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Simmental, Switzerland
A Family Heritage

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Swiss Bernese Oberland: A Travel Guide with Specific Trips to Mountains, Lakes and Villages

immental or the Simme River Valley is located in the Bernese Oberland, the upland and mountain region of Canton Bern in west-central Switzerland. Marianna Stocker was from Zweisimmen in the Simme River Valley. The Glarus Valley or Glarnerland in eastern Switzerland was the native home of Joachim Speich.

Marianna and Joachim came  to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with relatives in the mid-1800s. They married there and had six children, three with descendants:  Albert, Emma and Caroline.  Daughter Caroline Belle Speich married Jesse Charles Bradley, grandson of pioneer carpenter Benjamin Church who arrived from New York in November 1835.

Here are the mountains, valleys and towns of the Bernese Oberland and the Simme River Valley; genealogy resources for Switzerland; plus Swiss immigration to Wisconsin.

GO TO:  Introduction | History | Maps | Genealogy | Photographs

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Alpine Views: Alexandre Calame
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Switzerland (Eyewitness Travel)


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Living and Working
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Passport Switzerland: Your Pocket Guide to Swiss Business, Customs & Etiquette


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Beyond Chocolate: Understanding
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Swiss Cookbook


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Walking Switzerland
The Swiss Way


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Rick Steves' Switzerland 2006


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Heidi (Children's Classics)


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Fodor's Switzerland
(43rd Edition


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In Search of Your German Roots. The Complete Guide
to Tracing Your Ancestors in the Germanic Areas of Europe


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Swiss in


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Yodeling in
Dairyland: A History
of Swiss Music
in Wisconsin


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Cultural Map of Wisconsin:
A Cartographic
Portrait  of the State


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The Swiss


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Introduction   [ Top ]

Canton of Bern: the second largest of the Swiss cantons. located in west-central Switzerland. It is bilingual with 22 Swiss German-speaking districts and 3 French-speaking districts. Also spelled Berne. Swiss Reformed Church dominates.  Includes maps such as this one showing the canton's districts.

Canton Bern Profile including geography, history, demography, genealogy, links to 26 districts and 400 political communities, and map

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Kanton Bern / Canton de Berne: official site in German, French

Translate German text or Web pages here

Bernese Oberland:  the southern area of Canton Bern, this is the Bernese highlands and part of the famous mountains, the Alps.

Bernese Oberland: illustrated essay about the famous Alps region with visitor details, and a color sketch of the Alps with the famous Jungfrau [maiden], Eiger (ogre) and Monch (monk) as well as the deep lakes -- Brienzersee and Thunersee -- on either side of he town of Interlaken

Bernese Oberland: overview of visiting and winter recreation, with a useful map showing the northern portion with famous lakes, alps

Berner Oberland including satellite map, brief history of mountain climbing in the Oberland and link to many key peaks

Bernese Oberland western valleys include the valleys of the Kander River and the Simme River, the latter running through old villages with many heavy-eaved and ornate chalets. This site includes a detailed map of the Bernese Oberland [pdf] and selected links..

Obersimmental: this is one Canton Bern's 26 administrative districts, located in the far southwest corner of the canton. It has four small municipalities which include Boltigen, Lenk, St. Stephan and Zweisimmen.

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Mountain Inns:
A Walking Vacation
in a World Apart

History & Culture   [ Top ]

Swiss History: including the Celts, Romans, Germanic peoples, the rise of the confederation, role of religion and more

Timeline of Swiss History:  Bern joined Swiss confederacy in 1353 while Glarus joined in 1352; federal constitution came in 1848

Canton Bern History Timeline from 1191 when the city of Bern was founded to 1996/1997

Emergence of the Swiss Nation: including the defeat of the Hapsburgs, 1380s, more

SwissWorld: learn about Swiss geography, people, culture, history, science, more. In English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, more.

Swiss Culture including its languages, religions, more, and a look at some Swiss customs

Swiss Culture and Roots: learn about the country's diversity of languages and religion, distinctive regions, the arts, seasonal festivals
and about "Swissness"

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Ticking Along
with the Swiss


Switzerland A to Z: quick compendium of facts

Swiss History Festivals include Geneva's Escalade, Canton Glarus' remembrance of the Battle of Nafels and the Unspunnen Festival near Interlake recalling efforts to reconcile the people of the once independent Bernese Oberland with the government in Bern.

