Stricklers Roots

Little Strickler-Saga Chronicle 1300 - 1699 Chronicle 1700 - 1899 Bibliography

The Strickler name: how did it evolve; from where did it come?

When I lived in Germany, Holland and France, I sought to absorb the languages and assimilate into the cultures. In doing so, I developed in interest in the etymology of wording and in the evolution of the languages themselves. This led me to probe the etymology of my surname, Strickler.
As many who bear the Strickler name know, it had its origin in the 14th century in German speaking Switzerland, at a then obscure location just to the south of Richterswil, which is a small and appealing village not far from Zurich. Even to-day the name is a widely recognized one in that region.
But how did it evolve? In that part of the world surnames had not yet been established, so to differentiate between people bearing the same name, they often added a second designation, usually with reference to the person's profession, where they lived, or to some other identifying aspect.
Early records of the area around Richterswil from the 14th and 15th centuries refer to various people as "am Strick." The initial reporting was of Wernli am Strick in 1391. Then in 1470 more references followed, which recorded the names, Jung-hanns am Strick, Althanns am Strick and Rudy am Strick.
The German word "Strick" translates literally to string, rope or chord, according to the context of its use. But in the case of “am Strick”, the use of the stem word, "Strick", preceded by "am" (meaning “on the”), indicated an address of sorts, i.e. the place where the person lived. In the Swiss-German dialect of the time "Strick" was used metaphorically to denote a straight pathway, which in this case traversed the short distance southward from the tiny village of Richterswil through the forests and meadows to the even smaller village of Huetten.
The deletion of “am” and the addition of the "ler" followed over time. In the Eng-lish language the use of of the suffix, "er", to denote a profession or some other aspect about a person is a Germanic inheritance, so we are used to names like Miller (someone who mills grains), Baker (someone who bakes), etc.
Similarly in German, including Swiss-German, the practice was and still is to em-ploy the suffix "ler" rather than "er" to denote where someone lives. For example, a person who lives in the mountains (Berg) is a “Bergler”. So individuals who lived “am Strick” became known as Stricklers. This is the mechanism by which "am Strick" evolved to Strickler. It is a very Swiss phenomenon.
Jay Strickler, Woodcreek, Texas

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Little Strickler-Saga

This report is intended to present the traces of our common ancestry. It will be updated or changed from time to time, as of the next update of the homepage, when new information is acquired.

From where do the Stricklers come?
Although our name appears in many countries, its origin appears to have been in the area of Waedenswil/Richterswil in the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland. Up to now we have been unable to establish any other root possibilities that do not trace back to this source.
The Strickler name emanated from usage of the term "am Strick" (also "Strich"), which was derived from the German words for line, rope or string. In the instant case, it led to a meaning that signified an elongated pathway or lane.
The specific path or route, it has been determined, led from Waedenswil, passed over the mountainand ended at Einsiedeln. The area where the family name first turned up was the part of the "Dominion of Waedenswil". However, the original Stricklers didnąt live in the built-up area; instead they preferred to live "on the mountain", a regional term referring to the hilly, morainic landscape to the west of the lake of Zurich. Today the village of Samstagern is situated there.
The inhabitants of this sparsely settled area were of Alemannic descent. The Alemanni being a Gothic tribe so named by the Romans, had invaded Switzerland and Alsace during the 5th century. From 1287 until 1549 the area belonged to the "Command of Waedenswil" under the administration of the "Order of St. John of Jerusalem" at the old castle of Waedenswil.
From its beginning the family began to spread throughout the surrounding area, where today onefinds the villages Huetten, Schoenenberg, Hirzel. It is noteworthy that for a number centuriesthe areas to which the Stricklers spread always remained in the hills close to but on the other side of the administrative district's borders. Did this seemingly freedom-loving people want to stay as far as possible from their lords? They probably were mostly farmers or craftsmen.

