The Durrenberger Family
Welcome!! This site is devoted to the genealogy and history of the Durrenberger family of Alsace, Switzerland, the United States, and wherever else its members may be found.
This website is the most complete and accurate record of the Durrenberger family available anywhere. The extensive database on this site, now containing more than 12,000 family members, was made possible in part by generous contributions from, and collaborations with, other researchers. If you are related to the Durrenberger family and can contribute or correct any information, please contact me. I would love to hear from you.
I have tried to note primary sources wherever possible so that you can verify them for yourself, and I am continually adding new information and correcting errors, so please check back often. Feel free to use this information in your own research. If you repost information from this site, I would greatly appreciate it if you would cite “The Durrenberger Family (freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~fams/durrenberger)”.
Here is an overview of the site:
Areas in Need of Research
If you are already familiar with this site, you can go directly to the database from here.
Note: For those interested in genealogy of northern Alsace, I have a sister site devoted to the Jung family of Engwiller (Bas Rhin), Alsace. The URL is http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~fams/jung/index.html
The earliest Durrenbergers of which we have evidence lived in canton Basel-Landschaft (the district around Basel city), Switzerland, which following the Reformation was a Calvinist region. According to Reformed Church records from the region, the surname was already numerous there at the turn of the 17th century. The name is clearly Germanic in origin: the suffix -berger refers to someone hailing from a place ending with -berg, meaning mountain, and the prefix dürren- means dry or barren. Hence, the surname was probably originally taken by someone who had come from Dürrenberg, a dry or barren mountain.
The surname is still concentrated in the region around Basel today, but in the intervening centuries, the Durrenbergers have spread far and wide, most notably to Alsace in France, and from there to the United States. Changes in time and space have caused the name to take on many different spellings. In Switzerland, France, and Germany, the spellings Durrenberger, Dürrenberger (Duerrenberger), and Dirrenberger predominate. In the United States and Canada, the name has also become Derrenberger, Derenberger, Dernberger, Durenberger, Terryberry, Derryberry, Derreberry, Dayberry, DeBerry, Derrie, Barker, and many other variants.
Following the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), the area lying between France and Germany known as Alsace had become drastically depopulated as a result of the fighting and the ensuing famine and disease. With many towns nearly empty and economic activity at a standstill, local feudal lords encouraged repopulation by the Swiss, and as a result many Swiss migrated north to Alsace seeking land and economic opportunity. Several Durrenbergers were among them, coming from Basel-Landschaft and settling in Alsatian towns like Mertzwiller and Birlenbach in Bas-Rhin (northern Alsace), and Ribeauvillé in Haut-Rhin (southern Alsace). Their descendants, some Lutheran and some Catholic, were numerous, and the name Durrenberger to this day is concentrated in Mertzwiller and environs.
As Alsace's population grew, people again sought economic opportunity elsewhere, and in the 18th and 19th centuries the destination of choice was America. Some Alsatian Durrenbergers arrived in the American Colonies as early as 1738, but many more Durrenbergers from both Alsace and Switzerland came in the 19th century with the great waves of immigration from Europe to the United States. One goal of this website is to connect the descendants of all these separate immigrants. I currently have some miscellaneous information on 18th century Durrenberger immigrants to America here.
There are other German families by the names of Duernberger and Dornberger, but their connection to the Durrenberger family is much less certain and are considered beyond the scope of this website.
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Durrenberger Family Database
The database / family tree is an ongoing project that is being continually updated. The primary focus of the database is on people with the surname Durrenberger (or variations thereof), but many Durrenberger descendants with other surnames (as a result of maternal descent) have been included as well. To limit the size of the project as well as protect the privacy of living descendants, the database includes only those persons born about 1910 or earlier. Furthermore, ancestors of non-Durrenbergers (e.g. parents of spouses of Durrenberger descendants) are also not included as separate entries except where they shed light on sibling relationships; however, when known, they are generally described in the notes.
