Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's been awhile since I last posted, and I really don't have a ton of time to post right now. But today is the anniversary of the birth of one of my favorite uncles, Fred Shaffer. Happy birthday Uncle Fred! We love and miss you. He left us in 2011. He was always the fun loving one, with the jokes and tall tales.

He would appreciate today's post, as I think it's pretty amusing. It has absolutely nothing to do with Thanksgiving, other than I am sure the family was thankful for all they had. I just happened to read this when doing some research for a paper for school.

Our Revolutionary War veteran and founding family member Michael Zirkle built a still on his property. The exact site is apparently unknown, but at his death his estate was auctioned and some of  the items included corn, rye, wheat, dried apples, cider, and brandy. His farm passed through his son Jonathan and to his grandson Michael J. Zirkle, who left this recipe: (all spelling as printed in the book - partial recipe only)

"January 28 1838 Shenandoah County Virginia Holemans Creek for to still Rye & Corn first Make you Est take 6 quarts Boiling Watter and than But 2 or 3 galling Cole watter in you Tup and than 12 galling watter and than one Bushel Corn meal and Stior it Ride will and than let it stan one half hour and than take 24 galling and stir it well and than spret chop it over it so that the thumpt cant gid out..."

[All the above recipe and auction items from page 21-22 of "Life Along Holeman's Creek" by Rev. J. Floyd Wine, Commercial Press, Stephens City, Virginia 1985.]

I like to envision the thick German accent this was written in as I am reading it. I just wish I had a photo to go along with it! A few things to remember, as we tend to put our own modern lens on these things from the past. In 1838, alcohol was likely still safer to drink than water, and cider was the most common beverage, especially in the rural areas where orchards were easy to grow. One of the first things most people did when clearing a farm in a new area was plant an orchard - and it wasn't for the health factor of fruit!

So this Thanksgiving, raise your cider glass in a toast to our ancestors and think about all they went through to get to America and to sustain life on their farms in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio so that we could be here today. And to our families around the world that we can't be with, let's all think of each other and raise our glass to the health and well being of Shaffers and Zirkles and their descendants everywhere.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Happy Halloween!

The only work I have been able to do lately was to look up a few things about some family landmarks. So while nothing here will be earth shattering for researchers of the family, I hope my family will take some time to check these places out!

I wish I had some kind of fun, spooky story to share this month. But we just don't have any good ghost stories, at least not that I have found!

Maybe there are some at the Zirkle Mill! If you haven't checked out the Zirkle Mill, you should. It was started by the Zirkle brothers (my 5th great grandfather Michael Zirkle and his brothers. His brother Andrew ran the mill and it is owned by Andrew's descendants today) when they moved to Shenandoah from Pennsylvania in the mid 1700s. It still stands today. Here are some resources to learn more and see pictures:

The Zirkle Mill: The Cultural Landscape Foundation
Zirkle Mill Wikipedia entry
The Zirkle Mill Foundation
The Historic Zirkle Mill
Some photos: The Andrew Zirkle Mill (blog)
A mention in another blog (with photos): More on Zirkle Mill
Historic Marker for Zirkle Mill
The org that worked to save the mill: Old Dominion Preservation

If you are in the area and can visit, do! I have a file of photos given to me by a kind lady on a mailing list I belong to, and they are AMAZING! So beautiful out there in Shenandoah.

Maybe there are some ghosties at these other Zirkle and Shaffer and Roush family landmarks!
A good read if you have some time -  Shenandoah Valley Churches

St. Mary's Pine Church and cemetery - definitely going to be some ghosts here I bet! St. Mary's is a later version of the original Old Pine Church Lutheran congregation that was the church my ancestors attended in New Market, Virginia.  The Old Pine Church was where all of Michael Zirkle, my 5th great grandfather's children were baptized.
St Mary's Pine Church and Cemetery  - this site lists some of the burials here, and they are newer ones.
St. Mary's (with picture)
Zirkle Reunion St Mary's Pine Church - Zirkle reunion is one of my favorite blogs.This link will take you to the article on St. Mary's, but if you have some time, check out the whole blog.

