Saturday, February 22, 2014

52 Ancestors: Week 8: Brick Wall Time - Noah Zirkle (Zirkel, Circle)

I can't believe I haven't blogged about Noah Zirkle yet. He and his wife Lydia are the reason I am STILL on this Zirkle line, after three years, and haven't really moved to any of my other lines (Evilsizer/or, Siler, more of the Shaffers, or the rest of my husband's tree or my mom's tree!). I have been putting together everything I can to learn about this line in the hopes that I will stumble on the rest of the story for Noah and Lydia. They are one of the couples in this line that are CONSTANTLY mixed up with their cousins in public trees. For awhile I would correct people, but most of the time people ignored me. I hope that this blog will set the record straight. Really, the only things I don't know about Noah and Lydia are when Noah was born and when they both died. I have enough material that I can tell you approximately when these things happened. And I have enough material gathered on the Noah and Lydias they are usually mistaken for to prove that MY Noah and Lydia are not the other people they are mistaken for. I'll happily discuss this with anyone who has questions.

Because everyone and their brother in this family was named Noah, Abraham and Lydia, let me post a few notes before I start. I am going to have to create a visual chart somehow since FTM doesn't do one that shows this relationship to my satisfaction. Hopefully you can follow.

Abraham Zirkle (1780-1861, wife Margaret Maurer [1781-1870]), the father of my Noah,  had a brother George (1774-1848, wife Catherine Roush [1777-1860]). George and Catherine had a son Abraham (1798-1875) whose second wife was Lydia Shaffer (1801-1900). In 1847, this Abraham and Lydia deeded an acre of property in Champaign county, OH, to erect the Zerkle Lutheran Church and burial ground. This Lydia Shaffer's parents were George Shaffer and Elizabeth Brown. Abraham and George Zirkle's youngest brother Jonathan Zirkle (1789-1855, wife Elizabeth Wolgamood [1793-1853]) had a son named Noah Zirkle (1820-1897). He married Lydia Whitmyer. These two are constantly confused with my Noah and Lydia, but the easiest way to know which you are dealing with is that this Noah and Lydia never left Virginia; this Noah was also a private in the Civil War. My Noah and Lydia settled in Ohio where they were married and died and there are no military records for my Noah.

Are you with me so far? We're up to three Lydia Zirkles (two of them nee' Shaffer), two Abraham Zirkles, and two Noah Zirkles. Here's another Noah: he was the son of Jacob Zirkle (1782-1863, wife Mary Summers). Jacob was another brother of Abraham, George, and Jonathan. This Noah Zirkle (1820-1889) married Martha Foltz. He is consistently mixed up with my Noah and their children intermixed because Noah and Martha lived in German, Clark County, OH in 1850 and 1860. But they then moved on to Illinois. That's one way to tell them apart. Also, this Noah was drafted to the Civil War from German, Clark county, OH. I do not see that he served, but truthfully haven't looked much farther for more records. I am pretty sure this record belongs to this Noah and not mine, but it is hard to tell. The reason I think so is because this lists Noah as born in Virginia. While I don't have proof where my Noah was born, read on and I will tell you why I believe he was born in OH.

There are four more Noah Zirkles in the family, but these are the most confused ones I have seen. Hope you aren't asleep yet.

So my Noah Zirkle was the son of Abraham and Margaret (Maurer) Zirkle. Based on census records, he was born about 1822-1823. A publication from the 1920s lists his approximate birth year as 1815. Regardless of which is correct, his father Abraham was a pioneer in Clark County, Ohio in 1805. (*Note: at this time it was still Champaign county; Clark wasn't formed until 1818 but everyone lists these guys as pioneers of "Clark")  Therefore, Noah had to have been born in Ohio. He doesn't appear in records again until he married Lydia Shaffer (b. 25 Aug 1820, Shenandoah, VA, baptized at the Old Pine Church in New Market) the daughter of Solomon Shaffer and Sarah Zirkle. (Sarah is one of George and Catherine (Roush) Zirkle's daughters so yes, Lydia and Noah were first cousins, once removed. Happened all the time for the families in these areas!) on 20 June, 1844, in Champaign county, Ohio.

Ohio County Marriages 1789-1994 -  Familysearch film#295228  
    Champaign Marriage records 1840-1849 vol D p. 164

Noah and Lydia were found in the 1850 and 1860 censuses farming in Mad River, Champaign county, Ohio. Their children were as follows:

Rebecca A. Jane Zirkle (1845-1927)
Samuel P. (S.P.) Zirkle (1846-?)
Joshua Benton Zirkle (1848-1926), husband of Rebecca Jane Evilsizor Bissett
Sarah Catherine Zirkle (1849-1867)
Hannah Elizabeth "Ella" Zirkle (1851-aft 1930, burial in now missing Nettle Creek cemetery)
Harvey Barnett Zirkle (still figuring him out. poss 1857-1938)

On 9 Apr. 1859, Noah's father Abraham deeded 30 acres of land to him in Champaign County, Ohio.
On 21 Mar. 1861, Noah's father Abraham passed away. In the Probate records, it lists all the work Noah did on his father's farm, and he had been doing work there from 1848 til Abraham's death.

