The Sechrist Bible


I obtained a family Bible after the passing of my aunt Anna Mae Ressler in 2012. It is a Harding Medium Edition, published in Philadelphia in 1860. It belonged to the family of my great-great-grandmother Martha Sechrist, most likely her sister Mary, as the initial entries on the family pages are for Henry M. Weiler and Mary M. Sechrist. Presumably it was passed to Martha, who then passed it down her husband's Ressler line. More information about the bible itself is located here.

There are five pages with handwritten family events. I reproduce them here in scanned form, and have transcribed them to the best of my ability as follows.


Henry M. Weiler was married on the 21st day of October, 1856.

Mary M. Sechrist was married on the 21st day of October, 1856.

Jacob Sechrist was married the 22nd day of March, 1832.

Susannah Metzger was married the 22nd day of March, 1832.


Henry M. Weiler was born in the year of our Lord on the 12th Day of March one Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty.

Mary M. Sechrist was born in the year of our Lord on the 27th Day of June one Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty Seven.

Lizzie Weiler Eberly was born Feb. 24th, 1858.

Jacob Sechrist was born the 10th day of February 1806.

Susannah Metzger was born the 4th day of August 1810.

Rheuben Sechrist was born on Saturday the 3rd day of November A.D. 1832. In the sign of the fish.

John Sechrist was born on Wednesday the 25th day of December A.D. 1833. In the sign of the twins.

Magdalania Sechrist was born on Thursday the 7th day of July A.D. 1836. In the sign of Taurus.

Susannah Sechrist was born the 17th day of March 1839. Sunday, sign of the moon.
[Not sure why they wrote “moon”. Most likely constellation was “Aries”.]

Ann Sechrist was born on Friday the 12th day of March 1841. In the sign of the Scorpio.

Magdelana Sechrist was born Wednesday the 1st day of February 1843.

Jacob Sechrist was born on Wednesday the 25th day of November 1846. In the sign of the fish.


Henry M. Weiler died April 17th 1891. Aged 61 years 1 month and 5 days.

Jacob M. Sechrist died February 3, 1903 aged 56 years 2 month and 7 days.

Martha M. Ressler died the 26 of February 1905 aged 62, 25 days

Susan M. Fenstermacher died on the 3 of November 1907 aged 68 years

Susannah Sechrist died the 18th of February 1867 aged 57 years, 6 months, 4 days (Mother)

Jacob Sechrist died the 10th of Feb. 1887. Aged 81 years. (Father)

Rheuben Sechrist died the 3rd of November 1832.

Magdelania Sechrist died the 7th of July 1837.
[Note alternate name spelling. Death year is slightly garbled: could be 1836 meaning she died at birth, though looks more like 1837 in which case she died on her 1st birthday.]

5th page

Grandmother Metzger died Oct. 18th 1870. Aged 92 years, 8 months and 10 days.

Grandfather Metzger died March 15th 1843. Aged 74 years, 5 months and 18 days.

In graphical form, things stand thus:

Update — June 2016

With some digging, I have been able to identify “Grandfather” and “Grandmother” Metzger. They are George Frederick Metzger (dated elsewhere as 1768-09-29 to 1843-03-17) and Catharine Tanger (1778-07-08 to 1870-10-18), which matches the notes here adequately well despite the birth month disagreement for Catharine.

George's father was Jacob Metzger. He was born in the modern German state of Baden-W├╝rttemberg, likely in the town of Steinsfurt in 1734. Some time before 1764, he emigrated from there to Conestoga, Pennsylvania, where he married Susanna Rudisill, who was born in Lancaster County in 1744. He served as a Captain in the Lancaster County Militia from 1777 to 1783, in the 3rd Company of the 4th Battalion.

Update — November 2018

For years I could not understand why the zodiacal constellations listed were so far off from the typical astrological calendar. A person born on November 3 should be Scorpius, not “the fish” (Pisces) which would correspond to March. Thanks to the good folks at the Swiss Anabaptist Genealogical Association, the mystery is solved. My ancestors would have been using the lunar zodiac such as that found in the old Farmers’ Almanac. The constellations listed are where the moon was on that date, not the sun like you find in modern newspapers and supermarket rags. The constellation that the moon is in changes every 2-3 nights (the 27.3 day sidereal month divided by 12) and the sign on a given day in one year will not be the same sign in the next year; the lunar sign is a far more precise indicator of the day of birth than the modern solar zodiac is. So rather than being clueless like I had assumed, they were actually using one of the better resources available to them. Pretty cool!

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Last update: 2023-05-10