Solomon's Lutheran Church - was originally built on land donated by Henry Rausch, I know he's related to my Rausch/Roush family but not sure how yet. Michael Zirkle was an elder of the church.
Solomon's Lutheran Church and Cemetery

The following churches all also have some significance in the Shaffer, Zirkle, and Roush story:

Emmanuel Lutheran Church
Mt. Zion Lutheran Church -  some great photos (go to History), and you can see what an early Lutheran church would have looked like.

And most likely these places have some ghosts:

As you saw mentioned in the Zirkle Mill pages, New Market was involved in the Civil War - thankfully, the Mill was saved. Here is some information on the Battle of New Market:
The Battle of New Market

[My line had left New Market by the time of the Civil War, but I do know that Noah Zirkle, the son of Jonathan and Elizabeth (Wolgamood) Zirkle was a Private in the VA militia during the Civil War. I know about him because my 3rd great grandfather, Noah Zirkle, son of Abraham Zirkle, is CONSTANTLY mistaken for his cousin Noah. (They both married Lydias - but my Noah and Lydia lived in Ohio!)]

This is probably a good site about New Market but with the gov't shutdown I can't view it today. It's a National Parks Service site so probably some good stuff. Keep checking back:  New Market, VA NPS
Maybe there will be some haunted houses mentioned there.

Happy Haunting!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Evilsizor Reunion 1933

Happy Thursday!

I stumbled on this newspaper article while working on a paper for school. Even as late as 1933 our family was holding reunions! It was neat to see all the family that attended this event. (Credit goes to Sandi Evilsizor Koscak and her book, Evil in the Barn, page 67.) Highlighted names are my family members that I recognize.

Springfield Daily News, Thursday, August 24, 1933

The 12 annual reunion of the Evilsizor family was held Sunday at the home of Mr and Mrs Frank
Evilsizor, west of Bowlusville. More than 180 members were present for the event, although the
Evilsizor family is one of the largest in the state, numbering more than 300 persons. Members were in
attendance from Indiana, Troy, Piqua, Richwood, DeGraff, Bellefontaine, Urbana, Terre Haute, St
Paris, Westville, Tremont and Springfield. Following dinner served at long tables on the lawn, a
business meeting was held and the 1933 officers were elected as follows: President, Ezra Evilsizor,
vice president, Herbert Evilsizor, and Secretary Treasurer, Lottie Geron. Those present were the Rev
and Mrs Isaac Evilsizor, Mr and Mrs Marley Evilsizor, Mr and Mrs Clair Evilsizor, and children Donald, Roland, Garnet and Paul Roger; Mr and Mrs Coral Evilsizor and children, Norman, Norberta, Nitabelle and Norma; Mr and Mrs Clyde Lee; Mr and Mrs Philip Geron, Norman Geron; Mr and Mrs C H Geron, J M Evilsizor, Walter Evilsizor, Mr and Mrs George Randall; Mr and Mrs W F Fenton, Norman Evilsizor, Frank M Pummel, Carl R Rausch, Mr and Mrs Worden Hupp, Leona Evilsizor, Louise and Lucille Evilsizor, Mr and Mrs Morgan Leonard; Mr and Mrs A W Evilsizor; Mr and Mrs J E Evilsizor and Mr and Mrs H E Evilsizor and family. Mr and Mrs William J Greene; Harold and Marlene Evilsizor, Mrs C J Evilsizor, Ivan Evilsizor, Mr and Mrs Cliff Evilsizor and daughter Kathryn; Mrs Julius Holl and children, Freddie, Kathryn and Paul; Mr and Mrs Clem Evilsizor, John Caldwell, Marjorie Evilsizor; Mr and Mrs C Brown, Margaret, Edna, Myron and Dewalt Brown; Mr and Mrs C E Lippincott; Dorothy and Alice Lippincott; A T Fenton; Mrs A N Gerard, Dorothy Gerard, Mrs Susie Nixon; Mr and Mrs Kenneth Bryant and daughter Marilyn; Mr and Mrs Jack Geron, Everett Geron, Mrs Margaret Roe, Margaret Randall, Mr and Mrs Charles Sultzbaugh, Kenneth Randall, Mr and Mrs Morgan Leonard; Mr and Mrs Clem Benedict, Mr and Mrs John Flarida, Mrs Rose Schaffer; Mr and Mrs Carl Follrath; Mr and Mrs J C Vogel; Robert Evilsizor, Mr and Mrs Willard Evilsizor, Russell, Virgie and Dorothy Evilsizor; Mrs L L Young and sons, Elwood and L L Young,Jr; Mr and Mrs J S Mathison and daughter Christine; Mr and Mrs T H Ballentine, Mr and Mrs L W Redmond; Mr and Mrs N J Laughlin; Mr and Mrs A T Skillings, and children, Julia, Theyla, George, Lloyd and Herbert; Eloise Randall, Carmelita and Jack Follrath, Mrs Ollie Evilsizor, Harold Evilsizor, Mr and Mrs Russell Evans and children, Mr and Mrs Theodore Hulsizer and son Robert Earl; the Rev Mr and Mrs A J Furstenberger, Mrs Agness Howett, Pearl Rubucht, David A Roberts, H Robinson, Mr and Mrs Ramsey; Warder Deer; Mr and Mrs J McClellan, Bertha Fenton, Alpha Fenton, Angie Fenton, Dorothy Fenton, Mr and Mrs Charles Evilsizor, Miss Hazel Brown, Mr and Mrs W I Wivel, the Rev and Mrs E H Runyan; Mrs Ollie Rooney and son Donald. Mrs Lydia Crabill and Pauline Green, Betty and Frances Tomlinson, Robert Bennett; Mr and Mrs Frank Evilsizor and Thomas Nitchman

