Saturday, May 4, 2013


On Wednesday Rick and I traveled an hourout of Zurich to visit Scherzingen (pronounced share-tsing-gen) where the Hafens come from.  It is a quaint little town bordering the Bodensee Lake.  Hafen (pronounced  Hah-fen in the German language) means haven or port so it makes sense that the Hafen's lived next to a body of water.
Rick on the shores of Bodensee.
It was fun to see Hafen on many buildings and signs.
Strasse (pronounced shtrahsuh) means street.
We got to drive on Hafen street.  A close cousin to little Hafen lane in Mesquite:)
I was excited to find the church in the community to be able to find some family gravesites.  We looked in vain.  An interesting (and sad......and creepy) fact about Swiss graveyards are that there are no graves older than 25 years old!!  Apparantly,  families have to rent space to lay their dead.  After that time is up the families can continue to rent the space OR IT IS RECYCLED!  Meaning that a new body is placed in the same grave.  A historian told us that they do not embalm here because they want the bodies to disintegrate as quickly as possible.  The caskets are made of a local soft wood that disintergrates quickly as well.  So they will bury the new body on top of the old bones WITHOUT keeping the former body's name on the headstone.  The only way to know where the people were buried is in the state's archives where all of the old parish records are found and that will only give you the place thaqt they are buried NOT the actual gravesite.  Does anyone else think that this is wrong??  It doesn't seem right to me.  We were told that they do this because of the lack of space in the country.  This is a small country but I'm not quite sure I understand that philosophy.  I saw a LOT of space that could be used. 
This is the church where the Hafen family would have attended their meetings:)
It was a great feeling being in this place where many of my family came from!!


  1. Were you able to find the Hafen home there? I am looking forward to my trip there next February. Loved your post, I totally feel your surprise at the recycled cemetery grounds. May I ask which Hafen you come from John Georg and Anna Mary Huber.