Sunday, September 7, 2014

52 Ancestors: #36 - Balthus EBERT

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge:  write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.

Balthus EBERT was my 7X great grandfather.  He was born in Germany in 1663 and died there just a short forty-one years later.  While he never made it to America, he and his wife Catarina Sophia STEINBACH had two sons who did:  Hans Michael Ebert and Hans Jerg/George Ebert, from whom my line descends.

It is likely that my Eppards were part of the great migration of Germans from the Rhineland Provinces.  Queen Anne of England offered refuge to over 7000 Palatines seeking relief from religious persecution.  They traveled by barge and flat boats down the Rhine into Holland, specifically to Rotterdam where the Rhine flowed into the sea.  Queen Anne sent some of the Germans to Ireland to build up the Protestant population and then some to America, mostly to the colonies along the east coast.

Painting by Isaac Sailmaker
"The First Britannia"
(possibly but not likely the one my ancestors arrived on)
image from labeled for noncommercial use
Most of the Germans arrived in Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, the new colony chartered by William Penn.  The Quakers were open to the idea of religious tolerance, making this colony very attractive to the large numbers of Lutherans, Swiss Mennonites, Baptist Dunkers/Dunkards, Moravians, Amish and other small German religious groups. 

Of course, at that time, the colonies were under the rule of the British crown.  William Penn’s agents were Englishmen, and English was the official language.  The leaders in Pennsylvania became concerned about the number of Continentals arriving who were used to a different language and different form of government.  As a result, in 1727 the Provincial Council passed a law requiring all male Continentals age sixteen and older to sign an “Oath of Allegiance” to the King of England.  In 1729, they also began requiring them to take the “Oath of Abjuration and Fidelity to the Proprietor,” in other words to disavow any previous allegiance to the Pope.   

These two laws were in effect when the Ebert brothers arrived in Philadelphia.  In fact, the Minutes of the Provincial Council dated September 21, 1731 lists the names of 106 Palatines plus their families who arrived on the Ship Britannia of London.  The two names appear together, indicating they traveled together:
York County is in the southeastern part of the State,
not very far from Philadelphia.
image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Hans Jerg (George) Ebert Age 30 Born 1701
Hans Michael Ebert Age 35 Born 1696

The Eberts settled in York County, Pennsylvania, on a farm of between 600 and 700 acres along Codorus Creek.  Michael and his descendants remained in Pennsylvania at least for several generations.  His brother George, on the other hand, joined a number of Germans who went in search of land in Maryland and eventually settled in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.   


Balthus EBERT ( 1663 Jagst, Wyttemberg, Germany – 1704 Germany) & Catarina Sophia STEINBACK (1669 Germany – 1717 Germany)
1. Hans Michael EBERT ( 1696 Wallersheim, Germany – 1785 York, PA) & Eva Margaret DIEHL (1718 Germany – 1788 York, PA)  1741 Pennsylvania
  •  Michael EBERT ( 28 Dec 1742 Pennsylvania – Apr 1790 Manchester, York, PA) & Elizabeth RUDISELL (1741 – 01 Sep 1838 York, PA) 07 Aug 1764 Pennsylvania
  • Jacob EBERT ( 02 Oct 1746 York, PA – Mar 1786 York, PA)
  • John Martin EBERT ( 09 Jan 1751 York, PA – 19 Apr 1814 York, PA) & Anna Maria SMYSER (10 Nov 1756 York, PA – 29 Mar 1833 York, PA)   1777 York, PA
  • Philip EBERT ( 1755 York, PA – 06 Dec 1803 St Louis, MO) & Anna Margaret KNAUSS
  • Anna Maria EBERT (1765 York, PA – 1820)
  • Eva EBERT
  • Susanna EBERT
  • Jonas EBERT
  • Martin EBERT 
2. Hans Jerg (George) EBERT (1701 Germany – 1762 Virginia) & m1) Johannata Charlotte HUNERMANN (1695 Germany – Abt 1730 Germany ) 1724 Germany ; & m2) Margaret Christina STARKE  ( 1698 Pennsylvania – 1778 Rockingham Co, VA )  1732 Pennsylvania

