/What%20is%20the%20Origin%20of%20the%20Bare%20Name? %20Switzerland?%20Germany?
What is the Origin of the Bare Name?  Switzerland? Germany?

According to many researchers, including the author of the book "A Genealogy of the Bear Family and Biographical Record of Descendants of Jacob Bear", people in the United States who have the last name of Bare, Bear, Baer, Bär, Bar, or Bärr or Barr, and sometimes Bair or Behr or even Bayer all come from the same family in Switzerland with the name of Bärr.

Apparently they came over to America with the Swiss Mennonites and landed in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania in the early 1700's. My research found that some of the family moved to Germany for anywhere between a year or two up to several years before coming to America.

The spelling of the name, was changed to Bär in Switzerland and to Baer in Germany. Once the Bärrs or Bärs immigrated America, it seemed to be a free-for-all when it came to spelling of the name, and now there are multiple variations on the spelling. My family uses the spelling Bare.
/Are%20the%20Bares%20related%20to%20Pocahontas? %20Jesse%20James?
Are the Bares related to Pocahontas?  Jesse James?

I will add an article in the next few weeks that gives details to what I have found in the research, but the answer so far is the same for the Bare's as it is the Jernberg's - mostly NO. Pocahontas was a part of the Bare family as she married our genetic relative named John Rolfe. But the Bare's do not appear to be genetically related to Pocahontas or her Indian family.

And, just like the Jerngerg's, the Bare's are also not genetically related to the hotly debated daughter of Pocahontas, but we are related to the daughter's husband.

Are the Bare's genetically related to Jesse James? The answer appears to be yes. (And, interestingly, the Jesse James family appears to be related to Pocahontas and her family. More research is being done on this topic.)

Absolutely yes is the answer from many, but according to others, probably not. All of the Bares I know were raised with stories of my Dad's Great Great Grandmother being full blooded Cherokee. But, ancestry DNA tests done by some family members have not produced any native american ancestors.

However, according to the experts, the science has not yet advanced enough to make the test available to most people very accurate or reliable. Also, very few of those tests are able to recognize the existence of Native American DNA, especially when few Native Americans participate in the DNA banks.

The Jernbergs were not Jernbergs in Sweden. Their surnames were Eriksson, Eriksdotter, Persdotter, Andersson, etc - they did not have a common surname for all family members. Upon arrival to the United States, they were asked to choose a surname because there were too many Erikssons, Anderssons, and et al., so they became the Jernbergs. How did they choose Jernberg as the surname? Right now, that's a mystery.

What does Jernberg mean? It's a Swedish ornamental name (also Järnberg) composed of the elements järn 'iron' + berg 'mountain'

Did you know that Ersson is the same name as Ericksson or Eriksson? Or that Persdotter, Petersdr, and Petersdotter are all the same name? Well, they are - at least most of the time. The Swedes, especially Swedish record keepers, tend to abbreviate everything. This results in one or more duplicate entries for many people on the ancestry sites when people accept the abbreviated forms of a name because it came from a record of some kind.

Also, did you know The Swedish alphabet has three more letters than the English; Å, Ä and Ö? They are distinct letters and ordered at the end of the alphabet, after Z. This means the names Jönsson and Jonsson are two different names.
Are the Jernbergs related to Pocahontas? Jesse James?

I will add an article in the next few weeks that gives details to what I have found in the research, but the answer so far is mostly no. Yes, she was part of the Jernberg family as she married a relative named John Rolfe. But it appears the Jernberg are NOT GENETICALLY related to Pocahontas or her Indian family.

Along the way I discovered the hotly debated existence of a daughter born to Pocahontas and her Indian husband prior to her marriage to John Rolfe. The debate is not whether the woman exists, the debate is whether she is the daughter of Pocahontas. If that woman is the actual daughter of Pocahontas, so far my research shows we are related to the daughter's husband, but we are not genetically related to Pocahontas' daughter.

