Thursday, March 7, 2013

G is for Gerner - Family History through the Alphabet

Gerner is one of my surnames of interest (and challenge!).  I am currently researching Christian Gerner in an effort to make a connection between him and Frederick Gerner, my great-grandfather who is my earliest known Gerner ancestor.  This is a brief overview of some of the sources I've found for Frederick Gerner. 

Surname Variations:   Gerner, Garner, Gurner; possibly Gardner, Gernier

    Known Ancestors
    • Frederick Gerner, born ~1848 in Germany, died 1926 in Butler County, Pennsylvania (my great-grandfather)
    • Charles Gerner, born abt. 1850-51 in Germany, died 1929 in Butler County, Pennsylvania (Fred's brother)

    Uncertain Ancestors / Collateral Relatives
    • Christian Gerner, named as Fred's father on Fred's death certificate
    • Christian Gerner, possible brother to Fred as named by Brendice Gerner, Fred's daughter
    • John Gerner, possible brother to Fred, also named by Brendice Gerner
    • Emma Gerner, possible sister to Fred, named by Brendice Gerner.  Emma may have married a man named Alf Heusel.

    Records for Fred Gerner include
    • 1872 Bible marriage record, Sugar Creek, Venango County, Pennsylvania (photocopy)
    • 1880 U.S. Census, Scott District, Putnam County, West Virginia
    • 1900 U.S. Census, Parker Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania
    • 1910 U.S. Census, Fairview Township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania
    • 1916 Butler County Directory, farmer, Fairview, RD #1Petrolia, Butler County, Pennsylvania
    • 1920 U.S. Census, Bruin, Butler County, Pennsylvania
    • 1926 Death Certificate, died in Bruin, Butler County, Pennsylvania.  Died 26 March 1926
    • 1926 Burial in Bear Creek Cemetery, Chicora, Butler County, Pennsylvania
    • 1926 Will admitted to probate, March 31, 1926
    • 1926 Newspaper article telling that Fred's will had been filed for probate (The Butler Eagle, Friday, April 2, 1926, p, 17, col. 1)

    Country of Origin
    Germany is always mentioned as the country of origin in family and census records.  Family records suggest various locations in Germany including Anaheim, Mannheim

    Notes from Brendice Gerner, Fred's daughter written when she was 93
    "This is what I can tell you about my father.  He was born in 1854, I will guess, in Anaheim, Germany.  [In another letter she says he was born in 1848.]  Came to the U.S. with his parents when he was six months old.  Then there was a girl Emma, who married Alf Heusel [spelling not completely legible].  I think they lived in Chicora.  Also a boy named Charlie.  After they were married I am sure they lived in Butler.  I should have told you before that my grandparents came to Butler County, Penna.  They attended church in a little town, Fairview.  It was a German Reformed at that time.  They were buried in the cemetery there which no doubt is a parking lot today [1988].  I cannot think of either of my grandparents' first names. 
        "All these little towns are in Butler Co. and not too far apart."

    Until I can make a fairly positive connection between Fred and Christian Gerner (more than a name on a death certificate), I'm not considering Christian a great-great-grandfather yet.  More work will include searches of property records.  I've written a number of recent posts about Christian which you can find by typing "Christian" in the search box in the left sidebar under "May I help you find someone on this blog?"

    This post is a contribution to the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge.  Go to the link and you can see other submissions for this meme.  Alona Tester of  Genealogy and History News is the creator and keeper of this meme.  Thank you, Alona! 



    1. Nancy, it is really nice to be able to set out all the research you've done on a person (or family) and see it! And while there's always more to look for, it's a nice feeling to say that you've found this much already Well done!

    2. I very much like the way you've written up this Overview of Frederick Gerner Nancy and believe it would work very well for some of my ancestors about whom I have lots of confusing and unconfirmed information. Many thanks for sharing. Cheers, Catherine.


    I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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