April 30, 2012

Daniel and Hannah (Yount) Olinger

One of the problems with genealogy is that we become so focused on moving back that we sometimes fail to take the time to look at an individual life. Often there is little documentation for a particular individual and their importance to us is passed over in search of a relative who “did something.” It is common for all of us to be excited by the ancestor who served in one of the wars, or had a special standing in his community. Those folks interest us so much because “doing something” usually means there are documents to follow. But, the simple fact is that most of us are descended from men and women who simply worked hard and lived good, if unspectacular, lives.

Daniel Olinger and Hannah Yount are two of those rather ordinary people for their time, and yet they were amazing people.

Daniel was born 20 September 1811, and Hannah Yount was born 25 December 1808,1 both in the Kittanning area of Armstrong County.

They were married 10 April 1830 in Kittanning,2 and had ten (known) children:

David (29 Mar 1830 – 17 Sep 1846)
Findley P. (17 Jul 1833 – 15 Aug 1916)
Esther Ann (9 Jun 1837 – 19 Nov 1910)
Mary “Polly” (abt 1840 -)
Margaret (17 Sep 1842 – 25 Jul 1932)
Caroline (1843 – )
Daniel Olinger (1846 – 3 May 1918)
Aaron F. Olinger (20 Nov 1849 – 25 Jun 1911)
Samuel Stoton (Feb 1853 – 4 Dec 1920)
Thomas K. (Aug 1856 – 2 May 1931)
More on the children and their marriages later.

The census records for Daniel and Hannah:
18403
18504
18605
18706
18807
19008

I found no obituary or death notice for Daniel Olinger. The date of his death was provided by Viola in her notes.

Hannah lived to be almost 100 years of age, dying just shy of her birthday on 22 November 1908.9

Daniel and Hannah are two people born before the War of 1812, who raised ten children, and lived through the upheaval and horror of the Civil War. They were born when the nation’s fourth president, James Madison was in office, and Hannah died while Theodore Roosevelt was in office – he was the 26th president. They cleared their own land, planted their own food, and carried their own water. Their lives may not have been as exciting as others may in this line, but they were no less extraordinary.

There were two death notices for Hannah.
[The Indiana Evening Gazette 28 Nov 1908, p1, c7]
MRS. HANNAH OLINGER
Mrs. Hannah Olinger, died at her home in Elderton on Nov. 22, aged about 101 years. She was the oldest woman in this part of the State, and she had lived in Elderton since 1834. Up until several years ago she went, about at will. Nine children survive.

[The Indiana Weekly, 2 Dec 1908, p4, c1]
A Centenarian Dead.
Mrs. Daniel Olinger died suddenly November 22 at the home of her daughter, Easter Ann Olinger at Elderton, aged almost 100 years. Mrs. Olinger was born on Christmas, 1808, and all her life has been spent in the community near Elderton, where her daughter and two sons, Dan and Thomas, live. The other son, Aaron, is a resident of Kittanning.

The obituaries are interesting in the confusion they create. In the first obituary, it states nine children survive. Daniel and Hannah had ten known children, but I could only find eight confirmed alive at the time of Hannah’s death. Oldest son, David died at age 16. Daughter Caroline’s death date is still a mystery to me, although her husband lists himself as a widower on the 1900 census.

In the second obituary only four children are named. The other four (five if you count Caroline) are not mentioned even though two of them (Margaret Olinger Scott and Findley P.) lived in Elderton, not far from their mother.

The next post will be what I know about Daniel and Hannah’s children. Then tombstone pictures before moving back a generation to Adam and Anna Maria (Yount) Olinger.



1. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 104508 (1908), Hannah Olinger; Division of Vital Records, New Castle.
2. Constance Louise (Leinweber) Mateer, Early Deaths & Marriages in Armstrong County, Pennsylavania (Kittanning, Pennsylvania: n.p., 1994), Kittanning Gazette Vol #V I.
3. 1840 U.S. census, Armstrong, Pennsylvania, Kittanning Twp., p. 173, line 10, Daniel Olinger; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Jan 2012); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M704, roll 442.
4. 1850 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 353, dwelling 279, family 279, Daniel Olinger; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 749
5. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Elderton, p. 613, dwelling 1195, family 1079, Daniel Olinger; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 1069.
6. 1870 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Elderton, p. 372, dwelling 14, family 14, Daniel Olinger; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 1301.
7. 1880 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Elderton, enumeration district (ED) 5, p. 123, dwelling 267, family 285; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1096.
8. 1900 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Elderton, enumeration district (ED) 11, p. 3A, dwelling 60; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 1373.
9. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 104508 (1908), Hannah Olinger; Division of Vital Records, New Castle, Pennsylvania.

