Swiss Immigration


Among the earliest Swiss immigrants to North America were German Mennonites, perhaps as many as several thousand, who began settling in the Pennsylvania colony during the late 17th century.

The history of the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland within a group of Swiss and Alsatian Anabaptists in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann.[2] Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish

The Swiss Volhynian Genealogy Database  has more than 27,000 names of Swiss Amish who spent a hundred years in  Prussia/Russia before emigrating to South Dakota and Kansas in 1874.   


Between 1700 and 1776, about 25,000 Swiss immigrants settled in the United States. Between 1851 and 1880, the average annual immigration was almost 2,500, with families moving into Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and other Midwest destinations. During the 1880s, the number jumped dramatically to almost 8,200 per year before slipping back to about 3,000 per year between 1891 and 1930.  

Historian and author Dr. Leo Schelbert's essay on Swiss-American emigration is a must read.


In the mid-1850’s Swiss immigrants of the Mormon faith began arriving in the Utah territory.

From How the Swiss founded a Mormon Town. As with all European countries, immigration was almost halted during the Great Depression (1930s) and World War II (1939–45). 

Between 1971 and 2000, Swiss immigration was steady, at slightly less than 1,000 per year.


The earliest Swiss settlers in Canada were mercenaries. They were hired by either the French or the English to help protect their holdings. A significant number of Pennsylvania Mennonites of Swiss descent immigrated to Upper Canada (later Ontario) as early as the 1780.  Read more.

Immigration to Canada continued small but steady. In 1871, the census showed just under 3,000 Swiss in Canada and about 4,500 10 years later. After WWII, many Swiss immigrants were professionals who moved into urban centers.  Provincial capitals had their own Swiss clubs and associations. The 2006  census recorded 137,775 people of Swiss ancestry in Canada.


Researcher Ernest Thode identifies three main categories of Monroe County Ohio  Germanic immigration: 1) The rural Swiss who settled the northeastern  townships, 2) The Palatinates who settled in the Miltonsburg area and 3)  the Germans who settled in Woodsfield in the late 1840s.
The German and Swiss Heritage of Monroe Co. Ohio 

Steven Hoelscher, of Louisiana State University, explores the identity formation process from the perspective of festival and commemoration. Swiss Public Memory Before the Great War.

Where did they go? A look at the answer to that question.


In April, 1819, ten German and Swiss families embarked on a flatboat on the Aare River at Bern under the leadership of Jacob Tisher. After a tedious journey, they reached Wheeling and again embarked on a flatboat  -- their destination being the Great Kanawa (sic) River. David Tschappat 

Emigration from the Gaster region:  Canton St. Gallen 


The Wisconsin Historical Society has information on the Swiss roots in the state.


Tritt Library-Emmigration-Settlements (pdf)