Hans Jerg EBERT and Johannata Charlotte HUNERMANN had the following children:
  • Philip EBERT 1725 Germany
  • John EBERT 1726 Germany – 1804) & Maria RICHM 1750 Pennsylvania
  • Catherine Sybella EBERT ( 1727 Germany –  ) & John SCHAUT  1748
  • Andrew EBERT (1728 Germany –1804 Rockingham Co, VA) & Mary Elizabeth UNKNOWN  1761
Hans Jerg EBERT and Margaret Christina STARKE had the following children:
  • Jacob EBERT ( 1733 Philadelphia, PA – 1807 Rockingham Co, VA)
  • Windle EBERT ( 1736 Pennsylvania – 1810 Rockingham Co, VA) & Christina MOYLE ( ? –1810 Rockingham Co, VA)  1769
  • George EBERT ( 1737 Pennsylvania – 1804) & Catherine BAKER  1760
  • Margaret Christina EBERT ( 02 Feb 1738 Philadelphia, PA – 19 Dec 1818 Rockingham Co, VA) & George Jacob MOYER  (06 Jan 1727/28 Germany – 19 Feb 1796 Naked Creek, Rockingham Co, VA)   1757
  • Eva Christina EBERT ( 08 Oct 1739 Lancaster, PA – 1740 Pennsylvania)
  • James EBERT ( 1740 – 1815 Rockingham Co, VA) & Elizabeth OLDHAM 1761

"Germans in America, The."  European Reading Room.  Library of Congress.   Accessed 5 Sep 2014.
“Hans Michael Ebert.” Public Member Story posted by pschreck 150.  Accessed 23 Aug 2014.
“History of Ebert/Eppards/Etc. in America.”  Genforum Genealogy.  Accessed 23 Aug 2014.
"Oaths of Fidelity and Abjuration."  Pennsylvania & Historical Museum Commission.  Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Accessed 7 Sep 2014.

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved


  1. This is such a good example of how essential it is to know the history of the area and times when we are researching. Nice post Wendy.

    1. Thanks. Looking at the history of an area helps answer those questions, "Why did they leave home? Why did they come here?"

  2. Well, if that wasn't the ship your ancestors traveled on, it surely was similar. I still find it unfathomable the extent our ancestors from that era went to journey across the Atlantic to end up here. And what was the result? Often nothing but bare land and hard work for survival. Thankfully, they were up to the task.

    1. Maybe since that was the best the world had to offer at the time, people didn't think about how hard travel was. All life then seems pretty hard by comparison to today. Yes, they did have to start over from scratch since they were coming to undeveloped land.

  3. Wendy, are these ancestors recent discoveries are did you find them a while ago? It's helpful that you set the stage of history while introducing them to us. I think our ancestors must have been very strong to face and come through the challenges pressed upon them during the times in which they lived!

    1. I've had these names for some time but I haven't really worked on them. The Eppards are well researched.

  4. You always make your posts so interesting and tracing back to the 1600's is fantastic. It's interesting to learn the reasons why your ancestors felt the need to leave Germany, brave people.

    1. Oh Sally, what a nice thing to say. I never know whether something will be interesting to others when these families aren't theirs.

  5. Wendy, I had ancestors in York Co, PA. Maybe we were neighbors back then.

    1. Wouldn't that be the ultimate "small world" ??

  6. Hi, I am descended from Michael Ebert and descendants who moved from Penn to NC. Can anyone steer me to any historical sources, other than family trees, which show Balthus and Caterina? So far I have not been able to find any. There are a number of Ebert, Ebberts, Eppards in Germany from 1650 through 1730 but none seem to match up so far. Thanks!