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April 23, 2012

Climbing the Olinger and Yount Tree

Margaret Olinger’s ancestors are generations of Germans who, as I previously mentioned, have been in America since at least the Revolutionary War. While I have done some of the initial verification work, I am still working on most of this – use this line at your own risk. I am working on the verification and getting my own copies of the sources this summer. I have provided the sources I currently have and been clear about what is not sourced.

In order to tie the line together there needs to be some documentation that provides a parent/child relationship. Family stories are nice, but paperwork is best! So here’s what I started.

First and foremost, we need to remember that spelling is optional. Don’t think that a will or census records will provide the correct spelling. Wills and census records were recorded by individuals who may or may not have asked how something was spelled. They may have been asking people who could not read or write how to spell their names. Most of the entries were accomplished either based on the experience of the person doing the writing, or their best guess based on how the name sounded. Men who clerked or “scribed” had no special grasp of spelling. I have seen the same name spelled three different ways in a single document. Most names did not reach a finalized form until Social Security began. Once you spelled it a certain way with the federal government – that was pretty close to how it remained. Our family uses the spelling of Olinger, but there are many Ohlingers in the tree. So when searching for Olinger you need to flexible and search for Olinger, Ollinger, and Ohlinger, and try substituting an e for an i and the letter j for g. The Yount line is often found as Yont, Yunt, and Yundt. I have also seen it spelled Jundt in some trees.

I am sure of whom Margaret Olinger’s parents are for two reasons. First – Viola Lawton Scott gathered the initial information directly from Margaret Olinger when she was alive. This is why I’m comfortable with using the date of births that I have. Second – I have Margaret Olinger’s 1932 death certificate which names her parents are Daniel Olinger and Hannah Yount.1 This could get confusing as we work are way back since there are several Olingers who have married Younts.

Daniel Olinger was born 20 September 1811 in Armstrong County, the youngest known son of Adam and Anna Maria (Yount) Olinger. (Yes, Yount again. Daniel and Hannah are first cousins.) I have seen various locations listed for his birth including Kittanning and Elderton. Daniel’s family was enumerated on the 1820 census in Kittanning Twp., Armstrong, Pennsylvania. Elderton was not incorporated as a borough until 1859.

Daniel married Hannah Yount on 10 April 1830 in Kittanning Twp. The newspaper notice of their marriage reads “Mr. Daniel Ohlinger, to Miss Hannah Yundt, dau. of Jonathan Yundt all of Kittanning Twp.”2 Hannah is the fifth child of Jonathan and Maria Margaret (Riscinger) Yount. Jonathan is the brother of Daniel’s mother Anna Maria. More on Daniel and Hannah in the next post.



1. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 73280 (1932), Margaret Scott; Division of Vital Records, New Castle, Pennsylvania.
2. Constance Louise (Leinweber) Mateer, Early Deaths & Marriages in Armstrong County, Pennsylavania (Kittanning, Pennsylvania: n.p., 1994), Kittanning Gazette Vol #V I.

April 16, 2012

Margaret (Olinger) Scott (1842-1932)

Stepping back a generation in the Scott family, my next series of posts will focus on the Olinger and Yount lines. The Olinger and Yount families have been in Pennsylvania since before the Revolutionary War and are (fortunately for me) reasonably well documented. I have provided a pedigree chart from Robert Clare Scott in case you’ve lost track – I constantly have to refer back to my notes and charts in this family. It’s simply a lot of people to keep track of.

Margaret Olinger was born 17 September 1842 in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong County.1 She was the fifth child of Daniel Olinger (20 September 1811 – 23 May 1878) and Hannah Yount (25 December 1807 – 22 November 1908).2 I did not find a baptismal record for her in the church records in Gastown. It is possible that she may eventually be found in another church in the area, but many of those records have not been filmed or transcribed. Nor did I find a marriage record for Margaret and Zachariah. It is probable that they were married in the home of a family member. The records of a minister belonged to him not to the church, and there were no requirements to record these events at the courthouse or in the minister’s home church documents.

After Zachariah’s death 14 October 1900, Margaret Olinger Scott continued to live in the home that she had shared with him. Her grandson, Savandus “Curly” Taylor Schall (1900-1988) moved in and is enumerated with her on the
1910, 1920, and 1930 censuses.3,4,5 Margaret outlived Zachariah by almost 32 years and died at the age of 89 on 28 July 1932 in Elderton of Chronic Aortic Insufficiency.6 89 years on a weak heart!!!

