Huber and its derivatives (Hubbard, Hibbert, Hibbins, Hibbs, Hibson, and possibly Hoover) derive from the word, hube, a measure of land that could sustain and be worked by one farmer’s family. The name Huber designated the farmer who owned a “hube.”
The name is most prevalent in Germany (over 122,000 people) and most common in Austria where it is the second most common name in the country. In Switzerland, where Mary-Alice’s ancestors came from, it is the 7th most common name with 1 in 308 people have the surname.
Mary-Alice’s immigrant ancestor, John Huber, came from Switzerland in 1901 and settled in Wisconsin. In 1910 he and his wife, Bertha, located to Alabama. In 1920, they moved to Saginaw County, Michigan and remained there the rest of their lives. The 1920 Census indicates there were 162 Huber families in Michigan. John’s only son, Clarence, had no children, so the surname ended with Clarence. John’s daughter, Florence, was Mary-Alice’s maternal grandmother.
John Huber was the son of Jacob Huber and Kath Stuckling of Windlach, Zurich, Switzerland. I believe he had four siblings, Ernie, Hermann, Frieda, and Alfred. I know nothing about those siblings and need to research them in the future.
A recent experience with Ancestry DNA reminds me that even fifth to eighth cousins on Ancestry DNA can provide a clue, possibly the big clue, to a breakthrough.
I was recently contacted via Ancestry DNA messaging by a 5th-8th cousin of my mother-in-law. She (I’ll call her K.B.) was excited because she had only encountered Trumpe’s[i] before that were known relatives. Her 3rd great grandfather was John Frederick Trumpe and was from the same place, Glarus, Switzerland, as my mother-in-law’s great-grandfather, Bernhard/Bernard/Benard Trümpi. There were some coincidental matches in our two trees. For example, K.B.’s John Frederick named one of his children Bernard and my mother-in-law’s Bernhard named one of his children Frederick. John Frederick Trumpe and his wife Catherine settled in Pittsburgh, PA.
The next piece of the puzzle came from family oral history. My mother-in-law’s grandmother, Bertha Barbara Trumpi, was said to have come to the United States with an aunt and uncle who were living in the States already. It was also family oral history that she came over “above decks” (not steerage). I had long suspected that it was her aunt and uncle, Rachel and Fredolin (Fred) Sigrist, but I had never found any support for that. Rachel and Fredolin had settled in Pittsburgh, PA, and traveled back and forth to Europe often above decks during their many trips but I hadn’t found any evidence of their traveling in 1901-1903 when Bertha came across.
Fritz, Katherine and Bertha Trumpi
Passenger List, S.S. Philadelphia 26 July 1902
Source: Find My Past (See Endnotes)
I revisited Bertha’s immigration and still didn’t find anything on Ancestry.Com, Family Search, or Ellis Island Foundation. Then I searched Find My Past and found a record of Fritz (Frederick) and Katherine (Catherine) Trumpi, who left Southampton on 26 July 1902, aboard the S.S. Philadelphia bound for New York with a 19-year-old spinster, Bertha.[ii] They are listed in the passengers with cabins section of the passenger list. I looked closer and couldn’t find and arrival document on Find My Past. I went back to Ancestry.Com and Ellis Island Foundation websites and looked at the passenger lists for the S.S. Philadelphia arriving in New York on 2 August 1902. Nothing. I browsed the images painstakingly several times and still didn’t find any arrival information. I noticed that the images only included people in third-class (steerage); none of the images included first or second class passengers. That is why I never found them before.
If Fritz Trumpi is John Frederick Trumpe and John Fredrick and Bernhard Trumpi are brothers, then we have a match. All the pieces seem to fit, all the ages are right for Fritz and Katherine to be John Frederick and Catherine. Also, the age for Barbara Bertha Trümpi is correct. With all the circumstantial evidence I have found I am going to tentatively associate John Frederick and Bernhard as siblings. What makes this association even more important is that, when John Frederick Trumpe died in 1917, the informant indicated that his parents were Benhart and Anna Oertli Trumpe.[iii] That information potentially extends the Trumpi line back another generation.
Back to the DNA
If Benhart and Anna Oertli Trumpi from Glarus, Switzerland, are the common ancestor for K.B. and my mother in law they should share, on average, 76cM of DNA. They share 16.8cM of DNA, quite a bit less than average but still within the range for third cousins once removed.[iv]
Is it possible that Benhart and Anna are not the common ancestors? Absolutely. It may be that Benhart’s parents are the common ancestor, or even back another generation. Time and further research will tell, but so many circumstantial bits of evidence fit that between the DNA and the paper trail, I know there is some kind of relationship.
Visit Ellis Island and see if they have passenger records at Ellis Island that include the above deck passengers for the S.S. Philadelphia that arrived in New York on 2 August 1902.
Research the Trümpi family in Glarus, Switzerland further.
Consider doing a Trumpi family of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and determine additional information regarding potential family members.
[i] Trumpe, Trumpi, and Trumpy are all forms of the same surname. Often spelled with an umlaut as in Trümpi.
