Martin Trefzger
born 11/27/1815, immigrated 1852, died 1897

last name
passenger list
Katharine's death
Martin's death
father: Martin Trefzger
mother: Robertha Buche
spouse: Katharine Genter
siblings list:
specific siblings:
Franz_Joseph & Theresia Felber
Albertina, Emilie, Bertram,
Anthony, Benidict, Luisa,
Caroline, Arnold, Louise & Martin_VB
children's links:
service records
184th regiment
Bertram's discharge
Martin Trefzger, his wife Katherine, 5 children, and Martin's older brother Franz Joseph Trefzger slipped out of Wehr, Baden and escaped to Switzerland. (The Catholic Church Family Book record of Martin and his family says that Albertina, their oldest daughter, stayed in Baden. Emilie (born in 1843), Bertrand (1844), Anton (1847), Benedikt (1849), and Louisa (1850) came to America with Martin and Katherine.)

They made their way to LeHarve, France where they boarded the ship 'New York at Havne' to go to New York ariving August 19,1952. They gave their place of origin as Switzerland. (We have found passenger list records for Martin, Katherine and 5 children. It list's Louis (4 months) not Louisa (2 years)

Three years earlier Martin's brother Franz Joseph had been a leader in a revolution in Baden. The Grand-Duke was forced to flee, but then he called for help from the Prussian troops. The Prussian troops came and the leaders of the revolt had to flee across the Rhine to Switzerland.

Martin, Katherine and their family settled in Frailey township in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania. The Post Office was Donaldson, PA. This was an anthracite coal mining area. Martin got a job as a coal miner and worked in the mines. Daughter Catherine was born in 1854, Arnold in 1858, Louisa in 1861, and Martin VanBuren in 1863.

In 1864 both Anthony (17 years old), and Bertram (19 years old) served in the Civil War. They were in the F-184th Pennsylvania. They were discharged in 1865.

The 1870 Federal census shows Benedict living at home and working as a coal miner. It also shows a child Adolph, 1 month old, living with Martin and Katherine. Was this their 11th child, or was Adolph a grandchild? Adolph died August 31, 1870.
By 1870 Bertram, a coal miner, had married Elizabeth and they had a 4 year old daughter Ida. And Anthony, also a miner, had married Agnes and they had Katie (3), Clara (2), and Harry (6 months old). Sons Arnold (21 years old), and Martin VanBuren (just 16) were both living at home, and working in the mines.

Benedict died November 27, 1879 when he was just 30 years, 10 months, and 22 days old. Katherine, Martin's wife, died the following year on October 9, 1880.

In 1890 Martin and his son Martin were living with Bertram and his wife Lissie.

“After going up to Donaldson this past week and looking at Catherine and Trefzger family graves, and knowing that Martin Sr was still living in 1890 with Bertram I would guess that Martin died between 1891-95 and that he had to be buried next to Catherine. She has such a prominent obelisk stone with a blank side that should have had Martin's info, but due to tight money being a miner they never got it done. I just can't imagine that Martin is not buried there. The cemetery is right up the hill from Donaldson, you could even walk it."*
Then later:
"I have some finds for you. The big one is Martin's death date: 'Martin Trefzger - December1, 1897, died of old age at Donaldson and buried in Donaldson'. This means he is certainly buried with Catherine right at her tall stone."

*by Carrie Grayson

The Catholic Church Family Book record of Martin and his family says that Albertina, their oldest daughter, stayed in Baden and that Emilie (born in 1843), Bertrand (1844), Anton (1847), Benedikt (1849), and Louisa (1850) came to America with Martin and Katherine.
The ships passenger list shows that Emilie, Bertrand, Anton, Benedikt and Louis (1852) came to America with Martin and Katherine.
Did Louisa (1950) die in Switzerland? Was Louis (1852) born in Switzerland?

Census information:
In 1860 Martin, his wife Cath and family are living in Frailey, Schuylkill, PA. They have 6 children. Martin works in the mines. His estate is valued at $100. He was born in Baden.
In 1870 Martin 52, Catharine 47, Benedict 22, Arnold 12, Louisa 9, Martin 7 and Adolph 1 month, are at home.
In 1880 Martin 64, Catharine 57, Arnold 21 and Martin 16 are all that are at home.
In 1890 Martin 76, and Martin VanBuren 26, are living with Bertram and Lizzie.
Martin and membeers of his family are found in many Family Trees on
Two of the best, most up to date and most complete are the 'Karbley Family Tree' and 'The Legacy' on Ancestry.

Study of Martin’s family

Ben T Trefsgar, of Mount Carmel, PA, is a Ham Radio operator who has who has been doing genealogical research. In his research he found out that his great grandfather's name was Martin Trefzger, and that Martin and his wife, Katherine, and 2 sons, Bertrum and Anthony, had immigrated from Germany around 1853. They settled in the little town of Donaldson, PA, about 35 north of Harrisburg, PA, where he worked as a coal miner.

Ben looked up the name TREFZGER in the Packet Radio call book and found Steward Trefzger in Cincinnati who is also a Ham Radio buff. Steward knew that I was interested in genealogical research and that I had been studying TREFZGERs, so Steward called me and put me in touch with Ben.

Ben knew that Martin and Katherine Trefzger had more children after they arrive in this country. Ben's grandfather, Arnold, was one of the children.
Ben knew that Bertam and Anthony both served in the Civil War. Ben also had found some of his family listed in the 1870 and 1880 Federal Census. In the census the name was spelled TREFSGER.

Some other interesting facts:
Ben's grandfather spelled his name TREFSGAR.
Bertram's tombstone spells his name Bertam TREFSKER.
The rest of the family spells their name TREFSGER.

Fortunately the Church of the Later Day Saints Library in Salt Lake City has microfilmed the records of the Catholic Church in Wehr. The baptisms date back as far as 1643. With these microfilmed records available at our local LDS Family Library, and Ben's information we were blessed to find a family record of Martin's father and mother's family in the Church Family Book of 1819 and Martin and Katherine's family record in the Family Book of 1825. These records contained baptism and marriage dates, so it was easy to find actual baptism records also.


Thanks to all of the following descendants who have helped put Martin’s family tree together: Theo F.Trefsgar, Theo W. Trefsgar, Ted Trefsgar Jr, Brent D. Trefsgar, Brooks Trefsgar, George ‘Joe’ Trefsgar, Richard & Jo Ann Trefsgar, Gloria Jean Leagan, Donna Kay Trefsgar, and Phil Trefsgar. Eleanor M. Trefsger, Ronald E. Trefsger, Delmar Trefsger, Oscar Trefsger, Robert Trefsger, Bruce D. Trefsger, Sandy Trefsger May, Marge Trefsger, Edward ‘Louie’ Trefzger, Kimberly Trefsger, and Donald Trefsger

Oct.6,2012 I received an e-mail from Sasha Craig on Carrie Grayson's computer. Sasha is a descendant of Emilie Trefzger and Carrie is her genealogist friend who is helping explore her ancestors.
Sasha and Carrie have been searching for events in Martin's families lives. They have done an excellent job and have been documenting their findings on
Carrie found the fact that Louis (4 months old) was on the ship to america and not Louisa (2 years old).

Our sincere thanks to Sasha and Carrie for all their work.

Return to:   1st Page    Specific_Immigrants