Subjects of Zurich
In 1549 the Order of St. John of Jerusalem sold the command to the City-State of Zurich, which meant that the inhabitants had to accept the unique form of Protestantism promoted by Zwingli, which had become the official religion in Zurich. The territory governed by "Waedenswil" was contiguous on the south and on the west to the Catholic regions of Zug and Schwyz. So even after the religious Protestant versus Catholic wars of 1529 and 1531 (Kappeler Kriege) tension reigned along the borders.
Early on in the 16th century the Reformation brought the priests liberation from celibacy; but for the people everything remained as before. The power was now placed in the hands of the priests, who also were designated by the authorities of Zurich to control the population. For example, the priests were, responsible for the census and the registration of the population, and the weekly church service was the appropriate place for official announcements.

For some people the Reformation didnąt change enough. They saw the message of the Bible in another way. They rejected baptism of children as a grave error, accepting only baptism of mature adults, who beforehand had been instructed thoroughly in the Gospel. They were, therefore, referred to as "Baptists".
Because the Baptists admonished their followers not to attend the state sanctioned church services and preached obedience only to God, the government and the ecclesiastical administration regarded them as a serious threat. This led to persecution of the Baptists and to efforts to persuade them that their beliefs were erroneous.
Baptists who did not revoke their beliefs were locked up in a Zurich prison. Baptist preachers were even drowned in the Limmat River.
And so the Baptists attempted to hide as well as they could. The hilly area above Lake Zurich offered suitable hiding places. At the end of 1639 the Baptist Commission of the Council of Zurich (designated to resolve the Baptist problem) took up the matter and sought a radical solution. On December 5, 1639 the Commission decided to confiscate all goods of the Baptists and to hunt down all of them who were not yet in prison. (Hans Ulrich Pfister: Die Auswanderung aus dem Knonaueramt 1648-1750). So, the Baptists were forced to emigrate.

... and poverty
But non-Baptists also were forced to emigrate during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the last of the great bubonic plague epidemics of 1611 and 1629 and a lesser one in 1635, a continuing population increase commenced, which led to severe overpopulation problems. It did not stop until 1690. During 1691 through 1693, the Canton of Zurich experienced the greatest famine in its recent history. The food crisis appeared simultaneously in numerous areas and struck with such a concentrated effect that the population could hardly live at a subsistence level. (Hans Ulrich Pfister: Die Auswanderung aus dem Knonauer Amt 1648-1750).

Destinations of escape: The palatinate...
Many refugees from Zurich migrated to the Palatinate of today's Republic of Germany. This refers specifically to the territories to the west and east of the Rhine River and in the surroundings of Heidelberg, in the Kraichgau and in the territories of Neustadt at the Weinstrasse.
Following the Thirty Years War, Elector Karl Ludwig wanted to increase the population of his country as quickly as possible. Therefore he invited foreigners to settle in his country.
Involvement of the Palatinate in wars with France, the battles in the Dutch War and devastation by the French in the War of Succession rained down on the Palatinate its harsh impacts, as well.
To cite Hans Ulrich Pfister in his book about migration from the "Knonauer Amt", "As a result of large scale emigration and the death of many people during the War of Succession, the Palatinate suffered a huge population loss, which became apparent during the reconstruction process after the war. Elimination of the war devastation mandated a huge expenditure of effort, requiring that once again foreign laborers were to be summoned."

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Chronicle 1300 to 1699

Note: Use of the word "Strick" in the text below refers to a path or road.