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beginning again

I am trying to find my feet on this blog, as you can tell. I haven't had much time to make it all fancy but hopefully I will be able to at some point! My goal is to post once a month at least, but with school starting this week it's about to get a little more crazy.

Let me start with the news.

- I found another blogger, blogging about our family. "A Sense of Family" is her blog, and you can read the relevant blog post here. I was going to participate in the activity she did where you take the last person in your family tree and blog about them, but since we are descended from the last name of Zirkle, guess what name I'd be blogging about! LOL The last person in my database at the moment is Susannah Zirkle, daughter of Jonathan Zirkle and Elizabeth Wolgamood. I don't know much about her and there is an issue with several Susannah Zirkles and confused information, so she won't be a "quickie" blog. That's for a later date!

- I found some good information on our Shaffer line. I am getting somewhere, slowly but surely. I am currently working on two women who married into the Shaffer line: Elizabeth Lambert, who married Absolom Shaffer; and Rebecca "Peggy" Bennett, who married Absolom's father, Abraham Shaffer. I have the story on them after their marriages, but I know nothing of either prior to their marriage. Both lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and Absolom and Elizabeth were part of the migration of Shaffers and Zirkles to OH and are buried there, but Abraham and Rebecca stayed behind in VA.

- I think there is a reunion in the works. We just need someone to spearhead the planning. Any volunteers? I'll supply the discussion materials. ;)

So til we meet again, here is a tree.  These are the people we are descended from and I am still digging up information for. Hopefully next month I will have a fun story about someone. If anyone out there is also researching anyone in this family please contact me.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A quickie....

I haven't posted anything yet this month, because it's been a month of Genealogy ADD. I feel like a monkey - I've been up and down three different trees this month! I had a breakthrough on both a line on my mom's side and one on a branch of my husband's tree. Unfortunately, not much came from either to break down those two walls, but little chips being beaten away is better than nothing at all!

Not much new to report with the Shaffer and Zirkle line, other than the Zirkle direct line is complete. I joined the Daughters of the American Revolution in April under Michael Zirkle, and our line is now in their database and proven. I am pretty excited that our line has a place in their archive! Now my next goal is to work on our Roush and Shaffer Revolutionary War ancestors. Roush should be fairly easy, as there is a lot of documentation on the Roush family (that migrated from VA to OH). My 5th great grandfather George Zirkle married Catherine Roush. His father was the aforementioned Michael Zirkle. Catherine's father Jacob Roush served with Michael in the VA militia. Likewise, when George and Catherine later moved to OH, so did George's brother Abraham and his wife Margaret, and their son Noah later married George and Catherine's granddaughter Lydia. Lydia's father was Solomon Shaffer, and the Shaffers traveled with the Zirkles to Ohio and settled next to each other and intermarried. So it stands to reason that Solomon's father, Jacob Shaffer (who is both my 4th great grandfather AND my 5th great grandfather <confused yet?>), was also a member of the VA militia, but I haven't looked into that yet. It just sounds logical based on what I know of these families. I will keep you posted!