The database has been created for the Web using the Gedpage program. Entering brings up a list of all surnames included, and clicking on a surname then brings you to a list of all persons in the database with that surname. Clicking again on an individual brings up the appropriate Family Group Sheet. One current limitation of the database is the inability to properly display source information. I do keep records of the source of all the information I have entered in the database, and the other contributors have source information for the content they have included, so until such time as I can get the source information on the web database, if you have any questions about sources or references, please contact the appropriate contributor.
All persons are hyperlinked to one another to the extent that their relationship is known. At the moment, not everyone in the database is connected to everyone else, although one ultimate theoretical goal of the project is to make such connections if they exist. A list of the earliest Durrenberger ancestor of each of the discrete trees in the database is useful for getting a sense of how many unconnected families are currently represented in the database, and can be found here.
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What's New (since 2015)
This site was last updated January 2, 2021.
January 2, 2021. All descendants of John Derreberry and Nancy Vandever have been added. This is the Dayberry family of Rutherford and Cleveland Cos., NC, and of western Kentucky. John and Nancy’s son George W. Dayberry of Rutherford Co. in particular has a huge number of descendants. The only lines remaining to be updated are (1) the Dearybury family of South Carolina, and (2) the descendants of William Derreberry and Polly Grissom.
October 17, 2020. After a whole year’s hiatus, another update. All descendants of Benjamin Derryberry (son of Michael) and Susannah Hipps of Cherokee Co., NC have been added. This is a large family with lots of research already done both here and by others, but there are a number of additions and corrections made here to work previously available. This completes all descendants of Michael Derryberry of Burke Co. The only remaining lines to be updated are descended from Michael’s brother George Derryberry of McDowell Co., NC. Also with this update are some corrections to the line of Henry Derryberry of Kentucky, thanks to work by Gloria R. Derryberry.
October 15, 2019. Thanks to the detective work of Marge Bishop, the oldest daughter of Isaac Derryberry of McNairy Co., TN has been identified, namely Alcie Derryberry; she and her husbands, Isaac Barnett and Joseph Boone, have now been added. Also, children and some grandchildren of Michael and George W. Derreberry of Burke Co., NC have been added, along with all descendants of Samuel B. Derreberry (son of George W., later of Benton Co., AR) and John Derreberry (son of Michael, later of Cherokee Co., NC). Only four lineages remain to be done: (1) descendants of Thomas Derreberry, namely the Dearybury family of SC; (2) descendants of John Derreberry (son of George W.) and Nancy Vandever, namely the Dayberry family; (3) descendants of William Derreberry (son of George W.) and Polly Grissom; and (4) descendants of Benjamin J. Derreberry (son of Michael) and Susannah Hipps, later of Cherokee Co., NC.
July 20, 2019. All remaining descendants of Isaac C. Derryberry (i.e., descendants of sons Newton L. C. and Pleasant J. M.) have been added. This completes the family of Jacob Derryberry and Christiana Barnhart. The only Derryberry lineages remaining to be updated are those of brothers Michael and George W. Derreberry (sons of John and Hannah) of Burke Co., NC.
May 26, 2019. I have begun adding descendants of Isaac C. Derryberry and Catherine Myracle, mostly from McNairy Co., TN. The current update includes all of their children and descendants of all of their sons except Newton L. C. and Pleasant J. M.
November 23, 2018. Another quick update. Descendants of Christopher Williams Derryberry have been added, so all descendants of John T. Derryberry of McNairy Co., TN and Alcorn Co., MS are now complete.
November 15, 2018. After being disabled since December 2017 for security improvements, the Durrenberger website has finally been restored! During the time offline, biographies, additions, and corrections have been made to the families of Michael Derryberry (aka DeBerry) of Warren and Cannon Cos., TN, and John T. Derryberry of McNairy Co., TN and Alcorn Co., MS, both sons of Jacob Derryberry and Christiana Barnhart. All of their respective descendants have been finished with the exception of John T.’s son Christopher Williams Derryberry. Besides Christopher, only three major Derryberry lineages remain to be finished: those of Isaac Derryberry (son of Jacob) and those of Michael Derreberry and George W. Derryberry (or Dayberry), both sons of John and Hannah of Burke Co., NC.
