Aug 162011
 
This is the first of three articles about my research into Aaron B. Knepper.  See also:

 Until recently I had very little information about my gg-grandfather Knepper. I thought I knew his given name (Aaron) and the approximate year of his birth (1841) and his wife’s name (Sarah Van Arsdale). These facts were not validated or sourced. Two months ago, I added 1880 and 1900 census records4,6.


Last week, as I added a page of 3 generation ancestral trees for each of my four grandparents to the blog, I realized I had to search for his birth, marriage, and death dates. I did a quick search (Ancestry.com and FamilySearch). The quick search expanded into a feeding frenzy. The result was 23 separate documents and/or indices plus a plethora online public trees (4 at FamilySearch and 27 at Ancestry.com.). [Note: Most of the online public trees were unsourced; only five with 4 or more sources. Most sources were census records. I did not survey the online public trees to simply copy names, but to check for clues for further research. I did find Aaron’s death certificate there… and up to 6 generations of his ancestors. I intend to check out those data and (perhaps) to correspond with those who presented them.]
This is the first time that I have looked at all the data I have about one individual in a single, unitive way. I created a fairly large spreadsheet with 46 rows (one for each of the documents, indices, family trees) and 53 columns one for each of the data fields. The spreadsheet is accompanied by a text document which cites all the sources. This blog post will be my attempt to assimilate and analyze the actual data which I found. In general, I must admit, that the data does seem to be fairly consistent and agreeable, within acceptable limits.

Name: All sources seem arrive at a general agreement (with variations) about his given name –
  • A.B. Nepper3
  • Aaron Nepper1
  • A.B. Knepper3,4,16,18,21,22,23
  • Aaron Knepper2,11,13,14,15,17,27,28f,28h,28i,28j,28k,28l,28m,28n,28o,28p,28q,28r,28s,28t,28u, 28v,28w,28y,28z,28bb
  • Aaron B. Knepper5,6,7,9,10,12,19,20,24,25,26,28a,28b,28c,28d,28g,28aa
  • Arron Knepper8
  • Arron Harold Knepper28x
I have not found a source that lists his middle name, only the initial (“B”). The 1850 & 1870 census enumerations have the family listed as “Nepper.” It is uncertain whether this alternative spelling came from the family or the census enumerator. “Arron,” enumerated in the 1920 census8, is most likely a mis-spelling by the enumerator. I find no support “Arron Harold28x.” (The “Arron” probably comes from the 1920 census; the “Harold” does not seem to be supported anywhere else.

My conclusion: Without the presence of a birth certificate, the two sources that probably shed the most light on the issue of his name are 1) the entry in the Fairfield County marriage records22 where the name was given as “Aaron Knepper” with the additional information “By Self Sworn” and 2) his death certificate9 (Aaron B.) for which information was provided by his son, Cyrus Knepper. I will continue to list him as Aaron B. Knepper (while being cognizant of the alternatives). The big question remains: What was Aaron B. Knepper’s middle name?

 
Birth: The sources are fairly consistent –
  • 1841 (likely an estimate from census records, et al)2,3,4,7,9,11,28y
  • 1842 (also likely an estimate)1,8,28e,28g28i,28j,28k,28l,28m,28n,28o,28p,28q,28r,28s,28t,28u,28v,28w,28z
  • January 18416,28h
  • 14 January 184112,24,25,26,28a,28b,28c,28d,28f,28aa
  • Ohio1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,11,28e,28f,28g,28h,28i,28j,28k,28l,28m,28n,28o,28p,28q,28r,28s,28t,28u,28v,28w
  • Fairfield County, Ohio12,24,25,26,28a,28b,28c,28d,28aa
While the information I collected is fairly consistent, in the absence of any original sources (such as a birth certificate) which provide primary information about Aaron Knepper’s birth, I can draw the conclusion that Aaron B. Knepper was likely born in January 1841 (probably the 14th) in Ohio (probably Fairfield County).