Margaret is buried with Zachariah in the Elderton Cemetery. Curly and his family are nearby.

MRS. MARGARET SCOTT

A complication of disease caused the death in Elderton at 9:50 p.m., Monday of Mrs. Margaret (Olinger) Scott, aged 89 years, ten months and eight days. She had always lived in the vicinity of her death and was a member of the Presbyterian Church. She leaves two sons and a daughter. J. P. Scott of Idaho, D. G. Scott of Holton, Kansas and Mrs. Annie Schall of Elderton. She also leaves 16 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be conducted in the Elderton Presbyterian Church at 2:00 p.m. Thursday [28 Jul], with burial in Elderton cemetery.7

Margaret Scott with sons Frank and J.P



1. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 73280 (1932), Margaret Scott; Division of Vital Records, New Castle.
2. ibid
3. 1910 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania population schedule, Elderton, enumeration district (ED) 37, p. 3B, dwelling 69; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 1310.
4. 1920 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania population schedule, Plumcreek, enumeration district (ED) 15, p. 7A, dwelling 3; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T625, roll 1508.
5. 1930 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 42, p. 1A, dwelling 4; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 1994.
6. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 73280 (1932), Margaret Scott; Division of Vital Records, New Castle.
8. Obituary, “SCOTT,” The Indiana Weekly Messenger, 28 Jul 1938; digital images.

April 8, 2012

Special Thanks

Being in Tucson and researching in Pennsylvania comes with a few challenges. However, it also comes with its own set of rewards. You meet some of the nicest people when you are researching your family. While I tried to photograph most of the tombstones the last time I was in Pennsylvania, I of course missed a few I knew of, and then there were all the confirmed discoveries in the last year as I’ve worked the line. I have tried to add memorials on Find A Grave for the families as I found them.

Of note has been Ralph Satterfield, who has claimed almost every photo request that I put up on Find A Grave. Throughout January, Ralph has made repeated trips to Elderton and Plum Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery to photograph the tombstones of the Beatty, and Shaffer clan. His photographs have been incredibly helpful as he often provides a close-up of the dates. It is a combination of his photos and mine that you have been seeing on the tombstone posts about this family. No doubt, he will be photographing more stones as I move on to working the Olinger and Yount lines. Thank you, Ralph. I appreciate all your hard work.

For those of us who research seriously, it’s an incredible pleasure to bump into someone who sources the information they put online. Diana Roche’s extremely well sourced tree for the Isaac LeFever/LeFevre family appears on Rootsweb and was instrumental in clarifying the family of Eximnia “Minnie” (Shaffer) LeFevre (1849-1897). Her work also provided me with information on two new sources, which I can now explore in hopes of finding more information on members of the Shaffer line. Thank you, Diana. It’s always a pleasure to see quality work.

I have also enjoyed help from Beatty researcher Cynthia Joyner. She is one of the contacts on the Beatty 2000 project for our Line #84, the line of Andrew Beatty’s descendants. As with most genealogists, she was generous in sharing her research with me.

Thanks go out to all the folks on Find A Grave who were kind enough to respond to my requests to either transfer memorials or add dates, bios, and family links. I’m happy to add and update these memorials as we go along.

We don’t “own” our ancestors, but for those of us who do this, we have a responsibility to ensure the information we post is as correct as possible. We also have a responsibility to provide our sources to other researchers and not repeatedly copy unsourced and possibly incorrect information without noting that the material is “for research only” or at least documenting where it came from. Thank you all for helping me work toward making the information provided on our common line as correct as possible.

March 26, 2012

John and Mary “Polly” (Unknown) Craig

When you get back to a certain point in history, you are going to run into a few basic problems. First, it seems that every darn one of these people is named John – and there are tons of them. But only a couple of them were ever written about or mentioned in the county histories – and of course, none of them were ours. That would make this too easy.

According to my paperwork, John Craig and Mary “Polly” Unknown were the parents of Harriet Craig. Harriet and John Shaffer were married in the 1840s prior to the by name census, so it’s not possible to place Harriet in her parents home using census records. There are numerous family trees online, which agree with my paperwork; however, they provide no proof or documentation. My beginning source was my father-in-law’s family history. He was well acquainted with Harriet’s son Peter and would have been aware of the relationship. Based on that, I will continue with the research for this line and attempt to find some other documentation to back it up.

