This journey is going to lead me down the path of the Birch's and all those other names that have joined them. I know this will take me to England, Germany, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois and elsewhere. The men in this family will be working as coalminers, railroad brakemen and Laborers in Saw Mills.

The common name "birch" is derived from an old Germanic root, birka, with the Proto-Indo-European root *bherəg, "white, bright; to shine."

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Birch (England & Pennsylvania)

Birch ~ Recorded in many forms including Birch, Burch,  Birk, and Burk (English & Irish), Birken, Birckmann, Birchner (German), Berckman and Van den Berch (Dutch and Flemish), Bjork, Bjorkan, Bjerkan and Bjorkaman (Scandanavian and Swedish), this interesting surname is either topographical, occupational or locational. In England where most recordings are to be found, it may originate from a place called Birch in the county of Essex, the derivation being from the Olde English pre 7th century word "bryce" meaning breaking; and hence land made suitable for agriculture, or it may be from the villages of Birch Much and Birch Little in Herefordshire.  These have a different derivation from the Olde English word "birce", meaning birch trees. Secondly, the name may be a topographical for someone who lived by a birch tree, or birch wood, and thirdly occupational, either for a plowman or farmer, or a forester.

The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the world is believed to be that of Walter de la Birche. This was dated 1182, in the charters of King Henry 11nd, 1154 - 1189.

Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax.
copyright: Name Origin Research

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Some of the Birch names I am researching are;
James Henry Birch 
    Born: 09 Oct 1879 Staffordshire, England
    Died: 27 Jun 1967 Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio
              James married Annie Warrender on 21 June 1904 in Cambria County, Pennsylvania
Annie (nee Warrender) Birch
    Born: abt 1882  England
    Died: before 1940

James and Annie had the following children;

  • Sarah E. Birch ~ 1905 Pennsylvania – 1989  married: John N. Bloise
  • James H. Birch ~ 1908 Pennsylvania – 1963  married: Mary H. Hruska
  • Ethel M. Birch ~ 1910 Pennsylvania –           married: unknown
  • Alfred George Birch ~ 1913 Pennsylvania – 1983   married: Beatrice Jean Murray
  • Florence Violet Birch ~ 1914 Pennsylvania – 1984  married: 1. McWilliams-died 1938  2. John Thomas O'Rourke
  • Ernest O. Birch1916 Pennsylvania – 1972    married: unknown
  • Edna Leona Birch ~ 1921 Pennsylvania –         married: unknown 

  • If anyone has any information on any of these Birch's or has any photos I would appreciate it if you would contact me. I have a Birch tree on ancestry if anyone is interested.  Birch.Family.Tree    Thanks!


    Warm Regards,

    1 comment:

    1. I stumbled upon your geneology purely by chance, but I thought it might be interesting for you to know that Ethel M. Birch is probably the mother of John Birch. John Birch was a heroic character in WWII for whom the controversial John Birch Society is named.