While researching my 3rd great grandparents John E Sheaffer & Mary Catherine Steidler I was hoping to uncover photos of 10 of the 11 children (one child died in infancy) they had. Early on I had acquired photos of my 2nd great grandfather (Son of John & Catherine) and thought how it would be nice to someday get photos of all their children, after all they were all born after during and after the Civil War a time when photography was starting to become a fascination to people who had previously never seen themselves before.
As I slowly pieced together these individual lines of these children I started to get more and more photos. My desire to have a photographic family tree became a driving force in me to make this happen. In 2007 I was able to connect to a relative who I had written a letter (yes a hand written letter!) and received a call a week or two later, the relative and her sisters all wanted to meet with and had a great desire to learn and share information with me. She went on to say her grandmother had kept a photo album and had many old photos that they knew were her sisters and brothers but were not sure who exactly everyone was. We set up a meeting at one of the sisters homes and it was like a mini family reunion with
somewhere around a dozen family members attending. It was by far the most excitement I had ever had in a meeting of these types before or after. As we recalled old family stories about each of our respective ancestors we reached the point I had been anticipating….the photo album! As the relative brought out the photo album I was in awe of just it’s appearance as it had been in excellent condition as it was somewhere over 100 years old. as we opened the album and started paging through the photos I was awe-struck at not just the conditions of the photos but what these photos were telling me. These photos were beginning to place faces with the stories I had been told and researched. The amazing part was the photos of
persons they were unable to verify I could, in particular photos of my 2nd great-grandfather as a young man something I had not seen before. They were able to identify other siblings of this line and the spouses as well. there were also several photos that were unidentified and unfortunately remain so today. The excitement over all this success had me feeling a sense of satisfaction but not all was solved that day and I knew I had some work to do. In all i was able to verify 7 of the 10 children in that family get together that day an accomplishment in itself. as the years went by i was in contact with several more long-lost Sheaffer members and in 2011 I was able fin a relative who had some old photos from Grandfather and these were the holy grail for me. 2 of these photos were all the male members of the John E Sheaffer family and an entire group photo of all the children!!! I was now able to take these photos and show the previous Sheaffer family members, and they knew from knowing all the members when they were kids and seeing photos that this group were all the Sheaffer children. We were able to pinpoint on where this photo was taken, most likely at one of the large Sheaffer family reunions in the early part of the 20th century possibly after 1910 and before 1913. Although I can not positively say which one everyone is we know this is the entire group and therefore I am satisfied I was able to find these photos and have a photographic family tree of this wonderful family.