Some of my family, the Kuenzli’s, came from Switzerland. I had connected the dots that almost all the siblings & parents appeared to have immigrated to the United States in 1854, but could never find their passenger records. Then I recently found the ship listed on a great-uncle’s passport, so I visited http://www.castlegarden.org. Castle Garden was the Ellis Island in New York before Ellis Island was built. If your ancestors arrived before 1890, they may have come through Castle Garden. After inputting just the date and ship name, I was able to see all the passengers on that ship. I scrolled down the passenger list and there I find, the Kuntzei family! I’d tried numerous spellings over the years, the family themselves had changed it from Kunzli to Kuenzli when coming to the United States, but I’d never come up with that spelling.
They brought all six of their children but one, Verena, who had married and stayed in Switzerland with her husband. I can’t imagine how hard it was, especially for Anna, the matriarch, to leave Verena behind and head to an unknown country with a new language.
I still have no idea why they decided to come to the U.S. What drew them to Wisconsin, other than the large German and Swiss population. But how inspiring!