Friday, January 31, 2014

52 Ancestors Week 5: Mary E. Shaffer Swartz (If that's really who you are!)

I am supposed to blog for class this week and I can't get my brain to focus on that topic. So to get myself in research mode (and to justify to myself and my husband why I'm doing genealogy and not my homework!), I am going to write this week's blog. (Last week I said I'd be early....oh well, such is the promise of a grad student!)

I've come back to this woman several times. I get frustrated and stop. But last week, when writing about her mother, Elizabeth Lambert, I came back to her. I managed a bit of clarity, and now I am putting it out to the digital world. (Refresher: Absolom Shaffer and Elizabeth Lambert are my 2nd great grandparents)

Based on the 1870 Mad River twp, Champaign, OH census, which lists "Mary E. Shaffer, 5," I know Mary was born approximately 1865, and she was born in Mad River, because I know her parents (Absolom Shaffer and Elizabeth Lambert) had been there since the 1850s. She's listed with them in 1870 and also listed with them in the 1880 census.

The next item is purely conjecture. This is a marriage license from Champaign county, of one Mary Ellen Shaffer to Cyrus E. Swartz in 1886. That would make her about 21, the record says Mary was not under 18, ok, it fits. But how I long for that 1890 census!!

Mary Ellen Shaffer and Cyrus Swartz mariage 24 Dec 1886 - from Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994
Champaign Marriage records 1884-1892 vol J

The reason I say the above is conjecture is because there's nothing there that tells me this Mary Ellen is the same as my Mary Ella/Ellen. I *do* know that this Mary Ellen 1864-1949, that married Cyrus E. Swartz, is buried here, in Newson cemetery, Christiansburg, Champaign, OH. Someone on links her to Absolom and Elizabeth as her parents.

There's a lot of information out there, and a lot of it is confusing and hard to sort through. There are a lot of family trees out there with incorrect information about this family as well. It might be strange to think that there may have been more than one Mary Ellen Shaffer in the area, but I think there is. Case in point: One tree has the following -- and I had to lay this all out visually to figure it out, so I am not saying this person is anything more than confused and maybe just hasn't looked at their tree objectively lately. 

On the overview page here are the issues:
Mary Ella Schaeffer, dau of Absolom Shaffer and Elizabeth Lambert
First issue:  Married in 1880 to Jacob Harry, and the following children:
1881-Lavina Pearl
1886-Wilber Forrest
1889-Paul William
1892-Frank S.
1897-Barbara Rebecca
Next issue: Married in 1881 to Lemuel Vanlandingham Clark
Last issue: Married in 1885 to Cyrus Edgar Swartz
- I am all for multiple marriages, but if she married Lemuel in 1881 why was she still having children until 1897 with Jacob Harry? If she married Cyrus in 1885, again, why was she still having children with Jacob Harry? I think Lemuel and Cyrus are married to a different Mary E Shaffer. 

Let's visit the censuses this person has:
1870: Mary Shaeffer, age 6, living in German, Clark, OH - Tremont Station. HOH: Adam Shaeffer, age 43. Other HH members (all Shaeffer): Catharine 36, Michael 19, Barbara 17, Elizabeth 15, Margaret 13, Catharine 10, Adam 9, George 7, Clara 1.
-  Ok, this is valid, perhaps this Mary Shaeffer went on to marry Jacob Harry. As far as my Mary Shaffer is concerned, this census is not the Mary E. Shaffer that is the daughter of Absolom and Elizabeth (Lambert) Shaffer. This, to me, is Mary Shaeffer, daughter of Adam and Catharine Shaffer.

1880: this person has the same 1880 census that I have, Mary E. Shaffer, age 15, living with Absolom and Elizabeth Shaffer in Mad River, Champaign, Ohio. Parents both born in Virginia.
- this is not the same person as the Mary in the 1870 census. Parents are different and born in different places.

1900: Marie Harry, age 35, living in Piqua, Miami, Ohio; married to Jacob Harry; her father b. PA, mother b. OH. Children are Perl, Wilbur, Paul, Frank and Barbara.
- Is this Marie/Mary the one from the 1870 census? I don't know.

