morning praise of the church hour prayer, then they perform two offerings, i.e. sung first an offering for the dead (requiem), then the mass (Salve sancta parens) in honor of the mother of God. The celebration of the year closed usually with a visit to the graves.

    Out of the interests of the foundation capital of 60 gulden, everyone that had to participate in the memorial receive as usual their share: each priest 12, the school master, who played the organ or directed the singer lads, 6, the Sigrist 4 Schilling. The largest contribution was received as was the general rule, the church patrons, i.e. the God house, and the donation, same 20 or 18 Schilling. 2

    The foundation family was by the words of the year book "uß der Root." It lies 2 km southeast of the village of Buttisholz in a fruitful lower valley of the Ruswil mountains Weiler Roth, which at that time covered several farms. The place received its name from the Roth creek which rises in the heights of the Ruswil mountains, in the lower Sällwald and flows through Weiler Roth toward Großwangen. Weiler Roth, today divided into the lower and upper Roth, belonged until 1819 to the parish Sursee.

    From where did the founders come? The way is shown to us by the surname of Adelheid Bircher. The family of Bircher (today Birrer), originally came from Roggliswil in Pfaffnau, and since the beginning 15th century they settled in Luthern. Indeed the baptism book of the parish church Luthern indicated following three sons of the married couple Peter Stirnimann and Adelheid Bircher:

    19. 1. 1588 Jakob

    2. 4. 1590 Melchior

    3. 6. 1605 Jakob

    The baptism book has a gap from 15 October 1593 to 1 January 1605. Three further children of the same married couple are registered in the baptism book of the parish church Willisau:

    28. 8. 1596 Anna

    12. 8. 1598 Johann Jakob [our ancestor]

    3. 11. 1600 Peter

    Of the five sons mentioned in both baptism books, only Hans Jakob with surety in the Sursee year book is found. The birth of Hans and Peter and both daughters who are mentioned in the year book would fall into the years where the baptism book in Luthern were not kept or the entries became neglected.

    Together with the previous documents now at hand and the earlier mentioned register of the farms and country seat from the year 1583, the name of the husband of Kunigunde Sinner can be determined. The directory names Kilchhöri and a quarter of Luthern: 3

    Heini Stirnenman, Hanß und Peter, sine sün

    It concerns here without doubt the same Heini Stirnemann who established the St. Elogius brotherhood of the parish Luthern - this time with the name Heinrich - who among the first members and donors appears. A later hand set before his name, like most other also, a cross, resulted a reference to his, we may suppose, death in Luthern. This result appears in the spring of 1592 out of a judicial complaint, in which a Wilhelm Müller is constable i.e. representative Heini Stirnemans frauwen. 4

    With greatest probability, Heinrich Stirnimann of Witelingen had come later from Pfaffnau in Luthern and is to be addressed as a son of Peter, who bought the farm mentioned in 1534.5 The Stirnimanns are not represented in Luthern year book, it in the brotherhood of Our Blessed Lady, whose membership register was created in 1511. This permits the conclusion that the family remained only short time in Luthern. After 1607, the family disappears out of the church books.

    Of the reasons, that induced Peter Stirnimann to move with his family from Luthern or Willisau to Ruswil, we are uncertain. It is very well possible that this move was done in connection with the plague that haunted Switzerland in the years 1608-15. Cities, villages and far regions were depopulated and entire families died. Large farms whose owners were carried off could be acquired at low prices. Also in Ruswil the black death held, especially in the years 1611-12, a rich harvest. Perhaps Peter Stirnimann and his mother erected their memorial under the impression of this mass dying.

    The earliest document outside of the church books, that of Roth established the family as a customer, is a debt letter of 5 February 1613. This according to established Peter Stirnimann and Hans, his son, in the office Rußwyl, Sursee kilchgsng, Jakob Steiner in Emmer Kilchgang, office Rothenburg, for a debt of 250 guilders a mortgage for the duration of seven years. His property Grissenegg, which father and son had probably bought on 1 September 1612, from Jakob Steiner for 950 guilders, served as a pledge and is probably why the debt letter in effect was written at that time. 6 The execution of the debt letter was probably not on the occasion of the purchase because of the plague. The property Grissenegg, whose area the purchase letter indicates as 20 Jucharten field and 2 Jucharten forest, borders on the east of Roth. Which property was first acquired by Peter Stirnimann, Roth or Grisseneggg, is not clear. Certainly we have the residence of the master father of the Ruswil family at the place where today the dwelling of the family Muff-Sidier in Untern Roth stands. In the northern wing of the huge double house, that was erected by Leonz Stirnimann in 1705, an age old block house constructed on rock is visible. This block house, that was included into the new construction in 1705, was certainly the dwelling of the first three generations.

