This site was created using MyHeritage.com. This is a great system that allows anyone like you and me to create a private site for their family, build their family tree and share family photos. If you have any comments or feedback about this site, please click here to contact me. Our family tree is posted online on this site! There are 1015 names in our family site.
This site began based on earlier research by Alfred Cellier from California, who spent 10 years researching the origins of the Cellier families here in Switzerland (URL: http://cellier.org/). My own involvement began in 2010. I translated his genealogical trees to this more modern format for easier manipulation and communication and then expanded them by adding current members of the Cellier family who are still alive. Now I am researching the city archives of La Neuveville and nearby communities for further information relating to the Cellier family and also other historic families of La Neuveville, the 700th anniversary of which is being celebrated in 2012.
This is a resource by the members of the Cellier family for the Cellier family with Swiss roots.MyHeritage supports collaborative maintenance of genealogical sites, and you are all invited to actively contribute to this site.If you wish to become a member of this site to gain full access to all records and be able to participate in its maintenance, contact me at FCellier@Inf.ETHZ.CH, and I shall gladly make you a member.
Only people with Swiss roots who carry Cellier in their names as well as their spouses are shown on the trees, but not their children or parents who are not called Cellier.This restriction was necessary to prevent the trees from growing in an uncontrolled fashion.However, other relatives are also invited to request membership in the site so that they can view all records and participate.
The site was last updated on Mar 17 2019, and it currently has 136 registered member(s). If you wish to become a member too, please click here. Enjoy!
On August 16, a Cellier family picnic took place in the woods above the commune of Diesse (a few miles East of Nods) organized by Alex and Pierre-Alain Cellier. Janet Cellier and her husband Keith Crawford were once again here in Switzerland, and they were eager to meet as many Swiss Cellier as they possibly could.28 family members made it to the picnic. An excellent turnout.
As the article contains multiple pictures, I stored it as a PDF file.You find it here (http://www.inf.ethz.ch/personal/fcellier/Genealogy/CellierPicnic2014.pdf). Enjoy!
In the mid 1990s during the early years of the Internet, someone in the US fell upon the idea of creating a virtual graveyard open to anyone.The Find a Grave website allows you to create memorials in the honor of your loved ones who passed away. It is straightforward to create such a memorial. It takes just a couple of minutes to do so. In the teaser image associated with this article, you find the image of a memorial that I created for my mother. Links may be added to memorials that relate the memorial of one person to another memorial of a spouse or parent. In this way, the different memorials of the virtual graveyard form a web. By now, millions of obituaries may be found on this website.
The initiative was a huge success. The US State Department added memorials for all of the 20th century military victims of US wars to the website, and the International Wargraves Photography Project added memorials for all of the Jewish victims of the holocaust they knew about. This project alone added close to two million memorials to the virtual graveyard. Obviously, these memorials are perfunctory in nature as their creators knew nothing about the deceased beside from their date of birth and possibly death, but even this is better than no memorial at all.
Whereas the virtual graveyard is still primarily a US effort, it is open to anyone who wishes to participate and honor the dead. I strongly recommend this effort to you. It is a very worthwhile cause. Also, if some of your loved ones perished in the holocaust, check whether a memorial for them already exists. The website allows you to edit memorials created by someone else. Your edits of existing memorials are initially only proposals that must be approved by the owner of the memorial before they become visible, but my experience has been that these owners usually approve proposed modifications within a few hours.
During a recent visit to the archives of La Neuveville, I discovered a letter that Jean Henri Cellier (1744 – 1787) wrote on December 11, 1768 in Bevaix. It was addressed to the secretary of the City Council of La Neuveville, Jonas Chiffelle. Jean Henri Cellier was one of three sons of Jean Jacques Cellier (1707 – 1765), pastor of Orvin and later Basle, about whose life I had written another article earlier (http://www.myheritage.com/FP/newsItem.php?s=129424911&newsID=90&sourceList=dir). Jean Henri Cellier is a direct ancestor of Alfred Cellier.
The letter concerned a sum of money that Jean Henri Cellier owed to the city of La Neuveville. He was asking for a respite of a few months. He would pay the money owed to the city as soon as he would be able to sell a piece of land located in La Neuveville that he held in his possession. He indicated to the city authorities indirectly that they were not running any risk by granting him a reprieve, because they had a collateral under their control.
