2011 Switzerland Research Did Not Lead to Parents of Johann Michael Joho (Abt 1678-1735)

A group of four Yoho Researchers (listed below) hired two Swiss Genealogists to attempt to find evidence of parents of Johann Michael Joho. Johann was the father of the first Joho emigrant to America, Johannes Joho who arrived in 1738. Johannes and wife Susanna are the progenitors of most American Yohos.

Hugh Yoho and I proposed an hypothesis that Uli Joho (1635 - ?) born in Schinznach Switzerland may be the father of Johann Michael Joho. That hypothesis is based on one of Uli's sons who had the name "Hans". Hans which is another version of Johann was born in 1680 which as a conincidence is very close to the reported birth (1678) of Johann Michael. Since Swiss Genealogists (below) found no additional corroborating evidence, our hypothesis remains unproven and needs additional research.

In June 2011, I contacted Esther Bauer who was recommended in Swiss family research. Esther agreed to the project and wanted to include her fellow researcher Therese Metzger who would actually do the leg work while Esther would do the translating. The research was conducted in July 2011. The following are the results of their research:

Email Message 7/10/2011

Hello Tim,

Your Swiss Research Report is attached in PDF and WORD format.

A detailed overview of all the sources consulted and records researched is attached. Regrettably the quality of microfilms of the oldest and most interesting Schinznach records is extremely poor, with half of the pages not legible at all over a time span of more than 20 years. I had hoped for Therese to provide some copies pertaining to these Schinznach families, even though no connection was found, but she decided against this extra effort, as that would have added more time and archival fees. As you can see from the towns/Parishes listed in the Report, Johann Michael Yoho could have been born to any number of other Yoho families as well (other than Schinznach).

Please let me know in case you have any questions?

Currently a huge effort is underway by many different researchers (from different genealogical associations and companies) to transcribe old church records, and make them available via the Internet. My suggestion would be to keep searching the Internet every so often, as eventually some information on your Yoho ancestors might pop up – provided their records still exist. To add, I often search the oldest church books of the Palatine region in Germany (bordering Alsace) where many Swiss Protestants settled in the 1600s, and will keep on the lookout for the name as well.

Kind Regards,


Research Report

Johann Michael
Johannes Yoho/Joho

Therese visited the archive in Aarau twice, as based on the originally provided calculations of Johann Michael Yoho’s age, she had at first omitted a search of older records: the first time she searched for Johann Michael Yoho between 1675 and 1682, and for Johannes Yoho/Joho from 1698 until 1715; and the second time for Johann Michael from 1650 to 1675, including Schinznach marriage records from 1675 - 1720.

In all of the records she viewed (Burgher rolls, Evangelical records, and a few Catholic records as some Protestants had their children baptized in these Catholic Parishes as well), she did not find one Johann Michael Joho. There were hardly any individuals by the name of Michael Yoho, with the exception of several baptisms in the Parish of Umiken/Villnachern. None of these Michaels were however a match.

Aargau State Archive:
Parishes/Towns where the Yoho/Joho surname still exists:

Name:         Town:          Rel:       Source:

Joho              Auenstein    Evang.    MF.1/K04/0034
Joho              Schinznach   Evang.    MF.1/K04/0032 & 0033

Over a time span of at least 20 years, the right side of these church books on microfilms are regrettably not legible at all. For this reason Therese also searched marriages, hoping to find a groom by the name of Johann Michael.

Joho              Bettwil           Cath.      MF.1/K03/0009                                     (Parish of Sarmensdorf)

This Parish was only microfilmed until 1686, all other books are still located in Sarmensdorf. Here, children usually received 2 given names in all kinds of versions, but there was not one  by the name of Johann Michael.

Towns where the Joho name formerly existed, according to a list provided by Dr. Peter Steiner, historian in Reinach, Canton Aargau:

Joho              Bözen           surname died out before 1630
Joho              Küttigen        surname died out before 1630
Joho              Suhr              MF.1/K01/0023 & 0024

Upon special request by a customer, Raoul Richner, a historian from Aarau, recently extracted all Joho families from Suhr from local records. There was not one Johann Michael to be found in his database. He was kind enough to check, but did not find any family tree or history which included this name at all. Therefore Therese continued her search in the following burgher/town records:

MF.1/K04/0025 1650-1654 &
0026 beginning in 1654

MF.1/K04/0020 no Joho, name
had likely already died out
Parish of Rein MF.1/    K04/0009
1674-1682 & 0010 1701-1715 &
Parish of Umiken MF.1/K04/0023
from 1693 & 0024 1650-1693


Aarau City Archive:

The following information was kindly provided by the city’s archivist Martin Pestalozzi, as patrons were not admitted after  25 June 2011 (the reading room is being renovated), and the archive will be closed for summer vacation from 11 July - 16 August 2011:

In lists of overviews of Aarau baptismal records, no Johannes Michael Joho was included. The last child by the name of Johannes was baptized in 1685. The Joho surname has died out in the town of Aarau, and no longer exists. [Source: STAAa, IV-5 Auszüge aus den Kirchenbüchern von Wilhelm Hemmeler, 1900].

In the burgher records of Schinznach/Umiken, Joho baptisms were mentioned to have taken place in Bern. For this reason Therese also checked the available records in Bern. There was no Johann Michael Joho. But it is important to realize that, counter most assumptions, many families were quite mobile in the 1600s, and children were at times baptized in towns and villages, other than their official hometown. It may be quite possible that Johann Michael’s family resided elsewhere, and not in their home town where they were listed as burghers.


Church Books of  Bern for those of the Augsburg Creed:

BXIII 555 Baptism from 1577-1664:      no Joho families

BXIII 556 Baptism from 1665-1684, page 29.5 
               3 December 1666, baptism of Barbara Joho, daughter of Hans and Verena Vogt from Schinznach

BXIII 557 Baptisms 1685-1703 no Joho families

BXIII 568 Baptisms 1704-1720 p 260.2
               8 October 1713 Susanna Joho, daughter of Jakob Joho from Villnachern, journeyman carpenter, and of Susanna Hächler from Aarau

As you can see from both of these examples, families who were burghers in Schinznach and Villnachern had their children baptized in Bern, versus their hometown. Jakob Joho was employed as a journeyman carpenter at the time.

Here it should be noted that journeymen made a point of traveling to different towns or countries (it was not unusual at all for journeymen to travel as far as Germany, France, the Netherlands, etc.), to gain more work experience for several years, known in German as “Wanderjahre”. After completing their journeyman years, craftsmen would usually submit to their master’s exam, and then settle down. In many cases journeymen ended up marrying their master’s daughters, and subsequently took over the family business.

To add, in the 1600s there existed busy trade routes from Italy, across the Alps, via Bern, Zürich, Canton of Aargau and Basel, to cities in Alsace, Germany, all the way to the easternmost parts of Germany. Trade and business settlements could be found all along these trade routes.
And further, scores of Protestant/Reformed Swiss citizens, as well as Anabaptists, left Switzerland in the 1600s, settling in the Palatine region of Germany (bordering Alsace).

In cases where birth or marriage records are not included in the burgher rolls of the family’s hometown, a search for such ancestors usually tends to turn into a proverbial “needle in the haystack-search”, and is therefore not advisable, and especially so when available records are not complete.

 Burghers = citizens in a village or town, with special rights and duties. In Switzerland, the town where the family hold their right to citizenship, is where all family records are kept, even if families live elsewhere for generations. Prior to the 1900s, those records were regrettably not kept as carefully as they are nowadays.


Yoho Research group: