Left: the signature of Jacob (Jakob) Varnbüler, the original immigrant, from an 1856 document.

Most people who find their way to this site will probably be VanBuhlers. The original name was VarnBuhler -- in Germany and Switzerland usually spelled Varnbüler or Varnbühler (never with a capital B, always with an umlaut "u," and always Varn not Van). During the late 1880's and early 1900's in Michigan, the two main spellings of our name, VarnBuhler and VanBuhler, were used in what appears to be an almost random manner. Listings of those names in the yearly Detroit City Directories were intermixed, with some of the family being in one part of the list as VanBuhlers, and others listed as Varnbuhlers. Eventually the spelling VanBuhler became, for reasons we'll probably never know, the one adopted by most of the family, and the one that most members of this family in the United States carry today. My branch of the family tree is the only VarnBuhler branch in the USA, and that is because my father, Raymond Robert VarnBuhler, was the only one who decided to retain the "r" in Varn, allegedly because he was told by his father that it was the original name of the immigrants and of the ancestral family in Germany -- something research has confirmed to be true. Actually, over 30 (!) spellings of the name were found in various records and documents discovered during the family history research. Many of these can be found in "Spelling variations of the VarnBuhler name" in the Contents list.

From a single immigrant couple who came to America in 1854 with a 2 year old child, the family has grown to the point where there are now about 40 living males in this country with the VanBuhler/VarnBuhler name (see "The male lines of the family in America" chart in the Contents/link list), and of course there are many female VanBuhler's/VarnBuhler's who have married, assumed their husbands surname, had children, etc. We can be sure that the impoverished immigrant family had to surmount numerous difficulties in order to rise above their condition at the time. Their eventual success and that of their descendents is seen today in the large extended family (of VarnBuhlers and VanBuhlers) that is still going strong.

In the process of tracing the family genealogy I found that we have an extremely rich and remarkable history. We have as ancestors some very exceptional people -- in Switzerland, a battlefield hero, mayors, castle owners, prominent city officials and political leaders, the prioress of a women's abbey, and apparently some very good businessmen who somehow garnered enough wealth to live in the swankiest part of St. Gallen. After a political conflict in Switzerland, they went on to even greater achievements in Germany. We can count among our German ancestors several high level politicians and statesmen, a renowned professor of law, a respected friend of Albrecht Dürer and Erasmus, and, in Johann Conrad Varnbüler, someone who earned the family the nobility status it still enjoys today because of his exceptional diplomatic skills in the negotiations to end the 30-years war. Many other members of the family brought it distinction as well, and the family's long history includes a varied mix of interesting people: a successful author, a baron who married below his rank for love (something nobility just didn't do at the time), a prominent minister, a hypnotist (in the American family), and more. The family is honored and remembered in many books and articles, in street names, in portraits in hallowed halls. There are titled nobility, coats-of-arms, and castles. It gets more interesting with each new discovery.

The family genealogy and history has been traced back as far as 1375 in Switzerland. The evolution of the family and its continuing history is presented in this web site.

About this web site

The genealogy of the family is presented in the Contents list on the Welcome page in several different formats (pedigree charts, indexed family cards, etc.). There are also biographies containing information about some of the most famous Varnbülers on our line, and a variety of images in the Image Gallery links. The latter will lead you to such things as a 16th century woodcut of Ulrich Varnbüler by the famous German artist Albrecht Dürer, a still-existing castle in Switzerland owned by a Varnbüler in 1375, the Varnbüler coat-of-arms, and much more.

On virtually all of the pages on this site you will find a link back to the Welcome page and the Contents list. Returning to that list and selecting your next item of interest is the easiest way to move around the site.

I update this website periodically, so you may want to return to the site once in a while to see if anything new.has been added.

I'd be happy to hear from any VanBuhlers out there who can provide information still missing about more current branches of our family tree. That will assist in developing a more complete picture of how the VanBuhler/VarnBuhler tree has spread in America from the original immigrant family. (Please click on the "Contact Ray" link in the Contents list for more information).

Click on the link below to return to the Contents list on the Welcome page.

Back to the Welcome page