This space is for literature and source reviews of content relevant to the Baschi Meyer Project. Not all sources are created equal, but hopefully these reviews can help people understand the strengths and weaknesses of different works. Criticism here is balanced by an appreciation for the interest and efforts these genealogists put into their work, and much of what we can accomplish today is the result of their work. They are arranged here in alphabetical order by Author.
Adams builds on an earlier (1909) work by her father, William Scott Myers, which detailed the descendants of Christian Meyer (1761-1802) of Earl Township, Lancaster, PA. Adams notes the difficulty in reliably tracing lineages when given names are used repeatedly through generations, and draws extensively on land records to identify Christian as the great-grandson of the Palatine immigrant Hans MEIER (c.1665-1722, married to Anna BRUBAKER) of the Pequea settlement. She also traces descendants of some branches forwards to the book’s publication date of 1987. Her research clearly identifies primary sources, and she is rigorous about distinguishing between what is likely and what can be assumed to be proven.
- Adams, Dorothy. "Myers History: Some Descendants of Hans Meier of Pequea, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania", D.M.K. Adams, 1987.
Best, Jane Evans
Best published a lot of genealogical works, and to her credit she regularly published updates as her research progressed. For this reason, it is important to refer to her later works over her earlier ones, as they are more complete, and more likely to have people in the right families and branches. It is not clear how much of her work was research on primary sources vs secondary, but she does cite primary sources for some information and sets the bar for clarity about assumptions and uncertainties.
Best appears to have been the first person to suggest that the descendants of Baschi Meyer "may also have come to early Lancaster County". She bases this suggestion on a network of marriages and associations recorded in Pennsylvania between the Meyer family and other Mennonite families who appear to have left the same part of Switzerland at the same time.
- Best, Jane Evans. Author states in later works that they "supersede all my previous accounts of this family."
- "Swiss Emigrants from Albis, Part I: Stallikon", Mennonite Family History 8, Jan. 1989.
- "Anabaptist Families from Canton Zurich to Lancaster County, 1633 to 1729: A Tour", Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, Oct. 1994.
- "The Groff Book, Vol. 2, A Continuing Saga", Groff History Associates, 1997.
- "Meyer Families Update", Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, April 1998.
Davis, Richard Warren
Davis collected and collated a vast quantity of material regarding early Mennonite settlers in North America, including passenger lists, censuses, and land and tax records. This was published as Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners in three volumes through the 1990’s, and in a compilation as Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners : An Aid to Mennonite Family Research.
Davis and Best (see above) appear to have collaborated to compile an extensive set of family trees of several Meyer families, using the same ID system to track descendants, and citing each other as well as primary source material. Emigrants includes details and sometimes transcripts of that material, which Best generally did not; however, the details and transcripts are sometimes inaccurate, and it is worth checking the original source where possible.
The family trees which have been compiled on the basis of this work are generally reliable, but include some speculative connections which are still open to debate or dispute. Davis’s work was completed before the publication of Best’s 1998 Meyer Family Update and the trees laid out in Emigrants may thus reflect outdated beliefs about family connections.
- Davis, Richard Warren. "Emigrants, Refugees and Prisoners : An Aid to Mennonite Family Research". Provo, UT ; R. W. Davis, 1995.
Fretz, Abraham James
Fretz covers two families who descend from different sons of Baschi, though his documentation does not go back that far. He covers generations from the late 1600s through the early 1800s. So far we have found his work to be fairly accurate, though incomplete. Note that he published in 1896, so there has been plenty of time for new information to become available to researchers. He does not provide primary references.
- Fretz, Abraham James. "A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Christian and Hans Meyer and Other Pioneers: Together with Historical and Biographical Sketches, Illustrated with Eighty-seven Portraits and Other Illustrations". Harleysville, Pennsylvania: News Printing House, 1896. (Available online at Google Books.)
Kauffman, Charles Fahs
Kauffman overlaps with Fretz on the family of Christian Meyer (b.1708) and wife Elizabeth Kauffman (b. 1720), acting as corroboration of their descendants, and adding her ancestry. A better understanding of close families helps when researching these Brethren and Mennonite families, and so books like this can give us some insight. That said, there isn't much in the way of new information about Christian and Elizabeth's family in here, but it's a free resource on Google Books so there is no good reason to ignore it.
- Kauffman, Charles Fahs. "A genealogy and history of the Kauffman-Coffman families of North America, 1584 to 1937". York, Pennsylvania: published by the author, 1940. (Available online at Google Books.)
Mennonite Vital Records
These records are photos of catalog cards with names, dates, relationships, and sources. Quality of information is mixed, but generally good. Worth looking at, and following up on leads. Make sure to take information from the photos, not the Ancestry.com text, which is often incomplete or inaccurate.
- Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Mennonite Vital Records, 1750-2014. Ancestry.com
Meyers, Gina & Myers, Eric
In this article we collect Swiss Anabaptist Meyer family documentation from existing literature and our own research, and compare it to y-DNA test results from descendants of those families. A review of 22 immigrant lines shows that only 10 have identifiable y-DNA test results, and that the commonly accepted associations of these immigrants to families in 16th and 17th century Switzerland must be considered suspect. In particular, the famous Meyer "family" of Baschi Meyer and Tylli Mueller consists of immigrants from at least 3 different y-DNA haplogroups, and is thus clearly in error. We call for descendants of untested lines to help answer some questions by submitting y-DNA tests. We also suggest that other Swiss Anabaptist families are likely to be misassociated in the same way, and would benefit from this same methodology.
- Meyers, G. & Myers, E. (2022). A y-DNA Study of Anabaptist Meyer Families in Eighteenth Century Pennsylvania. Mennonite Family History 41(3) 128-135.
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