One hundred and six years ago, John and Bertha Barbara (Trümpi) Huber had the Christmas Eve present of their second child. Clarence Edward Huber was born on 24 December 1909 in Elberta and Josephine, Baldwin County, Alabama. Clarence didn’t grow up in Alabama as his family bought a farm in James Township, Saginaw County, Michigan about 1918 and moved there then.
Clarence went to school in Saginaw County and graduated from the eighth grade.
In 1942, Clarence enlisted in the army and served until his release in September 1945, when he returned to James Township and worked on his father’s farm until his father’s death in 1948.
For the next twenty years, he helped support his mother on the family farm until her death in 1968. He continued farming on the family farm until his death on 25 June 1994.
1910 Census (A), Ancestry.com, Year:1910;Census Place:Elberta and Josephine, Baldwin, Alabama; Roll: T624_1; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0013; FHL microfilm: 1374014.
1920 Census (A), Ancestry.com, Year:1920;Census Place:James, Saginaw, Michigan; Roll: T625_793; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 164; Image: 475.
1930 Census, Ancestry.com, Year: 1930; Census Place: James, Saginaw, Michigan; Roll: 1021; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0018; Image: 767.0; FHL microfilm: 2340756.
1940 Census, Ancestry.com, 1940 Census – Place: James, Saginaw, Michigan; Roll: T627_1811; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 73-18.
BIRLS Death File 1850-2010 (Name: US Dept of Veterans Affairs; Location: Washington DC; Date: 1911;), Ancestry.com, Clarence Huber.
Lutheran (Alabama), Baptism Certificate, Clarence Eduard Huber.
Michigan, Deaths, 1971-1996, Ancestry.com, Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records. Michigan, Deaths, 1971-1996[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1998. Original data: Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records. Michigan Death Index. Lansing, MI, USA.
Michigan, Dept of Public Health, Death Certificate, Seeking Michigan, Clarence Edward Huber.
Saginaw News, Public Libraries of Saginaw, 1948-10-05, Page 19, Huber, John.
Climbing a Wall – DH-30 – Bernhead Trümpi (unk.-unk.)
Bertha Trumpi’s Marrige Registration Entries
Bertha Barbara Trümpi’s marriage record is the one place the clearly describes her father’s name, Bernhead. Some other records indicated that his name might be Bernard or Benard. Family oral history indicates that he was a musician working at a local hotel in Glarus or Ennenda Switzerland. We know that he was married twice, once to Bertha’s mother and again to a woman who was Bertha’s stepmother, whom Bertha didn’t like. Bertha’s marriage record also indicates that her mother was “Bertha Koch.” Other records indicate that “Bertha Trümpi” came to the United States to visit her daughter Bertha Barbara Huber. Additionally, that second Bertha located to California and is thus believed to be her stepmother. Sound confusing? It is.
Searching more for Bernhead Trümpi in the on-line records hasn’t resulted in anything. Several scenarios come to mind.
It could it be that Bernhead married an unknown woman who gave birth to Bertha and then that woman either died or was divorced.
It could be that Bertha Koch was Bertha’s natural mother.
It could be that Bertha Koch was Bertha’s stepmother.
It could be that Bernhead married two different women both named Bertha.
Not being able to read German and finding a definite lack of Swiss records has made determining the vital records for Bernhead very difficult. Because of that, I’ve decided I have a wall that needs to be climbed. What I’ll do:
Climbing a wall
First, I should follow what happened to each of Bertha’s siblings. Possibly, there will be something in their lives that can point to his or her father’s life and untangle the mother, stepmother tangle.
Second, I’ll investigate of all individuals with the surname Trümpi from Ennenda, Switzerland, and see if anything illuminating comes from that.
Third, use a FAN (Friends, Acquaintances, and Neighbors) Analysis and see if I can determine more of Bernhead’s life from their lives.
Fourth, I’ll hire a genealogist in Switzerland who specializes in the Ennenda, Glarus, Switzerland area.
Finally, I’d love to take a trip to Switzerland. A couple days in Glarus would be awesome. I could research and my wife would see the sights.
Ernst Lorrain Trümpi (1905-1967)
1940 Census showing Adolph & Freida
Karch and Ernest Trumpy
Ernst Lorrain Trümpi is Bertha’s youngest sibling. He was born 22 October 1905 at sea on the trip to the United States aboard the SS La Lorraine to Bertha Trümpi. Again, I’m not sure if it was Bertha’s mother or stepmother. The ship arrived in New York on 28 October 1905. Luckily, the 1940 Census shows him living with his sister Freida and his brother-in-law, Adolph Karch. When Ernst Lorrain Trümpi became naturalized, he changed his name to Ernest Lorrain Trumpy. Ernest died 05 Nov 1967 in Elkhart, Indiana.
That 1940 Census record provided the married name for his sister Freida.
Freida A Trümpi (1895-1971)
Born: 09 Aug 1895 – Glarus, Switzerland
Married: abt 1913 to Adolph Karch
Died: 28 Oct 1971 Elkhart, Elkhart, Indiana, USA
They appear to have had four children.