To understand the issue at hand: When a citizen of La Neuveville moved out of the city to live elsewhere, he usually stopped paying taxes to La Neuveville and paid his taxes elsewhere. Thus, the city lost tax income. As a consequence, La Neuveville demanded a special tax from their citizen living elsewhere for keeping up their citizenship rights. This law applied to Jean Henri Cellier. As his father had moved away from La Neuveville when he accepted the job of pastor of Orvin, he had to pay citizenship retention taxes to La Neuveville, and so did his sons.
Jean Henri Cellier had not been overly successful in his business dealings during his early years as an adult. When he was not yet 20 years of age, he and his older brother, Jean Jacques Bernard Cellier (1739 – ?), opened together a silk trading business in Lörrach, Germany, just across the border from Basle where the two boys had grown up. The business had to declare bankruptcy after only a few years in operation. We have not yet been able to discover what became of Jean Jacques Bernard Cellier after his business had gone bankrupt. Did he remain in Germany, possibly moving farther to the North? Is there another branch of Swiss Cellier yet to be discovered? Jean Henri Cellier, on the other hand, moved back to Switzerland and settled in Bevaix, in the Canton of Neuchâtel. In the fall of 1765, he married Lydie Gagnebin (1736 – 1801) of La Ferrière, the daughter of Abram Gagnebin (1707 – 1800), a highly respected surgeon and botanist, who had been a close friend of Jean Henri’s father for many years.
This was the time when he wrote the letter to the La Neuveville city authorities that I discovered. Jean Henri’s business dealings in Bevaix must not have been overly successful either, because a short while later, he moved with his wife to La Ferrière where he opened a business as a watchmaker. That business finally turned out to be profitable.
Yet the most interesting aspect of this letter is the seal that he used to authenticate it (cf. the teaser image to this article). Most people in those days (and this tradition continued in Switzerland until the 1960s) used a so-called seal ring to seal their important letters. The seal ring displayed their family crest. The seal that Jean Henri used on this letter, however, does not display either of the two family crests hitherto known for the Cellier of La Neuveville, but a completely different one.
We do not know yet why Jean Henri used a family crest different from that used by his ancestors. Researching the family crest displayed on this letter, we discovered that it looks very similar to the family crest used by the Heinzely family of Neuchâtel and Hauterive. A trivial explanation could be that the seal ring of his father had gone to Jean Henri’s older brother and that Jean Henri did not possess the financial means yet to have a new one made for himself. Maybe he borrowed the seal ring of a neighbor of his to seal this letter, a neighbor who happened to be a Heinzely of Neuchâtel.
In order to decide this question, we need to find another letter sealed by one of his sons, e.g. Victor Cellier (1771 – 1816). Such letters must exist as Victor served as notary public and for a short while even as mayor of La Ferrière before moving back to Basle where he produced the Ballif & Cellier watches together with his brother-in-law, Jacques Ferdinand Ballif (1760 – 1816). Unfortunately, I have not found any such letter yet.
Le musicologue Marcel Cellier s’est éteint. Yesterday, Marcel Cellier’s life was remembered at the protestant church of Chexbres, the village where Marcel and his wife had lived and worked for so many years, where they had opened their home to anyone who sought their friendship and their company. Marcel Cellier’s life has ended, but his memory and his love for this world remain. Le plus grand des trois est l’amour.
The church was too small for the event. Those who came late had to stay outside at the centre paroissial. The event was orchestrated in every sense of the word. It was dominated by music. Marcel’s youngest biological son, Alex, played the organ accompanied by Marcel’s son-of-the-heart, Ulrich Herkenhoff, playing the Pan flute. Marcel will always be remembered for bringing the music of Eastern Europe to Switzerland and the rest of the world. He first did so by organizing and recording a concert in 1970 in the Lausanne cathedral with Gheorghe Zamfir playing the Pan flute and he himself accompanying him on the organ, and so, Marcel’s funeral began with recalling these early days. The organ set the stage, but then the flute took over and the organ receded. It only helped make the sound of the flute richer, ever more soothing. Then the flute was replaced by a saxophone, while the organ still kept playing. Marcel loved joining instruments in ever more new and interesting combinations. To Marcel, making music was like eating a good meal. A meal is not worth eating, unless it explodes on the palate by creating a shock of pleasant surprise.
