The Wittwers of this line come from Schangnau, a small village in Switzerland. It's called the "place of origin". Contrary to most other countries, official forms in Switzerland will not ask for the "place of birth" but rather for the "place of origin". That is were the family books are kept and where you will depose you paper if you emigrate from Switzerland. Your place of origin even has an obligation of taking care of you in case of need, though this anachronistic concept has been replaced by a rather well working social welfare. Still, Schangnau could be a nice place to retire. It is deep in the valley of Emmental, where the famous Swiss cheese with the big holes comes from. Here two pictures one of the nicest house in Schangnau and the other of the church.
In this town, a certain Peter Wittwer was born in 1656. He was the son of Mathias Wittwer, born in 1594 in the adjacent town of Trub. And that is as far back as things are known about the Wittwers. The picture below is an excerpt of the death books deposited at the mayor's office in Schangnau. I had the opportunity to visit the village a couple of years ago. The excerpt shows the death record of my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, born in 1781.
The first column is just numbering. The second column is the month of death (November), the third is the day of death (21st). The year of the death is not visible on this picture, but is indicated on the top of the page, and it is the year 1850. The text then reads (middle column): "Peter Wittwer, der Elisabeth Jost Ehemann, von Schangnau, wohnhaft gewesen auf dem Berg". In English: "Peter Wittwer, husband of Elisabeth Jost, from Schangnau, and who lived on the mountain". We were not yet able to identify the place called "Berg". The next two columns give the date of the burial: November 24. And the last two columns indicate the age at the death: 69 years and 1 month.
Here now the family tree as it is known:
Mathias Wittwer b. 26 JUL 1594 in Trub. He was the son of Hans. No further information on his father is available. He married Anna Gerber b. 1620 in Trub. She died August 21, 1702 in Bern.
They had three children. The second one was Mathias (Mathys).
Mathys Wittwer was born on April 16, 1658, in Schangnau, Bern, Switzerland. He married Barbara Ummel on January 12, 1682, in Röthenbach, Bern, Switzerland. They had three children in 24 years. He died on September 27, 1750, in his hometown at the impressive age of 92. The third and last child was Mathys.
When Mathys Wittwer was born on June 17, 1708, in Bern, Switzerland, his father, Mathys, was 50 and his mother, Barbara, was 43. He married Anna Gerber in 1730 in Schangnau, Bern, Switzerland. They had three children in 11 years. He died on August 21, 1795, in Schangnau, Bern, Switzerland, having lived a long life of 87 years. The third child was Peter.
When Peter Wittwer was born on February 21, 1745, in Schangnau, Bern, Switzerland, his father, Mathys, was 36 and his mother, Anna, was 33. He married Anna Furer on August 17, 1775, in Bern, Switzerland. He died on May 19, 1804, at the age of 59. They had one child during their marriage. He was named Peter after his father.
When Peter Wittwer was born on October 29, 1781, in Schangnau, Bern, Switzerland, his father, Peter, was 36 and his mother, Anna, was 32. He married Elisabeth Jost on August 25, 1809. They had 12 children in 23 years. He died on November 21, 1850, in his hometown, where he was buried, at the age of 69. The first child was a daughter named Elisabeth.
When Elisabeth Wittwer was born on February 18, 1810, in Schangnau, Bern, Switzerland, her father, Peter, was 28, and her mother, Elisabeth, was 20. She had one son in 1832, and there is no record of the father nor of a marriage. The child was most probably illegitimate. She died as a young mother on January 29, 1832, in her hometown about two weeks after the birth of her son Friedrich, at the age of 22.
When Friedrich Wittwer was born on January 13, 1832, in Schangnau, Bern, Switzerland, his mother, Elisabeth, was 21. His mother died two weeks after his birth. He emigrated to the French part of Switzerland. He married Sophie Adeline Bourquin on June 28, 1856, in Biel, Bern, Switzerland. He died on September 24, 1876, in Switzerland at the age of 44. They had seven children in 10 years. The sixth child was named Gustav.
When Gustav Wittwer was born on November 17, 1865, in Courtelary, Bern, Switzerland, his father, Friedrich, was 33 and his mother, Sophie, was 30. He married Rosette Schneider on February 19, 1898. They had one child during their marriage. He died on November 13, 1944, at the age of 78 in Bowil, Bern, Switzerland, having return to a neighbouring village to where is grandmother lived. Their child was named Gustav like his father.
When Gustav Wittwer was born on December 10, 1911, his father, Gustav, was 46 and his mother, Rosette, was 49. He had two sons with Bertha Niederhauser between 1935 and 1939. He died on October 14, 1992, at the age of 80. The younger son was name Hans Rudolf.
When Hans Rudolf Wittwer was born in 1939, in Basel, Basel-City, Switzerland, his father, Gustav, was 27 and his mother, Bertha, was 28. He married Margrit Hanna Hochstrasser on March 27, 1965, in Hilterfingen, Bern, Switzerland. They have three children. The second one is a son. It's me.
You will find more information in the following small booklet, which you may find on amazon.com