These web pages contain the genealogy and information on the ancestors of James Raymond Bair, born 27 Mar 1916 in Harvey, Cook County, Illinois, and died 6 Sep 1980, Rockaway, Morris County, New Jersey. James Raymond Bair was descended from Rudolph Bair, b. 17 May 1722, in Rifferswil (possibly Ober Rifferswil), near Zurich, Switzerland. Rudolph immigrated to the US in 1739 on the ship Lydia, landing in Philadelphia. Rudolph probably died around 1775 in western Pennsylvania.
Also included are other families that are related to Rudolph Bair and his descendents via marriage. This site includes information on the many families that are related to this line by descent or marriage.
Families that have married into the Bair family include Hughes (Mary Ruth Hughes), traced to Union County, Indiana in the mid 1800's, and possibly from Wales; Knapp, (Ada A. Knapp) descending from Nicholas Knapp of England; Baum, (Susanna Baum) from Baume-les-Messieurs, Alcase, France; and many other families.
James Raymond Bair descends from a branch of the Bair family that was a pioneer family, and these Bairs were among some of the earliest settlers of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan.
These include the following Bair family members:
Rudolph Bair and Catherine Wingert - 4-great grandparents of James Raymond Bair.
Rudolph Bair is currently the oldest Bair ancestor that has been determined. It is likely that Rudolph originated from Oberschweil, Rifferschuul, Zurich, Switzerland.
Christopher Bair, b. 1769 in Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County, PA, and Susanna Baum, his wife.
Christopher Bair and Susanna Baum - 3-great grandparents of James Raymond Bair.
Christopher and Susanna (Baum) Bair are pioneer ancestors. They were born in western Pennsylvania in the late 1700's, and began their trek westward into Ohio around 1806.
Daniel R. Bair, b. 1 Nov 1805, Canton, Columbiana County, Ohio. No known pictures of Sarah Jewell, his wife.
Daniel R. Bair and Sarah Jewell - 2-great grandparents of James Raymond Bair.
Daniel Bair and Sarah (Jewell) Bair were born in mid-Ohio and continued the westward migration leading toward Kalamazoo, Michigan.
William Silvernail Bair, b. 13 Aug 1832, Sandusky, Ohio. No known pictures of Amanda M. Scott, his wife.
William Silvernail Bair and Amanda M. Scott - Great grandparents of James Raymond Bair.
William Silvernail and Amanda (Scott) Bair lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Arthur Sylvester Bair, b. 20 Mar 1857, Brady Township, Michigan. No known pictures of Ada A. Knapp, his wife.
Arthur Sylvester Bair and Ada A. Knapp - Grandparents of James Raymond Bair.
Arthur Sylvester and Ada A. (Knapp) Bair also lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Kenneth William Bair, b. 3 May 1896, Pavilion Township, Kalamazoo County, Michigan, and Mary Ruth Hughes, his wife.
Kenneth William Bair and Mary Ruth Hughes - Parents of James Raymond Bair.
Kenneth William and Mary Ruth (Hughes) Bair married (possibly eloped) at a young age. Ruth Hughes gave birth to 4 boys (one of whom was James Raymond Bair). Ruth died of complications from childbirth from her fourth child at the young age of 28 years old. The four children were then raised by aunts or were adopted. The Hughes line has been the most difficult line to research and not much progress has been made on this family line from Wales.
James Raymond Bair, b. 27 Mar 1916, Harvey, Cook County, IL, and Eldora Clara Lange, his wife.
James Raymond Bair and Eldora Clara Lange - My grandparents.
Graphical Family Charts
James Raymond Bair grew up in Harvey, Illinois, and later moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There he met his wife Eldora Clara Lange. Eldora's genealogy has also been traced.
Family Documents & Census Records
Meanings of the Family Names
- This pdf shows the first 7 generations back from James Raymond Bair. Several of these lines have been traced back many additional generations.
The original spelling of the German name "Bär" (meaning a beast) is now standardized as "Baer" in Germany and Switzerland. (The established Bär families had a coat of arms with a bear carrying three sheaves.)
The spelling has been translated in America in at least 38 official different ways. In one instance, in the early 1800's, the same man's name was spelled five different ways on a land title in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.
The most common spelling was "Bear" before the War of 1812. From then until just following the Civil War, the name continued to be spelled "Bear." At that time, some of the families changed the spelling of their surname to "Bair."
Studies on the European history of the "Bair" family thus far indicate that the most probable areas of success are the vicinities of Bern and Zurich, Switzerland, and the Northern Kraichgau (south of Frankfort on Mainz) e.g. Durham, Germany.
Migrations from Switzerland to Germany and thence to America during the late 1600's and early 1700's were the result of religious, political and economic turmoil going on during that period.
The usual procedure was to move by boat to Germany from Switzerland for four or five years; then travel down the Rhine River to Holland and take the small English ships to England for a short stay (where they were required to swear an oath of allegiance as subjects under the British Government); thence travel by these tiny boats for months to the New World. Many died enroute of scurvy and unsanitary conditions in these crowded ships.
Source: "History of Samuel Bear/Bair Family, 1717 - 1984" (Microfilm #103572, LDS Library)
- Bair & related family surname meanings
- Bair crest From House of names
Emmigration & Immigration Route of Bair family
Ohio Migration Trails The Bair family took a route that was further south than the Great Trail/Great Path route. They migrated through Wayne county, to Crawford county, probably through Defiance county, then up to Kalamazoo county, Michigan.
Life History of William Bair William Bair, born in 1815, was the son of Christopher Bair, and the brother of Daniel Bair. He was a pioneer and moved to Michigan at the age of 13. He eventually became a successful banker in the Kalamazoo area of Michigan, and provided this reminiscence in 1884 for the Kalamazoo Historical Society.
