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Ancestry of Kerchner Family of Lehigh County, PA
Adam Kerchner, My Immigrant Ancestor
Descendant's Chart for Adam Kerchner
Possible Location of Roots in Germany
Typical Snow sailing ship like the one Adam Kerchner arrived on
Location of Adam Kerchner's Farm
Maps for Area Where Kerchner's Settled
Interactive Maps, Lehigh County, PA, and Environs
Last Will and Testament of Adam Kerchner 1704-1768
Frederick Kerchner, only Known Son of Adam
Frederick Kerchner, Revolutionary War Militiaman
Meets and Bounds Plot of Land Purchased in Longswamp Twsp, Berks Co PA, by Frederick Kerchner in 1796
Last Will and Testament of Frederick Kerchner 1750-1828
Frederick Kerchner 1750-1828 Gravestone at Huffs Church, Huffs, Berks Co PA
William Kerchner's (grandson of Adam) Farm and His 1835 Home in Macungie Twsp, Lehigh Co PA
Last Will and Testament of William Kerchner 1776-1841
William Kerchner 1776-1841 Gravestone at Solomon Church, Macungie, Lehigh Co PA
One Possible Kerchner Coat of Arms
The Meaning of Our German Surname
Similar Sounding, But Unrelated, German Surnames
Possible Connection of Kerchner Name to Carrier Name in Indiana
Kerchner Surname Y-DNA Chromosome Testing Genetic Genealogy Project
PA German, aka PA Dutch, Ethnic Group DNA Project
Other Kerchner Immigrant Descendant Charts
1880 U.S. Census Kerchner Surname (Soundex Code K625) Distribution by State
Links to Interesting Web Sites and Other Surnames of Interest To Me
Links to Reports to Aide You with Your PA German Research
Surnames of Prime Research Interest to Me
How to Contact Me
I hope you find the information posted in this web site useful. If you have additional information on this surname, or if you find typos or other errors, please contact me and let me know so I may update this site and provide useful, accurate information to online researchers of this surname. Thank you.
ANCESTRY OF KERCHNER FAMILY It is a rare individual who does not at some point in their life ponder some of the great questions of life. Where did I come from? Why am I here? Who am I? And when we reach that point we are not seeking simplistic answers. There is a yearning from within that seeks more. Who am I? When someone asks another person that question they will probably be told their name as the answer. So your name is one answer to that question. Thus part of who we are as a human being is our name. But where did we get this name? The answer given is - from our parents. But where did they get their name? From their parents. And they from their parents. And so on, and so on. But where did they get their name originally and who were they? And so the search begins. To learn more about who we are. And to do that we must learn more about our name and the people who came before us who bore that name and passed it on to us. So we pursue the trail of who we are in part by tracing our name and the ancestors who bore that name. So in particular, what do we know about our family name - Kerchner. The science of onomastics is the study of the meaning of names. Etymology is the study of etyma or roots of words since its earliest recorded occurrence in the language where it is found. Using such analysis techniques, what then is the meaning of our name Kerchner? The Kerchner name, according to family tradition and discussions with some German language experts, and learned members in the field of onomastics, is believed to be derived either from the German word "kirche" which means "church" or from the German word "karcher" (with an umlaut over the letter "a"), otherwise spelled as kaercher or kercher, which means "carter", as in cart driver. But regional variations in the various German dialects are important to this discussion too. Very interestingly, in the Pennsylvania German dialect, which is mostly derived from "Middlelander German" which is the German dialect spoken in the middle land areas of Germany between the lowland regions in the north and the highland regions in the south of Germany, the word for church is "karriche" (with an umlaut over the letter "a"), otherwise spelled "kaerriche". Thus a "kaerricher/kaerrichner" would be a church worker in the Pennsylvania German dialect. The first theory is that our name was spelled "Kirchner" or "Kircher" and was misspelled by the English as "Kerchner" when our ancestor settled in Pennsylvania and since he was not literate he simply continued using the misspelling. Therefore, our name if originally spelled "Kirchner," would be translated to mean "of the church" or "church worker" or "church man." Our immigrant ancestor's name was spelled "Kircher" in two transcriptions of the original ship lists, but he did not personally write his name. He made a mark with an (A) next to his name. So one person who heard him say his name wrote it down as "Kircher". Other ship list recorders have his named spelled as "Sercher" and "Cheniker". The "Kircher" transcription was made by two different German script experts in two separate works and is considered to be the most accurate. However, we shall also see that the name Kerchner does exist separately, even to this day as a distinct spelling in Germany. It is treated by some experts in onomastics as a spelling variation of Kirchner with the same meaning, i.e., a person who worked at or lived near a church. A second theory is the name evolved from Karchner, with an umlaut, i.e., Kaerchner, and then the "a" got dropped along the way. Another theory as to how the name would have been changed from Karchner, with an umlaut, to Kerchner is that spelling was difficult to maintain when translating from German to English and the name was spelled as close to how it sounded in English. The pronunciation of the name Karchner, with an umlaut over the "a", changes the sound of the "a" to a short "e" sound, and thus the name was spelled Kerchner since that is how it sounded in English. The third theory is that the name is a misspelling of the Pennsylvania German dialect word for church and church worker. The Pennsylvania German dialect word for church worker is Kaerrichner. So one can also see how this spelling could have evolved from that to Kerchner. Hand me down oral history and family tradition indicated that the name was derived from the German word "kirche" meaning church. If from the German word kirche, the name is thus an occupation derived name relating to a person who worked at a church. The most logical English translation of the closest occupation relating to our name would be a "sexton." The original form was probably Adam der Kirchner, meaning Adam the church worker. The definite article 'der' in the name eventually was dropped, and the name became Adam Kirchner. At some point in history the 'i' was changed to an 'e' and our name became Kerchner. The most common theory is that our name was misspelled by the English registrars when the family settle in America, although this is not certain. It is possible the 'i' evolved to an 'e' in Germany. This possibility will be discussed in further detail later in this report. The family name being associated with churches correlates well with the lifestyle of the early Kerchners since they were, as were many of the early immigrants who came to Pennsylvania, religious people. You will find several elders, deacons, and trustees of churches among our forefathers. For more information concerning occupation related names such as ours, consult the German-English Genealogical Dictionary by Ernest Thode, German- American Names by George F. Jones, the Dictionary of German Names by Hans Bahlow - 1993 English language edition, and the Pennsylvania-German Dictionary by Marcus Bachman Lambert, M.A.Four generation Descendant's Chart for our ancestor: Adam Kerchner.
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 2 When researching this name expect to find it misspelled phonetically many ways in church, census, tax records, and newspaper accounts, etc. Some examples I have found in my research are: Kercher, Kerger, Kergner, Karchner, Kaerchner, Kershner, Kerschner, Kerscher, Kelchner, Kircher, Kirkner, Kurchner, Carrickner, Carricker, and Carchner. Some of these misspellings occasionally results in confusion of our family surname with other similar sounding surnames. In addition, I have found some records with (at first glance) very far off misspellings such as "Keiser(?)" and "Churchner". However, if one says the names Kerchner, Kerschner, Kercher, Kerscher, and Keiser over and over in one's mind, with various accented variations of the Pennsylvania German dialect, one can easily imagine how the Keiser misspelling came about. In the specific example where Keiser was recorded instead of Kerchner, even the transcriber was not sure of the name when he wrote down Keiser which is why he put the question mark after the entry. When the original script was carefully double checked by myself it was clear that the name written down was Kercher and not Keiser. With regard to the Churchner entry, interestingly, Churchner is the half English and half German translation of our name since, as I said before, "kirche" means church in German. The compound noun literal English translation of our name would be "Churchman." The Pennsylvania German dialect, which evolved in Pennsylvania, is rich with the mixture of English and German words. One can see how the person who recorded or translated that record of our name got the name Churchner out of Kerchner. One must really have an open mind when researching this family name, and any Pennsylvania German family name. As to the theory of the English registrars misspelling our root name from "Kirchner," virtually all tombstone inscriptions, and most legal records of the family found to date in the United States, have consistently been spelled "Kerchner." All personal family records found in the Lehigh County branch of Kerchner descendants, after the 1768 Will of our progenitor, spelled the name Kerchner. Therefore, I am not 100% convinced of the misspelling explanation, especially since allegedly another clan exists in Germany spelled our way. I will report on this further in subsequent pages.
