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Hunziker is a surname from Switzerland. The name most likely originates from the name of a small village in Canton Lucerne. Within Switzerland, the family expanded with a large presence in the Kulm, Zofingen, and Aarau districts of Canton Aargau and smaller concentrations in Cantons Berne, Lucerne, and Zürich. Significant emigration to the United States and Canada has occurred over several centuries. In the U.S., the name has commonly been anglicized to Hunsaker, Hunsicker, Hunsinger, Huntsinger, Hunsucker and many other variants.


Origin of the name[edit]

Road sign to Hunzikon, Canton Lucerne

While several explanations exist for the origin of the surname Hunziker, the following appears to be that stated by most, if not all, Swiss historians. In the 13th and 14th centuries, surnames often indicated a person's hometown. Hunzikers originated in the 13th century from a very small village called Hunzingen (today called Hunzikon, just east of Geuensee, Canton Lucerne). In the 14th century, the family was also found in large numbers in the Wetzwil neighborhood of Schlierbach, Canton Lucerne and then spread throughout the Suhrental (Suhre River valley).[1][2] In the 15th and 16th century, Swiss surnames were derived by appending the syllable –er (this largely replaced the practice of using the "von" prefix).

View from small hamlet of Hunzikon, origination of Hunzikers. Looking west across the Suhre.

Several Hunzikers living in Aargau have expressed a belief that the surname descends from the traditional occupation of dog breeder (Hundezüchter) and have indicated that Hunzikers have been involved with the development of several dog breeds. This belief is supported in part by the rampant hound regularly found in Hunziker coats of arms. Another possible origin raised by some genealogists is a reference to a valley in which a Hun army camped. A valley or part thereof might be referred to as a corner or "ecke" in German and hence the Hun's valley would be "Hunsecke".[3] However, these explanations appear to be speculative.

Early history[edit]

During the 15th and 16th centuries, most Hunzikers belonged to Reformed Protestant denominations and lived largely in and near Unteraargau. From 1415 to 1798, this part of Aargau belonged to the old state of Berne, from 1798 to 1803 to the mini-canton of Aargau and in 1803 was merged and made part of the modern Canton Aargau.[4]

By the early 16th Century, records demonstrate that a master named Hans Hunziker lived in Aarau. His sons, Niklaus and Hans, became significantly involved with the urban upper class. Niklaus was a member of the Court in 1547 and City Council in 1566. His son was an Aarau Schultheiß and his brothers also held offices. In the 17th Century, family members were influential Schultheiß, councilors and pastors. In the 18th century, Hunzikers became heavily involved in the Aargau textile industry. About 1780, Johann Jakob Hunziker founded a textile firm in Aarau. The factory erected in 1821 still stands. Johann Jakob's grandson, Guido Ulrich Hunziker ran the firm until 1873.[1]

Before 1800, persons with the surname Hunziker lived primarily in: Canton Aargau (Aarau, Bottenwil, Gontenschwil, Hendschiken, Kirchleerau, Leimbach, Moosleerau, Muhen, Oberkulm, Oftringen, Reitnau, Staffelbach, Unterbözberg, and Unterkulm); Canton Berne (Schwarzhäusern, Wynau); and, Canton Basel-Landschaft (Arisdorf).[5]

Hunziker diaspora[edit]

Hunzikers in their traditional homeland of Unteraargau were particularly impacted by civil strife, natural disaster and cultural upheaval. Battles of the Kappelerkriegs (1528–1531), the First War of Villmergen, in 1656, and the Toggenburg War (or Second War of Villmergen), in 1712 (collectively, the Villmergerkriegs) occurred largely in and near modern Aargau and reinforced significant religious conflicts in the region. Famine and plague were common during the 18th century. Also during this period, Argovite cottage industries (cotton and silk weaving, cigar production) were devastated by industrialization in England and elsewhere. As discussed below, Berne engaged in a ruthless repression of Anabaptists during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. From 1798 to 1805, modern Aargau was created from four distinct areas (Baden, Freie Ämter, Fricktal, and Unteraargau). Different regions had been forcefully converted to Protestantism or Catholicism with even further re-conversions, while others were allowed religious freedom. Government in the different regions also differed significantly. Fricktal had been outside of Swiss control altogether, having been controlled by the Habsburgs. As a result, the new union was not stable. Conflicts driven by rural-urban conflict resulted in the Freiämtersturm revolt of 1830, which was resolved in large part by Aargau canton president, Johann Georg Hunziker. A change from a 50% split of cantonal representation for Reformed and Catholic resulted in bloody conflict in 1841. In 1845, potato rot spread. The 1847 Swiss civil war resulted in further Argovite casualties. These cultural and economic pressures drove many Argovites, including Hunzikers, from Switzerland.


