The parents and birthplace of Jacob Berger have yet to be determined. Based on a number of findings, it is believed that he came from upper Bucks County, PA. But it has not been determined if he was born there or born in Europe and immigrated to America.
The baptisms of four of Jacob's children, born between 1788 and 1799, appear in the records of churches in the upper Bucks County area; three at Tohickon Union Church in Bedminster Twp. and one at Trinity Church in Springfield Twp. Two of Jacob's children continued to have strong ties to Bucks County; Daniel who died there in 1814 and Samuel who was living there in 1828.
No baptismal record has been found to identify the names of Jacob's parents with certainty. However, circumstantial evidence suggests that Jacob's father and mother may have been Jacob and Catharine Berger of Bucks Co. The earlier Jacob Berger and his wife, Catharine, appear in the records of Trinity Church in Springfield Twp., Bucks Co. In 1766 they are listed as the parents of an Elizabeth Berger, born 8 April 1766 and baptized 31 May 1766. This Elizabeth Berger later married Adam Laubach. In 1790 Elizabeth (Berger) Laubach and her husband, Adam Laubach, appeared as sponsors at the baptism of Jacob and Catharine (Cooper) Berger's son, Samuel. Since it was common practice to have close relatives serve as sponsors, Elizabeth (Berger) Laubach may have been Jacob Berger's sister. Jacob Berger Sr. was born around 1731 and died in 1794 in Bucks County in either Springfield Twp. or Richland Twp.
The pattern of church baptismal records suggests that Jacob moved from upper Bucks Co. to Upper Saucon sometime between 1799 when his son Carl was baptized in Springfield Twp., Bucks Co. and 1804 when his next known child, Catharina, was baptized at St. Paul's Church (aka. Blue Church) in Upper Saucon. Jacob Berger was definitely in Upper Saucon by 1812 when he appeared on the tax list in that area. In 1812 Upper Saucon, which had previously been part of Northampton Co., became part of Lehigh County.
Jacob has not been positively identified in any census reports prior to 1820. In the 1820 census he was listed in Upper Saucon along with his sons, Peter and John, and their families.
Jacob died in Upper Saucon Twp. and was buried in the old churchyard cemetery of St. Paul's Church near Coopersburg, PA. His funeral services were conducted by Rev. Samuel Hess. The inscription on his tombstone is now barely legible.
Jacob died intestate. The executors of his estate were his sons, Samuel Berger of Bucks County and John Berger of Lehigh County. On 23 December 1828, "Cathrina Berger, widow and relict of Jacob Berger late of Upper Saucon Township Lehigh County yeoman deceased" made her mark on a renunciation and quit claim to turn over her rights and title of administration to Jacob's estate to her sons, Samuel Berger and John Berger. On the same date Samuel and John filed a bond of administration. The sureties were Daniel Derr and Abraham Shaffer who also inventoried and appraised Jacob's property. The inventory list shows farm implements, animals, and crops in addition to household furnishings. The final account filed by Samuel and John Berger on 22 March 1830 showed a balance due the heirs of $888.53. (Estate file #869, Lehigh County courthouse, Allentown, PA)
On 8 May 1829 John Berger filed a petition in Lehigh County court requesting an inquest to "make partition, valuation or appraisement" of Jacob's tract of land in Upper Saucon. The petition stated that Jacob left a widow named Catharine and eight children: sons Jacob Berger, Samuel Berger, John Berger, Peter Berger, and Abraham Berger; daughters Elizabeth intermarried with Abraham Dietz, Catharine intermarried with Thomas Ott, and Hannah who is unmarried; and two grandchildren to wit, Charles Berger, a minor whose guardian is John Berger, and Maria, a minor whose guardian is Abraham Smith, both being children of Daniel Berger, a son of Jacob who died before him. The petition also stated that, at his death, Jacob owned a messuage or tenement and tract or piece of land situated in Upper Saucon Township containing 56 acres bounded by lands of John Berger, John Stephen, Abraham Smith and others. (Lehigh Co. orphans court file #1300)
The petition was approved and, on 30 July 1829, a group of twelve men found that the land could not be divided to accommodate the widow and the heirs "without prejudice to and spoiling the whole". They evaluated the tract at $47.50 per acre for a total value of $2,660.
In 1899 and 1909 two applications were filed for membership in The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution by descendants of Jacob Berger who claimed that he was the "Jacob Bourgher" who served in the Revolution as a Private in Captain Nicholas Kern's Company commanded by Col. Hart. The first application was filed by Ida V. Berger Endey for membership in the Liberty Bell Chapter of Bethlehem, PA and the second by Annie K. Weinberger for membership in the Valley Forge Chapter of Norristown, PA. Both applicants were accepted for membership.
The "Pennsylvania Archives" (Second Series, vol. XIV, p. 566 and Fifth Series, vol. 8, pp. 25 and 26) show a "Jacob Bourgher" in Captain Nicholas Kern's Company on 9 July 1776 and on 6 August 1777 in the First Battalion of Associators under Colonel Hart. However, Kern's Company was from Towamensing Twp. in Northampton County, a good distance from Jacob Berger's place of residence in Bucks County. It is also known that there was a large "Borger" family in Towamensing Twp., descended from the immigrant, Johann Nicolas Borger. Members of this family spelled their name as "Borger", "Berger" and "Burger". In light of this evidence, it is very doubtful that the "Jacob Bourgher" with Revolutionary War service was the same person as the Jacob Berger of Upper Bucks and Upper Saucon.