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Descendants of Anna Zimmermann and Niklaus Gilomen

According to the work of other researchers, the surname Gilomen descends originally from Huguenot refugees from the village of Les Verrières in the canton of Neuchâtel. The origin of the name itself is said to be the French Guillaume, and in fact this spelling continues to appear in records of the Gilomen family as late as 1853. However, at Wengi (district of Büren, canton of Bern), the spelling Gilomen makes its first appearance in 1633, at the first appearance of the family in that parish. Over the next three decades the name takes the form Gilami and even the translation Wilhelm before returning to Gilomen, but spelling of the name remains inconsistent until the nineteenth century. Persons named Gilami appear in the eighteenth century as far south as Merligen on the Thunersee (Lake Thun), not far from Beatenberg. The name Gylam, still found at Aarwangen, probably shares the French origin of Gilomen, although I don’t know whether the families themselves are related. (Much has been written about the other old branch of the Gilomen family, that at Lengnau bei Biel; but the family that came to live in Madison County, Illinois was not from that branch.)

The brothers Hans and Samuel Gilomen are the first members of the family to appear at Wengi, but we may presume that already they lived in the mountain village of Scheunenberg in this parish, since in later times, barring descendants who moved away, every branch of the family but one is listed as having citizenship at Scheunenberg. (The parish of Wengi encompasses several such smaller villages.) The sole exception was a line that lived at Wengi proper. In later generations, Gilomens made their way to other areas, including the French-speaking portion of the canton of Bern. The branch that eventually came to America in 1835 first spent several decades in the district of Thun, at Buchholterberg in the parish of Oberdiessbach. Probably some lines strayed even further afield. But we must take Scheunenberg as the starting point for this study.