1384 First record of the Strickler name. (5-10)
1391 From a document of the Religious Knights of the Order of Waedenswil: "Wernli" at "Strick" ("Strick" meaning residing on the path/road) (1-49)
1391 Commons record entry (commons denoting property held in common by the citizens) indicates that "Wernli" at "Strick" and his wife Anna were owners of an estate at "Fridhuebsch", which bordered on one side to the commons and on the other side to another estate. It was subject to the tax authority of the Religious Knights of the Order of Waedenswil. (1-72)
1470 Zurich tax records show: "Junghanns", "Althanns" and "Rudy" at "Strick". (1-49)
1470 Records refer to innkeeper "Heinin" at "Strick", son of "Althanns" at "Strick". (1-49)
1515 An Allemani (precursors of the Germans) listing of paid combatants named 46 people from Richterswil, including 6 Stricklers, all of whom fought in the battle of Marignano (4a-35)
1520 A report of a fishing rights conflict at "Huettnersee" under the leadership of the deputy district leader, Johannes von Hattstein of the Knight Order, mentions Ruedi Strickler from "Feldmoos" and Hans Strickler of "Unter Laubegg". (3-64)
1530 Reference in a note of indebtedness to Rudolf Strickler residing at "Strick" on "Richtischwyler" Mountain, whose house served as an inn. (1-49)
1530 An entry indicates that permission was granted for "Rudy" Stricklers house to continue functioning as an inn. (1-49)
1530 A property registry recorded the Hans Stricklers property, known as "Fridhuebsch", situated at "Strick". (1-72)
1564 Entry in the public records: Rudolf Strickler from "Strik" at "Essell" (1-30)
1564 Entry in the public records: Peter Strickler at "Hasslenhof" (1-16)
1568 The real estate register of Waedenswil mentions an estate at "Schwanden" owned by Rudolf Strickler from "Esel". (1-46)
1568 A recording indicates a Joerg Strickler residing at "Fridhuebsch". (1-72)
1634 Public records refer to: "Jagli Strickler of "Haslen" (1-16)
1636 An entry reports: Heinrich Strickler (1636-1711), father of the succeeding descendant Strickler schoolmasters, was born. Heinrich Strickler had a cousin bearing the same name, who was cited as the schoolmaster at "Bellen". (5-11)
1656 From the real estate register: Urban Strickler from "Sternen" at "Richtenschwylerberg" (1-49)
1657 In a promissory note reference: Georg Strickler at "Bellen" (1-14)
1669 Entry recording: Hans Strickler as navigator on a boat at Richterswil (4b-53)
1671 Death register: Urban Strickler at "Sternen" (1-49)
1679 Commons record entry: Hans Jacob and Heinrich Strickler at "Bellen"(1-14)
1679 Commons record entry: Hans and Hans Jacob Strickler at "Huegsamm" (1-60)
1679 Parish register: Death of Elisabetha Strickler-Rellstab at "Kabis" (today "Neuheim") (1-36)
1688 Jakob Strickler, schoolmaster from "Fellmis" is born. (4a-59)
1691 Real estate register: Heinrich Strickler from "Felldmaass" (1-20)

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Chronicle 1700 to 1899

Note: Use of the word "Strick" in the text below refers to a path or road.

