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Enhancing Family Histories Part 2; Ancestors’ Land

Emanuel Barshinger Farm along South Queen Street in York Township; View is Looking to the Northwest (1957 Photo, S. H. Smith Collection)

This is the second in a series of posts that will provide suggestions for authors to enhance their family histories.  The suggestion for today is the inclusion of details about your ancestors’ land.  As an example, I’ll use location details about the farms of Emanuel Barshinger and his brothers in York Township, York County, PA.

Before writing “Barshingers in America” I reviewed a number of past Family Histories that won in the annual National Genealogical Society’s Genealogical Writing Competition.  All of the winning entries not only contained details about ancestral lands in the 1700s and 1800s however ALSO featured just as much detail about ancestral lands in the Twentieth Century.

 

My Twentieth Century ancestral lands feature included platted land deeds for Emanuel Barshinger and his brothers.  These land transactions along South Queen Street in the early Twentieth Century resembled a game of musical chairs.

The dotted ‘Future property boundaries’ that I placed on the 1876 map for my Abe Brenneman, Inn Keeper of York Township, post are the platted land boundaries from land deeds of Emanuel Barshinger and his brothers.  The executor of the Estate of Abraham Brenneman sold the hotel and his property in the area to Katie Shearer during 1900.  Katie ran the hotel as ‘Shearer’s Hotel.’  Katie Shearer sold her hotel and property in the area to the Barshinger brothers.

I discovered the farm fields on aerial photos very well defined the platted land boundaries.  These photos were not available on-line during the time my book was written.  Instead, I platted and numbered the various properties on a 1955 aerial photo that was manually copied from a large aerial photo located at the York County Archives.  Today aerial photos are available on-line at higher resolutions from several sites.  The comparison 1982 aerial photo is from the York County Archives’ on-line site.

1955 and 1982 Aerial Photos of South Queen Street in the Area of I-83 (York County Archives)

The Barshinger brothers were sons of John Henry Barshinger who owned Farm #1; the sequence of land purchases for several of his sons follow by year:

  • 1903—Morris Barshinger purchases #2 from Katie Shearer
  • 1910—Morris Barshinger purchases #3 & #4 from Katie Shearer
  • 1910—Latimer Barshinger purchases #5 & #6 from Katie Shearer
  • 1910—Emanuel Barshinger purchases #7 from Katie Shearer
  • 1910—Emanuel Barshinger purchases #8 from Latimer Barshinger
  • 1912—Emanuel Barshinger purchases #4 from Morris Barshinger
  • 1912—Martin Barshinger purchases #8 from Emanuel Barshinger
  • 1914—Charles Barshinger purchases #7 from Emanuel Barshinger
  • 1919—Morris Barshinger purchases #5 & #6 from Latimer Barshinger

The Citizens Bank at 2124 South Queen Street is the approximate location of the former Grevmeyer / Brenneman / Shearer Hotel.  This hotel became the property of Morris Barshinger in 1910.  Although not operated as a hotel any longer, Emanuel Barshinger and several of his brothers, lived in the ‘Barshinger Hotel’ during the early years of their marriages, especially while the musical chairs with the land was occurring.

Emanuel Barshinger is my Grandfather.  The farmhouse (as seen in photo at beginning of this post) was located at the northern corner of farm #4.  His farm lane was nearly opposite today’s Gateway Road.  I was born in the house built by my dad Harold L. Smith and my grandfather Luther S. Smith; it was located on the opposite side of farm #4.

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