Gerber Family Genealogy

Gerber Family Genealogy

I have transcribed part of the Minneapolis West High School Yearbook for 1919 - called The Hesperian. The year book consisted of two graduating classes. If you find someone of interest let me know and I will see if there are any further details in the year book on the organizations/clubs they belonged to. Enjoy.

  Go to my complete
index of persons (over 2,000) OR review the family names I am researching below.
I have also written a short article on how I traced some of my family lines back to their town and country of origin.
Surnames from my father's side of the family:
Gerber, Preisen, Lahiff, Coleman, McGinnis, Knaeble, Lefebvre, Carroll, Kees
Surnames from my mother's side of the family:
Sexton, Archer, Sweeney, Gilbert, Mooney,Duffy
Surnames from my childrens Mothers family:
Zarins, Tenisons Grosc/Gross/Grohs

Surnames I have completed research on!


Basic Family Tree
Philipi Gerber (died feb. 1724) and Maria ?? both of Bombogen Germany
     son Joannis Gerber and Anna Maria Lowen
         son Mathias Gerber and Anna Maria Konig
              son Mathias Gerber and Theresia Ambrosius
                    son Peter Joseph Gerber and Agatha Wagner (both died in Prum Germany)
                         son Peter, born in Luxembourg City and immigrated to US in 1857

The earliest record of the Gerber family I can find is located in Bombogen Germany in 1719 with the marriage record of Joannis Gerber to Anna Maria Lowen. Joannis was the son of Phillipi Gerber. According to later church records Phillipi was dead by 1724. Some of the Gerber descendants moved to Luxem Germany while others stayed in Bombogen. This area of Germany is known for tobacco farming in the volcanic soil of the area. Most of the church records indicate the Gerber's were farmers although one appears to have been a judge. Mathias Gerber (son of Joannis) is listed as " Scabinus" which translates to Judge. Today Luxem and Bombogen are parts of the town of Wittlich Germany.

Peter Joseph Gerber (son of Mathias II), who was an officer in the Prussian army. While located in Luxembourg City he met and married Agatha Wagner (Agatha's father was a linen-weaver). While living in Luxembourg City they had their first three children - one of which is Peter Gerber (Jr.) who immigrated to the USA on 22 May 1857 on the ship E.C. Scranton. Peter Joseph Gerber apparently moved back to the Wittlich region where they had at least one more child, then moved to Prum (Pruem) Germany where they had 3 more children. Peter and Agatha died in Prum.

Peter Gerber (Jr.) immigrated with his sister Agatha and her family to St. Paul Minnesota. Agatha had married Joseph Arth in Prum Germany and had several children before immigrating. After coming to St. Paul MN Peter met and married Barbara Preisen and had most of their children while living in St. Paul. They later moved to NE Minneapolis (which then was known as St. Anthony Village) where they prospered. Peter and Barbara had 6 children. Peter worked for almost his whole (US) life at the Minnesota Soap Company. Peter and Barbara are buried at St. Anthony Cemetery in NE Minneapolis. The Gerber's in Minnesota prospered in Minneapolis and grew quite large. Most of the descendants still live in Minnesota.

I have scanned in several old photos (all less then 100K) that I have been fortunate enough to collect for the Gerber's.

I have been lucky enough to get many letters that friends had written to my Grandmother Helen (nee Lahiff) Gerber.

Recently I received a photo album of Elmer Gerber – my Grandfather. He attended St. John's high school in Collegeville Minnesota from 1915-1918. Unfortunately virtually none of the pictures are labelled. I have organized the pictures into two group.

If you can identify any of the people in these pictures please let me know! Thank you


Basic Family Tree
Joannis Preusen and Eva Thome (Joannis was also married to Eva Meyer)
     son Michaelis Preusen born Peffingen Germany married Barbara Thome in Bittburg.
         daughter Barbara Preusen born 11 Aug. 1837 in Bittburg Germany

Barbara Gerber (Preisen) arrived in New York USA on 25 June 1855 with her parents and siblings.

Here is the arrival report: New York Times, June 25, 1855 Arrived New York, Saturday June 23 Ship George Hurlbut, [captain] Post, 79 days from Antwerp and 43 days from Portsmouth, England, where she put in to repair damages, with mdse and 374 passengers to [agents] Post, Smith & Co. June 5, lat 41 40 lon 44 exchanged signals with ship Francis of Portland bound E. The G.H. had 13 deaths (infants) on the passage and one birth

The U.S. ship GEORGE HURLBUT, 1047 tons, was built at Essex, Connecticut in 1850, and registered at New York on 23 December 1850. She sailed originally in the Hurlbut Line of sailing packets between New York and Havre, with the winter crossing (between December and March) from Havre to New Orleans, until mid-1854, when she was transferred to Hurlbut's New York- Antwerp service. In 1856, Ezra D. Post, master, she was advertized as sailing in Tapscott's Line of New York-Liverpool packets, and in 1859, Thomas S. (or L.) Masson, master, as sailing in the Post Line of New York-Mobile packets and in the Stanton & Thompson Line of New York-New Orleans packets.