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 3 A brief comment is in order regarding the similarly spelled and sounding, but different, family names such as Kershner, Kerschner, and Kirschner. In all my research so far, in general, except for the occasional misspellings mentioned above, I find that the Kerchner / Kirchner clan is not related to the Kershner / Kerschner / Kirschner clan. Their names appear to be derived from the German word "Kirsche" which means cherry as in the word Kirschbaum which means cherry tree. In German, our family's root name "Kirch" is pronounced "Kirk" or "Kirc" with the 'c' on the end sounding like the 'c' in the word can. In German, the root name Kirsch is pronounced "Kirss" with the 'ss' sound at the end pronounced 'sh', as in the word she. Unfortunately, many English-speaking people in the USA over the centuries eventually began pronouncing both names the same way; that is with the 'sh' sound. Apparently the 'sh' sound is easier on the English tongue to pronounce. Being raised with very little Pennsylvania German language spoken in our home, and being under the influence of an English only education, I have been guilty of this mispronunciation and thus frequently have to correct people in the way they spell our name, i.e., telling them there is no 's' in our name. If I pronounce it correctly they usually ask me how to spell it. This confusion in the correct pronunciation of our name could explain the occasional misspelling of our family name (with an 's' in it) by recorders in the past. Therefore, in doing research on our family name, one must use extra care if one finds a record which spelled our name with an 's.' If you find different recorders spelling that person's name different ways but basically our way without the 's,' and find other records of the same person occasionally spelling it with an 's,' then that person could be part of our clan. However, if the person being researched personally spelled their name with an 's' in their own signature and if various recorders predominantly used the 's' in the name, they are probably not of our clan. Now having said the above, I have found that there is one group of Kerchners who descend from an Isaac Harry Kerchner. Isaac Harry Kerchner moved west to Ohio sometime after the Civil War. For whatever reasons his descendants apparently changed the spelling of their surname to Kershner. I was contacted by a descendant and researcher from this family group and we have verified this oral history information. Y chromosome Y-DNA tests tests were conducted between 2001 and 2004 for my family, this family, and also for descendants of the main Kershner family. Comparisons were done between a male descendant of this "Kershner" clan with the Y-DNA markers of the other Kershners and with various members of our Kerchner clan. The results showed a 36/37 nearly exact match to me and very close matches to other Kerchner cousins. And they did not match at all the Kershner clan. Thus the Y-DNA testing confirmed the family's oral history that their family indeed originally was a Kerchner descendant branch and they are not genetically related at all to the Kershners. Not even close. Thus the story of the permanent surname spelling change of their branch as that branch of our Kerchner extended family moved west is true. This spelling change by this Kerchner branch will undoubtedly confuse future inexperienced Kerchner family researchers in the USA who repeatedly at first think that the Kerchner and Kershner families are the same family. But we are not the same Germanic family. The onomastics tells us they are different rooted Germanic family names, the traditional research proves the main Kerchner and Kershner families are different families, and now the new scientific Y-DNA testing proves they are different families too. But we also now know this one small group of Kershners are really Kerchners, as their personal family oral history had stated all along. See the Kerchner Surname Y-DNA Project for more details.Kerchner Surname Y-DNA Genetic Genealogy Project
Another point I wish to mention regarding the surname spelled Kershner is that their is a group of Kershners who lived in the Windsor Township and Lenhartsville area of Berks County, Pa., who intermarried with the Kerchners. These Windsor Township Kerchners descend from, Johan Jacob Kerchner, the son of an immigrant named Johan Andreas Kerchner. Johan Andreas Kerchner arrived in Philadelphia on the ship Edinburgh on 15 Sep 1749. Johan Andreas Kerchner settled in Rockland Township, Berks County, Pa. His occupation was listed as a shoemaker in the 1767/1768 proprietary tax records. His descendants later settled in the Richmond, Perry, Greenwich, and Windsor Townships region of Berks County. To this date I have found no relationship between our Kerchner clan and the Windsor Township and environs Kerchner clan, at least not on this side of the ocean. It is possible that our progenitor, Adam Kerchner, who I will discuss more later in this report, and Johan Andreas Kerchner could have had common ancestry in Germany. So we could be very distant cousins.Here is a four generation Descendant Chart for Johan Andreas Kerchner.
As I said before, some of Johan Andreas Kerchner's descendants in Windsor Township intermarried with the Kershner family of that same area. The Kershners of Windsor Township were the descendants of Johannes Kirschner / Kershner, the son of Conrad Kirschner/Kershner I. This makes research into our clan all the more complicated. The confusion caused by the intermarrying of this Windsor Township Kerchner clan and the Conrad Kershner descendants has led some earlier researchers to confuse the Kerchner and Kershner families altogether, thinking that they have common lineage in Germany. They do not. The Kerchner and Kershner families are two completely different German family surnames. For more information on the Kershner family, consult the report The Kershner Families of Maryland 1731-1977 by Mary Kershner Maxwell or contact the Kershner Family Association, c/o William E. Kershner, Jr., 1449 Fox Run Drive, Charlotte NC 28212.
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 4 Another family group, with a name spelled similar to ours, is the Kelchner family. Though similarly spelled, they are a completely different family from ours. The root of their family name appears to be from the German word Kelch which means cup, goblet, or chalice. Therefore, their name possibly means cup maker or chalice maker. Again, the Kelchners are not related to us. Another family group, with a name spelled similar to ours, is the Karcher family. Occasionally one will find our Kerchner name misspelled in records as Karchner or Karcher. Even more confusing is that in one case, some descendants of an immigrant name Johan Andreas Kerchner who lived in Berks County, Pa., later moved to Luzerne County, Pa., where they locally adopted the spelling / misspelling of their name as Karchner in subsequent generations. The family members who remained in Berks County retained the Kerchner spelling. Though similarly spelled and sounding, the German family name of Karcher is a completely different family from ours, at least in this country. The name Karcher is occupation based and means freight hauler, as in a cart or wagon, a carter. Another family group, with a name which sounds, and is spelled, similar to ours, is the Kurschner or Kursener family. Though similar in sound and spelling, this family is completely different from ours. Their name is occupation based and means furrier.
The Kerchners, according to family tradition, emigrated in the early 1700's from the region of the former Reich State of Palatinate in Southwest Germany. However, it is not certain our family came specifically from the Reich State of Palatinate. Early immigrants from the southwest region of Germany were known as "Palatines" even though many did not come specifically from the Reich State of Palatinate. As an example of another province of Germany our ancestors may have originated from, I have found a later clan of Kerchners, with their named spelled exactly like ours, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1832. The name of this immigrant was Michael Anthony Kerchner. He was a shoemaker. He first settled in Philadelphia. Later he moved to Wilmington, Delaware. Finally he settled in Baltimore, Maryland. Michael Kerchner emigrated in 1832 from the village of Freudenberg, near present day Wertheim, Reich State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. I have not tied our clan into this clan. However, the Palatinate and Baden-Wuerttemberg border each other along the Rhine River so there may be a connection. This later arriving clan was of the Catholic religion while our clan was German Reformed and/or Lutheran. Despite the difference in religions, it is possible we came from the same area. Therefore, it is possible that our family did not originate from the Palatinate specifically but instead may have come from Baden-Wuerttemberg. If so, we could also be very distant relatives of Michael Kerchner's clan. Research follow-up note: Y-DNA in 2004 and 2005 proved that our Kerchner clan is not related to the Michael Kerchner clan.Some Descendants of Kerchner clan of Freudenberg, Baden, Germany.
