June 21, 2015
Finding Family in the Graubunden
Yes, today is our 46th Anniversery and we are spending it looking into the past through the present. Peggy’s Swiss heritage is in the Graubunden Canton. Our goal today is to explore and pretend that any remote farm or village could be that of the families that are in her roots.
We started the day attending a church service in Igis at the Protestant church that was built in 1460 and is still being used. In all likelihood, Peggy’s ancestors attended this church. It was not much of reach to see her great great grandfather Christian Uhlian being baptized in 1841 in the same way that we witnessed today. The little church was full and organ played well. Even in German, it was a good message.
We left the church determined to get more of a feel for our surroundings. We head for Chur that lay a little southeast of Igis. It is possibly the oldest city in Switzerland having been founded by Romans under the order of the Emperor Tiberias in 15 AD. It’s location astride the Rhine and on the major trade routes ensured its longevity. It is the Capitol of the Grabunden Canton and has a charming old city.
We wandered around and looked for old stuff. It was not hard to find but nothing seems to be run down in Switzerland. An elderly gentleman at the church told us that the Kreis family name was common all over the region but very common in Chur. He also reaffirmed that the Uhlian or Uhlius name is associated with the upper Rhine region that lies upstream from Igis. We figure that the immigrants probably assembled in Igis or lived there for a brief time before heading to Tennessee.
We began to drive remote roads and look for little villages. We finally found a treasure trove of easy to photograph barns and farms along with stunning views of the countryside. We had occasional showers but the beauty of nature is easy to see anyway. We even managed to find pull outs to stop and take pictures. We may not have found the actual family ancestral farm but we did find many from the same time period that are suitable candidates for the family history.
The local Igis castle built by a very successful mercenary who fought for the French and retired with no more than f.esh wounds. His descendants have a pig farm to supplement their life style.