Zollinger Linkages to Mormon Society.
The Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS) plays an important role in the history of the Zollinger family. Two distinct families emigrated to the USA and Utah in particular, one from Urdorf, the other from Wangen near Dübendorf. You will find their story below. Both have developed into sizable families, and their offspring today make up almost half of all Zollingers in the entire USA. It was therefore only proper to give this denomination, and the two Zollinger families within it, some special recognition.
The early immigrants to Utah found themselves as pioneers in a wild country, and the settling of the untamed land required much hard work, a string faith and solid community coherence. As everywhere else, when settlers arrived in a new land, they tended to put their roots down in environments that they were familiar with from their home in the old country. It is therefore not surprising that the Cache Valley in North-eastern Utah was specially attractive to Swiss immigrants, as the valley where the future city of Logan would be established, looks very much like the Zürich Highlands, or other foothill areas of Switzerland.
In this rural environment, and faced with many hard pioneer tasks, family was all important, and not surprisingly the early Mormon families were both close-knit and large. Many of them had ten or more children, and the two Zollinger families among them were no exception. This tradition of large families lives on, and although modern life has influenced family size, Mormon families to this day are considerably larger than the average American family. But it is not just family size, it is even more so the value which is put on the family, and the importance of keeping the linkages alive and strong. Our members of the working group have made contacts with a number of Mormon family historians, and with all a deep love of the extended family, and the importance of caring for family members was evident. Assistance among the different branches of the family, attending family events such as weddings and funerals, and keeping in touch with distant cousins is still an important part of Mormon culture.
But the importance of family does not only focus on today’s family and on the linkages between the different branches, that love of family extends to their ancestors as well. The interest in who went before, and where the roots of the family are, remain as important a foundation of the Mormon church as its more religious aspects. It is of great importance to family research in general that this attitude exists, and it is not surprising that the best documented Zollinger families are the ancestors of the two Mormon immigrant families. What is more, interest in ancestors has not been limited to the families in the USA. Many of the immigrants, and especially their children, were later sent back by the church to become missionaries to their own country of origin. There they did not only devote their lives to finding new converts to their faith, a second important task for them was to research their own family trees further back. Much of the time of these missionaries was therefore spent in libraries, archives and with genealogy records, in order to trace their own families further and further back.
The arrival of the information age has now made it possible to pool all this family history information of thousands of Mormon families, and the Mormon church has now accumulated an immense data base on family history, which is made accessible to the public. You can find this web site under www.familysearch.org. One of the Zollinger Working Group’s own recent task has been to mine this data base for Zollingers, and it is only thanks to this web site that it became possible to expand our own family record by several thousand names. And so it seems only appropriate to thank the Mormon Church for its interest in family history, and especially in making this data available to the public.
But an even bigger “Thank You” must go to the numerous missionaries, who spent hours, days and years in archives and libraries in Switzerland as elsewhere, searching for obscure data several hundred years old. All those thousands of painstaking hours were not wasted, they were the foundation of much of today’s interest by people wanting to find their own roots. This Zollinger web site and the Zollinger data base are a testimonial to the dedication and hard work of so many members of the Mormon faith. Thank you!