Category Archives: Ken Badertscher family

Sidetracked in Memorabilia–Llewellyn Badertscher Family

Memorabilia Table

Memorabilia table

NOTE (October, 2023):  An email from a relative of Lewellyn Badertscher, added a lot to my understanding of the man.


Every once in a while, I take a break from telling my family stories–like the Smith family that I have been researching for over a month now– and sort through some of the many boxes of memorabilia that clutter our office and closet.  That can lead me in unexpected directions. Yesterday among my souvenirs, I discovered the obituary of Llewellyn Badertscher, which led me to spending a day piecing together his family for my husband’s Badertscher family tree.

Before I found Llwellyn’s obituary, however, I had also found a clutch of photos of me with political luminaries that must be scanned and framed and at some point written about.  I did share one of them on Facebook. (If you want to friend me on Facebook, look for Vera Marie Badertscher.)

I found newspaper clippings from the late 60s/early 70s when we lived in Scottsdale.  There was my husband, Ken on the front page of the Scottsdale Daily Progress in his role as board member for the Maricopa County Community Colleges.  And other editions had pictures of me participating in activities with Scottsdale Junior Women’s Club. And, from news farther afield, two front page articles about man landing on the moon! More subjects for future stories here under the “Slice of My Life” title.

Men land on moon.

Headline:Men land on moon. Arizona Republic, July 21, 1969.

Speaking of Scottsdale Progress, there was this sheet of pictures of my mother delivering newspapers. No–she wasn’t really.  She was posing when one of my sons was a newspaper boy in 1970s.  It surely is one of the best photo we have of her in her later years. Something else to share in the future.

Grandma delivers the news

Harriette/Grandma Kaser delivering the paper. 1970s, Scottsdale

And my entire date book from Ohio State in 1960.  This week I graduated from college, but commencement wasn’t the event that rated bold capital letters!

1960 Date Book

And I found a picture of Paul Badertscher, my husband’s father, teaching at a tiny school called Moscow that doesn’t even exist any more (the town OR the school).  There could be more told about the crossroads of Moscow, also. Oh my, I’ve never really written a story about Paul Badertscher and his many occupations and long teaching career. In fact when I was writing about Ken’s family, I got drawn to the maternal side of the family, and never did pursue the Badertschers beyond their arrival in Ohio.

Which brings us back to Llewellyn Badertscher’s obituary. The undated obituary, fortunately, had a specific birth and death date for Llewellyn (who turns out to be Ken’s first cousin once removed.)  The author of the obit also included a complete list of Llewellyn’s brothers and sisters, as well as his parents, John and Ida.  Well, I thought, this will be a piece of cake to expand the Badertscher line by adding this entire family to Ken’s tree.  Except for one thing–we didn’t know how Llewellyn Badertscher connected to the rest of the tree.

Swiss Immigrants Frederick and Mary Badertscher

Frederick Badertscher Sr and wife Mary. Photo From These are the parents of both Frederick, Ken’s grandfather and John, father of Llewellyn Badertscher. Probably taken in the late 1800’s. They emigrated to Ohio from Switzerland in 1881 with several children.

Because of his birth date, I could tell that Llewellyn Badertscher must have been the child of a sibling of Frederick Badertscher (Jr.), Ken’s grandfather, so I needed to find a brother of Frederick named John. Although I did not remember having Frederick’s siblings on the tree,I DID!

With such an uncommon name, I figured I could easily find Llewellyn Badertscher on Ancestry, and sure enough, he popped right up, along with his birth certificate confirming the mother and father listed in the newspaper.  At this point I was feeling downright cocky and started adding the brothers and sisters from the obituary to my tree. Those that the newspaper obit had designated as deceased, I marked as ‘Died Bef Dec.1998’ (the month of Llewellyn’s death).

Ancestry furnished me with plenty of hints (green leaves) as I went along, and I decided to add only birth and death dates and marriage dates and spouses. The birth certificates listed mother’s maiden name, so I learned that Llewellyn Badertscher’s mother Ida was Ida Sprunger and having the maiden name led to birth and death dates, (1883-1909) That was fine until I ran into children who were born after 1909–after Llewellyn Badertscher’s mother, Ida, had died. Whoops. In fact, at first it looked like she only had two children, and Llewellyn, born in 1909, certainly would have been her last.

