Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Exploring Details on a Possible Son


It seems so counter-intuitive, when pommeled for years with the mantra, "document, document, document," to simply reach out and pluck a son from hypothetical thin air. After all, we're talking children of my husband's third great-grandfather Michael Metzger, which means stretching to the early 1800s with a paper trail. Still, though the connection bridges multiple generations, we now have a tool which the genealogists of previous eras couldn't yet access.

Paper trail or no, my husband's DNA matches suggest he has a connection to descendants of someone named Joseph John Metzger. Presumably—at least according to Ancestry's ThruLines—Joseph was one of the two additional children of Michael Metzger whom I haven't yet been able to identify. We'll take some time this week to explore what can be found about this Joseph.

Besides the DNA connection, one reason I wanted to inspect records regarding Joseph Metzger was that he lived in Knox County, Ohio. Keep in mind, all the other Metzger family members I've found so far have spent a significant portion of their lives in Perry County, Ohio. There are several records affirming that case.

There are also, as we discovered last week, Metzger family events which I presumed occurred in Perry County which may have happened elsewhere—like the deaths of potential children Gregory, Joanna, and Mary Ann. While the two Metzger sisters were buried in Perry County, there is no record there of the death of any of those three.

My guess was that they died while visiting a nearby relative. And Joseph provides the most likely explanation. Joseph, from the time of the 1850 census until his 1885 death, lived in Knox County. For those unfamiliar with their Ohio geography—I had to look it up myself—Knox County is basically a straight shot northward from Perry County, on the other side of Licking County. In today's travel vernacular, it would be a little over an hour's commute to drive from the one county to the other.

Though folks from that time period wouldn't have the benefit of paved highways and fast-moving cars, it is quite likely that a move from Perry County to Knox County wouldn't be quite as cataclysmic a rending of family ties as, say, the decision to move out west. But there's another reason why I want to learn more about this particular Metzger son: unlike for his older, foreign-born siblings, census records consistently gave his birthplace as Pennsylvania. And at least one Ancestry subscriber—though without the requisite available paper trail—has pinpointed that Pennsylvania location to a specific place availing us of Catholic birth records. You can be sure I'll follow up on that possibility.

Next step in this process: get to know a little bit more about what we can document of the life of Joseph John Metzger of Knox County, Ohio. 


  1. Oh boy, a cautious hunt, but it could lead to answers!

    1. Oh, Miss Merry, it's worth the try. It may lead to some useful information.


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