The History of the Citizen Families of Engi (GL) and their Development

Public lectures by Martin Baumgartner : The Luchsingers

The History of the Citizen Families of Engi and their Development
[Zur Geschichte der bürgerlichen Geschlechter von Engi und ihre Entwicklung]

Public lectures by Martin Baumgartner, teacher in Engi.
Self-published by the author, Glarner Newsprint Shop, Rud. Tschudy, 1923.

Translated by Sue Wolf

V. The Luchsingers

At the beginning of the story of the Luchsingers I will note again that the well-known (to me) Glarner genealogist, Mr. Kubli-Müller, whom I already mentioned with honor in the introduction to these reports, compiled the Engi Luchsingers with various information. He has been untiringly busy in the field of genealogy for 30 years already, and, in the compilation of all the families of our canton, he has had to make use of all the archives and libraries not only in Switzerland, but he has been helped with books and documents from foreign countries, since the Glarnese live mostly away from home, and entries that they lack in the homeland are scattered everywhere. Thousands of letters travelled from him to America alone, and the information which was delivered from America was seldom free. The American Glarnese have apparently little or no appreciation for genealogy and precious little sense of family. Their goal is the -DOLLAR!

Like the Blumers, our Luchsingers must also have stemmed from Luchsingen, although today no more representatives from these two families are found there. This is exactly the same phenomenon as I see with all our old families from Engi, which I pointed out in the introduction. Times have changed!

As with the Blumers, their descent can be shown to evolve from Luchsingen. When "Luchsinger" is interpreted only from the name, then as far as documents exist, Luchsingen has not had "Luchsingers" as citizens. Their descent from Luchsingen must reach back, in my opinion, at least to the 13th or 14th centuries.

The very first known Luchsinger at all, named in a document of March 17, 1305, is Rudolf Luchsinger (see Document nr.100). Then, on July 16, 1395, Detrich Luchsinger is named with the purchase ["ransom"] of Glarus land from the Sächingen monastery. The Sächingen arable land numbers the Luchsingers among the free Gotteshausleute **.

**[Translator's Note: "Gotteshausleute" refers to people attached to a religious establishment for protection, usually as serfs. They could buy their freedom, for example, with the purchase of church land.]**

In 1444 in the battle of St. Jacob on the Birs, a Hansli Mürdi, called "Luchsinger", was named as killed in action.

In 1499 a Battet Luchsinger died in the Swabian war, and in 1513 Lärg and Hans Luchsinger was found under the "killed in action" from Novarra.

In the council records of the 16th century that show up, fragmentarily in 1527, then beginning from 1547, however, almost without a gap, we find Luchsingers in large quantities, also Mürdis called Luchsinger. However, the occurrence of the residential and hometown sort is never or seldom stated. The cantonal recorder relies on noticeable brevity.

As early as 1500 Luchsingers must have lived in Engi as citizens. Then a Hans Luchsinger from the Sernftal was the only Sernftaler in 1504 to participate in the international shooting festival and lottery in Zurich. About this festival Pastor Heer, in the story of the Luchsingers, has detained himself in detail. Then in the tax rolls of 1525 of the church in Matt, which we have already mentioned in the story of the Martis, I will tell you that Fridli Luchsinger, in March, has to pay a Plappert (a monetary denomination of the time) for his possessions "in the Wyden, adjoining on the one side Möschingen, on the other side the Ueblibach", and, in May, a pound of grain and two Plapperts for the same possessions.

Of the many Luchsingers in the council records I became completely certain of the following people as full citizens of Engi:

On December 18, 1555 and October 17, 1558 a Fridli Luchsinger from Engi. Moreover, on December 2,1562, a Thöni and Lärgi (Hilarius) Luchsinger ** appeared before the council, because they beat somebody up at the fair, and therefore had to account for themselves. On Nov. 8, 1564 Fridli Luchsinger from Engi appears once more, as steward to the late Hans Giger's wife, and on March 22, 1565 with a Rudi Büsser before the council. The Büssers are, as I emphasized in the introduction, an old civic family from Engi, which became extinct as a family line here in 1701.

