The Gamber, Hemminga, Hughes, Kirkland, Bibau/Bebout, McCall, Zehnder and relations family pages

Deena got us started digging the family roots
picture January 2001

For most of my life I paid little attention to my ancestry. My philosophy was that what you are as an individual is important, not who your ancestors were. I still feel that way, but in the last few years have found it fascinating to look into our roots. That hobby has led to travel to and study of the Netherlands, Germany, France, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. I have found and met with many cousins and fellow researchers. And I have found that my roots actually do explain much of what I am.

But genealogy is more than self-discovery - it is the ultimate puzzle. You don't know in advance how many pieces there are, or where they might be. And the colors often don't match, as "correct" spelling is a concept of very recent origin. (My favorite historical example is the Breugel family - famous painters over three generations. These were well educated people, and among three of them they used FOUR different spellings of the family name.)

The genealogy data presented below is a compilation from many sources. Some of the data is from primary sources (birth, death, wedding, baptism, etc., records), while much is from secondary and tertiary sources. Without the help of all those who created the additional sources, we would not have nearly as complete a picture. Data sources are shown for most individuals. Our thanks to the many, living and dead, who did the initial digging for us.

The genealogy data is divided into several files. Our maternal (Hemminga) and paternal (Gamber) trees are shown separately because there were no links between them until our parents married. The Bibau/Bijbau/Bibauw line in Europe is shown because of Hemminga/Bibauw cousins, but separately because there are apparently no direct ancestors. The American Bebout/Beabout branches of that family are in the Gamber data, where there are at least two cousin links and many less direct links. The Kirkland line is being collected for our nieces. The Hughes-Zehnder section contains my wife's ancestors (primarily information collected by her father) plus material on in-law lines. The McCall line is the ancestry of Deena's partner Beau.

In accordance with European Union privacy laws, those born since 1910 are not included in the data posted to the web. If you have questions about people born more recently, please contact me.

A word concerning dates. We have over 20,000 people covering over 600 years. Many names repeat - for example, we have about 100 individuals named John (or some variation such as Jan or Johannes) Gamber. When a new piece of information on some individual is found, it is critical to know if the name and time frame could relate to someone already in the file. Hence if we do not have a documented date of birth, if at all possible I will estimate one. Men are presumed to be at least 20 at marriage, women 18. If no better base is known, children are presumed to be born between the mother's 18th and 45th year. These estimates are most often found in 19th century US births. They are not used to merge individuals unless there is some additional information.

Everything on the site, and the design of the site, is a draft. Any piece of information which does not have a primary document as the source should be taken as indicative, not definitive. (And even primary documents may be wrong - after all, the person who writes the birth certificate knows only what he was told concerning the paternity.) Research continues.

When I first created my own web site I included our genealogy databases as converted by ged2html. I also put a copy on RootsWeb's WorldConnect, which is also indexed in In Spring 2003 I changed my procedures, using WorldConnect only. There are links to/from WorldConnect is free, and takes much less time than maintaining the data on my own site. WorldConnect allows me complete control of our data. The other pages remain on our own server.

Comments, corrections and additional information are welcome.

Dan Gamber
last update 9 May 2008


HEMMINGA Families of Friesland, Groningen and America
Ancestors of my mother, their relatives, and others who have used the name HEMMINGA since about 1400, plus information on the related Walta family. Over 5,000 individuals.

and related Maryland, New England, New York, New Jersey,
Virginia and Pennsylvania Pioneer Families

The ancestors of my father and their relatives, and the Be(a)bout families in the United States. Over 15,000 individuals.

HUGHES and ZEHNDER Families of Minnesota, Wales and Switzerland
My wife's ancestors, containing mostly information collected by her father David Wendell Hughes. About 1,000 individuals.

BULLARD, KIRKLAND and relations of Georgia and the Carolinas
Ancestors and relatives of our nieces - over 1,000 individuals.

The BIBAU/BIJBAU/BIBAUW Families of Belgium and the Netherlands
Cousins on our mother's side in the 20th century, on our father's side as at least in-laws in the 17th and 19th. 497 individuals. (See the Gamber file for the US branches of this family.)

McCALL - Ulster, NC, SC, GA, FL
Deena's mate's family. Over 3,000 individuals.

What was it like to emigrate?
This letter is included because it one of the best I have seen on the emigration experience. The author is not a relative, and he migrated 200 years later than some of our Gamber ancestors. Yet his experience, particularly on the ocean crossing, must have been similar to what our paternal ancestors experienced. (Our maternal ancestors had a much different time at the beginning of the 20th century.)

Your living history

Do your children and grandchildren know all about you? Not likely. Copy the attached questionnaire and fill it out. Give copies to the kids and expand it to answer their questions. If some parts embarrass you, put that section in a safety deposit box to be opened on your death.

Preserving Historical Records

The United States has no national policy for the preservation of many of the records that are critical to studying the history of our families and country. Old property (land) records are rotting in DC, old court records are destroyed in various states in the name of privacy, and Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Colorado have sealed death records permanently. There is no privacy reason to seal any records for longer than 100 years, and the destruction of land records makes tracng title impossible.

Other nations consider such records vital. The Netherlands is a model: national policy that all civil records should be copied at the provincial level from the local files, and that additional copies should be held at the national level. In recent years, masses of birth, marriage, death and family registry records have been digitized and put on the internet.

Lately, the US has been going the opposite direction. At the national level, funding for the National Archives has been reduced, forcing a major reduction in work to physically preserve records. And research hours at the archives have been reduced. At the state level I have seen instances in at least two states where counties decided that old court records were too much trouble. They were turned over to historical associations, often without the resources to provide safe storage.

At least two efforts are underway to correct these problems. A broad group of archivists, historians, genealogists and those with similar interests are requesting that Congress pass legislation making it national policy that vital records be preserved, and providing modest funding to foster that. See Preserving the American Historical Record.

People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access are specifically campaigning to have the death records of Pennsylvania unsealed, and if possible digitized and placed on line. Several states have in fact been putting death records on the internet - which strikes me as a much better way to fight possible identity theft than making the records secret.

Gamber Net | contact Dan