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Family history

Family history


Family History



     Little is known about this Schaffer family line.  My 8th great-grandfather Hans Jerg Schaeffer was most likely born around in what is now the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg around 1640.

     Our lineage continues through his daughter Barbara Schaeffer who was born in 1663 at Dettingen unter Teck, Esslingen,  Baden-Württemberg, Germany.  She apparently lived her entire life at that location until she passed away in 1737.  She married Johan Wolf Klein at Dettingen unter Teck in 1685. 

Born of this union is one known child my 6th great-grandmother Anna Barbara Klein, born 1696, at Kirchardt, Heilbronn, Baden-Württemberg,  Germany.


Origins of the surname


Origins of the Surname

Research into the record of this Schaeffer family line indicates that the meaning and history of this surname is most likely linked to that area of Europe where the German* language is commonly spoken. 


Meaning of the Name

Schaeffer is a variant spelling of German Schaffer ‘steward’ or of Schaefer ‘shepherd’.  Schaffer is German* occupational name for a steward or bailiff, from an agent derivative of Middle High German schaffen ‘to manage’.   Schaefer (Schäfer) is an occupational name for a shepherd, from an agent derivative of German Schaf, Middle High German schaf ‘sheep’.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4 Family Facts (


History of the Name

First found in Hessen, where the Schaeffer name was closely identified in early medieval times with the feudal society which would become prominent throughout European history.  This name is widespread throughout central and eastern Europe. In the 13th century one Giselbertus dictus Schaefarer is recorded in 1266.  It was Peter Schöffer that was a part of John Gutenberg who made the first printing press in the world, in 1438.

Source: SurnameDB: Free database of surname meanings


Early Immigrants to North America

During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries hundreds of thousands of Europeans made the perilous ocean voyage to North America.  For many it was an escape from economic hardship and religious persecution.  For most it was an opportunity for to start over, own their own land, and make a better future for their descendents. Immigration records show a number of people bearing the name of Shaffer, or one of its variants, as arriving in North America between the 17th and 20th centuries.  Most of persons with the Schaeffer surname emigrated from Bavaria and Wurtemburg in Germany.   Some early known settlers of this family name or some of its variants were:  Andreas Schaeffer, who emigrated with his family to England or America in 1709; and Hans Georg Schafer came to Carolina or Pennsylvania in 1709; John Shaver came to Nova Scotia in 1760.



 * German Surname Meanings & Origins

 Many German names have their roots in the Germanic middle ages. The process of forming family names began around the year 1100 and extended through 1600. All social classes and demographic strata aided in the development of names. First Names (Rufnamen) identified specific persons. Over time the first name began to be applied to the bearer's whole family. At first through verbal usage, family names (Familiennamen) were later fixed through writing. Until the 17th century, first names played a more important role. The earliest family names derived from the first name of the first bearer (Patronym). Later names derived from the place of dwelling and location of the homestead. If a person of family migrated from one place to another they were identified by the place they came from. Of more recent origin are names derived from the vocation of profession of the first bearer. These names comprise the largest group and the most easily recognizable, for they tell what the first bearer did for a living. Another group are names derived from a physical or other characteristic of the first bearer. Finally, there are names that tell you the state or region a first bearer and his family came from; the age old division in tribes and regions (low German, middle German and upper German) is often reflected in names.


Variations of the surname



Variations of
the Surname


Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to unfold and expand often leading to an overwhelming number of variants.  As such one can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames because in early times, spelling in general and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized.  Later on spellings would change with the branching and movement of families.  Spelling variations of this family name include: Schaeffers, Schaefer, Scheaffer, Schaefers, Schaffer, Schafer, Shaeffer, Schefer, Shaefer, and many others.


The complexity of researching records is compounded by the fact that in many cases an ancestors surname may also have been misspelled.  This is especially true when searching census documents. The Soundex system was developed in an effort to assist with identifying spelling variations for a given surname.  Soundex is a method of indexing names in the 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 US Census, and can aid genealogists in their research.  The Soundex Code for Schaeffer is S160.  Other surnames sharing this Soundex Code: SAVORY | SCHAEFER | SCHAEFFER | SCHAFER | SCHAFFER | SCHEIBER | SEAVER | SEIBER | SEVERO | SEVIER | SHAEFFER | SHAFER | SHAFFER | SHAVER | SHEFFER | SHIVER | SHOVER | SKIPPER | SOBER | SOPER | SPARROW | SPEAR | SPEER | SPEIR | SPERO | SPERRY | SPIER | SPORE | SPRAY | SPRY | SPURR | SPURWAY |. 