Records I have attached to John Craig:1
1840 census

Records for John and Mary Craig:2,3
1850 census
1860 census

Records for Mary “Polly” (Unknown) Craig after John disappears:4,5
1870 census
1880 Mortality Schedule

Several of the trees online have decent documentation back to the children of John and Mary Craig, but little if anything beyond the census records to connect them to John and Mary. I have connected as much as I can through Ancestry and the records available online. (I will remind you that I’m in Tucson, Arizona, and this family is in Armstrong and Indiana counties in Pennsylvania.)

I have an extensive list of items yet to research when I go to Salt Lake City this summer and (hopefully) back to Pennsylvania within the next year. Until then, I’m at a dead-end unless someone out there has some help they can provide with documentation of who married who, obituaries, family bibles, or newspaper clippings about family members visiting that would tie this family together.

The family as I know it:
John Craig (abt 1793-bef 1870)
Mary “Poly” Unknown (abt 1804-1880)
Their ten children:
Harriet (abt 1822-) m. John Shaffer
Margaret E. (abt 1824-bef 1870) m. Patrick Shaw
Mary Ann (abt 1826-bef 1878) m. Levi Fry
Exemnia (abt 1829-) m. P.J. Dunmire
Richard (abt 1832-)
John (abt 1835-1862)
Jesse (abt 1839-)
Priscilla (abt 1841-)
James (abt 1845-) m. Sarah Unknown
George (abt 1847-)

There is still a lot of research to be done on the children of this line to see if I can locate any information that might help. Once again, any help is appreciated.



1. 1840 U.S. census, Armstrong, Pennsylvania, Plumcreek Twp., p. 34, John Craig; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 23 Jan 2012); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M704, roll 442.
2. 1850 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 350A, dwelling 234, family 234, John Craig; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com: accessed 21 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 749.
3. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp, p. 703, dwelling 834, family 737, John Craig; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com: accessed 21 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 1069.
4.1870 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 350B, dwelling 12, family 12, Polly Craig; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 21 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 1301.
5. 1880 U.S. Census Mortality Schedule of Pennsylvania, Armstrong County, Plumcreek Twp., p. 1, line 5, Mary Craig, age 78, general debility; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 20 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration Archive Collection M1838; Roll 8.

March 19, 2012

John and Harriet (Craig) Shaffer

Let me begin this post by screaming, “Help me!” The information I have on John Shaffer and Harriet Craig is limited. Information has been hard to come by, but I’m hopeful that someone has the information (documented) that I need to move on with this family.

My information began with the two names John Shaffer and Harriet Craig, parents of Peter Shaffer. Harriet Craig was noted as being the daughter of John and Mary “Polly” (Unknown) Craig. That’s all the information in the family papers. No birth dates or locations. The only thing my father-in-law could add was that he “thought” Mary (Unknown) Craig was from Maryland, but the others were all from Pennsylvania.

He did tell me that Peter had a sister named Martha Jane who married Nancy M.J. Beatty’s brother William James Beatty.

Based on this limited information and the 1850, 1860, and 1870 census records, I can put together the following family group.1,2,3

John Shaffer born abt. 1815 in Pennsylvania
Harriet (Craig) Shaffer born abt. 1823 in Pennsylvania
Mary Elizabeth abt 1843
Nancy abt 1846
Eximinia abt 1851
Peter (1852-1934) previously discussed.
James Quinten abt. 1855
Martha Jane (1858-1891) previously discussed in Beatty posts.

Based on the birth of Mary Elizabeth, they appear to have married in about 1841/42. I have not yet found a marriage record for them.

In the 1850 census, the initials C.D. appear behind John’s name. This is the only census record with initials. The other two simply list him as John. Harriet never appears with a middle name or initials. These (1850, 60, 70) are the only census records that I can clearly attribute to this couple. There are several records later, which may or may not be John or Harriet.

I have been unable to locate any document concerning their deaths, or any newspaper articles concerning them. So, I will have to resort to my least favorite ways to track the existence of people – tax and land records. I’m not giving up on this family – I will find them. However, it will have to wait for my Salt Lake City trip this summer.

As for their children – I found limited records of their marriages, so I followed the clues provided by the family trees on Ancestry. None of those trees were documented, but there was some well sourced information in other places. If anyone has the appropriate documentation, please contact me.