Finally, are the Jernbergs related to Jesse James? So far the answer appears to be yes.

Genealogy Articles


Are your cousins’ children your second cousins or are they your nieces and nephews? And what exactly do you call your parents’ cousins? In both cases, they are your first cousins once-removed.

OK, so what does once-removed mean? (One family member told me being removed makes it sound like a person has been disowned by the family.) And why are some relatives born a generation before you called the same thing as some relatives born a generation after you?

Would you be surprised to know that as you study your genealogy you will probably find first-cousin marriages in your family? You shouldn’t be, and if you are, you will get over it quickly if you spend much time analyzing your family tree.

Marriages between cousins were very common in many cultures, including many western countries, such as the United States and Europe until the early to mid-1900s. And, today many cultures still practice cousin marriages.

The Bare - Jernberg Ancestry Website

Welcome to the Bare and Jernberg Ancestry Website.  My father Ken is a Bare and my mother Kay is a Jernberg, hence the name of the website.  If you are a family member and are interested in participating, you can register as a member on the site and contribute to the photos.  Once you register, you will get an email message containing an activation link.  You need to click on that link for your account to be enabled / activated.   If you have any issues, please contact me using the form on the Contact page.

Now, let's talk about those Bares ......

Right from the beginning of researching the Bare side of my family, I ran into a couple of major issue with names.  The biggest one?  As one researcher put it, this family "recycled" names for several generations.  And, this recycling of names was not just done for several generations - it was also done across several families within each generation!  This made researching the history of this family more than a bit difficult at times.  To make matters worse, in the 1700s through the early 1900s, many of the Bares seemed to marry people who also had the same names as the recycled names of their brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandmothers, grandfathers, etc.  This further compounds the difficulty of figuring out which person is being referred to in documents and census records as well as on death certificates, birth certificates,  and etc..

I have run across 2 or 3 people who spent years researching the Bares, Baers, Bears, etc. and have written books on the family and their history in early America. One woman even traveled to Europe to research the Bares and a few other families.  After she died her daughter took over the research and published the results.  Every person mentioned the difficulty of researching this family with all the various spellings of the last name and the recycling of both first names and first and middle names.  

There are a few other factors have make it a little difficult to research this family, resulting in this family tree being very much a work in progress: 

(1) Up until the mid to late 1900s, "official" documents (and I use the term generously), such as United States census records, birth records or certificates, marriage records or certificates, death certificates, etc. were incredibly INACCURATE and often incomplete.  People and organizations during those times did not seem to care about the accuracy when it came to the spelling of names - both first and last, birth dates or birth years - depending on which was used, or even the actual or correct names of parents on death certificates.  As a side note:  oddly enough, several older death certificates state the cause of death as old age, unknown, or even stranger, senility.  I found out those were acceptable causes of death during those days, although I'm still perplexed as to how senility could have ever been considered the CAUSE of death.  I understand it may be a round about contributing factor, but the cause of death? Now, those are no longer acceptable causes of death, and medical examiners are required to state an actual cause of death.

(2) It seems as though hardly anyone was referred to by their actual given name or first name until the mid to late 1900s.  People seemed to prefer referring to each other by their middle names and/or nicknames - especially the men.  (I understand why this was and still is done informally, but not on official documents.) This along with the fact some of the information on official documents is wrong or missing makes it difficult to confirm to whom some of the documents belong or refer.  Frequently birth dates and / or dates of death AND the names of one or more parents had to be checked (if possible) to make sure a document was being attached to the right person or that the correct person is being attached to another as a wife, husband, child, parent, etc. Even then, it's sometimes hard to tell who belongs to whom.  