Claude, Marcel’s firstborn son then painted a kaleidoscopic picture of his father’s life, a life too rich to be recounted but by little anecdotes and aphorisms. Thereafter, Alex took the stage again, this time improvising on the synthesizer. He was accompanied by Antoine Auberson on soprano saxophone. The Jazz concert began with a few little notes on the synthesizer, hesitant and guarded. Then the sax joined in, first teasingly, then ever louder. The two instruments danced around each other in an ever more intense crescendo. The end was like the beginning, a few last sounds that died away, like the wind that is carrying off the last dry leaves on a windy December afternoon, and then I knew it: Also Alex recounted his dad’s life, using the voice that God had given him, the voice of music.
Each celebrated Marcel’s life to the best of their abilities. Marc, Marcel’s second son, sang a chanson “Marie portes ouvertes” for his father, accompanying it on his guitar, and even young Lucie offered some lyrics “Counting Stars” for Grandpapa, the way he had always liked it. Marcel was still directing the event, not in corpore any longer, but in spirit. The celebration of his life took place just as he would have wanted it. He would have enjoyed himself tremendously.
We then followed the coffin to the cemetery, and even here, music had to be present. Alex was now playing the piano accordion. Marcel always wanted to hear music. “Come, play some more,” he said. “But dad, I am tired.”“Ce n’est pas grave. Peut-être tu joueras encore mieux comme ça.”
When the ceremony was officially over, the accordion led us back down into the village for an informal get-together. It was accompanied first by the metal flute of Jean-Baptiste Buisson and later by the sax of Jean Duperrex. The procession stopped in front of a kinder garden, where an impromptu concert was offered to the little ones who watched and listened attentively from behind the glass. If the children are too small to come to the music yet, the music must find its way to the hearts of the children.Le plus grand des trois est l’amour.
Au revoir, Marcel. Ce n’est pas grave. Peut-être tu joueras encore mieux comme ça.
Switzerland features (until this day) a peculiar and unique form of citizenship. Each Swiss citizen is not only citizen of Switzerland, but also citizen of a specific township, and until the very recent past, this was of enormous significance. You cannot be a citizen of Switzerland, unless you find a commune that accepts you as their citizen, which makes it difficult for our government (to this day) to deal with the issue of refugees. Bern cannot grant Swiss citizenship to any of the inmates of Guantanamo, for example, unless they first convince the local government (and ultimately the peoples) of a township to accept that person into their citizenry.
If a citizen became a pauper and depended on welfare, it was the duty of his or her place of citizenship to take that person in and care for him or her rather than the duty of the township where the person resided and paid taxes. This was still true when I was a child. The law only changed in the 1970s, and because of that change, local citizenship is finally no longer important.
Townships depended on tax income and therefore needed citizen as taxpayers, but they aimed at minimizing welfare payouts. Thus, when one of their citizen decided to move away and stopped paying taxes to his community of citizenship, that person became potentially a burden to the local economy.
This effected most seriously those of their citizen who chose to become pastors, because it was rather unlikely that these would find employment within their own community. They had to move to wherever a pastor was needed. Thus, pastors had three choices.
1.They could start paying taxes in the community where they lived and worked, but in this case, their community of citizenship demanded a separate (and quite significant) tax for keeping up their citizenship. Thus, their tax burden increased substantially.
2.They could continue paying taxes to their community of citizenship and claim temporary domicile in the village where they worked. Unfortunately, this made it more likely that they would not be able to hold on to their job for very long and that they would have to move from one place to another frequently.
3.They could request citizenship in their new community and give up their former citizenship, but this option was difficult and costly. First, the local citizen had to accept the request by majority vote, and second, their new community made them pay a hefty amount of money for their new citizenship.
No wonder that mobility among men was so low in Switzerland throughout the centuries! Of course, this makes life for genealogists much easier here in Switzerland than anywhere else on the planet.
When a man married a woman from out of town (which happened frequently), this usually meant that the woman moved into the household of her new husband. She changed her family name (women had no choice here in Switzerland in this matter until the 1980s). She also lost her former citizenship and automatically assumed the citizenship of her husband. She received a dowry from her father that was in proportion to his wealth, but thereafter (and because of the dowry that she had received), she was excluded from future inheritance. When her father died, his possessions were distributed among his wife, his sons, and his unmarried daughters. Married daughters received nothing. They no longer formed part of the family.