I also have found via the internet a group of Kerchners which spell the surname exactly as we do. Their family is from the town of Spesbach which is near the city of Kaiserslautern in the southern part of Rheinland-Palatinate, Germany. Unfortunately, they did not know anything of their ancestry nor was the contact very interested in genealogy. Research follow-up note: Y-DNA testing in 2004 and 2005 proved that our Kerchner clan is not related to the Kerchner clan of Spesbach, Rheinland-Palatinate, Germany. Another possiblity was brought to my attention by another Kerchner researcher via a Fraktur for a granddaughter of Adam Kerchner. The Fraktur has the phrase "Adam Kerchner in Dessen" at the end. If this means "of Dessen" then it could be a reference to a village or town of origin in Germany. I searched for a village named Dessen but found none. But I did find a small village named Deesen, in Westerwald, Rheinland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz), Germany. With the help of some individuals in Westerwald, Germany, who I found via the Internet, I pursued this "in Dessen" lead. No records were found in or near the village of Deesen, Westerwald, Germany, showing any connection to our Adam Kerchner. I emailed the Fraktur image to several German genealogy researchers who live in Germany. After examining the Fraktur image they said that in their opinion the "in Dessen" does not refer to a village or place but that it is an early Dutch, i.e., Holland Dutch, language formal grammatical phrase meaning "in this case". According to these correspondents, one of whom was an expert in early Dutch writing and language, the "in Dessen" is not referring to a village but is a formal, legal grammatical phrase being used in this formal Fraktur baptism document. The official who prepared this Fraktur in Pennsylvania was probably Dutch, i.e., Holland Dutch or was from the low Deutsch areas of Germany near Holland. Several early ministers in Pennsylvania were from the Dutch Reformed Church of Holland which was sending ministers to Pennsylvania to minister to their German Reformed brethen. Thus the "in Dessen" lead turned into another dead end. In November 2005 it was learned that the person registered next to our immigrant ancestor in the 1741 ship list, Jacob Fortineux, was from the town of Otterberg, Rheinland-Palatinate, Germany. This Jacob Fortineux also had a cousin who married to a Kirchner. This was an exciting new discovery as finding the home village of other passengers on the same ship is one way to sometimes find the home village of one's own ancestor. However, research of the microfilmed church records yielded no specific information familiar to me and/or no information related to our Kerchner line. Actually there were very few Kirchner or Kircher entries in the church record. Thus the Kirchner family mentioned in the marriage to the Fortineux family must have been from another area. In February 2006 a friend and fellow researcher by pure serendipity, while looking at some microfilmed church records for the Auenstein, Baden-Wuerttemberg area, noticed that there were quite a few Kirchner and Kircher records at that church and nearby churches. She then checked the Auenstein records to see if there was an Adam Kirchner/Kircher baptized in the records, circa 1704. And to much excitement she did find a Hans Adam Kircher baptized on 4 Aug 1704, a son of a Georg and Barbara Kirchner. Research now continues on this promising new lead.Kerchner Surname Y-DNA Genetic Genealogy Project
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 5 Many early immigrants came to America because of religious persecution, political tyranny, poor economic conditions, and frequent wars, all of which were the rule rather than the exception in this area during the 1600's and 1700's. Catholic monarchs and electors fought Protestant princes and electors to gain control of the south and western areas of Germany and in particular the Palatinate. The "Thirty Year War" (1618-1648) destroyed most of this area and much of Europe. Over 70% of the population of the Palatinate was lost in this struggle. The Thirty Year War ended in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia. The treaty guaranteed peaceful co-existence between all religious denominations. However peace did not prevail. Many politically motivated religious wars occurred in this area of Germany in the late 1600's and early 1700's. During the last decade of the 1600's, King Louis XIV, the ruthless Catholic monarch of France, succeeded in the destruction of the Palatinate. He wiped out it's military power and installed Roman Catholic control in the area. This, plus the unexpected conversion to Roman Catholicism (for political reasons) of Frederick Augustus I, Elector of Saxony, had reduced German Protestant political and military power to a low point. Another war, the "War of Spanish Succession" (1701-1714), saw armies marching back and forth across this region. The "War of Polish Succession" (1733-1738), resulted in French armies again overrunning and occupying this area. Catholic French officers were forcibly quartered in Protestant homes. Protestant cities and churches were destroyed and the persecution and economic hardships became unbearable. This, plus the economic opportunities of the New World, set the stage for what was to become a massive emigration from the region. Another interesting side note was that William Penn's mother, Margaret Jasper of Rotterdam, Holland, had German cousins. This may have also played a part in why Pennsylvania was offered as a haven for the religiously persecuted of Germany. Once it started, thousands of Palatine Germans traveled down the Rhine River to the ports of Holland such as Rotterdam, where they boarded ships for immigration to Pennsylvania. Some stayed in Rotterdam for awhile until they could earn enough money for their passage to America. Some traveled to England temporarily until transportation to the New World could be arranged. Upon arrival in Philadelphia they had to sign an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. Then they probably walked the six miles to Germantown, now part of Philadelphia, to be with their own kind. From here they settled in the inland counties now known as Lancaster, Berks, Lehigh, Bucks, and Northampton. These Pennsylvania Germans eventually became known as the "Pennsylvania Dutch" possibly from a rendering of the German word "Deutsch" which means German.To learn more about how this Pennsylvania Dutch misnomer came about read
The Pennsylvania Germans also didn't discourage the confusion of their true nationality during the two World Wars with Germany when a public backlash against people of German sympathy and nationality occurred in this country. However it is clear we are of German heritage, not Dutch.
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 6 Over the years I have had two candidates for the patriarch of our family in America: Candidate No. 1: The first early candidate has since been proven not to be our family's progenitor but the information on this individual is provided herein for research evolution continuity purposes and to correct prior published information claiming this individual as the progenitor of our family. Johan Philip aka Philip Kerchner, was incorrectly assumed, according to brief information collected by George F. Kerchner, Sr. in 1909 and presented at a Kerchner family reunion held in the summer of that year, to be the progenitor of our family. I have a copy of his hand-written report. In it he reports the speculation that Philip Kerchner was the progenitor of our family but he admits in the same report he can't prove it. He offers no circumstantial or anecdotal evidence. However, the late E. Jesse Kerchner, my cousin once removed (SAR#99810), who gave me a copy of the report, believed that at the time of the report, George F. Kerchner, Sr. (1868-1929), who was his father, could possibly have had personal recollections of conversations with John F. Kerchner (1804-1888), and other Kerchner's from the 1800's, who would have personally known Frederick Kerchner (1750-1828). Thus he believed it entirely conceivable that the theory could be true. But it appears from the 1909 report that the real reason George F. Kerchner, Sr., speculated that Johan Philip aka Philip Kerchner was the progenitor of our family was that he was the only immigrant ancestor with the surname spelled as Kerchner which was listed in the reference book, "Thirty Thousand Names of Immigrants in Pennsylvania", second edition, by Professor Daniel Rupp, published in 1876 and frequently used in the very early 1900s. The three volume set of books "Pennsylvania German Pioneers", by Strassburger and Hinke were not published until 1934 so that work was not available to George F. Kerchner, Sr., in 1909. Also, it appears that George F. Kerchner, Sr., never checked local courthouse records for early wills and estates or he probably would have found the will of Adam Kerchner in which it mentions his son named Frederick Kerchner. There are no mentions of any son named Frederick in the church or any other records of Johan Philip, aka Philip Kerchner. George Kerchner in his report in 1909 never mentioned doing any courthouse estate file or early church original records research in his 1909 report and subsequent letters to cousins. Of course today we have many more powerful research tools available to us such as microfilmed and indexed early church records and easier access to courthouse records than he did in 1909. In order to prove that Adam Kerchner was our ancestor and Philip Kerchner was not, I did an exhaustive research over several years of the historical records of both male lines in any and all records available to me. The following is what I have compiled on Johan Philip Kerchner. Some of it I obtained from the 1909 report, some was obtained verbally from E. Jesse Kerchner, and some was obtained from my own research in an attempt to prove or disprove the theory of George F. Kerchner, Sr. Johan Philip Kerchner is recorded to have emigrated from the Palatinate, Germany, to Pennsylvania in the year 1744. He sailed from the port of Rotterdam, Holland, on the ship Phoenix. He landed in Philadelphia. The following is an excerpt from the book, A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French, and Other Immigrants to Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776, Rupp, 2nd Edition, published 1876, page 169: "October 20, 1744: Foreigners imported in the ship Phoenix, William Wilson, Captain, from Rotterdam, last of Cowes." Appearing in the list of 104 immigrants on page 170 is Johan Philip Kerchner. A facsimile of his original signature attesting his oath of allegiance and abjuration is found in Pennsylvania German Pioneers, Strassburger and Hinke, (3 volume 1992 reprint of 1934 edition), Vol. 2, published 1934, p.374. I have a copy of the reprint. Because this immigrant's name is spelled in the Rupp book exactly as ours is now, could be the reason why, in 1909, George F. Kerchner, Sr. incorrectly picked this immigrant as the likely candidate to be our progenitor. The Strassburger and Hinke work, which is generally believed to be more accurate, was not completed until 1934, so it was not available to George F. Kerchner, Sr. In Strassburger and Hinke's work Johan Philip Kerchner's name is translated and spelled as Johan Phillib Kercher (sic), not Kerchner. But name spelling in a single record is never a deciding factor in genealogy work. We must look at other facts. I have found records of a Johan Philip Kerchner/Kercher/Kerger and wife named Catharina Eisenmen(in) (Note: The 'in' on the end of the name denotes feminine gender in the German language) baptizing their children circa 1755-1761. The children were: "Andreas", born 5 Dec 1755 at home, per the records of the Rev. Daniel Schumacher, "Ana Cath. Kerchner," born about 30 Apr 1757, baptized 29 May 1757, Moselem Zion Lutheran Church, Richmond Township, Berks County, Pa.; "Catharina Kercher," born 25 Mar 1759, baptized 29 May 1759, Old Goshenhoppen Lutheran Church, Salford Township, Montgomery Co., Pa.; and "Henricus Kerger," born 1 Jan 1761, baptized about Apr 1761, Old Goshenhoppen Lutheran Church. I have found no records to support the 1909 speculation that Philip Kerchner was the father of the Frederick Kerchner from whom we have descended, or even that Philip Kerchner ever had a child at all named Frederick.
