Category Archives: Roland

Ulrich Roland & Verena Meyer & Other Rolands in Oberentfelden, Aargau, Switzerland, 1600s

Ulrich Roland is the earliest Roland for which I have found any solid information, but it is quite limited. Assuming that Ulrich was at least 25 years old when his first reported child was born in 1743, his birth year would be c1718. He married Verena Meyer, who is said to be from Suhr, a village less than two miles away from Oberentfelden in the canton of Aargau, Switzerland. If Verena married about age 20, she would have been born c1722.

Ulrich and Verena appear in the FamilySearch family tree and I tend to believe the information because the Beiträge zur Aargauergeschichte, on which I have relied for my early Roland information, states that Jacob Roland was the uncle to the younger Rolands who were also living in the Palatinate. That implies that Jacob had at least one brother.

However, Verena predeceased Ulrich and he married (2) Maria Weber.

Children, all born in Oberentfelden:

1. Hans Rudi [Rudolph], born 10 September 1643
2. Ulrich, born c1654; died before 1723
3. Jacob, born 19 June 1659; died after 2 December 1721, probably in the canton of Bern, Switzerland; married Catharina Brechbuhl
4. Hans Jacob, youngest son of Ulrich and Maria Buchi, born 9 March 1683; died 28 March 1767, Niederauerbach, Switzerland; unmarried.
4. Hans, son of Maria Weber, born c1685; married Verena Kyburz, 5 November 1706, Oberentfelden.

Beiträge zur Aargauergeschichte includes some other details about each of these children. However, I haven’t been able to find a list of abbreviations used in this series of books about Aargau and Google Translate isn’t recognizing them. Also, some of the statements are not translated well to English, so I won’t add information that might not be correct.

Here is my husband’s long line of descent from the Rolands:

  1. Ulrich Roland and Verena Meyer
  2. Jacob Roland & Catharina Brechbuhl
  3. Melchior Roland & Anna Maria Lang
  4. Johan Gaspar Roland & Mary (MNU)
  5. Jacob Roland & Mary ?Keithley
  6. Jacob Hendricks & Frina Roland
  7. Joseph Hendricks & Mary Lewis
  8. Michael Miller & Elizabeth Hendricks
  9. John Christopher Williams & Louisa Miller
  10. Joseph Henry Brasher & Minnie Mae Williams
  11. Earl Marcus Stufflebean & Pearl Lillian Brasher
  12. Edward Earl Stufflebean & Ruby Jewel Sturgell
  13. David Lee Stufflebean

It is so much fun to see some of my husband’s ancestral lines finally being taken back into Europe and extended even more. For many years, he looked at my lengthy pedigree chart, with deep New England roots and then back into England and then looked at his own pedigree chart, which was quite bare in comparison. He is amazed that after all these years, I am able to add more information to the family tree. 🙂

Jacob Roland & Catharina Brechbuhl of Oberentfelden, Aargau, Switzerland

Jacob Roland lived in difficult times. He was born 19 June 1659 in Oberentfelden, Aargau, Switzerland, the son of Ulrich Roland and Verena Meyer. War and economic hardship had taken its toll. The Thirty Years’ War had ended just a decade earlier in 1648, but life was still quite difficult with Germans and Swiss families moving to new areas to try for a better life.

Jacob moved twice, once from Oberentfelden to Miesau, a distance of about 220 miles, which was quite a move in the 1600s, and then back again to Switzerland. In 1721, in his old age, he applied to the Berne Council (local authorities had to give permission for families to move about) to move back to the Palatinate. His request was denied, much to the pleasure of the elderly women and children who wanted to remain in Switzerland. [Note: This anecdote was found in Beiträge zur Aargauergeschichte, volume 16 (2009).]

