The Origination of the Family Name....Bauersachs

by Thomas L. Bowersox, Founder
Bauersachs Genealogical Society, Des Plaines, Illinois

I would like to take the time right now to give you my explanation of the origin of our family name, Bauersachs. You might also be interested in some thoughts on how the name has become spelled in several different ways in the United States.

In some of the early documentation on the Bauersachs family, we read that the name is actually a combination of two names, Bauer and Sachs. It is said that the name became joined into one when one of the families failed to produce a male offspring and so the two were joined as a result in order to keep the line going.

I am not at all sure that I want to accept that theory. In fact, the literal translation on the name Bauersachs is "Farmer from Sachsen". In the Sachsen district of Germany in about 1300 A.D., there lived a very outstanding and well known farmer. He was recognized as being the very best farmer in the area. His talent, abilities and integrity were recognized not only by the common people, but also by the nobility, which rewarded outstanding craftsmen by giving them their freedom from bondage. In this same period were many Kings and Rulers who had many servants, peasants, and so forth. These rulers had jurisdiction and power over large areas of land. However, this person Bauersachs was neither a king nor a peasant. He was, however, acclaimed by all as one of high independence and respect. Personally, I would like to have known him, wouldn't you? Out of this recognition for superior ability as a farmer, the "Farmer from Sachsen", or Bauersachs, was given his own family crest, depicting all of the fine traits for which this particular individual had become known.

We suspect that the Lower Franconia region, of which Saxony was and is a part, produced many outstanding farmers, but at some time in history which has long past, a strong, generous, fearless leader tilled the soil of the land with such marvelous results that his legacy will live as long as there is a Bauersachs.

The first recorded Bauersachs in our rather extensive family research was born in 1665. His name was Johan or Hans Bauersachs. His son's name was Johannes Bauersachs. Johannes was born and lived in Memmelsdorf, southwest of Coburg in that section of West Germany which is near the East German border (actually surrounded on three sides by communist fences).

We have found that those who reside in Germany today, and for almost 400 years, have continued to spell the family name Bauersachs. There are also some which have inserted an N between the R and the S in the middle, resulting in a spelling of BAUERNSACHS. We accept the fact that these families are no doubt descendants of our family, but somewhere along the line someone thought there should be an N in our name.

In Germany, we do not find any of the common U.S. derivations of the spelling, i.e., Bowersox, Bowersocks, Bowers, Bowerson, etc. These and other similar spelling changes occurred totally within families living in the United States. It is important to note that not until a minimum of the fifth generation as recorded in the family genealogy, and until at least the second generation of ancestors living in the U.S. did the name appear with "Anglicized spellings". Since Johann, a second generation Bauersachs and Paulus, a fourth generation descendant lived and died in America with the German spelling still in tact, we feel there were probably several reasons for the spelling changes in the latter generations.

Having taken their allegiance oath to England upon arriving in this country some individuals feel that the name was changed as soon as the immigrants came off the boat. Listening to the name Bauersachs, it is said to have been easy to spell it Bowersox, especially if you were English. Records do not support this theory, however, since, in fact, the Bauersachs spelling prevailed long after the arrival of Johan Nicol and Paulus.

Various records used for the recording of census figures and other documents were handwritten . . . and often difficult to read. We note that many records show the family name in a variety of ways, only to confuse the issue for anyone who would read the document. While breakdowns in communications, either written or verbal, may have explained some of the confusion over our name, we doubt that this is the key reason for the number of English spellings which showed prominence during the seventeen and eighteen hundreds.

Having an obviously German name during the first and second World Wars was not a popular idea. In many cases it could be very dangerous to ones health and safety. So, many people changed their names from the German spellings to others with similar sound, but with English or other appearance in their spelling. A desire to forget or escape from the social and economic, as well as religious restrictions of the old country may also have resulted in changing the spellings in America.

For these reasons, we sometimes have to trace the family lineage back several generations before we can tie newfound relatives into the tree. Many different spellings can he found, and it brings great pleasure when we are able to identify a newcomer into a long existing line back to our German heritage.

There is a large headstone in Hassinger's White Church Cemetery with huge letters BOWERSAX. The stone, it is told, was carved years in advance of the death of one of our clan, who absolutely INSISTED that this was THE proper way to spell our family name. Everyone admired him for sticking to his idea . . . right to his death.

REMEMBER...

It is probably worth remembering that there have been recorded to date, thirteen (13) generations of Bauersachs, dating back to 1665 . . . that is a recorded history of relatives of the Bauersachs family of over 316 years! Not a bad start, and we are still looking for more information which we do not have in our records to date. We are proud to recall to anyone who will jokingly kid us about our "Unusual" name that we number in excess of 2300 family units around the world, and most important of all, we have been in this country since 1750 and ELEVEN GENERATIONS HAVE BEEN U.S. CITIZENS. That is a hard record to match and you will seldom find someone who can come even close.

July 28, 1981
Copyright, Bauersachs Genealogical Society

What's in a Name?

Bauersachs, Bowersox, Bowersax, Bowersocks, Bowerson,
Bowersoc, Bowersack, Bowersaux, Bowersoch, Bowersoc, Bowersof....

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Bauersachs Genealogical Society
Prepared by AJK @ CPS
Orig. 1/9/97; update: 8/12/02