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French Families

The largest number of Reebs in North America has origins in France. Immigration began in 1752 and continued with varying intensity until 1920. Many immigrants from Alsace and Lorraine may have identified themselves as German, particularly during the period of German rule – 1872-1918. The majority of these immigrant families go by the surname Rape or derivative.


Breitenbach, Bishofsheim, Dambach la Ville, Bas Rhin, France


Today’s Surname: Reeb

1900-1930 Locations: France, Romania, England, USA: Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and elsewhere.

Comment:  In 1650, this extended Reeb family had four branches living in the Vosges Mountain villages of Steig, Breitenbach, Ottrott, and Bishofsheim. From these places, they ventured to other parts of Alsace, western France, Austro-Hungary and USA. The Austro-Hungarian branch is described elsewhere.

Background: The unknown progenitors (7) of this extended family are listed on the 1618 census of Kattenholtz (now Chatenois, Bas Rhin, France). Speculating on name patterns, it seems they are Hans, Gall, Mathias and Michael. By the mid 1700s family members from each of the branches move to places that are more productive and better work prospects - Dambach la Ville, Molsheim and Strasbourg. During the mid to late 1800s most of this extended family remained in Bishofshein and Molsheim. These Reeb families were mostly vineyard and winery workers in the 18th and early 19th centuries.


Dauendorf, Bas Rhin, France


Today’s Surname: Reeb

1900-1930 Locations: France

Comments: In 1600 there were five branches of this Catholic family living in Dauendorf and near by Haguenau. Many of these Reebs died during the Thirty Year War. By the mid 1800s, they were spread throughout much of northern Alsace. No members of this family are known to have immigrated to America.

Background: Descendants of Jacob Reeb (1575) are the only known survivors of this family today. He was village head of Dauendorf in 1600. The male line of the Haguenau branch died off or moved away by 1700. This family had a variety of professions and included at least one Napoleonic War soldier/hero. In 1872 after Germany’s annexation of Alsace, a minimum of one family moved and two individuals moved to Western France.

Keskastel Area  Bas Rhin, France

Today’s Surnames: Rape, Rappe, Raph, Rapp, Reeb, Reph, Reib and others
1900-1930 Locations: France; USA: Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Nebraska, North/South Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere
Comment: This family represents the largest number of Reebs in America. Today, a large portion goes by the surname Rape or one of its derivates. In addition, many family members live throughout France.
Background: This family is traced back to two related progenitors: Jacob and Nicolaus  who lived during the early 1600s in the area of Keskastel, Bas Rhin, France. DNA analysis has proven their relationship.

  In 1752, Peter Reeb (1724-1787) was the first of this extended family to immigrate to America. Brothers, Gustavus, Michael and Nicolaus followed him a few years later. After spending a number of years in Pennsylvania, Peter and Gustavus moved to North Carolina where they became known as Rape. Michael’s branch of the family stayed in PA. Nicolaus at one time lived in Northampton Co. PA and had at least three sons. His descendents have not been located and quite possibly are known as Rape, Reap or eve Rieb. From 1800-1910, numerous members of this Bas Rhin family left France joining their cousins in America.


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