© 2003 by David Charles Procuniar
The Surname "Procunier" is of French descent
Some of the following paragraphs are excerpts from the Brittain Bragunier Robinson "Braguniers in America"
In the twenty-first century the name is spelled either Procuniar, Procunier, Bragunier, Bragonier, Brecunier, Brockunier or Brogunier. The Procunier family spelling is considered the original. Some well intended references link the family with a Johan Nichol Peckoner SR who landed at Philadelphia in September 1740. However no sources mentioned by any of our family genealogists can supply absolutely the needed proof that this Johan Nichol Peckoner SR is our progenitor, other than the spelling and pronunciation of our similar names, plus the fact that Johan Nichol and our Peter Prakunier (Brockunier) Sr. (my gr gr gr gr grandfather) both lived in Maryland. However I tend to lean toward Johan Nichol Peckoner Sr as my family progenitor mainly because after 16 years of doing my family research I have not found any poof that Johan Nichol is not our family progenitor.
Click HERE for the many different spellings of Procunier that I have found on Documents while doing my research! Surely more additional spellings might be found as the modern Internet savvy family genealogists do more extensive studies. It has been interesting to note the differences in spelling within the same family, in a legal paper and in one instance a daughter in a letter to her father signed her name Bragunier and addressed her father as Brockunier. As evident in 1776, Peter Brockunier SR was listed with his last name spelled Prakunier in Elizabeth Hundred True list of all the Souls, then in the 1790's he is listed as Peter Brockunier. Leading this author to think Peter Brockunier could not write or sign his name and left the spelling of his surname up to census and land recorders to put the spellings in motion. For instance, in my lineage, Samuel Procuniar's great great grandson (Pro-Bowler) Merritt F. Procunier, s/o Claude Procuniar s/o John F. Procuniar, changed his spelling from Procuniar to Procunier, leaving his antecedents in confusion as to why. Possibly since Merritt knew his ancestry was of French Decent he felt the spelling should reflect the French "ier" instead of the Americanization of "iar".
The spelling from Brockunier to Bragunier using the "g" in place of the "ck" was introduced in the Maryland line after 1820. Others dropped the "a" and substituted an "o". In all old Church records, the "g" is wanting and did not belong to the original name. Ref: Brittain Braguniar Robinson, "The Bragunier Family in America".
My great great grandfather, Samuel Procuniar, spelled his name "Prockuner & Prockunier" when he came to Mad River Twp. Montgomery County, Ohio in 1833. As evidenced in Deed Book R-448 1833, Deed Book T-12 1833 and Deed Book X-63 1836 Montgomery County Ohio, when Samuel Procuniar bought land on Brown and Main Street (now Dayton's Oregon District where Samuel's daughter Eliza Procuniar Evans family also lived). Samuel's name is spelled Prockunier on this September 20th 1833 land deed. Samuel's brother William (a Twin) Bragunier's wife, Caroline Grumbine "Bragunier," signed her name Bragunier as a witness on this same land purchase deed. However William Bragunier bought land in Dayton, Ohio in 1837, with William & his wife's name listed as Procunier on the deed. Very confusing to all doing family research! Then later on when William and his family relocated to Illinois they used the Bragunier spelling on documents.
A possible reason William changed his surname from Procunier to Bragunier is because according to Lawrence County Illinois county records, William went security for a man in Lawrence County not long after leaving Dayton, Ohio that resulted in William losing everything which they managed to accumulate over the years, except for a team, their horses and their bed clothing and had to start out life fresh and using the Bragunier spelling seemed to get rid of the stigma of his bankruptcy! My research did not disclose if the person Willilam went security for was another family member.
When my wife & I were researching my great grandfather Jacob Procuniar’s nephew John Franklin Procuniar we ran into trouble while looking in the Cincinnati Ohio library. We knew that in 1882 John and Agnes moved their family to Cincinnati Ohio to work in the Candy Business & John is listed in the Cincinnati data occupation "Confectioner". However we could not find anything under the Procuniar spelling or anything with the "P" spelling. Then we looked under the "B" spelling & found John and his family listed in the census as John F Brocuniar. This research is how we found out that John & Agnes moved to Chicago Illinois in 1903. dcp
The Procunier family is said to be of French Huguenot origin, and being Protestant in faith, was forced to flee from France at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV (in 1685) and find a refuge in England, Holland and Germany, from whence some of the younger members came to America. The word Huguenot is believed to be derived from two Flernish words: HUIS - home and GENOOTEN - fellows. It referred to Protestant Bible students who met secretly in each others homes to study the bible. The bibles they studied were a French version produced by John Calvin and his followers in the 1550's in Geneva Switzerland. [Note that John Calvin was a famous French Protestant of the 16th century] Much of the faith of the Scottish Presbyterian Church is based on the teachings of John Calvin.
