The Genesis of the Gerler Genealogy

I am going to backtrack to a post I wrote at the end of March titled, One of the Ridge Gerlers.  In that post, I said I would have to tell the story of the Gerler family immigrating to America in another post.  Today, I will tell that story.

The family of Christian Frederich Gerler left Germany in 1854 and headed for America.  When they left, there were eleven members of the family…..Frederich, his wife Christiane, and nine children.  On the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, Christiane and two of the youngest children died.  The two infants may have been twins.  It is also reported that 34 people died aboard the ship they were on.  Here is the passenger list for this family.  They traveled aboard the Kossuth which landed in New Orleans on November 27, 1854.

Gerler passenger list

This means that when the family arrived in America, it consisted of a widower and seven children.  On May 20, 1885, Frederich married again, this time to Anna Oberndorfer.  Here is the Missouri record for this marriage.

Gerler Oberndorfer marriage

Rev. George Schieferdecker was pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church at the time, but he also was serving a group of Lutherans in the New Wells area in northern Cape Girardeau County.  The Trinity church record for this wedding says he was married at Apple Creek.  That would have placed this marriage in the New Wells area.

Gerler Oberndorfer marriage Trinity
Gerler/Oberndorfer marriage record – Trinity, Altenburg

On August 27, 1855, a mere three months after this marriage, Frederich died.  Once again, the Trinity church records document this death.  It attributes his death to gangrene which resulted from an old leg wound.

Frederich Gerler death record
Frederich Gerler death record – Trinity, Altenburg

Frederich was buried in what became the Immanuel Lutheran Church cemetery in New Wells.

This leaves Anna Gerler as a widow with seven step-children that she barely knows, and  she must now care for them by herself.  There is another complication.  Anna becomes pregnant before her husband dies.  Then on December 10, 1855, Anna married again, this time to Johann Joseph Schmidt.

Gerler Schmidt marriage record
Gerler/Schmidt marriage record

This wedding was performed by Rev. August Lehmann, who was pastor at the New Wells congregation in 1855.  The church records for this time period had not yet begun.  A daughter, Lydia, was born on April 5, 1856 and baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pocahontas.

It appears that the Gerler children did not follow the Schmidts for very long.  In the 1860 census, we find these children living in a variety of households.

Friedrich William was living with the Dietrich family and serving as a farm laborer.

William Gerler 1860 census
1860 census – Brazeau Township, Perry County, MO

Friedrich Ferdinand Gerler and his sister Anna were living with the Ernst Palisch family in Frohna.

Ferdinand Gerler 1860 census
1860 census – Brazeau Township, Perry County, MO

Wilhelmine Gerler had been confirmed at Concordia Lutheran Church in Frohna, and she was married to Friedrich Bernhard Schade before the 1860 census.  They were married at Immanuel Lutheran Church by Rev. Schieferdecker.  Immanuel had formed in 1857.

Louis Gerler was living with the Valentin Froebel family.

Louis Gerler 1860 census

Friederich Christian Gerler was living in the household of Charles Palisch.

Frederich Gerler 1860 census
1860 census – Brazeau Township, Perry County, MO

Pauline Gerler was confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Altenburg in 1858, but I could not find her in the 1860 census.

One thing developed as time went by.  The boys in this family who carried on the Gerler name had property in two areas of East Perry County.  One group of Gerlers became known as the Ridge Gerlers.  I wrote a little about this area in that previous blog.  They were located in that area north of Altenburg that became known as The Ridge.  The other group lived in an area in the southern part of East Perry County, just north of the Apple Creek which separates Perry from Cape Counties.   This group has become known as the Lake Gerlers.

If you look at this present-day map, you will see a lake which is known as Gerler Lake.  The red arrow points to this lake.

Lake Gerler land

To help identify some Gerler land, this map from a 1915 atlas shows some Gerler land.  The blue arrows point to Gerler land.

Gerler property Lake Gerlers

This story tells the tale which I have seen so many times throughout the early history of the Lutheran immigrants in East Perry County.  There was plenty of death, and when that death occurred, people would step up to the plate to help those who were effected by that death.  So many times we see that the children who lost a parent are taken in by other families because something just had to be done to help those children.  I think it shows much about the character of the people who came here.   It is a quality to be admired.


2 thoughts on “The Genesis of the Gerler Genealogy

  1. Hello! I’m trying to track down information on one of the branches on my family tree. After a Google search, I found myself on your page, reading about my ancestors. In particular, I’m tracing the ancestors of Johann Schmidt and Anna Oberndorfer. I’m a descendant of theirs through their son Johann Joseph Schmidt. I’m not sure if this is the best way to contact you, but figured it was a place to start. If there is a better way, please let me know. Thank you for your assistance!


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