I'd like to open this post with gratitude to all of you for visiting my blog and website so loyally. At the end of March, the count on my blog and website turned over to 1,000,000 visits. Last year in early February, just before the PBS film, "The Amish: Shunned" aired on American Experience, that count was around 55,000. That means I've had close to one million visits on my blog and website in 14 months. Whether you visit regularly or sporadadically, you are always welcome here.
A note on the film. Recently "The Amish: Shunned" became available to watch online for free. You can just follow the link to watch the whole film.
Some time ago, I began digging around in my ancestral records, and I found I could trace one branch on my mothers's side of the family back to the early 1500s, with their roots deep in Swiss soil. I've traced the Rickenbach family back 13 generations to the town of Zelingen. I did not yet know that when I traveled through Switzerland in 2006, otherwise I would have gone there. I have since found out that the name Rickenbach (sometimes spelled differently such as Reichenbach or Rickenbacher) is a common one in Zelingen today. So I could likely visit relatives (however distant) if I could visit Zelingen.
Yesterday my Swiss friend, Miriam Koch, sent me an email with photos of Zelingen. She has been helping me research this branch of the family, and so she is aware of my desire to visit Zelingen. She, her husband, Marco, and their daughter, Hadassah had gone to the zoo over the weekend, and they decided to drive through Zelingen and take photos. I am sharing the photos here, with a big thank you to Miriam and Marco.
This makes me hope that I will again someday be traveling through Switzerland and be able to visit specific towns that I have been able to identify as places where my ancestors came from. And we now have friends in Switzerland who we can visit.
In May, Miriam and her family are coming to visit us. We'll be traveling to Amish country with them, visiting bookstores that carry books on Amish/Anabaptist history, which is a subject Miriam is interested in. It will be great to meet her and her family in person. I feel like I know them, but so far it is through our email exchanges that we've "met." It is enough to know that we are kindred spirits.
Some time ago, someone I used to work for when I was in my teens, emailed a photo of me, taken in their yard. Steve was only a child when this photo was taken, but he tracked it down and sent it to me. Thank you, Steve!
I am posting this with some trepidation. I am wearing glasses in the photo that I don't remember ever wearing. These kind of glasses don't have a very nice name. But then again they are not very nice glasses. That I ever wore them is embarrassing, to say the least. I'm also amazed that I thought I looked better with my covering farther back on my head, which was the "style" for young girls at the time. And good grief, why did I slick my hair back like that?
Now that I've found all kinds of faults with my "self" at that age, I have to say it is an amazing experience to get a glimpse of myself at that time in my life, before I knew much about myself or the world around me. Because photos are rare of my "Amish" self, this is an important glimpse of my life at that time.
21 thoughts on “This and That on Tuesday”
Tracing your roots back to Switzerland is exciting to say the least. To which Amish Community are you planning to take your friends?
A comment about your Amish photo, You were in style.
Hi Katie. Yes, it is exciting to trace ancestors back to Europe. I’ve also found several who are from Germany.
We are likely going to visit communities in New York and Pennsylvania… Berks County, Lancaster County, and likely some New York ones that are only a few hours away in the Mohawk Valley.
Glad you think I was in style, Katie. Too bad I wasn’t out of style with those glasses!
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I’m excited for you to have been able to trace your history that far and that specifically. As for the picture–You look cute. You were in (Amish) fashion. Fads seldom make sense outside of their time-frame. No matter the culture.
Aleta, you are sweet to say so. I never thought about that… that fads don’t make sense outside of their time-frame, no matter the culture. Very good point.
Eons ago, I always thought it would be fun to visit Switzerland and Australia. Zelingen looks to be a most beautiful countryside. Hope you get your wish and get to go back again. I’m sure it would be a fun trip!
My kids and grandkids laugh hysterically when they go through my old photo albums from when I was young. Needless to say, I don’t get in front of a camera anymore if I can help it!
Kristine, that sounds like fun. I hope you get to visit Switzerland and Australia. They are quite far away from one another, but they both sound like fun!
That’s funny about your children and grandchildren’s reaction to photos of you when you were young. Part of that could just be that they didn’t know you then, and it’s hard to imagine a mother or grandmother at a young age. I wouldn’t let it make me camera shy. (Although something did, because I am, so I shouldn’t talk).
Thanks for stopping by.
I like your pictures, of you and of Switzerland. There are Reichenbachs on my father’s mother’s side and they are from Bern. My mother’s side is from Zürich.
How very cool! Perhaps we are related. Feel free to send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I would love to know if you and I have ancestor(s) in common.
I like your picture. :-) And believe it or not, these type of glasses are very “stylish” here in Switzerland. We are so looking forward to visit David and you in a few weeks.
Miriam, that surprises me… I always thought of the Swiss as having good taste :-)
So looking forward to seeing you too.
Isn’t genealogy fun! It’s exciting and frustrating at the same time. I’ve been researching my own family for over 20 years. I haven’t found any black sheep or skeletons in the closet, just hard working average people who emigrated to America in search of a better life.
I have been following your blog for a few years now. Thank you for the film link. Have a nice day!
Yes, exciting and frustrating, both. But when there is a new breakthrough, it is so much fun!
Thank you for following my blog. You’re welcome for the link… I hope you enjoy it.
The Switzerland landscape reminds me of Kentucky and Tennessee’s rolling hills. The homes are of a different flavor, however. When I worked as a social worker I made home visits frequently. One of these visits took me to a Tennessee “holler” that absolutely took my breath away. It was as if I stumbled into a magical fairy land. One that could be missed in the blink of an eye.
Saloma, I love that picture of you! It looks like you’re in a playful mood and your smile is genuine and fun. The glasses are fun, too!
How cool to find the Tennessee “holler.” I would love to know where that is.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the picture. I’ve had it for quite a few weeks, trying to get up the gumption to post it. I finally did.
Have a wonderful rest of the week.
I think you look precious …. and cheerful. Loved seeing it.
Why, thank you Dianne, I appreciate you saying that.
Aww, you looked so happy and sweet in that pic. Interesting post and history search.
Thank you Brenda. Good to see you here!
You’re being awfully hard on yourself, I think that’s a great picture of a young Saloma.
Enjoy your trip to Switzerland! Having done only a small amount of travel in Europe, I like to think I can say with some authority that the people in Switzerland are among the nicest and and friendliest on that whole continent. You’re going to fit right in!
Monica, my Swiss friends are coming to visit me. I’m hoping to visit Switzerland again someday, but I don’t have definite plans at the moment.
Thank you for the kind words about the photo, and for the visit.