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
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
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.