In the 16th century, many Hunzikers (especially from the Emmental) became involved with pacifist Anabaptist movements, especially the Swiss Brethren. The Anabaptist movements typically propounded believer's baptism, voluntary church membership and other positions that contradicted those of the Catholic church, Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli. Anabaptists' properties were confiscated. Berne in particular attempted to eradicate all Anabaptists from the canton, sentencing them to galley slavery, flogging, branding and expelling Anabaptist ministers, and, in 1699, established an Anabaptist Bureau specifically to persecute the Anabaptists. Many Anabaptists were imprisoned and tortured at Trachselwald Castle, Thun Castle, and other Swiss sites. Anabaptists were held in cells known as death-boxes. Executions of Swiss Anabaptists were not uncommon during the 16th and 17th centuries. In the late 16th through early 18th centuries, many Anabaptists were expelled from or otherwise left Switzerland for the Palatinate, Alsace, Moravia, Hesse, France, Luxembourg, Lorraine, Bavaria, Galicia, Volhynia, Tyrol, Austria and the Netherlands.[6] Hunzikers in particular emigrated to the Palatinate, Bavaria, and Alsace. Ongoing persecution in those locations led to further emigration to Poland, Russia and the U.S.[7] William Penn invited some to settle in Pennsylvania[8] and, starting in 1683, numerous Anabaptist Swiss settled in Pennsylvania. After continued persecution in the 17th century, some Swiss Anabaptists joined the Swiss state church. In 1693, Anabaptists who remained in communion with those in the state church became known as Mennonite and those who rejected communion with those in the state church were known as Amish. Hunzikers were found in both camps. One of the earliest Hunzikers to reach the United States was Valentine Hunsicker (1700–1777). Valentine was born in Switzerland (apparently in a Reformed household), moved to the Palatine, arrived in Philadelphia in 1717, and became a prominent U.S. Mennonite.[9][10][11] In the early-to-mid-18th century, a number of Mennonite Hunzikers were released from the dungeons only upon intercession from the Netherlands and their promise to emigrate to the United States.

North America[edit]

American Hunzikers have played a critical role in the U.S. Mennonite church.[12] The name is typically anglicized, such as Hunsaker, Huntzinger, or Unsicker. Some genealogists have speculated that the surname Honeysuckle, found among Cherokee and Seminole tribe members, may be a variant created by marriage of Swiss immigrants with native Americans and transformation of the surname to match an item found in nature.[citation needed]

According to the name distribution tool, the following number of families were listed in the 1920 U.S. census:

  1. Hunsaker (430 total, 74 in IL)
  2. Hunsicker (408 total, 224 in PA)
  3. Hunsinger (316 total, 108 in PA)
  4. Huntsinger (202 total, 29 in IN)
  5. Hunsucker (197 total, 67 in NC)
  6. Hunziker (173 total, 25 in MO)
  7. Huntzinger (164 total, 55 in PA)
  8. Unzicker (67 total, 26 in IL)
  9. Hunsecker (54 total, 24 in PA)
  10. Hunzeker (46 total, 15 in NE)
  11. Hunzicker (32 total, 6 in KS)
  12. Huntzicker (31 total, 6 in WI)
  13. Unsicker (23 total, 12 in IL)
  14. Hunzinger (20 total, 6 in IL)
  15. Huntsucker (18 total, 4 in MO)
  16. Honeysuckle (12 total, 5 in LA)
  17. Hunsiker (8 total, 3 in NY)
  18. Hunsacker (5 total, 2 in OH)
  19. Huntziker (5 total, 1 in CA, IL, NY, OK & PA)
  20. Hunsanger (3 total, 2 in MI)
  21. Hunzecker (3 total, 2 in NE)
  22. Hunsuker (2 total, 1 in KS & KS)
  23. Huntsicker (2 total, 1 in MN & WA)
  24. Unziker (2 total, 1 in KS & NE)
  25. Hunseker (1 total, 1 in TN)
  26. Hunsoker (1 total, 1 in CO)
  27. Hunsonger (1 total, 1 in MI)
  28. Huntsecker (1, 1 in PA)
  29. Unsiker (1 total, 1 in IA)