Mary Elizabeth (5 Feb 1843 – 16 Sep 1885) I have seen several online trees list a marriage to George Koch, but they were not sourced and I was unable to locate any “hard” records with that information. Other trees listed a marriage to Henry Frailey, and I did find evidence of that relationship. Her tombstone is in Elderton Cemetery, next to Henry Frailey (Jan 1841 – 30 Apr 1916) and Henry’s second wife, Rebecca (Unknown). I have not yet found a marriage record or obituary for Mary Elizabeth.

Mary E. Shaffer Frailey


Henry and Rebecca Frailey

Nancy (Jul 1846 – after 1920) Several trees showed a husband of James Stark. I found a Nancy married to James P. Stark (abt 1844 – before 1900) in about 1873. I was able to follow her through the census records in 1920 in Kittanning, Armstrong, Pennsylvania. They had four children: Laura J., Robert Bruce, William Edwin, and Harvey. I found no obituaries for any of the Starks on NewspaperArchive or GenealogyBank.

Eximnia “Minnie” (abt 1849 – 9 Oct 1897)4 She married John Lefevre (1847 – aft 1920) on 3 Jan 1870.5 They had four children: Ella A., James W., Alice G., and Charles M. The History of Butler County Pennsylvania, 1895 has a small biographical sketch of John Lefevre and provides Eximnia’s parentage. She is buried in North Side Cemetery. I have requested a photograph of her stone.

Peter (12 Jan 1852 – 1934) Covered in his own post.

James Quinten (abt 1855 – aft 1880) James married Sophranna A. Blystone (abt 1857 – ) on 4 September 18746 and they had at least one child: Ida. I have found no records after the 1880 census for James Quinten, nor have I found a death record or obituary for him.

Martha Jane (abt 1858 – 27 Jan 1891) Married William James Beatty. She is covered in the posts about the Beatty family.

Since I have no idea of when most of this family died (or where), I don’t have any further information. Please contact me with any information regarding this family.



1. 1850 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 342A, dwelling 120, family 120, John Sheaffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 20 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 749.
2. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 728, dwelling 991, family 879, John Sheaffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 20 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm roll 1069.
3. 1870 U.S. census, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Saltsburg, Armstrong Twp., p. 13B, dwelling 184, family 192, John Shafer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 20 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm roll 1350.
4. Butler, Pennsylvania, “Death Records of Butler County, Pennsylvania 1893-1905,” Eximnia Lefevre.
5. History of Butler County Pennsylvania, 1895 (N.p.: Brown & Company, n.d.), 799
6. Married, “Shaffer-Blystone,” The Indiana Weekly Messenger, 30 Sep 1874, p. 3, col. 6; digital images, NewspaperArchive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 19 Dec 2011).

March 12, 2012

Peter Shaffer Family Tombstone

All of Peter and Nancy’s children are buried in Elderton Cemetery.

Peter and Nancy Shaffer’s tombstone.

Peter and Nancy Shaffer

Oldest daughter Minnie Elizabeth Beatty was married to John Frailey in about 1894.

Minnie and John Frailey

Oldest son Charles Wilmer was married to Lillian May Kelley.

Charles Wilmer Shaffer


Lillian Mae Kelley Shaffer

Son Leason J was married to Mary A. Hilliard.

Lee and Mary Shaffer

Son Harry Oliver was married to Martha Pearl Williams.

Harry and Pearl Shaffer

Son George Addison was married to Zelma Smith.

George and Zelma Shaffer

Youngest son, Christopher Nesbitt was married to Zula Agnes Smeltzer.

Christopher N. Shaffer


Zula Smeltzer Shaffer



Photos not taken by me courtesy of Ralph Satterfield and other contributors.

March 5, 2012

Peter Shaffer (1852-1935)

I think we need a little recap of where we are in the tree, it’s easy to get lost in the jumble of names. We are going to go up the Shaffer line next. While Peter Shaffer is not the biological father of Anna Mary Beatty, he was the husband of Nancy M.J. Beatty and Anna’s children considered him to be their grandfather. I have noted that he is her stepfather, but he appears on our family tree in the paternal slot. So here once again is the tree of Robert Clare Scott and we are looking at his mother’s paternal line.

Peter was born 12 Jan 1852, in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong, Pennsylvania, the son of John and Harriet (Craig) Shaffer. Right off the bat, we have the first “diffugilty.” His Pennsylvania death certificate and his obituary both state he was born in 1849.1,2 His tombstone actually has the correct date of 1852.

