The Taufer emigration -- Swiss Thöne to Dutch Teune

The emigration to the Netherlands of Hans Thönen and his family is quite an interesting story and provides us a glimpse into the Swiss Reformation of the 1600s and 1700s. In 1684, Hans married Cathrina Rychen, who was from a family of Anabaptists or Wiedertaufer as they were called. Below is an article from a German genealogy book ("Eby Report, Volume 1, Number 1" written by Clyde L. Groff and George F. Newman found on microfiche # 6055133) which describes the Anabaptist movement, persecution, location in Bern and emigration.
The Swiss Reformation 1525-1717 and mass emigration
"The religious leaders of the Reformation were Martin Luther (1483-1546), Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531), and John Calvin (1509-1564). It was Ulrich Zwingli and his movement who were to exert an impact on our ancestors. Early records indicate that the members of the Swiss Brethren Church in Zurich were for a number of years involved in the Zwinglian Reformation Movement. They parted ways when it became clear that Zwingli was leaning toward a union of Church and State which was not consistent with the Swiss Brethren doctrines. It is, however, clear that the main point of disagreement between the Zwinglian Church and the Swiss Brethren was that the question of infant baptism was deemed unscriptural by the Swiss Brethren.

The break was final about the year 1525, and Zwingli soon set to the systematic persecution of those Swiss Brethren in the Canton of Zurich. In 1537, twelve years after the first active persecutions of the Swiss Brethren, they joined the movement of the great Dutch religious leader Menno Simons. In the years to follow these Swiss Mennonites, Taufers, Wiedertaufers or Anabaptists, as they were called, endured the harshest religious persecutions the world had seen. They were stripped of their homes, their worldly belongings and even put to death by the Zwinglian state, which forced them to live as religious nomads. As early as 1564, they moved in great numbers to the Emmen Valley, in the Canton of Bern where they were subject to persecutions of a lesser degree.

The Canton of Bern where the Swiss Mennonites were now residing soon like its neighboring Canton of Zurich, joined in active harassment and persecutions. They rose to an all time high with the establishment of so-called Taufer Jagen (Anabaptist Hunts). Anabaptists were in effect hunted down like animals and delivered to the authorities in Bern, where they were imprisoned b the hundreds. In 1659, the Bernese government established the Taufer Kammer (Office of Anabaptist Affairs), to act as an official agency on the Mennonite problem. Many records have survived to relate how ruthless this Taufer Kammer was, but in spite of their brutal methods the Anabaptists flourished. These Mennonites were faithful to the "Eighteen Articles of Faith" which were drawn up in a General Conference, which was held on April 21, 1632, in Dortrecht, Holland, some 95 years after the founding of their church.

The Emmen Valley or the Emmental, as it was known, on was filled with Anabaptist sympathizers who came to be known as Halb-Taufer (Halfway Anabaptist,). They soon rose to protect, defend and hide those Mennonites who were being sought by the Taufer Kammer. At one time the entire village of Sumiswald was sentenced to pay the Anabaptists hunters a heavy fine for hiding Mennonites in their homes.

In 1671, the first mass emigration of Mennonites from the Cantons of Bern and Solothurn, a Catholic Canton, took place. The Swiss authorities were thorough in their enforcement of departure orders for Mennonites. At the time of this great mass exodus many Anabaptist sympathizers also were counted in the numbers leaving. This migration was for the most part due to the protests of several prominent men in Holland who wanted to put an end to the suffering of their Swiss counterparts.

After this migration of the major portion of the Swiss Mennonites, the Bernese government was of the impression at some normality would return to their countryside. This, however, was not the case at all since the government soon warned that the Mennonites had strongly influenced the remaining population. Many of the state preachers in the Emmental wrote that in some villages the number of Halb Taufer constituted a majority of the population.11 This led to another forty years of bloodshed and imprisonment for the remaining Mennonites, at the mercy of the Swiss authorities. This brings us to the years of 1709 through 1717, when the largest of the emigrations of Swiss Mennonites took place."

Hans Thönen emigration to the Netherlands in 1711
So, our ancestor, Hans emigrated to the Netherlands in 1711, joining this mass exodus to a country where there was greater tolerance. Hans and his family settled in Kampen, Overijssel, the Netherlands. Here is a quote from Herma Teune which is part of her entry you can find in the guestbook, "Overijssel in which Kampen is at the northwestside, laying beautifully at the end of the river IJssel and in the neighbourhood of Zwolle. Already in the time of Hans Thönen coming to Kampen this place was dangerous because of the high water coming from time to time. The Teune family had farms laying on a small hill, called 'terp', on which they were save in times of high water. You can understand that it wasn't easy to live here, but specially therefore the flighted 'tauffer' from switzerland where asked to cultivate these difficult pieces of land. They were know as good farmers who can work in these difficult conditions. In the beginning it still did cost them many animals and harbour. Much later one Teune went to Groningen and settled there with the result of a growing groninger Teune branch as you know. But also in Kampen the family was growing and growing and also now there are many Teune's still living there. "
"Pieter Daniels Teune (1777) was born in Kampen and all the others before him too. That he left to Groningen can be understood because in Groningen lived already many other swiss 'tauffer' and their churches had very much contact with each other. "

So, it seems that part of the Teune family moved to Groningen to be part of a larger taufer (Anabaptist, Mennonite) community. All the Teune's that emigrated to America between 1905 and 1910 or so came from this Groningen province branch of the Teune family. And it is interesting to note that at the time of emigration to the US they all belonged to the Dutch Reformed church of which the Christian Reformed church split off (both of which practice infant baptism) when they originally were persecuted by the Reformed Church of Switzerland. Maybe a tenuous link, but interesting nonetheless.

Answered Questions
Some questions recently answered by Dutch relatives.
1. How and why did the name change take place from Thöne to Teune?
Jan Bulthuis wrote in the guestbook,
"...I also noticed that you´re asking when and why the Thöne name was changed to Teune. Well, the answer is very simple when you speak both German and Dutch: The German Thöne sounds exactly the same as the Dutch Teune, and the German "Th" is not like yours, but like our "T", so that didn´t make any difference. Sooo, when the Thönes came to Holland, and they were asked what their name was, it would be written down as Teune. Problem solved? Take care. John B."

2. What documentation exists to verify A. Hans Thönen and his emmigration and B. that the Thöne family were Walsers.
Herma Teune wrote in the guestbook,
"Hi Ed, I have many copies of the documents which prove the emigration from Hans Thöne(n) and his family from Switzerland to the Netherlands. I will try to scan them as soon as possible and publish them on my homepage. Fox example a have copies of the boatlists on which Hans, his wife and the children are. The date of birth of his children I found in the churchbooks in Frutigen. I also tried to make pictures of some pages, but they where not good enough to be scanned. When I visit Frutigen again I will try to photograph them again with a better camera."