1711 Jakob Isler acquires one half of the "Ottensegel" estate from Urech Strickler (3-8)
1711 Heinrich Strickler, father of schoolmaster Jakob Strickler dies. (5-11)
1713 The mother of schoolmaster Jakob Strickler, Verena Hauser (born 1647) dies. Jakob Strickler divides the house at "Fellmis" with his sister Regula. She marries Heinrich Strickler, who then lived in the house. Schoolmaster Heinrich Strickler of "Bellen" was witness to the division of the property. (5-13/43)
1713 Schoolmaster Jakob Strickler of "Fellmis" held his classes at "Stocken" on the "Wedenschweilerberg" from 1713 to 1716 (5-12)
1716 The schoolmasters Jakob Strickler of "Fellmis" and Heinrich Strickler of "Bellen" were required to take a qualifying examination in Zurich. Heinrich Strickler did not pass and had to cease teaching, whereas Jakob Strickler from that time until 1760 continued to hold classes at "Felmis". (5-15)
1717 The schoolmaster, Jakob Strickler of "Fellmis" marries Regula Sennhauser of Schoenenberg (5-41)
1717 The locksmith, Johann Strickler, assisted in building the new roof of the church of Richterswil. (4b-42)
1731 Bernhard Sennhauser of Schoenenberg, the father-in-law of the schoolmaster, Jakob Strickler dies. Jakob Strickler inherits the house, which was sold to master Jakob Strickler of "Horgenerberg". (5-44)
1750 There was marital row between Heinrich Scherer from "Oerischwand", his wife Anna Strickler of "Blegi" and her father, Kaspar Strickler of "Blegi". (5-36)
1757 In a reply of Waedenswil 's governor to Zurich's city council a notation was entered: "Captain Strickler's brewery at Richterswil" (the brewery was that of Fire Chief Strickler). (2-72)
1757 Jakob Strickler of "Blegi" still owes the schoolmaster, Jakob Strickler of "Fellmis", 5 overdue payments for his employment as schoolmaster. (5-31)
1760 Cousin "Hans Ruedeli" Strickler of "Boeschen" gives twenty-eight large crabs, to the schoolmaster, Jakob Strickler of "Fellmis", which he in turn gave to Parson Felix Vogler of Richterswil. (5-28)
1760 The schoolmaster, Jakob Strickler of "Fellmis", is ordered by the provincial governor to conduct a census of Richterswil. (5-38)
1763 The schoolmaster, Jakob Strickler dies on Christmas Day. Barbara, the only daughter surviving childhood, marries a furniture maker, Heinrich Rusterholz. (5-41/42/56/)
1795 Records report: Judge Rudolf Strickler-Bachmann (1714-1795) lived at "Boeschen" (3-27)
1799 Hans-Jacob Strickler of "Saag" (born 1770) dies in his house, mortally wounded by a cannon shot. (Franco Russian Austrian War ) (4c-37)
1799 Ulrich Strickler of "Saagen" is seated in the first Richterswil council. (4c-28)
1799 Jacob Strickler of "Sternen", appointed fort overseer for the regional authority of Richterswil. (4c-32)
1804 The former Judge Ulrich Strickler of "Saag" appointed arms keeper of the regional council (4c-52)
1805 The director of the Commons Strickler refuses to accept election to the regional council. (4c-54).
1823 Heinrich Strickler of Richterswil appointed night watchman and lamplighter. (2-94)
1822 Johannes Strickler of "Berg" confirmed as justice of the peace. (4d-11)
1831 Heinrich Strickler of "Bergli" becomes president of the municipal council of Huetten and Heinrich Strickler of "Boeschen" becomes member of the council. (3-30)
1831 Jakob Strickler of "Gruenenfeld" becomes district election clerk. (4d-31)
1831 Veterinarian Strickler, appointed to the regional council of Richterswil. (4d-32)
1831 Real estate registry: Regional Councilman Jacob Strickler from "Gruenenfeld" at "Richtenschweilerberg". (1-30)
1840 The tavern "Zur frohen Aussicht" specialized in the wine of Caspar Strickler. (3-49)

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Explanation of abbreviations: The first number indicates the source number; the second indicates the page number. Example: (1-49) This reference indicates page 49 from the book "Richterswil im Spiegel seiner Flurnamen" by Kurt Wild.

(1) - Kurt Wild: "Richterswil im Spiegel seiner Flurnamen" (Richterswil in the Mirror of its Field Names), published 1995 by Verlag Druckerei Inc., Richterswil
(2) - Kurt Wild: "Alt-Richterswil", published 1992 by Buchdruckerei Inc., Richterswil
(3) - Peter Ziegler: "Huetten", published 1987 by Stutz & Co. Inc., Waedenswil
(4) - Heinrich Peter: "Aus der Ortsgeschichte von Richterswil", published by Buchdruckerei Inc., Richterswil
(4a) - Volume 1: 1975
(4b) - Volume 2: 1975
(4c) - Volume 3: 1980
(4d) - Volume 4: 1983
(4e) - Volume 5: 1985
(5) - Walter Hoehn-Ochsner: "Aus dem Leben und Wirken des Schulmeisters Jakob Strickler" (From the Life and Works of Schoolmaster Jakob Strickler), published by Buch- und Kunstdruckerei Inc., Richterswil

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