Breaking through a Bricker Brickwall

        by Glenn Cline     

On this past New Years Day, I was web-browsing and found an announcement of the formation of a Bricker DNA Project on the Bricker message board at Rootsweb. I knew that my wife, who was born a Bricker, would not be able to participate directly in the project since only the Y-chromosomes of men can be tested to determine ancestry through a Bricker line. So I contacted the coordinator of the Project and told him that we would enlist my wife's nephew, a Bricker (now Project participant BR03), and pay the fee for his participation.

The Brickwall

My wife and I were anxious to join the Project because we had spent twenty years searching for the parents of John Bricker, my wife's ggg grandfather. Her John Bricker had married a Margaret (unknown) sometime before their oldest son, George was born on 22 Oct 1795 in Maryland. We had some strong feelings about two possibilities, but were never able to find proof. Many years ago I met Shirley Penna Oakes, who used to print "Bricker Branches", which was a clearinghouse for Bricker information. Shirley sent me a copy of a book on her Nicholas Bricker line, which was compiled by Eugene Vail. Listed in this book was a son of Nicholas named Johannes who was born 11 Sept 1766 and who married an Elizabeth (unknown); the only other entry on this John Bricker and his wife Elizabeth was a church record where they sponsored John's brothers child at a christening in 1789. Since we knew that our John's wife Margaret was born in 1768, the Johannes Bricker in the Vail book was of a comparable age. We knew that our John and Margaret were in Harrison County, Ohio on 20 Aug 1810 when their youngest son Jacob was born. Anthony Bricker (son of Nicholas) was also living in Harrison County in 1810. We thought it was a possibility that our John and Margaret had gone to Harrison County because Anthony might be related to John. To sum it up, we thought that there was a possibility our John Bricker could be the son of Nicholas Bricker, even though John's first wife Elizabeth would have had to die between 1789 and 1794 for this to be true. While possible, it was also a long shot.

We had stronger feelings about the connection between our John and Ludwig Bricker, who we thought were brothers but could find no proof. Our John was in Greene County, PA for the 1800 census listed next to Ludwig Bricker. John stayed in Greene County until 1807 when he moved to Ohio, first to Harrison County and then to Fairfield County and finally to Knox County. In 1817 our John Bricker bought a farm in Liberty Township in Knox County which adjoined the farm of George Bricker, the oldest son of Ludwig. When our John Bricker died in 1824 his widow was assisted by Peter Bricker (son of Ludwig) and George Lewis (son-in-law of Ludwig) in the settlement of her late husband's estate. We felt that there was a strong connection between the two families.

Soon after we joined the Bricker DNA Project I contacted Shirley about finding someone in her Nicholas line to participate in the project. She persuaded her uncle, a Bricker, to join the project (now Project participant BR01) and order a DNA kit. Fortunately, a descendant on paper of Ludwig Bricker (Project participant BR02) also joined the project.

The Breakthrough

On April 14th we were notified that the 12 DNA markers from my wife's nephew were a perfect match with those of Shirley's uncle, indicating that there was a 99.9% chance that they shared a common ancestor, in this case Nicholas Bricker. On April 16th we were notified of another perfect match between my wife's nephew and the Project participant descended from Ludwig Bricker, confirming that they both shared Nicholas as a common ancestor as well. Needless to say, my wife and I were thrilled! After many years of searching we had now been able to finally verify something we'd felt was true but could find no proof for. In fact, it was comforting to know that both of the theories we'd developed proved to be correct.

Genealogies on paper as well as the results of the DNA tests together now provide the proof that Project participants BR02 and BR03 are 6th cousins, and participant BR01 is their 5th cousin once removed. All are now confirmed descendents of the immigrant Nicholas Bricker, who settled in York County, Pennsylvania in the 1700s.


Glenn Cline

Search billions of records on