Now here's where it gets confusing. In 1863, there was a Chancery court record indicating that Noah had passed away and that in 1862 he mortgaged 164 acres to David Loudenback, which was being foreclosed upon. (per Public Records Of Champaign County, Ohio, Chancery Records of the Court of Common Please Record Books 24-38 Vol. 2. Abstracted by Pat Stickley and Denise Kay Moore, Champaign County Genealogical Society)

But there are no records of his death, and he is not buried in either the Shaffer, Zerkle or Terre Haute cemeteries, where the rest of the families are buried. Lydia was not found either. I realize this is the middle of the Civil War, and that obviously the family is poor since they just lost their property, but I still think there should be a record somewhere of something relating to his death! Even a newspaper blurb! Something!

Lydia was next found in the 1870 Mad River, Champaign county, OH census living with her son Joshua and his wife Rebecca and Rebecca's two children from her first marriage, right after Josh and Rebecca got married. Lydia's daughter Hannah and son Harvey are also living with them.

On 2 Oct 1875, S.P. Zirkle deeded a portion of property to Joshua B. Zirkle in Book 49 p. 302, "subject to a life estate of Lydia Zirkle, widow of Noah A. Zirkle, who died seized." Records of Champaign county, OH.

On 24 May 1880, Joshua deeded back to SP Zirkle a portion of that land, same clause as to Life Estate of Lydia Zirkle. Record Book 55 p. 335, Champaign County, OH.

In 1880 Lydia was living with her son Barnett and granddaughter Antoinette, who is erroneously listed as her daughter.  Antoinette was actually the daughter of Rebecca A. Jane Zirkle and (possibly) Charles Shaffer, but not sure yet who her father was, as she was listed in 1880 as Zirkle but as Shaffer elsewhere. I should blog about Rebecca A. Jane's family, they are all crazy!

On 11 Feb 1890 a corrective deed was filed with the Champaign County Recorder in Book 70 pg 448 stating that a portion of the seized property was erroneously transferred to Jonathan Long and Susan Michael. Nowhere in it does it mention a Life Estate for Lydia Zirkle. 

From that I conclude that Lydia passed away somewhere between 1880 and 1890. She was not found in the 1900 census. How I wish I had that 1890 census!!

No records, news articles, nothing exists showing her death. She was also not buried in the Zerkle, Shaffer, or Terre Haute cemeteries. I am at a loss as to why neither of my 3rd great grandparents exist in a cemetery anywhere, especially where the rest of their family was buried, and why there are no records of their deaths.

I am currently working on an in depth study of the three cemeteries mentioned above for a couple of my graduate classes. I hope that somehow I will come across Noah and Lydia's burials, but without the ability to go there for awhile I have to rely on what I can do from afar. If anyone is familiar with these cemeteries, please leave me a message!

Friday, February 14, 2014

52 Ancestors: Week 7: A.J. Shaffer - Finding the A and J

Hard to believe another week is here!

Last week I mentioned that Aaron and Rose Shaffer's second youngest son Albert was an interesting story, so this week I will tell his story. It's kind of short, I don't really know a lot.

On May 13, 1900, in Lost Creek, Miami, Ohio, a son named Absolom Joshua was born to Aaron Shaffer and Rosa Circle. (sic)

"Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003," index and images, FamilySearch (

If you notice, the birth was not reported until July 26, 1901. (It's hard to see here but trust me, that's what it says.) I didn't think anything of this until I had a hard time finding him anywhere else. You see, *I* thought it was really cool that they named him Absolom Josh - he was the only child named after anyone in the family!! Absolom Shaffer was Aaron's father. Joshua Zirkle was Rose's father. So it made perfect sense that he was named after his grandfathers. But in the 1900 census, he is listed as Andrew J. Shaffer. I just thought maybe this was a typo. In the 1910 and 1920 censuses, he is listed as A.J. But I couldn't find Absolom Joshua Shaffer's death record.

I found Albert James Shaffer's death record, and it listed his parents as Rose Zirkle and Aaron Shaffer, and the informant was his sister, Esther (Shaffer) Fisher. So I thought - hmm, twins run in the family. Maybe he was a twin? When I looked back at the birth record, I noticed something written next to his name. I couldn't read it. No matter what I did on, I could not read what was written. I thought for sure it would say there was a twin. I went down to the FamilySearch library and grabbed the microfilm.  AHA! I was able to manipulate the microfilm to read what it said next to his name -- "See birth correction #29085 Book 10 p. 1." So I pulled up that birth correction, and voila! He changed his name.

Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003 Miami Delayed births with index 1942-1943 vol 10 No. 29085 Book 10 page 1
Now why he changed his name I will never know. Why did they put down Absolom Joshua one YEAR after his birth but had already been calling him Albert James? OK, I suppose Absolom wasn't the greatest or most popular name, but it was a family name, and once upon a time, the Zirkle and Shaffer families named all their kids after family. I don't know why it stopped here!

I next found an Albert James in Maine. I couldn't believe this was my guy. He married Edna Atkins in Maine in 1923 and they lived in Portland, Maine in 1927-1936, per several city directories and the 1930 census. In 1940 he was back living with his sister Esther and her family in Troy, OH, and he is listed as married. I'm not sure whether Edna was still alive or not, his death record lists her as wife but not any life status (ie. widow etc) and I haven't researched her much. I do know she was married prior to Albert.

Anyway, I was interested in why he was in Maine. I still haven't figured that out, but somehow he enlisted in 1917 (ahem, said he was almost 19 -- um, no. But I know lots of boys lied to get into the military, they've been doing it since war was invented!) and ended up in the 54th Artillery Regiment in Maine, serving to protect the coast of Portland.

Ohio Soldiers in WWI, 1917-1918, accessed from

According to the little I've read, they were called to active duty in 1918 and sent to France. They sailed on the Baltic from Hoboken, New Jersey on March 16, 1918. (see here and here for more info)
I couldn't find a picture of the Baltic, I thought that would be easy, but I also couldn't find much more info at all on it. Only because I just did a cursory internet search, I am sure I can find lots more in an archive and doing some legwork. For this little sketch, however, I don't have time.

I would love to know the details as to why he was in Maine, and find more out about his military service. Maybe there would be a photo. (Since he is missing from the only photo I have of his siblings, but that was taken in the late 1950s and he was already deceased.) Maybe I can locate descendants of his step children, Floyd D. VanKeuren, Jr. and James H. VanKeuren. They lived with them in 1930. Oh! I also just discovered that they lived in Ohio in 1920 with their parents, Floyd and Edna (Atkins) VanKeuren. Hmmm, I need to explore that a little more. Maybe there is more to this story!

Albert James Shaffer died  1 May, 1946 in Troy, Miami, Ohio, and is buried in Troy Riverside cemetery, where most of his siblings are also buried. See here for the memorial on Findagrave.

As always, this exercise reveals more work I need to do when I have time. Be sure to check out the other #52Ancestors entries!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

52 Ancestors: Week 6: Rose Rebecca Minter Zirkle Shaffer Fries (Jingleheimer-Schmitt??)

Ok, so I am only kidding about the Jingleheimer-Schmitt. (Though I do have a Schmid on Rose's husband's side.) Today I decided to go only a little ways back in my family, as far as generations go; though Rose was born over 144 years ago, she is my great-grandmother. My very own grandfather, her son Earl Roy Shaffer, was born over 120 years ago! It's mind boggling to think in those terms. I don't even have a picture of her. In fact, the only photos I have are of her children, taken in the late 1950s. Some day I hope something turns up in someone's attic! Maybe this summer at the family reunion of her great grandchildren something will turn up!

Rose is the reason for this blog. It's her line I have spent countless hours researching and learning about. It's this line that convinced me I wanted to go back to school and become an archivist. So between learning about her and her family, and the inspiration of knowing that her grandson's wife (my aunt by marriage) was also an archivist and genealogist, it's their fault I am back in school. :) And I couldn't be happier. (Well, ask me that after a stressful day of homework sometime) But back to Rose.

Rose Rebecca Minter Zirkle (sometimes Rosa) was the first child born to Rebecca Jane Evilsizor Bissett and Joshua Benton Zirkle. I've blogged about Rebecca Jane here and how she lost her first husband, Jeremiah Bissett, in the Civil War.  It's a heartbreaking story but one shared by so many that lived during that time. Though it seems that Rebecca's children - Ida Belle and Joseph - from her marriage to Jeremiah did not live with them full time, they were always very close with Rose, as evidenced by several newspaper articles, including the family reunion I blogged about here.

Rose was born 25 July, 1870 in either Clark county or Champaign county, Ohio. I have records that state both. The family homestead had been on the border of the two counties, so it could have been either place. However, by this time the family had lost all property and money was scarce. In fact, the family farm had been lost a generation before, with Josh's parents. So I would imagine times were tough. Josh was a farm laborer, and he and Rebecca had 5 children that lived (per the 1900 census she was mother of 11 total), plus Ida Belle and Joseph, and there are 4 that I can't account for anywhere. So things were busy around the house, and Rose probably had to help out with the other siblings. I often wonder if Rebecca and Josh had German accents. They were both raised in strictly German communities, and Josh's parents were members of the family Lutheran church. Somewhere in Josh's time the affiliation with the Lutheran church was lost, because Rose wasn't raised Lutheran, as far as I can tell. Maybe they were just more concerned with making ends meet. It's something I am deeply interested in and hope to study a bit more closely some day.

