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Switzerland - Die Schweiz - La Suisse

The number of Swiss who came to Nova Scotia as foreign Protestants cannot be determined with any degree of precision because passenger lists have not survived for the 1750 voyages of the ‘Alderney’ and the ‘Nancy’, whose passengers included a majority of non-British Europeans. . . . Bell [1960, pp. 302-316] estimates that 316 of the 2,444 immigrants with “identifiable places of origin” were Swiss and that a further 20 might have been Swiss.

The proportion of Swiss among the founders of Lunenberg was apparently only eleven percent. . . . Ten Swiss communities from which settlers definitely came to Nova Scotia are presented in the next few pages. . . .

Adelboden Switzerland

Canton Bern
Name(s): Rösti, [Rust] Kilian, wife/Ehefrau, 4 children/Kinder

Boden and Adelboden comprise a single community, immediately adjoining one another, but with Boden at a lower level. One wonders whether the difference in names and elevation reflect differences in wealth and social status.

This Wooden Marriage-bench inscribed “Maria Andres, Anno D. 1649" was a departure gift from a minister’s wife.



Attiswil Switzerland

Canton Bern
Name(s): Bünker, Jakob
Weber [Weaver], Christoph

The village of Attiswil is located on a steep slope directly above the Aare. Through its strong agricultural tradition, horse trading and craftsmanship, the citizens of Attiswil became exceptionally affluent in the 18th century. After the Reformation this Protestant community belonged to the parish Oberbipp.



“Heidenstock,” built/gebaut 1548. This privately-owned structure near the former mill in the upper village served as a granary and food warehouse, but might have included an oven for baking. . . . (The private owner, a Mr. Fischer, who kindly permitted us to photograph on his property, turned out to have a Canadian “connection.” He had emigrated to Vancouver in 1958, but had eventually returned to Switzerland. In Attiswil he had acquired the two historic buildings and was gradually restoring them to their former condition.)



Oberwil Simmental, Switzerland

Canton Bern
Name(s): Ülsche, [Hiltschi, Hilchey, Hilchie] Jacob with wife/mit Ehefrau, 3 children/Kinder

Oberwil became Protestant in 1528. Its church – a small jewel on the side of a steep valley – has been recognized as a Swiss national monument. . . . Ülschi (Ülsche) remains a common name in the area. In Nova Scotia, it has become anglicized to Hilchie (variously spelled).





A balcony of the church, showing the builders’ names, including two Ülschis, one of whom was the local Governor.




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