* * * * * * * 1500's * * * * * * *

HARTSELL - 1500's

According to one source, the Hartsell (or Hartzell) name goes back to the ancient feudal "Clan von Herzelle" of Switzerland. This spelling is a Swiss-German dialect and is pronounced "Hairts'-sa-lee". From this spelling it seems to have become "Von Herzel", where Herzel is pronounced "Hairtzel". For those who came to America, the spelling was "Americanized" to Hertzel, Hartzell, Hartsell, etc. One must remember that in the early days most people could not read or write, much less their own name, so whoever was making a record of the name wrote it as it sounded. Therefore the spelling took on different forms.

The 1500's section has been condensed from Paul Swan's "Hartzell Chapter" (see INTRODUCTION above).

The earliest known generations of our Hirzel family lived in Pfäffikon Parish of the Zürich Canton in Switzerland, some ten miles east of the city of Zürich. Lake Pfäffikon is the site of one of the largest prehistoric settlements built on pilings in the marshes of that region. Three levels of construction were found, dating back to the lowest, stone age strata of 3000 B.C.

On the southern shore of Zürich See (Lake) lies the village of Hirzel, but it has no relation to our ancestors. Another branch of the Hirzels, undoubtedly related in some way and contemporaneous to our earliest known generations, lived around Winterthur, a city about ten miles north of Pfäffikon. Both of these branches in the third known generation emigrated to The Palatinate, an area of Germany that had suffered huge population loses during the Thirty Years War.

Jacob Hirzel (1580-bef.1634) & Madalen Keller (1581- )

Jacob was born about 1580 in Pfäffikon Parish, Zurich Canton, Switzerland, and was christened 14 Feb 1581 in Fehraltorf, Zurich Canton. He died before 1634 in Balm, Pfäffikon Parish, Zurich Canton, Switzerland.

Pfäffikon is about 10 miles east of Zurich (note the scale in the top right of the map). Fehraltorf is about 2 miles NE of Pfäffikon, about where the "n" is in "Gutenswil". The present town of Pfäffikon is apparently the former Pfäffikon Parish.

Jacob and Madalen married 2 Aug 1601 in Pfäffikon Parish.

Madalen was born 14 Feb 1581 in Altorff, Switzerland, the daughter of Hans and Madalen (Bosshart) Keller, and died in Balm.

According to Price [1971] (Charles H. Price, Jr. A Hartzell-Price Family History and Genealogy) Jacob's parents and place of birth are unknown, but George T. Hartzell states that Jacob was christened in Fehraltorf, Zürich, Switzerland, and that he and Madelyn both died in Balm. Hartzell also had Madalen's birth town as Altdorf.

Price lists six other couples whose names appear in the Pfäffikon Parish records from 1601 to 1634. He and his researcher, Mr. Arnold, "believe" these are the brothers and sisters of Jacob, citing their appearance as godparents. We list them here for possible future research in the Pfäffikon parish records.

Hans Hirzel of Pfäffikon, m 23 Aug 1601 Anna Dieterich from Altorff (Fehraltorf).
George Hirzel, m Pfäffikon 17 Nov 1611 to Anna Wetzstein from Russikon, these being the godparents of the last two sons of Jacob.
Barbel Hürtzel of Pfäffikon was a godmother 6 Jun 1613.
Margreth Hürtzel, m before 1620 to Jacob Erni of the parish.
Verena Hirtzel, m before 1634 to Hans Venner of Sulzberg of the parish.

Price gives a very poor account of the locations in which the children of Jacob and Madalen were baptised. First, he fails to distinquish between the town and parish of Pfäffikon, so unless he gives specifically some other town by name, we have to assume that he is referring to the parish. Even then, there are contradictions from page to page. The best that can be reconstructed is that the couple were married and had their first five children in the parish of Pfäffikon, that they were "in Hochfalden in the congregation Hittnau, same Parish" in 1610 and 1611. After that they were in the towns of Balm and/or Fierersbalm, probably for the rest of their lives, but we have no death record for either. All of these locations are within a few miles of the town of Pfäffikon.

Leebrick [1997] quotes from a Richard Hirtzel, otherwise unidentified:

"The name Hirzel is very well known in Zurich, where eleven of them have served as the burgermeister or mayor. There are several volumes of history and genealogy published on the prominent Hirzel line in Switzerland. At least one of these is in the library at SLC. It is in German, and takes the genealogy of the Hirzels back to the early 1300s. The Herzel genealogy is painted on the wall of the family that I visited in Zurich, plus the fact that they have several books on the family. The point is that the Hirzel family is known to be connected with Pfaffikon".

Leebrick [1997] cites Gloria C. Hartzell and Shirley Jo Watkins in listing two other children of Madalen and Jacob as Clemons and Peter, without further details.