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 7 Our family's progenitor, according to some theories related to me by E. Jesse Kerchner, is allegedly buried on the old Rauch Farm cemetery plot located east of Huff's Church, Pa. The plot is accessed via the Cloud Nine Kennels driveway. He remembered visiting the site with his father when he was an 8 year old boy but did not remember seeing a specific grave site. Jesse took me to the alleged burial location. The burial plot is on private property at the top of a lightly wooded, weed overgrown, knoll a quarter mile east of the village of Huffs Church, Hereford Township, Berks County, Pa. It is a few miles west of Seisholtzville, Pa., which is the area near where our original progenitor settled. Allegedly about 100 people were buried in this plot. Whether our progenitor is actually buried there or whether E. Jesse Kerchner's father was speculating on that, one will never know for sure. I have visited and photographed the site. Only six or so inscribed markers remain. All the rest must have been destroyed or carried off by vandals. Additional research by me has located another possible burial location for our Adam kerchner. There was a very early cemetery known as God's Acre associated with the Upper Milford Reformed Congregation, now known as Old Zionsville UCC Church. Adam Kerchner was affiliated with that congregation. This old cemetery is in the village of Old Zionsville, Lehigh County, PA. Ony a couple of tombstones remain. The rest were carted off by vandals. But the cemetery land is still maintained by the cemetery association of Old Zionsville UCC Church. More on this old cemetery and its connection to our Adam Kerchner is discussed on page 10 of this report. Jesse had a remarkable memory. His personal recollections of family history and events occurring during his lifetime have checked out to date during my subsequent research. Therefore, I was reluctant to discount completely his theories and recollections concerning the information passed on to him by his father. However, at this point, I am very doubtful about the validity of his father's claim that Johan Philip Kerchner is our progenitor. The evidence is overwhelming that he is not our family's progenitor and that Adam Kerchner is.
Candidate No. 2: Adam Kerchner (c1704-1768), according to my research to date, is the most likely candidate for progenitor of our family. I have found very strong evidence pointing to him as the progenitor of our family. That evidence is herein listed: (a) Adam Kerchner's will, recorded in the Berks County Courthouse in 1768, lists a son, Friedrich Kerchner. (b) One of Adam Kerchner's daughters, Eva Elizabeth Kerchner, married Johan George Wetzel. The Wetzel's owned land next to our Frederick Kerchner's farm when it was sold in 1830. (c) When Anna Barbara (nee Fetterman) Kerchner, wife of Frederick Kerchner, died in 1841, her death notice stated she was living in the home of Peter Wetzel. Peter Wetzel was the son of Johan George and Eva Elizabeth (nee Kerchner) Wetzel. Eva Elizabeth Kerchner was the daughter of Adam Kerchner. Thus, Peter Wetzel was the grandson of Adam Kerchner. Anna Barbara (nee Fetterman) Kerchner, widow of Frederick Kerchner, was Peter Wetzel's aunt-in-law. Peter Wetzel lived near the farm formerly owned by his deceased uncle, Frederick Kerchner, which was located north of Seisholtzville, Pa. Frederick Kerchner was the brother of Eva Elizabeth Kerchner. (d) When Adam died, his wife, who was named (Anna?/Elisabetha?) Barbara, remarried Conrad Schaub/Shoup (his best friend according to Adam's will). Conrad Shoup's 1806 will lists a Frederick Kerchner as a debtor to him. It is easily conceivable for him to have loaned money to a step-son. (e) Adam Kerchner and the Fetterman family were apparently members of the "Schoolhouse Near the Old Spring" congregation, the predecessor to the Upper Milford Lutheran Congregation, which then became the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Old Zionsville, Pa. Adam was listed as a sponsor at the baptism of Anna Barbara Fetterman, daughter of Balthaser Fetterman. This same Anna Barbara Fetterman later became the wife of Frederick Kerchner, the son of Adam. (f) A sister of Frederick Kerchner baptized a daughter in which she named her father as being named Adam. For the above reasons and having found no other historical evidence linking any other colonial times immigrant to our Frederick Kerchner, born 1750, I have concluded that Adam Kerchner is the father of our Frederick Kerchner, and thus the progenitor of our Kerchner family in America.
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 8 Given that Adam Kerchner is our progenitor when did he arrive. My research on a possible Adam Kerchner migrating to America listed in Pennsylvania German Pioneers, by Strassburger and Hinke, 3 volume 1992 reprint of 1934 edition, yields two possible Adam Kerchners. The first prospect is Johan Adam Kircher, on page 316 of the 1980 version: "At the Courthouse Philadelphia, Nov 7, 1741. Present: The Honorable George Thomas, Esquire, Governor, William Till, Esquire. The Palatines whose Names are underwritten, imported in the snow Thane of Fife, William Weems, Master, from Amsterdam, but last from Aberdeen, did this day take the Oath to the Government, viz." Appearing in the list of 19 men who took the oath that day was Johan Adam (A) Kircher. A facsimile of his original signature and mark attesting his oath of allegiance and abjuration is found in the same reference (3 volume 1992 reprint of 1934 edition), Vol. 2, page 325. His age was listed as 37.Sketch of a typical snow sailing ship in the 1700's.
The second prospect is Adam Kirchner on page 371 of the 1980 version: "At the Courthouse at Philadelphia, 5th Sept 1748. Present: William Attwood, Esq., Mayor, William Allen, Esq., Recorder, Robert Strettell and Benjamin Shoemaker, Esq. The Foreigners whose Names are underwritten, imported in the Edinburgh, James Russell, Master, from Rotterdam, but last from Portsmouth, did this Day take the foregoing Oaths to the Government." Appearing in the list of 127 men who took the oath that day was Adam (X) Kirchner. A facsimile of his original signature and mark attesting his oath of allegiance and abjuration is found in Pennsylvania German Pioneers, by Strassburger and Hinke, 1934, (3 volume 1992 reprint of 1934 edition), Vol. 2, page 403. I have a copy.
