Tag Archives: Bern

Anna Barbara Müller Lost Half Her Children

Anna Barbara Mueller
Ken Badertscher’s Great-great grandmother. Born in Switzerland.

Anna Barbara Müller (Schneiter) 1839-1912

Even though I know that infant and childhood were dangerous times in earlier centuries, my heart goes out to a family that loses five children. Anna Barbara and Samuel Schneiter would have had ten children if all their children had lived to adulthood. Instead, five died as infants or young children. Anna is the great- great-grandmother of my husband Ken Badertscher.

Born in Buchholterberg (see map below) in the canton of Bern, Switzerland on June 7, 1839, Anna Barbara Müller was baptized three weeks later. In October of 1858 , just 18 1/2 years old, she marries Samuel Frederick Schneiter, 23, in the canton of Bern. Samuel had been born in Steffisburg, in the region of Thun in the same canton. To emphasize how close their towns were, here is a four-hour hike that goes through Buchholterberg and Steffisburg.

Bern is the second largest canton of Switzerland in both area and population. Most of Ken’s ancestors  came from the canton of Bern, which means that in their native country, they lived as close to each other as residents of the state of Delaware. I fact, closer than that, because they came from an area north of the lakes and not far from Thun and Bern.

The capitol is the city of Bern (Berne in French) which is also the capitol city of the country.The sprawling area includes both spectacular alpine areas and lower meadow lands where dairy farms prevail.  The Thun region centers around Lake Thun, which connects with Lake Brienz at the city of Interlaken. The names of Sigrisvil, Thun, Goldiwyl, Grosshoctetten and Steffisburg have all popped up in researching Ken’s ancestors.  All are on this map.

Swiss map
Swiss towns of Ken’s ancestors. Created with Google Maps and Awesome Screenshot.

Now that I have indulged my fascination with the geography of genealogy–back to Anna Barbara’s story.

In August of 1859, just two months after turning 19, Anna gave birth to a daughter, Alice. She and Samuel had settled in Steffisburg, but by the time their son Godfrey was born in 1861, they  had moved  about 13 miles north to Grosshöchstetten. (webcam here.)

Three years later they had moved again–this time to Goldiwil/Goldywil–by the time Anna gave birth to an infant who died. They named her Rosa Emma. Within two years, Anna gave birth to another girl–this one also named Rosa. It was a custom to name another child after one who died.

The following year, Ken’s Grandmother Helen Stucky (Bair, Kohler)’s mother Ida was born.

Apparently, Samuel was having a hard time finding a good source of income, because the family moved several times, and when Ida was eighteen months old, they traveled to Antwerp, Belgium and emigrated to America–arriving in 1869. Perhaps they would have come earlier, had it not been for blockades of the Civil War.

Steam-sail ship
City of Dublin, the steam-sail ship Schneiters sailed on from Antwerp to New York.

For those who hesitate to travel with children, consider what Anna did. In the summer of 1869 she packed up all her family belongings, said goodbye to her own birth family and traveled with four children–ages 18 months, 3 years, 8 years and 10 years. [According to the ship manifest, Ida was 9 months instead of 18, which would make other records of her birth year incorrect.] The family made their way from Switzerland to Antwerp–about 450 miles through either France or Germany and then through Belgium– and then sailed with other Swiss immigrants in steerage to New York City.

Schneiter Family arrives New York.
Schneiter Family listed on passenger list, arrival June 1869

Sailing steerage would have meant a steamship, fortunately better than the older sailing ships. The sea voyage would have taken about two weeks. The City of Dublin (picture at top of article) was a steam ship equipped with sails that had been launched five years earlier. The Inman line that operated the ship reportedly treated passengers better. For instance–providing food, whereas formerly steerage passengers were expected to provide their own.

Subscribers to my free newsletter got extra information about emigrating on a steamship in steerage. If you have not yet subscribed, click on this link: http://eepurl.com/w0msD.  See the latest newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bzJ4D9

Although conditions were improved on steamships–according to one article, only one in 1000 passengers died as opposed to one in two hundred on sailing ships–the passenger manifest as a column for deaths enroute.