Turns out the “Fannie” that I had assumed was a nickname for Ida indicated another wife.  So I went back and changed those children born after Ida’s death date to “Mother: Fannie (unknown)” until a birth certificate of one of the children gave me Fannie’s last name. She became Fannie Sommer (1883-1945). (And I went back and changed HER record.)

It was boring work, but I thought I was close to the end.  You guessed it–one more problem popped up.   Albert proved difficult to find because there were a lot of Alberts, plus they lived in various locations rather than staying put in Wayne County, Ohio as the others did. He had a birthdate of 1897 or 1898.  That would mean Ida gave birth to him when she was 13 or 14 years old.  Possible but not probable.  The problem got worse when his sister Irene’s data showed she arrived in 1894! Fortunately, her birth Certificate showed her mother’s name–Barbara Amstutz.

Finally I found documentation for Barbara’s birth and death, and it proved that John Badertscher indeed did marry three women because twice he became a widow.  John fathered at least12 children, listed below. Sadly, two daughters died as young teenagers and the obituary of Mary Jane, who died at 16, mentions two infant deaths and another young death before she died in 1936– that other young person was her older sister who died at 15, 5 1/2 years before Mary Jane.

Father: John Badertscher, b. 1867 in Switzerland, Immigrated in 1881 with his father and brothers. John worked as a farmer his entire life. Died November 19, 1934, in Kidron, Wayne County, Ohio.

1st Wife: Barbara Elizabeth Amstutz (May 31 1871-March 27, 1900)

Children of John and Barbara:

Irena Badertscher Nov 17, 1894,Kidron Ohio;  m. Daniel Morand; D. Jan 4, 1968, Decatur Indiana

Albert Wilson Badertscher , January 9, 1897, Riley, Putnam, Ohio; M. Edna Diller; Nov 16, 1960, Cleveland, Ohio (Specifics of Death not yet proven)

2nd Wife: Ida Sprunger December 16, 1877-February 10, 1909; Married August 13, 1905

Children of John and Ida:

Milton Badertscher: Born about 1905; M. Mabel. Died perhaps Dec 22, 1966 (Attended four years of college at Bluffton College and became a school principal.)

Ivan L. Badertscher: Born July 20, 1906; M. Pauline Mae Gerber June 27, 1943; D.Jan 30 1997, Goshen, Indiana. Attended Bluffton College. In 1940, still single, he was living with his brother Llewellyn.

FLorence Pearl Badertscher: Born November 8 1907, Kidron, Ohio; M. Henry Clair Amstutz Aug 12 1934; D. September 5, 2001, Goshen, Indiana.

Llewellyn Badertscher, Jan 25, 1909; M. Verna S. Bixler, June 8 1946; D. September 24, 1998. Llewellyn was a farmer and then an electrician. He was single until he was 37 years old, and apparently had no children.

3rd Wife: Fanny M. Sommer

Children of John and Fanny:

Hulda A. Badertscher, Born April 29, 1913, Kidron, Ohio; M. Charles J. Graves August 10, 1940; D. February 1990, Maple Heights, Ohio.

Ida Sarah Badertscher, Born January 24, 1916, Kidron, Ohio; Died May 10, 1931 at Age 15.

Martha S. Badertscher, B. February 12, 1919;Kidron, Ohio M. ____Klett; Died February 16, 1904, Ohio

Mary Jane Badertscher, B. April 18, 1920, Kidron Ohio; Died December 25, 1936.  This 16-year-old girl died on Christmas day.

Thomas L. Badertscher, B. November 1, 1924, Kidron, Ohio;  M. Effie Irene Amstutz; D. November 25, 1998, Kidron, Wayne County, Ohio. I have found very little about Thomas.

In addition to these children, the newspaper obituary of Mary Jane identifies two infant deaths. One of those would be Milo, unk. birth and death dates. We don’t even know who is mother was. And if there was another infant boy who died, as the newspaper said, he also is unknown.

It turned out to be more complicated than I thought, but aren’t famIlies always complicated?

