Graber (Greber, Grayber, Gräber) family

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Graber (Greber, Grayber, Gräber) is a Mennonite family name originating in Kirchdorf, canton of Bern, Switzerland. The name likely originated in the 15th century with persons whose occupation was that of digging ditches or trenches. The first mention of a person with this name having been a Mennonite was in 1596 when a certain Georg Graber was dealt with by the Bernese council because he was a member of this forbidden church.

Members of the Graber family were in the mass exodus of Mennonites from the Bernese Republic which took place in 1671 and the years immediately following. They settled near Sainte Marie-aux-Mines (Markirch), Alsace. Again exiled in 1708 they found their homes in other sections of Alsace and especially Montbéliard,

In 1791 a Johannes Graber left Montbéliard with other Mennonites for Poland by way of Austria. They lived in several villages in Volhynia before migrating to Kansas and South Dakota in 1874. Various members of this family have become prominent in church and civic affairs in their communities.

Peter Graber (1741-1805) was the ancestor of most of the Graber family living in the eastern part of the United States. A grandson, also named Peter, emigrated from Montbéliard to Stark County, Ohio. Another grandson, Christian, settled in Washington County, Iowa, in 1856. His descendants include C. L. Graber, a minister of Goshen, Indiana, and J. D. Graber, bishop and formerly a missionary in India, now in Elkhart. Many of the descendants of the first-named Peter are members of the Old Order Amish Mennonite Church. This name remains a common one among the Mennonites living in Montbéliard and Alsace today. Andre Graber was an elder of the church at Belfort.


Goering, J. M. and Anna. The Peter Graber Family Record. Galva, Kan., 1948.

Kauffman, Daniel. Mennonite Cyclopedic Dictionary. Scottdale, 1937: 135-136.

Author(s) Delbert L Gratz
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Gratz, Delbert L. "Graber (Greber, Grayber, Gräber) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 29 Jul 2021.,_Grayber,_Gr%C3%A4ber)_family&oldid=119695.

APA style

Gratz, Delbert L. (1956). Graber (Greber, Grayber, Gräber) family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 July 2021, from,_Grayber,_Gr%C3%A4ber)_family&oldid=119695.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 559. All rights reserved.

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