Why do we know the stone is right and the documents are wrong? He does not appear on the 1850 census with his parents, but he does appear on the 1860 census at the age of seven.3,4 He remains consistent in his age on the census records from 1870 – 1920, usually declaring himself to be born in 1852 (ages: 19, 28, 48, 58, 69).5,6,7,8,9 The only time this varies is on the 1930 census when his age is listed as 81.10 He is living with his son and his family so it is possible that Peter was not the informant. The informant on his death certificate was Mrs. John Frailey. That’s right, Peter and Nancy M.J.’s daughter Minnie. The same one who was living with her grandmother Rebecca Beatty on the 1900 census when all of Rebecca’s information changed. I have gone with the 1852 date that is consistent with the records that either he or his parents would have provided.

The second “diffugilty” comes with the middle name. As I mentioned in my post about Nancy, the middle names are an issue. Peter never appears on any documents (created while he is alive) with a middle initial or name. The only times the initial K appears is on his death certificate and then again in his obituary. That information was provided by daughter Minnie. The next odd middle name, Levi, appears in the obituary of his son Christopher and is probably provided by his daughter-in-law Zula.11 At the time Christopher died, Zula would have been well up in her 70s and Peter had been dead over forty years. I have not yet found the name of Levi used by any other Shaffer or Craig family members of Peter’s generation or previous.

His tombstone reads simply Peter Shaffer, which I believe to be the most correct. Based on the records created while he was alive, I have chosen not to use the middle initial or middle name. I will continue to explore records to see if he ever uses an initial on either tax, land, or voting records.

I have provided links to the images of all the census records on which Peter appears:
1860
1870
1880
1900
1910
1920
1930

He married Nancy M.J. Beatty in about 1874. I have not yet found a marriage record for the couple. This date is based on the 1900 census and the birth of their first child together. Peter remained in Plumcreek Township his entire life and did not remarry after Nancy died in 1909.

I found this article in the Simpson Leader Times newspaper dated 31 October 1931:12

Elderton Farmer Injured
An 80 year old Elderton farmer lay in his home today with a serious head injury, suffered when the wagon on which he and a 30 year old son were riding, was wrecked in a heavy fog Thursday morning.
The farmer, Peter Shaffer, living about a mile from Elderton, was unable to recognize members of his family late yesterday. He is in a semi-conscious condition.
The son, Christopher Shaffer, was less seriously injured.
The two were enroute to another farm when a car driven by Joseph Coulter, of Girty, enroute to Kittanning, collided with the wagon in the heavy fog.
The force of the collision hurled the two men on the wagon onto the concrete.
They were taken to their homes and Dr. E. E. Keeler of Elderton was summoned. He has been administering treatment since.

Peter died 4 January 1934 in Plumcreek Township of apoplexy. His death certificate lists the secondary cause as epilepsy, listing the duration of that condition as three years, possibly linking it to the accident above. He is buried with his wife Nancy in the Elderton Cemetery.

Peter Shaffer and Nancy M.J. Beatty had the following children together:

Minnie Elizabeth (28 Jun 1875 – 26 Jun 1944) m. John R. Frailey (abt. 1873 – 1953). Remained in the Elderton area all their lives, buried in Elderton Cemetery.
Charles Wilmer (18 Jun 1877 – 26 Aug 1939) m. Lillian May Kelley (1881 – 1922). Remained in the Elderton area all their lives, buried in Elderton Cemetery.
Leason J. Shaffer (Jan 1880 – 19XX) m. Mary A. Hilliard (15 Oct 1882 – 18 Jul 1942). Removed to Niles, Trumbull, Ohio, buried in Elderton Cemetery. His tombstone does not have the last two digits engraved.
Harry Oliver (11 Jun 1882 – 17 Mar 1960) m. Martha Pearl Williams (30 Mar 1886 – 17 May 1968). Remained in the Elderton area all their lives, buried in Elderton Cemetery.
George Addison (30 Sep 1887 – 26 Jan 1967) m. Zelma Smith (25 Sep 1895 – 26 Jan 1978) Remained in Elderton most of their lives, removed to Corning, Stueben, New York much later. Buried in Elderton Cemetery.
Christopher Nesbitt (1 Nov 1889 – 10 Jul 1976) m. Zula Agnes Smeltzer (15 Aug 1894 – 21 Nov 1986). Remained in the Elderton area all their lives, buried in Elderton Cemetery.

I have not included family group sheets for these people because many of their children are still living.

Does anyone have a picture of Peter Shaffer? If so I would very much like a scan of the image for Peter or his wife Nancy.

