Monday, June 20, 2011

They were Shouting “Hey! What About Me?”

Sometimes, for various reasons, you have ancestors that you simply put on the back burner. It gets complicated when you have men of the same age in the same area with the same name. You don't have the resources you need to sort them out. You just don't have the time or energy for them. Or maybe you just don't know where to look for them. So you go on to other ancestors. You know, the ones that may be easier to find “stuff” on.

That's what I've done with my Switzer and Rupert ancestors. I've had their names for many years – John and Barbara Rupert and Jacob and Mary C. Switzer. Both families were “from Pennsylvania” and ended up in Columbiana County, Ohio. A daughter from each family married a Yarian.

Eva Rupert (1786-1866) was married to Conrad Yarian (1780-1860) on July 22, 1805 in Columbiana County where they would raise their family of 13 children, four of which apparently died young.

Jacob Yarian (1812-1895) was the fourth child born to Conrad and Eva (Rupert) Yarian. He married Elizabeth Switzer (1815-1894) on April 2, 1835 in Columbiana County. They were the parents of eleven children, nine of whom survived into adulthood and had families of their own. Jacob and Elizabeth are my 3rd great-grandparents. (Their son Eli married Lovina Berlin and their daughter Susie married Henry Phend and their oldest son was my grandfather, Rolland Victor Phend.)

The Ruperts

There were a few clues available back in the late 1980s when I found the Ruperts and Switzers but not really sufficient information regarding where to look for them beyond Ohio, after all “Pennsylvania” is a good-sized area! And besides, I didn't even know if John and Barbara Rupert really were Eva's parents – their names actually came from a query on GenForum in 1998. And there were some researchers who said that Adam Rupert was her father. The only information I had found on the Ruperts were the following three short items in the “History of Columbiana County, Ohio” (Mack, 1879).

On page 157 was this short paragraph: “John Rupert, a German, who upon his arrival in Baltimore from Germany, being unable to pay his passage money, was sold by the captain of the vessel to a person who, in consideration of receiving Rupert's services free for the ensuing three years, paid the captain's demand. Rupert lived in Hanover until his death, after reaching the age of one hundred years. The farm he owned is now owned by C. Pfeffer, in section 26, Hanover twp.

On page 246 of that same book was found: “Adam Rupert, a Revolutionary soldier, located on section 17 in 1802, where he reared four sons, - John, Jacob, Adam, and Benjamin, whose descendants yet live in that locality or in Fairfield.

And on page 288: "George Hoke was an early settler of Beaver Township (now in Mahoning County). Jacob Rupert was also an early settler of Beaver Township."

The Switzers

There was a little more information available on Jacob and Elizabeth Switzer. A biography of their son Jonathan in the “Standard History of Elkhart County, Indiana” (Weaver, 1916 v2 p756) states: “The maiden name of his [Jacob Yarian] wife was Elizabeth Sweitzer, who was born in Columbiana County near Lisbon, September 23, 1815. Her father, Jacob Sweitzer was born in Switzerland, was reared in that country, and at the age of twenty seven came to America, locating in Columbiana County where he secured a tract of timbered land and literally hewed a farm from the wilderness. Both he and his wife survived to be old people, and he passed away at the age of eighty-seven and she at the age of eighty-three.

In the biography of Jacob Yarian, Sr. in “History of Portage County, Ohio” (Beers, 1885 p808) it says: “Our subject was married April 2, 1835, to Elizabeth Switzer, born in Columbiana County, Ohio, September 24, 1815, daughter of Jacob and Mary C. Switzer, natives of Pennsylvania, who located in Columbiana County, where they died.

And, in the section on Salem Township in “History of Columbiana County, Ohio” (Mack, 1879 p237) we find that “Ephraim Holloway and Jacob Sweitzer, brothers-in-law of Martin Hoke, entered section 25 about the year 1804. The property passed into other hands. One of the early schools was kept on this section.

Still, it wasn't much to go on. In the late 1980s my mother and I went on a research trip to Ohio, stopping in Columbiana County where I found the estate settlement file for Jacob Switzer (4962 dated November 7, 1859) which listed his heirs: widow, Leathy Switzer; Jacob Yarian & wife; Jacob Monanack & wife; Peter Buckecker & wife, Daniel Deemer & wife.

Marriage records of Columbiana County provided the first names of the Switzer daughters: Barbara married Jacob Manaweck, Rebecca married Peter Buckecker and Susan married Daniel Deemer.

But there was a very big problem with Jacob Switzer... there was more than one of him! Well, actually there was only one of him, but there were at least three men by that name in Columbiana County in the same time period (1803-1860).

In 1820 and 1830 there was one in each of the townships of Centre, Fairfield, and Salem. By 1840, we had five men named Jacob Switzer. One each in Centre, Elk Run, and Fairfield and two in Salem township. By 1850 we're back down to three: one in Fairfield born about 1789 with wife Catherine and three daughters, one in Salem born about 1785 with wife Catherine, and the third in Salem born about 1821. Yeah, two of them had a wife named Catherine!

I knew that I'd never be able to sort out those Switzers with the resources available to me at the time. Remember, this was back in the 1980s. Back in the dark ages of genealogical research. No internet. No email. And I was still working at a 9-5 job (usually more than the standard 8 hours a day) and didn't have the time or energy to take on that kind of major research task. And I didn't have the time or funds to do extensive research on-site in Columbiana County.

So there they were. Neglected for 20+ years. Shoved aside for “more important” things. And probably somewhat indignant because I hadn't even given them their own entry in my database – simply a few words in their daughter's notes.

That is, until the recent trip to Salt Lake City. There they grabbed hold of me, got my attention, finally, and shouted “Hey, what about me?”


The New Genealogist said...

It can be so easy to just ignore certain ancestors for a while, especially in these circumstances! I tend to give up once I find they come from Ireland and move on to "easier" ancestors.

Carol said...

Even tho I was there, cannot wait to read the next episode! They really were screaming, weren't they??

Anonymous said...

Aarrgghh - I was all set to learn the truth about them and now I have to wait for another blog! You ought to be a serial mystery writer :). Hurry up and post the next section!! :) Babs

Greta Koehl said...

You are right, and I have also experienced this phenomenon. And when that record pops up or a distant cousin contacts me with amazing information on these people, I just have to think that it's them saying, "Hey! What about me?"