Origin of Most American Yoho's

The origin of most American Yoho's is Alsace France. Keep in mind however that although the origin of American Yoho's is Alsace, research shows the origin of the Joho name is Swiss.. The majority of Joho's to this day still live in Switzerland. Evidently, some Joho's moved from Switzerland and settled in Alsace and Germany during the 1600's or early 1700's... Alsace, a small region located at the center of Western Europe (red region in above image), is bordered by Germany (G) on the East and Switzerland on the South.

Alsace is divided into two regions based on origin of the Rhine River. The region closest to the origin (Switzerland) is called the Upper Rhine or Haute-Rhin. The capital of this region is Colmar. The Lower Rhine (actually Northern Alsace) is the Bas-Rhin with the capital of Strasbourg (Photo Below). Lembach Alsace, circled in red in both maps below is reported to have been the home of Johannes Joho, the first known American immigrant. For history of Alsace Click Here.

Johann Michael Joho

The earliest known Joho in Alsace was Johann Michael (1678-1735) the father of Johannes Joho the first known American immigrant..

A Word About Names: Johann Michael Joho had at least three sons with the first name "Johannes". All but Johannes "the immigrant" had a "middle name". This is confusing to new researchers. Based on explanation below Johann Michael would have been called Michael Joho. His son Johannes Joho (no "middle name") would have been called John. .. From Kerchner: 18th Century German Naming Customs:

Old European names often have two given names prior to the surname. The first is the spiriutal and the second the secular or call name. .. If two given names are used, the first is the spiritual and the second the secular or call name . The child's secular name was really John, if and only if, at baptism he was named only John, usually spelled as Johannes, with no second given name. The name John spelled as Johannes is rarely seen spelled as Johannes as a spiritual name, i.e., you rarely will see the name at baptism recorded as Johannes Adam Kerchner, etc. It is generally always found spelled as Johan or Johann when used as a spiritual name. Thus, you find the spiritual name of John recorded as Johan Adam Kerchner or Johann Adam Kerchner, not Johannes Adam Kerchner. Many researchers, new to German names, who find a baptism of an individual with a name such as Johan Adam Kerchner, thus mistakenly spend a lot of time looking for a John Kerchner, in legal and census records, when he was known after baptism, to the secular world, as Adam Kerchner....

Johann Michael was born ca 1678 but his birth place is not known. He was living in Alsace at the time of the confirmation of his son Johannes and daughter Anna Maria Margaretha.in 1729. It is also not known if Michael's children were born in Alsace or Switzerland. Family tradition indicates they were born in Alsace but new research (11/05) found no record of their births there (See Menu Item: 2005 Research).. Since the earliest Joho originated in Switzerland (Baden 1395), Michael. and his children may have been born in Switzerland and moved to Alsace in the early 1700's. Records indicate Michael was living in Sulzthal/Lembach Alsace, the location of which can be found in the above maps.

Michael is reported to have been a Meat Cutter and to have served as a soldier in Alsace. Denver Yoho reported that Michael died in Alsace in 1735 but more recent research does not confirm that data.

Johann Michael married Susanna Gelker(? - ?).. They had at least four children who lived in Sulzthal/Lembach. More information about this location can be found in menu item: Latest Research.

First Immigrants: Johannes and Susanna Joho

The first recorded evidence of Joho immigrants to the US was in 1738.. Pennsylvania German Pioneers (Genealogical Publishing Company 1966) recorded a list of all the Palatine Passenger on board the ship "Snow Two Sisters", James Marshall, Master, from Rotterdam, last from Cowes in England in the year 1738. The ship landed in Philadelphia on Sept 5th. The passenger list shows 41 men, 30 women and 39 children at half freight.. Among the passengers were Johannes Joho age 37 and his wife Susanna age 44*.. An "Oath of Allegance" list is also included. . Men were required to signify their allegance to the new country by putting an "X" by their name..