What’s in a name – Amstutz

The VERY LAST, FINAL entry in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge!!

Okay, I know it is not the 52nd week of the year, but I’m working ahead so I can take two weeks off. For this final entry in the 52 weeks challenge, I chose to go back to the very first of Ken’s Amstutz ancestors to be mentioned in the John Amstutz Family History book by James O. Lehman. Since we don’t know much about that first in the line of ancestors named Johannes Amstutz, I’ll also take a look at the meaning of the name and the origin of the family.

Johannes Amstutz, 1673; Johannes Amstutz, 1705; and Johannes Amstutz, 1735

In the 17th century, the Amstutz family had its roots in beautiful Sigrisiwl, above Lake Thun in Bern Switzerland. The church records of Sigriswil only go back to 1671, and two years after they started recording births, we can read about Hans and Barbara Am-Stutz, who had one son, Johannes,born November 23, 1673. Hans would be Kenneth Ross Badertscher’s 9th great-grandfather (Our grandchildren’s 11th great-grandfather!)

Johannes (1673), Ken’s 8th great grandfather, married Verena Schroter in 1693. She was from an area north of Sigriswil, and that family probably lived in Sigriswil. Their children were Anna, Magdalena and Johannes (1705).

Johannes (1705), Ken’s 7th great-grandfather, married Susanna Duperret and they lived in the Alsace region, like Johannes (1823). Their children were Peter, Maria, Susanna, Johannes (1735), David and Ester.

Johannes (1735), Ken’s 6th great-grandfather, lived in Langnau, Switzerland in the Emmenthal Valley. (Ever hear of Emmenthal Swiss Cheese?)  He married Elizabeth Neuenschwander and the couple had three sons, Johannes (1771) (Ken’s 5th great-grandfather), Christian and Michael.  James Lehman notes that “The family probably lived for a while at La Sagne, Switzerland, several miles from the French border (between the border and Lake Neuchatel).”  He gives no documentation for that statement, however, as we have seen in the stories of  Johannes (1797) (4th great-grandfather), Johannes (1823) (3rd great-grandfather) and John L. (1848) (2nd great-grandfather), the family clustered in northwestern Bern, near the French border, with some even living in France for a time.

Sigriswil was the home of ten or more families named Amstutz, or Am-Stutz when Johannes (1673), that early entry in the chruch records, was born.  Lehman says that the name “Am Stutz or Amstutz means “on the steep” and first appears in the chronicles of the 14th century.” says: ” topographic name for someone living near or at the foot of a steep mountainside, German am Stutz ‘at the escarpment’.”

Members of the family moved north to the Jura Mountains and into Alsace, France in the 18th century. Lehman states that they probably were not Mennonites until they moved to the Jura and Alsace.

This information agrees with the online encyclopedia of all things Mennonite, in an article from 1953, so that may have been his source. Certainly the movement patterns of Ken’s Amtstutz ancestors follows the pattern described below–moving from Sigriswil into the Münster District although Ken’s family seemed to lag behind the general movement. See Johannes 1797 and Johannes 1823. However, when it comes to migrating to the United States, their travel in 1871 came near a peak of Amstutz families immigrating in 1881, when 16 Amstutz families went to the United States. According to Ancestry, 8 Amstutz families immigrated in 1871. An earlier wave, almost as high happened in 1854.

Note that the John Amstutz mentioned moving from Chatelet to Sonnenberg in 1819 is not Ken’s family, but an earlier Amstutz family who moved to Sonnenberg. Thus when Ken’s Johannes Amstutz and his son John L. Amstutz emigrated, they were following a well-trod path of Amstutz migration.

From Global Mennonite Encylopedia On Line
Article by Delbert L. Grz 1953

…It appears that no members of the Amstutz family were Anabaptists while living at Sigriswil. Members of the family figured in the migration from German-speaking Switzerland to French-speaking Switzerland. They settled in the district of Münster in the Bernese Jura in the first half of the 18th century. Here most of the family became Anabaptist. One Amstutz family has lived in the commune of Chatelat for more than 150 years. In 1743 members of the Amstutz family settled at Massevaux, Alsace. During the following three decades other members of this family located to the south in the commune of Florimont and across the French border in the district of Pruntrut, Switzerland. Another Amstutz family settled in the principality of Montbéliard. It is quite certain that none were Mennonites before arriving in these settlements but most of them joined after their arrival.

