The Johann Adam and Anna Maria (Mertz)


Family of Berks and Schuylkill Counties, Pennsylvania

Adam Zehner pedigree chart

A New Zehner Family History

Adam Zehner immigrated to the United States from Germany as a young man in 1754. Family tradition has it that Adam arrived here without sufficient funds to pay for his passage, and was indentured for several years to a Pennsylvania settler named Mertz who had paid the captain's fee. Adam settled initially in Berks County, where he married, about 1759, Anna Maria Mertz, said to have been a daughter of his benefactor. Several children were born to them near Mertztown in Longswamp Township. About 1769 they moved north a few miles across the Blue Mountains to West Penn Township in what is now Schuylkill County, near Tamaqua. There, several more children were born, bringing the total to fifteen.

This is the story of Adam and his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, covering the period from about 1750 to about 1880. They were mainly farmers, struggling with primitive tools to extract a sparse living from the land. Over time, many families migrated westward to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin, carving homesteads out of a wild and sometimes dangerous new land. Included are all known descendants in the first four generations, male and female, through about the end of the nineteenth century. Collateral families include Balliet, Blott, Bower, Daubenspeck, Deal, Deeble, Eckroth, Gerber, Hauser, Hettinger, Irwin, Kleckner, Miller, Petry, Shoup, and Witherstine.

Many, but not all, of the 852 Zehners currently listed in the U. S. descend from Adam and Maria Zehner. If you are one of them, you may want to own a copy of this book. They also make great gifts for younger family members.

Maria Mertz pedigree chart

About This Book

It has been seventy years since a major book was written about the descendants of Adam Zehner, who immigrated into Pennsylvania in 1754. In 1997 I began research on this family with the ambitious goal of writing a quality book about the history and genesis of this family. The first volume is now complete.

In this book, you will learn about our ancestors and cousins. More than just birth, marriage, and death dates, you will find details about where they lived, what they did for a living, and sometimes other details like education, fraternal affiliations, and religion. In many cases, you may be able to locate your ancestor's land or burial site on a map and plan a personal visit there.

What is covered. This 352-page book reports, in as much detail as I have been able to discover, the lives of every descendant I have been able to identify in the first four generations (Adam through his great grandchildren, a total of 565 people plus their spouses). In addition to an easy-to-understand "How To Use This Book" section, the introduction provides a brief discussion of the genealogical standards and assumptions that were used in compiling the book. Nearly 4,700 detailed citations to information sources support the facts. Many photographs, maps, and photocopies of actual historical documents, bring a tangible reality to the dates, places, and events reported.

Index. The every-name index, with both maiden and married names of women, also includes all places, cemeteries, churches, and historical events mentioned in the book. Individuals who appear in more than one section of the book are cross-referenced for easy navigation.

Made to last. This hardback book is made of high quality acid-free, lignin-free, archival materials and should last for several hundred years with reasonable care.

Schedule and Cost. The book was published by Tennessee Valley Publishing of Knoxville. The books cost $37 including shipping and handling within the continental U. S. Only a small number have been printed, so I suggest that you order your copy right away.

About the Author

William J. Zehner is a Certified GenealogistSM and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors. He teaches genealogy at the local community college Lifelong Learning Center. He is the newsletter editor of the Florida State Genealogical Society and the Bay County Genealogical Society. He is Web master of the Bay County Genealogical Society and Bay County GenWeb. He lives in Lynn Haven, Florida, with his wife, Lynda, and their dog, Maggie. him.

David Zehner Mill in Schuylkill County

How to Order

You can order your books

by postal mail using either of the choices below:
Download and print a pdf order form
Fill out a form on-line and print it out.

Please make your check payable to:
William J. Zehner
1022 Paton Lane
Lynn Haven, FL 32444-3182

Questions or comments may be emailed
to the

BCG This web site is designed and maintained by a Certified GenealogistSM APG

Last Updated on 13 May 2009

© 2009 by William J. Zehner, CGSM.  All rights reserved.  Use of this site constitutes your acceptance of these Conditions of Use