There is evidence that Johannes and Susanna's children (Maria Christina and Catharina) accompanied them on the voyage. It is likely they both died enroute to America or shortly after they arrived. (Click For New Manifest). See Also History of Johannes Children.

It is interesting to note that Joho is spelled Johe on this list but an "X" does appear by his name.. There are families in Europe and America today that spell their name Johe and Yohe. The unanswered question is whether these are derivations of the original spelling Joho or separate families.. Passenger and Oath List. (Strassburger)

*Evidence Below of Lau Family disputes Susanna's age at time of immigration. In the Lau records, Susanna was born in 1705 which would have made her 33 at time of immigration not 44. As well, Johannes was reportedly born in 1712 which would have made his age 26 not 38 as stated in ship's log.

Origin of Johannes and Susanna Joho

Records show that Johannes Joho and his wife Susanna Laur (Lau) Joho lived near Lembach on a farm named Sulzthal. This area is located in Northern Alsace or in the Bas-Rhin Region.

Johannes, son of Michael Joho was born between 1701 and 1712. For explanation of discrepency see Yoho Page. He died in 1795 and is buried in the "Yoho Cemetery" along Fish Creek in Marshall County WV.. The date of Susanna's death and her burial site is not known. She may also be buried in Yoho Cemetery.

Susanna (Between 1702/1714 - ?) was the daughter of Hans Theobald Lau (Laur) who was either a manorial farmer in Sulzthal near Lembach Alsace.. Hans married a Margaretha Unknown and had four children in Sulzthal. The following information is from Data Page of John Boring and the Henderson Family Page

Johannes and Susanna were married March 1, 1735 in Lembach and had two daughtes. Maria Christina was born on 20 Oct 1735. Denver Yoho reported that Maria died before 1738 the year they immigrated to America. The death of Maria in Alsace is probably true but there is no known record of her death. A second daughter, Catharina was born in 1737 and also probably died in Alsace since neither daughter is listed on ship manifest (Two Sisters) with Johannes and Susanna.

First American Settlement: Conewago PA

Johannes and Susanna moved to Conewago in Adams/York County Pennsylvania. Conewago is an iroquois name meaning below the riffles. Martin Kitzmiller first purchased this land in a proprietary tract known as "Digges Choice" in 1737. The tract as surveyed contained 6,822 acres and was described as lying on "Little Conewago Creek". It principally lay in what is now Adams County, but passed into York County. In this county it comprised the present limits of Germany and Conowago Townships.

In August 1745, a resurvey was made and 3,679 acres were added to the former survey. This tract was 4 miles north of the temporary line between PA and Maryland surveyed in 1732. Subsequent disagreements led to the murder of Dudley Digges by Jacob Kitzmiller in Feb 1752. From 1735 to 1752 Germans came by the thousands. In the fall of 1749 no less than 20 ships arrived in Philadelphia bringing 12,000 passengers. (Egle) For those looking for historical records, there are several churches in this area. Conewago Chapel was originally a Jesuit chapel and built in 1787. This chapel is on U.S. 30 four miles south of New Oxford. Christ Reformed Church is 3 miles east of Little Town and 5 miles north west of Hanover. The grave yard has graves of many pioneers.

While living in Conewago, Johannes and Susanna had 2 daughters. Records show that Johannes still used the original Joho spelling of his name for the first two children in America.. Maria Christina Joho was born March 14 1740.. She was baptized on May 20 1740 with her sponsors being Janeslaus Wuchtel and Maria Christina Baumann. There is no known record of her marriage or death.. Eva Catarina Joho was born May 26 1741. She was baptized June 25 1741 with her sponsors being Wentzel Buchtrueckel and wife. Eva married George Lemley.. George settled just north of the Mason Dixon Line along Dunkard Creek in 1797 on a tract of land named in the patent "Cheval-de-Frise". .Family tradition says he was born in Germany about 1742.. He died June 11, 1813. . Eva Catarina bore him eleven children. She died Nov 5, 1825. (Core)

Birth Records From: 
Notes & Queries
Historical, Biographical and Genealogical Relating Chiefly to Interior PA.
Geneaological Pub. Co. 1896

Second Settlement: First Use of Yoho

Johannes and Susanna moved to near Winchester Virginia sometime during or before 1745 since their oldest son Peter was born in 1745 eighteen miles from Winchester.. All known records show Peter's and his other brothers and sisters surname as Yoho.. Since "J" in German is pronounced as "Y" in English, it must be assumed that Johannes and Susanna "Americanized" their name during this time.