    After the marriage of the parish Sursee, the three sons of Peter Stirnimann married in the same sequence as in the year book:

    9. 2. 1613 Hans Stirnimann married Anna Bächler

    18. 2.1624 Peter Stirnimann married Maria Süeß

    18. 8.1630 Hans Jakob Stirnimann married Barbara Bucher [our ancestors]

    For Hans Stirnimann-Bächler, the baptism book of Sursee reports of four children in the years 1614-22. The family is demonstrable in Roth in 1630, afterwards their trace is lost. They probably moved away from Ruswil.

    Peter Stirnimann-Süeß, whose marriage remained childless, drew himself out through his extraordinary social conviction and generosity. He gave the contribution, to which the arms care in the parish attended, 1000 guilders. It was a convincing example of intellectual fatherhood alone or together with his wife, they became the baptism godparents of one hundred children.7 Except the baptizing of his relatives, it concerned chiefly children of homeless parents or out of illegitimate connections. One must view this all on the background of an impoverished, of heavy political and confessional tensions and a confused time. In Germany, the thirty-year war (1618-48) raged, which above all affected Switzerland economically. Also the church books of the Luzern landscape indicate a large quantity beggars and homeless people in these years. In addition came, during the thirty-year war through uncomprehending representatives of the aristocratic city-Regiments, intensified fermentation and discontent of the country people, which exposes itself in 1653 in the farmer war.

    Peter Stirnimann further gave 1000 Gulden to a foundation for an endowment, that he erected in the year 1653 for himself, his wife Maria Süeß, his parents and everyone that was in his family. 8 The endowment was committed by four priests. The toleration of this church foundation, that the farm Goldschrüti had paid, came also to the essential matter of the general public welfare, for all the parish and the needy. The annual interest that amounted to 50 guilder, was to be used 20 guilders for the God house and 30 guilders for the celebration by three different foundations. All those co-operating became generously compensated, but the arms received the largest share in each year with 3 guilders. The endowment of Peter Stirnimann, the highest-minded foundation that was ever erected in Ruswil by many generations, the actual endowment of the family, remained in good standing until in the 19th century its consolidation with other endowments, whose foundation capitals were depreciated. Peter Stirnimann was chairperson of the twing- or village court. He lived in Etzenerlen where he has been demonstrable since 1640. 9 The terrain extending on the northern slope the Ruswil mountains in a length of around 2 km between the farm Sahl and the rear low farm is named Etzenerlen (early Herzenerlen); on the elevation against south, the farms of Etzenerlen knock borders with the Buchmatt, the farm Wießtannen and Kropfmatt, downhill, against north Etzenerlen at Obere Roth, Grissenegg and the farm Ehschwand. Peter Stirnimann probably came later to his home town Etzenerlen. After his death (8. January 1668) the farm went to his brother Hans Jakob [our ancestor] in Roth as the only inheriting person.

    The farm Etzenerlen was since the ages a free property of the Cloister Beromünster foundation. Its owner had to pay the sales taxes to the foundation in an owner change. The foundation required this duty also of Hans Jakob Stirnimann at the start of his inheritance. They never required a sales tax with death or in the case of inheritance, yet they also never denied the tax had been demanded with the establishment of the farm. It would be that the demand of the foundation for the entire office Ruswil was a reform and would touch therefore not only it, but also other office comrades. The lawsuit, in which the Amtsweibel and the Kirchmeier of Ruswil supported as a representative of the office Ruswil the Etzenerler farmer before court, was decided by the Mayor and Advisor of the city Luzern on 17 January 1670 by a solemn judgment: the sales tax is to be paid basically with death or cases of inheritance, however in reduced size.10 After the testimony of the foundation the descendants of Hans Jakob that divided the farm Etzenerlen repeatedly accommodate the office of the license holders up to the relief of the taxes in the 19th century. 11 In the tax directories of the foundation were carefully documented the new owners of each single farm.