Passenger List
Heading of Passenger list with Schneiter family arriving in New York, 1869

Corralling kids that age on a trip like that sounds like a tough job to me! But none of the Schneiter famiy died en route.

I have not been able to find out whether they immediately moved to Ohio where Samuel worked in the mines in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. But I do know that shortly after they arrived, Anna was pregnant again, this time with a boy, William, born in 1871.  Four years later (1875) she gave birth to Franklin. Two years after that, when Anna was 35, she gave birth to her last child–Flora–born in 1877.

That would mean that by 1880, the household consisted of mother, father and three boys between 5 and 19 years old and three girls between 3 and 14.  The oldest, Alice, had married Fred Wenger by then. The record shows a total of seven children in 1880, since we know that one child died in infancy in Switzerland.

However, in the 1900 census, Anna says that she gave birth to ten children and only five were living.  In the 1880s, the two youngest children, Frank and Flora, died. That leaves five children living, that we know of, and three who have died by 1890. How does that get to be five and five in 1900? It is a mystery. She probably lost infant children while still in Switzerland.

Her husband Samuel died in 1902 in New Philadelphia, Ohio.

Added in September, 2022: Probably shortly after her husband’s death, she had her portrait made at the studio of artist/ photographer J. N. Strickmaker. I suspect her good looking oldest son went along and had his photograph made at the same time. I found Ida’s picture eight years after writing about her.

Godfrey Schneiter
Son of Samuel and Anna Barbara Mueller Schneitner. Great Uncle of Ken Badertscher

The 1910 census lists her as head of household, but she has an 18-year-old grand daughter. Hazel, who works as a seamstress living with her. When Anna died in 1912, her New Philadelphia obituary named five surviving children. (End of added material)

Mrs Anna Barbara Muller died Thursday at her home on East Front Street. [New Philadelphia, Ohio]. Three daughters and two sons survive her–Mrs. Fred Wenger, Cleveland, Mrs. Charles Murray, Canton , Mrs. Fred Stucky, Stone Creek, Godfrey Schneiter, who lives a few miles from this city and William Schneiter of this city.

Like most of the family, Ann Barbara, born in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland, is buried in the cemetery in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Her joint tombstone with her husband Samuel also lists the two young children, Flora and Franklin.  But surely she left behind loved infants in Switzerland.


According to the obituary there are five children living in 1912, just as in 1890. But the thing that has me puzzled– is Mrs. Charles Murray — Rosa Schneiter?

Although I can find no records of a Rosa and Charles Murray,  only Rosa can be Mrs. Charles Murray. Alice Schneiter was Mrs. Fred Wenger and Ida Schneiter was Mrs. Fred Stucky.

Although I have not found records for Rosa Schneiter (or Murray) after the 1880 census, and I assumed that she was one of the children who died before 1900. That, however, is impossible. Since Flora died in 1883, there are no other daughters that could be Mrs Murray. Until I can find a marriage record and a death record for Rosa, I have no proof positive.

How Ken is Related

Kenneth Ross Badertscher is the son of

Agnes Bair Badertscher, who is the daughter of

Helen Stucky Bair (Kohler), who is the daughter of

Ida Schneiter Stucky, who is the daughter of

Anna Barbara  Schneiter.

Notes on Research

U. S. Census records: 1880, Warwick Twp, Tuscarawas County, Ohio; 1900, Goshen Township, Tuscrawas County, Ohio. Obtained at Ancestry.com

New York Arrival Passenger List, 1820-1957: Year: 1869; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 313; Line: 35; List Number: 724; Ancestry.com, 2010.

Schweiz, Heiraten, 1532-1910 ,” database,Family Search.org, FHL microfilm 2,005,964,

Schweiz, Taufen, 1491-1940,” database, Samuel Schneiter, 04 Jun 1835; citing Steffisburg, Bern, Switzerland. Family Search.org;(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FVDH-8P1 : accessed 4 September 2015);FHL microfilm 2,005,789.

New Philadelphia (Ohio) Democrat, 8 Feb 1912, transcribed at FindaGrave.com.