I don't have much by way of photographs of these families -- ANY HELP would be appreciated! Please contact me if you have photos!

But I will leave you with this. This is the Shaffer cemetery located on the property that once belonged to Solomon Shaffer and his wife, Sarah Zirkle.

Photo by Susan Hartman Thompson and used with permission

Click here to browse more of the cemetery. It is now on private property so you can't just walk around in there and look at the stones, but there is a lady that got permission and has created most of the memorials here on Findagrave.com.

Enjoy, and have a great rest of July! I hope to have a good update for you all in August. After that, school starts and I will do my best to keep posting every month....

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

An Unlikely Sequence Of Events

With the anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg this week, the fact that I found that one of my elusive maternal ancestors was a member of the Union Army, and the quote I heard today, I decided to post a quick, short blog about one man. I've already mentioned him, but I think he deserves mention again. I've been thinking a lot about him lately. I wish I had a big photo of him to put right here. I don't. Maybe I will request his Civil War pension file from the National Archives and get lucky and find a tintype photo in it. But probably not. And he's not even related to me. Or any of my family. So why, you ask, am I bothering to dedicate an entire blog entry to him? Because I wouldn't be here without him.

You see, Jeremiah (or Joseph Jeremiah) Bissett was married to my great great grandmother Rebecca Jane Evilsizor, who I wrote about in my previous blog. They had two children, Joseph Calvin and Ida Belle Bissett. Life was just dandy for them, until Jeremiah signed up with the volunteer PA infantry. He served for almost exactly 9 months, when he was struck with chronic diarrhea, an issue for many of the military in those days, and passed away on October 21, 1864. They had only been married for 2 years. Rebecca had two young children to care for, so she went back to her family in Ohio.

I am here to say thank you to Jeremiah Bissett. Thank you for your service to your country. Thank you for your ultimate sacrifice. Because without your sacrifice, I wouldn't be here. Rebecca would have remained in Pennsylvania til your return, and my great great grandfather Joshua Zirkle would have found someone else to marry. The sequence of events would not have been the right ones to ultimately lead to me. Or my siblings. Or my cousins. Or my grandfather Roy. Or his mother Rose. 

Here's the quote I heard today on an episode of Genealogy Gems. (Check her out here) (The quote was actually from a listener, who quoted Bill Bryson, author of a Short History of Nearly Everything. He said:)

“Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life’s quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result — eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly — in you.”

So this week, think about your ancestors that may have been lost during the Civil War. How did that one historical event change the course of history in ways you may have never thought of? How many of you have the same situation? Would you be here if the War had been won by the Rebels? It just takes one little misstep or wrong turn to alter the course of history. It's a lot to digest when you realize that you wouldn't be here, if one thing had been different. I owe my existence to the deaths of several people, and while I am grateful to be here, I wish I could have gotten to know them too. I wish they could have lived longer lives. Nevertheless, we all have a purpose and we do the best we can in our lives. May your life's quest be fulfilled and may you be remembered by your descendants, as we remember our ancestors. Thank you to all the men and women who served in the Civil War.

Jeremiah at Hampton National Cemetery

Monday, May 27, 2013

Rebecca Jane Evilsizer Bissett Zirkle

I am a little late with the May posting. I thought I would change things up a little, and try to generate a little more interest from family members in the blog. So instead of fretting about trying to put all my info in a book (which I still want to do!), I am going to try to share with you stories as I put them together instead. Please drop me a note and let me know what you think.  Today's blog is inspired by Jackie, a friend of mine in our wonderful Facebook group. Thank you, Jackie!  Check out her blog, Voices of Yesteryear, and the entry that inspired me here.