    In the year 1668, Hans Jakob acquired, probably as a gift for his daughter Elisabeth (married Walter Meyer, Huprächtigen), for 6500 gulden the farm Huprächtigen in the current community Nottwil.

    Hans Jakob Stirnimann-Bucher died on 1 May 1670 in Roth. On his specific desire, he was not buried in Sursee where he was going to church, but rather in Ruswil. This led to a violent contention between the minister and deacon Johann Fridolin Lindacher of Ruswil and the four gentlemen who managed the parish Sursee. The death record book of Ruswil delivers a detailed, indignant report in Latin on the death incident. 12 The deceased therein is called a pious, charitable, active and esteemed man, who left behind a rather large treasure at a secret place, however with the knowledge of his heirs. 13 The determination of the church would allow it since all believed in the free choice of the funeral.

    Hans Jakob Stirnimann left behind, in addition to three daughters, three sons: Sebastian, Hans [our ancestor] and Peter. The first two divided themselves in that of the father's inheritance. Sebastian received remainder of the farm in Etzenerlen, Hans, the farm in Roth. With the two brothers, the family divided itself into two tribes of Etzenerlen and Roth. The third son, Peter, became a monk of the monastery Muri under the name Jost.

    1. Sebastian (b. 1635, d. 1679, m. 1.1655 Maria Helfenstein, in Neuenkirch, m. 11.1673 Rosina Wüest, in Ruswil) in Gültbriefen and Kaufverträgen of the office Ruswil as a sworn and the court has appeared is named, since 1673 up to his death a judge. The sworn, also champion named, were the Urteilsfinder that did not arrange with the country constable or his representative, whom Amtsweibel, over matters, that climbed ultimately to over 99 guilders. They were furthermore the official assessors of the plots of land, for the correctness of the treasury with its fortune. The sworn were selected by the community officials at the every two years on election day. The chairperson of the twing- or village court was one of the judges. 14 On the 10th or 11th of March 1675 Sebastian undertook a pilgrimage to Rome according to his brother P. Jost in his journal. Sebastian enlarged his property in Etzenerlen through several purchases of adjacent plots of land. In his death, the farm Etzenerlen counted 231.5 Jucharten countries and 24 Jucharten forest. Sebastian left behind two sons: Peter and Walter of which yet the speech will be.

    2. Hans [our ancestor] (b. 1638, d. 1675, m. 1661 Elisabeth Zimmermann, of Schenkon) received the farm in Roth. This comprised at that time the entire 238 Jucharten country and 19 Jucharten forest. The farm was like numerous farms in the area, a fief property of the monastery Muri. After the early death of their father, Hans' two sons Leonz [our ancestor] and Peter divided the farm:

    Leonz [our ancestor] ( b. 1.11.1671, d. 7.11.1715, m. 1691 Elisabeth Bühlmann) received the Untere (lower) Roth. The name Leonz is explained through the relations with the monastery Muri where the worship of the martyred Leontins in the middle of the 17th century arose and spread. Leonz as mentioned above built, about thirty rooms on the comprehensive Luzern farmhouse in 1705, which the originally built block house emerged perhaps around 1600 did not include. 15 In the year 1821 the descendants of the builder of Untere Roth leave. The stately building, with its rich carved ornament, its doors and gables painted, once a master work of Luzern craftsmanship and farm culture, is today just a shadow of its former condition.16 [This farmhouse has since been restored and become a Swiss protected monument].

    Peter (b. after 1667, d. ?, m. 1688 Anna Maria Steiner) established himself in Obern Roth, which was the name of the upper farm. Like several members of the family, Peter was Steuerleger of the office Ruswil. The Steuerleger, also called Steuergeschworener, was significantly responsible for the assessment of the government taxes and common official needs. 17 Peter purchased the current house in Obern Roth, that shows large resemblance with the house in Untern Roth, however. Around the middle of the 19th century, this farm was also abandoned by the descendants.