  • Dick Hunsaker, college basketball coach
  • Fred R. Hunsaker, Utah State University V.P., Utah state representative
  • Hyrum Barnard Hunsaker, (1904-1989), Department Head - Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, and Athletic Director, Utah State Agricultural College/Utah State University, Inductee to the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics[13]
  • Jerome Clarke Hunsaker (1886–1984), aeronautical educator and designer
  • Kevin T. Hunsaker, HP corporate attorney
  • Nicholas Hunsaker (1825–1913), San Diego County Sheriff, 1875–1876,[14] responded to the Gaskill Brothers Store shootout[15]
  • Tunney Morgan Hunsaker (1932–2005), West Virginia police chief, boxer
  • Walter S. Hunsaker (1906– ) Lt. Colonel, officer and director of Hunt companies
  • William Jefferson Hunsaker (1855–1933), San Diego District Attorney (1882–1884), 4th mayor of San Diego (1887–1888), represented Wyatt Earp


  • Ralph Uriah Hunsecker (1914–1995), American composer, lyricist, and performer, known as "Ralph Blane"




  • Louis S. Hunsucker, Jr. (1934-), American poker player, won the 8th WSOP No Limit Hold'em tournament in 1977,[16] took third in the 9th WSOP Championship Event,[17][18] placed second in the 11th WSOP No Limit Hold'em tournament.[19] Subject of several gambling-related legal battles.[20][21]




  • Kenneth W. Hunzeker, American Army Lieutenant General, V Corps Commanding General,[22] formerly commander of the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq[23]
  • William K. Hunzeker (1927–2004) American Army Major General, Commander of the Quartermaster Center and School, and later the Army Logistics Center


  • Armando Theodoro Hunziker (1919–2001), Argentinian biologist
  • Bruno Hunziker (1930–2000), Swiss politician
  • Christian Hunziker (1926–1991), Swiss architect and professor of architecture[24]
  • Emil Hunziker (1869–1938), Swiss mechanical engineer, designer of large generators and hydropower plants[25]
  • Erich Hunziker (born 1953), Chief Financial Officer of Roche Group (2001–2011)[26]
  • Evan Hunziker (1970-1996), American prisoner in North Korea
  • Fritz Hunziker (1845–1908), Swiss industrialist, educator, humanitarian[27]
  • Hans Hunziker (1878–1941), Swiss physician and professor at University of Basel.
  • Hans Hunziker (1879–1951), Federal Director General of the Swiss rail administration, Director of international rail transport association[28]
  • Hans-Jörg Hunziker, (1938-), Swiss typographer and graphic designer. Trained by Adrian Frutiger, active with Matthew Carter and Linotype in the 1960s and 1970s. Contributed heavily to the CGP, Cyrillic, Frutiger, Gando Ronde, Helvetica, Iera Arabic and Iera Roqa Arabic, Metro, Univers and Univers Cyrillic typefaces, and the Siemens custom type family. Instructor at Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, (University of the Arts, ZHdK), Zürich
  • Hans-Werner Hunziker (1934–2011), Swiss psychologist, scientist and educator
  • Jakob Hunziker (1827–1901), Swiss educator and author, advocate of German language and culture[29]
  • Johann Georg Hunziker (1774–1850), Swiss industrialist and philanthropist, first Grand President of Canton Aargau, resolved the Freiamtersturm without bloodshed.[30]
  • K. Scott Hunziker, co-designer of the Algae programming language
  • Karl O Hunziker (1841–1909), Swiss educator and politician
  • Max Hunziker (1901–1976), Swiss painter[31]
  • Michelle Y Hunziker (born 1977), Swiss media personality
  • Otto Hunziker (1879–1940), President of Canton Aargau, member of National Council, historian[32]
  • Otto F Hunziker (1873–1959), Swiss American dairy educator and innovator
  • Richard Overton Hunziker (1916–1971), U.S. Air Force Major General, 200 combat missions in World War II, headed Project Crested Ice
  • Rudy Hunziker (1946- ), Swiss architect and author
  • Ruppert R. Hunziker (1923–2003), American soil chemist
  • Walter Hunziker (1899–1974), Professor of Tourism at the University of St. Gallen, director of the Swiss Tourism Federation, co-developed tourism science and general theory of tourism
  • Willi Hunziker, CEO of Frimorfo, former head of research, Human Nutrition & Health at Hoffmann-La Roche



