Tuesday, January 21, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #3 ~ Jacob Zaugg

Written for Amy Johnson Crow's Challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. (click on the icon in the sidebar for details at Amy's blog)

First, just the facts: 
Name: Jacob Zaugg
Born: Mar/Apr-1824, Eggiwil, Bern, Switzerland
Married: Anna Barbara Bartchey, Mar-1852, Eggiwil, Bern, Switzerland
Died: 01-Jan-1900, Wayne Co, Ohio [Find-A-Grave memorial]

Relationship to me: Great-great-great-grandfather
I am descended through:
 - his daughter, Emma (Zaugg) Graber (1860 – 1919)
 - her daughter, Ella Rosa (Graber) Saurer (1883 - 1963)
 - her daughter, Lela Mabel (Saurer) Ritchie (1913 - 1991)
 - her son, my father, Donald John Ritchie (living)

The picture I've posted above is the most flatter of Jacob.  I have the large charcoal drawing as well as the picture that I believe was the model.  As you can see, in the original he looks a little more care-worn.

I am also fortunate to have a picture of Jacob and his wife Barbara.  My Grandpa Ritchie always used to say, "Those Zauggs were some BIG women"  - which is ironic considering that Barbara was only a Zaugg by marriage.  I do certainly come from "sturdy" farmer stock.
 One of my early exciting finds in genealogy was discovering where Jacob was buried.  Sometime in the late 1980's/early 1990's my parents and I were visiting Ohio and my Dad was indulgently visiting courthouses and cemeteries with me.  I didn't know much about Jacob, but from his daughter's obituary I thought he might have lived in Mt Eaton.  We went over to prowl through the cemetery there, but weren't finding him.  There were certainly Zauggs buried in that cemetery but not Jacob.

As we were finally getting ready to leave an older man came over from the house across the street.  He and my Dad began talking and it turns out that as a boy, this man used to mow the cemetery.  We chatted about finding Jacob Zaugg for a few minutes and then he and Dad began to talk about ALL the people they knew in common in the whole of Wayne County.  OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but I was getting impatient and mentally rolling my eyes. 

As they were finally wrapping up, the man said, "I wonder if your Jacob Zaugg was buried in the old cemetery."  WHAT OLD CEMETERY?!?!  Turns out that while the old German Reform Church was no longer standing, there was a cemetery still there.  We wouldn't have seen it from the roads we had been traveling, but once he told us where it was, it wasn't at all hard to find.  Always, always talk to the local people and more importantly, listen to them.  Thanks to that conversation, we found Jacob and his wife. 

As I write this, I realized just how little I've looked into Jacob's life since then although there are a number of documents that should be available to me. I haven't done much (OK, anything!) to really verify the facts of his life.  That is mostly because I have this wonderful book that I inherited from my Grandmother (Lela Saurer, above)

The Jacob Zaugg of the title is "my" Jacob's father.  So that gives me his parents as well as all his siblings and many of their spouses and children.  One thing that I need to work out is who all came to this country.  I know that my Jacob came as an adult with a wife and one child and that his parents and many (if not all) of his siblings also came.  All the information I've found shows them in and around Wayne County, Ohio so I think I need to work in a trip sometime soon. 

Inside the book, the page relating directly to my line has been updated by hand throughout the years.  I've found copies of this book in several libraries and there are always handwritten notations on different pages which I copy and file with my book.  I've used this information as my sole source for the collateral Zaugg relatives in my tree, as I don't always feel the need to document them as thoroughly as I do my direct line.  It's mostly "cousin bait."  

However, I've realized that there is a lot I need to do on Jacob so this post is my wake up call to start working on him.

I do have one new find.  While I was in Salt Lake City last week I did steal a few hours at the FHL and had a great time with Swiss records.  When I started looking I was admiring the gorgeous hand writing and how legible it was.  Then, I moved on to the year I was interested in, and there was obviously a totally different person who didn't seem to care about whether I would be able to read the record!  In spite of that I did manage to find a record of Jacob's marriage:

So that will be my starting point for working on Jacob and family.  Just as a word of warning, there will be many more Zaugg posts.  This is my family to work on for 2014!!


  1. An interesting story of your research and its findings. I also liked the way you set the scene first with the basic facts - something I might adapt if you don't mind sharing a good idea.

    1. Oh please feel free to use that idea ~ that's one of the things I enjoy about reading blogs is all the good ideas I find. As a matter of fact, I "stole" the idea of showing how I am related from several others doing the 52 Ancestors challenge.

  2. I enjoyed reading your family story on the 52 Ancestors list. The cemetery experience is one of those we all hope for and never forget. It's like our ancestors are helping us out sometimes. If they could just help us with reading some of the handwriting in those old church records, right?!

    1. Hi Nancy ~ I wil definitely never forget that day! And oh boy, could I use help with the handwriting. As a matter of fact I'd like some help with the language (German, although I know a little) while we're at it. :-)

  3. You seem to have left me with one question you never seem to answer why oh why did they settle in Ohio?

  4. They (probably) settled in Ohio because it already had a well established Swiss-German community. I think, but haven't yet established, that people (former neighbors etc) they knew in Switzerland had settled there first.

  5. I cannot believe you were related to a wight... It must be so frightening if you ever knew any peculiars

  6. Hi I hope that you see this comment. I was wondering if you had additional information about the Baertschi family. My great grandfather is a Baertschi from the same town in Switzerland. My email address is nancyalexander80@yahoo.com thanks


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