Person:John Mertz (1)

Facts and Events
Name John Philip Mertz
Alt Name Johann Philip Mertz
Gender Male
Birth[1] 14 Oct 1738 Rockland, Berks, Pennsylvania, United States
Christening? 25 Nov 1738 Rockland, Berks, Pennsylvania, United States
Residence[1] Maxatawny Township, Berks, Pennsylvania, United States
Death[1] Aft 1812 Berks, Pennsylvania, United States
Religion[1] Berks, Pennsylvania, United StatesLutheran

The baptism of John Philip Mertz is documented in the records of Mertz Church (Rockland Township, Berks County, PA). He was born 14 Oct 1738. His 29 May 1764 marriage to Catharina Quierin is also documented in those same church records. This couple then baptized quite a few children at that church in the period 1766-1783. His last mention in those church records was as a sponsor at the 1812 baptism of a grandson.

He was listed in the 1790, 1800 and 1810 Census as a resident of Maxatawny Township, Berks County, part of which is a stone's throw from Mertz Church.

John Philip was one of a large family of Mertzes who descend from Johann Heinrich Mertz, founder of Mertz Church, a 1737 immigrant. Let's call that whole family the Mertz Church Mertzes or the Rockland Township Mertzes. They were Lutherans.

John Philip has been confused with a different Philip Mertz by many genealogists over the years. The life of the other Philip Mertz is documented in the records of the Longswamp Reformed Church of Longswamp Township, Berks County, PA. His wife was Eva (Anna Eva or Eve). Philip was one of a large family of Mertzes who descend from John David Mertz, a 1733 immigrant. Let's call that whole family the Longswamp Mertzes. They were Reformed.

The confusion came about because when descendants of Philip Mertz of Longswamp -- who moved to Northumberland County in about 1785 -- set out to determine his ancestry, the first (and then only) place they looked was the records of Mertz Church. When they found that 1738 birth record, they thought they had found their man and looked no further. They knew nothing about any Mertz family of Longswamp so did not check there. They were so certain John Philip was their man they didn't thoroughly examine the full church record book of Mertz Church or they might have pondered how a man could be in two places at the same time?

The result is that many family histories and family trees tracing descendants of Philip Mertz of Northumberland County show that he was born in 1738, the son of John Henry Mertz. They are wrong. Philip of Longswamp/Northumberland was a 1st Lieutenant in a Berks County Revolutionary War Militia unit and his DAR record says he was erroneously born in 1738, he wasn't.

y-chromosone DNA of descendants of the two Philips proves that there was no relationshio between the two different Mertz families of Berks County whatsoever.

I write this in the hopes that I can keep more people in the future from propagating this error. More detail can be found on my website:

Oakey Mertz

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Philip Mertz, in Find A Grave.

    This memorial is for a different Philip Mertz, but mentions a few facts about this man to distinguish the two.