This family, my mom's paternal line, has been frustrating me for so many
years. They pop up in Barcs, Somogy, Hungary (the westernmost point of
Swaebische Turkei), about 1800, quite a distance from the Danube, with no
information on where they were before. They are Lutheran (evangelical in
German), although with intermarriage, they also embraced the Reformed faith
and once in a while, the Catholic faith, as the Barcs records show.
From there, some of them travelled down to Slavonia, to Hrastovac and
surrounding communities. From there, they fled Yugoslavia, made their way
to Austria and then Canada.
There's a family story that they hail from Emmendingen in southern Germany,
near Freiburg and not that far from the French border. Emmendingen has a
huge Bierer family in it, also more in the surrounding towns, but there is
a missing generation that is not letting me connect the ancestors I know
about, with what is in the records of Emmendingen and surrounding area.
There are many family members who moved back to this area after the war.
Also some went to Brazil and Argentina, but didn't stay there.
There's a theory that perhaps they were from Alsace-Lorraine, as the name
has a slight French sound to it. But no documentation to support this at
The way they speak is reminiscent of Hesse, a 17th century dialect.
For a while I thought they came from Reichenberg in Bohemia, as a large
number of German settlers were brought to the Barcs area around 1800, which
is when my Bierer family suddenly appeared there, a very large group of
them, marrying within their own family, and primarily with Schwartzls,
Ritzls, Beslers. When I finally unearthed the settler list from this
event, they were not on it and trying to start looking in Reichenberg is
like the proverbial needle in a haystack.
There is no record of them first stopping in a town closer to the Danube,
perhaps Tolna county and working their way west. There are a few Bierers
on the east bank of the Danube, but in the later 19th century, so the
timing is off. There are some in the Budapest area.
There are multitudes of Bierers in North America, particularly in the
United States, a few of which are my family, but mainly they are not. We
have Bierers in southwestern Ohio, some in Chicago and some in the Pacific
There is a famous Jewish doctor named Bierer in the U.K., Joshua Bierer,
but I have not been able to find any connection to him either. Again this
is a needle in a haystack exercise.
Wherever they came from, they still to this day, produce predominantly male
children. In the 200 years of history I have on them, that never changed.
So, does this name ring any bells with anyone? The name supposedly comes
from "pierenverkaufer", someone who sells fruit, particularly pears, or
runs an orchard. Contrary to what it appears, it has nothing to do with
Any suggestions are appreciated!