Tag Archives: Bair

52 Ancestors #39 The Germans are Coming – Bair

One thing that we KNEW about my husband’s ancestors–they were Swiss. 100% Swiss. I even said so in the first article I wrote about the Badertschers,  Swiss Immigrants Invade Ohio.

So the challenge to write about something “Unique” today had me floored.  I had several unique things I could find among my ancestors, but Ken’s? No way. Swiss Mennonites, immigrated within the 19th century, dairy farmers, large families. They were dependable.

And then I learned it was not true. He is NOT 100% Swiss. In fact, his mother’s maiden name, Bair, is not Swiss at all–it is German.  Even Ken’s sister did not know the shocking truth. And among his ancestors, that makes the Bairs unique.

Now you may want to quibble. The Swiss Badertschers and Stuckeys and Amstuz’s and Schneiter’s and Müllers and all the rest were German-speaking Swiss, so what’s the difference? For one thing, they thought of themselves as Swiss, not Geman. (Unlike, say, my Scots-Irish ancestors who moved to Ireland but always thought of themselves as Scottish.) But more importantly those census takers who recorded the language the Swiss immigrants spoke as German were wrong. They spoke Schweitzerdeutsch,which  is much more than a dialect. It is a separate language .  In fact, as that article I linked in the last sentence points out, speakers of Schweitzerdeutsch would have to go to school to learn German as a foreign language.

So, briefly, an introduction to the Bair who revealed to us that this branch of Ken’s family was unique and Ken is not 100% Swiss, and learn that there are other things that make them unique in Ken’s line. There is a long way to go on this research, And it isn’t helped by spellings of Bair, Baer, Bear and maybe even Beer. I have held it down to Bair below, although I suspect it was flexible in Germany, tending toward Baer and translated incorrectly as Bear in English. Here is what I know at the moment.

Adam Daniel Bair

Adam Daniel Bair
Jerusalem Cemetery outside of Stonecreek in Tuscarawas County, actual birth was1889.

Ken’s Grandmother Helen Stuckey (of purely Swiss roots) married a Bair.  The father of Adam Dale Bair and Agnes Bair Badertscher (Ken’s mother) was Adam Daniel Bair, born in 1889, Ohio.

The father of Adam Daniel Bair  was Daniel  Bair [Jr.], born in 1850 in Ohio.

Daniel M. Bair’s father was another Daniel Manbeck Bair [Sr.] 1802 in  Pennsylvania according to an 1860 census and in a family tree that looks very accurate so far.

But at the moment that is all the farther I can go with the Bairs.  Too many Daniel Bair/Bear/Baer and too many Abrahams , also. There are Daniel Bair/Bears in the Civil War, and one Abraham Bair that I’ve spotted in the War of 1812, but so far, no way to prove if they’re the right ones.

At least I know that Ken’s Bair generation did come from Germany since besides the probability of the Bairs immigrating from Germany, the family of Caroline LImbach, the wife of Daniel Bair Jr., are definitely from Bavaria, Germany. And the Manbeck line (mother of Daniel Manbeck) may prove to have German roots as well.

So we know that unlike the other lines we’ve been tracing, that only go back 2 or 3, this one reaches back at least 5 and perhaps more generations in this country. And besides–they are not all Swiss. How unusual in this family.

How Ken is Related

  • Kenneth Ross Badertscher is the son of
  • Agnes Badertscher who is the daughter of
  • Adam Dale Bair, who is the son of
  • Caroline Limbach and Daniel M. Bair. Caroline is the daughter of
  • Adam Limbach, from Bavaria
  • AND
  • Daniel M. Bair, is the son of
  • Daniel Manbeck Bair, who is the son of
  • Elizabeth Manbeck Bair

Notes on Research

  • United States Census, York Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio,1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920.
  • Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007, Ancestry.com and the Ohio Department of Health (index list)
  • Web: Ohio, Find A Grave Index, 1787-2012

There was much more research, and more is ongoing, but you will get those references as I talk about individual people.

52 Ancestors: #30-Helen Stucky Bair Kohler Faces A Challenge

For the time being, I have set aside my own family research (except for occasional timely notes).Instead  I am searching for ancestors of my husband, Kenneth Ross Badertscher. Today–his maternal grandmother.

Helen Stucky (Bair, Kohler) 1890-1974

I am quite sure that Helen Stucky faced many challenges in her life, but one is so huge that I have trouble getting my mind around it.  I first met “Grandma Kohler” when my husband and I married.  She loved filling her farm house with family at Thanksgiving, and never tired of having grandchildren climb over her.

Helen Stucky

Great-Grandma Helen Kohler with Mike, Kenneth Paul, and Brent, in Ohio, 1966.

This picture was taken at Ken’s parents home (Agnes Bair Badertscher and Paul Badertscher) near Dalton, Ohio.  Agnes Bair was Helen’s first child from her first marriage.

Helen Stucky Bair Kohler was tall and had the big hands of a woman made for farm work. She’d fit right into Grant Wood’s American Gothic. But she did not look stern. She was sweet, modest, and welcoming to all, and a terrific cook. Knowing her in her old age, it was hard for me to imagine some of the hardships she had lived through. I’ll never know if these tragedies created her placid personality, or if her placid personality helped her survive adversity.