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 9 Which Adam became our Berks County Adam? One very significant point is that in our Adam Kerchner's will, which was signed in August 1768 and recorded in the Berks County Courthouse in October, 1768, it shows a signature with an (A) mark. This is a very strong link of our Adam Kerchner to the first prospect above who also made his mark with an (A) in the Thane of Fife list. Other tidbits of information suggest slightly confusing and possibly contradicting theories. An Adam Kerchner in Berks County was the sponsor at the baptism for Anna Barbara Kurchner, daughter of Friederich Kurchner, at the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church on Oct 7, 1764. What do we know about this Frederick Kerchner. A Friederich (O) Kirchner arrived in Philadelphia on the Ship Brothers on Sept 16, 1751 embarking in Rotterdam. If related to our Adam, possibly brothers, uncle and nephew, or cousins, it would seem likely that they both would have embarked from the same port, i.e., from Rotterdam. Also the 'ner' in the surname at registration could be significant. This could suggest a link of this Frederick Kerchner with the later arriving Adam (X) Kirchner, the one who made his mark with an (X). His surname was recorded with the 'ner' suffix in the surname. This is all weak circumstantial evidence. And another group of Kirchners claim the 1748 Adam Kirchner immigrant as their progenitor. Also, we must consider that the person who wrote these names could have used the "er" or the "ner" suffix based on their German province spelling of this occupational surname rather than the way the immigrant would have wrote it if they were literate in writing their own name, which these immigrants were not since they made their mark and someone else wrote their names. Thus the suffix could be the scribe's spelling and not the immigrant's correct name spelling. At this time, I am rather strongly convinced that the immigrant Adam who arrived in 1741 is our immigrant ancestor. The use of the "A" mark by him when he signed the ship list and when he signed his will is very strong piece of evidence that this is the correct immigrant. That our Adam and the later arriving Frederick are related somehow is also suggested by the fact that the immigrant Adam Kerchner had a son named Frederick and the immigrant Frederick Kerchner apparently had a son named Adam. This Adam Kerchner may have been the one killed at the Battle of Long Island in the Revolutionary War, where an Adam Kerchner was reported as missing after the battle and apparently never returned. But that Revolutionary War surmise is only a theory of mine. Another point to be noted is the age factor. Our Adam appears to have been significantly older than the immigrant Frederick. Research also indicates that the 1751 immigrant is the Frederick Kerchner who later moved to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, where the surname was misspelled as Karriger and Kariger. Some of his descendants then moved to Ohio where the name was further misspelled phonetically as Carriher. Later descendants moved to Indiana where the surname became misspelled again as Carrier. An interesting evolution of the surname. Starting with the surname Carrier, it would at first glance be a real leap to surmise that this surname evolved from Kerchner. But the evidence seems to indicate this is true. In 2001 and 2002 Y chromosome DNA testing of direct male descendants of Frederick Kerchner, the only known son of our Adam Kerchner, the immigrant, and the the descendants of the immigrant Frederick Kerchner family who went west to Bedford Co PA and then who subsequently changed their surname spelling to Karriger, showed a very close match in their haplotypes. This indicated that the immigrants Adam Kerchner and Frederick Kerchner were indeed related. See the Kerchner Surname Y-DNA website for more details.Kerchner Surname Y-DNA Genetic Genealogy Project
Our Berks County Adam Kerchner was still siring children in years 1750-1763. If it was the first immigrant prospect, who was age 37 in 1741 when he arrived, then he would have been about 59 in 1763 when his youngest proven daughter, Anna Maria, was born. Adam's wife is surmised to have been significantly younger than him since she remarried a friend of Adam Kerchner, Conrad Schaub/Shoup, a year or two after Adam's death. She also lived until sometime after 1790. It certainly is possible for a much younger wife to be bearing children with an older husband. Sometimes I also have speculated to myself that maybe Adam may have been married twice with an unknown earlier family remaining back in his German home village. All things considered, one must pick a preference. At this time, based on the similar signature mark (A) recorded at his arrival and the (A) in his will, I have assumed the first prospect, the one who arrived in 1741, to be the correct candidate for our progenitor. Nothing is known as to the dates or location of his marriage, but we do know the names of his wife and children from his August, 1768, will and other records. His wife's full given name appears to be Anna Barbara, maiden name unknown. She was mentioned in Adam's will simply as Barbara. However, when she served as a witness at the baptism of Anna Barbara Fetterman in 1753, her given name was recorded as Anna Barbara. According to The Journals and Papers of David Shultze, Adam died on 26 Aug 1768, "on old Seiler's place." His will was signed and witnessed the same day he died. His five known children who grew to adulthood were: a son Friederich, (1750-1828), married c1773 Anna Barbara Fetterman, died in Longswamp Twsp., Berks Co., Pa.; and the daughters Eva Elizabeth, (c1753- c1829), married c1773 George Wetzel, Sr.; Anna Barbara, (1758-1829), married c1782 Johannes Schaub, died in Hereford Twsp., Berks Co, Pa.; Anna Margaret, (c1760- ), she may have died young as nothing is known as to what happened to her; and Anna Maria, (1763-1843), married c1782 Jacob Truckenmiller, died in Delaware Twsp., Northumberland Co., Pa. Another possible daughter, but not yet conclusively proven, is Elisabetha Barbara Kirchner (sic), (May 1767-....), baptized at Upper Milford Zion Lutheran Church, U Milford Township, Lehigh Co., Pa. The uncertainty in assuming that she is a child of our Adam and Anna Barbara is that the mother of this child was recorded as Elisabetha Barbara while the earlier records indicate the wife of Adam Kerchner was named Anna Barbara. Also there was no child, Elisabetha Barbara, listed in Adam's will dated 1768, only one year later. This child could have died soon after birth, or she could be from a different Adam Kerchner/Kirchner family. There was more than one Adam Kerchner/Kirchner in Eastern Pennsylvania at this time. As an example there was an Adam Kerchner reported missing and presumed killed at the Battle of Long Island in 1776 in the Revolutionary War. Another possibility is that the Anna Barbara's full given name could have been Elisabetha Anna Barbara which would explain the various name variations. Further research is needed into this May 1767 birth and the who historically really are the parents and what happened to this child.
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 10 To date, I have not been able to locate the exact location of his 200 acre farm. But, based on old survey maps by the early surveyor, David Shultze, one can locate the properties of many families associated with Adam Kerchner's family and mentioned in his recorded legal documents. Based on the location of these properties, I have deduced that Adam Kerchner's farm was probably located about 1 mile south-east of Seisholtzville, Hereford Township, Berks County, Pa., along the upper reaches of the eastern branch of the Perkiomen Creek and very near the border with Lehigh County, Pa. He may have owned the land which at one time was owned by George Seiler. He also appears to have owned land at one time just across the border in Upper Milford Township, Lehigh (then Northampton) County, Pa., adjacent to and south of a tract of land owned by Catherine Eck. His name, recorded in her deed as Adam Kargher/Karcher, is listed in the meets and bounds for her property. Adam's son, Frederick Kerchner, had a farm about 1/4 mile north of Seisholtzville, just across the border in Longswamp Township, Berks County, Pa. Adam's daughters married into well known, local neighboring families, such as the Wetzels, Schaubs, and Truckenmillers which also lived southeast of Seisholtzville. His only known son, Frederick, married into the neighboring family of Fetterman. Therefore, I have concluded Adam lived near to the village of Seisholtzville, Hereford Township, Berks County, PA. Other neighbors were named Eck, Seiler, Rauch, Fetterolph, Christman, Rothenberger, and Marsteller. We do not know where Adam or his wife are buried at this time. It could be at the old Rauch Farm burial plot mentioned earlier. But no evidence exists to support this theory other than the possibility that at least that part of the family tradition was true. Another possibility is that he was buried on his own farmland. We do know, based on his estate papers, which show a small fee paid to the Reverend Leydich, that Adam was probably buried by the Reverend John Philip Leydich, pastor of Upper Milford Reformed Congregation from 1766-1771. There is also an old cemetery located southeast of the Upper Milford Zion Reformed Church (now UCC). It is about 1/2 mile off the road and can only be accessed via a small alley and then crossing over private property. This cemetery, which is on private property, was adjacent to the original location of the first log church in use when Adam Kerchner died. For whatever reason the early church never obtained title to the land on which the cemetery is located. Since Rev. Leydich was pastor of this church at that time, it is possible that our Adam and spouse are buried in that old cemetery. I have visited the site and only a couple of gravestones remain. Allegedly the gravesite was not being maintained for many years and then at some point in the past most of the old stones were stolen by a contractor who allegedly used them to decorate a stone fireplace. No one has been able to learn the name of the person who allegedly did this. If true, this is a terrible thing for a person to have done. Of course it is possible that neither of these candidates is our progenitor. I cannot be 100% sure until I find conclusive primary source proof and I will keep searching for that. However, at this point I am 99.44% sure that the Adam Kerchner who died in 1768 in Hereford Township, Berks County, Pa., is our progenitor, and that the Friederich mentioned in his Will is our Frederick, the Revolutionary War militia soldier.Here is a four generation Descendant Chart for: Johan Adam Kerchner.
