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Nicholas Messerly (Niklaus Messerli)

Baptized as Niklaus Messerli. Came to the US from Switzerland in the early 1800s, and applied for citizenship on March 27, 1820. He became a naturalized citizen June 2, 1823, as shown in the records of the 1820 term of the Common Pleas Court of Fairfield County, Ohio. For other Messerly family movements see Migrations: Messerli.

According the the Fairfield county genealogy site, it was necessary to have been a resident in the United States for 5 years prior to becoming a citizen, and at least on year in the state.[1] This means that Nicholas would have to been in the US from 1818, and possibly as early as 1815. However, there is no record of him in the 1820 census for Ohio.

  • The 1830 Census places "Nicholas Messerly" as head of household in Ohio > Fairfield > Basil. Indeterminate age since there are men recorded as 15-49. It is a substantial Household. In Basil, Liberty Township, Fairfield County, Ohio Google Map, there are 10 males, 2 females. One female is listed as between 30 and 40. The other is between 60 and 70. Of the boys, 2 are under 5, 2 are 5to10, and 2 are 10to15. One each 15-20, 20-30, 30-40, and 40-50. The records could be wildly off, but there was some old lady at the house, either Mrs. Caley or Barbara Messerli?
  • The 1840 Census records a "Nicholas Messerley" as head of Household in Bern, Fairfield County and is recorded as being age 40-49. Placing his birth between 1790 and 1799. There are two females: one 10-15 ; one 30-40. 8 men. One 5-10 (James 10), two 10-15 (Jonas 12 George 14), two 15-20 (Christian 16, Samuel 18), one 20-30 (Nicholas G. 21), one 30-40 (??), one 40-50 (Nicholas Senior, 48).
  • In 1850 Census, Nicholas is 3 years dead and Samuel, Christian are still listed in Basil. There is a "Martha Messerley" (illegible age) and a "Mariah Messerley" age 19 who is listed as from Switzerland. Maria Messerly died as a child, so it isn't her. Since Martha is there, it is probably Ester Maria Messerly. Possibly this is the girl who was 10-15 in the previous census.
  • Lived in Berne Township, Fairfield County, Ohio according to the 1840 census (spelled as Messerley).



Name Birthdate Birthplace Death date Death place Male Line
Children of Nicholas Messerly (1793) and Elizabeth Caley
Nicholas G. Messerly (1819-1872) 1819 1872 checked
Maria Messerly (1820) 1820 1820 Died as infant
Samuel Messerly (1822-1891) 1822 Fairfield Co, OH 2 Jul 1891 Winamac, IN checked
Christian Messerly (1824-1886) 1824 1886 checked
George Messerly (1826) 1826 1873 checked
Jonas Messerly (1828) 17 Sep 1828 Basil Ohio 1881 checked
James Messerly (1830)
James Jacob
1830 1890 checked

Home town Rueeggisberg today

Parentage analysis

Candidates (as of 9/2007 on familysearch), all Niklaus Messerli's born within 5 years of 1792 (See Familysearch: Niklaus Messerli Immigrant candidates

  • Niklaus Messerli (1789) birth 04 MAR 1789 Kaufdorf, Bern, Switzerland (Or Thurnen, Bern, Switzerland)
    • Death 29 AUG 1863
    • Alternate birth location record04 MAR 1789 Thurnen, Bern, Switzerland
  • Niklaus Messerli birth About 1790 , Bern, Switzerland
  • Niklaus Messerli birth 1792 Rueggisberg, Bern, Switzerland
  • Niklaus Messerli Christening: 21 JUL 1793 Bargen, Bern, Switzerland parents SAMUEL MESSERLI ,ANNA BARBARA SCHAER
  • NIKLAUS MESSERLI OR TYRWAECHTER christening 22 SEP 1798 Wohlen, Bern, Switzerland. Parents NIKLAUS MESSERLI MAGDALENA TYRWAECHTER Niklaus Messerli (bef 1798)


There are Five individiuals in the above set of records, of which 4 are viable.

