Sunday, September 30, 2012

The McNaughtons, Haze and Artifact

I visited my Shanower grandparents at their home in Mentor, Ohio, many times when I was a child. On the wall between the dining area and the living room hung a tile that pictured a coat of arms labeled McNaughton. I had only a vague idea what the name meant, but at one point I asked an adult—my mother, I think—about it and was told how McNaughton was a family name. I retained only a hazy concept of the connection.

In the early 1980s, while I was attending art school, members of the family each received a Christmas gift of a winter scarf in McNaughton plaid. I still didn’t have a clear idea of exactly how I was related to the McNaughtons, but I loved that scarf and wore it regularly during the winter. When I lost it about 1986—left it somewhere? dropped it accidentally?—I was disappointed.

My paternal grandfather, Stanley Raymond Shanower (1917-1987), died the next year. He had owned one of the McNaughton scarves. Since my scarf had been lost, I got his. I guess you could call it an inheritance. I didn’t want to risk losing Grandpa’s McNaughton scarf like I lost the first one, so I’ve never worn it. Losing Grandpa’s scarf would mean also losing a tangible connection to him.

In the past few years my hazy connection to the name McNaughton has grown more concrete. Since I’ve started delving into my family genealogy, I have a better idea of who my McNaughton forebears were.

David Elmer Shanower (1885-1967) and his wife Edna Marietta McNaughton Shanower (1891-1964), my great-grandparents, circa the late 1950s.

Edna Marietta McNaughton Shanower (1891-1964) was the mother of my paternal grandfather Stanley Raymond Shanower, the one who’s scarf I now own. My father knew her well, since Stanley’s parents lived with my father’s family when he was growing up. I met my great-grandmother Edna when I was a baby, but I have no memory of her. She died in a car crash six months after I was born.

Edna’s father William Malcolm McNaughton (1850-1914) was born in Galt, Ontario, Canada, and ended up in Claridon, Geauga County, Ohio.  He died before his grandson Stanley, my grandfather, was born, although his wife, Mary Elizabeth Grant McNaughton (1856-1946), lived a few more decades. My father knew Grandma Mac when he was a child. I recently visited their gravesite.

Gravestone of William Malcolm McNaughton (1850-1914) and Mary Elizabeth Grant McNaughton (1856-1946) in Claridon Center Cemetery, Claridon, Geauga County, Ohio.

William Malcolm McNaughton was a blacksmith and the sign that hung outside his shop still exists. It’s two-sided, each side bearing the painted words: W. M. McNaughton Blacksmithing. The side with fancier lettering seems a little more weathered, so maybe it’s the older side.

William Malcolm McNaughton's blacksmith shop sign, one side.
William Malcolm McNaughton's blacksmith shop sign, the other side.
Family records show that William Malcolm McNaughton’s parents were Malcolm Duncan McNaughton (1823-after 1871) and Sarah Jane Mann McNaughton (1825/29/31?-1866/1907/25?), both born in Canada. Despite Sarah Jane’s uncertain dates, these names are sure.

I have Malcolm Duncan’s father as Malcolm McNaughton (1790-1870) and coming to North America from Reispole, Strontian, Argyll, Scotland. This information is unproven and has some details I find questionable, but it’s reasonable to believe that the McNaughtons came from Scotland.

Farther back than that, however, my McNaughton ancestry is lost in the haze of time. I wish I knew more about my McNaughton family, but for now I’ll be content to look at pictures, to know that the McNaughton blacksmith sign survives, and to own my Grandpa’s McNaughton scarf.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Who is Henry Shanower?

Records show that my great-great-great-great-grandfather was Jacob Shanower (1785-1829), born near York, Adams County, Pennsylvania. But the only record of Jacob Shanower’s father, Henry Shanower, that I know of is a reference in the book Portrait & Biographical Album of Hillsdale County, Michigan, 1888. On page 413, in a short biography of William Shaneour (1842-1923), the text states:
"His father, David Shaneour, is a native of Adams Co., PA, where he was born Jan. 27, 1813, the son of Jacob Shaneour and the grandson of Henry Shaneour . . ."
Don’t be thrown by the alternate spelling of the last name Shanower as Shaneour. One branch of the family still retains that spelling, so it’s not unusual. But what’s frustrating is that this reference gives no other information about Henry Shanower. Who were his parents? Where and when was he born?

Members of the Schonauer (yes, another variant spelling) family immigrated to the USA from Europe in the middle of the eighteenth century. Hans Schonauer (1688-1749), also known under the Americanized name of John, immigrated about 1744-45 and settled in Cocalico township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Originally from Switzerland, his family had been persecuted for being Anabaptists. Hans “John” Schonauer’s particular sect seems to have been Mennonite.

