Calling All Merner Descendants – The Family Reunion Is On Saturday!

Cousin Marg has sent out the reminder!

The descendants of Jacob Emanuel and Susannah (Schluchter) Merner are gathering for the 63rd annual reunion. (Yes, you read that right – the family has been gathering annually now for 63 years!)

This year the reunion will be held at Merhaven Farms, the home of descendants Larry and Louise Merner in Zurich, Ontario on Saturday, July 11th where there will be games for all ages, swimming, a buffet potluck dinner capped off with an evening campfire. The reunion festivities kick-off at 1:00 p.m.

This family reunion draws together some of the many descendants of Jacob and Susannah who left their native Switzerland around 1837 and headed to British North America. The Merners settled on a farm in New Hamburg, Ontario, just west of present day Kitchener.

Over the years, subsequent generations moved further west, populating Oxford and Huron Counties in Ontario, eventually moving into the United States and Cedar Falls, Iowa, in particular.

Ellen and I attended the 2013 reunion and had a great time mingling and meeting new cousins. Ellen is a 3X great granddaughter of Jacob and Susannah so she had a wonderful time connecting with her  previously unknown cousins. I was simply introduced as ‘The Genealogist.’

Ellen (Wagner) Hadden at the 2013 Merner Family Reunion with two of her cousins - Liz on the left and Marg on the right

Ellen (Wagner) Hadden (centre) at the 2013 Merner Family Reunion with two of her cousins – Liz on the left and Marg on the right

My genealogy database currently holds information about almost three thousand four hundred Merner descendants. I hope that there are a good number of them that have a chance to get together on Saturday!

Please feel free to email me at ian.hadden@rogers.com for reunion contact information.

The Merner Family Goes West

Anna Merner (name variant Muerner) was the seventh of eleven children born to Jacob Emanuel Merner and Susanna Schluchter. I married Anna’s great-great granddaughter 179 years after Anna took her place in the Merner household in the Canton of Berne, Switzerland in 1824.

I don’t know when Jacob and Susanna Merner brought there family to Canada but they had arrived by the time the delayed Census of 1851 covering Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia was compiled in January of 1852. The family can be found in the village of New Hamburg, located in the County of Waterloo in what is now the province of Ontario. The Merners would come to be long associated as one of the leading families of this community for years to come.




While New Hamburg may have served as the family ‘seat’, it was also the launching pad for family members seeking adventure and prosperity in other parts of North America. For example, in 1875, Jacob and Anna’s son Johan set off for the United States where he settled on a farm of his own in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

While a number of Merners ventured shorter distances to surrounding towns and villages in what is now southern Ontario, some saw the opening of Canada’s west as their ticket to a better way of life. 

And so it was that Levi Merner struck out with his young family in the late 19th century. It is believed that Levi died enroute to his dream, probably in 1900 in what is now the province of Manitoba. His widow, Mary Merner however ‘soldiered’ on and can be found living with her children in Didsbury, Alberta in 1901. Levi and Mary Merner’s descendants can still be found enjoying the beauty and richness of Canada’s western provinces today.

I owe a debt of thanks to Ellen’s fourth cousin Glenn Swanson for contacting me, through this blog, and providing some of the breakthrough information that assisted in deepening my knowledge and understanding of the family.