It is generally believed by most members of the family that their family descends from a French Huguenot immigrant. Some think this immigrant came from Alsace, or Elsace township, Berks county, in Germany where many French Reformed or Huguenots came from. One branch of the family in the United States originated among German speaking settlers in Pennsylvania, and the earliest members of this branch did not learn to speak English, but German in early childhood. The story exists with these members of the family that the immigrant came to America from Alsace. There are beliefs that there was only one unmarried pioneer descendent that arrived here in America.
Johan Nichol Peckoner Sr was removed from the Huguenot records due to lack of proof. Click HERE to see more! Another story is that four brothers came to North or South Carolina and shortly thereafter moved to Hagerstown, Maryland. The four being Peter (Prakunier) Brockunier SR; George Braggoonner SR; Henry Peckiner & Jacob Burgooner. This is where the Beckner family suggests that Johan Nichol Peckoner and his son John Nichol settled (in North or South Carolina) after coming to America in 1740 leaving Maryland and Pennsylvania for the Carolina's.
Still another story relates that the early pioneer first landed in Massachusetts but moved away from that state possibly before leaving any records. What records that have been found would support the claim that Maryland and Pennsylvania were the original Brockunier, Prockunier, Procunier ancestral home. Ref: Bragunier Family in America by Brittain Bragunier Robinson 1969 & The Bragonier Family by Georgiana H. Randall 1969 pages 6-7.
As stated before, the Procuniar\ier family might have come from a refugee who appears on the arrival list at Philadelphia, in 1740, as Johan Nichol Peckoner SR, who located at Clear Springs, Maryland. His grandson, Rev. Daniel Bragunier, was a distinguished minister of the Reformed Church, and the original "Old Mr. Huguenot" in "The Young Parson" by Dr. Peter Davis. Ralph Beaver Strassburger in Pennsylvania German Pioneers, Vol. 1, p. 276, 1934, listed the names of early Pennsylvania pioneers, presents the following record. A list of men's names and ages of passengers of the ship "Lydia" from Rotterdam, but last of Dover, qualified Sept. 27, 1740 at Philadelphia included,
Johan Nichol Peckoner Age 36
Johan Nichol Peckoner Jun Age 15
Only the older male passengers were recorded in the ships log. The fact that there were younger children is proved through later records per Brittain Bragunier Robinson.
The name Peckoner is undoubtedly surprising to many of the American descendants. Prof. Samuel Hugh Brockunier, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn., has the original of the following letter which his father received in 1910 when he was studying the genealogy of the family.
Chas. W. Brockunier, Esq.,
Wheeling, West Virginia, U.S.A.
Dear Sir and Brother,
Yours duly received and I hasten to reply. All that is known by me re ancestors is founded in the oral testimony of my late Father. He informed us that originally our ancestors were Huguenots, refugees from France. Their first retreat was in Germany. There owing to their defective or otherwise peculiar pronunciation, not being able to properly sound "P" the name was twisted into Brockunier. Then some time after they migrated to U.S.A. either Virginia or the Carolinas and held plantations, but, when trouble arose over Slavery they again trekked and landed in Canada, and changed the name to its "original" form Procunier. This is all the information at my disposal except that a Miss Procunier, about thirty five years ago, who taught school in Topeka, Kansas, for a number of years visited my Father and said that she was so much interested in the family antecedents that, gathering all the information she could in U.S.A. and Canada, she made a trip to France and near Paris found descendants by that name at a place from which the original branch came. I was a mere boy then, am forty seven now, and did not carefully preserve her data.
Life has not much leisure in a new Continent for family history & details. Bread and butter, Success, are the things that our forbears kept in their minds eye. I have my oldest brother, sixty one he is, delving and hunting, but have not heard from him lately. I say I have him doing this, because he is near the old settlements and could get all old official files registers government papers et al. I am two thousand miles from my old home and not at the place of my Father.