  • 1789 Kaufdorf Niklaus- He died in 1863.
  • 1790 Bern Niklaus
  • 1792 Rueggisberg Niklaus
  • 1793 Bargen Niklaus
  • 1798 Wohlen Niklaus (Niklaus Messerli (bef 1798))

1790 and 1792 Niklaus's are births, so one or the other may be the same individual as 1793 or 1798 Niklaus's, since both of those are christenings. Unfortunately, there are no recorded deaths or marriages for any of these individuals.

Is Samuel Messerli (bef1763) the father?

(1792 Rueggisberg Niklaus )

Arguments for

  • The data is from Carl J. Messerly, and his information is usually very good.

Arguments against

  • There is another Nicholas Messerly who could be 30-39YO for the 1830 census, Niklaus Messerli (bef 1798). He would be at least 32YO at the time of the census. Further, his father died in 1819, meaning that Niklaus 1798 could have taken his inheritance and gone to America. His mother was young and could have made the journey. She would have been 54 at the time of the 1830 census.
    • Rebuttal.
      • The 1830 census has an old lady of 60-69 years, not 50-59 years. Magdelena could have been christenned 6 years late, but this was not typical in switzerland at the time.
      • The 1830 census Nicholas Messerly household was full of adult men. Unlike Nicholas (1793) who had an army of brothers who could have accompanied him, there is no record of brothers of Niklaus1798. Where did the all the extra adult men come from?
        • Response: If any of the other sons of Samuel Messerli (bef1763) were present for the 1830 census, there would be more than one box checked for 30-39. There wasn't.

Association by Marriage

Perhaps Swiss families were fairly controlled when it came to their daughters, and girls tended to marry friends of the family. Sons? who knows. But analyze all daughter marriages.

Association by Immigration First location: Basil, Liberty Township, OH

Assuming a settler doesn't go alone- and surrounds himself with people he knows from the old country for security, the neighbors of Nicholas's first location in Ohio could be people he knew in Switzerland. This might narrow down the towns where he originated from.

After enumerating the neighbors, it really looks like a mishmash- Germans, One big swiss family (Nicholas)- very unusual- too many males, and a bunch of native born folks.

According to the image of the actual 1830 Census, the neighbors is Basil, Liberty Township, Fairfield County, Ohio were. in order of their appearance in the census noted as Basil, Liberty Township: (referenced on

  • Peter Darring (a Peter Daring born to a Marcus daring in fairfiled OH 1834- possibly a namesake.)
  • David Stouder family- Stouder families in PA
  • Joseph Autt or Aiitt (Many Autt's- all US birth.)
  • Adam Coon (maybe originally Kuhn)- many births ohio
  • Rudolph Sabaker (searchable as llbaker)
  • Henry Goss (b.1810-1830 probably related Jacob Goss below)
    • one birth germany, most in england
  • Nicholas Messerly
  • Mary Dumy (searchable as Dmy)
  • Henry Yenny
  • J J Goetz (next page, 171) (born 1790-1800)
    • some Goetz's in Germany
    • Switzerland:
      • Jacob, Goez, 1799 Evangelisch, Neunforn, Thurgau, Switzerland
      • Jacob Goetz Birth: About 1794 Volketswil, Zurich, Switzerland
      • Jacob Goetz Birth: 24 FEB 1793 Langnau,A Albis, , Zurich, Switzerland
  • Henry C Role (could be Rolle, Rowell)- nearly all those births England
  • Jacob Goss (60-70 so b 1760-1770)Most births in england with that name
  • Frederick Geckler 20-30 in 1830, so born 1800 to 1810, son 5, so 1825-1830
    • There is a Frederick Geckler born 1826 Germany living in Goshen later. Maybe son?
  • Alanson Newman
    • family search- Maybe born 1807 Owego, Tioga, New York
    • Married REBECCA DILLON, 10 APR 1834 , Fairfield, Ohio


  1. ^ Fairfield County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society. "Immigration To Fairfield County". Retrieved 2009-08-24. 


Greg Raven's "Blickensderfer and related families genealogy"

Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General
† Baptism