Most of the members of the Mennonite branch of the Amstutz family immigrated to America early in the 19th century. Some of the first of this family to immigrate were John B. Amstutz and his sister Anna in 1818, who settled in the Allen-Putnam counties, Ohio, continuity. Another John Amstutz left the commune of Chatelat near Münster in 1819 and became one of the early settlers of the Sonnenberg Mennonite settlement in Wayne County, Ohio.

The name Amstutz is one of the most frequent family names among the Swiss Mennonite settlements of Sonnenberg, Crown Hill in Wayne County, Ohio, and Bluffton-Pandora, Ohio.


Notes on Research
“Amstutz (am Stutz, Am Stutz, Stutz, Amstuz, Amstoutz) family. by Gratz, Delbert L. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 17 Dec 2015.,_Am_Stutz,_Stutz,_Amstuz,_Amstoutz)_family&oldid=119451

John Amstutz Family History by James O. Lehman, 1971. All of the information in this story comes from the research and compilation of family stories and excerpts from family letters in this mimeographed, twelve page work. While this is a carefully researched and compiled family history, I have not been able to confirm facts with primary documents.

Johannes Amstutz (1797) :Recycling Names of Triplets

The fourth Johannes Amstutz in Ken’s ancestral line of great-grandfathers (his third great-grandfather)  was economical in the use of names.  Naturally, he named a son Johannes (AGAIN!) but there’s more to the story.

[In fact there may have been even more ancient Johannes Am-Stutz’s, but the John Amstutz Family History only goes back to the one born in 1705.]

Swiss chalet, photo by Dennis Jarvis from, used with Creative Commons license.

Swiss chalet, photo by Dennis Jarvis from, used with Creative Commons license.

Johannes Amstutz 1797-1965 and Elizabeth Burkhalter Amstutz 1795-1865

After his parents died, and he had lived with his grandfather for four years, Johannes (1797) married Elizabeth Burkhalter. The wedding took place September 20, 1818.  Elizabeth’s family came from Ruderswil, Switzerland, near Langnau, where other ancestors had lived.The couple moved to Laianie bei Bellelay, Switzerland, six miles from the French border, according to the John Amstutz Family History. Unfortunately, although his place is the official place of birth of the children, it cannot be found on today’s maps of Switzerland. “bei” means ‘near’ in German, and Bellelay is the site of a former monastery, farther than 6 miles from the border. So it apparently was a hamlet that no longer exists.

The couple had two daughters, Anna and Elisabeth (named for Johanne’s mother and for his wife). Then came the next in the string of Johannes’, born on MY birthday, March 4, 1823 [but a few years before me!]

When Johannes was two years old, his mother, surely already stretched thin with three children born within four years, gave birth to triplets.  The little girls, born January 17, 1825, were named Barbara, Katharina and Maria. If having triplets to care for along with three tots was slightly overwhelming, think how much worse it was when a few months later the girls became seriously ill.  All three died in the fall of the year they were born.

But soon another girl was born, named Maria. And then another, named Katarina, and another named Barbara. Whatever else this family did with resources, they definitely did not waste names.

Finally, they had another son–Samuel.

When the eldest, Johannes (1823) married in 1847, he and his bride lived with his parents until his son named–guess what?–John Louis–was born in 1848. I have already told the stories of Johannes 1823 and John Louis.

How Ken is Related

  • Kenneth Ross Badertscher is the son of
  • Paul Badertscher, who is the son of
  • Ida Amstutz, who is the daughter of
  • Abraham Amstutz, who is the son of
  • Johannes Amstutz (1823), who is the son of
  • Johannes Amstutz (1797)

Research Notes

John Amstutz Family History by James O. Lehman, 1971. All of the information in this story comes from the research and compilation of family stories and excerpts from family letters in this mimeographed, twelve page work. While this is a carefully researched and compiled family history, I have not been able to confirm facts with primary documents.