John Oyler: Family roots
Family history is a subject that regularly attracts my interest. I am not sure what kicked it off this time, but recently, I decided to take another look at the Oyler family tree and see if I can add any information to it.
For many years, our family has maintained and updated a master copy of our genealogical history. It’s actually a descendancy chart, recording all the descendants of Adam Douglas and Annie Malinda Smith Oyler — my grandparents — and a trail of Oyler ancestors back four generations to Johan Georg Euler. At each family reunion, we make a big fuss over adding the names of new babies and recently added spouses.
There are two prominent descendancy charts beginning with Johan Georg Euler available on the internet. One is attributed to John C. Dawson; the other to Roger and Sue Cramer. Both of them are highly detailed and well documented, and both of them eventually find their way to my grandparents.
In both charts, the progenitor, Johan Georg Euler, is reported to have arrived in North America in October 1737 on the vessel “Billinder Townsend.” His wife was Anna Catherine Pobb; they had seven children, including Johan Jacob. Johan Jacob is identified as my great-great-great-great grandfather.
Several years ago, a New Jersey genealogist, Joe Klett, encountered information that contradicts our version. He refers to a gentleman named George Iler who lived in Pilesgrove, N.J., southeast of Philadelphia on the other side of the Delaware River. His research indicates that this gentleman almost certainly is the Johan Georg Euler who came on the “Billinder Townsend.” He and his wife Mary had eight children with names and ages much different than those on our chart. One of them was Jacob; nothing is known about him.
Obviously, it is time for us amateur Oyler family genealogists to “go back to the drawing board.” What do we know for sure and what is mostly a guess?
I am confident going back four generations to my great-great grandfather, Andrew Oyler. We have a lot of information on him and his farm on the Falling Spring Creek near Chambersburg. Our family tree reports that his father’s name was John or Jacob and that his mother was Marie Wetzel.
Thanks to Sue Cramer, we now have a copy of Andrew’s father’s will. Probated late in 1829, it names him as John Eyler. In it he mentions his wife, Anna Margaretha. Apparently “Marie” was her familiar name. The will also names their nine children, information we did not have previously. However, if the Johan Georg from 1737 is not his father, who was?
So far, we have identified five possibilities, including George Iler. Hans Jerg Ohler, who came in 1743, had a son named Johann George. Hans George Eyler arrived in 1754; one of his five sons was named Johann Jacob. In addition to him, five other family heads with surnames that could be variants of Eyler came that year. Finally, in 1764, Johann George Eller emigrated in 1764, the same month as two Wetzel families.
So we are left with many questions and few answers. The important thing is that we have been successful in determining the portion of our family tree that is reasonably well documented, in addition to adding a few more components.