There are various spellings of this family name including Byer, Beyer, Bayer, Boyer, Bowyer, etc. The earliest ancestor we have been able to find to date, is Henry Boyer who was born about 1724 in Alsace-Lorraine, France and died in 1790 in Frederick County, Maryland. He apprently brought his family to America about the time of the American Revolution. His son Peter, my ancestor moved to Muskingum County, Ohio where he later died and was buried. Our descendents all resided in the Licking and Muskingum County areas of Ohio.
The region of Alsace-Lorraine is located in Northeastern France. It consists of the three French Departments of Haut-Rhin and Bas-Rhin (in Alsace) and Moselle (in Lorraine). On the North, it is bordered by Belgium, Luxemburg, and Germany; on the East, across the Rhine River, by Germany; on the South by the Jura Mountains of Switzerland; and on the West by other Departments of France. The total area of the region is only 5,607 Square Miles. Alsace occupies a plain stretching from the Vosges Mountains to the Rhine River. It is mostly agricultural. Petroleum and Potash are the leading minerals. Lorraine, which adjoins Alsace on the Northwest, contains mountains, plains, and plateau areas. Its deposits of Iron Ore are among the richest in the world, and its Iron and Steel industries are among the most important in Europe.
The people of Alsace-Lorraine are of mixed German and French descent. They speak a German dialect called Alsatian. Most of the people speak French as a second language and the rest speak German. Over 80 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. (A study of the persecution of the French Huguenots is recommended)
Both regions were part of the Holy Roman Empire in medieval times. Near the end of the 13th century, Lorraine came under French influence during the reign of Henry II. The rest of the area was governed by its own Dukes until the 18th century. In 1766, France gained control of Lorraine.
Alsace remained a part of the Holy Roman Empire until the 17th century, although some cities were independent. The remainder came under french rule by 1697.
In 1871, follwing the Franco-Prussian War, Germany annexed the region at which time it was given its present name. France regained control at the end of world War I with the Treaty of Versailles. Germany again took over in 1940. France regained control after World War II.