Collection (1821-2000, undated [bulk: 1989-2000]) of correspondence, family histories, genealogical charts, copies of deeds, cemetery records, Bible records, miscellany and oversized materials relating to Christopher DeGraffenried, also known as Baron Christoph von Graffenried, who established a colony of Swiss and Palatine emigrants at New Bern, North Carolina, in 1710; and also relating to his ancestors and descendants and the DeGraffenried Association, of Gulfport, Mississippi and San Antonio, Texas, which was established to preserve the family history and to maintain contact between family members; in English, German, Italian, and French language.
Swiss nobleman Baron Christoph von Graffenried was also known as Baron Christopher de Graffenried. Baron de Graffenried was born in Bern, Switzerland in 1661. He married Regina Tescharner, the daughter of a respected Swiss politician, Lewis Tescharner. The couple had 11 children, three of which died in infancy. De Graffenried, and his son Christopher, left Switzerland in 1709 in an attempt to make a fortune off the land in the New World. The pair arrived in North Carolina in 1709 with a group of German and Swiss immigrants. The group settled at the intersection of the Trent and the Neuse River in what is today known as New Bern, North Carolina. After the settlement failed to make de Graffenried a fortune, he returned to Switzerland in 1714. De Graffenried later died in 1743.
Christopher de Graffenried, the son of the Baron, remained in North Carolina after his father's return to Switzerland in 1714. Christopher married Barbra Tempest Needham, and he became the founding member of the American de Graffenried family. The family names associated with the de Graffenried family includes: Boswell, Calhoun, Hobson, Needham, Pattison, Sartor, Vass, Walton, and Woodson.
The Swiss branch of the de Graffenried family still lives in the area around Bern, Switzerland. The collection contains many letters from Colonel Baron Victor de Graffenried and his son, Helmuth de Graffenried. Victor de Graffenried was involved in genealogical research with his American cousin, Thomas Pritchett de Graffenried. Upon his death in 1940, his son Helmuth de Graffenried began corresponding with Thomas P. de Graffenried.
Thomas P. de Graffenried, of New York, is the author of multiple books on the history of the de Graffenried family. He was deeply involved in genealogical research of both the American and the Swiss branches of the de Graffenried family.
Betty Wood Thomas of Gulfport, Mississippi was the head of the De Graffenried Association. She was the coordinator of a de Graffenried family reunion in New Bern in 1992 which was attended by many members of the Swiss branch of the de Graffenried family.
The DeGraffenried Association Collection consists of correspondence (1821-2000) and other documents of the DeGraffenried Association, based first in Gulfport, Mississippi and then in San Antonio, Texas. It was compiled by Betty Wood Thomas who served as Director of the Association. It primarily relates to the history and genealogy of the DeGraffenried family in the United States and Europe but it also includes correspondence relating to the activities of the Association including its membership, publications and reunions. The collection focuses on the descendants and ancestors of Baron Christopher DeGraffenried and includes correspondence with Helmut DeGraffenried of Berne, Switzerland. The collection also includes family history research, genealogical charts, copies of deeds, copies of cemetery records, bible records, miscellaneous and oversized materials.
This collection is arranged in original order in three general groupings. Box 1 contains the association's correspondence, genealogical research, and biographical files (1821-2000, undated). Included are files of Thomas P[ritchard] DeGraffenried's correspondence with Major Victor DeGraffenried (1922-1960) and the correspondence and other files of Betty Wood Thomas's (1821-2000), who continued Thomas' work and served as Director of the DeGraffenried Association. It also includes original documents and copies of documents relating to the DeGraffenried family history.
The family group sheets (1991, undated) are found in box 2 of the collection. These sheets contain genealogical details of the descendants in America of Christopher DeGraffenried and related families. They were probably composed by Betty Wood Thomas. Unless otherwise indicated, the information comes from the DeGraffenried Family History.
The third group of material is the oversized materials (1971-1991, undated). The oversized folder contains one large genealogical chart and a few large photocopied documents too large for the smaller containers.
Gift of Ms. Betty Wood Thomas
Encoded by Apex Data Services, March 2002; Preliminary inventory by Jonathan Dembo, 12/7/2006 & 7/24/2007; Finding aid completed by Baylus Brooks, 4/18/2011; Final inventory revised by Leigh Smith, 6/26/2012; Finding aid and encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, 6/26/2012
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
Contains material in English, German, Italian, and French.