Swiss Origins

Cover photo from the booklet “Die Kirche Rued, Festschrift zum Abschluss der Renovation, 1962-1965,” Herausgegeben von der Kirchenpflege Rued.


Origin of the Family

The original information that I had from Walheim up to the time
I visited it in 1974 only left me with the strong suspicion that the
family was originally Swiss. All that I knew for certain was that
the family went back to a Jacob Bollinger who died in Walheim in 1756 and that there was what appeared to be another Bollinger family, Daniel the father and Johann Rudolph the son, from Rüd, Switzerland.  I was unable to connect them. The visit to Walheim, however, produced records which demonstrated that Johann Rudolph was the father of Jacob Bollinger, also known as Johann Jacob and Hans Jacob Bollinger.  Instead of the family having arrived in Walheim in the early 1700’s, as I originally thought, Johann Rudolph, probably with his father Daniel, arrived as early as 1683 if not earlier.

The Swiss embassy in Washington, D.C. said that the most likely prospect for the Rüd referred to in the Walheim records was the Rüd (Rued) Valley in the canton of Aargau in southern Switzerland, about equidistant from Zurich, Basel, and Lucerne. In that valley were three hamlets, Schlossrued, Kirchrued, and Schmidrued. The embassy based its conclusion on what it found in a major reference work in Switzerland, the Familiennamenbuch der Schweiz, a publication in several volumes, which lists the origins of family names. For Bollinger (and Bolliger) it lists several different places of origin in Switzerland but the only Rüd (or Rued) is Schlossrued and Schmiedrued in the Rued Valley.

Although the Rued Valley is not particularly close to Berne, the reference in the Walheim records to the Rüd in question being in the district of Berne was borne out by the statement of the archivist for Aargau Canton (where the Rued Valley is located now) that prior to 1798 Rued was in the state of Berne.

Also according to the archivist of the Canton of Aargau, the family name was spelled variously as Bollinger and Bolliger. Both spellings appear in the early records but now all the Bollingers are gone and only Bolligers are left. A check of the phone books for Schlossrued and Schmidrued in 1974 showed 12 and 15 Bolligers respectively but no Bollingers. I had lunch at an inn in Schlossrued run by a Bolliger family and took a photo of a Bolliger business of some sort.

My stay in Switzerland was not long enough to find definite evidence of the emigration of Daniel and Johann Rudolph Bollinger to Walheim but records that are to be translated for me may have this information or evidence bearing on it. In addition, the archivist at the Aargau cantonal library in Aarau, Switzerland, found the Register of Rent Payers of the Rued Valley of 1667-1677. Johann Rudolph would have been too young to have been listed. His father, Daniel, however, would have been the right age during that decade. The archivist located a single listing of a Daniel Bollinger who had been recorded as paying rent consisting of 3/4 of a bushel of dinkel (wheat) and 3/4 of a bushel of haber (oats) to the farm of Hans Würglers at Schiltwald. The archivist noted that during this period the name Daniel was fairly uncommon. All this suggests the strong possibility that this Daniel was the same one who was the father of Johann Rudolph Bollinger and our ancestor.

The Family Fortunes

If the Daniel referred to in the Register of Rent Payers is our Daniel, it suggests that he was only a tenant farmer at the time. The emigration to Walheim, some 150 miles south, in the late 1600’s would seem to confirm the family’s lack of economic resources. If the move took place in 1677, the end of the period reflected in the Register of Rent Payers, Daniel might have been about 34 and his son Johann Rudolph only 14.

(The rest of this memo appears in the website page

Kirche Rued

Centerfold photo of the Kirche Rued ca. 1965 from the booklet “Die Kirche Rued, Festschrift zum Abschluss der Renovation, 1962-1965,” Herausgegeben von der Kirchenpflege Rued.

“Die Kirche Rued” – Translation of portions and the original booklet

Since our Bolliger ancestors almost certainly worshiped at Die Kirche Rued, I had portions of the booklet “Die Kirche Rued, Festschrift zum Abschluss der Renovation, 1962-1965” translated into English back in the 1970s.  The few editorial comments are those of the translator. To view the translation, click on the pfd file: Translation of portions of Die Kirche Rued.

To view the original booklet as published in German, click on the pdf file: Die Kirche Rued.   Even non-speakers of German will find the illustrations interesting.

For more on the church, visit its website here.  To see where Kirchrued is on a map, click here.  For a German-language Wikipedia article on Schlossrued, click here.