Not all marriages worked out. The divorce rate was quite high in those days and even higher for women who had moved in from a different community, probably because they had lost their support network. When a woman got divorced, she could not go home to her parents. First, she had lost her previous citizenship, and second, she no longer belonged to the family of her parents. These women almost invariably moved to the poorhouse of the community where they lived.
The local government knew about the problem, and therefore, made husbands pay a hefty moving-in tax when they chose to marry a woman from out of town. The teaser image of this article shows a page from the Marriage Book of La Neuveville. The marriage book lists moving-in taxes that were requested (left side) and paid (right side) by citizen of La Neuveville when they married a woman from out of town.
My ancestor Jean Daniel Cellier, police officer in La Neuveville, was charged 24 Pounds moving-in tax for his wife, Judith Descombes of Lignières. On the right-hand side, we learn that Jean Daniel did not have to pay any moving-in tax after all, because his father-in-law, Jean Louis Descombes of Lignières, chose to give his daughter a property of his as a dowry (I do have a photograph of the document transferring the property rights from Jean Louis to Judith). Therefore, Judith Cellier was considered wealthy, and thus, was unlikely to ever become a burden to the local economy. Consequently, the La Neuveville government decided to forego the moving-in tax in her case.
When looking at our family tree, you will notice that there are far more men who married women from out of town than women marrying into families from other places. Genealogists always lose the young women who marry out of town. Such women simply disappear. There is no marriage record for them (unless they chose to get married in the local church), and there is no death record either. These women disappear, because they are taken off the citizenship rolls. They no longer exist for all practical purposes. Unless I rediscover them by accident in the church records of one of the neighboring townships, I have no way of knowing what ever became of them.
Yet there existed also a second form of marriage contract. Rather than a woman moving into the household of her new husband, it sometimes happened that a man chose to move into the household of his father-in-law. In this case, the woman did not receive any dowry, but in return, was not excluded from future inheritance, and this is how family names spread from one community to another.
This certainly happened in the case of Jehan Cellier of Nods when he married Jacqueliette Pernet of La Neuveville, daughter of Thurs Pernet and Jehanete Bajaille, in 1524. The Cellier farm was quite small and it therefore was decided that the older brother, Collet, would keep the farm as a whole, whereas the younger brother, Jehan, would move into the household of his new wife. Jacqueliette had two brothers, Claude and Imer, and a sister, Anthoina. Unfortunately, Jacqueliette died a few months later while giving birth to their firstborn. She died together with their child. Jehan remarried in 1534 Janete Mayor, a young woman of La Neuveville, who had just lost her first husband, François Breda, in an accident. Jehan became a successful merchant and notary public. He was admitted to the La Neuveville citizenry in 1538. Together, Jehan and Janete had two sons and two daughters, and this is how the Cellier family established itself in La Neuveville.
Let us analyze some data points relating to our genealogical tree.Jacques Cellier of Nods married Marguerite Rollier on October 21, 1681. Their first child, Jean Pierre Cellier, was baptized on February 19, 1682. Jean Pierre Cellier in turn got married to Esabeau Rollier on November 15, 1715. Their first-born, Susanne Marie Cellier, was baptized on February 16, 1716.
Having looked at all of the available baptism and marriage records of La Neuveville and at many such records from the neighboring villages, I came to observe that, in three out of four families, the oldest child was born within two to five months from the date of marriage.
The social stigma associated with premarital sex is clearly a child of the Victorian age, a heritage that we are slowly overcoming only now. When I was a child, it was still prohibited by law here in Switzerland for a man and a woman to live together in “concubinage,” a term carrying a strongly negative connotation. I don’t believe that the law was enforced any longer unless someone complained, but it was still on the books.
From a practical point of view, the behavior of our ancestors, as documented in the church records, makes a lot of sense. The farmers of the region wanted to make sure that an heir was on his (or her) way before committing to marriage. Someone had to be ready to take over the farm once they got too old to work and moved into the “Stöckli” (in the Canton of Bern, farms often feature a small building, called the “Stöckli,” that is located next to the large primary building; this building is where the older generation moves into once they hand over the farm to their son). The teaser image associated with this article shows a typical farm house of the Emmental together with its Stöckli.
