"A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots."


Norders of New Glarus, Wisconsin

by  Phyllis Zeck

courtesy univ of WI, New Glarus WI early 1900

I haven’t done much research into the family of my paternal grandmother Grace Norder.  Grace’s ancestors had very deep roots in Engi, Canton Glarus, Switzerland.  Other ancestors such as Blum, Luchsinger & Stauffacher immigrated from the villages of Matt, Glarus and Bilten in Switzerland. They settled in or near the town of New Glarus (Dutch Hallow) in Wisconsin.

This summer I began corresponding with Bob Elmer. He came across this website by chance and recognized some of my ancestors names. He has studied and documented the history of the families who settled in New Glarus area and who immigrated from the Canton of Glarus in Switzerland. Bob explained that Glarus is a state (or canton) in Switzerland. A Glarner is a person from Canton Glarus or a person with Canton Glarus ancestry.

Bob shared with me names and dates of births, marriages and deaths for four generations of Grace’s family tree. I updated my Ancestry account kicking off an abundance of hints which included records of birth, death, marriages, war service and census. Each time I clicked on a leaf hint I was taken to a new generation of Norders. I kept getting sucked in deeper and deeper. Thank you to our Swiss record keepers for your excellent recording skills. Click the image below for my family tree.

My Ancestry.com DNA Ethnicity graph now lists my DNA at 39% Germanic Europe. I wondered why my Switzerland DNA percentage was so high. I see now that the Norder line extends quite far back in Engi and my Blum line has deep roots in Bilten.
New Glarus was founded in 1845 by about 135 immigrants from Glarus who were fleeing an economic crisis. Click here to read the historical societies timeline of the town. Click here to read a fascinating diary account from the New Glarus Historical Society. Mathias Durst chronicles the first group of settler’s courageous journey.

My 3rd great grandparents Leonhard Norder (his parents Fridolin Norder and Anna Giger were married in 1807 in Engi, Switzerland) and Magdalena (Stauffacher) Norder arrived in New York one year after the first immigrants. The Argo docked on 06 Nov 1846 most likely at Castle Garden immigration center in Battery Park. Leonard was 36 and Magdalena was 34. With them was their son Fridolin age 1.  My 2nd great grandfather Dietrich (Richard) Norder was born 03 Mar 1847 in New York and I can only assume they made the smart choice to stick out the winter in New York. 

leonard norderThe 1850 census shows Leonhard was a farmer in Sylvester, a town south of New Glarus. Leonard and Magdalena Stauffacher had at least six children. Fridolin (1844), Dietrich (1847), Mathias (1852), Leonard (1855), Gustave (1857), and Emma (1859). The 1860 census records their home at lot # 2049 and post office was Sylvester. The Norder’s real estate value was $600.00 and personal estate value was $400.00. The photo to the left is Leonard Jr (upper right) and possibly two of his brothers. I’d love to find out if one of the gentlemen was my 2nd great grandfather Dietrich.


3 Responses to Norders of New Glarus, Wisconsin

  1. 12 months ago by Lori Anderson

    Wow, you hit the jackpot with that leaf sister!

  2. 6 months ago by Fernando Venzel

    I am a descendant of the Norders who came to Brazil in 1855, from Engi, Canton Glarus and went to Amparo in the state of Sao Paulo. My great-grandfather Ursula was the daughter of Fridolin and Verena Norder. In Brazil she married Carl Wenzel, starting the family. I am the fifth generation.

  3. 4 months ago by Keith Norder

    Hello relatives ! Keith William Norder here, I descended from the same Swiss Norders.My grandfathers brother spent time documenting the family which I have (digitally scanned).Some of the info goes back to 1600’s. If you have any questions or can help fill in some blanks, let me know.


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