Children of the Shenandoah

And still it is not finished. How well I know it, the
whole book is like that! I have wasted a lot of time on it:
a perfect contradiction remains mysterious to wise and
foolish alike. This art, friend, is both old and new.
   -- Mephistopheles' reflections in Goethe's 'Faust'

Go to Reference List
Go to Abbreviation List

What she are and what she ain't:

First of all lets be very clear about one thing. Children of the Shenandoah is not a genealogy! Rather, GEAN, which name includes the software as well as the data, is a prosopography intended as a tool for those individuals with roots in the Great Valley of Virginia who are writing genealogies of their families as well as for those persons who would just like to cruise the "pages," perhaps of families for whom no (recent) genealogy has been published.

It is intended as a reference work, to provide a starting place for those wishing to find their relatives and give them a head start by providing a few clues. Data has been accepted and incorporated without any independent verification as the time required to do this would be prohibitive in the extreme. Therefore, no warranty or claim whatsoever is made as to accuracy or completeness. It is highly recommended that any information presented be independently verified inasmuch as possible. And, of course, I would be interested in any additions or corrections.

Data sources for Children of the Shenandoah range the gamut of availability -- from letters, oral reports, published and unpublished tomes, census and courthouse records, newspaper articles, funeral home "programs," etc. Again, I am in no position to certify their veracity. It is known that there are a number of preserved contradictions. One source of minor errors is, I am positive, that bond dates have been reported as marriage dates. Date of marriage was usually a day or two afterwards. Also, if someone has a tombstone erected in a cemetery, that will be listed as a burial even if there is/are no date(s); meaning the person may still be alive (but is expected to end up there eventually).

Whenever sources are quoted, every effort has been made to preserve the spelling, punctuation, spacing and capitalization. In many, but by no means all, instances "[sic]" (Latin thus) has been inserted for added emphasis at obvious typos (in the original) and at errors of spelling, punctuation, grammar and fact. Often when the original was not available for review, such as an obituary, "as reported" is appended to the source citation.

My Interest

My wife's family traces it's background to the Mayflower which landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and thence back to England. My mother's family was Scotch and English, immigrated to Pennsylvania and has been reasonably well documented by others. My father's family was primarily of German origin and settled in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia some 200+ years ago.

In those days (our) immigrants landed at Port of Philadelphia, migrated westward across Pennsylvania and thence through the Cumberland Narrows and into the Great Valley, a geographic fixture some 140 miles long and varying in width between 20 and 40 miles. Settlers in the Valley remained there until they, or some of their descendants, following Horace Greeley's advice, went farther west, into Ohio and Indiana. While in the Valley they were between two mountain ranges which both protected them and retarded east-west migration.

We tend to forget now in the jet age that, even in the early twentieth century, discounting trains for the moment, travel was either by foot or by horse. As a consequence, when a young man grew up and went to courting, he was limited not only to the east by the Blue Ridge mountains and to the west by the Alleghenies, but even more so by the distance a horse could reasonably travel of an evening. This combination of limited travel distance, geographical isolation and number of settlers resulted in a population which until very recently (since World War II) functioned as a large, extended family. For all practical purposes, this is exactly what it had become. Two people who can each trace their roots to antebellum Shenandoah (i.e. before Mr. Lincoln's unfortunate conflict) can expect a high probability that they share at least one common ancestor and are, therefore, cousins of some sort.

Which brings us to consideration of the question, "What is Children of the Shenandoah?" This breaks into two parts: What is meant by Shenandoah -- the river, the county, the valley? Answer: The valley. And, part two: What are Children? Both these issues are addressed in the following two paragraphs.

THE VALLEY: As noted above, the Great Valley is found between the Blue Ridge Mountains, which lie at the western edge of the Piedmont, and the Allegheny Mountains, which run along the West Virginia border. From Frederick County in the north to Rockbridge County in the south, it is the "Shenandoah Valley." To the south, various other valleys continue the general terrain. For genealogical purposes, the entire area is termed "The Valley." The Shenandoah Valley includes the nine counties of Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Warren, Berkeley, and Jefferson, the last two of which lie in present-day West Virginia. Prior to 1738, the entire Shenandoah Valley was part of Orange County; in 1738 it was cut off from Orange County and divided into Frederick and Augusta counties.

THE CHILDREN: Not the trivial question of first glance, COS considers "children" to be any pioneer who settled this area as well as their forebears and their descendants wherever they lived or went. I have heard from several readers who initially thought that they would find only people who had lived in the Shenandoah and were somewhat surprised (hopefully, favorably) to find out that when the information is available we follow descendants to the four corners of the earth.

Index of Children

The index of names in Children of the Shenandoah has been placed online and may be examined. Names are in Last, First Middle alphabetical order. They are preceeded by dates of birth and death, if known, to make selection between identical names less difficult.


The basis of data presentation in GEAN is the concept of a "family page," or, harking back to the days when it was all kept on paper, the "family sheet." This simply means that for a given individual, the top line is for him, the next his father, the third his mother, followed by each spouse, and then the children. If available and if requested, various remarks, bibliographic data, references to other sources, etc. are also given.