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 11 Frederick Kerchner (1750-1828), my 4th great-grandfather, was born March 15, 1750. The exact birth location is unknown but it was probably near the area of what is now Hereford Township, Berks County, Pa., since his probable father, Adam, was taxed on a 200 acre farm there, near the Berks County and Lehigh (then Northampton) County line, until 1768 when Adam died. Frederick married, c1773, Anna Barbara Fetterman (a/k/a Barbara Fetterman), the daughter of Balthaser and Catharina Margaretha (nee Hufft) Fetterman. She was born 7 Jun 1753 in Upper Milford Township, then part of Northampton County, but now part of Lehigh County, Pa. She was baptized 1 July 1753 by the Schoolhouse Near the Old Spring congregation, the predecessor of the Upper Milford Zion's Church.The Schoolhouse Near The Old Spring
In 1772, Frederick Kerchner is recorded on the tax rolls for Upper Milford Township as being a laborer in the township. My theory is that he left his home in Hereford Township to find work in Upper Milford Township. He possibly could even have been working for Balthaser Fetterman since Balthaser and Adam Kerchner knew each other and Adam Kerchner was a sponsor for Anna Barbara's baptism. Frederick and Anna Barbara probably grew up knowing each other and probably went to the same church, Upper Milford Zion's Church. Thus, while working in Upper Milford Township in 1772, Frederick probably courted Anna Barbara resulting in their marriage in c1773 with their first child, Johan George, being born in 1774. It was a fruitful marriage. According to Barbara's death notice published in the May 4, 1841, issue of the Reading Adler, they had a total of 8 children. However, to date I have only found records of 6 who grew to adulthood: Johan George, a/k/a George, (1774-1835), married Elizabeth Keiser c1800, died in Snyder County Pa.; Frederick Wilhelm, a/k/a William, (1776-1841), baptized at Longswamp Reformed Church, married Salome Egner circa Jul 1800, died in Macungie Twsp, Lehigh County Pa.; Philip Peter, a/k/a Peter, (1778-1822), baptized at Longswamp Reformed Church, married Catharina c1799, died in Longswamp Twsp, Berks County Pa.; Elizabeth, (1783-1833), baptized at Lehigh Zion Lutheran Church, married Abraham Griesemer on Jun 7, 1801, died in Hereford, Berks County Pa.; Jacob, (1787-1836), baptized at Longswamp Reformed Church, married Catharine Koser on Jan 26, 1808, died in Towamensing Twsp, Carbon County Pa.; and Maria, (1796-1873), married Jacob Miller in 1816, died in Hereford Twsp, Berks County Pa. Barbara's death notice indicated they had 52 grandchildren and 57 great-grandchildren. Frederick owned a 123 acre 98 perch farm divided in 3 tracts. He undoubtedly farmed his land but his main occupation, which was listed in his 1796 land purchase deed and in the 1779, 1780, 1784 tax lists for Longswamp Township published in the Pa. Archives Vol. 18, was that of a turner (wood lathe worker). His farm was in Longswamp Township straddling the Maxatawny to Philadelphia road just north of the village of Seisholtzville, Hereford Township, Berks County, Pa. The farm is on or very near the border of the two townships. The home and 10 acres were on the east side of the road. The barn and the rest of the tract were on the west side of the road. I have traced prior and later ownership of the farm as follows: Peter Fetterolf (c1752), Christopher Bittenbender (1777), Frederick Kerchner (1796), John Reiter (1833), Jacob Moll (1855), Franklin Moll (1881), Angeline Moll (1892), Sylvester Schmoyer (1905), George Fisher (1907), Willis F. Walker (1907), Willis B. Walker, and recently to Donald Nielson (c1968) who built the Mountain Village Mobile Home Park on the property. The barn was torn down when the mobile home park was built. The residence became unoccupied and was allowed to deteriorate and eventually it was set afire several times by local vandals. I have photographed the tract as it appears today, including the burned out home. I have also obtained photos from the Walker family of the home that shows the home when the Walkers owned it. The photo, taken in the early 1900's, shows the home with an addition apparently added in the mid-1900's.A three generation Descendant's Chart for Balthaser Fetterman, father and
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 12 Frederick Kerchner (1750-1828), 4th great-grandfather continued: Frederick served in the Revolutionary War. According to the Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, Vol. 5, he served in various Berks County militia companies from 1780-1781. In 1781 he received pay as a private in Captain Jacob Ladich's Company of the Berks County Militia. His battalion commander was Colonel Samuel Ely. His name appears on the payroll record listed in the Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, Vol. 5, Pg. 280. His name also appears with spelling variations on pages 221, 223, and 235 of the same reference. Frederick Kerchner is listed in the Pennsylvania Septennial Census 1779 of Berks County. He is recorded as a married taxable inhabitant of Longswamp Township in this census. His name appears on page 20 of the 1989 reprint of this census published by the Berks County Genealogical Society. Frederick's family is listed in the first U.S. census in 1790. It recorded 3 males age 16 and over, 2 males under 16, and 2 females. At the time of completion of the census Maria had not been born. One must remember that ages were often recorded incorrectly or were deliberately misstated to census takers for various reasons. Therefore, it is this researcher's best estimate, that the 3 recorded males over 16 would have been Frederick and his sons Johan George and Frederick Wilhelm. His second son's (Frederick Wilhelm) age was probably recorded wrong as being 16, when he was only 14 at the time. The males under age 16 would have been sons Philip Peter and Jacob. The 2 females would have been his wife and their first daughter Elizabeth. Frederick died Aug 10, 1828. His death notice was published in German in the September 2, 1828, issue of the Reading Adler. A copy of the paper is on file at the Historical Society of Berks County, Reading, Pa. Frederick and his wife are buried at Huff's Church Cemetery located in the village of Huffs Church, Berks County, Pa. His grave (#M22) is in the 13th row of the "old cemetery" on the left side of the church. It has a soldier's marker beside it. He is listed in the historical records of the church. His wife Barbara died April 26, 1841, and is buried in grave #M18 which is located in the same row about twenty feet to the right of Frederick's grave. Frederick's tombstone is barely readable. Barbara's is still in good shape. However, both tombstone inscriptions are recorded for posterity in a book entitled, Tombstone Inscriptions, by Raymond E. Kiebach, Reading, Pa. I have a copy of the inscriptions. I have also photographed the gravestones. A copy of Longswamp Reformed Church and Lehigh Zion Lutheran Church records are on file at the Lehigh County Historical Society, Allentown, Pa. His will, written in old German script, was recorded in 1828 in the Berks County Courthouse, Volume 6, Page 223. I have had his will translated into English. It lists his wife and children's names and the husbands of his daughters. It is very interesting reading in the detailed instructions he provided for the disposal of his assets and the care of his wife.
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 13 Johan George Kerchner, aka George Kerchner, (1774-1835), first known child and son of Frederick Kerchner, and my 3rd great-granduncle, was born March 3, 1774, in Berks County, Pa. He was baptized Johan George but chose to use his middle name as his legal name. This was a common custom with early Germans. He signed all his documents George Kerchner, but on his tombstone it is engraved, "John G. Kerchner," according to Snyder County Tombstone Inscriptions by George W. Wagenseller. To date I have found no record of his baptism although his brothers were baptized at Longswamp Reformed Church in Longswamp Township, Berks Co., Pa. About 1800, he married Elizabeth Keiser, born January 30, 1783, the daughter of Peter and Gertraut Keiser. She was also baptized in April 1783 at Longswamp Reformed Church. They settled in Longswamp Township where four of eight of their known children were born: Johan George Jr. (Dec 15, 1802 - Nov 21, 1889), died in Keokuk County, IA; Lydia Kerchner (Dec 22, 1804 - Sep 11, 1883), died in Perry Twsp, Snyder Co PA; Judith Kerchner (Jan 2 1807), and Elizabeth (Jun 12, 1809), allegedly died in Liverpool, Perry Co PA. These four children were all baptized at Longswamp Reformed Church. His family is listed in the 1800 and 1810 censuses of Longswamp Township, Berks County, Pa. About 1811 he moved with his family to Beaver Township, Union County, Pa., where he was listed in the 1820 census. He later was located in Perry Township, Union County, Pa., later Snyder County. His family was listed in the 1830 census of Union County. In this area he had the last four of his eight known children, all boys, the water must have been different in that area
. The boys were: Solomon (Feb 20, 1812 - Feb 7, 1883), probably died in Perry County, PA; Augustus (Feb 19, 1815 - Jan 18, 1855), died in Wheatfield Township, Perry County, PA; Reuben (Apr 7, 1818 - Sep 12, 1883), died in Delaware Township, Juniata County, PA; and Benjamin (Oct 19, 1820 - Aug 18, 1898), died Walker Township, Juniata County, PA. His last known son, Benjamin, was baptized at Grubb's Church (Botschaft) Lutheran Church, Chapman Township, Snyder County, Pa. Johan George, Sr., died November 10, 1835. His wife died November 25, 1849. They are both buried at Grubb's Church Cemetery. A baptismal record, an old German Taufschein, has been found for Augustus Kerchner on which his mother's maiden name is recorded as Kayser which is a slightly different spelling but phonetically the same name. I still believe Keiser is the correct spelling of her maiden name. The Taufschein was purchased for the sum of about $800 and was donated to the collection of the Perry Historians, New Castle, PA. I have a photographic copy of it. While researching this branch of descendants I have located two 3rd great grandsons of Johan George Kerchner who have also done research into this branch of descendants of Frederick Kerchner. The first individual is a direct male descendant of Benjamin Kerchner, the youngest son of Johan George Kerchner. His name is Jerome E. Kerchner, Jr. He resides in Stevensville, MD. The second individual is a descendant of Augustus Kerchner, the 3rd son of Johan George Kerchner. His name is Clifton P. Hyatt. He resides in Newville, PA.
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 14 Frederick Wilhelm Kerchner, aka William Kerchner, (1776-1841), second known child and son of Frederick Kerchner, and my 3rd great-grandfather, was born March 12, 1776, in Berks County, Pa. He was baptized "Frederick Wilhelm Kerchner" but chose to use his middle name as his legal name as was the custom of those times. He signed all his documents, "William Kerchner" but on his tombstone it is clearly engraved "F. Wilhelm Kerchner." I have photographed the tombstone. The record of his baptism at the Longswamp Reformed Church is on microfilm with a facsimile copy on file at the Lehigh County Historical Society, Allentown, Pa. He also may have chosen to use his middle name to distinguish himself from his father. He was a farmer. In July 1800, he married Salome Egner (aka Saloma Egener), born November 12, 1779, the daughter of Henry Egner and Susanna Romig.For more about the Egner family visit my Egner web page.
