Hi, as far as I can see Johann Herman Ekell is as far back as we can go. Also his death date is 1791. I am inclined to believe he is son of Andreas Eckel. Reason is a descendant of Andreas that lived in Rowan County, North Carolina used the last name Eakle. Also Andreas had a son Johannes b. 1721 which is a variation of Johan and Johann, John.Andreas and Johann are from the same region of Germany which at that time was part of Alsace-Lorraine. It gets confusing when researching Eakles in North Carolina because of the two separate lines.