The Gerber/Garber family name is common in Germany and Switzerland and possibly denotes the occupation of a tanner. Some researchers contend the occupational name derives from gerben (to tan, polish or curry), while others propose the name origin from garben (to gather into sheaves). The family name "Tanner" is generally distinct in Europe, but there have been a few cases of Anglicization from "Gerber" to "Tanner" in America. Similar names, such as "Geber/Gaber/Gaver," "Gruber/Grover," and "Carber/Carver," are distinct and unrelated to Gerbers, although isolated misspellings occur in known Gerber/Garber records. Many of these families in Europe were members of the Anabaptist peace sects who emigrated to America to escape the widespread persecutions which followed the Reformation. This paper identifies 31 Gerber/Garber progenitors who immigrated to America in the eighteenth century; they are presented chronologically by date of immigration. Others who immigrated after 1800 are not included here. Many of them had similar names and located near one another, so tracing family origins can be confusing. This is not a proof of ancestry, but an ongoing attempt to organize family information and correct some possible errors presented by previous researchers. This compilation should be useful in tracing the European ancestry of these immigrants. The designation "+" indicates that outline information on additional descendants is available. This material is currently being edited for publication in the July 1999 issue of Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage by the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. The authors welcome comments, additions and corrections.
A. Christian GERBER (ca 1705-1769) emigrated 1700-1720 (?), according to Harris (1872); Ellis (1883) claims an immigration date of c 1729, while Keidal (1914) states that Christian was the grandson of an immigrant who arrived "about the year 1695."
AB. Hans GERBER/ GARVER (1700-1748) possibly emigrated in 1726. According to Davis (1994), he was in Coventry Twp., Chester Co., Pa., by 1729, and he was not found on any passenger list between 1727 and 1729. Davis assumed he arrived before 1727.
AC. Niclaus GERBER (1698-1748) arrived in Pennsylvania on Aug 17, 1729 with a large group of Mennonites on the ship Mortonhouse.
B. Hans Jacob GERBER (1693-1759) arrived on the ship Hope of London Aug 28, 1733, with wife Maria Barbar and children Jacobs, Hans Jerick, and Jan KERWAR.
BA. John Casper KERBER (1693-1759) Kerber (d. ca. Mar 26, 1748, West Manchester Twp., York Co.) came to America in the fall of 1733.
C. Michael GERBER (1707-1790) arrived, age 27, at Philadelphia Sept 23, 1734 on the ship Hope Galley from Rotterdam with his wife Anna -- , age 22, (1712- ) and daughter Anna GERBER, age 6 mo, (1734- ).
D. Johannes GERBER (1713- ), age 32, arrived at Philadelphia Sept 1, 1736 on the ship Harle from Rotterdam via Cowes, England. This is the same ship which carried Jacob HOCHSTETTLER. See Hostetler, 1977, p. 23. It is therefore possible that Johannes also located in the Northkill area of Berks County.
DA. John Michael KIRBER (d.p. 1783?) arrived at Philadelphia from Rotterdam on the ship Belinda Townshead, qualified Oct 5, 1737. This is likely the John Garber, or Garver, and his wife Elizabeth, who resided in Lebanon Twp. and subsequently moved to Middletown [or Hummelstown].
E. Hans GERBER, Jr. (Feb 1710-Sep 7, 1767) arrived at Philadelphia Oct 8, 1737 on the ship Charming Nancy with his father Hans GERBER, Sr. This was the first shipload of Amish to arrive in America.
F. Christian GERBER (d. 1751) emigrated from Sumiswald, Canton of Bern (Switzerland) in 1737/38 (?). Beiler (1976) speculates that the father of Christian GERBER lived near the region of Seftigan in the canton of Bern because of the relationship or strong social ties to Henry ZIMMERMAN (CARPENTER), the father of Emanuel and Gabriel of Leacock Twp.
G. Hans Christian GERBER (b. 1692) arrived at Philadelphia Nov 9, 1738 on the ship Charming Nancy from Rotterdam and settled in Colebrookdale, Berks Co., Pa.