A Big Family

The oldest daughter born to Frederick and Ida Stucky, Helen grew up on the family farm in York Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio, near New Philadelphia.  Her father and mother were of Swiss heritage, and kept a dairy farm on Stone Creek Road. By 1910, when Helen was 19, she had seven siblings still at home ranging in age from 3 to 17.  Her sister Bessie, now 16, is not listed with Fred and Ida on that year’s census–probably working out of the home, as was Helen, although I have not found Bessie in a 1910 census report. (A 6-year-old brother had died in 1895, when Helen was just five years old. In 1915 one more sister came along to make it a family of ten living children.)

Around 1917, when Gladys (b. 1915) was a toddler, the family had this portrait made.

Helen Stucky family

Della, Bessie, Helen, Carl, Gertrude, Carrie, Bertha. Bottom row: John, Fred, Ida, Gladys, Frank Stucky
Circa 1917

Young Love

Helen Stucy

Helen Stucky/Adam Bair Marriage Certificate

In March 1912 when she was 21 years old, Helen married Adam Daniel Bair (22), who was known as Adam.  Like her father, he was a dairy farmer, although the Bair family came from Germany rather than Switzerland.  The couple must have had high hopes for their newly acquired farm, when they posed for this picture with some of Helen’s sisters and her first child, Agnes, who was born in 1913. It is a Dodge Touring Car from 1915.

Helen Stucky Bair

In the back seat Stucky Sisters, Bessie, Gertrude and Della. In front Helen and Adam Bair Sr. and Agnes Bair. Circa 1915.

The Challenge

In 1917, Adam Bair faithfully filled out his World War I registration card, showing he had a wife and one child. He was described as tall, stout, with dark brown hair and blue eyes.  But then, just a year and a half after filling out his registration card, the worldwide calamity that followed World War I hit Ohio, and Adam Bair, tall and stout as he was, fell victim to the flu that killed thousands. Adam died in January, 1919.

Helen was two months pregnant when her husband died. She may not even have realized that she was carrying another child.  At the age of 28, she was a widow and a single mother. I can imagine that having worked at the County Alms House that housed the old, the infirm, and those without any financial support, including mothers with small children, she was determined not to be sent to a place like that.

As much as she would not have wanted to be a burden on her parents, who still had five children at home, she really had no choice.  The oldest of the Stucky siblings still at home, Carl (24), was a steel worker, so he was contributing to the family income. The youngest child at home was Gladys (5), who must have been one of those midlife surprises–nearly the same age as Helen’s Agnes. A baby boy was born in August of the year his father died (1919),and Helen named him Adam Daniel after his father. Then Helen went looking for work. Like her sisters, she found domestic work, to help contribute to the budget, but instead of “working out” she lived at home with her parents and her children.

A Second Family

In 1921 the widow found some security when she married Ralph Kohler, seven years her junior, but like her from a large family of Swiss dairy farmers. In 1922, their first daughter, Inez, was born.  Three years later Richard was born and two years after Richard, the youngest, Hannah, arrived.  Her two Bair children and three Kohler children grew up on the Kohler Farm in Sugar Creek Township, Wayne County, Ohio.  The farm’s address was a rural route out of Dalton, Ohio.

The Kohler farm was a bicycle ride away from Ken Badertscher’s home in Dalton, where his mother Agnes had moved with her husband Paul Badertscher. As a young boy, Ken spent summer days working on the dairy farm. In 1959, Ralph (61) died. Helen’s oldest son, Adam, stayed on and ran the farm, even after he married.  And Helen lived in the same farm house for the rest of her long life.

Helen Esther Stucky (Bair) Kohler died in 1974 when she was 84 years old and was buried in Orrville, Ohio.

Helen Kohler

Helen and Ralph Kohler gravestone, Orrville, Ohio

The suggested theme for this week’s 52 Ancestors challenge was the word “Challenging.” Although the suggestion was to write about an ancestor that is particularly difficult to research, I picked one of my husband’s family who faced a terrible challenge of her own. The research was actually easy.

How Ken is Related

  • Kenneth Ross Badertscher is the son of
  • Agnes Bair Badertscher, who is the daughter of
  • Helen Stucky (Bair) (Kohler) and
  • Adam Bair

Research Notes

This post was inspired by photographs of the Stucky-Bair-Kohler family posted on Ancestry.com, and passed on by a cousin and some belonging to Kay Badertscher.

The ornate marriage license of Helen Stucky and Adam Bair hangs to the wall in our home.

Research at Ancestry.com, including

U.S. Federal Census Records: 1900 census, York Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio; 1910 Censuses, Goshen Township and York Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio; 1920 Census: York Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio; 1930 Census, Sugarcreek Township, Wayne County, Ohio; 1940 Census, Sugarcreek Township, Wayne County, Ohio.

Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1800-1962, Tuscarawas County, Adam Daniel Bair

Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1800-1962, Tuscarawas County, Helen E. Stucky

World War I Draft Registration, June 1917 for Adam Daniel Bair.

World War I Draft Registration, August 1918 for Ralph Kohler, U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Wayne; Roll: 1851302; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com

Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007, Certificate: 30310; Volume: 15762, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health Adam Daniel Bair

Certificate: 088234; Volume: 21905, Helen Esther Stucky