Marriage: The sources are fairly consistent for date and place of his marriage to Sara(h). Her name, however, has an interesting variety of spellings, none of which confirms my original data (“Van Arsdale”) –
  • Married11
  • 1862 (most likely calculated from census records)1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,11,28e,28f,28g,28h,28i,28j,28k,28l,28m,28n,28o,28p,28q,28r,28s,28t,28u,28v,28w
  • 6 February 186217,24,27,28a,28x,28aa
  • Fairfield County, Ohio24,27,28x,28aa
  • Sara A9,28h
  • Sara Ann Vanarsdalen28b,28c,28f
  • Sarah Ann Vanarsdalen28x
  • Sarah A Vernersdalen27
  • Sarah4,17
  • Sarah A3,6,7,16,19,28e
  • Sarah Ann20
  • Sarah Vernersdalen17
  • Sarah Ann Vernersdelen24,28a,28aa

The Fairfield County marriage records (an image copy of an original source which provides primary information and direct evidence) take precedence here: Aaron Knepper and Sarah Vernersdalen were married on 6 February 1862 in Fairfield County, Ohio. I found no source that confirmed that Sarah’s family name as Van Arsdale (as I had originally thought it was). Because I was curious, I searched Ancestry.com and FamilySearch for exact matches to “vernersdalen” and “vernersdelen” – hoping to find the name in census records. The only match was the index for Fairfield County marriage records. A like search for “vanarsdalen” brought many hits but no confirmable records. Sarah’s death certificate, however, gives her father as Cornelius Vanarsdalen and her mother as Sarah Jenson. The information for her death certificate was provided by A.B. Knepper.


Children: Aaron and Sarah Knepper had 8 children:
  1. Elmira4,28c,28h, (Almira3, Ella20,23)
  2. Laura3,4,28c,28h
  3. Levi / Levi H3,4,28c,28h
  4. Mary / Mary C3,4,28c,28h
  5. Virginia / Virginia D / Vergie4,19,20,23,28b,28c,28f,28h
  6. Ananetta / Alvanetta / Alva4,28c,28h
  7. Siras M / Cyrus M4,19,29,23,28c,28h
  8. Marvin C(omer)6,19,20,23,28b,28c,28e,28h
The only mystery concerning the children of Aaron and Sarah Knepper is the name of #6. The 1880 census4 lists a four year old whose name is transcribed as “Ananetta.” (I was not sure that this was an accurate reading, but could not offer an alternative.) The Lancaster Daily Gazette20 tells of the death of Mrs. Sherman Floyd, daughter of A.B. Knepper. The Floyds lived in South Perry, Hocking, Ohio. Survey of census records indicates Thomas S. Floyd and Alva N. Floyd live in Perry Township, Hocking County, Ohio. Alva is 35 years old. (Her birth year would be either 1875 or 1876 which agrees with Ananetta’s in the 1880 census.) Knowing that she is later called Alva, I reviewed the digital image of the 1880 census page. My conjecture is that her name in that record should be read as “Alvanetta.”

Death: Fortunately, I was able to find a digital copy of Aaron Knepper’s death certificate12. He died in his home on East Fair Avenue in Lancaster, Fairfield, Ohio, on 17 September 1924. The cause of death was “internal Disability superinduced By a fall. On aug 19” 1924”12. His fall22 and obituary23 were reported in the Lancaster Daily Eagle.

  • 17 September 192410,12,23,24,25,26,28a,28b,28c,28d,28f,
  • Lancaster, Fairfield County, Ohio12,23,28b,28c,28f
  • Fairfield County, Ohio10,24,25,28a,28d,28aa
Parents: Aaron B. Knepper’s parents were Andrew Knepper and Sarah C. Alspach. (One tree28e had Henry Knepper and Louisa M. Cramer… obviously a mistake.) Son, Cyrus M. Knepper, was the informant for his father’s death certificate. He listed Aaron’s mother as Ida Alspach. I have no idea where “Ida” came from.
  • Andrew Knepper1,3,12,24,25,28a,28d,28f,28g,28h,28i,28j,28k,28l,28m,28n,28o,28p,28q,28r,28s,28t,28u,28v,28w,28y,28z,28bb
  • Henry Knepper28e
  • Sarah1,3,28y
  • Sarah C28a,
  • Sarah Alspach28j,28k,28p,28q,28r,28s,28w,28bb
  • Sarah C Alspach24,26,28d,28f,28g,28h,28i,28l,28n,28o,28t,28u,28v,28z
  • Sarah Catherine Alspach28m
  • Ida Alspach12
  • Louisa M Cramer28e
Residence: All records, except the 1880 census, have Aaron Knepper living in Fairfield County Ohio. In 1880, the family was living in Lawrence County, Tennessee.4,28b,28c,28e,28f,28g Discovering the reason for the move to Tennessee and then the return to Fairfield County, Ohio, will require some significant research.
  • Fairfield County, Ohio20
  • Liberty Township, Fairfield County, Ohio2,3,28i,28j
  • Basil Precinct, Liberty Township, Fairfield County, Ohio6,28b,28c,28e,28h
  • Pleasant Township, Fairfield County, Ohio20,28b,28c,28e,28f,28h
  • Pleasantville, Fairfield County, Ohio9,28e,
  • Lancaster, Fairfield County, Ohio18,22,28f,
  • Civil District Eleven, Lawrence County, Tennessee4,28b,28c,28e,28f,28g
Military: Aaron Knepper was a Union soldier during the Civil War. He served in H Company of the 160th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry (National Guard)5,13,14


