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three Lydia BICHERs being mixed up; PA and OH

Replies: 2

Re: three Lydia BICHERs being mixed up; PA and OH

Posted: 27 Jan 2013 3:57PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 27 Jan 2013 4:05PM GMT
Surnames: Bicher Biecher Beicher Bucher Bücher Beacher
The real name of Johann Jacob Beicher (1782-1812) is actually Johan Jacob Bicher Jr., he is my 3rd great grandfather. Neither he nor his father Jacob Sr. (1758-1842) ever used the spelling Beicher or Biecher. All their written records we have are always Bicher.

When he died this is what was written in the Salem Lutheran Church record book for his funeral:

"Bicher, Jacob, died June 1812, aged 29 years, 9 months, 20 days. Son of Jacob Bicher and wife Catarina. Born Oct. 18, 1782. Baptized and confirmed. 4 years ago he married Mary Michal. They had 2 children. He died from a wound self-inflicted with a sickle."

His tombstone, as was his father Jacob's, were both inscribed as Bicher. These were originally at Salem Lutheran Church cemetery but all graves there were removed to make way for construction of a new church, and fortunately before they were removed, all were recorded in the 1800's by famous PA Historian William Henry Egle and published in his 1883 book, "History of the Counties of Dauphin and Lebanon in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania : Geographical and Genealogical."

I have many living cousins in Pennsylvania who still use surname Bicher, and if you ask them how it is pronouced, they will respond "Beecher". In fact, the majority of the family tree branches that descend actually use the Beecher spelling, some use Bicher, and only a handful use Beacher, Beicher, of Biecher.

Truth be told, the earliest records we have of this family line recorded in the 1700's the surname as Bücher, with an umlaut over the U which is German is pronounced like Beecher. Jacob's grandfather signed his German will as Engel Bücher (the will is on file at the Lancaster County Historical society.) All of Engle's descendents however adopt the surname Bicher during the next generation.

Engel has two related relatives who lived during his time, proven related by the Y-DNA tests we've taken. John Beecher (1759-1819) of Berks County in his will begins "I John Beecher" but he signs it Johannes Bücher. His tombstone bears John Beecher. Another Y-DNA related relative is John Beecher (1757-1842) of Adams County, PA and again his earliest records use Bucher but he dies as John Beecher, the name on his tombstone. We believe his father is a Henry Bücher and we suspect he is the Johan Henrich Bucher who arrived with Johan Engel Bucher on the ship Neptune in 1751.

If you are researching the surname Beecher, Bücher, Bicher, Biecher, Beicher, or Beacher in early Pennsylvania you will find a database of thousands of these ancestors, everyone for whom a record is known, on my website at http://www.SearchTrees.com where I've reproduced the research work done by my uncle Bruce Beacher (1919-2004) who spent 30 years in Pennsylvania researching these surnames by visiting every church, cemetery, and archive.

Those records are also shared on Rootsweb at http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=beacher and here on Ancestry.com as tree "Beacher Beecher Becher Bicher Bucher"

Unfortunately, I was first to add that Engel Bucher died in 1778 to Ancestry.com and I wish I never have. You see, all we know about his for certain is his death date in 1778 recorded in Lancaster County, there is no record of his birth date or even his age at time of death. The sad reality is that on Ancestry.com those "tree leaf hints" suggested to others that Engel of Lancaster might be the same as an Engel Bucher born 30 Jun 1700 in Switzerland, and hundreds of trees here now publish that as a fact here on Ancestry so everyone believes it is true, when the truth is we have Y-DNA tests from both these Engel Bucher lines that prove these families have very different Y-DNA. In fact, Y-DNA shows on more than 100 men have shown Engel Bucher who died in 1778 is not related to any other Bucher line that existed in Pennsylvania (all are on SearchTrees.com) which explains why my ancestors pronounce our name as "Beecher" whereas all other Buchers pronounce as "Boo-kur." I'm afraid given the mistakes hundreds of people publish on Ancestry.com we'll never get his true info to stick, Engel will forever be falsely reported here.

Hope all this helps any future researchers studying these surnames.
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Diana_Gale_Ma... 26 Sep 2011 3:59PM GMT 
dgatx 30 Nov 2012 12:57PM GMT 
jbeacher 27 Jan 2013 10:57PM GMT 
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