The Zollers of New York State

During my frequent searches on the website, I had come across a very early immigrant to the USA, a Johann Jakob Zollinger, born in Ober-Ottikon in 1699. There is Swiss documentation showing that he sold the farm “Allenwinden” in 1738, and arrived in Philadelphia in February 1739. He first moved to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but in about 1748 he and his family decided to settle in upper New York State, near Minden, Montgomery County. What fascinated me in these early entries was the most unusual town name “Stone Arabia”, where they settled. Yet within a generation or two, all traces of this family disappeared. But there were some indications that several of the sons of the original immigrant could have shortened and anglicized their names to “Zoller”. This is such a common name that a search today for offspring of this family seemed doomed. But many years later I found out that the name Zoller is still present in Montgomery county, in locations like Fort Plain, Little Falls and West Winfield. But the gap between the latest information in my family tree, and today’s Zollers was over 200 years, and I had little hope of finding a connection. So I never had the interest to pursue research on this branch any further.

Then, in March 2011 I received an E-Mail from a Mr. Richard Zellar of Plymouth, NY, who had some information that his family might be related to the Zollingers. As “Zeller” is a very common Swiss name, I doubted it. But then Richard sent me six family trees of the Zoller family, based on research by a Robert E. Zoller from Longmont, Colorado. These documents were very precise, very complex and very exciting. The data spanned the 200 years, and clearly showed that all these Zollers, Zellers and Zellars were indeed descendants of our Johann Jakob Zollinger.

Clearly there are many other Zoller and Zeller families in the USA, who have no connection to the Zollinger name, but this special branch is now an integral part of our family tree, as we were able to prove that they are descendants of the Zollinger family. It would be very interesting if we could one day confirm this finding with some genetic testing. To complete this new branch of the family will take considerably more work, and both Richard and Robert may be of future help. Additional Zoller families in Upper New York state also need to be contacted in the near future and who knows, if there will be a lot more relatives to be found there.


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