Fictional characters[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sauerländer, Dominik (2008-01-16). "Hunziker". Historischen Lexikon der Schweiz (in German). Bern. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  2. ^ Steiner, Peter. "Hunziker Genealogy". Historische Vereinigung Wynental. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  3. ^ Hunsicker, Henry A. (1911). "The Name "Hunsicker"". A genealogical history of the Hunsicker family. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company. p. 15. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  4. ^ Siegrist, J.J. (1976). "An explanation of the family name Hunziker as name of origin from Hunzikon Ct. Lucerne and the expanding of this family" (in German). Aargau, Switzerland: Staatskanzlei Aargau Staatsarchiv. 
  5. ^ Schweizerischem Familiennamenbuch
  6. ^ Gratz, Delbert L. (1994). Bernese Anabaptists and Their American Descendants. Masthof Press. ISBN 1-883294-14-2. 
  7. ^ Neff, Christian; Isaac Zürcher-Geiser (1986). "Bern". Mennonite Encyclopedia. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press. pp. 287–298. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  8. ^ Gibson, John, ed. (1886). History of York County, Pennsylvania. Chicago: F.A. Battey Publishing Co. p. 13. OCLC 3537446. Retrieved 9 Jul 2011. The belief in spiritual guidance and the religious fervor of the society of Friends, made not simply an enthusiast, but an apostle, of the great founder of this commonwealth. [William Penn] sought out those who were oppressed for conscience' sake. A few years before he obtained his charter he had visited that portion of the continent of Europe which to many of our people is most dear and famous, the Palatinate upon the Rhine. He sympathized with the Swiss reformers and others who had taken refuge there; and when that fertile country was made the scene of devastating wars, when their Elector, Frederick V, could not maintain his principality, and the armies of Louis XIV, under Marshall Turenne, caused the people to experience the worst calamites of fire and sword, and were compelled to flee from their homes, they found asylum by his invitation on these shores. 
  9. ^ Dickey, Mike; Brad DeForest. "The Hunsicker Family". Skippack Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  10. ^ Hunsicker, Henry A. (1911). "First Generation". A genealogical history of the Hunsicker family. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company. p. 17. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  11. ^ Haws, Gwen Hunsaker; Kenneth B. Hunsaker (2001). "Our Hunsaker Forefathers--Hartmann to Abraham". History of Abraham Hunsaker and his family. Abraham Hunsaker Family Organization (2 ed.). Salt Lake City: Publishers Press. pp. 1–5. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  12. ^ Wenger, John C. (1956). "Hunsicker family". Mennonite Encyclopedia. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press. pp. 844–845. Retrieved 2008-09-28. The Hunsickers left Switzerland because of religious persecution about the middle of the 17th century. One of the well-known European representatives of the family was Abraham Hunzinger (1792-1859), author of Das Religions-, Kirchen- und Schulwesen der Mennoniten (Speyer, 1830). Valentine Hunsicker (1700-1771) emigrated from Europe to eastern Pennsylvania in 1717 and served as deacon in the Skippack congregation (MC) of the Franconia Conference about 1739. Three of the more prominent American Hunsickers were Bishop Henry Hunsicker (1752-1836) and his sons, Bishop John Hunsicker (1773-1847), senior bishop of the Franconia Conference in 1847 (he seceded with John H. Oberholtzer), and his younger brother, Preacher Abraham Hunsicker (1793-1872), who also seceded