(3) Women were not considered very important until early this century (We were not even allowed to vote when my grandmothers got married - a fact I just realized a few weeks ago!) So, until sometime in the late 1800s or even early 1900s there is not as much information available about women as there is about men - unless the women were famous.  (Note to my brothers: this is not me being a female chauvinist - it's just a fact.)  One prime example, the very early census records only recorded the name of the "man" of the house and how many free white and black people lived in the house as well as how many slaves were in the household. (I cringed quite frequently in the beginning of my research due to this type of information on some of these records.)

(4) On the Ancestry sites, even familysearch.org, which seems to be the more accurate of them all, documents are often linked to the wrong person.  This results in the wrong dates being used for birth dates and dates of death and dates people were married, as well as the wrong people being listed as their spouse, parents, or children.  I am positive many of the people from the 1800s and earlier have the wrong dates listed for their birth and/or death, and I question the relationship stated for several people.  However, there were a couple of famous - or infamous - people in our family tree, and it should be no surprise to anyone that the more famous a person was, the more that was written about them which in turn ensured more accurate and complete information about their birth and death dates as well as their lineage. 

(5) There are often differing opinions as to who actually belongs to whom, especially in the early 1700s through the early 1800s.  And, I'm not sure any of the ancestry sites correctly state the relationships among people who came to America, or among those people and their relatives back in Switzerland.  Another name issue exists when you get to the relatives who started in Switzerland in the 1500s to 1600s and earlier.  In addition to frequently using the same names over and over within the family, they also seemed to use the name Hans or Heinrich as the first part of the given name for most of the men and the name Anna as the first part of the given name for many of the women.  This really adds to the confusion of trying to figure out who was who and who belonged to which family.

(6) Even with family records it's hard to know what is or is not correct.  To state the obvious, family members and facts about families written in family bibles and other family records are not always accurate for many reasons - people remember names and dates differently, or they were not honest about who gave birth to a child, who fathered a child, and who was or was not married to whom because of the problems it would have caused in the family at the time.  In one instance I found a divorce certificate for a couple just 2 years after they were married.  And, even though they ended up together and had multiple children, I never found another marriage certificate (which doesn't mean there isn't one - it just means I haven't found one yet).  But, even if they didn't remarry, does it matter?  Not one iota to me, but it might have mattered to them at the time and it might still matter to some living family members.  

And then there are Swedish names belonging to Jernberg relatives .....

There are quite a few challenges with the names of Jernbergs ancestors besides the fact that the Jernbergs did not become the Jernbergs until they came to America.  Until the late 1800s or early 1900s, Swedish surnames were typically patronyms.  A patronym is the father's first name, plus the possessive "s" without the apostrophe, plus - for Swedish people - either "son" or "dotter" depending upon the gender of a person.  The result is Erik's sons had the surname of Eriksson, and Erik's daughters had the surname of Eriksdotter.  Often times when English speaking people translated records from other countries, they incorrectly used the father's surname for the surnames of his children, resulting in a lot of confusion and duplicate entries for one person on genealogy related websites.

To further add to the name issue for Swedish people, the Swedes abbreviate almost EVERYTHING in their records.  For example, their records contain Ersson for Eriksson; Ersdr or Ersdotter for Eriksdotter; Persdotter or Persdr for Petersdotter; Olsdr or Olsdotter for Olofsdotter; Olson or Olsson for Olofsson; etc.  This results in a LOT of duplicate entries for one person on genealogy related websites.  Add this to the problem of records entered with the father's surname instead of the correct surname for his children, and the issues caused by the Americanized spelling of many of the names, such as Erick or Eric instead of the correct spelling of Erik (and many other examples), and the result is one ancestor being represented by 3, 4, 5, or 10 or more different records on a single genealogy website.  This is true even on genealogy websites where one person is supposed to have one and only one record.

In some instances, genealogy websites contain incorrect information or conflicting information.  This is due to incomplete records, difficult to interpret records, incorrectly transcribed records, or wrong information entered by people who don't do their research or don't pay careful attention to the information they add.  In many instances, someone has combined or merged records for 2 (or more) completely different people into one record.  In several instances one will find duplicate records for one or more related people created on purpose by people who don't agree on the "facts" about those people.  This last issue is hard to get around when it's difficult to find actual facts about people from centuries ago, especially those who originated in other countries.      

