Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The search for John Metzner's (1805-1888) cause of death

A message from cousin Paula at Linnea's Legacy prompted me to search my files to see if I had any information regarding the cause of death of our common relative, John Metzner (1805-1888) of Jay County, Indiana.  John was a brother of Paula's ancestor, William Metzner.

John was my paternal 3rd great-grandfather, an immigrant from Saxony who showed up in Licking County, Ohio in 1839 where he married another immigrant from Alsace, Catherine Young (1819-1910).  They moved between 1848-1850 to Noble Township, Jay County, Indiana where they raised their 11 children. 

Eventually, I fully intend to do a working analysis of John's information, but right now I have his date of death as January 10, 1888 in Jay County, Indiana, aged 82.  My Rootsmagic database shows two sources cited for his death, one a family group sheet from Paula, the other is Jay County, Indiana Death Records, Book H-1, page 67.

I have searched through my digital files and cannot locate where I have ever requested a copy of his death certificate from the Jay County Health Department.  So there is one avenue of research that will be on my "to-do" list for 2014.

Using my subscription to, I decided to see what newspapers they might have for this time period.  Early Jay County, Indiana newspapers are not always extant.  I was able to find some editions of the early Portland Commercial, but none for the month of January 1888, when John died.

I did find mention of grandpa John in the December 22, 1887 edition of the Portland Commercial.  On page one, under the social happenings of the Fair Haven area, is stated :

Mr. John Metzner, who lives north east from this place is seriously sick.

So while this doesn't give an exact cause of death, it does at least put him on the sick roll at the time shortly before his demise.  Now I will need to follow up with a trek to the Jay County Health Department for a copy of the official record.

I'm also not familiar with the neighborhood of Fair Haven, so am unsure what the connection to the Metzner clan.  I had always known them to be around the Westchester area of Jay County.

Wondering also if John might have been suffering from the flu, though that may just be because in 2014 I'm stuck at home doing the same.

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