Christmas is not a just day. Instead, it is a 12 day celebration that begins (in some traditions) on December 25th and continues for 12 days (until January 6th). As a reminder, we have the 12 Days of Christmas carol.
For each of the 12 days of Christmas, I will be posting one event / person from my genealogical research that relates (sometimes in a rather convoluted way) to the particular gift of that day in The 12 Days of Christmas. If you wish to peruse the entire schedule, check previous posts for Days 1-6 and Days 7 – 12.
Dec. 28 – Three French Hens (Day 3)
French hens were just domesticated chickens. Where does your genealogy have French connections? Who migrated into France? or from France to elsewhere? Did any of your immigrant ancestors sail from France?
The Boyer family really originated in France. From there some of its members emigrated to Germany because of religious persecution. They located in Bavaria, where the family name became changed to Beyer. The great-grandfather of Mr. Boyer was Johannas Nicholas Beyer. He was born in 1753 and in 1755 came with his parents to America.
Until recently I would have said that I have no known French roots. Now I know that one family of Pennsylvania German stock, was originally from France. On the basis of William E. Connelley’s “A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans” (page 2530) and numerous membership application to the Sons of the American Revolution, my 4g-grandfather (Johannes Nicholas Boyer) emigrated from Bavaria with his parents in 1755. Connelley wrote: “The Boyer family really originated in France. From there some of its members emigrated to Germany because of religious persecution. They located in Bavaria, where the family name became changed to Beyer.” The indication is that the family name in France was Beyerre. So, we have Beyerre (France) to Beyer (Bavaria) to Boyer (United States).
John Brenner and his brother, Conrad, both sailed from LeHavre, France, in the 1850s. My reading has suggested varying reasons that emigrants from southern Germany would choose LeHavre as port of departure. 1) It has been suggested that those from southern Germany were not in love with north German cuisine (which included much more seafood). 2) There was also a thriving southern German community in the port city of Lehavre. That not only meant more familiar cuisine, fewer language barriers, and rooming facilities prior to booking passage on a ship. 3) It seems that it was easier to book passage where fewer questions were asked (LeHavre), rather than where every “i” needed to be dotted and every “t” crossed (the ports in northern Germany). It was easier for someone who was running away to do so from LeHavre.
Because of the travel pass, it would appear that John Brenner was not running away (at least, not officially). His story reads like that of one who saw the new world as a land of opportunity. He took full advantage of that opportunity once he arrived in the United States.