It sometimes even happened that the parents only got married after their first child was born. Often this was the case when the father was serving in the military and was gone for several months, and this was not considered a major disaster either, at least not in the Protestant villages of the region, such as La Neuveville and Nods.
What was considered unacceptable, however, was for a mother not to reveal the identity of the father. She was pressurized and even threatened if she did this, and it had serious consequences for her and the child when she continued to maintain her position in spite of these threats.
The strong objection to single motherhood had primarily economic reasons. As there were much fewer opportunities for women to work than for men, single mothers were almost always destitute. They ended up living in the poorhouse and became a burden to the local economy.
Often, such children were taken away from their mothers and given into foster care. By law, the State assumed guardianship of these children. They were “naturalized by the State.” As children inherited their citizenship rights from their father and not from their mother, they would have been "sans papiers" without naturalization by the State. The State also paid for their education and upbringing. As a consequence, they were excluded from the chain of heritage. When their mother died, her (mostly few) possessions (including her house if she had owned one) became property of the state; thus, “naturalized’ children could not inherit anything from their mother.
It is interesting to recognize how much these church records can tell us about the social contract in place during different periods of time. Changes in the social web come almost unnoticed, and quickly enough, no one remembers any longer the social realities of the past.
I recently studied the early generations on the family trees of La Neuveville that had been drawn by Dr. Olivier Clottu. This leads me to revise some of the assumptions that I had made earlier.
On the trailer image to this article, you find the early generations of the Pelot family of La Neuveville. The Pelot are among the oldest families of La Neuveville.Niquilly Pelot had already been mentioned in a La Neuveville document dated 1381. Thus, that family has probably lived in La Neuveville right since the time when the city had been founded (in 1312). Yet, already the grandson of Niquilly Pelot didn’t leave any male heirs of his own. He only had a daughter by the name of Jehanette Pelot who married a Jehan Duc of Nods who had freshly arrived in the city.
All of their children chose to carry the family name Duc-dit-Pelot, possibly for political reasons. Carrying the Pelot name gave them more legitimacy in La Neuveville and made it easier for them to be admitted to the bourgeoisie. One among them was Pierre Duc-dit-Pelot (1526-1570), whom you find on the Cellier family tree as he happens to be a direct ancestor of Al Cellier. Pierre married Pernette de Giez, a lady from neighboring Le Landeron. Two of their daughters, Barbely Pelot (Al’s ancestor) and Jehannon Pelot married into the Cellier family.
Whereas some of the children of Pierre and Pernette, such as Imer Pelot, reverted to the Pelot family name, one of their sons, Thurs Duc, chose the family name from the father’s side. Thus, all of the Pelot of La Neuveville alive today carry in fact the Y-chromosome of the Duc family, whereas the Y-chromosome of the original Pelot family has not survived, at least not in La Neuveville. The Pelot and the Duc of La Neuveville belong to the same family (they share the same Y-chromosome), just like the Cellier, the Junod, and the Chiffelle all descend from Hans Tschiffeli of Sursee.
The Y-chromosome of Niquilly Pelot may have survived elsewhere. Clottu tells us that the family name had originally been spelled Pillod or Perroud, and indeed, we find a family Pilloud and a family Perroud that are bourgeois of Châtel-Saint-Denis in the Canton of Fribourg. The male members of those two families may still carry the Y-chromosome of the original Pelot family of La Neuveville.
I then checked other records for combined family names. Combining family names in this way had been fashionable in the 15th century. I discovered that in all cases (there are at least a dozen such cases documented on Clottu’s family trees), the combined name had been composed from the family name of the father (before the “dit”) and the family name of the mother (after the “dit”).
It is true that family names were originally often derived either from locations (the de Gléresse of La Neuveville are a noble family with their roots in the village of Gléresse (Ligerz) located a few miles East of La Neuveville, and the de Cressier of La Neuveville are another noble family with their roots in Cressier, a village located a few miles West of La Neuveville) or from professions (the name Ballif is derived from Baillif or Bailli -- French for bailiff). Thus, I had assumed that the same applies to the second part of the combined names. However, this assumption doesn’t seem to hold true. The combined names of the 15th century seem to have been composed of the family names of the father and of the mother almost without any exception.