Today I will tell you about Rebecca Jane Evilsizer Bissett Zirkle. That's a mouthful, isn't it? Rebecca was my great-great-grandmother. Here's a visual so you know how she relates to you:

She was born 9 September 1840 in Johnson Township, Champaign County, Ohio, one of 11 children born to Esquire ("Squire") and Christina (Comer) Evilsizer. (A transcription of Ohio county birth records made by the Champaign County Genealogical Society indicates her birth year as 1840; however, her tombstone indicates 1842. Either year is possible, in those days birth records weren't kept and most people didn't really know how old they were.)

The Evilsizers were well known pioneers that came from Virginia to Mad River Township in Champaign County, OH, in 1815; and  Squire and Christina were married 24 May, 1835 in Mad River Township.

They were farmers. In the 1850 census, the family was living in Johnson township, and Rebecca (age 10) is listed as living with her parents and her sister, Mary A Evilsizer, age 13; her brother, Solomon Evilsizer, age 12;  another brother, Lewis Evilsizer, age 8; sister, Eliza Evilsizer, age 6;  and twin brothers John and Isaac Evilsizer, aged 2. (She had a brother Jasper that was born 1837 and died shortly thereafter, he does not appear in the 1840 census.)

In 1860, Rebecca and her brother Solomon are listed as living in two places - first in June 1860 with Mary and James Dye in Concord Township, Miami County, OH; and second in July 1860 with her parents and siblings in Mad River Twp, Champaign, OH. Mary Dye is Mary Evilsizor, Rebecca's oldest sister. Her husband James Dye was also a farmer, and Rebecca is listed as a domestic servant and her brother Solomon as farm laborer. Perhaps Mary and James needed help on their farm, they had 3 small children at the time, and Squire and Christina had all their other children to help out.

Sometime while Rebecca was living with her sister's family, she meets a Railroad Engineer named Joseph Jeremiah Bissett. He was from Pennsylvania, and I imagine that he was dashing and exciting to a young Rebecca. They fall in love - or at least in lust! - because their son Joseph Calvin was born 13 May 1861 (or 1862 -- records indicate 1861, tombstone says 1862). Either way, Rebecca and Jeremiah were not married until 16 January 1862. Joseph Calvin Bissett was hardly 4 months premature! :)

"State of Ohio, Miami County: I certify that I have this day solemnized the marriage of Jeremiah Bissett with Rebecca Evilsizer, witness my hand this sixteenth day of January 1862. JJ Thompsen, Esq." 


 Another indicator that Joseph Calvin Bissett was born in 1861 not 1862, is that his sister, Rebecca and Jeremiah's second child, Ida Belle ("Lida" or "Ida") was born 12 November 1862. Now, one source I have says she was born in Pennsylvania, another says Ohio. I like to think they moved back to PA to be close to Jeremiah's family, and so a PA birth makes sense.

All while Rebecca and Jeremiah are meeting and falling in love and setting up house, the Civil War is tearing apart the country. And soon it tears apart this family, as well. On 20 January 1864, Jeremiah joins the Union Army as a private in Company F, the 85th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.

On 21 October, 1864, as the company was moving from the front to their discharge, Jeremiah was left at Fort Monroe, Elizabeth County, VA, and died there of chronic diarrhea. 

From  History of the Eighty-Fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865, by Luther Dickey, pp. 419

(I highly recommend reading this book for an in-depth look at what this regiment was going through during the war. It's a free ebook in Google books)

Jeremiah is buried at Hampton National Cemetery, Cemetery Road at Marshall Avenue, Hampton, VA 23669, Section E-H Site 1319. See here for photo of his headstone and of the cemetery.

Jeremiah left behind a widow and 2 young children, who at this point leave Pennsylvania to return to Rebecca's hometown and family in Mad River Township, Champaign, OH. It’s hard to say what happened to them, but likely Rebecca and her children lived with someone in her family, perhaps she went home and lived again with Squire and Christina. 

On 4 October 1869, Rebecca marries Joshua Benton Zirkle. The Zirkles are another pioneering family in Mad River Township. I like to think that their similar backgrounds brought them together. Both families came from Virginia to Ohio. Maybe Squire knew Joshua's parents Noah and Lydia, maybe even Josh and Rebecca knew each other prior to her marriage to Jeremiah. Their family farms were not far from each other. Maybe Josh promised to take care of Rebecca and her children, and that is what she needed to hear at this time.