Cantons of Switzerland: see Bern and Glarus in context, assisted by a detailed map

Swiss Maps   [ Top ]

Detailed map [pdf] of the Bernese Oberland

Bernese Oberland Map showing nine areas to click and visit, including Lenk-Simmental

Panorama Maps of the Alps -- summer and winter -- to click and enlarge, then scroll to the far right to see Lenk and Zweisimmen

Clickable map of Swiss cantons, including  one for Bern Canton [BE] with Zweisimmen shown

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Lonely Planet

Map showing Zweisimmen, Gstaad, Saanen, St. Stephan

Map of Canton Bern

Map of Switzerland:  this large map shows administrative districts with Bern being No. 6 and Glarus being No. 9, including key cities and lakes and the countries that surround Switzerland

Maps of Switzerland:  see the country in the context of Europe, as well as a large map of the country with major cities, lakes

Map showing Switzerland surrounded by Austria, Germany, Italy, France

Maps of Switzerland:  collection of maps for key cities and regions, including tourist regions such as Eastern Switzerland [2] that includes Canton Glarus and the Bernese Oberland [6] with Lenk and  Zweisimmen

Glarus Map showing Schwanden, Luchsingen, Diesbach, more

Topographical Map: see Glarus in the Linth River valley not far west of the Swiss border with Liechtenstein and Austria, and another view

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SEE: Canton Glarus

Towns of Simmental   [ Top ]

Obersimmental: this Canton Bern district has  four small municipalities: Boltigen, Lenk, St. Stephan and Zweisimmen.

Boltigen: a tiny, traditional village now famous for winter sports, and more on this historic municipality and parish first mentioned in records in 1228, and the official site for Boltigen in German

Zweisimmen:   today, Zweisimmen is known as the gateway or access point to the winter recreation and skiing area of Gstaad. Zweisimmen is an historic market town in the Simmental

Zweisimmen Tourism: in German

Genealogy Resources   [ Top ]

Stocker Family Genealogy Forum

Stucker Family Genealogy Forum

Switzerland Genealogy Forum

Genealogical Societies for Canton Bern

Family Genealogy Pages for Canton Bern, many listed, from Aellen to Zwiacher

Swiss Roots with a wealth of resources including a page for Swiss genealogy search

Swiss Heritage and immigration to the USA in the 18th century and 19th century, the latter largely due to famines and economic change

Switzerland and Swiss-Americans: a look at immigration, history, religion, family, more

Rootsweb Mailing Lists for Swiss surnames and for Switzerland's regions including Canton Bern

Swiss Mailing Lists: many cantons, surnames

Swiss Genealogy Resources: history, cantons, research

Tracing Swiss Ancestors: time-saving hints, advice

Kanton Glarus Genealogy with history of the region, links to many Glarus family histories including the Speich family of the Sernf and later Linth valleys, the Speich article in pdf format

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The Researcher's
Guide to American


The Swiss
Emigration Book

The Swiss In the
United States

The German and
Swiss Settlements
of Colonial Pennsylvania


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Karen Brown's Switzerland, 2007: Exceptional Places
to Stay & Itineraries

Swiss Immigration to Wisconsin: for 1826-1900, with the largest numbers arriving in the 1840 and 1850s. Project underway since 1980.

Stories of Swiss Immigrants to Wisconsin: a collection of 54 articles concerning Swiss immigrants published between 1878 and 1935, with many on New Glarus, from the Wisconsin Historical Society

Stocker Family in Wisconsin   [ Top ]

Marianna Stocker married Joachim Speich in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on March 31, 1857.  They both were born in Switzerland.  Her father Jacob and brother Samuel had two farms, 70 acres total, in Greenfield, Milwaukee County, from 1852-1861. A biography of Joachim and Marianna's son Albert Speich and his photo.

Immigrants in Southcentral Wisconsin including the Swiss in Monroe and New Glarus, Green County, with the story of Joshua Wild

New Glarus:  an 1883 article on the colony in [then] southwest Dane County, Wisconsin, noting a promise of a 22-acre farm rent-free for 10 years made to those who would pioneer there. The Glarner settlement, the first cows, expansion, the role of the Reformed Lutheran Church, more.

Founding of New Glarus: 1926 article on this unique experiment in Swiss emigration and more on the history of New Glarus and the founding of southern Wisconsin's now famous cheese industry.

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The Swiss Colony (Images of America)

Immigrants to Wisconsin  from England, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Scandinavia, Poland, and Switzerland.

Photographs & Images   [ Top ]

Zweisimmen aerial photo: village in valley, part of large Berner Oberland photo gallery

Zweisimmen panorama, other views

Simme River photos, hiking

Jungfrau region photos, with details

Photos of Canton Bern from images of mountain to the city Bern at night

Fields in Canton Bern, wildflowers near Bern, Bern's old town, and Alps, Jungfrau, more

Scenes of Switzerland: includes a picture of Thun and the Oberland

Swiss Pics & Postcards: large collection on many topics including famous mountains, wildflowers, customs and more, plus 30 images to send as email postcards

Zurich Photos: each photo leads to more including city by night, mountain village

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Michelin the Green

Guide Switzerland


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Chamonix to Zermatt: A Walker's Haute Route

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