My BECKER family is one of many which came to America from Germany during the mid-1850's. By German definition, Becker means baker or one who bakes bread. There are several different spellings for BECKER including: BAECKER, BEKKER, BECKERDITE. The old German spelling is LEUKAR.
Johann Simon BECKER is the first ancestor for whom I can verify. Simon was from Kleinfischlingen, Germany, a small hamlet located southwest of Heidelburg. He lived during the mid 1600's to early 1700's (verified by his children's birthdates). The BECKER family owned small plots of vineyards and, to date, the BECKER family continues to own vineyards and operate several wineries in and around Kleinfischlingen.
Simon's grandson, Georg Jakob BECKER, Jr. moved to Edenkoben, Germany, where his 13 children were born. Two of Georg's sons (Martin and Johann Heinrick) and Heinrick's new wife, Philippina Frank BECKER, were the first of this family to come to America. They started their trip on Dec 1, 1851, traveling to Liverpool and taking the 3 Mast Ship Grosius. After 38 days they landed safely in New York. Their parents, Georg Jakob and Anna Katharina Schaffer BECKER, and a third brother, Georg Jakob Jr. followed in 1852.
The family eventually lived in Canton, Stark Co., Ohio. Between 1874 and 1877, they moved again to Belvidere, Franklin Co., Tennessee. Nine children were born to Heinrick and Philippina.
The eighth child, Franklin BECKER was my grandfather. He married Annie Elizabeth Master (Meister in Switzerland) and they moved to Melbourne, Iowa where they raised their 10 children and Frank worked for the Milwaukee Railroad.
Research for this family started with a Diary, Johann Heinrick kept from the time he readied for his trip to America through the births of his children. The diary, written in old German, was translated by a family friend who grew up in Germany. The only German location mentioned was identified was "Waukobau" Palentine. This diary planted an uncanny interest in me to find where Waukobau was and if there were other distant relatives still living there.
While traveling in Germany, I left what information I had with local archives. Within weeks of my return, I had emails with the name of Kleinfischlingen. On that same trip, I visited a local archive in Edenkoben where I met the author, Hans Ruby, of "1833 Thru 1906, Palatine Emigrants from Edenkoben". He, personally, met me at the archives and helped me locate original birth, death, and marriage certificates, of which I had copies made.
On my second trip to Germany, I visited the town of Kleinfischlingen, where I met several other BECKER family descendants and toured one of "our" wineries. The land, which Johann Simon BECKER owned, is still planted in rows of different species of grapes. It was bombed during WWII. Rocks were sprayed on the homes, breaking tiles on the rooftops. Since the orginal tiles were no longer made, the roofs today have different colors of tiles.
My research has not only taken me to Europe, but also to county archives in several states. My information is all based on facts from US or State Census, state birth and death logs, Social Security Death Index, and other reliable sources.