Introduction   8 comments

                                                      ONE BIG FAMILY

   A History of the Metzler Family from Lancaster to Pittsburgh, PA 

Introduction                  Compiled by Joanne Metzler Docherty      1982
(Click on any image to enlarge.)

About 10 years ago I became interested in finding out about my Metzler ancestors. I wrote a few letters of inquiry and questioned some family members. With information scarce and no response to most of the letters I set aside the project.

In 1977, the project revived, I received from Holy Rosary Church, Pittsburgh, a copy of Emerson Bennett Metzler’s baptismal certificate, which stated his parents were Abraham Metzler and Anna Warren Metzler. The project was again set aside for 5 years.

This past March, interest in knowing my ancestors renewed, I traveled to Lancaster County armed with one piece of confirmed information. Emerson Bennett Metzler was the son of Abraham Metzler and Anna Warren Metzler. I had also, over the years, heard numerous family stories, some of which turned out to be fact, others fiction.

Little did I realize that on the 3rd of March 1982, one day before my oldest daughter’s birthday in just six and a half hours, I would discover information that would span 270 years and nine generations, and would link my youngest child, Barbara Jane Docherty, born 14 February 1963 to Valentine Metzler, born 14 February 1726, and his father Jost Metzler born in 1693!

My initial visit to the Lancaster County Historical Society opened the door to a great learning experience and at many times an extremely emotional one, a trait I feel quite certainly was not inherited from Henry.

Joanne Metzler Docherty with the Bishop Metzler Bible, 9/2011

The first clues were an article written by C. E. Metzler, Boston, Massachusetts entitled ‘The Bishop Metzler Bible’ (This article appeared in the Pennsylvania German, Oct. 1910, Vol. XI, No. 10.), and a typewritten page of tombstone inscriptions, the last of which   read:

ABRAM METZLER       (C.E.M’s uncle)            1824-1866                                             Wife – Anna Warren Metzler 1830-1867   Children            Lawrence     Nora B.                             Leroy          James W.

Tombstone in Strasburg Mennonite Cemetery

From then on, pieces began to fall into place. Some are still missing, but hopefully, in time the pieces will be discovered.

The enjoyment and satisfaction I have received doing this research has made every minute of anxiety experienced worthwhile. It seemed the information for which I searched the hardest and the longest was the most enjoyable when it was finally discovered.

I know I have not gone the agonizing route of most people searching for their ancestors. I have been very fortunate. People spend years acquiring the information that has been uncovered in a few short months. For this I thank the Lancaster Historical Society, the Mennonite Historical Society, the article written by my first cousin three times removed, C. E. Metzler, articles written by Ira D. Landis, publications of the Mennonite Publishing Houses, Scottdale, Pa., and many family members who have supplied information and photographs. Most of all I thank my dear brother, Father Warren Metzler, for his encouragement and understanding. I thank them all for the time, help and information that has enabled me to get to know my ancestors. I am proud of my heritage! Hope you feel the same.

I have come to know and love the people living in Lancaster County during the 1800’s, and each visit to Strasburg is more enjoyable that the previous one.  As I walk through the old cemeteries, hunting clues, I see names on tombstones so familiar to me, Levi Waidley, the tailor – Alex Shultz, town tinsmith – Aunt Barbara’s friend and executor H. G. Book —  I could go on and on!!

Through the following ‘Metzler Family History’, I would like to take you back in time to acquaint you with some of our ancestors. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed researching and writing it.