Deegan Zurlinden


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Tracing Family Roots in Masevaux

The ancestral home of the Zurlinden and Jäger families

We knew that the Zurlinden family has had ties to Masevaux, France, but we had no idea how strong the ties were until recently.  Masevaux is located in the Alsace region of France, not far from the Rhine river.  The French and the Germans have fought several times over control of this region.  This explains how you can have French-speaking people with Germanic surnames.

Early in 2004, we learned of some genealogical research done on behalf of the Zurlinden family that took the family tree back to Joannes Jacobus Zurlinden in the mid-1650's in Masevaux.  We also learned that his son, Jean Zurlinden married Anna Maria Jäger in Masevaux on June 2, 1704. 

Armed with that information, we discovered through some Internet searches that several different researchers have traced the Jäger family back to Nicolaus Jäger born in 1550 in Masevaux.  Since they were researching the Jäger family, the Zurlinden marriage was somewhat incidental to them.  But what a breakthrough for the Zurlinden researchers.

While in France this summer, Denni & Jim went to the Mairie (town hall) in Masevaux to validate the marriage of Jean and Anna Maria.  Unfortunately, all public records in France were destroyed at the time of the French Revolution in 1789 and only public records created after the formation of the Republic are available at the Mairie.  Those records are meticulous and we had the opportunity to look through the actual record books!

While we didn't find their 1704 marriage record, we did find records of other Zurlinden marriages and deaths dated after 1790.  Since all these records are written in French, it will take us some time to translate the information and sort out who's who and how they fit into the family tree.


The local constable graciously offered us his office while we searched through the books.

Denni looks through the record books.


The record of the marriage of Joseph Zurlinden and Anne Marie Paschali in 1810.

The record of the marriage of Joseph Jacques Charles Zurlinden and Valbourg Turin in 1841.  Valbourg immigrated to Cleveland.


The cemetery in Masevaux

The grave of Jacques Zurlinden (both we don't know how he's related to the family).