Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Very Distant Relatives

There are distant cousins and then there are Distant Cousins. I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by a fellow de Büren from Geneva. He was not from the family I know in Geneva, so I was intrigued. To add even more interest we have essentially the same family crest.

He proceeded to tell me that his family came from Flumenthal in the canton of Soleure (Soloturn), not far from Büren an der Aare where the family gets its name. He told me of a story passed down in his family of two brothers who chose different paths at the time of the reformation, one staying Catholic and moving to Soleure and one becoming Protestant and moving to Bern. It was a very romantic story, and one that was new to me. I looked through the family archives, and I found a possible link between the two ancient branches but it seems to be much earlier than the reformation.

"Older" crest still used by the Soleure branch of the family. Stained glass window from 1508. The only difference is the branch from Soleure has inverted the bee hives, so there is one bee hive on the top and two on the bottom.

"Newer" de Büren crest at left. The silver bee hives and silver border have been used since 1669.


The first de Büren (von Büren) men to officially come to Bern from Büren an der Aare were Rodolphe (Ruf) and his brother Jacques (Jakob) in the early 14th century. They are both listed as bourgeois of Bern, Rodolphe becoming a member of the government in 1326. Rodolphe is my direct descendant and also of the de Büren families of Bern, Vaumarcus, and Denens.

Jacques had two sons, Immer and Mathieu. Mathieu was also a bourgeois of Bern like his father and listed as part of the Grand Council of Bern in 1357. In one genealogical archive it states that Mathieu had one son, Jean and that he moved to Soleure and became bourgeois of that city in the latter half of the 14th century.

If this is correct, then Jean is most likely the founding member of the de Büren line that comes from Soleure and why we share the same family crest. While our trees may have blossomed in different parts of Switerland, we still share the same roots.

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