I thought I'd write a little about Margareth, or rather, about our search for Margareth. I was contacted by a researcher who also has Margareth, wife of John Mentzer, in her tree and it's great fun working with her . We know nothing about Margareth except her husband's name and the names of her eleven children. All were born between the years of 1788 and 1813, so her supposed birthdate would be about 1770, give or take a few years. Her husband John was born in 1767 in Lancaster County, Pa. I believe it's his christening date that was listed as November 23 of that year, so he could potentially be a few weeks or months older.
I suggested to Anne Caston, researcher extraordinaire, that we needed to be looking at her FAN club, those people who are associated in some kind of records with Margareth, or at least with John. Anne has been keeping a database of families with daughters named Margareth, found in or near the Mentzers, mostly in their church. She's eliminated a lot of possibilities or at least put them on the back burner, because she's found later records that showed that Margareth married to someone else.
At the moment, we are pursuing a phantom Margareth, belonging to a Scherb, Schaub, or Sharp family. The best evidence we have for that right now is that John "Sharp" was a bondsman of some kind when John Mentzer died in 1821. John Mentzer was 54 when he died, so it is possible that John Sharp could have been his father in law. It is more likely that he was a brother in law or some other relation, if indeed he was a relation to Margareth at all.
The problem we have is that the marriage records for this church are missing for about 40 years, with very little likelihood that they will ever be found again. So we are trying to use the FAN (Friends, associates, neighbors) approach, by finding land, tax, or other records that might give us a clue. Maybe there are still records on line that we haven't found yet.
There is always the possibility that Margareth came to America by herself or with a married sister, which would make her that much harder to trace. We are hoping to find a connection in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, that makes sense and that has some actual proof. Maybe Grandpa in who knows where in Germany left her some money in his will, that shows her last name? Maybe someone has some document stored away in an attic that will show her name? Maybe the good folks at the Lancaster County Historical Society will find records they don't know they have?
If there are any genealogists reading this who have experience in Lancaster County, Pa, we sure could use some ideas. We aren't professionally trained genealogists, and it's more than possible that we are overlooking something obvious.
For the record, John and Margareth's children are: (dates are christening dates)
Conrad December 30, 1788
Elizabeth September 30, 1790
Susanna September 10, 1792
Johannes August 29, 1794
Catherine June 13, 1797
Conrad March 25, 1799
Samuel December 9, 1800
Christina December 2,1804
Jacob September 2, 1808
George March 8, 1810
Joseph May 8, 1813
One final thought: If this family is following the standard naming pattern, perhaps Samuel or Jacob are first names we should be looking for. But where is Margareth's name? Did she not name a daughter after herself? Maybe they weren't using the standard German naming pattern. Anne just told me there is a Jacob Scherb who would be of the right generation, to be Margareth's father. She has access to more records than I do, or else she's better at finding stuff, because she is all over this family right now. She's already ordered some records and has plans to visit a library that has more land records than I've found at the Allen County Public Library.) Stay tuned for any updates we (mostly Anne) come up with!
Again, the line of descent for the Harshbarger family is through the second Conrad, born March 25, 1799.