The Original Spelling Zolliker

The early evolution of the name Zollinger starts with the low aristocratic name “von Zollikon”. The last person who was authorized to use that name was an Eberhart von Zollikon, who was a knight at the castle of Grüningen, and is mentioned in a document of 1443. That year he is listed as a defender of the castle during a siege. The well recognized family historian Gustav Zollinger wrote several articles in the Swiss Genealogical Journal on the topic of “Verbauerte Edelgeschlechter”, i.e. the transformation of aristocratic persons to estate administrators, then land owners and finally farmers. In this process the “von” was dropped, and the name slowly evolved from “Zollikon” to “Zolliker” to Zollinger.

A Johann “von Zollikon”, born about 1486, still carried the “von”, but his children born after 1511 are on record with the name “Zollikon”. That family owned a farm in Lautikon, where the ancestral home is located, and the next generation changed the name to “Zolliker”, and from them all different branches of Zollinger originated. But only a generation later the spelling changed again, this time to Zollinger. It is possible that during that time period the spelling of “Zolliker” was seen as the vernacular form, and Zollinger as the proper German form. And so the record keeping systems of church and state would more and more conform with the “proper” German spelling of Zollinger. However, there were remnants of the family which seemed to continue with the old name “Zolliker”, for example a Burkhard Zolliker who was born 1524 retained that spelling. The key ancestor of the family, Heinimann Zollinger, * 1594, used the spelling Zollinger, yet one of his sons, a Jakob Zollinger born 1634 reverted back to “Zolliker”. Yet during that time period many documents show the two spellings, which seem to have been used interchangeably. By 1748 that branch of Burkhart Zolliker had died out, but in 1745 a Hans Jakob Zollinger changed the spelling back to “Zolliker”, and some of the offspring of that family can still be found today.

Yet another Zolliker branch exists. This one traces back to a very different origine: a Hans Heinrich Zollinger born 1655, from Üssikon near Maur. He was the son of a long line of owners of the mill, and as his older brother was to take over the parental mill there, he moved to Embrach, where he purchased the local mill, and later became a local judge. In the process of moving to a new home, he also decided to change the name to “Zolliker”, and so there existed a large branch of that name in the Zürich Lowlands, but documentation of that family after about 1800 has been found to date.

So far, our research has done almost no work on that name of Zolliker, and this is one of the tasks to be undertaken in the near future. There are only 58 names Zolliker mentioned in the telephone book of the Kanton Zürich, and a further 40 elsewhere in Switzerland. And it is not even certain that they all relate to our Zollingers. Their name may well have derived from other, but similar names, such as Zollikofer. But it will be a most interesting undertaking to expand the branches who are linked to the Zollinger name, but who retained the ancient spelling.

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