1910: Mary A. Harry, age 46, living in Newberry, Miami, OH; wife of Jacob A Harry; her father b. PA, mother b. OH; children Wilbur, Paul, Frank, and Barbara.
- same as the 1900 census

1920: Mary Harry, age 57, in Newton, Miami, OH, wife of Jacob Harry, Frank living with them. 
- same as above

1930: Mary Shafer, age 66, living in Dearborn, Wayne, Michigan; widowed; her parents born in Ireland; and she is the mo-in-law of Edward E. Elder age 48, and Winnie E. Elder, age 39.
- likely not the same woman, why would she be Shafer again if she's widowed? And her parents were born in Ireland. So she doesn't match either of the other two Mary options. Likely this lady was Mary McCann or something and she married a Shafer.

So now what? I have three Mary possibilities. I desperately wanted this tree to be right, because they have pictures, and I have no pictures of anyone. However, likely those photos belong to the Mary that married Jacob Harry, and whoever her parents were. Maybe Adam and Catherine. But not Absolom and Elizabeth. (sniffle)

Well, it gets more complicated than that even. Several trees have Mary Ellen Shaffer married to Lemuel Vallendingham Clark in 1881. But he does not die until 1938, and goes on to marry a couple more times, according to the original tree I found. None of these trees have a source as to why they think Mary Ellen Shaffer married Lemuel V. Clark and no exact date. Not sure if that's true, and I really don't care. His obit is available at the Rutherford B. Hayes center, if I feel like looking into that more. Maybe I will, if only to see if it mentions Mary and what happened to their marriage. 

What do I know?

Well, I do know that on Jun 5, 1882, a daughter named Estella Eradia was born to Lemuel V. Clark and Mary Ellen Shaffer in Terre Haute, Champaign, Ohio. Some of the trees have her as Nevada Estella. Take a look at the birth record and tell me what you see. Maybe she changed her name later to Nevada. Either way, a baby was born to Lemuel and Mary.

And I do know for sure that the Mary Ellen Shaffer that is the mother of Nevada Estella is *MY* Mary Ellen Shaffer because of this:

 And this:

Charles and Sarah were Mary Ellen's siblings. Neither married. It stands to reason that Nevada E. Arbogast would be a relative. So why couldn't she be their niece? You might ask, why not Mary Ellen herself, if she didn't die until 1949? Well, I don't have an answer for that yet. 

Furthermore, Nevada Estella Arbogast died in 1933 at the age of 51. Her death record
lists her father as Cyrus Swartz and mother Mary E. Shaffer. Informant was her husband, L.A. Arbogast, so maybe he didn't know her father wasn't Cyrus. Plus:
- Nevada/Estella's birth record doesn't specifically state a last name. (all the other children listed on the page are listed with their last name. She's not. Hmmmm - perhaps her parents were not married?)
- If Mary and Lemuel were not married, and I can't find marriage record online (doesn't mean there isn't one), then it stands to reason that when she married Cyrus, he took over the fathering of Nevada/Estella. Either way, she was little when Mary and Cyrus married, so he was probably the father to her.

And while I was searching for some of these answers, WOOHOO - I found Mary's death record, and it proves that Mary Ellen Swartz, wife of Cyrus Swartz, was the daughter of Absolom Shaffer. 

Now I'm pretty convinced that my Mary Ellen Shaffer was one and the same as Mary Ellen who either married Lemuel V. Clark or at least had a child by him, and then married Cyrus Swartz and had a bunch of kids by him. Aren't you?

But here's a couple of miscellaneous items:
-There's a Fred Swartz that married a Mary Ellen. I ordered the obit for Mary Ellen from a newspaper, thinking maybe Cyrus E. Swartz was supposed to be Cyrus F. Swartz. Anyone researching him and want it? I haven't gotten it yet but I suppose it's on its way. 

