Sunday, August 31, 2014

Information Relating to Christian Gerner's Death - Church Record Sunday, 52 Ancestors

Rev. Charles F. Althouse of St. Peter's Reformed Church in Fairview, Butler County, Pennsylvania, was the pastor who performed the funeral service for my great-great-grandfather, Christian Gerner.  What a thrill to find information about my ancestor recorded by the pastor.

Christian Gerner died on Thursday, February 16, 1899.  His funeral was 3 days later, on Sunday, the 19th of February.

This is the record Rev. Althouse kept:

Funeral Date        February 19, 1899
Name                   Christian Gerner
Text                     Rev 14:13
Age                      79-1-15 (y-m-d)
Fee                       $3
Cause of Death     Pneumonia
Cemetery              Fairview

(Full page view of record book at right.)

This information suggests that Christian was born on January 1, 1820.  It's possible that he was.  It's equally possible that January 1 was an easy date to claim when a definite date was not known.  All census records available suggest that 1820 was the year of his birth.

The text from his funeral, Revelations 14:13, reads,
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
If Christian wasn't really prepared for death, at least the minister thought he was.

I found this church record on Pennsylvania and New Jersey Town and Church Records at, specifically the collection Durham Reformed Church, Durham, Bucks, PA, image 187 which you will be able to view only if you have an membership or are at Family History Center or a public library with access.

I don't want to seem greedy, but now I wish the minister had saved the text of his remarks, too!  They may have given me more insight into the life my g-g-grandfather led.


Copyright © 2014 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.


  1. For me, the most fabulous thing about this book is that he says which cemetery he was buried in.

    1. Yes, that is pretty fabulous, Mike. For some reason I took the cemetery for granted but as I looked through previous research results and my research log, I realized that, in fact, I didn't know that he was buried at Fairview.

  2. How interesting to know which Biblical text the minister read. It looks like he had some rather standard choices that were used at several funerals. I wonder why some people got Job 1:21 and others got Revelation.

    1. Yes, I thought that was a fun little tidbit to have about Christian, Wendy -- or about his funeral, at least. I just looked up Job 1:21. It's the one says we came naked and we return naked and that the Lord gives and takes away. It would be interesting to know the personalities and physical/financial situations of these people (but I don't think I'll do the research to find out). The minister did repeat a few of the scriptures but I thought he used a fairly good variety.


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