My next post will be the tombstones of these family members and then we will move back a generation and attempt to deal with Peter’s parents, John and Harriet (Craig) Shaffer.



1. Pennsylvania Department of Health, death certificate 2875 (1934), Peter K. Shaffer; Division of Vital Records, New Castle.
2. Obituary, “Peter K. Shaffer,” The Indiana Evening Gazette, 5 Jan 1934; digital images.
3. 1850 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 342A, dwelling 120, family 120, John Sheaffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 20 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll M432 749.
4. 1860 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., p. 728, dwelling 991, family 879, John Sheaffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 20 Dec 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll M653 1069.
5. 1870 U.S. census, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Armstrong Twp., p. 13, dwelling 184, family 192, John Shaffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 1350.
6. 1880 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 5, p. 124, dwelling 283, family 301, Peter Shaeffer; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 6 Mar 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1096.
7. 1900 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 11, p. 6B, dwelling 137; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 1373.
8. 1910 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 37, p. 5, dwelling 79; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 1310.
9. 1920 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 15, p. 4A, dwelling 68; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T625, roll 1508.
10. 1930 U.S. census, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Plumcreek Twp., enumeration district (ED) 42, p. 13A, dwelling 298; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 1994.
11. Death Record, “Christopher N. Shaffer,” The Simpson Leader Times, 10 Jul 1976, p. 7, col. 8; digital images, NewspaperArchive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 19 Dec 2011), Historic Newspapers.
12. News Article, “Elderton Farmer Injured,” The Simpson Leader Times, 30 Oct 1931, p. 1; digital images.

February 27, 2012

Last Thoughts on the Beatty Line.

Before I move on from the Beatty family, I would like to clear up a couple of things.

First – I’ve been asked about how sure I am in my “conclusions” with this family. There are several places where we do not have a “smoking gun” document. I’ve tried to cover those items in the posts, but I’ll do a quick wrap-up here to tie this family together. Obviously, I can trace Nancy M.J. Beatty Shaffer to her mother and father through the named census records. I also have her death certificate and baptism record, both of which name her parents as James and Rebecca Beatty. As for James’s death, we have the newspaper report which matches our family story. Would I like to have a newspaper mention of his family or some government document – yes! And, I will keep looking, but I’m sure this is our guy. Sadly, I have little hope of ever getting farther back without lucking into a family bible, letter, or some other document from the era. As for the relationship of Rebecca to Andrew and Sarah “Sally” Beatty – we have Sarah in the home with Rebecca after the death of Andrew. We have Nancy Beatty’s will, which names her sister and her brother, as well as her obituary, stating she died in her sister Letitia’s home. Andrew resided beside Rebecca and her husband, and previous to that, beside his son Robert. This IS a family group.

Second – County Tyrone in Ireland. While everyone wants to jump on this – me included – I have no definitive proof that this is where they came from. I would have felt better if that had of appeared by name in the bible or the articles that we’ve found. Are all indications that this is where they are from? Yes. We have the Northern Ireland in the bible which narrows it down. We also have numerous notes, obituaries, and articles about other Beatty’s and people with shared names coming from County Tyrone. (Example: Robert names a son Samuel Bothel Beatty in 1841: There is a James Bothell in the Indiana County death records, farmer, b. Tyrone Co. Ireland, s/o David & Elizabeth Campbell Bothell, h/o Catharine, he was a casualty, buried Old Cemetery in Indiana, b. 18 Dec 1786, 2 May 1854, 68 y.) Bothell is just unusual enough to make me wonder if this was a relation – perhaps even an uncle or cousin. As I research, I will be looking for those connections. But until I have them – I will only be stating Ireland as a place of birth.

Third – when I move on from a family on this site, I’m not declaring them “done.” The Beatty family is anything but done. What I am doing is saying that this is where I am as of the date this post goes up. The research continues. I’m still working with other researchers and chasing documents that may shed light on this family line. And even though other people have already done some of the research – I still need to see the source for myself. Too often, we find things that others have missed. In this particular line, I have found transcripts of stones, documents, and wills, that are erroneous or have omissions. In the past, I have found clues that others simply ignored, not because I’m one bit smarter than anyone else, but we all look at things differently. It is always best to look at the original document for yourself if possible. That’s why I am trying to include them or at least source them, so others can go look at them for themselves.