Fortunately I was able to find their point of origin in an early census records which listed " Pittsburgh" as their city of origin. There is no such city in Germany so figuring it was a phonetic equivalent I came up with the city of Bitburg. In checking the church records there I found Barbara's baptism record as well as all those of her siblings (those that were still alive) and parents.

Barbara immigrated with her whole family to the USA. I haven't found the ship yet. In researching the church records I was able to determine that Barbara's parents were Michael Preisen and Barbara Thome. Michael and Barbara had a special dispensation to get married which may mean they were relatives in some fashion (Michael's mother was also a Thome). Micheal Preisen was born in Peffingen Germany in 1808. Peffingen is near the town of Schankweiler Germany. No earlier information on their origin was located.


Basic Family Tree
Johann Michael Knable married Francisca Schmieden, Obendorf Germany
     son Andrew Knable and Maria Anna Brandeker 18 Sept. 1752
         son Michael Knable married Margaret Hipp 9 Sept. 1788
              son Andrew Knaeble married Margaretta Lefevre Boston 30 July 1831

The Knaeble's were the easiest to research mainly because all the research work had already been done. For many years the Knaeble's operated a funeral home in Minneapolis. As a kid I remembered going to wakes at the funeral home and updated the family tree which went all the way back to when the Knaeble's immigrated to the US on June 20, 1828 on the Constitution.

The Knaeble's (Knable with an umlat over the " a" in German) are from the town of Obendorf near the Neckar river in Germany and located between Stuttgart and Konstanz.

The Knaeble's first lived in Pennsylvania where Andrew Knaeble's wife died. Some of his son's served in the Civil War. After the Civil War they moved to Minneapolis Minnesota. There they got into the furniture business. While running the store a friend asked if he could display childrens caskets in their store window. Before they knew it they were undertakers and the business grew from there.

I want to thank those that have researched the Knaeble's - mainly Bob Knaeble (the last of the funeral home owners) and Lynn Blazek.


Basic Family Tree
Henry William Archer and Mary Tell
     son Henry Archer and Mary Wigley
         son John (Sr.) and Elizabeth Tupper
              son Henry Gates Archer and Sarah Newcomb
                   son George W. Archer and Priscilla Sprague
                        son Horace Archer and Ena Marie Gilbert
                             daughter Marguerite Archer and William Sexton

The earliest Archer in Minnesota is George Archer. He was listed as being born in Maine on census records. I was fortunate enough to meet up with someone who has done extensive research on the Archer's in Maine - Thomas Bentum. So I only had to fill in the details in Minnesota.

The Archer's in Minnesota are a bit of a mystery. I haven't been able to locate them on all the census records I should have. Although Horace Archer (son of George) was a carpenter and ran his own business for a while. In fact he built his own house (which was torn down for a highway) on Lyndale Ave.

I have scanned in several old photos (all less then 100K) that I have been fortunate enough to collect for the Archer's.


Basic Family Tree
Cornelius Coleman and Bridget Holland - married Askeaton Parish Ireland 5 May 1835
     son James Coleman and Bridget McGinnis
         daughter Bridget Coleman and Joseph Lahiff

Bridget Coleman born in Shieldsville Minnesota married Joseph Lahiff on Minneapolis Minnesota. Her mother was Bridget McGinnis (see below) who died very young - age 25. The Coleman's are from Askeaton, Co. Limerick Ireland. The family tree above is based on research conducted by the Limerick Archives.

It appears that James Coleman served in the confederate army during the civil war. Some records indicate that he served in the Company D, 6th Louisiana Infantry. Appears on List of Confed. Soldiers remaining in U. S. A. Military prison (Libby), Richmond, Va., April 10th, 1865. It is unclear how or why he served in the confederate army.