August 13, 2017. Biographies, additions, and corrections have been made to two more major Derryberry lines, Henry Derryberry and John Derryberry, Jr. Henry Derryberry was a son of Jacob Derryberry and Christiana Barnhart, and most of his descendants (primarily in Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, and Arizona) now go by the name DeBerry. John Derryberry Jr. was a son of John and Hannah Derryberry of Burke Co., NC, and he died before 1820. His descendants are through two children: Stacy Derryberry, who married Anthony Street, and an unknown son who married a woman named Rebecca. Their descendants went to Russell Co., VA, and from there to neighboring counties in Virginia and West Virginia. His only known descendants with the Derryberry name are from a single great-great-great-grandson who settled in West Virginia and now go by Derberry.
July 18, 2017. First update in more than two years! This update includes biographies, additions, and corrections to all descendants of Andrew Derryberry (Revolutionary War soldier) and Sarah Rucker. John Derryberry (b. 1806) of Monroe and Itawamba Cos., MS, formerly unconnected, has been linked as a child of Andrew and Sarah because they are by far the most likely possible parents. Many other additions and corrections have been made based on the contributions of people too numerous to name that have been sent to me over the last couple of years. Many thanks to everyone who contacted me.
January 11, 2015. Biographies, additions, and corrections to all descendants of Adam Derryberry’s youngest sons John, Andrew and Thomas have been added. The same goes for descendants of George and Nancy Derreberry of Burke Co., NC, whose descendants all run through their daughter Kezziah (McKinney); all of her children and grandchildren have been added. Children of Abraham Richard Derryberry, Sr. have also been added. Finally, a new landing page for the Derryberry family has been added, with links to articles in the Burke County Genealogical Society Journal about the early history of that family.
For a complete update history, click here.
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Other Websites of Interest
www.durrenberger.org : an excellent website pertaining exclusively to the descendants of two Durrenbergers in particular: (1) Gephart Ignatius Durrenberger, born 1818 in Wurttemberg and immigrated to Minnesota, and (2) Joseph Durrenberger, born about 1820 in Alsace and immigrated to Erie Co., NY, and many of whose descendants went to Texas. Gephart's connection to the Swiss/Alsatian family is unknown. This site also has general information on the history of the Durrenbergers, and results of a Durrenberger Y-chromosome DNA study showing that Gephart's descendants and the Swiss/Alsatian family have different Y-chromosome haplotypes.
A Terryberry Family : another website devoted to Stephan Durrenberger and his descendants, authored by Gene Singer. It focuses on one particular line of descent from Stephan which went to Ontario, Canada in the early 19th century. It is written in story format, with biographical details of each descendant.
The National Derryberry Family Association: this page is devoted to the Derryberry family which has been traced back to Burke Co., NC in the late 18th century. Although their connection to the Durrenberger family has not yet been documented, results of DNA testing shows they are almost certainly a branch of this family. There has been much speculation that this family is descended from siblings of Stephan Durrenberger (son of Peter Durrenberger of Mertzwiller and founder of the Terryberry family of northwest New Jersey), but no connection has yet been proven.
Excerpts from The Derreberrys of Burke & Cherokee Counties, North Carolina and Their Descendants : A page by Ben and Ron Jones detailing their extensive research into this branch of the family. In particular, they follow the descendants of Michael Derreberry (b. 1778) of Burke Co., whose sons later went west to Cherokee Co., NC.
Fannie Helena "Lena" Derryberry : this page is devoted to the ancestors and descendants of Lena Derryberry of Collin Co., TX. She was a daughter of Civil War soldier Henry A. Derryberry and Mary Lasley, who came to Texas from Missouri.
The Dürrenberger Family of Diegten : this page, mostly in French, is authored by Robert Dürrenberger of Switzerland, and contains information about the history of the family in general and his particular line of Dürrenbergers from the town of Diegten, KT Basel-Landschaft, Switzerland.
