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.

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.

The Children of Willem & Sygje

This is what little I know about the four older children of Willem Burggraaf and Sygje Stek. Youngest son Jan will be addressed in his own series of posts.

Jantje Burggraaf is the oldest daughter of Willem and Sygje and was named for Willem’s mother Jantje Van Stenis. Jantje was born 17 July 1850 in Pella, and Christened in the First Reformed Church 26 March 1859.1 She married Jan Van Ginkel on 5 April 1872 in Marion County, Iowa.2 Jantje and Jan had six children:
William Van Ginkel,
Heintje Van Ginkel Elings
Aaltje Van Ginkel,
Albert Van Ginkel,
Dirk Van Ginkel,
Sygje Van Ginkel Cross

Based on the 1900 census3 on which Jan lists himself as a widower, Jantje died between 4 January 1891 and 1896. The 4 January date is based on the baptism record of daughter Sygje.4 If she was not alive at the baptism it would have been noted at that time. I believe that she was probably deceased prior to 1896 because I have not found her on the 1895 Iowa State Census, but the rest of Van Ginkel family is in Mahaska County on that census.5 I have found no death or cemetery record for Jantje.

Albert Burggraaf was the oldest son of Willem and Sygje and was named for Sygje’s father Albert Stek. Albert was born 8 August 1853 in Pella, and baptized 26 March 1859.6 Albert married Gertie De Penning on 3 August 1871 in Marion County7 and they had 11 children:
Nellie Burggraaf m. Everett Plate,
Sallie Burggraaf m. Gerrit Plate,
Leonard Burggraaf,
Minnie Burggraaf m. Cary Edward Smith
Katie Burggraaf m. James R. Kisor
William Burggraaf m. Cora Addie Smith
Jennie Burggraaf m. John Elmer McMahan
John Burggraaf m. Anna M. Jones
Walter A. Burggraaf m. Leola Patton
Martha A. Burggraaf
Andrew Lewis Burggraaf m. Elsie Collins

An unsourced family group sheet states that Albert died 14 May 1928 in Mahaska County. I have not yet searched for a death certificate or cemetery for Albert.

Goverdina Burggraaf was born 27 March 1855 in Pella and baptized 26 March 1859 in the First Reformed Church of Pella8. I don’t know who Goverdina was named for – if anyone. It was a popular name in this time period and usually becomes Diana/Dina/Deena on census records. Deena married Dries (Charles) Van Hulzen (possibly Van Houlzen) on 15 January 1872.9 After this date the only documentation I have found is the 1880 census10 where they are next to Willem and Sygje. This census shows Deena with her husband Chas Van Houlzen and their four children:
Charles Van Houlzen,
Colins Van Houlzen, (indexed as Cohus, but who knows)
Jane Van Houlzen,
Willemine Van Houlzen

According to Sygje’s 1900 census records Goverdina is deceased prior to 1900.

Annetje Burggraaf was born 19 April 1857 in Pella and like her older siblings was baptized 26 March 1859.11 Anna married her cousin Arie Burggraaf on 4 October 1886 in Sioux County -this date is from an unsourced family group sheet. Anna appears on the available census records through 1930 and Sygje was staying with Anna when she passed away. Anna and Arie had three children:
Peter Burggraaf
Sadie Burggraaf m. Hans Kiel,
Jennie Burggraaf m. Alfred P. Beckman

She and her husband Arie died in Sioux County, Iowa.



1, First Reformed Church (Pella, Iowa, USA), “Communicants and Baptisms 1857-1975,” Baptism Jantje Burggraaf 26 Mar 1859; FHL microfilm 0,985,401
2. “Iowa Marriages, 1851-1900,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 10 Jan 2010), Jantje Burggraaf to Jan Van Ginkel, 5 Apr 1872.
3. 1900 U.S. census, Polk, Iowa population schedule, Des Moines, enumeration district (ED) 94, p. 8B, dwelling 161, family 164, J. J. VanGinkel, age 54; digital images, Ancestry (htp://www.ancestry.com: accessed 11 Jul 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 454
4. First Reformed Church (Pella, Iowa, USA), “Communicants and Baptisms 1857-1975,” Baptism Sygje Burggraaf 4Jan 1891; FHL microfilm 0,985,401.
5. State Historical Society of Iowa, “Iowa State Census, 1895,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 10 Feb 2010), John Vanginkle.
6. First Reformed Church (Pella, Iowa, USA), “Communicants and Baptisms 1857-1975,” Baptism Albert Burggraaf 26 Mar 1859; FHL microfilm 0,985,401.
7. “Iowa Marriages, 1851-1900,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 10 Feb 2010), Albert Burggraaf to Gertie De Penning, 3 Aug 1871.
8. First Reformed Church (Pella, Iowa, USA), “Communicants and Baptisms 1857-1975,” Baptism Goverdina Burggraaf 26 Mar 1859; FHL microfilm 0,985,401.
9. “Iowa Marriages, 1851-1900,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 10 Feb 2010), Goverdina Burggraaf to Dries Van Hulzen, 15 Jan 1872.
10. 1880 U.S. census, Marion County, Iowa population schedule, Lake Prairie Twp., enumeration district (ED) 120, p. 524, dwelling 72, family 72, Deena Van Houlzen; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 17 Feb 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 354.
11. First Reformed Church (Pella, Iowa, USA), “Communicants and Baptisms 1857-1975,” Baptism Annetye Burggraaf; FHL microfilm 0,985,401.

The MacKenzie and MacDonald Page

The page is up for Scotty’s MacKenzie and MacDonald lines along with the pedigree chart. This is the first group dealing with Scotland. There is still a lot of work to be done on these lines and later this year I hope to begin work in the parish records.

It’s kind of hard to look at a pedigree chart and see the amount of work that has happened already. We have a tendency to look at the gaps and think that little has been done, when in fact a great deal of effort has gone into the material found.

Im’ looking forward to working on the Mathie and Boslem line, but I’m sure that the Smith line will be a real challenge. The Morrison line seems to be fairly well documented so far. I hope the rest of them are! Much more to come as I work these lines this year.

The Lawton and Pickle Page

The first of Scotty’s family pages is now up. This was the family that hooked me on genealogy and writing about family history. I saw a picture that included Cynthia Viola Lawton, Mary Etta Pickle Lawton, and John Pickle, and I had an epiphany. My father-in-law knew his great-grandfather well and had in fact spent the first 12 summers of his life on John Pickle’s farm. I was able to talk to a man that actually knew someone who fought in the Civil War and lost part of his arm at the Battle of the Wilderness.

The newest research in this line actually centers around Mary Mitchell, John Pickle’s mother. The family of Robert Mitchell and Jane Smith of Armstrong Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, is proving to be tough to sort out. There are several Mitchell families in the area and the time period is pre-1850 so there is quite a tangle and not as many online records as I’d like.

The other area of work needed is on the family of Margaret Jamison born 1842, whose parents appear to be Archibald Jamison and Hannah Thomas. Margaret Jamison is the mother of Elmon Grant Lawton and wife of Stephen C. Lawton. Stay tuned – this going to be another tangled line.