Jacob married Catharina Brechbuhl, c1688, who was from Lauperswil, a bit over 40 miles away from Oberentfelden in the canton of Bern. How they met isn’t evident given the distances between the villages. However, Jacob and Catharina must have lived in or near Lauperswil when they left the Palatinate area and returned to Switzerland because it was the Bern Council that denied Jacob’s request to migrate once again.

Not much else is known about Jacob and Catharina’s lives.

Children, all born in Oberentfelden:

1. Hans Rudolf, born 23 June 1689
2. Hans Jacob, born 7 August 1692
3. Hans Melchior, born 28 February 1689; died 1 March 1749; married Anna Maria Lang
4. Johannes, born 1 August 1696

The Beiträge zur Aargauergeschichte says there were also three other children, but birth/baptismal records can’t be found for them. I am not sure how anyone knows then that there were other children. Perhaps there is a Swiss probate file for Jacob or Catharina?



Melchior Roland, Burgermeister of Miesau, Germany & wife, Anna Maria Lang

Thanks to my discovery of Beiträge zur Aargauergeschichte on e-periodica in Zurich, the Roland ancestral home is now known and the family of Melchior Roland and Anna Maria Lang has been identified.

I remember long ago, when I’d hear about someone talking about their Swiss ancestry, I’d think to myself that Switzerland being such a small place wouldn’t allow for too many people to claim that heritage.

Well, my husband now has two documented ancestors with origins in Switzerland – the Estermanns, about whom I’ve written in the past, and now he has the Roland family.

Melchior Roland was one of several Roland family members who lived in the town of Oberentfelden in the province of Aargau, Switzerland. He was a linen weaver by trade, as were some of the other Rolands.

Given that his first child was born in 1720, it is reasonable to estimate his year of birth as around 1695. The family of Jacob Roland and Catharina Brechbuhl lived in Oberentfelden in that time period and had several children born there, including a son Hans Melchior on 28 February 1695.

It seems to be a relatively safe assumption that this Hans Melchior is the father of Gaspar Roland as Oberentfelden had only a population of about 600 people in the 1700s and birth records survive from this town.

Melchior Roland married Anna Maria Lang c1719, probably in Obermiesau, as that was Anna Maria’s home. They had many children, although several died young.


1. Johann Caspar, born 29 October 1720
2. Maria Elisabetha, born 29 January 1722; buried 30 January 1725
3. Johann Jacob, born 28 February 1723, but baptized in Spesbach in the absence of the Miesau minister
4. Johannes, born 22 October 1724; married Elisabetha Catharina Laffer from Niedermiesau, 27 February 1748
5. Johann Ulrich, born 7 November 1725; married Maria Eva Molter, 7 January 1752
6. Catharina Elisabetha, born November 1726; died 24 August 1748
7. Johann Theobald, born c1728; married Maria Magdalena Krick, 16 July 1754
8. Maria Eva, born 28 February 1730; died 12 January 1741
9. Margaritha Catharina, born about December 1731; died 25 July 1738, aged 5 years, 7 months
10. Johann Nickel, born c1734; may be the man who died 26 December 1763; married Elisabetha Margaretha Krick, 21 February  1759
11. Anna Maria, born 29 January 1736; married Abraham Krick, 23 April 1754
12. Eva Rosina, born 30 June 1738; died 15 March 1739
13. Maria Magdalena, born 8 May 1740
14. Joh. Adam, born 19 August 1741

Melchior Roland had some social standing in town, as he was the burgermeister, or mayor, in 1741. That was the same year that Gaspar left for Pennsylvania. His youngest brother wasn’t born until August, so Gaspar never had the chance to meet him. His parents must have been quite sad.

I had commented in a previous post that Gaspar might have had his religious views already formed by the time he arrived in the colonies. I have changed my mind about that, though, because non-conformists to the official religion – Lutheranism  or, in some areas, Catholicism – were not well tolerated.

For Melchior to have achieved the status of burgermeister, he would have had to be a respected community member and a regular church attendee.

That means that Gaspar’s religious beliefs would evolve during his new life in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.