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The Schaeffer's of the Tulpehocken Settlement

Updated October 30, 2009

Dave Schaeffer
1115 Old Airport Road
Douglassville, PA 19518
A-United States

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The “Schaeffer” name has many, many, many, spelling variations:

Schaeffer, Schaefer, Schafer, Shaeffer, Shaefer, Shaffer, Schaver, Shaver, Sheffer, Shefer, Shiffer, Shifer, Schaffner, Shafer, Schoeffer, Schoffer, Schofer, and … Often in the 18th and 19th century an umlaut was used over the “ä “.

A variant in spelling the “S…r” name implies little as to the lineage or relationship of individuals. In my research, I've found up to three alternate spellings for the same individual in primary source documents. So, if you researching the Schaeffer name – no matter how it’s spelled -- welcome to my site!!!

I was born in Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania which was the earliest town in what was the Tulpehocken Settlement. Much of the land that comprises this present day town was purchased from a Schaeffer. Europeans first occupied this area in 1723 when a small group of German (Palatine) settlers moved south from Schoharie, an earlier settlement in what is now New York State. Additional Palatine families followed them in 1724. It is believed that Johann Nicholas Schaeffer and his brother Johann Friederich were among this second wave of migrants to the Tulpehocken from New York’s Schoharie valley.

Nicholas, Friederich, and their descendants have been well researched and many Schaeffer’s across the United States and around the world can tie their lineage back to these pioneers. The irony is that this Schaeffer who is from Womelsdorf and who can trace his roots in the Tulpehocken area to at least the 1790’s has not yet been able to develop a link to either the Nicholas or Friederich trees.

Perhaps there are hidden branches in the known Schaeffer trees? Or, perhaps there were other early Schaeffer pioneers who settled in Tulpehocken? These are the issues that I am researching. To answer these questions I am currently gathering as much information as I can about all the Schaeffer’s living in the Tulpehocken and contiguous areas before 1850.

To date I have collected information on over 500 individuals. While I use secondary sources to uncover leads, my focus is to collect and document the Schaeffers by relying, where possible, on primary records or translations, where necessary. This site does not contain this information because it is very much a work in process and much of the structure is unproven. If you can provide any information relative to this area of my research or if you are also investigating the Schaeffer’s please contact me.

What I have included on this site is my ancestral tree, less any information on living individuals. I am not listed on this tree. Perhaps, eventually my research will allow me to tie my ancestral tree back to the earliest Schaeffer’s in the Tulpehocken settlement.

Currently, Jacob Schaeffer and his wife Christina are my earliest known ancestors. They had a son George who was born in about 1792. George Schaeffer married Maria Batdorf in 1818 at the Zion Union Church in Womelsdorf. George and Maria had at least eight children. I have evidence that one of these children John Schaeffer (born 8-21-1823) lived in Newton county, Indiana in 1866. Perhaps this lead will help a fellow researcher. Another younger son George B. Schaeffer was my ancestor.

Again, please free to contact me if you think or even suspect that we are on the same path.

Dave Schaeffer

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