- Historical Maps of Europe and other parts of the world
- Maps of Switzerland
- Maps of Germany and Prussia
- Maps of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan
- Map of Rifferswil, Switzerland. Home of Rudolph Bair
- Map of Baume-les-Messieurs, France. Home of Susanna Baum
- Map of Bingen, Germany. Home of Nicholas Silbernagel
- Map of Barking, Suffolk, England. Home of Henry Knappe
- Map of Stamford, CT, showing locations of earliest settlers, including the Knapps and Smiths.
- Map24 online mapping service A good online mapping service.
Ships Used by Ancestors
First image is the "Embarkation of Elector Palatine 1613", and the second image is a replica of the Arbella.
- Lydia - 1739 - It is possible that that Rudolph Bair migrated on the ship Lydia in 1739. Note that he is referenced as "Bart. Rudolph Barr, 20". Also note "Hans Bär, 29" and "Henrich Bär, 20" were onboard.
- Phoenix - 1743 - It is also possible that our Bair family migrated to the US on the ship Phoenix in 1743. Note that the ship list contains a Christopel Bar and Catherina Wengert. Many Bairs have descended from the Bairs that were on this ship.
- Robert and Alice - 1743 - Matthias La Baum immigrated in Sept. 30, 1743 on the ship Robert and Alice, from Rotterdam, Holland. Listed as Mattheas Brunn.
- Dragon - 1732 - Frederick Engelhart Uhlmann immigrated in 1732 on the ship Dragon, landing in Philadelphia.
- Arbella - 1630 - Nicholas Knapp immigrated on March 22, 1630 on the ship Arbella. Arrived in Watertown, Massachusetts on 14 June 1630. The Arbella was the flagship of the Winthrop Fleet of 1630, a fleet of 11 ships that carried 700 immigrants from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, April-July 1630, and led by Governor John Winthrop.
- Primrose - 1635 - Dr. Henry Smith and wife Ann Jackson immigrated in July 27, 1635 on the ship Primrose. Often incorrectly referred to by some genealogists as the ship "Princess."
- Francis - 1634 - Robert Pease immigrated in 1634 on the ship Francis.
- Winthrop society - Wolcott listed at this website.
- The Palatine Project - Information on Palatine Germans immigrating to the US.
Areas and Regions of historical interest
- History of Switzerland
- History of Zurich, birthplace of the Anabaptists movement
- History of Zurich, Switzerland
- History of Palatinate, Germany
- The Germans come to America
- History of Philadelphia, PA
- Lancaster County, PA Historical Society
- History of Lancaster County, PA and Pennsylvania Dutch
- Village of Bair, PA There is not much available on the history of Bair, PA, since it is such a small town. However, here is a picture of the Bair Church.
- History of Westmoreland County, PA
- History of Mt. Pleasant, PA
- History of Stark County, Ohio
- History of Paris, Ohio
- History of Canton, Ohio
- History of Bucyrus, Ohio
- History of Wayne County, Ohio
- Wayne County, Ohio Genealogy Society
- History of Kalamazoo County, Michigan
- Vicksburg, Michigan Historical Society - With information on Vicksburg History.
- History of Harvey, Illinois
- Another history of Harvey, Illinois
- History of Homewood, Illinois
- Homewood, Illinois Historical Society
- History of Alsace - Franche Comte is in Alsace.
- History of Franche-Comté - Baum family is from Franche Comte.
- History of Baume-les-Messieurs, France
- History of Enfield, CT
- History of England
- History of Wales
- History of various towns that the Bair & related families lived in.
Pictures of Homes
Kenneth and Eldora Bair home in Rockaway Township, NJ in the 1950s.
- Pictures of homesteads where the Bair & related families lived.
Cemeteries and Burial Sites
Bair family marker in Vicksburg Michigan cemetery.
- Harrison Corner's Cemetery, Harrison Corner, Michigan
- Cemetery of Vicksburg, MI - Bair family members
- Vicksburg, MI Cemetery - Related families
- Goodrich Cemetery, Hillsdale, MI - Silvernails
- Goodrich Cemetery, Hillsdale, MI - Silvernails
- Goodrich Cemetery, Hillsdale, MI - Silvernails
- Oak Lawn/Homewood Memory Gardens - Hughes
- Presbyterian Church, Rockaway, NJ
Believe it or not, the Bair line can be traced back to royal lines. Once you've traced your lineage to that point, the royal genealogies apply. There are a number of sites that specialize in providing this information.
Here's one: Royal Genealogies
I did not expect that we would have a royal line when I started genealogy, I assumed that we were descended from a long line of peasants... However, this really does make the Bair genealogy line more interesting.
Before you think this makes the Bair family exclusive, it is likely that nearly everyone of European descent is a descendant of Charlemagne. Please read:
You Are Descended from Royalty. So it's not uncommon or unusual. The trick is to actually trace your own lineage back that far.
Because I have been able to tie into the royal lines, this extends the Bair lines to over 160 generations. To the extent that these genealogies can be trusted, this brings the line back into the Roman age.
Charlemagne - 44 generations back from James Bair.
William the Conquerer - 34 generations back from James Bair.
Henry II - King of England - 31 generations back from James Bair, and the most recent King that was an ancestor to the Bairs. This line is connected through Hannah Smith, who married Caleb Knapp (-9 Generations back from James Bair).
DNA & Genetics
For information on genealogical uses of genetics and DNA relating to my branch of the Bair family, click here.
Wars that involved or impacted ancestors:
Related Family Websites
These are websites of related families, that are maintained by other serious genealogists.
Sources & some interesting articles:
Website created by Jeff Donofrio.
Copyright 2016. Jeff Donofrio.
Last updated Feb 2016. Please do not distribute without permission.