Available, too, is a family tree chart of ancestors for any individual. The degree of detail will depend upon how well the interrelations between the various families in Children have been documented. Presentation is tabular rather than graphic. see "Explanation" at bottom of ancestor list.


Some published works give up in despair at the different spellings in use for a particular name. e.g. FATELY, FADELY, FADLEY, FADELEY, etc. That is, unless you ask each individual in person, you will undoubtedly get a great many names wrong. It appears to be common practice to publish your work with a single spelling and document this in a front note, thus warning the reader.

GEAN has attempted on the basis of available information to use the correct or at least a reasonable guess (you spell it the same as your father) surname version. However, realizing that a great many such names will still be wrong, where thought necessary in the index, a reference is made at the top of a family to other spellings of that name. e.g. "KAUFMAN see also COFFMAN, KAUFFMAN, KUFFMAN"

These cross references are made not only for various spellings of the same name, but also for names which sound similar or which are spelled similarly enough that transcription errors may have landed someone in the wrong camp. It is the sincere desire of the author that all such errors, indeed all errors of commission or omission of whatever nature, be reported to him that future editions may be corrected.


There are few abbreviations used that are not readily apparent. Some abbreviations in use are

atnd = attend(ed)
Cem = Cemetery
Ch = Church
mbr = member
nmn = no middle name
Shen = Shenandoah
t/a = trading as US11 = US route 11, a.k.a. The Valley Pike. Main north/south road through the valley until Interstate-81 was built.

Most abbreviations in COS are not followed by periods. Two exceptions are

ca. = about/around [a specified date] (Latin circa)
n. = near

-- While not, strictly speaking, an abbreviation but, rather, more of a place holder, the double hyphen (--) is used wherever a first, last (or both) names are unknown.

State abbreviations generally follow the "Old" convention in use before the Post Office foisted two letter designations on us; a time when one didn't have to think about whether AR was ARizona or ARkansas or AL was ALaska or ALabama. Furthermore, state abbreviations are fully capitalized except for WVa (West Virginia).

Compass points are the expected N, E, S, W, NE, ESE, NNW etc.

City and State names are not separated by a comma. County (parish) names are so separated, as are city and county names. Hence: "City STATE"; "City, County, STATE"; and "County, STATE".


Dates are in day-month-year format except where quoting from other publications. They are eleven characters in length without leading zero: DD MMM YYYY. Of particular interest is marriage dates. Frequently, depending upon source, two different marriage dates are found, ususally but a few days apart. I attribute this to the difference between the earlier marriage bond/license date and the actual date of the ceremony. The former is oft found in courthouse records and the latter family bibles or other family history. COS prefers the later (real) date whenever available. Note that on rare occasions a date may display as "* error *" which is the computer's way of saying that the internal storage format of the date has been corrupted; it is not a reflection of the original quality of information.


Where known, an individual's occupation(s) is listed. A word of apology should probably be offered here. I well know that farming is a cooperative effort between husband and wife and that, together, they are "farmers." However, in a effort to reduce typing and save some disk space, the male is listed as "farmer" and his wife usually has no occupation listed unless it was something else entirely. This was certainly not intended to slight anyone nor downplay the tremendous effort and sacrifice of these noble women.


Occasionally, dates are given along with the addresses. These dates are simply dates when the various persons (or their surviving families) were believed to be at that address. No inference should be attempted as to this being a "move in" or "last at" time. These dates come from directories, personal letters (addressee and return address), addresses furnished the compiler by others, etc.

References in the Remarks:

Various sources are cited in Children and are identified by (generally) three character identifiers which were convienent to use, with appropriate page number(s). Listed below are some of these triads and the works which they cite. In a number of cases a review of the work is included.

BLY BLY Genealogy
DLBorden D L Borden's Cemetery Transcriptions
DNR Daily New Record newspaper
GCH Gochenour Genealogy
HHH Haller-Hollar-Holler Genealogy
HH2 Huber=Hoover Genealogy
HKF Hottle Genealogy
KFF Kauffman - Coffman Genealogy
NVD Northern Virginia Daily newspaper
ShenHer Shenandoah Herald newspaper
ShenVal Shenandoah Valley newspaper
STR Strickler Genealogy
SVH Shenandoah Valley-Herald newspaper
SYK Someone You Knew necrology
TES The Edinburg Sentinel newspaper
TFP The Free Press newspaper
TVB The Valley Banner newspaper
TWS The Warren Sentinel newspaper
VANn 1860 Shenandoah Census Commentary
WIS The History of the Nicholas Wisman Family

Main Page

Search Index

What are Cousins?



Paul D Stoneburner
9307 Lundy Court
Burke, VA 22015


Voice: 703-451-1565
ICQ: 17-315-692

The geneaological resources, including data and accompanying search engine, along with any family reunion and other photographs are maintained by Paul Stoneburner and hosted by Wizard Workshop and Company.