Sometimes simple data analysis shows that there are mistakes or incorrect facts have been stated about our ancestors, but I haven't yet had time to analyze all of the information for all of my relatives.  This is especially true when it comes to birth dates and/or death dates.  For example, in many instances genealogy sites or documentation sometimes show one child being born 4 or 5 months after another sibling.  I realize there are a couple or more sets of twins born into this family, but they would have the same birth date.  Or, their birth dates would only be one day apart if one was born after midnight, but they would not be born 4 to 5 months apart and live.  I also found several instances where one or more of the parents dates of death were before the birth dates of one or more of their children.  Now, I realize there are a lot of talented people in this family, but I don't think even they could pull this off - at least not prior to the days of artificial insemination. 

In many instances I am unsure if my version of the family tree depicts the correct parents listed for children when one or more of the ancestors had multiple spouses.  This is true even in instances where various family bibles that are available online because they sometimes contain conflicting information about which children belong to which birth parent. Also, there are instances where the ancestry sites show people having children starting at the age of 3 (not possible) or 13 - 16 (possible, but not usually probable); or women older than 60 - 70 still having children (usually not possible).  When the errors are obvious just based on facts known, I correct the mistakes on my family tree.  On genealogy sites where there is supposed to be one record for everyone, I occasionally correct the obvious mistakes or I or leave notes such as "It's unlikely this child belongs to a these parents as the mother would have been 1 year old and the father would have been 3 years old when the child was born".  

Working on the family tree and this website has taught me more about my family's history in the past few weeks/months than I ever knew in the previous few decades.  Some things I have learned are fun and interesting pieces of information, some are sad or heart wrenching, and some are important.  For example, I recently learned that a relative of my mother who was my 4th grade teacher was the sister of my aunt who was married to my Dad's brother.  I knew both of these women very well my entire life, they were both relatives of mine, and I NEVER knew they were sisters until I saw they both had the same maiden name while working on the family tree!  Sadly, I also learned that a shockingly high number of our Bare ancestors died from brain hemorrhages or strokes, often, but not always, due to high blood pressure.  I did not know this prior to working on the Bare side of the family tree.  

I have also learned a lot about society in general that I didn't know before, such as:  it was incredibly common for 1st cousins to marry until the early to mid 1900s; prior to the early 1900s very few people were educated past the 8th grade; many people my parents age and older either never attended high school or never finished 4 years of high school; marriages in the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s were typically "official" simply because people said they were married - no wedding ceremonies occurred and there were no religious or other types of officials involved; and adoptions occurred when a family took a child into their home and raised them - no documents or officials involved.  What did not surprise me is the fact that in more instances that one might expect, one or more parents of a person are not who they and/or their families were told were their parent(s).   Additionally, I have been reminded frequently reminded how much politically correct language has changed in just a few decades in the United States.  For example, look at older census records and you will find columns to indicate if a person is  "deaf, blind, or dumb".   

Even with all the frustrations associated with the names and the frequent lack of accurate or precise documentation on the genealogy websites, putting together this website has turned into a very fun and illuminating project.  Yes, it turned out to be a lot more work that I originally thought it would be, but I am fascinated by what I am learning about my family.   And, and it's become almost addicting trying to solve all the riddles.  I hope you enjoy this site as much as I am enjoying putting it together! 

∼Kim Bare

P.S.  Please know that the family tree and associated information that appears on this website is very much a work-in-progress.  I am still discovering information and relationships for some people due to the many issues with ALL of the genealogy websites, and I'm sure I have made some mistakes.  I appreciate any and all information and all possible supporting documentation that people send to me when they find mistakes. And, I very much welcome the participation of other family members in the building of this website content.