I will write a separate post to share my learning during this process of discovering Aaron B. Knepper.
________________
  1. 1850 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Liberty, Fairfield, Ohio, Page 181A (stamped), Dwelling 734, Family 736, Andrew Knepper household, jpeg image, (Online: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, <http://www.ancestry.com/>, Roll: M432_677; Page: 181A; Image: 109; accessed 4 August 2011.
  2. 1860 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Liberty, Fairfield, Ohio, Page 109, Dwelling 788, Family 776, Andrew Knepper household, jpeg image, (Online: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, <http://www.ancestry.com/>, M653_961; Page: 373; Image: 7; Family History Library Film: 803961. accessed 6 August 2011.
  3. 1870 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Amanda, Hocking, Ohio, Page 19, Dwelling 133, Family 133, A.B. Knepper household, jpeg image, (Online: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, <http://www.ancestry.com/>, accessed 6 August 2011. (image faint)
  4. 1880 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), District 11, Lawrence, Tennessee, ED 112, Sheet 15, Dwelling 125, Family 125, A.B. Knepper household, jpeg image, (Online: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, <http://www.ancestry.com/>, accessed 15 June 2011.
  5. 1890 U.S. Federal Census (Special Schedule – Surviving Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines, and Widows, etc.), Liberty, Fairfield, Ohio, ED 38, Sheet 2, Dwelling 108, Family 112, Aaron B. Knepper, (line 16), jpeg image, (Online: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, <http://www.ancestry.com/>, accessed 7 August 2011.
  6. 1900 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Basil, Liberty, Fairfield, Ohio, ED 16, Sheet 7B, Dwelling 169, Family 171, Aaron B. Knepper household, jpeg image, (Online: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, <http://www.ancestry.com/>, accessed 14 June 2011.
  7. 1910 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Pleasant, Fairfield, Ohio, ED 74, Sheet 9B, Dwelling 186, Family 140, Aaron B. Knepper household, jpeg image, (Online: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, <http://www.ancestry.com/>, accessed 3 August 2011.
  8. 1920 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Pleasant, Fairfield, Ohio, ED 28, Sheet 10A, Dwelling 225, Family 234, Arron Knepper household, jpeg image, (Online: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, <http://www.ancestry.com/>, accessed 7 August 2011.
  9. National Archives and Records Administration, T1272. Ohio 1910 Census Miracode Index, [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000. Accessed 7 August 2011.
  10. Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Original data: Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. Death Certificates and index, December 20, 1908-December 31, 1953. State Archives Series 3094. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio Death certificate #362-49183-247, 1924, Aaron B. Knepper, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Columbus subscription database, <http://www.ancestry.com/> accessed 3 August 2011.
  11. Ohio Deaths and Burials, 1908-1953.” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org): accessed 6 August 2011. entry for Aaron B. Knepper, died 1924; citing Death Records, FHL microfilm 1827473; Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.
  12. U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group Number: 110; Title: Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War); Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); ARC Identifies: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 1 of 4.
  13.  “United States, Civil War Soldiers Index.”  FamilySearch  (https://www.familysearch.org:  accessed 7 August 2011).  entry for Aaron B. Knepper, Union Private;  Citing Civil War Records, FHL microfilm 0882273; United Stated Federal Archives and Records Center, Washington D.C. United States, publication M552.
    National Park Service. U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007 accessed 7 August 2011.