Freida Trümpi Karch Obituary
Albert Adolph Karch (1913-1963)
Elinor Freida Karch [McCarthy] (1914-1998)
Bertha Barbara Karch [Ayers] (1916-1975)
Evelyn Laverna Karch [Thime] (1918-2007)
[It is interesting to note that Freida named one of her children Bertha Barbara, the same names as her sister. Could it have been her mother’s name too?]
The 1940 Census also indicates that Adolph had a granddaughter living with them named Marcella Whitmore. It isn’t clear if Marcella is one of the above three daughter’s child or if she is the daughter of another unknown Karch daughter.
Freida’s obituary indicates that she had two brothers living in Switzerland at the time of her death. These must be August and Fredrick.
Trecela (or Trecele) Trümpi (c. 1889 – Unknown)
She arrived with Bertha and Ernst in 1905.
Rebetta Trümpi (c. 1888 – Unknown)
She arrived with Bertha and Ernst in 1905.
Bertha Trümpi and the three children were visiting
“Daughter Bertha Trumpi of New Glarus” in 1905.
Certainly, many questions need answering. Why would Bertha Trümpi (the elder) leave Switzerland pregnant with three children and never return. Had Bernhead died or had they divorced? If one of the siblings still in Switzerland when Freida died was Fredrick, whey did he return, is or there another sibling that is unknown.
My process is to:
Research the direct ancestors.
Research the siblings of direct ancestors.
Research the children of those siblings.
If viable, research similar surnames from same location.
Research friends, acquaintances, and neighbors (FAN).
Hire a genealogist with specialization in the time and place of interest.
If possible, personally research in the specific place.
Of course, anywhere along the way where I encounter another researcher researching the same people, I reach out to them and see if they may have additional resources or insight into the family.
I know that “crossing the pond” can prove frustrating in
genealogical research. Jacob Huber really brings that point home clearly to
me. I know virtually nothing about
him. When I first began working on my
wife’s genealogy, I was so happy to learn that her mother had some family
photos of the Hubers from the turn of the previous century (my guess) and, most
excellent, the photos included names on the back.
“The Huber Family”
“Back of the Huber Family”
Then, when I found John Huber marriage record entry which
names his father, it clearly collaborated what the photos indicated. I also knew from several records that John
Huber was born in Windlach, Switzerland, I assumed that Jacob lived there.
I then began my regular process to find information
regarding Jacob. I found nothing. In my searching, I found another person
researching the Hubers in Windlach.
Although his or her Hubers certainly were not the same ones I’ve been
seeking, a response to his post on Ancestry Message Boards suggested ordering
parish records for the Canton through the family history library.
What a great idea. Maybe there is a hole in the brick wall. I
searched the Family Search catalog and found three entries for Church records in Zurich. Of course, most are in German.
The first one appeared to cover 1600-1700, outside of my search area.
The second one related to Immigrants in 1859 — Also outside of my search area. But, the third one “Die
Pfarrbücher der Züricher Landschaft als bevölkerungsgeschichtliche und
chronikalische Quelle”– what might that be? Thanks to Google Translate, I learned it means, “The parish registers of
Zurich’s landscape as historical population and chronical source” Perfect. Could it be exactly what I’ve been looking for. I then saw it is a book, not so
good, then I found a call number and then the disappointing words,
“availability: missing.” There is a link to see if the book is available
anywhere else through World Cat. Sadly, it isn’t available anywhere else. Also,
World Cat has a note saying, “The use of parish registers as a historical
source in the rural areas of Zürich, Switzerland.” Clearly, a better translation than what
Google provides. I was afraid of that. The book isn’t the parish registers;
rather, it is a book, in German, about using parish registers. Not of any help to me.
So the hold in the brick wall that I thought I had seen
wasn’t really a hole. Maybe just a crack
in the mortar but it does provide a new set of angles to work on. I’m sure I’ll find a way to see the parish
records without going to Switzerland.
I’ve just got more to do. So, I guess I’ll suggest that when you hit a brick wall, don’t despair. Poke around a bit and you should get some ideas. As long as you have further actions to do it isn’t really a solid brick wall. There is still a hole you can work through.
Bio – Jacob Huber (bef. 1860 – bef. 1960)
Jacob Huber was born in Switzerland
sometime before 1860. (That assumes he was at least 20 when his son John was
He married Kath Struckland sometime before
1879. (That assumes Jacob & Kath were married when their son John was conceived.)
Family oral history indicated that only John Huber left
Zurich, so it is assumed that Jacob died and was buried in the Windlach/Stadel
bei Niederglatt area.
sources of vital records for Windlach/Stadel bei Niederglatt in the canton of Zürich, Switzerland.
Search for and contact people with the Huber surname in the
Windlach area of Zürich, Switzerland
Visit Windlach and Stadel bei Niederglatt, Zürich, Switzerland
(or entice another family member to visit it and do some research while there.)
List of Greats
2. Jacob Huber
 1910 Census, Census Place: Elberta and Josephine, Baldwin, Alabama; Roll: T624_1; Page: 5A; Enumeration
District: 0013; FHL microfilm: 1374014.
 Wisconsin Marriage
Records, Johana Huber and Bertha Trunpe, 02 Mar 1905. groom’s name: Johana Huber.