Urs Rothlisberger and I stand atop the "Rothlisberg," a small hill in Heimesbach near the city of Langnau-Im-Emmental, in the Canton of Bern. We had never met, and had no idea whatsoever of any family ties until we both took DNA tests and got a match. Urs and I share the exact same y-DNA, have a common ancester (Cunradt Rothlisberger, baptized in the Reformed church of Langnau 1561), and the Rothlisberger family lived in this area for many centuries--many of the line settling in the Langnau area, some heading to the new world. What a thrill to finally stand here together. I wonder what our ancestors would think about two long-lost cousins standing together on the site of the old family farm?
The view from the top was simply breath-taking. We could see radio towers in Bern in one direction, and the Alps in another. The family which now owns the land welcomed "the two Americans" as Urs explained our interest in their hill. They stopped their farm work, served us coffee and homemade Walnut-cake and wanted to know all about how Urs and I were connected. They told us that they were worried when Ben Roethlisberger came to the same area several years ago looking for his ancesters, who descend from Cunradt's brother Nikolaus. Ben had a big Swiss media group with him, and they were worried about too many people tramping on their farm. Ben never did make it here--but we did (thanks to Urs)! The family was sure gracious to us, showing us old pictures and explaining everything!
The "new" farmhouse was built in the 1820's on the site of the old Rothlisberger farmhouse. Some of the outbuildings date from the early 1700's.
It had been raining all week, but God graciously provided a perfect, warm Fall day. All-in-all, the reunion fulfilled every expectation, and has become one of those remarkable days in life you will remember vividly until you die.