It was a long shot and I figured it was not the right Mary but I tried anyway. But they also have Fred's estate paperwork, which can be yours for $40, go to the Rutherford B. Hayes site and search his name. When they gave me the price, I declined. That's bit much when I wasn't sure! Apparently it's a pretty big file. Cool for someone who is related to him!

Well, that's my story for this week. I feel like I really know Mary. Now I kind of want to research her kids, and the Arbogast family marries into the Shaffer family more than once, so I am interested in that tidbit too, but for now I don't have the time.  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 4 - Elizabeth Lambert

Before I go into my post for this week, a little housekeeping -- I have a new website,  My intent is to move this blog over there but I don't know yet when I will have a minute to do that. The new address will likely be I will keep you posted. The main blog at Annals of Memory is my "professional" blog - I will be mostly blogging about Public History and things pertaining to what I am learning as I finish my course work for my Master's in Public History. It should be interesting!

Now, on to this week's post!

I am still trying to work on my mystery women (not much, I have a ton of homework), when I went back to Absolom Shaffer and his wife, Elizabeth Lambert, and realized I hadn't yet blogged about her. Elizabeth is another mystery in this tree. Again I know nothing of her until she and Absolom marry. (Absolom is the son of Abraham Shaffer and Rebecca Bennett, who I blogged about in Week 2 of #52Ancestors.) First I will give you Elizabeth's story, and then on to the other mystery woman for this week! 

Elizabeth Lambert and Absolom Sehaffer (sic) are listed on page 190 of Vogt and Kethley's Shenandoah County, VA, Marriages 1772-1850. She was daughter of John, and they were married on 20 Aug 1846. They must have left the Shenandoah Valley pretty soon thereafter, because they are next found in Mad River township, Ohio, in 1850. Family stories and various Zirkle family books indicate a large group of Shaffer and Zirkle families made the trip from the beautiful Shenandoah Valley to the uncharted Ohio wilderness in the mid 1800s.

In 1850 Absolom is a blacksmith. Living with Absolom and Elizabeth are Margaret, who seems to be their daughter, but she is 6 years old (hmmmmm, premature birth??), their son James, who is 3, and their son John, who is 9 months old. Sadly, both John and Margaret passed away that same year and are buried in the Zerkle Cemetery. Poor Elizabeth would have to endure more heartache living in the wilds of Ohio. By 1860 she has had  five more children - Sarah, now 10; Charles, now 7; Abbie, now 5, and Emma, now 4; AJ just born, and James is still living and is now 13. Unfortunately, AJ (Andrew James) and Emma both would pass away that same year. (And both of their headstones are missing from the cemetery)  But, in 1861 she happily gave birth to Aaron Winfield Shaffer, who would grow up and be one of her only two children to have children - Aaron was my great grandfather, and the man who connects this Shaffer and Zirkle line a second time. In the 1870 Mad River twp, Champaign, OH census, Aaron is living a couple doors down from Absolom and Elizabeth, with his brother James and his wife, helping out over there I suppose - James is also a blacksmith. Also by 1870 Elizabeth has had one last child, Mary Ella Shaffer. She would go on to lose one more child, as Abbie passed away in 1871.

Elizabeth had five children to live to adulthood: James, Sarah, Charles, Aaron and Mary Ella. Of these five, only three had children of their own. Sarah and Charles lived together their entire lives and never married. Incidentally, their death records both state they are buried in the Terre Haute cemetery, Champaign, OH; but when I request photos, I've been told they aren't found. Both had an informant on their death record of Nevada Estelle Arbogast. She has helped me figure out who I think Mary Ella Shaffer is. That will be Week 5, which I will deliver a little early while I have time!