Fourth – I will continue to update my BurgraffScott tree on Ancestry with my finds. As I work here on this blog to research each family and create a decent file in Legacy, I will make sure it is reflected on that tree. That includes the appropriate sourcing and differentiating between facts and my suppositions. Honestly, I don’t understand the purpose of an un-sourced tree. Don’t get me wrong – I am grateful they are there, but they are simply leads to be followed – NOT FACTS to be copied. I don’t want to piss anyone off here, but some of this stuff is just copied and copied and copied – and it was wrong to begin with. If you have something – tell us where it came from!

Lastly – Do not take what I provide as gospel. I am just as likely to make a mistake or come to a bad conclusion as the next person. Go look it up for yourself – read the will, find the newspaper article, and go look at the records. I could just as easily have blown it. All I’m trying to do is provide you with the information that I found and the basis for my conclusions.

February 20, 2012

James and Rebecca Beatty’s Family Tombstones

There are not a lot of stones happening in this small group. Neither James nor Rebecca have a tombstone.

Oldest daughter Elizabeth Angeline Beatty (1850 – 1918) is buried with her husband James Young (1854 – 1914) in Elderton Cemetery. While her tombstone says 1851, she was born in 1850 as documented by the 1850 census.

Elizabeth Beatty & James Young

Daughter Jane Isabella Beatty is buried in an unknown location.

Daughter Nancy M.J. Beatty Shaffer (9 Aug 1853 – 2 Feb 1909) shares a stone with husband Peter Shaffer in Elderton Cemetery.

Nancy M.J. Beatty Shaffer

Daughter Caroline “Callie” Beatty Beer (abt 1859 – 1891) is with her husband Elias Clark Beer (29 Jan 1860 – 9 Oct 1932) in Elderton Cemetery. Callie and Clark had four children: Harry Edwin and John are both in Elderton Cemetery, Laura Mae Beer Metz is in Greenwood Cemetery, Indiana County, and Lydia E.Beer Chambers, location unknown.

Caroline Beatty Beer


Elias Clark Beer

William James Beatty (25 Aug 1861 – 4 Aug 1920) is buried in Elderton Cemetery, but he has no tombstone. Both of his wives are buried in Elderton Cemetery as are several of his children. Rather than a separate post, I will include their tombstones here.

First wife Martha Jane Shaffer Beatty (abt 1858 – 27 Jan 1891).

Martha Jane Shaffer Beatty

Their oldest daughter, Ella Minnie Beatty (2 Mar 1881 – 3 Mar 1905) is also in Elderton, but has no stone.

Oldest son Charles Nesbit Beatty (1 Sep 1882 – 3 Jul 1953) married three times. He is buried in Elderton Cemetery. There is a good photo of his stone on Find A Grave. My picture quality was not good enough to be used here.

He married his first wife Anna Belle Fiscus Beatty (1880 – 12 Nov 1925) on 18 May 1909. They had one child: Homer Charles. She is in Elderton Cemetery.

He married second wife Nannie Belle Miller Beatty (abt 1883 – 10 Jan 1932) on 9 Jan 1926 in Indiana, Indiana County. They had no children. She is buried in Elderton and I have requested a photo.

He married third wife Ethel Pauline Bleakney (5 Aug 1898 – 9 Aug 1970) on 9 Jul 1934. They had no children. Ethel is also in Elderton Cemetery.

Daughter Jennie Mae Beatty was also married multiple times. First about 1906 to Robert McClellan (information not known). They had one child: Robert Paul McClellan. Second to John Milo George (8 Aug 1868 – 23 Aug 1923) on 21 Jun 1919. And third, to George Robert McKee (24 Mar 1887 – 26 Dec 1958) on 1 Mar 1924. Jennie and George are both buried in Oak View Memorial Park, Antioch, Contra Costa, California.

Anna Belle Fiscus Beatty

Son John Addison Beatty (2 Apr 1889 – 28 Aug 1983) married twice. He is buried in Gastown Cemetery.

John Addison Beatty

John Addison married his first wife Lottie Susanne Bierer (1 Feb 1891 – 17 Mar 1917) on 23 Sep 1913. They had one child: Mary O. Lottie died of Typhoid Fever and is buried in Gastown Cemetery.

Lottie Susanne Bierer Beatty

He married second wife Martha Eleanor Boyer (20 Dec 1893 – 7 Apr 1983) on 25 Mar 1919. They had five children: Marie Velma, Robert Addison, William V., Raymond Neal, and Virginia. Martha shares a tombstone with her husband.

The next post will be some final thoughts about the Beatty line.



Photos not taken by me courtesy of Ralph Satterfield and other contributors.

  • 2012 Find My Dead.