Author Topic: Advice Researching Swiss Great Grandfather!  (Read 472 times)

Offline lyleswart

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Advice Researching Swiss Great Grandfather!
« on: Friday 02 July 21 20:00 BST (UK) »
Hello Everyone,

I'm hoping to get some practical advice from those more experienced in researching Swiss relatives from outside Switzerland.  I understand some of the challenges with Swiss privacy laws and - unfortunately! - a trip to Switzerland isn't in the cards now.  Here's what I know.  My great-grandfather, Anton Gottlieb Gsell, was born in Chur, Graubünden 25 January 1872.  (He died 9 March 1932 in South San Francisco, CA.). Anton's parents were listed as Frank Gsell and McLeni Roffel on his 1900 Illinois marriage license to my great grandmother, Theresa Panek.  Conversely, a Mary Gustman of Schiers, Graubünden is listed as Anton's next-of-kin (parent/guardian) in an 1898 Spanish-American War document.  Anton had two brothers who immigrated to the USA, Peter Johan Benedickt Gsell (born 1876, Chur) and Hermann Victor Gsell (1873).  I have not found any parental info for either brother. 

On the Register of Swiss Surnames, only two entries are listed for Gsell in Graubünden: 1853 in Chur and 1851 in nearby Castiel.  Both are originally from Germany.  I'm assuming I'd find Anton and brothers (plus parents) listed in a "Family Record Document" as one of these should be their town of origin.  Right?

So, being in the USA, how do I go about getting their Family Record Document?  Can I email the local civil registration office in Chur (below) to explain the situation and request the Family Record Document for Anton?  Or should I ask for something else?  Will they require proof of kinship?  What kind?

Any advice from someone who has navigated these Swiss waters from afar is appreciated!

Best,
Lyle

Civil Registry Office Plessur
Klostergasse 11, PO Box 850
7001 Chur
za@chur.ch



Offline garstonite

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Re: Advice Researching Swiss Great Grandfather!
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 04 July 21 07:49 BST (UK) »
I personally think the names are slightly different - Frank - Peter etc are Anglicised names - IE English sounding - was Peter Pierre ?
please don't be offended
Franz and Bernhard Gsell born in Chur - 1850 - 1900 are the only ones I can find
https://en.geneanet.org/fonds/individus/?size=10&sexe=&nom=gsell&ignore_each_patronyme=&prenom=&prenom_operateur=or&ignore_each_prenom=&place__0__=&zonegeo__0__=Graubunden%2C+Grisons%2C+Switzerland&country__0__=CHE&region__0__=GRA&subregion__0__=&place__1__=&zonegeo__1__=&country__1__=&region__1__=&subregion__1__=&place__2__=&zonegeo__2__=&country__2__=&region__2__=&subregion__2__=&place__3__=&zonegeo__3__=&country__3__=&region__3__=&subregion__3__=&place__4__=&zonegeo__4__=&country__4__=&region__4__=&subregion__4__=&type_periode=between&from=&to=&exact_month=&exact_day=&exact_year=&go=1

but - this may give you pointers to Anton / Frank / Peter possible Swiss spelt Christian names - sooner you than me ...lol
14,211 results for Switzerland

https://en.geneanet.org/fonds/individus/?size=10&sexe=&nom=gsell&ignore_each_patronyme=&prenom=&prenom_operateur=or&ignore_each_prenom=&place__0__=&zonegeo__0__=Switzerland&country__0__=CHE&region__0__=&subregion__0__=&place__1__=&zonegeo__1__=&country__1__=&region__1__=&subregion__1__=&place__2__=&zonegeo__2__=&country__2__=&region__2__=&subregion__2__=&place__3__=&zonegeo__3__=&country__3__=&region__3__=&subregion__3__=&place__4__=&zonegeo__4__=&country__4__=&region__4__=&subregion__4__=&type_periode=between&from=&to=&exact_month=&exact_day=&exact_year=&go=1
and the best of luck  :)
oakes,liverpool..neston..backford..poulton cum spittal(bebington)middlewich,cheshire......   sacht,helgoland  .......merrick,herefordshire adams,shropshire...tipping..ellis..  jones,garston,liverpool..hartley.dunham massey..barker. salford

Offline garstonite

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Re: Advice Researching Swiss Great Grandfather!
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 04 July 21 07:57 BST (UK) »
OK - I have found Peter - but you may have this info anyway ??  says born ZHUR Switzerland - is that the Swiss way of spelling it ??