Either way, Josh, Rebecca, and her two children Joseph and Ida Belle are next found in 1870 living in Mad River Township, Champaign, OH and they also have with them Lydia Zirkle (Josh's mother), and Harvey and and Hannah Zirkle, Josh's two youngest siblings. The 1870 census is dated July 17, and on July 25 Rebecca gave birth to their first child, Rosa Minter Zirkle. I like to think that Josh's mom was living with them to help out with the family, because by 1880 she is living on her own with her son Harvey and her granddaughter Antoinette. Also by 1880, Rebecca and Josh have moved to German township, Clark County, OH, and their family has grown to include  Sarah Viola, Mary Almeda (“Allie”) and Charles Bertram. They have also lost a son, Henry F., who only lived a year (1871-1872).   

  These years of raising children are hard times. The country is trying to rebuild itself after the Civil War.  Rebecca’s two children from her first marriage are not again listed in any censuses with Rebecca, but they do live with her for different periods of time, based on the probate record entries.  Ida Belle is listed in 1880 as a servant in the Arbogast household in Springfield, Clark County, Ohio. I have not located Joseph anywhere in 1880, but at this time he would be 18 or 19 so could be anywhere, and likely a laborer for another family.  

During the late 1880s and 1890s Rebecca and Joshua’s children all get married. Joseph Calvin Bissett married Emma Johnson in 1884; Rose married Aaron Winfield Shaffer on 16 November 1886 in Springfield, Clark County, Ohio; Ida Belle Bissett married John Mason Flarida on 11 February 1886 in Springfield, Clark County, Ohio; Sarah Viola married Clement Benedict on 14 January 1892 in Clark County, Ohio; and Mary Almeda (“Allie”) married Clyde Lee in 1894. 

By 1900, Rebecca and Joshua moved back to Mad River, Champaign Co., OH, and the only child still at home with them is Charles. He helps his father on the farm.  On December 5, 1906, he married Letha Etta Furrow. Unfortunately, they were only married 4 months before she passed away.

At some point before 1909, Rebecca and Joshua move to 44 College Avenue, Springfield, Clark County, Ohio. Here’s what it looks like today:

Photo by Susan Hartman Thompson

On 28 January, 1909, Rebecca Jane Evilsizor Zirkle passed away in this house. Cause of death was listed as “apoplexy” – probably a stroke. She was buried in Terre Haute cemetery, Champaign County, Ohio. You can see her grave here. There was a newspaper article:

from Springfield Daily Times 30 January 1909

Josh lives another almost 20 years in this house, after Rebecca's death, his stepdaughter Ida Bell (Bissett) Flarida and her husband move in with him. On July 19, 1926, he passed away in this house as well. He is buried next to Rebecca in Terre Haute. You can see his grave here. His life will be a topic for another blog or the book. :)

Happy Memorial Day everyone!  Thank you for your service Jeremiah Bissett. You gave the ultimate sacrifice. And because of that, I am here.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

April Showers bring May flowers -- and ancestors!

Happy April!!

This will be a quick post. Some birthdays for this month:

April 5: Michael Zirkle Jr. was the son of Michael Zirkle, our family's Revolutionary War veteran. He was born 241 years ago. That makes him my generation's 4th great grand uncle. His family and descendants settled in Meigs County, Ohio.

April 6: Shirley A. Shaffer, had she lived, would have been 75 today. She was the first born child of  my generation's Uncle Earl (Earl Richard Shaffer) and his first wife, Betty Katherine Shepherd. Shirley died April 10, 1941 from the measles. Medicine has come so far since then, hasn't it!

April 7: Happy birthday to our 4th great grandfather, Solomon Shaffer! He would be 222 years old today. :) Solomon was born in 1791 in Shenandoah, Virginia to Jacob Shaffer and his second wife Otilla Schmid. That makes Solomon a first generation American, because Jacob and Otilla were born in Germany! Solomon was a pioneer and in the mid 1830s, packed up his wife Sarah (Zirkle) Shaffer and their children into a conestoga wagon and moved to Mad River township, Champaign County, Ohio, along with his brothers and many of his Zirkle in-laws. (Sarah's parents and siblings and uncles included!) He is buried in the Shaffer cemetery in Terre Haute, Champaign county, Ohio, near Coffin Station road. This cemetery today is located on what was once his 100+ acre farm.  It's still a very rural area, and the cemetery is either owned or near private property so likely we can't visit, but if you ever do try, let me know! :)   Check out the Google map.