H. Benedict GARBER (Oct 18, 1732-Jun 12, 1817) emigrated from Alsace, Germany in 1741, settled in Upper Providence, now Montgomery Co., Pa., 2 1/2 miles south of the Trappe, m. 1758 to Dorothea LOREHT (1733-1807), and served in the Revolutionary War.
I. Johannes GERBER arrived at Philadelphia Sept 21, 1742 on the ship Frances and Elizabeth from Rotterdam via Deal, England.
J. Johann Adam GARBER (b. 1723), age 20, arrived at Philadelphia Oct 7, 1743 on the ship Saint Andrew from Rotterdam via Cowes, England.
JA. Hans GARBER arrived at Philadelphia Aug 30, 1749 on the ship Crown from Rotterdam.
K. Johannes GARBER arrived at Philadelphia Sept 2, 1749 on the ship Albany from Rotterdam via Cowes, England.
LA. Adam GERBER arrived at Philadelphia Sept 26, 1749 on the ship Dragon from Rotterdam via Deal, England. This may be Adam GERBER on the Pa. Census of 1780 at Phil. Co., New Hanover Twp. Also listed there is [N?] John GERBER.
LB. Christian GARBER (ca 1735-1798) was German Baptist Brethren, married three times and supposedly had 23 children. In 1790 he moved to the Leitersburg District of Washington Co., Md.
M. Jost Paul Kuhnroth GERBER arrived at Philadelphia Oct 7, 1749 on the ship Leslie from Rotterdam via Cowes, England. This may be Joseph GERBER on the Pa. Census of 1780 at Northampton Co., Lynn Twp.
N. Hans GERBER arrived at Philadelphia Aug 15, 1750 on the ship Royal Union from Rotterdam via Portsmouth, England. This may be John GERBER on the Pa. Census of 1780 at Phil. Co., New Hanover Twp. Also listed there is [L?] Adam GERBER.
O. Johanes (H.) GERBER ( -1779) arrived at Philadelphia Aug 28, 1750 on the ship Phoenix from Rotterdam via Cowes, England along with OA Joseb GERBER. They were both taxable in Cumru Twp., Berks Co. in 1762.
OB. Hans GERBER arrived Aug 15, 1751 on the ship Royal Union.
P. Hans Michael GERBER arrived at Philadelphia Sept 16, 1751 on the ship Edinburg from Rotterdam.
Q. Johann Fridrick GARBER arrived at Philadelphia Sept 25, 1751 on the ship Phoenix from Rotterdam via Portsmouth, England.
R. Johannes GARBER arrived at Philadelphia Nov 22, 1752 on the ship Phoenix from Rotterdam via Cowes, England.
SA. Michael GARBER (b. 1733) andSB. Jacob GARBER (1732-1800), ages 20 and 21, arrived at Philadelphia Sept 15, 1753 on the ship Patience from Rotterdam via Cowes, England.
T. Felix GERBER (1727-1790) arrived, age 26, at Philadelphia Sept 28, 1753 on the ship Halifax from Rotterdam.
U. Philip GERBER arrived at Philadelphia Nov 10, 1764 on the ship Boston from Rotterdam via Cowes, England.
V. Johann Christian GERBER arrived at Philadelphia Dec 29, 1772 on the ship Crawford from Rotterdam via Cowes, England.
W. Jacob GERBER arrived Aug 28, 1773 on the ship Hope Galley. This may be Jacob GERBER on the Pa. Census of 1780 at Central Phila. Co., Mulberry-East Twp.
19th Century GERBER Immigrants
ZA. Johann Christoff GERBER (1750-1815) arrived at Philadelphia on Oct 15, 1805 on the ship Liberty.
This page includes miscellaneous notes on later immigrants.
48 Carver/ Gerber/ Garber/ Garvers/ Kirbers on the 1780 Pa. Census. We can account for most of them.
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