This website is an attempt to share what has been discovered and recorded by us and many others over a number of years, a search which for us began with an email from our cousin’s late husband Geoff, who wrote, “I'm doing Jane’s genealogy. Do you know who Miles Zentmyer’s father was?”

Miles Zentmyer was our great grandfather, and while we didn't know the answer to Geoff's question, we promised to get back to him.  But what we couldn't anticipate was that answering his question would lead to repeatedly driving around Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Ohio, visiting what Bing and Google identify as Zentmyer, Pennsylvania, journeying many times to Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, learning to speak and write the German language, and getting to know a wonderful assortment of distant relatives, researchers, academics and other people on two continents who just like to help folks discover their ancestors.

This website concerns primarily the migrations and stories of the surname-bearing American descendants and German ancestors of the immigrant Johann Bernhard Zentmeyer, although we have recently begun adding data from our other associated lines to the website.  And, for our own convenience, we have italicized our own direct ancestral connections. Research in Germany is constrained by the fact that for most common people, the recordation of births, marriages, and deaths did not begin until the late 1500s, after the Vatican's Council of Trent instructed all Catholic parishes to begin recording such events for common people.  Protestant parishes soon followed suit.  On this side of the pond, we are are attempting to record all of the surname-bearing descendants of our immigrant ancestor up to the present, including as many headstone images as we can find.  And we are also attempting to add primary source citations to the data on the website, but this is a laborious process.

We subscribe to and use it frequently, but we do not maintain a tree there, nor anywhere else for that matter except for this website, because has no ability to rank user-submitted data as to accuracy. (FamilySearch suffers from the same problem)  All trees on those sites are treated equally, be they wheat or chaff.  We intend to be the preeminent authority for Zentmeyer genealogical data, and so to be on would not differentiate our data, which are the result of rigorous primary research over the past fifteen years, from data in trees which have proliferated by simply copying data from existing trees which feature speculative, unsourced, and often incorrect data.   But we are gratified that many trees are increasingly incorporating our data.


And as a side note, because many people have inquired, 'FNU' is an abbreviation for 'First Name Unknown,' and 'LNU' is for 'Last Name Unknown.'

This website is ©2009 - 2023 Gary A. Zentmyer.   Our data are available for use by persons engaged in genealogical research, including permission to add our data to online trees.  But the copying of our images is prohibited without our permission, including the posting of our images to fee-based websites such as

Gary A. Zentmyer
Santa Barbara, California