From the book "Meet Shieldsville"
Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Coleman and their family came from Ireland to Dunkirk, New York, in 1850.
They went from there to Galena, Illinois, and in 1856 came to Shieldsville and preempted the NW¼ of section 6.
Mrs. Coleman, by a previous marriage, had a daughter, Margaret Sommers, who married John Corbett.
The Coleman family was Thomas, born in Ireland in 1843, married Miss Ann Murphy in Shieldsville in 1863. They had two children, Nellie, and Jimmie. In 1876 Mrs. Coleman died and in 1877 Mr. Coleman married Miss Elizabeth Brennen of Kilkenny. Their family: Ed, Mary, Thomas, Elizabeth, Ann, and Peter. Mr. Coleman was a merchant in the village of Shieldsville and sold to J. C. Carpenter in the 90's.
Thomas Coleman and his father Cornelius, died in 1898. Honora Coleman married Daniel Culhane.
James Coleman married Bridget McGinnis, a sister of Mike McGinnis. Their family were John, Nora, and Bridget (Mrs. Joe Laffe). Mr. Coleman's second wife was Bridgid Cashin. Their two children were Nonie and Willie.


Basic Family Tree
John McGinnis and Mary Gaffney - Co. Westmeath Ireland
     daughter Bridget McGinnis and James Coleman

From: "Rice County Families" pg 385 published by the Rice Co Historical Soc in 1983
John and Mary (Gehagen) McGinnis came from Westmeath, Ireland whith their 4 year old son, Michael, and settled at Blackstone, Massachusetts. From there they moved to Erin Township. They settled on a farm near General Shields Lake in 1850 and received the deed to the property of 160 acres in 1858.
Michael was the only boy and oldest child. He had four sisters. Ann stayed in Balckstone, Massachusetts;
Mary married Edward Walsh and they had six children; They live in Erin Township.
Rose married James Sherman of Minneapolis and they made their home there.
Bridget married James Coleman of Rice County and they had two children.

From research in Ireland I have learned that John and Mary are from the Roman Catholic parish of Castlepollard - civil parish of Rathgarve. I have not been able to locate a specific residence for them but have located some other McGinnis/Gehagen families who lived in that area. Everything to the right of the pink link is Rathgarve. The yellow lines indicate areas where McGinnis/Gehagen families lived in the late 1850's and 1880's.


Susan Kees married Charles Knaeble (son of Andrew Knaeble). Susan's fathers name is Jacob Kees. They are from Kirchweiler Germany. I have lots of church records from Germany to translate still for this family. It is know that the Kees still have the dairy farm in Kirchweiler to this day.


Basic Family Tree
Michael Mooney and Bridget Duffy married 8 Nov 1868 USA
     daughter Ann Mooney and Edward F. Sexton

Michael Mooney was married previously and had several children by his first marriage. This marriage was also a second marriage for Bridget who had at least 2 children from the first marriage. Her first husband's last name was Murphy. Michael Mooney was a member of the Minnesota Territorial Pioneers Association and came to Minnesota in 1854. Michael and Ann had lots of children together and are buried at St. Anthony's Cemetery in Minneapolis Minnesota. From an obituary notice in the Irish Times it says he is from Kings County (now Offaly) Ireland.

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Dean and Lori Mooney who have done significant research on Michael Mooney and Bridget Duffy. In fact Lori has been back to Ireland to see where the Mooney's lived.

Michael Mooney is from Newtown townland, Kinnitty Parish, Offaly (Kings) Co, Ireland. Bridget Duffy is from Drumanure townland (near Ennis), Co Clare Ireland.

I really want to thank Dean and Lori for all the work they have done and for unselfishly sharing it with me.


Basic Family Tree
Michael Duffy and Mary Hassett
     daughter Bridget Duffy and Michael Mooney

Bridget lived to be 94, from her death certificate I would estimate she immigrated in 1849 (age 12) and moved to Minnesota in 1854. She was born Feb. 7, 1837 in Ireland.

One thing that I found was this entry from the Missing Persons section of the Boston newspaper
8TH AUGUST 1863: Of MICHAEL DUFFY - parish of KILMALEY - co CLARE - left ST ANTHONY'S FALLS about 5 years ago. last heard from - about 2 years ago - he was in the City of Virginia -UTAH TERRITORY. Inf. to his wife BRIDGET DUFFY - or REV J MCDERMOTT - ST ANTHONYS FALLS - HEMPIN co Minnesota.
Perhaps this Michael Duffy is her brother?

Again this is a family that Dean and Lori Mooney have researched. I want to thank them for sharing their information with me.

Bridget Mooney's parents are Michael John (both names are used) Duffy and Mary Hassett. She had a brother Dan and a sister Hannah. Bridget was married first to a Thomas Murphy and then to Michael Mooney in 1868.


Margaretha married Andrew Knaeble. She died in 1850 just before the US Census that year. She is supposedly buried in Dushore PA (Cherry Township). No grave location is known and all church records were destroyed in a fire. Some indications say she is buried under the church. No proof of that exists.

