The History of the Zollinger Family of Rexburg, Idaho

by Jacob Dennis Zollinger

Albert Zollinger was born on the 21st of June 1849, and his wife Verena Rüegg on the 17th of April 1849, ant they are at the heart of this saga of a Swiss family, who lived in Winterthur Zürich, Switzerland during the late 1800's. The couple had two sons, Albert was born in 1873 and Heinrich in 1874. This is also the story of a Swiss family finding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon), and the story of their desire for religious freedom to be able to live their faith in peace.

Albert Zollinger was born in Wangen near Dübendorf, but he worked in the foundry industry in Winterthur. When he decided to move near his workplace, his family could not find a good place in the city of Winterthur, and they had to move outside the town. During his youth, when Albert was still living with his parents in Wangen, he heard already heard about Mormon missionaries, and at the time found out that a meeting was to be held in a grove of trees near his house. Out of curiosity Albert went to that meeting with a friend, and the two climbed a tree because they were afraid of the Mormons. They had been told that they had horns. They waited for the men with the horns, but they never came.

But when some traveling Elders came to Albert's house near Winterthur in 1875, they left some literature of their religion with them. What Albert and Verena read seemed not only reasonable, but also true and interesting. When the same Elders came by the next time, the family asked many questions to which they had not been able to find answers before. Verena Zollinger decided first to join the new church, and was baptized on the 10th of August 1875, and Albert followed suit in November that year. But Albert's parents were prejudiced against the Mormon faith, and forbade him to join the church. The parents had always thought a great deal of Albert, but when Albert joined the faith against his fathers will, they never allowed him into their home again. And when the next two of Albert's children died shortly after they were born, Albert's father would offer no sympathy to his son.

In 1878, three years after they joined the Mormon faith, the couple decided to come to America. A new foundry had been established in Logan, Cache County, Utah, which needed the skills of Albert's line of work. The area also had a large number of other Swiss families, so that they could live in a familiar environment, among people of their own culture and language. So Albert and his family moved to Providence, Utah, where they resided for six years, and had three more children. Later in his life Albert was invited to move to Rexburg, Idaho, where land was available to homestead. Albert died there on the 3rd of April 1920, and Verena on the 27th of Sept 1933, but today a new generation still lives on the original homestead farm.

Albert and Verena had a large family, consisting of twelve children, and the extended family has grown throughout the United States. Albert served as a missionary for his faith going back to Switzerland, where he was able to research his family background, and where he obtained the names of over three thousand Zollinger family names. Albert Zollinger's family connects to the Providence Zollinger line through a Jacob Zollinger, who was born in 1603 in Hombrechtikon, Zürich, Switzerland. That Jacob had three wives, one was a Katherina Sutter, who is the ancestral mother of the Rexburg Zollingers, while the second wife Regula Bryner became the mother of the Providence Zollingers. During the time that Albert lived in Providence, he knew the Johannes Zollinger family well, but at the time they were not able to make a connection between the two lines, and this link did not become clear until further research was completed in 2004.

Las Vegas, December 2004

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