Select Beck Surname Genealogy

Here are some Beck stories and accounts over the years:

Becks in the Grewelthorpe Area of North Yorkshire

There were a number of Beck families recorded in this part of North Yorkshire, dating probably back to the 17th century: 
  • Thomas and Mary Beck who lived at Missise and died in Kirkby Malzeard in the early 1700’s. 
  • John and James Beck who lived at Kirkby Malzeard in the mid 1700’s.  They were the parents of William Beck of Foulgate Nook in Grewelthorpe and the grandparents of John Beck the miller who later became the innkeeper of the Manor House Inn in Kirkby Malzeard in 1881.  
  • Francis and Mary Beck who lived at Hackfall Gate in Grewelthorpe in the 1820’s and 1830’s.  Francis was a farm laborer and their daughter Dorothy a dressmaker. 
  • Charles Beck, a shoemaker, and his wife Mary who lived in Kirkby Malzeard in the 1830’s and 1840’s. Their sons Charles, a slate merchant, and Peter, a tailor, moved to Ripon.

Becks in Ulster

Tradiition has it that two Beck brothers came to Ulster with the English troops in the late 16th century.  One of them, Adam, died soon after his arrival and it was the other, John, who survived and looked after their children. 

This family was of foreign extraction and appeared to have settled in London sometime during the 16th century.  The Heralds' Visitation of 1633 described the then head of the family Abraham Beck as "descended out of Ancou," possibly meaning Alsace-Lorraine. 

John W. Beck traced the family in his 1929 book A Brief History of the Beck Family in Northern Ireland.  He had worked at the Public Record Office in Dublin before it had been destroyed by bombing and fire in 1922.

Becks in America by Country of Origin

Numbers (000's)
German-speaking lands

Conrad Beck of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania

Conrad Beck or Peck was born in Dauphin county, Pennsylvania in 1791.  He became well-known as the keeper of the toll road in his county where he sold cakes and beer.  He was also noted as being something of an eccentric genius.  He was not only singing master of vicinage, but was a finished mechanic and it was said that he could make or mend anything. 

When a widower in old age he married a younger woman and they moved out to Michigan.  One of his descendants was a survivor of the Titanic disaster in 1912.  Present-day descendants hold a reunion each year in Kansas.

Peter Beck of Two Lancaster Counties

Conrad Beck and his family had settled in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania by the early 1800’s.  Son Peter married Sarah Moore in 1850 and they were to move west to Wisconsin in 1861.  Eight years later, they left Wisconsin to homestead in Lancaster county, Nebraska. 

The family found a place two miles northeast of the town of Hickman where Peter took up farming.  They raised nine children there and remained lifelong residents of the area, living in town after 1891.  Both Peter and Sarah died in the year 1916, within three months of each other.

Jacob Beck in Baden, Ontario

The Becks had been millers for generations and were familiar with water power.  Jacob Beck had arrived with his family in America in 1829 when he was twelve and followed them to Canada six years later.  In his early twenties, he started a foundry near Preston.  It was later moved to a site near Berlin to become the centre of a new community that he called Baden after his birthplace in Germany.  The village grew rapidly and by 1864 had a population of 400. 

His son Adam later recalled: 

“My father in the early 1850’s founded this village with a neighbor, the kindly Chris Miller who assisted hardy pioneers in hewing their way through forests and brush to start their new homes.  My thoughts at this time also go out to those dear women of Baden who were associates of my mother in founding the little Lutheran Church in this virgin community snatched from nature.” 

Young Adam particularly enjoyed the Saengerfests that took place at Christmas in the church when old-time carols were sung by all.  The Saengerfests consisted of choirs, bands, parades and dancing with both German and English songs and were considered the musical highlights of the era. 

He was strongly influenced by a father characterized as "alert, daring and energetic, so charged with optimism that adversity could not keep him down,” and a mother who was kindly, busy and a leader in community activities. 

However, during the economic downturn of the late 1870’s, Jacob Beck went bankrupt and had to sell out. He moved with his family to Detroit where he set up and prospered in the grain and cereal business.  He died there in 1906 at the ripe old age of ninety.

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