**Note: This Lärgi Luchsinger from Engi came subsequently to Glarus, and is now considered to be the ancestor of all present-day, considerably numerous, Luchsingers from the chief city of Glarus.**

It is also unerringly proven that the Luchsingers are a quite old-dwelling Engi family. Strange to say, however, they have always fallen behind in their evolution. In the last 100 years they have gone backwards very quickly. At first buying into Engi at the end of the 16th century, the Blumers and Baumgartners had already, by 1750, far outdistanced the Luchsingers. On the basis of statistics it is possible for me to give information further back about the recessive evolution of these families.

About the origins of the name "Luchsinger" and its coat of arms Gottfried Heer has enlightened us, in his story of the families of the Sernftal, and we will therefore make no observations, although one can in good faith be of a different opinion about this.


Although we possess documentary proof of the existence of the Luchsingers as early as the year 1500, we concern ourselves with the beginning of the churchbooks in the year 1595, when there is only a single Luchsinger in Engi. It is this councillor, Hilarius Luchsinger, who died in 1622, owner of the outer Höfli, from which old Jacob Altmann of Höfli still possesses some documents, who is regarded as the ancestor of the Luchsingers. He was named as the son of the cantonal official, David, who was the 1597 Landsgemeinde sergeant-at-arms and the 1604 cantonal official in Werdenburg. So Engi also produced a cantonal official! In my opinion, and also in the view of Mr. Kubli-Müller, this cantonal official, David, is the son of Fridolin Luchsinger, previously mentioned as standing on several occasions before the council. Then his son, councillor Hilarius, the ancestor, also again had a son, Fridli. As is well known, the children of that time always at first received the first names of the forefathers.

Now this councillor, Hilarius, who is considered to be the ancestor of the Luchsingers, had two wives: 1. Elsbeth Jenny, who died in 1607, who bore him a son, David, but he died young. In 1612 he married, a second time, a Barbara Zopfi from Schwanden, who died in 1622, 14 days after him. From these two marriages three children emerged: Fridli, Elsbeth, and David. The girl, Elsbeth, died in 1624 at the age of nine. Fridli Luchsinger, 1613-1665 (Nr.4) was the family heir, with a family of 10 children. Also he was a councillor and a church steward. He is the recorder of our old goat-records and has kept the Tagwen** records. From his 10 children emerged five family heirs: 1. Hilarius, Nr.5, 1634-1686 (councillor); 2. Hans Melchior, Nr. 6, 1641-1674; 3. Hans Peter, Nr. 8, 1643-1704; 4. David, Nr. 7, 1645-1689; 5. Fridolin, Nr. 10, 1648-1711. From the family of these 5 sons only the eldest, councillor Hilarius, with three, and the youngest, Fridolin, with two, produced children, so together there were five family heirs. The other three sons, since they produced no family heirs, have no importance for the evolution of the Luchsinger family tree.

**[Translator's Note: Tagwen – an ancient term, from at least the 6th century A.D., which is still used today in Canton Glarus to denote the commune of the citizens, i.e. those who have inherited or purchased the Tagwen rights (this may only partially coincide with the political commune). It is derived from Tage Wann, meaning the work someone could perform in one day in the commonly-held fields, pastures and forests. Over the years the number of Tagwen in the canton has varied considerably, with the present-day number being 29. Also its duties have changed – from jointly working on and enjoying the benefits of its common property, to administering all the commune’s public interests, to (today) administering and enjoying the benefits of its common property.]**

The youngest son of the ancestor, David Luchsinger, 1620-1690, migrated to Glarus and purchased himself a citizenship there in 1638. Two descendants of his, grandson and great-grandson, were pastors in Glarus, in Buchs respectively.