This Kerchner family moved to what is now the Lower Macungie Township area of Lehigh (then Northampton) County, PA, where they owned a large farm. They had 4 children who were: Henry (Apr 29, 1802, died age 18), never married; John Frederick (Feb 12, 1804 - Jul 25,1888), married Maria Christman; died in Lower Macungie Twsp, Lehigh Co PA, Hanna (Feb 5, 1806 - May 6, 1844), married Thomas Eisenhart, died in Lower Macungie Twsp, Lehigh Co PA; and Susanna (Sep 19, 1811 - Apr 18, 1894), married Daniel Christman, died near Macungie, Lehigh Co PA. Daniel Christman and Maria Christman were brother and sister and were the children of Johan Henry and Anna Maria (nee Roeder) Christman. Wilhelm, or William as he was known in English, built the home located about one mile north of Macungie on the right hand side of the road, immediately after the entrance to the Mack Truck assembly plant. It was later owned by the Faust family who are related to the Kerchners. You can easily see the large "WK" with the year "1835" in the apex of the north wall. I have a photograph of it. He is listed in the 1810 Census of Longswamp Township, Berks County, Pa., page 792, Wm. 'Kircher'. He is also listed in the 1820 Census of Macungie Township, Lehigh County, Pa., page 171, William 'Kercher'. William died on Nov 22, 1841. He was the first person buried at the Solomon's Reformed Church in Macungie, Lehigh County, Pa., which was completed that year. He was active in the establishment of this church and his untimely death is recorded in the historical records of the church. His grave is in the second row, far left, of the "old cemetery". His wife, Saloma, who died June 5, 1870, is buried by his side. I have photographed the tombstones. Records of his children's baptisms were recorded at Lehigh Zion Lutheran Church near Macungie, Pa. A microfilm copy is on file at the Muhlenberg College Library, Allentown, Pa. A facsimile copy is on file at the Lehigh County Historical Society, Allentown, Pa. His will, written in German, was recorded in 1841 at the Lehigh County Courthouse, File #1586. I have had it translated into English. It lists his 3 surviving children, plus the 2 daughters and their husband's names. Like his father's will, it is very interesting in the detailed explanation on exactly how his wife is to be taken care of until she dies. She lived almost 30 more years, until 5 Jun 1870, so the final account to the court of his estate was not done until 10 May 1871. When William died on 22 Nov 1841, he was serving as the administrator for his mother, Barbara Kerchner's estate in the Berks County court system. She had recently died on 26 April 1841. This caused a very complicated estate for William's son, John F. Kerchner, and the other executors to resolve.Gravestone for F. Wilhelm Kerchner at Solomon's Church Cemetery, Macungie PA
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 15 Philip Peter Kerchner, aka Peter Kerchner, (1778-1822), third known child and son of Frederick Kerchner, and my 3rd great-granduncle, was born February 11, 1778, in Longswamp Township, Berks County, Pa. He was baptized on March 15, 1778, at Longswamp Reformed Church as Philip Peter, but chose to use his middle name as his legal name. This was a common German custom. About 1800, he married Catharina (last name unknown). They settled in Longswamp Township. His family is listed in the 1800 and 1810 censuses of Longswamp Township, Berks County, Pa. They had ten children of which the names of eight are known. They were: Catharina (Jun 7, 1801), Salome (Apr 1805), Patty (Mar 27, 1807), Anna (Apr 30, 1809), Lydia (Sep 3, 1810), Judith (Aug 24, 1812), Mathilda (c1815), and Peter (c1817). Some of the children were baptized at Longswamp Reformed Church and some were baptized at Zion Lehigh Lutheran Church, Macungie Township, Lehigh County, Pa. Philip Peter died about 20 Oct 1822. His estate was administered in the Berks County Courthouse in Reading, Pa., under the name Peter Kercher. His last name was misspelled. However, his name is spelled correctly in several of the estate documents such as the inventory and in the petition signed by his wife to appoint guardians for the minor children. His wife, Catharine, and his brother, William Kerchner, were the administrators. I have not found a record of Catharine's death. As of this date I have not located were they are buried. Elizabeth M. Kerchner (1783-1833), fourth known child and the first known daughter of Frederick Kerchner, and my 3rd great-grandaunt, was born May 25, 1783, in Longswamp Township, Berks County, Pa. She was baptized on July 6, 1783, at Lehigh Zion Lutheran Church, Macungie Township, Lehigh County, Pa. The daughters were apparently baptized Lutheran since the mother was Lutheran while the sons were baptized Reformed since the father was Reformed. This was common with German "mixed religion" marriages. On June 7, 1801, she married Abraham Griesemer, born April 16, 1777, the son of Leonard and Elizabeth (nee Lefebre) Griesemer. They had nine known children: Rebecca Margaret (Mar 6, 1802), Elizabeth (Dec 22, 1803), Catharine (c1805), Maria Magdalena (1808), Jennike Eunice (Mar 7, 1810), and John (Aug 26, 1812), Julia Ann (Aug 1, 1816), Mary (c1820), and Abraham (Nov 7, 1822). Elizabeth died January 18, 1833. Her husband died October 15, 1823. They are buried in the same row as her parents at Huffs Church Cemetery, Huffs Church, Hereford Township, Berks County, Pa. Her maiden name was misspelled as Kergner on her tombstone. Jacob Kerchner (1787-1836), fifth known child and the fourth known son of Frederick Kerchner, and my 3rd great-granduncle, was born November 28, 1787, in Longswamp Township, Berks County, Pa. He was baptized at Longswamp Reformed Church. On 26 Jan 1808 he married Catherine Koser, born on August 17, 1788, the d/o Johan George and Elizabeth Barbara (nee Peters) Koser. Initially, Jacob and his family lived in Longswamp Township but later moved north of the Blue Mountain to Towamensing Township, Carbon County, then part of Northampton County, Pa. His family is listed in the 1820 and 1830 censuses of Towamensing Township. They had nine known children: Jacob Jr. (28 Jun 1808-26 Oct 1831), never married; Benjamin (8 May 1810-5 Apr 1896), married Elizabeth Box; Anna Maria (b. 5 Apr 1812), married George Greenzweig; Catherine (4 May 1814-7 Apr 1882), married George Ziegenfuss; Judith (27 Mar 1816-2 Jul 1903), married Joseph Christman; John (24 Mar 1819-27 Mar 1889), married Susannah Serfass; Salina (9 May 1822-27 Jul 1896), married first to Mr. Arner, married second to Mr. Wagner; Daniel (1827-12 Mar 1900), married Fannie Hawk; Susann (c1831), married Peter Meixel; Jacob Kerchner, Sr., died about March 1836 in Lower Towamensing Township, Carbon (then Northampton) County, Pa. His estate was administered at the Northampton County Courthouse, Easton, Pa. His wife, Catherine, died October 2, 1867. It is not known where Jacob, Sr. is buried. His wife is buried in the Salem Church Cemetery in Gilbert, Chestnuthill Township, Monroe County, Pa. Several of their children are buried in the cemetery at Gilbert. She was probably living with one of her children in that area when she died. Their first son, Jacob, Jr., who died young at age 23, is buried at St. John's Union Church Cemetery, Palmerton, Lower Towamensing Township, Carbon County, Pa.
