Preliminary work in the U.S.
Once the exact names of places are known, the research can be extended to Switzerland. Here is a list of some key American sources which might contain the names of places relevant to a Swiss-born immigrant:
* passenger lists of the ports of departure (after 1850 mostly Le Havre or Hamburg, before also Bremen [Loss of lists], in the 18th century Rotterdam)
* passenger lists of the ports of arrival
* Department of Health Services for death records
* Church offices for death records
* Burial records
* Cemetery records
* Grave stones
* Obituaries in local newspapers
* Department of Health Services, marriage records (if emigrant married in USA)
* Church offices for marriage records
* Census records
* Naturalization records
* Confirmation records of children born in Switzerland
The research should not be focused solely on the immigrant, but also on his whole family. If an immigrant was accompanied e.g. by his wife and children the above mentioned sources should be used to discover data about them too, if the town of origin of the head of the family cannot be determined.
The National Archives and Records Administration,
7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20408, Tel. 202/501-5500 has microfilms of passenger lists arriving at more than 60 Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico ports.
Here are two additional web pages which might be of help in your research:
* Links to all Swiss genealogical societies
* Cyndi's List of Genealogical Sites:
In case you are already in possession of the names of places (place of origin, birthplace etc.) connected with your ancestors, or if, despite all your research, you have been unable come up with this information, your next step would be to contact the Central Office of the Swiss Genealogical Society.
Would you like to know who your ancestors were? Do you need help, at least to get started with your own research? The Swiss Genealogical Society (SGS) offers to help you search for traces of your ancestors.