In 1615 the wedding in Matt of a Fridolin Luchsinger with Barbara Jäger was celebrated, according to the church register. This man was, however, a citizen of Glarus and only settled in Engi. Obviously he must have been a well-to-do man, for in 1614 he made a bequest of 10 Gulden to all the pastors of the cantonal churches, but to the newly built church in Linthal 20 Gulden He left behind no offspring (at least none that we know of).

By the year 1700 the Luchsingers in Engi had grown to 12 families, exactly as many as the Baumgartners (the Blumers had 20, the Hämmerlis had 28). In 1750 there were only 17 families (in comparison to the Baumgartner's 34, Hämmerli's 44, Blumer's 50, Marti's 55 families). In 1800 there were only 28 families. The cause of the very scanty development in this time-period lay in the fact that about 75% of the Luchsinger children died early. Until in 1850, when they had increased to 57 families. In the time period of 1800-1850 they developed favorably. In the 1840's and 1850's, in comparison, began the great recession in the Luchsinger family, owing to the overall great emigration to North America and Brazil. By 1920 they had increased to only 110 families, and more and more the total drops in Engi. In the last Tagwen census the Luchsingers were reported with only 11 [people] possessing Tagwen rights.


Of the Luchsingers a total of 244 people (41%) emigrated [out of a total of 595]. Along with the Blumers, who produced 41.5%, they had the highest percentage of all today's families. Of them 64 (26.5%) moved to North America, 39 (16%) to Brazil, 50 (20.5%) to other cantons, 58 (23%) to other Glarner villages, and 30 (12.3%) to unknown places. No other family in our commune showed such a high percentage of emigrants of which their destination is unknown. 19% of all Luchsingers are never heard from again at all -which are numbers that clearly enough illustrate the recession of this family. Of the emigrants to other cantons and Glarner villages most of them stopped in Toggenburg and in French Switzerland, and of these, above all, in the commune of Ennenda.


Of the 117 wives of the Luchsingers 59 (50.5%) stem from Engi. These are divided up among the families as follows: 21 (35.6%) - Marti; 14 (23.7%) - Blumer; 6 (10%) -Baumgartner; 4 (6.8%) each - Hämmerli and Luchsinger; 2 (3.4%) each - Altmann, Bräm, and Wyss; 1 each - Giger and Norder.


As expressed in the family line, the Luchsinger names which are handed down are, above all, the following: 19 (17%) of all Luchsinger family heirs are called Hilarius or Fridolin; 11 (10%) - Jakob; 10 (9%) - Adam; 6 (5.5%) - Peter; 5 (4.5%) each - David, Sebastian and Martin.


The Luchsingers produced a few dignitaries with offices in the church and Tagwen. They are represented by three councillors, two church stewards and a treasurer. Among the military of times past stand no greats. -The three councillors are the ancestor, his son and grandson, who, at the same time, held other mentioned offices also.

So the Nr.1. Luchsinger councillor was Hilarius, who died in 1622, who was the already-mentioned ancestor.

Nr. 2. His son, Fridli Luchsinger, 1613-1665, at the same time also church steward.

Nr. 3. This one's son, Hilarius Luchsinger, 1634-1686, likewise a church steward and treasurer. This councillor, Hilarius, was considered as the builder of the present-day sawmill, according to the Tagwen records of 1684. A saw with mill must have previously stood on the other side of the Mühlebach, in the so-called Mühleschöschetli (Wintergen), to which, at that time, a Mathias Marti listened. His son, Fridli Luchsinger, took over the sawmill as heir. The place where it stood respectfully is still used today, but the commune listens.

Later, we meet no more Luchsingers as Tagwen or church officials.


Seven Luchsingers have lost their lives in foreign military service:

On Nov. 24, 1689 Adrian Luchsinger, born in 1654, single, died in the service of the French. He was the son of church steward and councillor, Fridli Luchsinger, and grandson of the ancestor.

