Note: Linder Family Association Quarterly Reports International Genealogical Index for Switzerland Parish Records by A. Reichen, Gen. New research by Harold Linder of Tempe, Arizona as published in The Linder Quarterly (No 125 Summer 2001) sheds considerable new light and scholarship on the origins of the Linder name in Switzerland. Mr. Linder has visited this area and researched its history. His fluency in German and natural curiosity had benefited all those interested in the Linder origins. One of the most valuable sources he has found is the book The Oldest Families of the Saanen District (Die altesten Geschlechter der Landschaft Saanen) by J.R.D. Zwahlen (1998, Muller Marketing & Druck AG, Gstaad. 66 pp.) This is said to be a reprint of a 1967 book which is on file in the Family History Center library. This part of Switzerland is about 35 SW of the capital Bern and to the east of Lake Geneva and the French border. This research identifies very early 'Linder sightings' in a small area of only one or two square miles along the Saane River Valley near the villages of Saanen and Gstaad. To the south are the Alpes Pennine including the Matterhorn. Note that later sources appear to localize Marty Linder, previously the oldest known Linder in Switzerland, in nearby Gstaad. From Harold Linder's discussion of the findings of Mr. Zwahlen it now appears to be established that: 1. Zwahlen notes Linder to be one of the oldest Swiss names with earliest versions thought to be de la Linda & de Laigna (1312), de la Ligda (1324), de la Lindac (1355) and de la Linda (1360). These early names were registered for owners of parcels of land along a 2 mile length of the Saane River Valley between 1312 and 1360. 2. Three brothers Yanni, Uldricus and Heyni de la Linda were noted to be Tallibles or serfs with a farm in La Linda, Gstaadwiler, NW Gstaad. They held nine Jucharten (acres) of farmland and one Mahd or alpine pasture meadow per the tax rolls of 1312 along with what may have been rights to fell timber in woodlands that were common land. Two other meadows in Gstaadwiler and Parzgum formed the balance of this estate. By 1324 two farms or hearths are on the rolls and Heyni is presumed to have died. His son Peter however is paying taxes in 1355 for land in Rubeldorf. Linder lands identified in 1312 are still so connected in 1360. 3. One Anton Linder in 1470 is noted to be the Landesvenner or district administrator in the Schwellenbrief of Saanen district. He was chosen by local assembly and supervised all rights and property of the district. His position was said to be second only in importance to the castle warden. Given his prominent position it should be possible to locate other relevant records of his activity. 4. Jorg Linder was noted to be the Landschreiber or head clerk on at least nine occasions between 1528 and 1565. Johannes Linder is identified as a notary in 1528. Peter Linder is another name that appears in this location during the 16th century. 5. The surname Linder is thought to be derived from a locational field name related to the linden tree. According to Zwahlen however the name is also related to the occupation of wood cutter or wood carrier. Harold Linder believes it likely based on evidence that the earliest Linders who lived in "la Linda" were wood cutters or carriers when tax rolls were made in 1312, 1324 and 1355. 6. According to Zwahlen half of the ninety-seven family names in the Saanen area were of French origin. This portion of Switzerland is at the extreme SW frontier of the German speaking world and just 2 miles from French speaking citizens. The Saanen area did not become part of Switzerland until it was absorbed by the Canton of Bern in 1555. Saanen is known as Gesseney in French and the Saane River as the Sarine. 7. There is a coat of arms which shows: in white an arched golden chevron, accompanied by three green Linden leaves (1811), which has a strong resemblance to the fourth coat of arms from about 1480 in the Mauritius Church; three white hearts in white circles on green (possibly yellow). 8. The other thirty-five early Swiss names researched by Mr. Zwahlen in this area are: Aellen, Annen, Bach, Baumer, Brand, Frautschi, Gander, Gehret, Gonseth, von Grunigen, Gyger, Haldi, Hutzli, Jaggi, Kohli, Kropfli, Kubli, Matti, Mosching, Perreten, Reichenbach, Reller, Romang, Schopfer, von Siebenthal, Steffen, Sumi, Topfel, Tuler, Walker, Wursten, Zingre, Zumstein & Zwahlen. Harold Linder has opened the doors to all of us with an interest in pursuing the earliest history of this family name. He does not dispute that Linders arose in other parts of Europe but asks the following questions: In how many places did the Lidner surname originate? How many of these origins can be traced to the present? Harold Linder can be reached by email at [email protected]
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