Thursday, June 6, 2024

From Johann to Joseph John


Though unable to find anything further on Michael Metzger's son John—or, as he was called in the German-speaking town where he settled in Indiana, Johann—we'll now turn to the rest of Michael's children to explore any clues about his origin. His possible oldest two children, Gregory and Joanna, apparently didn't marry—but then, I've found very little on them to even confirm that these were two of the foreign-born children of the founding immigrant.

The third child, Michael's namesake son, was my mother-in-law's direct ancestor. I've researched this line closely but have not yet been able to confidently push back to the previous generation through what I've found on this younger Michael's family.

Beyond that is the next-born son, Joseph John Metzger. I've already noticed that six of his descendants are DNA matches to my husband, so I've been working on how they connect to my mother-in-law's family tree. As that work unfolds, I'll share what I find here in the next few days—if, that is, there are any noteworthy discoveries. This Metzger family seems reticent to share any early memories of the homeland for our benefit.

What I do already know about Joseph John Metzger is that he was the first of the Metzger children to have been born after the family arrived in the United States. Specifically, Joseph was born in Pennsylvania, one testimony of the family's stop in that state on their way to their final destination in Ohio.

As it turns out, Joseph spent most of his life in Perry County, the same location where his parents had settled and the place where all his siblings—with the exception of Johann—remained in their adulthood. I say "most," though, because a pivot point in Joseph's life was the loss of his wife Mary Ann Bechtol after the birth of their five children.

With a young family yet to raise, Joseph Metzger did what any farmer of that era would have done: quickly found a wife to marry. That he did by 1857, when he and second wife Rachel exchanged wedding vows. The catch was that they were married a small distance removed from his parents' home, in Knox County. And it was likely in that same Knox County where Joseph raised his second, even larger, family of at least seven more children before his 1885 death.

Between all those children, I'm hoping someone researching this Metzger line will have run across some family stories on where this line originated. We'll take a closer look at Joseph John Metzger's line—and DNA matches—tomorrow.

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