Saturday, February 1, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #5 ~ Rudolph Graber

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: Rudolph Graber
Born: 13-Sep-1853, Switzerland
Married: Emma Zaugg, 15-Mar-1881, Apple Creek, Wayne Co, Ohio
Died: 05-Aug-1918, East Union Twp, Wayne Co, Ohio [Find-A-Grave memorial]
Relationship: Great-great-grandfather

 I am descended through:
- his daughter, Ella Rosa (Graber) Saurer (1883 - 1963)
- her daughter, Lela Mabel (Saurer) Ritchie (1913 - 1991)
- her son, my father, Donald John Ritchie (living)

One of my mystery pictures is one taken at a studio in Switzerland.  I believe that Rudy is the youngest man in this picture [so the one all the way to the right]  Based on a writeup in a local Wayne Co, Ohio history it would appear that only Rudy and one of his sisters came to this county.  Is this picture Rudy and his brothers before he left?  I know that none of these men is his father as I have a picture of Rudy's parents. This picture comes to me from my Grandmother, so there are many choices as far as Swiss relatives, but the young man looks like Rudy to me.

Rudy was a farmer and was one of the early swiss cheese makers in the county.  I just love this picture of Rudy with a cow!  [Unfortunately I don't know the cow's name.]  
I have a newspaper article that tells a little bit about Rudy's early cheese-maker days. I need to track down and see if I can find the origins of that picture.  It's so great that the name the people in the picture so I know that Rudy is the man standing there to the left.

Re-reading this article just brings back a question that occurred to me when I was writing about Rudy's wife, Emma.  The Graber farm was eventually farmed by Rudy's oldest daughter and her husband, Ella & John Saurer.  I wonder why one of the boys didn't get the farm?  Reading this article shows that the youngest son Raymond was a farmer.  He was 20 and married when his father died.  I MUST get to Wayne County and look at (1) Land records and (2) see if I can find Rudy's will.

This is the last picture I have of Rudy.  Based on the family picture taken at the same time I believe it was around 1908.

I am also fortunate to have the large, oval pictures of Rudy and Emma taken at this same time - the kind with the curved glass.  My Aunt Laura, their youngest child, had these pictures.  I remember visiting her once with my Grandmother.  I was a teenager at the time and just getting "into" genealogy.  Aunt Laura showed me the book that she had with older pictures and we talked about her father.  Then she showed me the big pictures [they were in a closet] and I said, "Oh I LOVE those."  She looked at me and said, "What would YOU do with them if you had them?"  I told her I would put them up on the wall in my bedroom - and she gave them to me!  And they on my bedroom wall right now.

Even his obituary highlights his cheese making.  This obituary also comes from my grandmother, neatly trimmed so I have no indication of the paper in which it appeared.  One more item for my research-in-Ohio list.


  1. What a terrific post! There is something wonderful about a Swiss cheesemaker ancestor. Especially when he is as striking as yours.

    1. Thanks Susan!! I must admit that Rudy is one of my favorite ancestors...not sure why, but he just is. I want to find out about this brothers and sisters in Switzerland - surely I have relatives over there that would like me to come visit them!! :-)

  2. I think that newspaper is wrong... One can't live without cheese!

    1. I agree with you Anonymous AKA Kyli ~ must have cheese!! :-)

  3. A fascinating post and how wonderful to have those photographs and press cuttings. Like you, I have my favourite ancestors who somehow capture imagination more than others - mine my great grandmother Maria Rawliffe Danson.

    1. Thanks Sue - glad to know I'm not the only one who "plays favorites"!!


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