From a letter dated March 28, 1967 from Adolph Zimmerli in New Jersey to my grandfather - Dana W. Zimmerli - in Jackson, MN...
"Some time ago I had a genealogist in Switzerland look up my ancestors. He found that the name was first mentioned as that of a witness to a deed for a monastery in the year 1265 with the spelling "Cimberlin." From there on, the name occurred in the towns of Zofingen and Aarburg, then spread to the villages of Oftringen, Rothrist, and others, all in the Canton of Aargau, with variations in the spelling, the most common spellings being Zimmerli and Zimmerlin. Later on the different families spread all over Switzerland and other European countries, and in the nineteenth century they started to emigrate to the United States and Canada. Especially in the U.S.A., the spelling underwent modifications, the ending becoming -le, -ly, -lie, -ling, -lein, and -ley. "
My father, Jacob Wesley Zimmerli, has a genealogy going back to my great-great-great-great-great-grand father: Samuel Zimmerli, born in 1742. His son, John Zimmerli, was born November 14, 1781. John's son, Jacob Zimmerli, was born July 12, 1810, and was married to a woman named Anna Elizabeth, who was born October 22, 1815. Jacob and Anna had two sons: Jacob, born February 24, 1843 (my great-great-grandfather) and Samuel, born November 7, 1845 (stayed in Switzerland).
Most of our ancestors settled in the Midwest according to what my father and
grand father have assembled. The first to emigrate to the U.S. was my great-great
grand father, named Jacob Zimmerli (and named after his father JACOB). He
was born February 24, 1843 in Unterenfelden, Canton Aargau, Switzerland and
came to America in 1865, settling in Springfield, Sagamon County, Illinois.
There he met Gesine Brummerloh and they were married July 12, 1868 in Springfield.
She was born July 11, 1850 in Aschwarden, Osterhultz, Germany and also emigrated
to America in 1865. Jacob died in Cornland, Logan County, Illinois March 15,
1925. Gesine died four years later on April 27, 1929, also in Cornland. They
had eleven children, including my great-grandfather: Jacob J. Zimmerli Jr.,
born August 2, 1869 in Springfield, Illinois. Jacob married Cora Lee Brachear
December 10, 1892 in Springfield, IL. She was born December 4, 1873 in Cornland,
IL. Jacob J. Zimmerli Jr. died October 21, 1948 in Hubbard County, MN. Cora
died March 5, 1917 in Jackson, Jackson County, MN. They had eight children,
including my grandfather: Dana Walter Zimmerli, born Jun 22, 1893 in Cornland,