In the meantime, I have no idea what to do about Elizabeth. I can't find any John Lamberts in Rockingham, Shenandoah, VA. She died in Mad River, Champaign, OH on 25 Sept 1886. She is buried on a little hill in the Terre Haute cemetery. Her stone says she was 64 years old, which makes her born about 1822. The Findagrave memorial gives Jan. 8, 1822, but obit transcription says Jan. 7:

Transcription of obituary from St. Paris Dispatch, Friday Oct 1., 1886:

MRS. ELIZABETH SHAFFER, who has been wife of ABSOLOM SHAFFER for 40 yrs, severed her earthly relationship with him at her home in Terre Haute, Ohio, on Sept. 25th. She was born in Rockingham County, VA, Jan 7, 1822. Aged 64 yrs, 8 mo, 18 days, she was the mother of 10 children. Two sons and four daughters have passed on before her. She united with the Ev L Church in 1849 and was a member of the same at the time of her death. Funeral services were held at Terre Haute last Monday, conducted by Rev E D Smith.  (Original source is here)

I'll post the other issue I had concerning her daughter Mary Ellen, in the meantime, anyone searching the Lambert family of Rockingham, VA?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 3 - Jacob Shaffer

 I am going to branch out a little bit and go somewhere I haven’t really been yet with my blog, and discuss a collateral ancestor. I’ve really tried to focus on the direct line with my blog, though I have researched lots of collateral lines for various reasons, including the reason I am working on Jacob – I need to find out about his mother. (See Last Week's Blog) I started with him because he is the oldest living child of Abraham and Rebecca (Bennett) Shaffer, if I continue with my assumption that William Bennet/Benason is the son of Rebecca and a previous husband.

I started researching Jacob expecting to run through him, and keep going with all the kids, but as soon as I did a preliminary search on, the first thing that popped up was a link to his Findagrave memorial.  It originally looked like this: (since then it was transferred to me and I fixed it)

And I found a tree on Acom that listed his parents as Solomon Shaffer and someone else, not Sarah. So I had to look into this. I knew I was not wrong and Solomon was definitely NOT married to a Margaret, so I could definitely let that person know that was wrong, which I did. However, looking at it now, I guess he could have been married once before Sarah but that would be very briefly and then that person had Sarah's children attached to her so that part was still wrong! Anyway, Solomon Shaffer and Abraham Shaffer are brothers, both are sons of Jacob and Odilla Shaffer. They also happen to both be my direct ancestors. (That's where this tree gets more bush like! Solomon's great grandaughter Rose married Abraham's grandson Aaron. They were 2nd cousins twice removed. Confused? That's ok, I'll blog about them later. :)

Back to Jacob. I wasn't sure if Solomon and Sarah had a son named Jacob, that is not something I can remember off the top of my head. So I pulled out my stuff and took a look. Here are my proofs that Jacob belongs to Abraham and Rebecca:

1) Solomon and Sarah marriage information, per Vogt and Kethley, Shenandoah County Marriage Bonds 1772-1850 p. 193:

             Not unusual to have a child out of wedlock, but it's unlikely that Jacob would have been born 8 years before his parents were married! Sarah was 20 when they married, she would have been 12 when Jacob was born.

2) Abraham and Rebecca are listed with Jacob as their son in Klaus Wust's Old Pine Church Baptisms 1783-1828, p. 39.

He was likely named after Jacob Nehs (Neese/Nease), his sponsor.

I've located Abraham (Abram Shaver in 1810, Abraham Shaver in 1820 and 1830) in the 1810-1830 censuses, and the family in 1860 and 1870, all in Shenandoah, VA.

Now, since Jacob is buried in Champaign, OH, I have to assume he was part of the family group that migrated to OH in the mid-1850s. He's found in Mad River, Champaign, OH censuses from 1850-1880, and I'll assume he was there on that missing 1890 census since he's buried there in 1893. He was a blacksmith and a farmer, and so was Abraham.  Abraham and Rebecca supposedly did NOT migrate to OH, since I find them still in VA in 1860-70 and the families went to OH in the mid-1800s; but I haven't located their graves yet. I would presume they are buried in Solomon's Lutheran Church graveyard, or maybe there is somewhere else in New Market that I don't know about yet. But that's for another blog.

So that's Jacob. I'm still no closer to figuring out his mother Rebecca, but I at least have some more info on the family and that is what this exercise is all about. Prompting me to work on an ancestor per week! :)