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The Rotlisperger Coat of Arms

It may be ugly, but it is authentic! 

Not only did my recent y-DNA test concretely tie my family to the Rotlispergers of Bern (and to a Cunradt Rötlisperger who was born in 1530), this family also has an official "coat of arms."  It will take me a while to decipher what all the symbols and colors mean, but this was quite a find. I am thinking of all the things I can plaster this on; T-shirts, a new sign in my yard, an emblem on my car, stationary, etc.  Perhaps even a tattoo?

We all have grandparents and aunts and uncles who bought generic "coat of arms" from companies promising to tell you the origin of your surname and provide you with "authentic" heraldry, although most of them (if not all) are fakes and nothing but a crass marketing ploy.  No fake here--who would fake this?

Yet one other fascinating consequence of my y-DNA test is the discovery of new family connections previously unknown.  I know that my own surname went through nearly 50 permutations once Christian Retelsberger arrived in Philadelphia in September of 1733, well before Riddlebarger became standardized.  Hard to believe that "Riddlebarger" is the greatly anglicized version of anything! 

My y-DNA also connects me to several large families with whom I never suspected any ties.  If you are a Ringelspaugh or a Rindlisbacher you too descend from good ole Cunradt!  Some immigration official had as much fun with your last name as they did with mine.  I am also tied by my DNA to the Redelsperger family of France--some of whom now live in America.

Perhaps the most moving discovery from all of this is seeing Cunradt's name in the 1561 baptismal record from the Reformed church of Langnau Im Emmental when he presented one of his  children (and presumably one of my ancestors) for baptism.  Wow!  Unto at least 15 generations and still counting!

Reader Comments (4)

Maybe we're very distant cousins! My grandmother's maiden name is Ringlespaugh.

Thanks, Dr Riddlebarger for your faithful teaching of the Word.

Rick McCready
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRick McCready
Which DNA company did you use to trace your family? I am interested in tracing the James clan.
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJene James
My kids would love a Lego Version of that Coat of Arms. Fascinating discovery.
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Holst

Yes, we are cousins . . . Distant cousins. Your grandmother's line also goes back to Cunradt, and I even found her coat of arms!


Family Tree DNA


Not sure you can replicate that with legos!
July 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterKim Riddlebarger

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