in 1847, and who with the help of his son, Henry A. Hunsicker, established Freeland Seminary in 1848. Henry A. Hunsicker served as principal of Freeland Seminary from 1848 until 1865. (The name of the school was changed to Ursinus College in 1869; the institution had not long remained Mennonite, but had become a college of the Reformed Church.) Oberholtzer's conference ordained Preacher Abraham Hunsicker a bishop in 1847 and his son Henry A. Hunsicker a preacher in 1850, but in 1851 expelled them both. They then carried on a sort of non-sectarian work. The Unzicker families of the Midwest, especially in Illinois, are 19th-century immigrants from Europe, and included a number of Amish Mennonite ministers. The best-known layman named Hunsicker was Leidy D. Hunsicker (1878-1954) of the Blooming Glen, Pennsylvania, Mennonite Church (MC), a noted chorister for 40 years. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Selected Chronological List of San Diego County Officials". The Journal of San Diego History. 47 (1). 2001. 
  15. ^ Pourade, Richard F. (1964). "9". The Glory Years. History of San Diego. 4. San Diego: Union-Tribune Pub. Co. ISBN 978-0-913938-03-4. 
  16. ^ "The World Champions of Poker (1970s)". Poker Pages. Archived from the original on 2010-10-01. Retrieved 16 Sep 2010. 
  17. ^ Grotenstein, Jonathan; Storms, Reback (2005). All in: the (almost) entirely true story of the World Series of Poker. St. Martin's Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-312-36037-5. 
  18. ^ "Summary of 1978 Tournament". World Series of Poker, a retrosprective. Center for Gaming Research, UNLV. 22 Oct 2007. Retrieved 15 Sep 2010. 
  19. ^ "Louis Hunsucker". The Mob Poker Database. The Hendon Mob. Retrieved 15 Sep 2010. 
  20. ^ Hunsucker v. Phinney, 420 U.S. 927 (U.S. 1975).
  21. ^ Aubin v. Hunsucker, 481 S.W.2d 952 (Tex.Civ.App.-Austin 1972).
  22. ^ "Biography of Lieutenant General Kenneth W. Hunzeker – V Corps Commanding General" (PDF). Heidelberg, Germany: United States Army, V Corps. 2007-10. Retrieved 2008-10-13.  Check date values in: |date= (help)[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ Eschenburg, Shane (2007-08-09). "Hunzeker Becomes 53rd V Corps Commander" (PDF). U.S. Army. Retrieved 2015-09-04. 
  24. ^ Böcker, Dagmar (2006-11-27). "Hunziker, Christian". Historischen Lexikon der Schweiz (in German). Bern. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  25. ^ Fuchs, Thomas (2006-11-27). "Hunziker, Emil". Historischen Lexikon der Schweiz (in German). Bern. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  26. ^ "Erich Hunziker Profile". Forbes. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  27. ^ Illi, Martin (2008-01-16). "Hunziker, Fritz". Historischen Lexikon der Schweiz (in German). Bern. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  28. ^ Weibel, Andrea (2006-11-27). "Hunziker, Hans". Historischen Lexikon der Schweiz (in German). Bern. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  29. ^ Marti-Weissenbach, Karin (2006-11-27). "Hunziker, Jakob". Historischen Lexikon der Schweiz (in German). Bern. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  30. ^ Sauerländer, Dominik (2005-05-02). "Hunziker, Johann Georg". Historischen Lexikon der Schweiz (in German). Bern. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  31. ^ Bhattacharya, Tapan (2006-11-27). "Hunziker, Max". Historischen Lexikon der Schweiz (in German). Bern. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  32. ^ Sauerländer, Dominik (2008-01-16). "Hunziker, Otto". Historischen Lexikon der Schweiz (in German). Bern. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  33. ^ A. Blake, TSV Events Coordinator and grandson of TSV founder, Ernie Blake.

External links[edit]