Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Beeber Fever

Admit it, you wouldn’t have been able to resist that title for this post either.

The Lycoming County Genealogical Society provided me with several pages of their published genealogy book on the Bieber/Beeber/Beaver line.  Although it began by linking German Bieber and the French de Beauvoir names, an assertion that some doubt, the pages contained sufficient information that I contacted them again and requested a full copy.  It is true there is a connection to France in that the Biebers are from Alsace and the history of that region has been both German and French, but the European details will have to wait until I’m finished on this side of the Atlantic.

One of my 3x great-grandmothers was Julia Ann Beeber.  She was born in 1802 in Lycoming County, PA and was part of my strong Lycoming County heritage.  She is buried in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery there.  In 1870, the census indicated her father was of foreign birth and, because I suspected her father was Johannes Bieber, I began the search for confirmation.  In the LCGS Bieber book, there was Julia, daughter of John Beeber and Margaret Dimner (oh boy, I picked up another family line!), along with information on his immigration. 

On John Bieber’s website I found a wealth of information about my Beeber line.  With this website and the LCGS Bieber book, supported by other documents, I learned that John Beeber (Johannes Bieber) was born in Hirschland, Alsace and was the son of Valentine Bieber and Anna Juncker.  His mother died before the Valentine Bieber family emigrated in 1768.  As a teenager, John Bieber served in the Revolutionary War as a substitute once for his brother Nicholas and once for his brother Adam (who changed his last name to Beaver).  Interestingly, in his pension application, he mentions my 5x great-grandfather, George Gortner, being killed by Indians.  John is listed in the DAR database under the name Beaver.

After arrival on the ship Betsey in 1768, John’s father Valentine, settled with his family in Berks County, PA.  Apparently earlier Bieber immigrants lived there.  Valentine died around 1782 while visiting relatives in Virginia.  It is believed he is buried there.  Some superficial research showed there were Biebers in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, but I’m guessing his gravesite will never be found.

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