By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News
DANVILLE — The name Bomboy can be traced to many families in Montour, Columbia and Northumberland counties.
“There have been more than 125 Bomboys in Montour County and 27 men and women who have joined their names with Bomboys in marriage,” said Robert Bomboy, who presented one of the first copies of his new book, “The Bomboy Families Over 400 Years,” to the Montour County Genealogy Society.
“If you add the Bomboys of Columbia County, you have 450 people,” said the Danville area resident who signed the book he gave to the society.
From his research which spanned 30 years, he found there are Bomboys in 27 states and Bomboys in 10 counties in Pennsylvania.
“They are all related to one husband and wife from Berks County and are all traced through the book,” said Bomboy who spent 17 months writing five to six days a week and six to seven hours a day.
He said the book will help Bomboys and related families trace relationships back more than 200 years to see how the families migrated to the West Coast.
Bomboy is a 12th generation member of the family and his 15-month-old great-grandson, Anthony Carlow V, of Wilkes-Barre, is a 15th generation Bomboy.
“We’re always deeply grateful for people choosing to share their family history. We know they have put in a lot of work and look forward to assisting them and many others,” said genealogy society president Cynthia Elder.
“The book is fabulous,” said society vice president Megan Ryan.
The cover depicts a 1799 baptismal certificate from one of the original Bomboys. The inside cover shows a baptismal certificate from 1818.
Through his research, much of which done at the local genealogical society, Bomboy found the family identified with the ordinary folk philosophy of the 1790s of Thomas Jefferson. “That made them Republicans,” he said. Jefferson founded the Democratic Republican Party, resulting in thousands of conservative Republicans in Central Pennsylvania.
Jefferson’s “philosophy of ordinary folk created legions of farmers, carpenters, blacksmiths, small storekeepers and butchers — people who stayed small generation after generation because of the intrinsic philosophy they embraced,” Bomboy said.
Bomboy writes of a Pennsylvania Dutch family whose members have lived consciously or unconsciously by the principles of Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence.
“In the early years, they were antagonistic to the supposed aristocratic elitism of merchants and manufacturers. They distrusted factory workers and they were on the watch for supporters of what had been the philosophically dreaded British system of government,” he said.
The book follows descendants of Johann Bomboy and his wife, Philibiana, who lived and died in Berks County near Kutztown.
Bomboy tells the stories of three brothers and later a sister who traveled 50 miles west across the Blue Mountains, in about 1820, to farm along both sides of the Susquehanna River.
“The Social Security Administration counts more than 5,000 Bomboys in 27 states, all descended from Johann Bomboy, who was a school teacher, and his wife,” Bomboy said.
A 16-page genealogy extends to families including the Foulkes, Geisingers, Mordans, Motterns, Sheeps, Snyders, Sones and others who joined their names with the Bomboys. There is a separate name index to search for specific individuals.
Bomboy will donate a portion of book sales to the genealogy society, which is on the second floor of the Thomas Beaver Free Library at East Market and Ferry streets.
His book, published by Special Project Associates, is also available for $19.95 at www.bomboybooks.com.
The author of six books, Bomboy is originally from Kingston and has lived in the Danville area for 33 years. He served as editor-in-chief of Danville’s bicentennial history. Bomboy previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore News American. “I once wrote 700 words in 14 minutes on deadline,” he said of using a typewriter to write about a hijacked airliner.
Formerly working for public relations at Geisinger Medical Center, he taught writing courses at Susquehanna and Lycoming universities.
His other books include “Smart Boys Swimming in the River Styx,” “An Orphan in New York City,” “The Golden Anniversary History of the American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians” and “Major Newspaper Coverage of Drug Issues.”
Bomboy has written for more than 60 national magazines, including Parade, Family Weekly, Business Week, Working Mother, airline magazines and the Columbia Journalism Review.