Where does this leave us?
I assumed that Jehan Junod-dit-Sallier had received the “nickname” Sallier, because he happened to be saddler by profession. I now must revise that assumption. He was called by this name, because his mother was a “Sallier.”
I had always wondered why all three of their children had adopted the “profession” of their father as their family name, while simultaneously changing the spelling of the name from Sallier to Cellier (in some documents also spelled Célier). Now I am forced to conclude that the family name of their mother had presumably been misspelled, and the children knew it. They chose to carry the family name of their mother rather than that of their father … and that their mother had, in fact, been a Cellier.
Thus, we may descend of the Cellier of France after all, albeit not along the male line of heritage. We have inherited our Y-chromosome of the Junod (or rather the Chiffelle), but we inherited our name from the Cellier of France. The Cellier family name is documented to have been in use in France already in 1340.
The ancestors of Jehan Junod-dit-Sallier from his mother’s side must have immigrated to Nods in the 15th or possibly even 14th century, or maybe, his father had married a women who had herself still grown up in France. She was not a Huguenot, of course. The Huguenots came to Switzerland in 1680. This lady lived 200 years earlier, even before the reformation.
The same reasoning applies to Jehan Chiffelle-dit-Junod two generations earlier. I must now conclude that he was named Junod after his mother who had been a Junod. Have any of the “old” Junod survived? We don’t know this. However, if we should ever find a Junod with a distinctly different Y-chromosome, it may well be that this is not caused by an undocumented adoption, but rather, because this (so far hypothetical) Junod happens to be a descendant of the “old” Junod family.
This morning, I added what I have meanwhile found out about the early generations. From Clottu's tree of the Chiffelle family (cf. trailer image of this article), we know that there lived in the first half of the 15th century a Jehan Chiffelle dit Dinge, mayor of Diesse. He is the only one of the Chiffelle on Clottu's tree who carries a nickname.
We know the reason for this: there lived at the same time another Jehan Chiffelle in Nods, who was a few years younger and must have been a cousin of the former ... and we also know his name. He was called Jehan Chiffelle dit Jeanot. He carried the nickname Jeanot, because he was the younger of the two. He was the progenitor of the Junod family.
Thus, we do not descend of Hory Chiffelle, mayor of Diesse, but rather of his older brother Jehan Chiffelle. We find their father, Jehan Chiffelle, at the top of Clottu's tree. This Jehan Chiffelle must have been the son of Hans Tschiffeli of Sursee and his wife Kathrin von Rosenegg.
The complete Y-DNA results for Claude Cellier are now in (see trailer image to this article).
At the top of the chart, you find the minimal and maximal values (which haven't been updated by FTDNA yet) as well as the "mode" that shows the most commonly found values within the group. Each column represents one allele that has been tested. Numbers with a red background color are larger than the mode, whereas values with a blue background color are smaller than the mode.
As you can see, Fréderic Chiffelle of Lignières is right at the mode, i.e., his genes have seen no mutations (within the set of alleles that were tested). Nicolas Junod of Lignières and Mr. Schiffley of North Carolina have seen one mutation each in their genes, whereas Al and I exhibit two mutations each. Claude shows three mutations.
The relative distances between two people can be larger. For example, the distance between Al and myself is four, because our two mutations occurred on different alleles. The distance between Claude and myself is only three, whereas that between Claude and Al is five.
The most interesting allele is DYS19, because all of us have very unusual marker values for this allele. The percentage of participants in the Y-DNA project with values of 9 for DYS19 is far below 1%, and as far as I can tell, I am the only one in the entire database of several hundred-thousand participants with a value of 8. For this reason, the Y-DNA test is very sharp for us, and there is absolutely no doubt that we all share a common progenitor within historical times. Most likely this was Hory Chiffelle of Nods, who served as the Mayor of Diesse around the year 1400.
What still remains to be done is to convince one of the male Cipelli of Tuscany to get tested as well to establish the genetic link back to our Italian ancestors, who must have immigrated to Switzerland sometime in the early 13th century.
The first 12 markers of Claude Cellier's DNA test are now in. As expected, there were no surprises. His Y-chromosome matches exactly that of Al and myself. Thus it is now officially confirmed: The Cellier of Nods and the Cellier of La Neuveville are one and the same family.