Switzerland Beerdgungen 1613-1875 database, Family Search.org, Microfilm 2.005.966

Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health

52 Ancestors #34 Samuel Frederich Schneiter, A Miner in Farm Country

Samuel Frederich Schneiter (1835-1902)

Samuel Schneiter, my husband Kenneth Ross Badertscher’s 2nd great grandfather, made the same journey that so many of Ken’s ancestors made–from Switzerland to the dairy farm country of Ohio. But unlike most of his contemporaries, Samuel worked in coal mines in Tuscarawas County, Ohio instead of making cheese and butter on a dairy farm.

Here’s a map showing the Ohio Counties where most of the Swiss immigrants in Ken’s family tree settled–Tuscarawas, Wayne and Holmes; and coincidentally, also Holmes and Coschocton counties where my own ancestors mostly settled.

Ohio Counties

Ohio Counties Labeled, from Wikimedia Commons

Had he made Swiss cheese, Samuel would have fit neatly into the suggested theme for this week’s 52 Ancestor challenge–non-population census.  I have used those non-population census reports that give information on farms and industry among other things in the past. I dipped into them liberally while I was exploring my mother’s roots, [revised] but the one record I found for a Frederick Stucky, was not the right age or the right county.

[revised]So I have not much on Ken’s great-grandmother Ida Schneiter Stucky‘s father, Samuel Schneiter. (Ida and Fred were the parents of Ken’s grandmother, Helen Stucky, who I have also written about.)

Even a small amount of information about a female line of any family is exciting, however.

Here’s what I know thus far about Ida Schneiter Stucky’s father.  He was born in a small town called Steffisburg in the District of Thun, Region of Bern, in Switzerland in 1835. He was baptized in Thun.

When he was twenty-three, he married Anna Barbara Müller in Switzerland, and they had seven children, three of whom died before they made the voyage to American in 1869.  Four children, ages 2, 3, 7,  and 10 came with them on the journey, including Ken’s great-grandmother, Ida, Schneiter (Stucky) who was the youngest.

Among the things they had to get used to in the new country was the fact that Englishers (as the Swiss called anyone who spoke native English) sometimes insisted on spelling their name Schneider or Snyder instead of Schneiter.

As far as I can tell, they were missed by the 1870 census, perhaps enroute to their new home in Tuscarawas County, Ohio.  But I have no proof as to where they were between 1869 and 1880. I do know that they kept producing offspring, two sons and a daughter between 1870 and 1877. However, the two younger children died in childhood, so by the 1900 census, they had five living children. Samuel became a United States citizen in 1883.

One family tree on the Internet says that Samuel was a miller and baker in Switzerland, but I have no proof of that. At any rate, he took a job in the coal mines of Warwick Township,  Tuscarawas County. Since there was no coal mining in the area he came from in Switzerland, this tells me that he was willing to work at any job, even the back-breaking work of mining, in order to provide for his growing family.

I have to assume, also, that Samuel’s desire was to live a life more like the one he lived in Switzerland in dairy farming country, because by 1900, when he and his wife were in their sixties, they owned a farm in Goshen Township, next to Warwick Township where they had lived previously in Tuscarawas County.

Tuscarawas County, Ohio

Townships in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, showing Warwick County where the Schneiters first lived, Goshen County where they lived in 1900 and New Philadelphia, where they are buried. York County, on the left, is where Ida Schneiter later lived with her husband Frederick Stucky.

I hope that Samuel was able to buy and enjoy that farm much earlier than 1900, but I have not checked the property records.  At any rate, two years after that census, Samuel and Anna had moved to the county seat of New Philadelphia where he died at 67 years old. Samuel was buried in the East Fair Street Cemetery in New Philadelphia. He was buried beside a son and daughter who died before him, and when Anna passed away ten years later, she joined him under this lovely tombstone.

Schneiter Tomstone

Schneiter Family tombstone in New Philadelphia, Ohio

How Ken is Related

  • Kenneth Ross Badertscher is the son of
  • Agnes Bair Badertscher, who is the daughter of
  • Helen Stucky Bair, who is the daughter of
  • Ida Schneiter Stucky, who is the daughter of
  • Samuel Frederich Schneiter

Notes on Research

United States Federal Census 1880, Warwick Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio; 1900, Goshen Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio.

Swiss Birth and Marriage Records

Find a Grave.com