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Bankes Family Origin (& the Bacher Error)

The Bankes family can be traced back to John Engel Binkes who lived in New Hanover Township, Philadelphia County, now Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  His wife was named Anna, referred to as “old Mrs. Benkes” upon her death in 1786 in the Records of the Goshenhoppen Reformed Charge.  John Engel Binkes wrote his will in 1770 and he died about four years later, between late 1773 or early 1774.  In his will he mentioned his wife Anna and listed five Children: John Peter, John George, John Henry, Anna Elizabeth, and Andrew, as well as Anna Elizabeth’s husband Andrew Sahler.

The name Bankes has a variety of different spellings including: Benkes, Benckes, Binkes, Bankus, Benges, and Bonckes.  Currently, the origin of this particular family is unknown, but different spellings of the name can be traced back to Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.  In examining documents and tombstones, the heritage of the John Engel Binkes family appears to German.  The signature of Andrew, John Engel’s youngest son, appears on his petition for a Revolutionary War pension in German script, where his name can be transcribed as Bönckes.  The pension application indicates that both Andrew and his father could write.  Andrew mentions that proof of his birth date is recorded in a family bible in his father’s handwriting.

Andrew’s older brother John Peter Bankes married Barbara Stettler on the 2nd of November, 1773. Barbara was the daughter of Heinrich Stettler.  According to tax records, Peter owned slightly under 60 acres of land in New Hanover Township, where he was a farmer and fox hunter. Andrew lived in this area, but never owned any land. For a few years he was taxed for 100 acres of the estate of Leonard Geissinger. It is possible that he lived and farmed this land until he moved to Upper Hanover Township.  He finally moved in 1809 to what would become Schuylkill County.

Andrew, also known by the German form Andreas, has a son Andrew/Andreas Jr. born the 7th of December, 1801. He married Katharine Paul, daughter of John Paul and Regina Alspach residents of West Brunswick Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. The Hein family connects to the Bankes family when Phoebe Bankes, the daughter of Andrew Jr. and Katharine married John Hein. After her husband’s death Phoebe moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where many of her children had migrated.

Andrew Jr., Katharine, John Hein and Phoebe are buried at Frieden’s Church Cemetery in New Ringgold, Schuylkill County, PA.


Recent research widely cited on the internet as well as a published book titled “Johann Engel Bankes (1706-1774) And His Descendants” by Doris Bankes Kent links John Engel Binkes with Johann Engel Bacher, who immigrated in October of 1763 on the ship Richmond. 

Problems with the Bacher connection:

1. The name:  Phonetically the transition from Bacher to Bankes does not occur naturally. The names could appear similar in writing; however, it is difficult to foresee that any circumstance in this respect caused a change in pronunciation.

2. Date of Arrival: The immigration date of Johann Engel Bacher does not correspond with the birth information from Andrew Bankes Sr. Johann Engel Backer immigrated to Philadelphia on the ship Richmond on the 5th of October, 1763. The youngest child of John Engel Binkes was Andrew who according to his own statement as Revolutionary War pension applicant, he was born on the 8th of February, 1756 at the place where he resided in Philadelphia County. Therefore, the arrival of Johann Engel Bacher is too late for him to be Andrew’s father, John Engel Binkes.

3. Land: John Engel Binkes mentions in his will that he purchased his plantation of 54 Acres in New Hanover Township, Philadelphia County, in 1760 from Fredrick Hilligas.  This date is prior to the arrival of Johann Engel Bacher.

Conclusion: There is no connection between John Engel Binkes and Johann Engel Bacher/Baecher.

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