April 18: Our great aunt Ilo (Shaffer) Stone would have been 117 today!

April 20: Michael Zirkle (yep, another one!) our 3rd great grand uncle would be 211 today! His brother  Noah was our 3rd great grandfather. Their parents were Abraham and Margaret (Maurer) Zirkle. I don't know much about him at this time.

April 20: Sarah Ann Shaffer (yep another one of those too - our people weren't terribly creative with names - all good, Lutheran German names) our great grand aunt would be 162 today! Her brother, Aaron Shaffer, was my great grandfather. He married Rosa Zirkle, and that's the reason all these Zirkles are related to us! Their son was grandpa Shaffer.  Anyway, Sarah never married. She died on Valentine's day, 1929, at the ripe old age of 77 - cause of death? Gastroentitis. Thank goodness for Tums!

And, most notably, on April 28, 1962 - my parents got married!!! Happy anniversary Mom and Dad! I miss you!!

Mom at Niagara Falls in 1962 - honeymoon

Dad at Niagara Falls 1962 - honeymoon

Sunday, March 17, 2013

More March Madness

March 18 is a special anniversary. 

On March 18, 1794, George Zirkle and Catherine Roush were married in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. (Do a Google search for Shenandoah Valley, VA and look at the images - or click Here for an aerial view on Google Maps) They probably spoke only German, and most likely grew up together in the small farming community they lived in. Both their fathers had fought in the Revolutionary War, just a few short decades before. Maybe George and Catherine were drawn to each other because of their similar backgrounds. Both families originally settled in Pennsylvania after their arrival from Germany in the early 1700s, then migrated to Virginia later. Both families were staunch supporters of America and fought bravely and fiercely for their new homeland. Whatever drew them together, I am glad they found each other!  

George and Catherine were my 5th great grandparents.

In 1805, Catherine's parents Phillip and Catherine, sold 346 acres of land in OH to George. Presumably this is the land in Champaign County that George and Catherine and their family settled on, however, at the time of the transfer Phillip and Catherine were living in Gallia County, so until I can find a copy of the deed, I can't say for sure. Either way, something brought George and Catherine to OH from VA, either in the early 1800s when they bought this land, or later in the 1830s with the other Zirkle and Shaffer families. 

George and Catherine are buried in the Zirkle Cemetery, located in Terre Haute, Champaign County, OH. Click on their names to virtually visit their graves. 

Happy anniversary great (x5!) grandparents!!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

March is popular!

March is a popular month in our family!

Today is another special event - on this day in 1943 my cousin Marlene was born!

Marlene was the only daughter of Dorothy Mae Shaffer and William Weymer; she had three brothers.  Dorothy was the 2nd oldest daughter of  Earl Roy Shaffer and Ethel Amelia Siler. She had 11 brothers and sisters.

Here  is a link to Marlene's Findagrave.com memorial, which has her obituary posted as well.  Happy birthday Marlene, we miss you lots!

Some distant family member occasions for the month of March:

March 10: 160th Birthday for Sarah Jane Young Siler.  Sarah was born 10 March 1853, in Ohio, to Thomas and Sarah Siler. She married William Thomas Siler on 7 Dec. 1871, in Miami County, OH. They had about 10 children, and she died 24 Jun 1901 in Miami County, OH. Sarah is my 2nd great grandmother. William Thomas and Sarah Siler were the parents of Henry Siler, who married Matrona Amelia Gingrich. Their daughter, Ethel Amelia Siler, married Earl Roy Shaffer, my grandfather.

March 11: 174th birthday for Abigail Zirkle Jenkins. She is my first cousin, five times removed. Her parents were Abraham Zirkle and Lydia Shaffer. She is a member of the Zirkle family that moved from Virginia to Ohio in the 1830s. Likely she was one of the first in her family to be born in Ohio, as she was born 11 Mar 1839, in Mad River Twp, Champaign OH. Her parents, Abraham Zirkle and Lydia Shaffer, were the donors of land in Mad River to the Zirkle Lutheran Church which stood for over 150 years in Champaign County. I will go into great detail in my book about the church, as it was terribly important to our family. Abigail married Joseph Jenkins and they had several children. She died 25 April 1913, and is buried in the Terre Haute cemetery in Terre Haute, Champaign, Ohio. 