    3. Peter (*b. 25.2.1654, d. 28.12.1706), the third son Hans Jakobs, joined in 1673 the Benedictine monastery Muri in the Freiamt under the name Jost (Jodocus), he professed as monk, on 4 June 1678 in Luzern under the Pope Nuntius the priest was ordained and celebrated his Primiz on 29 June in Muri. P. Jost accepted in the monastery the office of the grain master (Granarius), whose - it was the age of the Naturalwirtschaft - duties was to collect a tenth share from the fief farms and had supervision over the grain stores. P. Jost left behind - for at that time a rarity -under the title Annale Breve a diary composed in pleasing Latin; only smaller parts are written in German. 18 The diary is considered one of the main sources for the building history of the current monastery church erected in 1695-98, it contains a quantity of culturally and historically interesting observations on events of the time.

    Finally the diary is not the story of the family, with whom the order man remained closely connected, but of large value.19

    We turn back to the two sons of Sebastian Stirnimann: Peter and Walter. They divided in 1684 the farm Etzenerlen. Peter (b. 8.2. 1660, d. 9.1.1709, m. 1682 Anna Brunner, of Rothenburg) received the upper part, approximately the current Hinter -Etzenerlen (115 Juch. Country and 9,5 Juch. Forest). Peter held numerous offices. He was among other things:

    Juror and court controller

    Steuerleger, churches judge

    1694-96 Church Manager

    1696-98 Caretaker of the chapel of Our Blessed Lady

    Since 1696 Amtsweibel (probably up to his death).

    The Amtsweibel, also called the Untervogts , was the permanent representative of the country constable in administration and jurisdiction. With exception of the Landvogts [country constable] of Willisau, the Schloßvogts [lock constable] of Wikon and the Seevogts [lake constable] of Sempach, all Landvogts - until 1798 members of the municipal Patriciate - lived in Luzern, only at the swearing in and on court day were they in their offices. The Amtsweibel concerned the smaller parts of running business and represented the Landvogts in the orderly running of court sessions. In the administration it was the Amtsschreiber [court recorder] who was responsible for the page. The Amtsweibel with his personal seal provided official letters. Although the Amtsweibel's office was used extensively and a large responsibility was imposed upon him, he received only modest compensation. The Amtsweibel was appointed by the Landvogts every two years, either on suggestion of the retiring Amtsweibel or the vote of the men of the office. Under the absolute and exclusive regiments, with which the 28 families of the Luzern Patriciate reigned the Canton Luzern, the office of Amtsweibel was the highest and most desired office to which a member of the rural families could climb.20

    Of the thirteen children of the Amtsweibel Peter Stirnimann, the son Peter fell at the age of 21 years in the battle of Villmergen (1712). His oldest son Hans Jakob was selected in 1736 and 1747 also to the Amtsweibel. He and both brothers Johann Sebastian and Johann August divided the father's farm in the year 1725: the first two receive the farm to Etzenerlen, Johann August received the farm Neu-Sahl that the father in the year 1700 had acquired for 5900 guilders.

    Walter (b. 16.6.1676, d. 13.3.1735, m. 1.1696 Magdalena Marbacher, of Krumbach, m. 11.1732 Elisabeth Erni), the significantly younger step-brother of Peter, received the lower part of the fatherly farm, the area of the current Vorder-Etzenerlen. Walter was furthermore sworn by the court, Amtsvater [office father] that the custody was entrusted to. Also his farm was divided again in 1738 by his two sons Adam and Joseph. Of latter, the Stirnimanns of Ohmstal and Schüpfheim descend.

    From the family in Sahl, Sebastian earns mention (22.10. 1796); he was judge and Amtsvater and belonged in about 1781 to the church community order fourth-commission, that prepared the building of the current parish church and named both Jakob Purtschert from Pfaffnau and Jakob Singer from Tyrol building masters.

    Until today three families manage and own the farms in Etzenerlen left by the fathers through three centuries. Also the Sahl-farm remained, after a short interruption, until today in the property of the family.

    The following farms in the community Ruswil were except for the previously mentioned over shorter or longer periods of time or are until today in the property of the family: Bleischür, Buchmatt, Deckenhonig, Geißbach, Kastlergut, Ober-Merzenherg, Musegg, Nellenhüsli., Ober-Eichig, Obere Schwärzi, Paradiesli, Sonnenrain, Strick, Than, Hinterer Lochhof, Vorderer Lochhof, Windbühl.

    The Ruswil family spread itself into numerous communities of the Canton Luzern and abroad. Today members of the Ruswil family are in all cities of Switzerland, in Germany, France and found overseas.

