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The Moyers Updated - Location, Location, Location

Since my initial post about my Moyer line (click here), more information has been discovered.

Sometimes what has been passed down or listed online does not make sense. That is what happened with the my Moyer family line. I could only trace it back to my 3rd great grandparents (Francis Moyer and Margaret Rebecca Reitenauer) with 99% confidence (I try to allow a 1% margin of error). Going back any further raised several questions.

One of my biggest questions was geographical. When doing research, I came across an abundance of Moyers, Mayers and Meyers, which definitely did not simplify my investigation.

First let me start with the facts as I have them:

  1. Francis Moyer (1797 - 1864) and Margaret (Magreda) Rebecca Reitenauer (1798-1864) were both born and resided in Berks County, PA.

  2. The Reitenauers lived in Berks County after immigrating around 1740

  3. The Reitenauers, from my immigrant ancestor to Francis and Margaret Moyer (although their tombstones have the name spelled as "Mayer"), were all buried in the Hill Church Union Cemetery in Boyertown, Berks County, PA.

Based upon that information, it should follow that Francis' family also lived in the same area as the Reitenauers. Geographically it made sense to me.

However, what had been passed down to me and was seemingly supported by trees on was that Francis' father was a John Jacob Moyer (1761-1835) who married an Elizabeth Nester (1764- ). Some trees had Elizabeth's surname as Newhard (Neuhard). They lived in Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, PA, which was a good distance from Boyertown. Trying to trace back any further yields no conclusive results, mainly due to the surname spelling variations. One note is that the Newhard/Neuhard family was well established in that area of Lehigh County since they immigrated around 1737.

I then looked closer at the Moyers living in that section of Berks County at that time. That is when I stumbled across Abraham Ziegler Moyer. He was born on 16 June in either 1756 or 1766. He lived in Hereford Township in Berks County.

1788 Tax Record

The main piece of evidence that connects Abraham to Francis was his will written and signed on 29 April 1829. In it, he named his wife Anne and his sons and daughters: John, Abraham, Francis, Catherine, Esther, and Nancy. In fact, Francis was named as the executor of the will. It is also interesting to note that two of the daughters married into the Nester family. This could possibly explain why the Nester surname appeared in prior references. It is uncertain exactly when Abraham died, but it appears that the will was filed in Reading, Berks County on 16 October 1829.

From Abraham Moyer's will, 1829

In 1831, Francis Moyer submitted an account for his father's will. In it amounts were paid not only to his family, but also to members of the Reitenauer family, specifically to $1.65 to Jacob Reitenauer (spelled Reidenauer on the document). To me, this proves a connection to the family and the geography since a Jacob Reitenauer was the name of the father of Francis' wife, Margaret Reitenauer.

Going back to location, per the 1860 census Francis and Margaret Moyer were living in Washington Township, Berks County. Their immediate neighbors were their second-oldest son Jacob and his family, Henry Nester and his family, and Elijah Nester and his family. Living with Elijah Nester was his mother and Francis' sister, Esther. Francis' brother-in-law, Jacob Reitenauer, and his family lived about 5 properties away (on the census, Francis' house was number 82 in order of visitation and Jacob's was number 87). Again, here is another geographical tie.

Francis lived in Washington Township, probably near Bally. Bally lies in the heart of an area named Butter Valley, extending from Hereford through Bally to Boyertown. The name is due to the large number of dairy farms in the valley. The area is connected by Route 101, a road that was probably existing during that time as well and appears to be a major thorofare, making travel between the two locations relatively easy and convenient.

Therefore, I believe that I have comfortably determined my correct 4x great grandfather Moyer. That now enables me to trace back further with an increased level of confidence.

Here is my updated Moyer line. I will be providing more details about this line in subsequent posts.


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