Some of my past blog posts mention incidents of family lines connecting in more than one place. A few months ago I wrote about the unsettlingly intertwined Grant and Hubbard families. Earlier this month I discussed connections among the Arneth, Startzman, and Reitenauer families. And in the footnote to the Hirvi post last week I described how June Megley’s two marriages connected the Hirvi and Hietanen lines of my family.
Today I’m going to outline the interconnections among the Shanower, King, and Gerber families. Pay attention. This gets complicated.
|Possible photo of Sophia King Shanower (1841-1877).
I found another King—Emeline King (1839-1914)—on another branch of the family tree. Emeline also lived in Stark County, Ohio. Her husband was David E. Gerber (1834-1921), a Stark County native descended from Swiss immigrants to Pennsylvania, some via Alsace, France. Emeline and David were the parents of Melissa Agnes Gerber (1861-1942), who married my great-great-great-uncle William Zachary Shanower (1855-1903). (You can read about Melissa and William’s son Harvey Allen Shanower’s first marriage here.) William Zachary was a brother of Benjamin Franklin Shanower. That made William Zachary’s wife Melissa a sister-in-law to Benjamin Franklin’s wife Sophia King Shanower. This family relationship, as well as geographic proximity, made me wonder whether Sophia King Shanower and Emeline King Gerber might be from the same King family. Their births were two years apart. Maybe they were sisters.
I re-doubled my efforts to identify Sophia's King family. It turned out I was right—Emeline and Sophia were sisters, daughters of Abraham King (1804-1888) and Phoebe Reichenbach King (1807-1885). Abraham and Phoebe King were parents to a large brood, all born in Berks County, Pennsylvania. The last name King had been Americanized from Koenig, and both Abraham's and Phoebe's ancestors had come from Switzerland, as several of my family lines did.
The King family moved to Canton, Stark County, Ohio, about 1856. Their farm was next door to the Gerber farm, so it surely wasn't long before Emeline King met her neighbor David E. Gerber. In 1858 they married. Like Emeline's parents, she and David also gave birth to a large brood.
David and Emeline Gerber's eldest daughter Clara Ellen Gerber (1859-1881), like her sister Melissa and her aunt Sophia, married a Shanower. Clara married John A. Shanower (1851-1923), another of my great-great-great-uncles. John was a brother of both William Zachary, Melissa’s husband, and Benjamin Franklin, Sophia’s husband. Clara and John's marriage made Clara’s Aunt Sophia also her sister-in-law. (Although this double relationship was academic, since Sophia was dead by the time Clara married John in 1880.)
|David Shanower Gerber's adoption certificate.
David Henry Shanower took the last name Gerber. His descendants are all my cousins twice over—through both the Shanower line and the adopted Gerber line. They’re one generation closer to me through the Shanower line.
My first cousin three times removed David Henry Shanower Gerber is related to Sophia King Shanower in three ways. He’s her nephew through her marriage to his uncle Benjamin Franklin. He’s her grand-nephew through her sister Emeline, his grandmother. He’s her nephew again through his adoption by Emeline. So Sophia King Shanower, who I thought was only connected to me by her marriage to my great-great-grandfather Benjamin Franklin Shanower, turns out to be connected also through David Henry, our common blood relative, as well as through his birth parents. That makes Sophia my great-great-great-aunt-in-law and my great-great-great-great-aunt-in-law, as well as my great-great-step-grandmother. Three relatives in one.