The family stories say she is the niece of General Francois Lefebvre who served with Napoleon. Her ear rings from the court are still in the family (somewhere). It turns out that the only relationship to the General is the same last name. She was born in Seltz France to Charles LeFevre. Charles was born in or around Paris per his death and marriage records. Margaretha remarried to a George Gross before coming to the US. George died shortly after arriving in the USA - early 1840's.

Surnames I am currently researching.


Basic Family Tree
Patrick Lahiff and Catherine Carroll - married Boston 26 Nov. 1846
     son Joseph E. Lahiff and Bridget Coleman
         daughter Helen Lahiff and Elmer Gerber

Patrick Lahiff came to the US in 1842 from Ireland. I have been able to locate lots of information on him in the US but no real indication on where in Ireland he is from. The only information located so far is that his father's name is John Lahiff and his mothers name is Bridget. Even Patrick's real birthdate is unkown. Records have it listed as 1817, 1818, 1819 and 1821. The 1900 census is the only one that says Patrick was a naturalized citizen of the US. No naturalization records have been located at this point. On sons James W. Lahiff's death certificate is says father Patrick Lahiff is from Limerick Ireland and mother Catherine Carroll is from County Kerry Ireland.

When Patrick first came to the US he lived in Lexington Mass. as a farmer. While living there he met and married Catherine Carroll. They had several children in Lexington before moving to Minneapolis in the early 1850's. The Lahiff's lived in Richfield (a suburb of Minneapolis) until the late 1860's when they moved to Waseca County in southern Minnesota. They lived in Waseca county until the late 1880's when the family moved back to Minneapolis. Patrick was a farmer his whole life. In fact he briefly owned a farm in Waseca for about 2 1/2 years until it was repossesed. It would seem that the family was very poor in those years as their youngest son (Joseph) was working as a Servant at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Owatonna Minnesota at the age of 15 (per the 1880 Census).

In reseaching this family I found on one son's death certificate is said that his father Patrick is from "Limerick Ireland" and his mother Catherine is from "Co Kerry Ireland". I wrote to the Limerick Archives and they located to Lahiff families with a John/Bridget Lahiff. One is well researched and had immigrated to Australia. I am assuming the other is mine. John Lahive and Bridget Lyddy. I can not know for sure unless I can find some proof in the US showing what Patrick's mothers maiden name is.


Basic Family Tree
William Sexton and Frances Sweeney - married ?? USA
     son Edward F. Sexton and Ann Mooney
         William Sexton and Marguerite Archer
              daughter Frances Sexton (my mom) and Gerald Gerber (my dad)

Again this is an interesting Irish family. I have been able to track William Sexton throughout his life in Minnesota and some in Pennsylvania. William married a Frances Sweeney and their first son Thomas was born in Washington Boro, Washington County, Pennsylvania. William filed his Declaration of Intent on Aug 26, 1854 in Washington Co. Penn. (on same day also filed was a Timothy Sexton and a Thomas Sexton on Nov 8, 1857). They moved to Wabasha County in Minnesota in 1858. They homesteaded a farm in West Albany (see map) and according to the homestead papers William had paid $196 for 160 acres of land and had erected a log house of 25'x17'x12' with 4 windows and 2 doors. The 1860 Census lists them as farmers in West Albany. By 1870 they had moved to Lake City where he ran a boarding house and was a Grocer/Liqour dealer. His property value on the census in 1870 was listed as $10,000. Quite a sum in those days. In the 1880's they moved to Minneapolis with the whole family sometime after the great fire that burned nearly 3/4 of Lake City MN. All the children that I have located so far were born in West Albany or Lake City MN (except for Thomas).

I believe William may be related to the many other Sexton's from Wabasha Co. Possible cousins are John, Timothy, Patrick and Thomas. They all appear as godparents to each others children and as witnesses on some Land Records. It is known that John Sexton is from Roman Catholic Parish of Monagay, County Limerick Ireland and that Timothy was from NewcastleWest, County Limerick. Its also possible that William is not related to these Sexton but is instead related to a David Sweeney who owned the farm next to them OR both!

It is now known that William had a brother Edward Sexton who was a year younger than William. In William's probate file he left $500 to Ellen Sexton the daughter of his brother Edward.

The interesting parts of this is that Edward and a Patrick Sexton filed their Declarations of Intent in Blair Co, PA in 1852. Just over the border in Cambria Co PA, there is an Edward Sexton married to a Mary Mulchay and they had a daughter in 1852 who's sponsor was a Patrick Sexton. Both mother and daughter dead by early 1853. Is this the same Edward/Patrick as mine in Blair Co? Seems so since I can not find any other Sexton's in that area.

