Swiss Genealogy on the Internet

Canton Glarus (GL)



In 2011 the community structure of canton Glarus was reorganized into three administrative communities:

  • Glarus Nord including the original communities Bilten, Niederurnen, Oberurnen, Näfels, Mollis, Filzbach, Obstalden and Mühlehorn
  • Glarus including the original communities Netstal, Glarus, Riedern and Ennenda
  • Glarus Süd including the original communities Mitlödi, Sool, Schwändi, Schwanden, Nidfurn, Haslen, Leuggelbach, Luchsingen, Hätzingen, Betschwanden, Diesbach, Rüti, Linthal, Braunwald, Engi, Matt, and Elm

The map at right is taken from Wikimedia Commons under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Glarus map


Demographic Development of the Canton of Glarus (PDF)


This text is based on a history written by Peter Jehli, and was translated by Sue Wolf.

St. Fridolin

Fridolin was an Irish monk, who, according to the legend, should have lived at the time of the Frankish king Clovis, around about 500 A.D. Many learned people doubt whether Fridolin had really lived. According to tradition he (according to an apparition of St. Hilarius) founded the cloister, Säckingen on the Rhine.

The land of Glarus belonged to the cloister for a long time through a donation; this is the likely reason why Fridolin became the cantonal patron.

The land of Glarus originates

  • The actual colonization of the valleys began a few centuries before Christ. Celts and Raetians left behind traces of simple farming activity.
  • Around the birth of Christ the Romans established estates and smaller fortified installations in our valley.
  • In the 6th and 7th centuries the Alemanni immigrated into our valley.
  • In the 8th century the Carolingians assumed power, exercised jurisdiction in our canton and collected taxes. Since about 750 a quarter of the land belonged as a donation to the Säckingen cloister.
  • Around 820 the name Glarona was first mentioned in the legend of Felix and Regula.
  • 1264 - Rudolf of Habsburg becomes the Holy Roman Empire official over Glarus.
  • The opposition of the Glarner population was awakened under the increasing pressure of the Habsburgs. Although they should have participated on the Habsburg's side of it, the Glarners in 1315 stayed away from the Morgarten war.
  • 1351 - the Zurichers and the Forest Cantons occupied Glarus.
  • On June 4, 1352 the Glarners sealed a first federation, which was never recognized by the Habsburgs. Since it awarded the confederation more rights than the Glarners, this signified to them that it was a so-called inferior or bad federation.
  • In July 1386 (Sempacher War) the Glarners breached the Oberwindegg castle near Niederurnen. Filzbach [a commune] received the land rights. With help of the confederation the town of Weesen is captured.
  • On March 11, 1387 the first Popular Assembly [Landsgemeinde] in Glarus took place. The Glarners declared themselves free and drew up the first constitution.
  • On the night of February 21 and 22, 1388 the people of the Glarner army of occupation in Weesen were murdered by troops loyal to the Habsburgs (image at right).
  • On April 9, 1388 there was a battle at Näfels (image at right). The Habsburg army was crushingly defeated by the Glarners, with the help of a handful of confederates. After that Glarus was considered a confederated canton of equal status.
  • 1419 - the market town of Glarus became the capital.
  • As late as 1473 the Glarners now also received formal equality in the improved federation.
  • 1476 - participation of the Glarners in the battles against Karl den Kühnen [Karl the Bold].
  • From 1506 till 1516, Ulrich Zwingli, the later Reformer, is pastor in Glarus.
  • Between 1525 and 1529 the Reformation was introduced into the majority of the Glarner communes. Mainly the wealthier northern communes remained true to the old faith, however.
  • 1548 - the first game-shooting reserve of Switzerland was established : the Freiberg Kärpf.
  • 1623 - cantonal agreement brings denominationally separate Popular Assemblies.
  • 1798 - the French conquered Switzerland. The defeat of the Glarners near Wollerau. Glarner land was occupied.
  • 1799 - the French, Austrians and Russians fought on Glarner soil.
  • 1803 - the land of Glarus became Canton Glarus by Napoleon's constitution.
  • 1811 - the inauguration of the Escher canal.
  • 1822 - the inauguration of the Linth canal.
  • 1837 - new cantonal constitution and elimination of the denominational land partition.
  • 1861 - the burning of Glarus (image at right).
  • 1864 - the first industrial law of Switzerland was passed in Glarus.
  • 1881 - landslide of Elm (image at right).
  • 1887 - the Popular Assembly gave itself a new cantonal constitution.
  • 1899 - the "Klausenstrasse" between Linthal and Altdof, Uri was inaugurated.
  • 1916 - the first old people's and surviving dependent's insurance for Switzerland was introduced in Glarus.
  • 1972 - the first Popular Assembly with the participation of women took place (image at right). Reports about the most recent Assemblies may be viewed in German with short abstracts in English.

Weesen Murder Night Weesen Murder Night, 1388

Battle at Näfels Battle at Näfels, 1388

Burning of Glarus 1 Burning of Glarus, 1861

Landslide of Elm Landslide of Elm, 1881

Popular Assembly First Popular Assembly with women, 1972


The local genealogical societies are
Genealogisch-Heraldische Gesellschaft Zürich
and (for some parts)
Rätische Vereinigung für Familienforschung

If you have questions about genealogical research in Canton Glarus you may contact

Bear in mind that these volunteers are amateur genealogists, answering your questions in their spare time. Please give them sufficient time to respond.

You can discuss your questions with others interested in canton Glarus on the Genealogieforum Glarus. The archive is open to visitors to read; in order to be able to respond or start a new thread, registration (free of charge) is required. When posting, please keep in mind that only topics related to Glarus should be placed here; for topics related to other regions, navigate from the homepage to the appropriate forum or to the forum for Switzerland in general.


The Landesarchiv (State Archive) has specific family genealogies available back to 1595 that they will share with interested descendants for a fee.

Postgasse 29
Postfach 515
CH - 8750 Glarus
phone: +41 55 646 63 01
fax:    +41 55 646 63 13

Register of libraries and archives in Canton Glarus



  1. Canton Glarus, Switzerland Genealogy
  2. Sources


This page is maintained by Sue Wolf.
Last updated 2 Jan 2022.
Please forward any comments and/or additions to this webpage to the WebMasterCH.