Genealogy has become a hobby for me over the last 10 years. For me, it's like a puzzle, I love fitting the pieces together. But over the years, I've researched a lot that does not pertain to our family lines. Some for extended family, some for close friends, and some because I was trying to rule out lines to figure out where our line went exactly. I do not want these notes on my Heather's Genealogy Notes blog - because they are not our lines. But I do like to share all of my research, in case it benefits others. That is what this blog is for - research I have done that does not apply to our own family lines, but may be helpful for someone else.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Labeling a photo of Scharf Cousins

Howard Scharf recently mailed me this photo:
The writing along the side reads:

This was taken when Will & I visited Selins Grove. 

The first one in back from left is me
then Jennie Scharf
She was Uncle John's daughter & a beauty
then Bessy Bentz
then Elizabeth. Then
Lizzie as thy distinguished the two
then Will

Here is a cropped version of the photo:

It's obvious these are not young children, nor are they too old.  I'd estimate them to be between the ages of 16 and 23?  Randomly.

We know the girl in the center back is Jane Catherine 1887-1972
Jane was an only child, so none of these will be her siblings
If we guesstimate her age at 17, that puts this photo at around 1905 (Rough estimate!)

The second person we can identify rather easily is Bessie Bentz.
Maria Scharf, sister of John Q Scharf, married Philip Henry Bentz.
Elizabeth Bentz was born in 1889.  If this photo was taken in 1905, 
She would be about 16.


My first guess from that would be that Elizabeth, Will, and Helen Bentz all visited Selinsgrove to see their cousins.  But I'm not sure why the photo would say "Will and I" and not "Will, Bessie and I".

Helen Bentz was born in 1874.  She had her first child in 1908, so it's possible she married as late as 1907.  If this is her in this photo, and if it was taken around 1905, she was 31 years old.  Possible.

William Penn Bentz was born in 1884, and if this is him, he would be 21 in 1905.  Possible. 

We know that the Bentz family lived in Philadelphia in 1900 & 1910, so that would fit with them "visiting" Selins Grove, their mothers hometown.


The other "Will" Scharf cousin is the son of George W. Scharf.  
William Lewis Scharf was born in 1885
Just a year later than Will Bentz - so not much help with the age difference.

If the photo was taken in 1905, and this is William L. Scharf, he would be about 20 here.

In 1900 & 1910, George W. Scharfs family lived in Candor NY.  Which would explain a "visit" to Selins Grove.

George W. Scharf had 9 children. Approximate ages in 1905:

Nettie age 7
Edgar age 10
Helen age 12
Joseph age 15
Jennie age 18
William age 20
Frank age 22
Anna Age 25
John age 26

Why would just two children be visiting?  Looking at the ages, It is possible that William, Frank, Anna, and John are all married and or working, or busy with their own families.  Nettie, Edgar, Helen & Joseph are younger - possibly too young to make the trip if no adults were along?

That puts Jennie & William at the right age for travel on their own to visit their cousins.  It is possible the "me" in the upper left of the photo is Jennie Scharf, and the Will is her brother.  This feels like the most likely scenerio to me.

But to recap - that would mean this photo is:
Jennie, Jennie, Elizabeth
Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Will.

Perhaps the siblings could have chosen more unique names for their children??  It would certainly make this easier!  :-)


On to the Elizabeths.

The Description written on this photo lists a Bessie, an Elizabeth, and a Lizzie.
Joseph Scharf had 3 grandaughters named Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Bentz Born 1889, daughter of Maria Scharf
Elizabeth Kurtz Scharf born 1893 daughter of William Penn Scharf
Elizabeth May Scharf born 1887 daughter of Joseph Scharf Jr

We know that Bessie Bentz is in the back row.  In 1905 she would have been abt 16

Elizabeth K. Scharf would have been abt 12
Elizabeth May Scharf abt 18

Elizabeth, on the far left, does appear to be younger than the others, but I doubt she is 12.  If we up her age to 14 that puts the photo in 1907 - 15 would  be 1908.  I think at that point its especially unlikely that the "me" could be Helen, since she had her first child in 1908 and this appears to be the young unmarried cousins, none of the other cousins around this age who are married are  pictured here.

SO - based on all of the above, my best guess is the following:

Jennie, daughter of George W. Scharf.  Jennie daughter of John Q. Scharf.  Bessie, daughter of Mariah Bentz
Elizabeth K. daughter of William P. Scharf.  Elizabeth M daughter of Joseph Scharf Jr.  Will, son of George W. Scharf.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Abraham Starr 1812 - 1903

Abraham is listed on the census right between Samuel & Zebedee Ritter, in 1850.  Samuel Ritter married Christina Starr.  I'm tracking Abraham to see if I can prove the connection to Christina - they are likely siblings.

