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May 10, 2010

The Boyer Family

of Orwigsburg,


by Neil A. Boyer

Search This Site

           This website presents genealogical research on the family of Johann Friedrich Boyer, who traveled from Europe to America aboard the ship Nancy  in 1752.   The research was undertaken by the author in seeking to locate his own Boyer origins, working backward from his grandfather, Lewis Elmer Boyer (1869-1948) of Easton, Pennsylvania.

            Johann Friedrich Boyer arrived in Philadelphia and over a few years journeyed up the Schuylkill River to a largely German-speaking area of eastern Pennsylvania.  He founded a large family in the area around Orwigsburg, in what in 2006 is Schuylkill County.  About 100 years after his arrival, several of his descendants moved to Easton, Pennsylvania, and they served as the impetus for this research.

            This website documents what is known about Johann Friedrich Boyer and the first several generations of his family.  Linked to this site is research on the Boyers of Easton, the descendants of Johann Friedrich who moved to Easton, continuing down to the present day. Within this family,  Lewis Elmer Boyer (1869-1948) married Henrietta Waltman (1874-1948), and genealogists may be interested in similar research done on the Waltman family, based on the immigrant Conrad Waltman (1715-1796).

            The pages of this site are organized into several sections:

This section discusses the many early mentions of the name Boyer and the many spellings of the word.  It focuses on the people who emigrated from the Palatinate region of Germany and the attraction of eastern Pennsylvania for German-speaking immigrants. 


This section briefly describes the work of the Association of American Boyers,  which has been publishing a history, called American Boyers, of the many lines of immigrants with the name Boyer or some variation of Boyer, since 1905.

This extensive section develops research on Johann Friedrich Boyer, who came to America in 1752 aboard the Nancy and lived in the area of Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania.  "Friedrich" took the Oath of Allegiance in 1778, which qualified him as a "patriot" in the terminology of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  At least six members of the DAR based their applications on Friedrich's patriot status.

This section lists the children of Johann Friedrich, apparently numbering ten.  It describes their lives and their own offspring.    Special attention is given to Frederick Boyer, who seems to have been confused with his father in official records; George Boyer (1769-1847), the ancestor of Lewis Elmer Boyer, of  Easton; Jakob Boyer (1771-1852); and Gottfried Boyer (1774-1826). 

This section focuses on David Boyer of Orwigsburg, a grandson of Johann Friedrich Boyer and a son of his son George Boyer (1769-1847).  David was known as a maker of a long rifle, known as the Pennsylvania Kentucky Rifle.  Included is research into rifle-making. David had nine children.  Two of them, George B. Boyer and William B. Boyer, moved from Orwigsburg to Easton about 1873 and started large families.  George was the father of Lewis Elmer Boyer (1869-1948) of Easton.  A related section of this paper provides more detail on The Boyers of Easton, specifically on George Boyer and Lewis Elmer Boyer and their descendants.

This section provides genealogical charts, in pdf file format, on the individual components of the Boyer family and other families covered in this website.

This long account gives basic genealogical data on the descendants of Johann Friedrich Boyer in the direct line down to Lewis Elmer Boyer of Easton and his descendants. A shorter version of the family chronology is also provided. More detailed information is provided in the textual accounts in the links above.


About the Author

Neil A. Boyer was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1938.  He grew up in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, then graduated from Wilson High School in Easton, Moravian College in Bethlehem, and New York University School of Law.  He was a teacher and lawyer in the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers to go to Ethiopia in 1962.  Upon his return, he worked for the Peace Corps in Washington and then spent nearly 40 years with the Department of State. He organized and led a "reverse peace corps" called "Volunteers to America," arranging for teachers and social workers from other countries to do voluntary service in the United States, and he represented the United States at meetings of the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, and the Universal Postal Union.  He retired from government in 2003 and lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.  For more information on Neil Boyer, go here.

Neil Boyer is the author of The Boyers of Easton, a 319-page book, published in 1987, with more than 300 photographs, focusing on his grandfather, Lewis Elmer Boyer (1869-1948), of Easton, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. That book traced the Boyer family backward from Lew Boyer to his ancestors, as far as Johann Friedrich Boyer (1718-1804), who sailed to America from Rotterdam aboard the Nancy in 1752.  The book also went forward to Lew Boyer’s children and their children.  This paper grew out of an effort to bring the Boyer book up to date, drawing on new information and the growing potential of the internet for genealogical research.

Neil Boyer's Home Page includes not only the Boyer families of Orwigsburg and Easton, Pennsylvania, but also a number of families related by marriage to the Boyers, including Waltman, Jackson, Wilkinson, James, Buss, Smith, Lee, Long, Parker, McClurg, Vanderford and Ralston.  See Neil Boyer's Home Page for links to these families. Neil is married to Johanna Misey Boyer, a descendant of the Long family of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    Neil Boyer's lineage in the Boyer family is as follows:

Johann Friedrich Boyer (1718-1804)
George Boyer (1769-1847)
David Boyer (1806-1883)
George B. Boyer ((1839-1907)
Lewis Elmer Boyer (1869-1948)
Lewis Arthur Boyer (1909-1985)
Neil Arthur Boyer (b. 1938).

Corrections to this material and supplemental information are welcome. 
Please contact Neil Boyer at 702 Twin Holly Lane, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, or by email at