In 1880 the family was living in German township, Clark, OH. Not much later, Rose was married at the tender age of 16 to Aaron Winfield Shaffer, her (gasp!) 2nd cousin twice removed. Here's a tree to remind you:

Anyway, Rose and Aaron were married 16 November, 1886 in Springfield, Clark Co., OH. I won't post the marriage license because it's hard to read, but it says "bride is over 18" - which clearly, she was not. It's funny because my grandparents did the same thing - my grandmother was 16 when she married my grandfather too and lied on her marriage record too.  But here's a newspaper article about Aaron and Rose's nuptials:

from Springfield Globe Republic newspaper 11.20.1886

Since we don't have the 1890 census (the bane of all genealogists' existence!), I am not sure where they lived then, but her first child, William Clyde Shaffer was born 23 May 1888 in Champaign county, OH. My grandfather, Earl Roy Shaffer, was born 25 August 1890 in Champaign. Now here's where it gets interesting. I found out quite by accident recently that -something- happened and Rose and Aaron were forced to put their two sons in the Champaign County Children's Home.

Grandpa was first:

Earl Roy Shaffer Champaign Children's Home Record of Inmates Vol. 1 1892-1910 p. 74
Then his brother Willie (who I always had heard was called Clyde):

Willie Clide Shaffer Champaign Children's Home Record of Inmates Vol. 1 1892-1910 p. 84

 It's interesting because Rose is listed in the infirmary in both cases, but there are no records of why she was there or when she was released or anything of that nature. One archivist mentioned that Ohio was in a depression at this time, but that still doesn't explain whether she was ill or not. She WAS, however, pregnant. She gave birth in the infirmary to her daughter, unnamed here in this record, but my great aunt Armour's death record states she was born 24 June, 1894. More than likely, she was born June 21, 1894, based on this:

Champaign County Infirmary Record of Inmates page 57
There are no other records on Rose or her baby daughter or when they were released, but the boys went home, as you can see, in 1897. By 1900 the family was living together again in Casstown, Miami, Ohio, and they'd added to the family daughters Ilo and Esther, and son Albert (Albert is another fun story, maybe he will be next week's profile.) By 1910 they are found in Jackson, Champaign county, and have added son Clifford to the family. In 1920 they are living again in Elizabeth, Miami county. At this time their children have moved out and married and the only one still at home is Clifford - and also living with them is Mary Francis Yingling, their granddaughter, daughter of Esther and her first husband. Interestingly enough, in 1920 they lived next door to the Knoop Children's Home. This made me hopeful that I could find their house, since Knoop still stands. Some kind people took photos of the area for me, but I don't think any of the homes in the area are where they lived.

Home west of Knoop - maybe theirs?? By Kathy Fellars Slack (and used with permission)

Knoop Children's Home - by Kathy Fellars Slack (and used with permission)

There are some great old shots of the home in various books and a fantastic one from but who knows where it came from originally so I don't know about permissions. I won't post it til I figure that out.

My great grandfather Aaron Shaffer died on 10 Jul 1926, and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Troy, Miami, Ohio. (See here)

It confused me when I couldn't find Rose after that. She's nowhere to be found and I couldn't find her death record. That's because she got married again! Who knew? Not anyone in my family, apparently, at least not the generation of cousins I still have living. But then again, no one living knew her so....

I found a couple of city directories that list her living at 911 E. Canal Street, Troy, Ohio, in 1929 and 1933 and the 1930 census lists Esther and her family living at that address so I'd assume they just missed listing Rose too.

Here's a pic of the house as it looks today:

by Kathy Fellars Slack, used with permission
In 1935, Rose married Frank A. Fries.

Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994 Miami Marriage records 1932-1934 vol 18, p 274

But sadly, she passed away just 5 years later, 31 Dec 1938, of pneumonia and heart failure, at the age of 68. She is buried with Aaron in Riverview cemetery (see here). Oddly, her obituary lists Frank and his children, yet his obit never even mentions Rose. (See Frank's obit here)

Came from a cousin's collection, and no newspaper listed :(

And here it says she was a member of the First Congregational Christian Church of Christiansburg. I'm interested as to when she converted....Or was she never Lutheran? Her grandparents were members of the Zirkel Lutheran Church - there were two Zirkel Lutheran churches actually - and one was started by Rose's great grandfather Solomon Shaffer (or at least services were held on his property) and the other by her great uncle Abraham Zirkle (Solomon's brother in law). I haven't looked into it, but I wonder if Frank Fries was Congregational. Something I will look into in the future.