March 13: 139th birthday for Frank Fries. Frank is no relation to our family, other than he married Rosa Minter Zirkle Shaffer on 23 Aug 1933. See marriage record below.  They were only married for 5 years before Rose passed away. In newspaper articles I have seen a Johanna Fries that was at several Shaffer family gatherings, so I wonder if Frank had children that remained in contact with Grandpa Roy Shaffer and his family. Rose was Roy Shaffer's mother.

Top left corner is Frank Fries and Rose Shaffer marriage record

March 14: 196th birthday for Gideon Zirkle. He is another first cousin, 5 times removed. His parents were Jonathan Zirkle and Elizabeth Wolgamood. Jonathan was the youngest son of Michael Zirkle and Catherine Sehler. Michael was our Revolutionary War ancestor. Gideon and his parents were members of the Zirkle family that remained in Virginia, they did not make the trek to Ohio like our branch did. He is buried in the Solomon's Lutheran church cemetery with (mostly!) other Zirkle relatives. See here. He was married to Rebecca Pence. The Pence family was one of a few names that married into the Zirkle line and the name will repeat itself throughout our history.

March 20: 193rd birthday for Noah Zirkle!  Another 1st cousin, 5x removed. He is special though. He is a particular pain in my genealogical side. See, he is another son of Jonathan Zirkle and Elizabeth Wolgamood - a brother to Gideon who I mentioned above. The problem is that he is about the same age as our 3rd great grandfather, whose name is also Noah Zirkle. Just about everyone I have found on Ancestry.com has this Noah mixed up with our Noah. They were cousins. The big difference, and the main way to tell them apart, is that this cousin Noah stayed in Virginia, and he fought in the Civil War. Our 3rd great grandfather died in 1863 in Ohio. Big difference. Anyway, cousin Noah was born in 1820 in Forestville, Shenandoah County, Virginia. He was a tanner, and he married Lydia Whitmire on 29 May 1843. They had several children. There's the 2nd thing that confuses other researchers: our 3rd great grandfather Noah Zirkle married Lydia Shaffer. So there are two Noah Zirkles married to Lydias. And if you recall above, I mentioned Abraham Zirkle and Lydia Shaffer....who are TWO different relatives. Confusing, right?! That's just the tip of the iceburg. Anyway, cousin Noah here was buried in Solomon's Lutheran church as well. Here.

The rest of March will be in another post. :) Have a great Saturday everyone!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March 5, 1936

On March 5, 1936 the Shaffer tree grew one more branch.

My daddy, Norb Shaffer, was born! He was the 2nd youngest of the 12 living children of Earl Roy Shaffer and Ethel Amelia Siler. He grew up in Piqua, OH, joined the military and spent some time overseas, came back and married Frances Marie Went (aka "Toots"). After her death in 1960, he married my mom, Joanne Sommer Martz.  They moved to AZ in the 1960s. He passed away in 2001 and we miss him very much.

I don't have any photos of his birth, but here are a couple I have scanned.

Dad around age 6 or 7 I'd say
(courtesy of Bob Creager)

Dad's enlistment photo, ca. 1956

Mom and Dad sometime in the 1980s

Dad in 2001 being goofy

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!! We sure miss you every day.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

On this date in history...

Hi Family!

I am new to this blogging thing so bear with me as I try to get what is in my head onto this blog. :) I would like to have a blog entry for each day. Today I will start with a calendar event. Today would have been Matrona Amelia Gingrich and Henry H. Siler's 115th wedding anniversary.

They were my generation's great grandparents. Their daughter, Ethel Amelia Siler, married Earl Roy Shaffer.

Henry and Matrona were married in 1898 in Miami County, OH.

Here is the information for their marriage. Unfortunately, I don't have the original document to show you.



Here is a link to Matrona's grave on Findagrave.com

Here is a link to Henry's grave on Findagrave.com

Both have photos of their headstones. Enjoy!