Abraham Starr
son of Anthony and Christina (Wortz) Starr
Born about 27 Oct 1812 in Pennsylvania
Died 6 Mar 1903 in Iowa
Married in 1838
Mary Smith
daughter of
Died before 1900 in Iowa

George P. Starr 1846
William L. Starr 1848
John H. Starr 1851

History of Butler and Bremer Counties, Iowa: Together with ... Biographies of Representative Citizens. History of Iowa
" About the first shoe shop started in Waverly was by Lorenz Selbig and was kept near where the Bremer county bank stands He is now engaged in running the cigar factory. A Starr was among the first to start and he is still in the business There are others who have at different times had shops The present shoemakers are William Quimby Mr Fosselmann Mr Cummings Mr Colby Ludwig & Buesing and A Starr Starr is among the oldest business men of Waverly and the oldest in his business A sketch of him is subioined

 A Starr one of the pioneers of Bremer county was born in Berks county Pennsylvania on the 29th day of October l8l2_ He is a son of Anthony and Christina Wortz Starr and one of the three surviving children from a family of eight He was educated in the district schools of his native State and had to travel three miles morning and evening in going to and from school In 1838 he was married to Miss Mary Smith who bore him six children two of whom are now living William L and John H. During the fall of 1855 he removed with his family to Vaverly Bremer county Iowa which at that time was a small village of twenty seven houses Mr Starr came here without money furniture or even a cup to drink coffee from but by hard work and perseverance he is to day one of Waverly's well to do business men. Mrs died in September of 1882. She was member of the ME church and had the life of a christian woman for years Mr Starr has been a life democrat and cast his first vote at re election of President Andrew Jackson. "

Pioneer Days of Bremer County, Iowa
by W.V. Lucas
Published 1918

"The first tannery in Waverly was operated by Abe Starr, father of Will and John Starr. It was located at the south end of East Water street. It was not a very large affair yet for a time the business was a paying one. The business was finally given up and the property fell into the hands of EA Woodruff who fitted it up for a residence and who with his family lived there for many years. Uncle Abe Starr was a shoemaker by trade and I believe worked with or for Charley Fosselman for a long time. He was a square man and as a citizen was always willing to do his part It has just occurred to me that he was also the father of George Parson Starr who was drowned in the old mill race that fed the flour mill. The unfortunate boy was known as Parse. For something like a year he had been engaged in the printing business in the Phoenix office and he was a bright young man. The Starrs Abe and his three sons have gone the way of all flesh. They were all good workers and straightforward people."

1850 -  Age 30, Lives in Lycoming County
1850 United States Federal Census about Abraham Starrs
Name: Abraham Starrs
Age: 30
Birth Year: abt 1820
Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Home in 1850: Franklin, Lycoming, Pennsylvania
Gender: Male
Family Number: 1465
Household Members:
Name Age
Abraham Starrs 30
Mary Starrs 29
George Starrs 4
Wm L Starrs 2

Above  is dwelling #1444 Family #1465. 
 Dwelling #1443 Family #1464 is Samuel & Christina (Starr) Ritter
 Dwelling # 1445 Family #1466 is Zebedee & Anna Ritter

Between 1850 & 1860, we know that the Ritters moved to Iowa.  
Abraham moved there in 1855

1860 United States Federal Census about Abram Starr
Name: Abram Starr
Age in 1860: 47
Birth Year: abt 1813
Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Home in 1860: Washington, Bremer, Iowa
Gender: Male
Post Office: Waverly
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
Abram Starr 47
Mary Starr 49
G P Starr 13
W L Starr 11
J H Starr 9

1870 United States Federal Census about Abraham Starr
Name: Abraham Starr
Age in 1870: 57
Birth Year: abt 1813
Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Home in 1870: Waverly Ward 4, Bremer, Iowa
Race: White
Gender: Male
Post Office: Waverly
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
Abraham Starr 57
Mary Starr 59
John H Starr 19

1880 - Occupation: Shoemaker
1880 United States Federal Census about Abraham Starr
Name: Abraham Starr
Age: 67
Birth Year: abt 1813
Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Home in 1880: Waverly, Bremer, Iowa
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Self (Head)
Marital Status: Married
Father's Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Mother's Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Neighbors: View others on page
Occupation: Shoe Maker
Household Members:
Name Age
Abraham Starr 67

1885 - Lives With Son William -

Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925 about Abraham Starr
Name: Abraham Starr
Birth Year: abt 1812
Birth Place: Pennsylvania
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Widowed
Census Date: 1885
Residence State: Iowa
Residence County: Bremer
Locality: Washington
Roll: IA1885_152
LINE: 31
Family Number: 319
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
William L Starr 36
Martha A Starr 35
Ella Starr 12
George P Starr 6
Abraham Starr 73
John Starr 34
Joseph Green 25
Ida Winner 24

In 1900 Abraham lives with his son John - 

Name: Abram Starr
Age: 87
Birth Date: Oct 1812
Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Home in 1900: Waverly, Bremer, Iowa
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Father
Marital Status: Widowed
Father's Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Mother's Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Occupation: View on Image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
John H Starr 46
Sarah J Starr 33
Gladys E Starr 6
Abram Starr 87

1903 - Death

Iowa, Cemetery Records, 1662-1999 about A Starr
Name: A Starr
Birth Date: 1813
Death Date: 6 Mar 1903
Age: 90
Burial Location: Waverly, Bremer
Cemetery: Harlington
General Burial Info: (His wife's maiden name Mary Spence); (The above grave on lot # 38
Comments: wif: Mary Spence
Source: Bremer County Burial Records Vol 1 - 4

Page Number: 451


Find A Grave Record

The Greene Recorder › 1903 › March › 18 March 1903 › Page 4
Abraham Starr, the oldest male resident of Waverly, died last week, aged 90 years. 
Birth: unknown
Death: unknown

Co. F. 106th PA Inf.
 Note: Civil War marker

Pleasant Hill Cemetery 
Lycoming County
Pennsylvania, USA
Plot: Soldier's Row