    Except for P. Jost mentioned above, the following are all confessed priest and order men:

    P. Fortunat (Leonz) b. 5.11.1733 in Untere Roth, monk of the Franciscan monastery Werthenstein; worked 18 Years as a preacher in that monastery assigned part of the time to parishes in Bremgarten and Muotathal, d. Werthenstein 12. 8. 1808. 21

    Out of a family, that moved from Ruswil to Mittelarig to Neuenkirch, three brothers originate: [These three were brothers of my great grandfather Jakob Stirnimann]

  • P. Karl (Klemens), b. 13. 12. 1842, Kapuziner, proffessed 1862, priest consecration 1865, preacher, Guardian in Schüpfheim and Näfels, d. Zug 2.6.1897.

    P. Sigismund (Anton), b. 18. 8. 1844, Kapuziner, professed 1867, priest consecration 1870, preacher and Beichtvater, d. Arth 18.1.1904.

    P. Leodegar (Pius), *b. 4. 12. 1855, monk of the Benedictine monastery Einsiedeln, professed 1876, priest consecration 1882, teacher at the secondary school, Kurat in Groß 1888, minister in Feusisberg 1896, d. there 7.4.1904.

    Out of Etzenerlen came Eduard, b. 10.6.1865, world priest, priest consecration 1893, Vikar in Pfaffnau 1893-95, in Malters 1895-96, chaplain in Buttisholz 1896-1917, Cloister in Beromünster 1917, member of the foundation administration since 1933, d. Beromünster 9.12.1937.

  • * * *

    The 19th and 20th centuries with their profound changes, the arising of industry, the developments in technology and economy also opened new tasks and possibilities for the Ruswil family. Also the distribution of the farms finally reached its limits. Numerous young persons leave the paternal hold or the closer homeland and turned themselves to other occupations. Today members of the family are active in most occupations, carry modern work processes, its economy and technology.

    A sociological investigation of the Ruswil family would prove three prevailing occupations: farmers, official and social occupations. Until today, a notable number of the families remained faithful to the status of farmer. Always the family placed remarkably many officials. Members of the family occupied since the 17th century until today most offices, which were assigned by community, parish, church community and officials in Ruswil. As representative of the numerous officials, who are today in the service of the general public, three men are mentioned, who enjoyed in the last decades in Ruswil the undivided confidence and attention of their fellow citizens:

    Johann Stirnimann-Meier (1868-1930), grand council, municipality president arms caretaker, managing director;

    His brother: Jost Stirnimann-Hodel (1875-1947), for 40 years high-earned teachers of the boys secondary level school;

    The first son: Hans Stirnimann-Grüter (1905-1968), community leader, grand council during a legislative period, manager, president and member of the board of directors of numerous agricultural associations.

    It is unmistakable final the course to the Social occupation. Several members of the family took themselves in the 18th and 19th centuries as an Amtsvater, which office corresponds to the current arms caretaker of the orphaned and of the life-long handicapped. The numerous nuns connect themselves, who nurse, caretaker and caretakers, physician assistant, welfare service and children guardians, who stand unselfish in the service of their fellow men. And the numerous teachers would not be forgot and teachers who dedicate themselves to the upbringing and development of our youth.

    On 6 September 1970 in Ruswil, a place was found for a carefully prepared conference of the families Stirnimann, 22 to that, in addition to the members of the Ruswil family, all Stirnimann name carriers of the Canton Luzern were invited. Against 250 persons out of the entire German speaking Switzerland were found in Ruswil. The conference began with a religious service in the parish church. The members met themselves in the country inn Eintracht in Rüediswil, whose roomy halls three painters of the family (Marie Stirnimann, Luzern; Alois Stirnimann, Dättlikon-Zurich; Werner Stirnimann, Männedorf) with their paintings (representations of the master seat and farm houses of the family) had decorated. In a display case, documents, records and pictures - original and photocopies - to the story of the family were issued. An artistically formed pedigree found general notice. Community president Adolf Bühler directed a greeting word to the meeting. The author gave a presentation about "the family Stirnimann in the Canton Luzern". The esteemed name researcher and genealogist Dr. Alfred Helfenstein, Luzern, gave an origin interpretation of the surname.


    Table I

    Table II

    Table III

    Table IV

    Table V

    Table VI

    Table VII