Why Johann Engel Bucher of PA was not born in 1700 in Switzerland

Hello Cousin!

We’re related by common ancestor Engel Bücher who died in 1778 in Cocalico Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, my paternal 5th great grandfather on my  father’s father’s line and the origin of my surname. My Uncle Bruce Beacher of PA spent more than 30 years researching Engel’s descendants. This website has a tree of all of Engel’s descendants, as far as we know (and we welcome corrections/additions.) A link to Engel’s tree is at page bottom.

This website also has family trees for thousands of Pennsylvanians with surnames Bucher, Beecher, and their many surname variants.

Engel Bücher Was Not Born in 1700 in Switzerland

Almost all trees on Ancestry.com are reporting a major mistake.

Since 2003 when I was the first to add his name to an Ancestry.com tree, another person assumed he was an Johann Engel Bucher born 1700 in Switzerland and published that, and unfortunately over the years, almost every tree has cloned this mistake thanks to Ancestry’s HINTS which can so easily copy wrong info from tree to tree. So you can have your correct ancestors in your tree, here are the facts…

Y-DNA Test Results

Engel cannot be  Johann Engel Bucher born 1700 in Nuenkirch, Switzerland because it’s well proven that he is part of the same family of Pennsylvania immigrant John Conrad Bucher b.1730 Neunkirch, Switzerland who lived in Dauphin county, Pa. and died in Lebanon county. Their Y-DNA is type R1b1a2. The Y-DNA of the Engel Bucher who died is 1778 in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania is type I-1. They are not related.

So, the Johann Engel Bucher born in Neunkirch, Switzerland IS related to immigrant John Conrad Bucher, but he is definitely NOT related to immigrant Johann Engel Bücher who arrived in 23 Sep 1751 on the ship Neptune.

Y-DNA tests prove Engel Bücher of Lancaster PA is not related to ANY known Bucher family that came from Switzerland or Germany to Pennsylvania. To learn which ancestors Engel is related to, in 2003 I founded the Bucher/Beecher Y-DNA project on FamilyTreeDNA.com and after testing 120 males representing all the different Bucher lines that existed in 1700’s Pennsylvania, the results show NO OTHER BUCHER family is related to the Engel Bücher of Lancaster PA, whose family line is unique because Engel’s Y-DNA is very different.

Engel’s Y-DNA  is Haplogroup I-1 that originated with a common male in the 800’s in Norway, is associated with the Vikings, and is now most commonly found along the Baltic seacoast wherever the Vikings conquered: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the coast of Germany, Holland, the Normandy coast in France, England, Ireland and Iceland. It is much less common in central Europe, where type type R is predominant.

More Reasons Engel Wasn’t Born in 1700

Age: Common sense suggests Engel wasn’t born in 1700 as then he would have been 55 to 65 years old when he first started giving birth to his ten children in Pennsylvania in the 1755-1765 period. Engel of Lancaster’s real birth date is unknown, so I originally posted him on Ancestry.com with no birth date, my mistake. Now I have changed my Ancestry tree to say he was born “Circa 1725” which is a good estimate, to prevent others from confusing him with the wrong Engel.

Wife: Many Ancestry.com trees state Engel’s wife was Elizabeth Rookes born in 1678. She would therefore be having children when she was 77 to 87 years old, since Engel’s children were all born in Pennsylvania in the 1755 to 1765 period. Obviously, Engel married a much younger Elizabeth, surname still unknown by those of us who have researched him in Pennsylvania for many years.

Pronunciation Differences: Swiss and most German Bucher families pronounce their name like Boo-kur or Book-er, whereas the Engel Bücher of Lancaster County PA has an umlaut — two dots above the U — which is why his descendants all pronounce their surname like Bee-chur, and adopted Beecher, Beacher, Biecher, Beicher, and Bicher surnames in all future generations. The Johann Engel Bücher of Lancaster  county, Pennsylvania did not pronounce his name like the Johann Engel Bucher of Neunkirch, Switzerland would.

While it hasn’t been proven, we can assume that Engel Bücher dying in 1778 in Lancaster county is likely the Johann Engel Bücher arriving on 23 Sep 1751 on the ship Neptune listed next to Johann Heinrich Bucher.

Signatures of Engel and Henrich BücherAt right are the signatures of Johann Engel Bücher and Johann Heinrich Bücher when they arrived on the ship Neptune in 1751 , as reproduced in the Volume 2 of  Pennsylvania German Pioneers. They are signed in old German script so in the surname what looks like a modern f to you is actually a 1700’s ch character. The surname is Bücher with the umlaut.

We can prove this immigrant is the Engel who died in 1778 by comparing signatures, but to date we’ve been unable to obtain the original Germany version of his will; only an English transcription of it is on file at Lancaster County Historical Society. We are searching for the German will and other documents that might have his signature.

So who is Engel Bücher’s father?

After so many years of research, we still haven’t found that answer. Nor do we know where he was born. Our best hope is to find a Y-DNA match with a living male in Europe, or match to a later immigrant in the 1800’s, who knows their origin place in Europe. Also, Y-DNA proves Engel is related to several other Beechers who were in Pennsylvania in the 1700’s as explained on our Pennsylvania Beecher page, so we may find Engel’s ancestors by researching those related Beechers.

We have found a couple possible fathers for Engel but have no proof, as explained on this website’s page for Engel, so click this button to learn what we know about him.

Engel Bücher’s Tree