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 16 Maria Kerchner (1796-1873), sixth known child and the second known daughter of Frederick Kerchner, and my 3rd great-grandaunt, was born January 20, 1796, in Longswamp Township, Berks County, Pa. I have found no baptismal record for her as of this date. In 1816 she married Johan Jacob Miller, aka Jacob Miller and/or John Miller, born Sep 22, 1786. They had nine known children: Caroline (Oct 1, 1817), Jacob (1818), Lydia (Aug 13, 1819), Judith (Sep 11, 1821 - Nov 25, 1895), William (Aug 25, 1823 - Feb 2, 1881), Charles (Aug 26, 1826 - Jun 10, 1898), female child (c1833), Edwin (c1835), and Franklin (c1838). Some of the information on these children was found with their burials records in the private burial records of Rev. Eli Keller, CLDS Film No. 1305843-05. Maria (nee Kerchner) Miller died February 19, 1873. She is buried in the same row as her parents at Huff's Church Cemetery, Huffs Church, Hereford Township, Berks County, Pa. Her maiden name on her tombstone is spelled, Kergner. Her tombstone inscription states she was married to Jacob Miller. However, as of this date, I have not found the burial location of her husband. John F.(Frederick?) Kerchner (1804-1888), my 2nd great-grandfather, son of F. Wilhelm a/k/a William, and grandson of Frederick Kerchner, was born February 12, 1804, in Macungie Township, which was then part of Northampton County, Pa. Lehigh County was not created from Northampton County until March 6, 1812. He was a farmer. On March 7, 1830, he married Maria Christman, who was born November 4, 1805, the daughter of Johan Henry and Anna Maria (nee Roeder) Christman. They had 9 children who were: William Henry (Mar 6, 1831 - Feb 4, 1879), married Levina Laros; Mary Ann (1832), married John Bastian; Thomas Franklin (Nov 9, 1833 - May 31, 1884), married Eliza Miller; Sarah Amanda (Feb 8, 1836 - Feb 3, 1895), married Peter Faust; Salome Caroline (c1838), married William Eberhard; Eliza Catherine (c1840), married John Schantz; John Addison (Feb 10, 1844- Jan 21, 1926), allegedly served in the Civil War, died in Ohio, married first to Louisa Schwartz and second to Emma Weidner; Susanna Rebecca (Oct 9, 1847 - May 30, 1854), died age 7; and Jacob Benjamin (Dec 27, 1849 - Nov 20, 1870), never married. John Kerchner and his family are listed in the 1850 Census of Lower Macungie Township, Lehigh County, Pa., page 161, line 17, John Kercher (sic), age 46, farmer. According to A History of Lower Macungie Township, published in 1976, and on file at the Lehigh County Historical Society, there were two iron ore mines located on his property. John Kerchner was active in community affairs. He was one of the 16 original shareholders in the establishment and building of the "Macungie Institute" school in 1856. The Borough of Macungie was known as the village of Millerstown back then. The school was named after the township of Macungie since it served the whole township area and not just the village of Millerstown. The original building still stands today with large additions made in 1871 and 1941, and renovations completed in 2002. Today the Macungie Institute building serves as a community center and the home of the Macungie Historical Society. John F. Kerchner died Jul 25, 1888. He left an estate of record valued by the court at more than $20,000, a considerable sum for those times. $20,000 invested at 3% interest would be worth about $582,000 in 2002. It was divided between the children and one grandson. He and his wife are buried at Solomon's Church Cemetery. His grave is in Section A, Lot 54, Grave #7. His wife, Maria, who died February 15, 1874, is buried by his side. I have photographed the tombstones. They are heavily weathered. His will, written in English, was recorded in 1888, at the Lehigh County Courthouse, File #7028. It lists his surviving children and the husbands of his surviving married daughters. Also it names one of his grandsons, Morris R. Schantz. His daughter, Eliza Catherine, who married John Schantz, had predeceased him. Several other children, including his oldest son, William Henry, also predeceased him.Gravestone for John Kerchner at Solomon's Church Cemetery, Macungie PA
KERCHNER ANCESTRY Page 17 William Henry Kerchner (1831-1879), my great-grandfather, son of John F., was born March 6, 1831, in Lehigh County, Pa. His occupation in the 1850 census was listed as apprentice (wagoner?). In 1853, he married Lovina (aka Levina) Laros (aka Larosch, Larrash, Laurisch), born October 16, 1833. Lovina was a descendant of an early settler in the Macungie Twsp area Ludwig Larosch. Lovina Laros was the daughter of Jesse and Lydia (nee Siegfried) Laros. William and Lovina had 9 children. They were: Oscar Llewelyn (1855), Mary Alice (c1857), John Henry (Oct 28, 1860 - died age 24, studying for the ministry), William Jesse (Sep 26, 1862 - was a blacksmith by trade and owned a blacksmith shop in East Macungie, PA). The blacksmith shop was continued by his son, William Jesse, Jr. An account of the their shop and their skills appeared in A History of Lower Macungie Township, published in 1976, Ellen Louisa (c1866), George Franklin (Apr 21, 1868), Jacob Benjamin (Dec 13, 1870), Edwin Alfred (Jan 6, 1873), and Margaret Lydia (Jan 26, 1877). He was a farmer, carpenter, and made furniture. A cane chair he made was owned by his grandson, the late E. Jesse Kerchner. He is listed in the 1850 Census of Lower Macungie Township, Lehigh County, Pa., page 161, line 13, William 'Kercher', age 19, apprentice. He was living with his sister, Mary Ann, who married John Bastian, occupation wagoner. Since William's father, John, owned two iron ore mines on his property, the wagons were probably used to haul iron ore to Lockridge Furnaces in Alburtis. William, according to the deed description for the property he owned, probably lived in the house located at the 'V' intersection of the road to Alburtis and the road to Trexlertown immediately north of the entrance to the present Mack Truck facility. The present day location of this road has been relocated from it's former location. William Henry died, at the rather young age of 47, on Feb 4, 1879. His father outlived him. William Henry is buried in the Solomon's Church Cemetery, Section A, Lot 44, Grave #5. His wife, Lovina, who died July 20, 1902, is buried by his side. I have photographed the tombstones. A copy of Solomon's Church records are on file at the Lehigh County Historical Society, Allentown, Pa. His estate was administered at the Lehigh County Courthouse in 1879, File #5385.Gravestone for William Henry Kerchner at Solomon's Church Cemetery, Macungie PA
Jacob Benjamin Kerchner (1870-1941), my grandfather, son of William Henry, was born December 13, 1870, on the "Kerchner Farm" near Macungie, Lehigh County, Pa. On January 2, 1897, he married Emma M. C. Derr, who was born September 7, 1877. Emma was the daughter of John and Lucy Ann (nee Walbert) Derr. Jacob and Emma had 8 children -- Irvin Jacob (was in business as a painter and paper hanger), Levina Estella (died in childhood), Verna Ella (married James Heil of Macungie), John Oscar (died in childhood), Edgar Harold, George Paul, Mildred Emma (never married), and Charles Frederick. Jacob was a farmer but for a time it is alleged he worked in Ohio as foreman at a pipe factory. His obituary states that for 12 years he was proprietor of the Sunset Shirt Manufacturing Company near Vera Cruz. He was also in partnership with William Kern in a glove making business in Macungie, Pa. My father, Charles (Sr.), remembers that for a while he managed several shirt manufacturing businesses in Emmaus, Pa. and in Danielsville, Pa. He also was in partnership with William Kern in a shirt factory in Emmaus, Pa. He was a church elder for many years at Solomon's Reformed Church in Macungie, Pa. He died on October 3, 1941. He is buried in Solomon's Church Cemetery, Section B, Lot 23, Grave #5. His wife, Emma, who died November 20, 1956, is buried by his side. I have photographed the tombstones. A copy of Solomon's Church records are on file at the Lehigh County Historical Society, Allentown, Pa. His will was recorded in 1941 at the Lehigh County Courthouse, File #32110.
Links to other surnames and web sites of prime genealogical interest to me:
Laudenslager Genealogy Home Page.
Lucy Ann Walbert Genealogy Home Page.
Additional Surnames of Interest to Me Descendants Charts Page.
Rootsweb RSL List surname search engine.
U.S. Surnames Distribution Map home page.
Genetics and Genealogy Information Page
Kerchner Surname Y-DNA Chromosome Genetics and Genealogy Project
Library of Congress online catalog of holdings.
Palatines to America organization home page.
Pennsylvania Deutsch information page.
German-English On-Line Dictionary home page.
German Town Locator - GEO Serv procedures and instructions home page.
Old German Professions, Occupations, and Illnesses
National Genealogical Society organization home page.
National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution home page.
National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution home page.
Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet home page.
CLDS Online Ancestral File and IGI Search home page.
Vital Records Division Addresses for the 50 U.S. States.
Pennsylvania Division of Vital Records Address and Contact Information.
Pennsylvania GenWeb home page.
Lehigh County PA GenWeb home page.
Lehigh County Historical Society home page.
Dillingersville School - Union School and Church Association aka The Schoolhouse Near The Old Spring.
Early Lehigh Co PA Surnames, The 1812 Project home page.
Interactive Maps, Lehigh County PA, and Environs home page.
Berks County PA GenWeb home page.
Berks County Genealogical Society home page.
Other reports written by me:
18th Century PA German Naming Customs
18th Century PA German Nicknames
18th Century PA German Name Spelling Idiosyncrasies
PA Dutch Are Of German Heritage, Not Dutch
Kerchner and Kershner Are Different German Family Names
Kerchner and Kercher/Karcher Are Different German Family Names
Tips and Tricks For The Beginner - Genealogy 101