I have no doubt that the same blood flows in our veins; and across space and ages I greet you. I once heard of a Miss Elizabeth Brockunier of Schwicke, Pennsylvania and wrote her, but, could get not definite information. "Peter" seems a family name in a way as my grand Father's name was "Peter" and I have heard that such is a fact. I am very glad indeed that you wrote me and should I learn anything further or more definite I shall be pleased to communicate with you. My father was born in 1818 Walsingham, Ontario, Canada, Ob. 1886. Allow me to congratulate you on your long life and wish you many more years of peace and prosperity. My family, excepting myself, are all what they term in Canada Methodists. I am the only one belonging to the Church of England in Canada. Have been rector of St. Peters Church, Revelstoke for ten years. These personal items are unimportant, yet, I have a feeling of Kinship, and long to know more about you, so I tell you of myself. Trusting that I may hear from you again, I am, my dear relation, May I say,
Yours sincerely & affectionately
Signed: Charles Ault Procunier
The only point of the Rev. Procunier's letter that may not conform to the facts as they are available (1910) is of minor importance. The Reverend's story is that the Procuniers settled first in America in Virginia or the Carolinas. No records have been found of early family members in the Carolinas except the Beckner family who say in their book that they are the descendants of John Nicol Prockner Jr. and most Virginia members from the area just south of Hagerstown, Maryland probably did not go to Virginia until after the beginning of the nineteenth century. However, the Virginia and Carolina records have not been studied well, (except for the Beckner family) as little or no evidences arisen to suggest the need of studies there. It might be possible that some Procunier not yet connected to the "tree" and unknown to this writer may have a Carolina history. Rev. Procunier's mention of a Procunier school teacher at Topeka, Kansas about 1880 is slightly significant in that four Bragunier brothers [Children of William Bragunier] were settled there as is related in this website.
Ref: Bragunier Family in America by Brittain Bragunier Robinson 1969
One record with the "P" spelling is that of a marriage in early colonial records, namely "Henry Werner, and Susana Pragunier, May 28, 1779" Maryland Records Colonial Rev. County Church, by Brumbaugh, p. 529, 1915. In the first US. Census in 1790 there is one head of a family listed, i.e. Peter Parcunia, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. In addition to Peter was his wife, both over 16 years of age but no children. This Peter Parcunia, is probably the son of Peter Brockunier Sr. Peter's last name was spelled Prakunier in the 1776 Frederick County Census.
My great great grandfather Samuel Procuniar's name was spelled "Procuna" in the 1860 Federal Census & the 1860 Montgomery County, Mad River Township, Ohio Census.
While the "P" may later be found to have been the original correct way of spelling the family name, it is evident through records that the first letter "B" was used by many families among the Huguenots who fled from France but settled elsewhere in Europe, (Germany, England). The Proceedings of the Huguenot Society of London, record some nine or more Procunier's who fled from France to England around 1600-1700. Many of these are baptismal records as is illustrated by the following citation: Jeanne Nau, daughter of Pierre Nau & Louise Braconier Baptist at Church La Patente, London, Vol. XI, p.89, June 21, 1719.
These early Huguenots or their predecessors fled France to England, Germany and Holland. The Procunier and Bragunier families were well established in Maryland some 20 years before the first family marriage record found in Maryland and some 23 years before the tax records of Henry Bragooner in Lancaster County, Pa.
The Maryland Land Office records show the surveyed and parented land of "Hagers Long Hickory" to Peter Bragunier 1760 in Frederick County Md. The Bragunier Genealogy by Brittain Bragunier Robinson serves as a record to connect the whole Bragunier line to the Procuniar's through Daniel . I have in my possession, a letter dated February 07, 1877, that was sent to my great grandfather Jacob Procuniar by his first cousin Thomas D. Bragunier. Thomas addressed his letter Jacob Bragunier instead of the way Jacob spelled his last name Procuniar. Thomas is the son of William Bragunier (the younger brother of Samuel Procuniar). by David C. Procuniar 1999
Sources: (Also see "Sources" on the hyperlink above)
The "Bragonier Family" by Georgiana H. Randall 1969
The "Bragunier Family in America" by Britain Bragunier Robinson 1969
First Reformed Church of Hagerstown Maryland church records on LDS micro-film
Note! ... I have come in contact (June of 1998) with a family genealogist with the surname Beckner who claim to have Johan Nichol Peckoner JR as their family progenitor. Of course if they claim John Nichol JR then they have to claim his father John Nichol SR! Two of the Beckner genealogists recently published a book "BECKNERS in America" 1996. However the authors of this book decided to change the spelling of Johan Nichol Peckoner's surname (from Peckoner as listed on the ship Lydia's log) to Beckner? Per their book these Johan Nichol Beckners are said to have come to the Carolinas from Maryland and Pennsylvania!
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