On Sept. 11, 1709 Fridli Luchsinger, born in 1685, single, fell in the bloody battle of Mons in the service of the Dutch under the Paravacini Company. He was the grandson of councillor and church steward, Fridli Luchsinger. Two other Englers also lost their lives in the same battle with him: Hans Marti, son of the church steward, Mathes, and Rudolf Blumer, of Jakob.

On April 29, 1740 Fridolin Luchsinger, single, died at Monin in Flanders as a corporal in the Hirzel Regiment. His father, Hans Melchior, was an illegitimate son of councillor and church steward, Hilarius Luchsinger (Nr. 5).

In 1808 Martin Luchsinger, born in 1775, went forth as a recruited soldier from Engi and was never heard from again. Likewise, a year later, on August 5, 1809, his brother, Fridolin Luchsinger, born in 1788, who in 1806 wanted already to be recruited as a soldier, but then he was found to be too young. Both brothers undoubtedly went to Russia under Napoleon I and perished there in 1812. They are brothers of the father of old Adam Luchsinger im Trog, and of Hilarius, the father of Peter Luchsinger im Spicher.

In 1809 in November, David Luchsinger, born in 1786, single, died in the hospital standing in the service of the Spanish. No more descendants of his father lived in Engi, in comparison with French Switzerland.

On August 8, 1854, Peter Luchsinger, born in 1826, single, died in Naples as a soldier. His father, Adam, was a brother of Peter Luchsinger im Spicher, and had an accident in 1836 at Mühlebach. Of this later.

[ACCIDENTS & EVENTS the Luchsinger family was affected by:]

On July 12, 1710 Martin, the 3 year old little son of Fridolin Luchsinger im Bergen, drowned in the Ueblibach in the sawmill of his father.

On December 7, 1726, Magdalena, born in 1710, daughter of the already mentioned Fridolin Luchsinger im Bergen, was killed on the way to Schwanden, at the Sool bridge, by a rock.

In the time between Sept. 7-15, 1772 Verena Marti, wife of Sebastian Luchsinger, and her 2 children, Magdalena (aged 5) and Hilarius (aged 4) were snatched up by dysentery. In 1783 this Sebastian Luchsinger, born in 1737, was caught in the Ueblital, in the undertow. While trying to breathe, he was killed by a beech tree. And on Oct. 31, 1799 his only married son, Oswald Luchsinger, born in 1765, lost his life in the flood in the Mühlebach, as did the husband of Elisabeth Bräm. Their only daughter, Elisabeth Luchsinger, 1797-1889, is the grandmother of Oswald Hämmerli, a cooper im Rigi. This family has had so much sorrow to endure.

On Sept. 21, 1782 Jost Luchsinger, born in 1743 and husband of Susanna Blumer, died at the wild hay gathering on the Bergli summit. He was the grandfather of Jost Luchsinger im Hugeten ** who is the father of Kaspar im Linden and his siblings. He was also the grandfather of so-called "Midwife Hilarius", as well as old Jost Luchsinger im Sändli, who is the father of the guard, the late Oswald, and his siblings.

**Note: im Linden, respectively**

On Dec. 12, 1799 Samuel Luchsinger, born in 1769, single, was a casualty when, while searching for goats at the summit of the Ueblital, he slipped on the frozen ground and fell off the summit to his death. He was a brother of Hilarius, the grandfather of old Hilarius Luchsinger of the common land.

On Jan. 10, 1836 Adam Luchsinger, born in 1804 and husband of Anna Strub of Schwanden, was a casualty in an avalanche at Mühlebach. He was a brother of old Peter Luchsinger im Spicher. With him, as we mentioned in the story of the Martis, Jakob Marti, father of Sebastian im Bergli, also lost his life.


1. I have left all descriptive phrases untranslated, such as "im Speicher". They are used to distinguish between people of the same first and last names, which occurred frequently in this area because of inbreeding.

2. All comments in brackets [] are mine. I have also added headings for ease of reading.

Return to Baumgartner Index Page / see also Heer's notes on the Luchsingers

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