Kerchner and Kershner/Kerschner
Are Different German Family Names

Date:      Created:  1 Sep 1996
           Updated:  1 Jan 2023

By:        Charles F. Kerchner, Jr.
           3765 Chris Drive
           Emmaus PA 18049-1544

Subj:      Kershner / Kerschner / Kirschner Family Name


     Many people have contacted me seeking information about the family 
name variously spelled:  KERSHNER, KERSCHNER, KIRSCHNER, and other 
variations of that name spelled with an "S" in the name.  While the
names Kershner and Kerchner have the same Soundex code in English they
are pronounced completely different in German and the two surnames are
completely different German family surnnames. In addition to sounding
similar in English, they are often also confused because of frequent
misspelling of the two surnames in various public records. The onomastics
of the Kerchner/Kirchner name indicate it means "church worker". The
onomastics of the Kershner/Kirschner name indicate it means either "furrier"
or "cherry worker".  These different families have been further confused by 
some researchers because some recent generations of Kershner descendants  
married Kerchner descendants. Individuals looking for information on the 
Kershner / Kerschner / Kirschner family name should contact one of the 
researchers listed below. They have a large database containing over 30,000
names of Kershner descendants and related families. In addition they have 
an active family association which publishes a quarterly newsletter and 
holds an annual reunion.

     Research note: An exception to the rule! Recent Y-DNA genetic testing
has proved conclusively that one small branch of Adam Kerchner's descendants
permanently changed the spelling of their surname from Kerchner to Kershner,
circa 1880's. This Kerchner clan are the descendants of Isaac Harry Kerchner,
s/o Augustus and Lydia Kerchner, of Wheatfield Twsp, Perry Co PA. Isaac Harry
Kerchner moved to Perrysville, Ashland Co OH, where his family adopted the
surname spelling of Kershner, which is as it is spelled in the 1880 census
and also on Isaac's death certificate when he died there in 1916. See page
links below for more information on the Kerchner surname and the Y-DNA
Genetics & Genealogy Project. Kershner/Kerschner/Kirschner participants are
solicited and welcome to join the Y-DNA Genetics & Genealogy Project.

     A cautionary note: Some Kerchner and Kershner/Kerschner families lived
in close proximity in Berks County PA and the two totally unrelated German lines
did inter-marry in Pennsylvania. So it is very easy to get these two families
mixed up. Thus, when researching these family names beware of that potential trap
in following a Kershner/Kerschner line back in time to be sure you get to the
correct immigrant Kirschner ancestor.     

For a 7 generation PDF file report with index for some Kirschner/Kerschner/Kershner descendants
of Johann Conrad Kirschner (1669-1746), last of Langenselbold, Wetterau, Hessen, Germany,
who had several sons that emigrated to the American colonies in the early 1700s click HERE.

Some excellent previous researchers of Kirschner/Kerschner/Kershner families in USA are listed below:

Kershner Family Association
Mr. William E. Kershner, Jr.
(deceased as of 2022)
1449 Fox Run Drive
Charlotte NC 28212-7125

Robert F. Kershner
Route 1 Box 181
Amsterdam MO 64723

Dr. Robert L. Hubbard

     If you write to them via snail mail, be sure to enclose a large SASE
with a several ounces of postage on it for their use to facilitate convenient
reply. They have authorized me to post their addresses to assist people with
KERSHNER family research. Please be sure to tell them you saw this posting 
and that I referred you to them.

Charles F. Kerchner, Jr.
3765 Chris Drive
Emmaus PA 18049-1544 USA
Contact Me

18th Century German Naming Customs
Kerchner Genealogy Home Page
Various Kerchner Clan Descendants Charts
Kercher/Karcher Surname Home Page
Y-DNA Genetics & Genealogy Project
1812 Project Home Page
Genealogy Research Tips

Copyright ©1996-2023, Charles F. Kerchner, Jr.
All Rights Reserved
Created - 1 Sep 1996
Updated - 1 Jan 2023