https://gw.geneanet.org/melbamartin66?n=gsell&oc=&p=peter+johan+benedickt

oakes,liverpool..neston..backford..poulton cum spittal(bebington)middlewich,cheshire......   sacht,helgoland  .......merrick,herefordshire adams,shropshire...tipping..ellis..  jones,garston,liverpool..hartley.dunham massey..barker. salford


Offline pb_devon

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Re: Advice Researching Swiss Great Grandfather!
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 04 July 21 08:22 BST (UK) »
Hi Lyle,
The short answer is email the civil registry and ask! Don’t worry about writing in English ( do not use an online translation as it will be terrible!) as they should be able to deal with it.  There may be a charge but it will produce a copy of the famlienschein. Ask also for any other linked family records they may have going backwards.
It’s over 100 years ago so no family connection evidence required, though useful to mention it.
I’ve had much useful contact with other registry’s in Switzerland so can vouch for their helpfulness, after all it’s a bit of revenue for them!
Good luck, and let us know how you get on.
Oh, the next issue will be reading the old German script but come back here to ask.
Cheers,
Paul.

PS: It is Chur with a ‘C’…a lovely old town.

Offline pb_devon

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Re: Advice Researching Swiss Great Grandfather!
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 04 July 21 09:29 BST (UK) »
Other avenues for research:
The Canton Genealogical Society. http://www.rvff.ch/
The very active forum. https://www.geneal-forum.com/phpbb/phpBB3/index.php Instructions to join in english and will accept and answer posts in english.

Offline davecapps

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Re: Advice Researching Swiss Great Grandfather!
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 04 July 21 10:24 BST (UK) »
german privacy laws guard documents for
Births 110 years
Marriage 80 years
death 30 yeras
after that they are handed over to the Archive. Then there is no kinship evidence required.
I think Switzerland will be about the same


Here´s a link to the Staats Archiv Graubünden 
people who aquired citizenship in Graubünden 1801 to 1960, search for Gsell
https://www.gr.ch/DE/institutionen/verwaltung/ekud/afk/sag/dienstleistungen/bestaende/kantonalesarchiv/Documents/QR_1-3b_STAR.pdf

Dave

Offline mowsehowse

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Re: Advice Researching Swiss Great Grandfather!
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 04 July 21 17:17 BST (UK) »
Thanks for the reminder about the Geneal forum.... apparently I registered last year, and then forgot all about it!  :'(
Fingers crossed.
BORCHARDT in Poland/Germany, BOSKOWITZ in Hungary + Austria, BUSS in Baden, Germany + Switzerland, FEKETE in Hungary + Austria, GOTTHILF in Hammerstein + Berlin, GUBLER in Switzerland, KONIG in Germany, KRONER  & PLACZEK in Poland.

Also: ROWSE in Brixham, Tenby, Hull & Ramsgate. Strongman, in Falmouth. Champion. Coke. Eame/s. Gibbons. Passmore. Pulsever. Sparkes in Brixham & Ramsgate. Toms in Cornwall. Waymoth. Wyatt.

Offline lyleswart

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Re: Advice Researching Swiss Great Grandfather!
« Reply #7 on: Sunday 04 July 21 20:04 BST (UK) »
Hello,

Many thanks to everyone for your helpful posts; much appreciated!

Paul, your recommendation for General Forum was prescient.  I had posted there simultaneously and hit the proverbial jackpot a few hours ago.  Another General Forum member was generous enough to post a transcript of Chur's Familienregister for Anton!  I'm very grateful.  His parents apparently were Peter Franz Gottlieb Gsell (1842-1879) and Magdalena Zust (1842-).  I am following up with the City Archives at Chur to request/purchase copies of the actual documents. 

Here is a link to the General Forum thread (Graubünden subdirectory, Gsell von Chur GR subject) should anyone want to check it out.  https://www.geneal-forum.com/phpbb/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=30850&p=113314#p113314

Many thanks again,
Lyle

Offline pb_devon

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Re: Advice Researching Swiss Great Grandfather!
« Reply #8 on: Monday 05 July 21 17:25 BST (UK) »
Hi Lyle,
You have indeed hit the jackpot!
The enqury to either/both civil registry /archives should produce copies of original documents which will go nicely with the extracted records you’ve received.
Well done,
Paul