Birth:  03 MAR 1738 in Kürnbach, Karlsruhe, Baden, Germany
Note:  Was christened the same day at the Evangelisch in Kürnbach

Name Var: Johannes Gern

Marriage: 21 JUN 1767 in Lancaster, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania to Margaret Seyn

Birth of Son:  1770
Name:  Frederick Garn

Birth of Daughter:  10 SEP 1773
Name:  Maria Barbara Garn

Birth of Daughter: 08 Jun 1775
Name: Catherine Garn
Place: Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA

Birth of Son:  22 JAN 1778
Name:  John Garn

NOTE: (from Lynn Garn) John Garn or Johannes Gern was actually born in Germany on 3 March 1738, not in Holland on 21 March 1738 as many have claimed but never have proven.

Family tradition reported that he had a grandson and granddaughter who married the granddaughter and grandson of his brother, thought to be named Frederick, making for second cousin marriages. And a history of Sandusky County, Ohio, written in 1882, reports such a second cousin marriage for John Garn’s grandson without naming parents or grandparents. However, the second cousin relationships go through Conrad Gern of Kürnbach, Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, not through a still undocumented brother named Frederick.

Results of 37 marker Y-DNA tests of male Garn descendants of this John Garn or Johannes Gern of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, are a close match (36 of 37 markers) or in some cases a perfect match to the 37 marker Y-DNA of male Garn descendants of Conrad Gern, who was born in Kürnbach, Germany in 1748. The excellent match of Y-DNA of male Garn descendants of Conrad Gern of Kürnbach, Germany with Y-DNA of male Garn descendants of John Garn or Johannes Gern of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, is virtually impossible unless they were closely related. 

Records in Kürnbach show that the Conrad Gern who was born there had an older brother Johannes Gern who was born on 3 March 1738, also in Kürnbach, Germany. A lot of people have reported 21 March 1738 as the birth date for John Garn of Bedford County. However, no one has ever presented any credible evidence to support this birth date.

The most logical explanation for why the birth date of Johannes Gern of Kürnbach does not match 21 March 1738, the date John Garn of Bedford County was thought to have been born, is because the people who first proposed 21 March 1738 as his birth date misinterpreted the inscription on his grave marker.

The first character in the second line, an “I” with a bar through it, is old script for “J,” making the initials J. G. in that line stand for John Garn or Johannes Gern. And the character in the second line that looks like a “6” is actually a “b,” again old script. By misinterpreting the “b” as a “6” and by ignoring the second “3” on the line, early researchers concluded that John Garn was 70 years, 6 months and 3 days old when he died. Using this age at death, they arrived at 21 March 1738 as his birth date.

Another interpretation presumed that John Garn was born on 21 March 1738 and then interpreted the inscription on the second line to be 70 years, 6 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. The person making this interpretation then reports: “Using these dates and a little arithmetic I discovered that from 1738 to 1808 was 70 years, from March to September is 6 months, from September 1st to September 21st is 3 weeks and from September 21st to September 24th is 3 days.”

However, this explanation for the meaning of the second line is equally valid for a birth on any day in March of 1738. That is, if one accepts that John Garn was born in 3 March 1738, then it is still 6 months from March to September. And 21 September is still 3 weeks into September, and 24 September is still 3 days after 21 September. Therefore, this interpretation does not appear to give a unique birth date.

When the second “3” on the line is included and the letter that looks like a “6” is recognized to actually be a “b,” as in the abbreviation for “born,” then the second line means that he was 70 years old when he died and that he was born the third month and the third day of the year. This gives a birth date of 3 March 1738 which is in agreement with the birth date of Johannes Gern of Kürnbach, Germany and is also consistent with tradition, the 1882 history of Sandusky County, Y-DNA evidence, and Kürnbach records.

People probably thought that John Garn’s brother Conrad Gern was named Frederick Garn because descendants reporting the relationship were confused over which of many John Garns in the family had a brother named Frederick. Although another John Garn had a brother named Frederick, no brother named Frederick has ever been documented for the John Garn who died in Bedford County in 1808. And Conrad Gern of Kürnbach, Germany fits the description of that brother whose grandchildren married their second cousins, the grandchildren of John Garn of Bedford County.

Reports that John Garn and other Garns were born in Amsterdam and that the family was from Holland may be traced to the departure of family members from Amsterdam when they came to America, Amsterdam being a common departure port for Germans immigrating to America. Also, descendants may have heard reports that the family came from Deutschland, the German word for Germany, and may have misinterpreted the report to mean that the family was Dutch, our English word for people from Holland.

Death:  24 SEP 1808 Bedford Co., Pennsylvania

Buried:  McDonald Farm Cemetery, Bedford Co, Pennsylvania

Click to see parents:  Johann Adam Gern and Anna Maria Arnold

Margaret Seyn

Birth:  unknown

Death:  unknown

Buried:  McDonald Farm Cemetery, Bedford Co, Pennsylvania

parents are unknown

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