The exact location of their land may be on or near a tract deeded by Lord Fairfax to John "O" Yoho* in 1766 and sold by John "O" Yoho to Alexander Machir in 1771.. In an earlier discussion I wondered if John of this deeded land was Johannes the father or his son John. This question has now been answered with information from Tom Rhyne (12/8/20).

The new evidence supplied by Tom Rhyne determines that John of the Fairfax Deed was Johannes. John was living on the Fairfax land as early as 1755 even though he was not deeded the property eleven years later in 1766 by Lord Fairfax. Johannes's son John could not have been the owner of this property as he was reportedly born in 1746. He would have only been nine years old in 1755, too young to have a homestead. In addition, the John in question served as an appraiser for Fredrick County Virginia in 1760 when John Jr. would have only been 14, far too young to have served in that capacity. We now know that Johannes was the John of the Fairfax Deed who had americanized his name to John. In addition, John's move to Western Virginia with his family in 1762 or 1763 may related to a suit against his personal property in Winchester in 1762. (New Evidence of John Yoho and Fairfax Deed)

The deed for this land can be seen by clicking here. In addition, Hugh Yoho found the tract of land in a search he did in 2001 and 2002 (Click Here For Article).

* For some time, I assumed the "O" in John Yoho's signature was a middle name. However, Page Miller in 1995 sent convincing evidence that the "O" was actually John's Mark to signify his signature. He evidently did not want to use an "X"

Seven additional sons and daughters were born to Johannes and Susanna while they lived near Winchester. The history of these children is discussed in another section (Main Menu: Children of Johannes/Susanna).

* It is questionable that Jacob and Prudence are children of Johannes and Susanna.(See Yoho Page)

Third and Final Settlement: Western VA (WV)

The final move of Johannes, Susanna and their family was to Western Virginia now West Virgina. They settled in what is now Marshall Co. near Fish Creek in the Ohio Valley located in the northern panhandle of the state.. Based on one of their sons war record, the move occurred around 1762. This is supported by evidence that John and family were not present in Winchester in 1762. (New evidence about John Joho). Henry Yoho's war record states that he moved with his fathers family to Western Virginia when he was eleven years old. Since Henry was born in 1752, he would have been 11 in 1763, but perhaps he was mistaken about his age at the time as evidence puts him in Western Virginia in 1762.

Historical evidence shows the family was in Western VA sometime prior to the Revolutionary War since Henry Yoho enlisted in the Western VA. militia in 1776 while John and Henry served in the PA Militia in 1777.. Virginia tax records of 1785 and 1795 lists John, Jacob, Peter, and Henry as living near Fish Creek.

John (Johannes) did return to Winchester in 1766 to establish his claim of the land deeded by Lord Fairfax.

In March 26, 1765 the Proprietor, Lord Thomas Fairfax, issued an ultimatum to those who had not gotten their deeds. If they did not finish the process by September 29, 1766, he would begin legal process against them to escheat their land and remove them from it. Thus Yoho, Jonathan Tipton, and many others made their way to the Proprietor's Office at White Post, Virginia to obtain their deeds in 1766. Yoho showed up there on August 19 about 40 days before the deadline.(New evidence about John Yoho)

John also returned to Winchester to sell his land to Alexander Machir in 1771.

John died ca 1795 and is thought to be buried in the Yoho Cemetery. Susanna's death date is not known. She is probably also buried in the Yoho Cemetery.


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