European Background

Studies suggest that most likely area of orgin are the vicinities of Bern and Zurich, Switzerland, the Northern Kraichgau (south of Frankfurt am Mainz) e.g. Durham, Germany. Migrations from Switzerland to Germany and thence to America during the late 1600's and early 1700's were the result of religious, political and economic turmoil going on during that period. Usual procedure was to move by boat to Germany from Switzerland for 4 or 5 years; then travel down the Rhine River to Holland and take the small English ships to England for a short stay, (where they were required to swear an oath of allegiance as subjects under the British Government); thence travel by these tiny boats for months to the New World. Many died enroute of scurvy and unsanitary conditions in these crowded ships.

It was on the invitation of William Penn that Quakers, Amish and Mennonites, to name a few of the religious outcasts and pacifists, left their homes in England, Germany and Switzerland to seek a haven in Pennsylvania. By 1740 there were at least four seemingly unrelated Bär families, who had immigrated to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.