Regenass / Regenos Family Records : this page, by Ken Regenos, includes a number of Dürrenbergers from the town of Lupsingen, KT Basel-Lanschaft, Switzerland. Some information on the Lupsingen line has been borrowed from this site for use here.
The Derryberry Families In America : The 1995 first edition of Bob Derryberry's exhaustive book on this family is now available online through LDS. An extensively revised second edition was published in 2006, and so this online version has a considerable amount of outdated information and needs to be used with caution, but it remains a useful volume.
GenForum's Durrenberger discussion group : a public message board devoted to the Durrenberger surname. Post your queries and comments for the general public here. A separate GenForum group exists for the Derryberry surname.
Ancestry.com discussion groups for Durrenberger, Derenberger, Dernberger, Terriberry, Terryberry, Derryberry, Derreberry, and Dayberry: more public message boards devoted to particular spelling variants of the surname. The Derenberger group pertains primarily to the West Virginia branch of the family (see also the Derenberger Genealogy page mentioned below), the Dernberger group so far pertains to the Oakland Co., MI branch, and the Terryberry group has attracted several family branches using close variants of that spelling.
Cercle d'histoire et d'archéologie de l'Alsace du Nord : a website (in French) pertaining to the history and archaeology of northern Alsace, authored by Daniel Peter, an archivist at the Archives D(c)partementales de Bas-Rhin in Strasbourg (see below under Contributors). A good source of general information about the region of northern Alsace from which many members of the Durrenberger family hail.
Alsabase : a website devoted to Alsatian genealogy presented by the Cercle Généalogique d'Alsace which should be very helpful to anyone researching Alsatian ancestry. It includes databases of Alsatian surnames and the towns in which they can be found, a large collection of links for Alsatian genealogy, and contact information for researchers. Primarily in French.
Derenberger Genealogy : a website authored by Skip Derenberger devoted to the history and genealogy of the Derenberger family of West Virginia. I believe this family to be the descendants of Peter Dürrenberger of Gundershoffen who emigrated to America in 1791. Further details on this family are forthcoming.
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Areas in Need of Research
The Alsatian Durrenberger family of Ribeauvillé and environs. The IGI suggests that the Durrenbergers of Bowling Green, KY have their origins in this area.
The following people have all generously contributed their research to the database. Please contact them if you have any questions about their respective branches of the family. (Replace the "#" with "@" in the email addresses. While less convenient than the old direct links, this helps guard against automated email-seeking programs used in spamming.)
Gloria Rocha Derryberry has been of invaluable help in sorting out relationships within numerous branches of the Derryberry family. She is related through the Dade Co., Georgia branch of this family, and is the principal organizer of the annual Derryberry family reunion. She can be contacted at DerryberryFamily#aol.com.
Sallie McHenry has contributed her exhaustive research on the Derrenberger family who lived primarily in Holmes and Ashland Counties, Ohio; they are descendants of Michael Durrenberger who was born 1779 in Mertzwiller, Alsace, and Catharina Margaretha Leininger who was born 1781 in Mietesheim, Alsace. Sallie can be contacted at SALLIE123#webtv.net.
Karen Tavernier has contributed a large amount of research on the Dernberger family of Warren County, New Jersey and Oakland County, Michigan. This family is descended from George Frederick Durrenberger or Dernberger, who came to what is now Warren County from neighboring Morris County, NJ in about 1790. Many of his descendants migrated west to Michigan between 1835 and 1865. Her research is ongoing, and she can be contacted at kdtavernier#hotmail.com.
Ella Foster has contributed her research on the descendants of Thomas Terryberry in Schuyler and Steuben Cos., NY and environs, particularly the family of his son Minard Teribury. She has provided many newspaper articles and important documents related to this family. She can be contacted at blueemf607#yahoo.com.
David Faux has contributed transcribed birth and death information from the family Bible of Philip Terryberry and Dorothy Swackhammer; these transcripts were received from the late Florence Watson, and may be the only extant records of many of these events. He can be contacted at fauxdk#yahoo.com.
