Name: Ulrich SCHURCH
Birth: ABT 1666 in Sumiswald, Bern, Switzerland
Death: 1763 in Lancaster, Pa
Change Date: 10 JUN 2011
Ulrich was my ggggggg-grandfather.
Switzerland had lots of trouble with the Mennonites or Anabaptists (called the Taufer). From the mid-1500?s they struggled to stop them and though some were executed in the 1500?s, their descendents continued in the faith and spread. There were widespread pockets of followers of this sect in the Cantons of Berne and Zurich and by the mid-1600?s the Swiss became desparate to get rid of them. Many of them were put in prison, had their property confiscated, were exiled, or were sold into slavery to be used as French or Italian galley slaves in the war with the Turks, but they often persisted in returning to their homeland.
Though individuals and families had occasionally fled Swiss persecution in the 1500?s to join other Anabaptists in the Palatinate, the first group of Swiss Mennonites emigrated in 1660 to neighboring Palatinate and Alsace. The persecution continued for another 100 years causing many more Mennonites from Berne and Zurich to emigrate to Alsace and the Palatinate. Many of these immigrants eventually ended up in Lancaster County, PA.
The largest group of emigrants left Switzerland in 1710-11. This was a forced emigration with the Swiss escorting a large group of Mennonites to Holland, hoping they would continue on to America. Boats took them from Berne and Neufchatel, down the Rhine to Holland. On one ship was ?Ulrich Schurch from Sumiswald.? The Swiss used this tactic of free ship passage for the next 150 years to get rid of unwanted citizens. The only catch was they had to promise never to return to Switzerland. This 1710-11 group was the first group to come to America, settling in Lancaster County, PA., and as soon as they were settled they sent a representative back to Switzerland and Germany to bring others over.
from National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Oct, 1919, Vol. VIII, No. 3, p. 33-41, ?Some Lancaster County Families from the Canton of Berne, Switzerland (by Prof. Oscar Kuhns), p. 39.
In the deportation of Mennonites from the Dominion of Sumiswald, Switzerland in 1711, Ulrich Schurch and wife, Barbara, natives of Emmenthaler, were on the list of prisoners in the Berne jail, July 27, 1710, and were deported in 1711 on a ship to Amsterdam, Holland. Ulrich was also on a list of prisoners to Amsterdam Sept 29, 1711. At that time they had 3 sons & 1 daughter and evidently stayed in Holland for 17 years.
They came to America on the Mortonhouse, Aug 24, 1728; landing at Philadelphia. On this same ship was Frederick Leder (whose grandson much later married Ulrich's gr-granddaughter).
He died 1763 (98 years old) at Lancaster, Pa; buried Conestoga cemetery.
His descendants remained Mennonites for many generations, particularly those who stayed in the Lancaster vicinity.
Father: Peter SCHURCH b: 6 OCT 1639 in Sumiswald, Bern, Switzerland
Mother: Christiana RIGGISBACHER
Barbara GRUNDBACHER b: 1672 in Sumiswald, Bern, Switzerland
- Joseph SHERRICK b: ABT 1700 in Basel, Switzerland
- Ulrich B SCHURCH b: in Switzerland
- Peter SCHURCH b: in Switzerland
- Martha SCHURCH b: in Switzerland
- Jeannette SCHURCH b: in Holland
- Caspar SCHURCH b: in Holland
- Michael SCHURCH b: in Holland
- John SCHURCH b: in Holland