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A Little Schürch History

The view from the Luderenalp Hotel.

Our North American history starts in the late 1600s. Many of our Schürch family came from Sumiswald, Switzerland and other regions within Switzerland. Our documentation also shows family from the neighbouring areas around Switzerland such as the Palatinate region of Germany and the Alsace area of France.

Through research we have been able to trace the migration route from Switzerland to Holland and England where these families took the hazardous journeys by sea to the new world. Once in North America they settled primarily in the state of Pennsylvania and later moved on to other areas throughout the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico. Some even ventured to South America.

During our research we have discovered the exact or approximate date of arrivals of our ancestors from Europe. We have therefore assigned a Code to each family branch so that genealogists can assign a code to their branch of the tree. The Immigrant Code list is included in the chart below.

The name spellings are as found in the ship passenger lists. All entries were through the port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, except for immigrant A. Jo Sherrick, who entered at Virginia.



Table 1    Immigrant Codes and Ships
Source: The Sherk Family by Thomas A. Sherk
Page xii, Gateway Press Inc., Baltimore, 1982

Numbering System    

Each immigrant progenitor listed in Table 1 has been given a single code letter to identify him. The code letters begin with A and proceed consecutively throughout the alphabet in the order of the date that the immigrant arrived in America.

Subsequent generations are given a code number according to the order of their birth in the family. This single digit runs in the sequence 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0, and then A,B,C etc. where 0 represents a tenth child, A an eleventh child, B a twelfth child, and so on. Using this notation, the first child of Ulrich Sherk would be N1, the second child would be N2, and the third N3. If there were a tenth child, the code would be N0, and if there were an eleventh child the code would be NA. In the next generation the first child of N1 would be N11, the second child would be N12, etc., and the children of NA would be NA1, NA2 and so on. Thus Thomas Sherk, who is the author of the book “The Sherk Family”, (referred to at the top of Table 1), whose identification code number is N16A643, would have the following ancestral line:


Code                Ancestor


N16A           gr.grandfather            
N16A6             grandfather            
N16A64                     father            
N16A643                      son   

John S. Shirk Memorial Heritage Award

This award has been established in honour and memory of the late John S. Shirk, 1916 - 2008,  who made multifaceted contributions to the Schürch Family Association. The purpose of the award is to recognize an outstanding contribution on the part of any Schürch descendant that contributes to, encourages, or advances our understanding of our Schürch heritage, and to encourage participation in the Schürch Family Association, particularly among younger people.

Follow this link to read about those who have thus far received the award.

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