Our Family Forest:
Relatives of the Gruber, Diehl, Barstow and Becklund families of Wisconsin

Amnicon river and surrounding forestThis is more than a family tree; it's a family forest.

A tree has roots, trunk, and branches, all connected.

A forest has all that but many trunks, more roots, and more branches.

Our families' deepest roots are in areas that are now in Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Italy, and Denmark. The trunks are the people who left those lands and came to Wisconsin, USA. Over the years, the branches reached out to other states, and through marriage and adoption we grafted to roots from other countries and continents.

Our genealogical charts include aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, ex-spouses, stepchildren, foster children, adopted children, etc., as well as ancestors and descendants. The relationships of more than 13,000 people can't easily be shown on a tree. Fortunately, computer technology gives us a way of showing the relationships.

This database was posted on this site in 2005 and last updated in 2011 (plus minor tweaks later). It has become just too big to maintain in this format, so for the most thorough and up-to-date information, see the Ancestry.com version.

To view the original, start with the surnames list and follow wherever your curiosity leads you!

You'll find mostly ordinary folks--housewives, farmers, servants, laborers, carpenters, masons, owners of small businesses. We're here because in each of these families, people left Europe to seek a better life in the United States, most of them between 1853 and 1900.

The immigrants brought with them their eating habits--including lutefisk, lefse, limpa, and many kinds of cookies from Scandinavia and sauerkraut and schaum torte from Germany. Interests in religion, music, and crafts, too, were handed down from generation to generation.

The stories of all these families tell about people helping others. People welcomed elderly, disabled, and orphaned relatives into their homes and cared for them. Stepchildren were raised with the same loving care as biological children. There are many stories of community service—organizing, building, and volunteering for churches and serving on boards of nonprofit organizations and local government, for example.


This site contains errors and omissions. Most of the information is from secondary sources. Memories fade, typographical errors happen, handwriting is hard to decipher, and errors are made in translations. Even primary sources such as birth, marriage, and death certificates sometimes contain errors. I've tried to use the most reliable sources when confronted with inconsistent information, but haven't had the time to thoroughly research every fact.

If you notice errors or omissions, please e-mail me to set me straight.

Thanks to the many people who have shared their memories and genealogical files to make this site possible. You'll see their names on the many Sources pages.

Bonnie Gruber