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 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 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

Here is a link to Henry's grave on

Both have photos of their headstones. Enjoy!