The late Barbara Sprik kindly contributed her research on the descendants of Sarah Derenberger and Philip Hetzer of Meigs County, OH, including information from the Hetzer-Derrenberger family Bible. Sarah was the daughter of John Peter Derenberger who settled in Wood Co., WV.
Betty Harley has contributed information on the descendants of Samuel Terreberry and Catherine Moore. Samuel was a son of Philip Durrenberger of Morris Co., NJ who settled in what is now Welland Co., Ontario in the early 19th century. Betty can be contacted at betty#vaxxine.com.
Donna Fortman has contributed her research on several branches of the Terryberry family of Ontario, most particularly those in Grimsby and Saltfleet Twps. She can be contacted at Dmayteach#sympatico.ca.
Joyce Garrott has contributed information on the descendants of Adelphia Dunbargar (Dunbarger) and Martin Barringer of Washington County, OH and later Dayton, OH. Adelphia was the daughter of John and Sarah Dunbargar, and great-granddaughter of John Peter Derenberger of Wood Co., WV. Joyce can be contacted at joyk8#yahoo.com.
Mike Apgar has contributed the descendants of Mary Jane Terriberry of Hunterdon County, NJ, a granddaughter of Jacob Derenberger and Rachel née Fritts. Mike is currently Vice President of the Apgar Association. He can be contacted at maapgar#comcast.net.
Daniel Hieronymus has contributed information on the descendants of Peter Durrenberger, youngest son of Christian Durrenberger and Anna Margaretha Graff of Mertzwiller. Peter's descendants, primarily the Pfeiffer family, moved from Alsace to Lorraine in the 19th century. Daniel can be contacted at daniel.hieronymus#esstin.uhp-nancy.fr.
Jean Nicolas Bouschbacher has contributed his research on the Durrenberger family of Alsting, Lorraine and environs. They are descendants of Heinrich (Henri) Durrenberger, who was born about 1696 in Neuleiningen, Palatinate and moved subsequently to Alsting in northern Lorraine. Jean Nicolas can be contacted at jnbetz#rtvc.fr.
Gilbert Hoff has contributed information on the descendants of Johannes Durrenberger, son of the Catholic Christian Durrenberger and Margaretha Reymann of Mertzwiller. Married first to Catharina Jochem, Johannes moved from Mertzwiller to Sturzelbronn, Lorraine between 1780 and 1793, when he married there a second time to Catharina Otter. Gilbert can be contacted at gilbert.hoff#free.fr.
Benjamin Durrenberger has contributed the ancestry of Jacob Georges Durrenberger of Mertzwiller. Jacob Georges is descended from three different Durrenberger lines: Adam Durrenberger and Lisbeth Lemmer, Eva Durrenberger and Georg Ledig, and Barbara Durrenberger and Georg Abt, all of Mertzwiller. Benjamin can be contacted at durrenbergerbenjamin#yahoo.fr.
Daniel Peter has written several books in French which contain invaluable information about the lives of the Durrenbergers in Mertzwiller, Alsace and environs, and may be of interest to anyone researching this family. Daniel can be contacted at dabri#free.fr.
Peter, Daniel. Naître, vivre, et mourir dans l'Outre-Forêt (1648-1848). Strasbourg, 1998 (2nd edition).
Peter, Daniel. Mertzwiller du village au bourg. Mertzwiller, 1986.
Brian Anton is the author of this website and maintainer of the database. I am a descendant of Michael Dürrenberger who was born 1861 in Gundershoffen, Alsace. Michael and his two brothers, George and Philipp, immigrated to New York City in the 1870s/80s. I am actively researching the Durrenberger families of northern Alsace and Switzerland. I can be contacted at durrenbergerfamily#gmail.com.
All contributions (both additions and corrections) are welcome and strongly encouraged, so please, if you have Durrenberger roots or even just run across information pertinent to the family, contact me by email at durrenbergerfamily#gmail.com.
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Author: Brian Anton
Email (replace "#" with "@"): durrenbergerfamily#gmail.com
Last updated: January 2, 2021