The Bliss and Rauber Families

Wesley Maynard Bliss (Sr.) met Elphya Rauber in the San Francisco Bay area, probably in the mid-1920s. They married and had one child, Wesley Maynard Bliss (Jr.), in October 1929. This page summarizes what we know of Wesley's family history.


Wesley Maynard Bliss (Sr.) was born in Placerville, California, the middle child of five in the household of William Bliss and Fannie Elizabeth Maynard.

William was born in Wisconsin and moved to California with his family in 1875-76. He worked as a painter, probably in business with his father Alphonso and younger brother Frank, who were also painters at the time. Alphonso was born in Illinois, and his wife Sarah was born in Canada.

Fannie was a native Californian, born in the Placerville area. Charles Albert Maynard, a gold miner in Placerville, was probably Fannie's father. He may have never married. He appears to have had three brothers, also miners in Placerville: Joseph, Samuel, and William.

Charles was born in Maryland in 1855. His older brother Joseph was born in Pennsylvania in 1852. His parents immigrated from England (we know his mother immigrated in 1849).

Though there were several Maynards in the Placerville area in 1850 (and probably '49), our Maynards didn't arrive until sometime in the period 1855-60. Perhaps our Maynards were related to one of those who arrived by 1850:

MAYNARD EPHRAIM B. 336/337 Consumnes River
MAYNARD JOHN H. 277 Placerville
MAYNARD LEVI P. 386 S Fork American River
MAYNARD RICHARD 352 Mathenias Creek

[Civil Flag 1848 (Baden, Germany)] [Bavaria 1878]


Elphya Rauber was the oldest child five (that we know of). She was born in 1887, perhaps in Plymouth, Iowa (where her younger brother Roy was born in 1892), though Duska says Elphya was born in Wisconsin.

After Iowa, they moved to northern Texas, and then California.

Elphya's parents were George John Rauber and Kate Glassel (actually, we're only sure these were the parents of her brother Roy).

"Räuber" means "robbers" in German. I don't know whether this was the origin of the Rauber surname.

Robbers from the Black Forest?

Rauber is not a common surname, but it was quite common in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.

Two Raubers in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin immigrated from Baden in the 1850s. Baden was a state in southwest Germany along the Rhine River, bordering France and Switzerland:

click to view larger version

This is the famous black forest region. The mountains of Baden rise to 1493 m.

One Ferdinand Rauber is known to have come from Baden Baden, a famous resort town near the French border:

red star indicates location of Baden-Baden

The Rauber name had spread throughout Germany, and to the American midwest, by 1850. The name has been traced back to Bern, Switzerland in 1545, and first appeared outside Switzerland and Austria in 1634. The Rauber name first appeared in Baden in 1658. These dates are based on available records (rather than reality).

Glassels from Bavaria?

There's a chance that Wes Bliss a Bohemian in more ways than one!

There were several Glassel families near the Plymouth in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa from about 1870. They settled in the neighboring counties of Mitchell and Worth.

purple line indicates present route (240 miles)

These Glassels are reported to have come from Jefferson County, Wisconsin around 1860, and before that Hof, Bavaria in 1847. Hof is about ten miles from Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic), and several miles from what was once East Germany. The mountains near Hof rise to 1051 m, not nearly as high as the Bavarian Alps to the south (2963 m).

The red star on the following map indicates the location of Seedorf, southeast of Hof on the Bohemian border. Seedorf is perhaps the precise origin of the Glassels.

The Glassel name has been traced back to Saxony (adjacent to Bavaria) in 1635, but it has also been traced in Dumfries, Scotland back to 1620. We haven't yet been able to determine whether the name has multiple origins.

We have encountered little evidence that either family (Rauber or Glassel) may have had  Jewish origins. The Raubers appear to have been associated with the "Reformed Church".

Last updated on August 25, 2000