  14. Historical Data Systems, Kingston, MA, comp.. American Civil War Soldiers [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999. Side served: Union; State served: Ohio; Enlistment date: 2 May 1864.. accessed 7 August 2011
  15. National Archives and Records Administration. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000. accessed 6 August 2011.
  16. The Farm Journal Farmers’ Directory of Fairfield County Ohio; Year Range: 1915; Page #: 200; Publisher: Wilmer Atkinson Company; Publication Year: 1915. Ancestry.com. Ohio and Florida, City Directories, 1902-1960 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Ohio State Directories – State of Ohio and Farm Directories/State of Ohio, 1902-1933. Microfilm, 9 rolls. Gale, Farmington Hills, Michigan. Accessed 7 August 2011.
  17. Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950,” index and images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org): accessed 4 August 2011. entry for Aaron Knepper and Sarah A, Vanarsdalen (Vernersdalen?), married 6 February 1862; citing Marriage Records, FHL microfilm 295269; Fairfield County Courthouse, Lancaster, Ohio.
  18. Card of Thanks,” Lancaster Daily Eagle, The (Lancaster, Ohio), 22 November 1916, page 6 . [database on-line]. , Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper. Accessed 8 August 2011
  19. Knepper Will to be Probated,” Lancaster Daily Gazette, The (Lancaster, Ohio), 26 July 1916, page 8 . [database on-line]. , Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper. Accessed 7 August 2011
  20. Life Estate to Husband is the Bequest,” Lancaster Daily Gazette, The (Lancaster, Ohio), 31 August 1916, page 6 . [database on-line]. , Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper. Accessed 7 August 2011
  21. Death Follows Long Illness,” Lancaster Daily Gazette, The (Lancaster, Ohio), 16 February 1916, page 6 . [database on-line]. , Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper. Accessed 7 August 2011
  22. Condition Critical,” Lancaster Daily Eagle, The (Lancaster, Ohio), 15 September 1924, page 2 . [database on-line]. , Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper. Accessed 8 August 2011
  23. Recent Fall Causes Death of A.B. Knepper,” Lancaster Daily Eagle, The (Lancaster, Ohio), 18 September 1924, page 3 . [database on-line]. , Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper. Accessed 8 August 2011
  24. Pedigree Resource File” database, Family Search; entry for Aaron B. Knepper.
  25. Ancestral File v.19,” database, FamilySearch; entry for Aaron B. Knepper
  26. IGI (Birth) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, comp., “International Genealogical Index,” version 5.0, FamilySearch (Online: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 1999-2009), <http://www.familysearch.com/>, Aaron B. Knepper birth; accessed 15 August 2011.
  27. IGI (Marriage) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, comp., “International Genealogical Index,” version 5.0, FamilySearch (Online: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 1999-2009), <http://www.familysearch.com/>, Aaron B. Knepper marriage; accessed 15 August 2011.
  28. Public Member Trees,” Database. Ancestry.com., entry for Aaron B Knepper. The following Trees were consulted: a) Meadows; b) David Prindle; c) O’Harrow Family Tree; d) Alspach; e) My Ever Growing Tree; f) LLGW; g) Collmer/Knepper/Hook/Rodman; h) Bodle-Harrison; i) Bohling (Michigan) Family Tree; j) Malin & Weissenberger Family; k) Coffelt Family Tree; l) Kristen Knepper Family Tree; m) Miller Family Tree; n) Wells Family Tree; 0) Dillon Family Tree; p) Berntheisel Betrone et al; q) Sands Family Tree; r) Valentine Wesner Henry Knepper et al; s) Jones Family Tree; t) Blaser-Dolan-et al; u) Anton Family Tree 2; v) Murray Family Tree; w) Kelley Family Tree; x) Ohio & Michigan Cousins et al; y) Kler-Stayonoff Family Tree; z) Sneary Family Tree; aa) Meadows7.15.2011; bb) root family tree gedcom.
  29. 1910 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Perry, Hocking, Ohio, ED 89, Sheet 8A, Dwelling 180, Family 185, Thomas S. Floyd household, jpeg image, (Online: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009) [Digital scan of original records in the National Archives, Washington, DC], subscription database, <http://www.ancestry.com/>, accessed 16 August 2011.  

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