Then in Washington Borough, Washington Co PA, in 1854 my William Sexton and a Timothy Sexton file their Declaration of Intent on the same day. 3 days later Edward gets his Naturalization Certificate.

Then in 1857 Timothy gets married in Davenport Iowa and in 1858 Patrick has his second child in Davenport. Both eventually move to Wabasha County Minnesota as does William. Edward remains in PA. Also it is known that the John Sexton in Minnesota travels back and forth to Pittsburgh where he is supposedly married in 1860.

This seems like too many coincidences for these Sexton NOT to be related to each other.

I have scanned in several old photos (all less then 100K) that I have been fortunate enough to collect for the Sexton's.


Frances Sweeney married William Sexton (see Sexton above). From one of the death records of her children it says she is from Belfast. In writing to authorities in Ireland they have been unable to locate any information on her. Also from her death records it says her father is Samuel Sweeney. No other details on her family or its origins is known. There is a David Sweeney who settled on a farm next to Frances and her husband. Also on their first child in Minnesota the godparents are Patrick Sexton and his wife Bridget (nee Sweeney) - another possible connection? I am still trying to locate where Patrick and Bridget went after 1880 in which Bridget appears without Patrick in Marion, Turner County, South Dakota. The catholic church in Marion checked all their records but could not find any Sexton's mentioned there.


Ena M. Gilbert married Horace Archer. According to census records she was born in Minnesota and her parents were born in Norway. I estimate their marriage date to be around 1891. According to the 1920 census she was a resident in Minneapolis for 30 years. This would imply that she was not born in Minneapolis and possibly could have married Horace somewhere other then in Minneapolis. On her death certificate it says her father is " Gilbert" (is this a first name or last?). I have not been able to locate her on any census records prior to 1900. I also recently got copies of Ena's daughters birth certificates and on the one for Marguerite it says Ena was born in Red Wing Minnesota. I am now trying to locate baptism records for her at two Lutheran churches in Redwing in hopes of finding her parents names.

I have a family friend whose mother's name was Ena. She signed everything that way and she later found out that her mothers real name was Katherine. So its likely that Ena is a nickname.

Surnames for the future.


Catherine Carroll married Patrick Lahiff in Boston Mass. From her death certificate her fathers name is Joseph "jos" Carroll (although its possible this abbreviation is "jas" but it really looks like "jos"). On her sons James W. Lahiff's death certificate it says she is from County Kerry Ireland.


Basic Family Tree
Adams Zarins and Kristine (?)
     son Karlis Zarins and Antonija Tennisons
         daughter Maija Ieva Zarins and LaVerne (Deke) Grosc
              daughter Kari Anona Grosc (my wife) and Tom Gerber (ME!)

This family is from Latvia. Adams Zarins was born in Mazsalaca, Latvia and died in Riga (his wife died in Limbazi). Karlis was born in Limbazi, Nogluzu farm, Latvia and became a very important person in Latvia and its efforts at independence. Below is an excerpt from "I know you", published l939. XI. The book contains short bios of prominent people of free Latvia.
Zarins Valentins, civil engineer, interior ministry, in charge of planning of state and public buildings. Born 1901,March 7 Limbazos (town), Nogluzos (house or manor). Father Adams - farmer, married to Kristine. Wife Antonija, born Tenisons. Graduate of Latvian University. Took part in freedom war from 1919 V. Was first inspector for fire defense. Later was in charge of building health resort in Kemeri (state of the art in 1938), justice building in Riga, remodel the castle of Riga. Belonged to cabinet (political), received the Recognition Cross (medal).
After immigrating to the USA with his family during WWII, he eventually worked as a draftsman for Pittsburg-Des Moines steel company and was living in Des Moines Iowa and worked on the St. Louis Arch.

All of his medals were donated to the University of Nesbraska - Lincoln. I am trying to get pictures of the medals.

I have scanned in several old photos (all less then 100K) that I have been fortunate enough to collect for the Zarins.


Basic Family Tree
Karlis Tenisons and Marija ?
     daughter Antonija Tenisons and Karlis Zarins

The Tenisons family was from Ranka, Latvia.

I have recently received some photos from Edgars Zarins Jr. for this family.

This Web site is dedicated to my parents: Gerald Gerber who always was wondering "where the Gerber's are from" (pictured here at lunch on his 70th birthday with his wife Pat) and in the memory of my Mother: Frances Mary Helm (nee Sexton) 12/08/1935 - 01/05/2000. She died after a long courageous battle with Breast and Bone Cancer.


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