Hans “John” Schonauer’s nephew, Jost Schonauer (1707-1777), sometimes known as Joseph, sailed from Germany on the ship Phoenix and arrived at the State House at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 1, 1754. He settled in in Cumru township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, the next county over from where his uncle Hans, already five years dead, had settled. Jost seems to have been Lutheran, not Mennonite.

Many of the descendants of these men are recorded. Jost Schonauer’s descendants are traced down to the present. There doesn’t seem to be room to fit Henry Shanower into Jost’s branch of the family tree.

Jost’s uncle Hans “John” Schonauer seems a better candidate as a forefather of Henry Shanower. Could Henry be Hans’s grandson? Hans “John” and his wife Ursula had seven known children, three of them sons: Christian (1717-?), Abraham (1722-1762), and Jacob (1724-1764). I have found little trace of the eldest child Christian after his birth, although he was alive when his mother Ursula made her will in 1764. Second son Abraham’s will mentions two daughters, names unrecorded, but no sons. Hans’s third son Jacob, however, married Maria Magdalena Haldeman (1738-1820) and had two children, John Shonower (about 1760-?, yet another variant spelling) and Barbara Shonower (abt 1762-?), before he died in January 1764. Jacob’s wife, Maria Magdalena, is reported to have been pregnant at that time with a third child, whose name, gender, and birth date remain unknown. If this child survived birth and infancy, and if it was a boy, could this third child have been Henry Shanower?

That’s the theory that a couple other Shanower family researchers have developed. It’s an attractive theory. This child born after its father Jacob Schonauer died would have been born in 1764. That’s a perfectly reasonable birth year for the father of my great-great-great-great-grandfather Jacob Shanower (1785-1829), the one I began this post with.

Maria Magdalena Haldeman Schonauer re-married after the death of her husband Jacob. About 1764, not long after her first husband died, she wed Joseph Van Gundy (abt 1740-abt 1795) and had seven more children.

Court records show that Jacob and Maria Magdalena Schonauer’s son John Shonower inherited his father’s estate at the age of fourteen in 1774. But I can find no further mention of John or of his sister Barbara or of their unnamed sibling born after their father’s death. I had hoped to find mention of any of these three Shonower children with Maria Magdalena’s new family, the Van Gundys. But no luck.

There are other Schonauers in Pennsylvania at this time that are probably related, but don’t yet fit with certainty into either the Hans or Jost branches. One is Anna Schoenauer (another variant), who about 1755 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, married Christian Gehman as his second wife. There are indications that Anna Schoenauer is related to Hans “John” Schonauer and his nephew Jost Schonauer. Anna came from Hochstetten, Canton Bern, Switzerland, the area where Hans “John” and Jost were both born. Her soon-to-be-husband Christian Gehman arrived in the USA at the same time and on the same ship, Phoenix, as Jost. But I don’t know exactly how Anna is related to Hans and Jost. Her offspring wouldn’t have had the last name of Shanower anyway, so she’s not Henry Shanower’s mother, but Anna is an example of other Shanowers that don’t fit clearly into the known branches.

Two of these dangling Shanowers are Jacob Shanower, orphan, and his deceased father, John Shanower. In 1750 the Orphans Court of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, appointed John Bare as this Jacob’s guardian after his father’s death, since Jacob was still a minor. Who are these unknown Jacob and John Shanower? Could they somehow correspond to the Hans “John” Schonauer and his son Jacob that are already part of the family tree?

The answer to that seems to be “no.” It’s true that Hans “John” Shanower’s death date is recorded as 1749, so if he’d left any minor children as orphans, they could logically have had guardians appointed in 1750. But Hans “John” Schonauer didn’t leave his children orphans. His wife, Ursula (1690-1773), was still alive in 1750 and would remain so for twenty-three more years. Perhaps Ursula Schonauer married again, this time to John Bare, and her new husband was appointed guardian of her children. But I know of no record of a second marriage for Ursula. And even if such a second marriage did occur, Hans “John” and Ursula Shonauer’s son Jacob was born in 1724, so he was no longer a minor when his father died. The age of majority was then 14 years old, and the Jacob born in 1724 would have been 26 years old in 1750. In fact, none of Hans “John” and Ursula Schonauer’s seven children were minors in 1750. Their youngest, also an Ursula (1732-1766), was about seventeen when her father died, and the next year she married Abraham Hershberger. None of these Schonauer children would have needed a guardian because of minority.

So in any case, Henry Shanower springs upon the scene without any proven forebears. It’s reasonable to assume that he’s related to the Hans “John” and Jost Schonauer family. But how does he fit in? Maybe it’s true that he was the third child of Jacob and Maria, still waiting in the womb when his father died. Or maybe he was the son of Christian Schonauer, of whom so little is known. Or maybe someone introduced an inaccuracy into the records. Who knows? Errors are likely. But I hope that one day the puzzle piece that will solve the riddle of Henry’s origin will turn up.