For some years, we have being researching our family trees. And this is the main reason we've put this site together. We want to share what we've discovered and hopefully find some more lost relatives, who are making the same search we are. We're hoping we might have some information they are looking for and in return, they will have some information to share with us.
With help from the Internet and various far-flung relatives (some of whom we've just recently gotten to know) and after many long hours spent poring over old records at the National Archives (a never ending quest), we have put together a Family Tree -- some branches of which are rather detailed, some of which need a lot more information.
The main lines we are researching are:
Ann and Clint Griffee at
In the Summer of 2004 took what we called a "genealogy vacation", visiting several locations in Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado where our ancestors lived, died and are buried. Visiting these places gave us a new appreciation for where these folks lived and by visiting some museums and a couple of prairie grass preserves, we also learned a bit of what it was like when the settled there between 1850 and 1886. We also visited several relatives who are still living in those parts of the country.
While in Table Rock, Nebraska, we took this photo of our laptop, sitting atop a gravestone. It seemed a bit incongruous to see this modern-day technology set against gravestones of those buried long ago. The laptop also represents what 21st century genealogical research is all about, what an important tool the computer can be to research and store your data, and in this case, to take it along on such a journey. We were glad to have all our family data within easy reach.
We visited a total of 9 cemeteries and took lots of photos. Click on this photo and it will take you to a collection of some of them.
Early in our research on the Shewfelts, we found all kinds of conflicting information about our ancestor William Shewfelt. Many people had his information combined with that of a William Shufelt, and had one William married to two different women. To further confuse the issue, there was Peter Shewfelt who was supposedly a brother to William Shewfelt.
Back in the mid 1930s, Henry B. Shufelt wrote a book on the Shufelts entitled Our Folks which for years has been the authority for information on Zufelt and Shufelt genealogy. I don't fault his research considering the time it was written and the availability of and his access to source materials, but suffice it to say, he got quite a few things wrong. In the intervening years, much of this misinformation has been accepted as fact by many people and things that he listed as "probable" have also been accepted as fact, rather than as educated guesses.
The big issues we encountered in our research is who are the parents of whom, who married whom, and who is the brother of whom.
After much research and many discussions back and forth, mainly with a fellow Shufelt researcher named Jim Groat who is in the process of writing a book updating, correcting and adding to the information in Our Folks, we have made some decisions regarding these people. Jim is a meticulous researcher and makes very sure, or as sure as is possible, before he makes any decisions regarding the people in this family. Our conclusions are rather different from what has been accepted as fact for many years and therefore we feel an explanation is in order.
First let us explain what was the accepted information.
Johannes and Sara Freer Zufelt did have sons named Petrus and William, as well as 5 other children, but we've concluded that the Peter who married Anna Maria Kester and the William who married Ruth, whose last name we now know is Murray, were most likely not the sons of Johannes and Sara Freer Zufelt.
It is impossible that these two Williams were the same person. Therefore, it is not possible for both of them to be the sons of Johannes and Sara. Yes, people in that time often did give two children the same name, but that only occurred when one child died young and the next child, of the same sex, was given the name of the deceased child. But as we know both of these men lived to an advanced age, that could not have happen in this case.
There definitely was a Peter Shewfelt who married Anna Maria Kester. Most have assumed he was the son of Johannes and Sara, baptized in 1765. He also moved to Canada about the same time as William the Wanderer. He lived first in that same area which became Hamilton, then Brock Township, just east of Uxbridge Township, before moving to Kincardine, Bruce County, in present-day Ontario. In 1851, when he applied for a land grant, he stated that he came to Canada from "Sussex county New Jersies" and that he was near 80 which would make his birth date about 1770. His tombstone says he was 83 when he died in 1853 which also comes to a birth year of 1770. The 1851 census states he was 86 which makes it 1765.
Many Peter Shewfelt family researchers have concluded that he and William the Wanderer were brothers and there are quite a few reasons to conclude that they were. So if they were brothers, and if the William who married Maria Newkirk was a son of Johannes and Sara, then this Peter could not have been the son of Johannes and Sara Freer Zufelt.
Now the problem is, to which parents do Peter and William the Wanderer belong.
Johannes Zufelt has a brother named Jacob who married Lydia ______ and they had at least 3 children, including a Peter and a William. Peter was baptized 14 Apr 1771 as Peter Shewfelt and William on 2 Jan 1774 as William Shewfelt, however neither record lists a date of birth. Both were baptized in Nobletown which later became Hillsdale in present-day Columbia County, New York. These baptisms can be found in the Remarkable Records of Rev. Gideon Bostwick, 1770-1793, Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Note how the dates match up quite well with the ages found listed above. So it's very possible that these two children could be the Peter and William Shewfelt who settled in Ontario, Canada.
It was common practice at that time to name your children after your parents. Peter Shewfelt's wife Anna Maria was the daughter of Leonard Kester and Maria Catherine Keres. They named their first son Leonard Kester and their second daughter Catherine, after her parents. Their oldest daughter was named Lydia and their second son Jacob. They could very well be named after his parents and we know that Jacob and Lydia were the parents of a Peter Shewfelt.
The baptismal records list Peter and William with the spelling "Shewfelt" and the descendants of both Peter and William Shewfelt, who migrated to Canada, almost exclusively use the unique spelling of Shewfelt. This spelling is rarely used among the other descendants of Johan Georg Zufelt, the Palatine immigrant who is the patriarch of many of the Zufelts and Shufelts today.
All of this had led us to conclude that Peter and William Shewfelt are most likely the sons of Jacob and Lydia _____ Zufelt rather than the sons of Johannes and Sara Freer Zufelt