Source: Surname Resources at ROOTSWEB


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Direct Ancestors


Ancestral Lineage


Descendant Register

Generation 1

Hans Jerg Schaeffer-1.

2.                  i.       Barbara Schaeffer, B: 18 Jan 1663 in Dettingen unter Teck, Esslingen,  Baden-Württemberg, Germany, D: 23 Mar 1737 in Dettingen unter Teck,  Esslingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, M: 10 Oct 1685 in Dettingen unter  Teck, Esslingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.


Generation 2

Barbara Schaeffer-2(Hans Jerg Schaeffer-1) was born on 18 Jan 1663 in Dettingen unter Teck,  Esslingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. She died on 23 Mar 1737 in Dettingen unter Teck,  Esslingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. She married Johan Wolf Klein on 10 Oct 1685 in  Dettingen unter Teck, Esslingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, son of Hans Klein and Susanna  Vogel. He was born on 10 Dec 1665 in Dettingen unter Teck, Esslingen, Baden-Württemberg,  Germany. He died on 17 Jan 1730 in Dettingen unter Teck, Esslingen, Baden-Württemberg,  Germany.

Child of Barbara Schaeffer and Johan Wolf Klein is:


    1. i.       Anna Barbara Klein, B: 1696 in Kirchardt, Heilbronn, Baden-Württemberg,  Germany, D: 08 Apr 1762 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, M: 26 Nov 1715 in  Sinsheim, Rhein-Neckar-Kreis, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.


Additional information about our DIRECT ANCESTORS  as well as a complete listing of individuals with this surname may be reviewed by clicking on the following LINK.

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Ancestral locations





Researching the locations where my ancestors lived has provided me with valuable evidence needed to fill-in the gaps in my family trees.  It has also led me to many interesting facts that enhance the overall picture of each family group.  The names of states and counties on the following list were derived from the known places where the persons in the “Direct Ancestors” list (see above) were born, married, and/or died.






Esslingen;   Heilbronn;



Use this LINK to find out more about the locations listed above.


Source documents




The documents and headstones contained within the “Source Documents Archives” have been located during my research of this family, and used as evidence to prove many of the facts contained within the database of this family’s record.


     Most of these documents can be considered as primary or secondary evidence.  Primary evidence is usually defined as the best available to prove the fact in question, usually in an original document or record.  Secondary evidence is in essence all that evidence which is inferior in its origin to primary evidence. That does not mean secondary evidence is always in error, but there is a greater chance of error.  Examples of this type of evidence would be a copy of an original record, or oral testimony of a record’s contents.  Published genealogies and family histories are also secondary evidence.

     Classifying evidence as either primary or secondary does not tell anything about its accuracy or ultimate value.  This is especially true of secondary evidence.  Thus it is always a good idea to ask the following questions: (1) How far removed from the original is it, (when it is a copy)?;  (2) What was the reason for the creation of the source which contains this evidence?; and (3) Who was responsible for creating this secondary evidence and what interest did they have in its accuracy?

SOURCE:  Greenwood, Val D., The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, 2nd edition, Genealogical Publishing  Co., Baltimore, MD 21202, 1990, pgs. 62-63


You are welcome to download any of the documents contained within this archive.

  Should you encounter a problem obtaining a copy you may get in touch with

 us via the contact information found at the end of this page.

Use the following LINK to view the source documents pertaining to this family.


Web resources



Web Resources


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General Surname Resources

Your genealogy research of this surname can be facilitated by use of SURNAME WEB. This website links to the majority of the surname data on the web, as well as to individual family trees, origin and surname meaning if known, and many other related genealogy resources. 


SURNAME FINDER provides easy access to free and commercial resources for 1,731,359 surnames. On each surname specific "finder" page, you can search a variety of online databases all pre-programmed with your surname.


Use the following link to get access to millions of genealogy and surname records with a FREE surname search at THE GENEALOGY REGISTER.


Additional Sites That We Recommend

Linkpendium Surnames - Web sites, obituaries, biographies, and other material specific to a surname.

Cyndi's List - Surnames, Family Associations & Family Newsletters Index - Sites or resources dedicated to specific, individual family surnames.

Free Genealogy Search Help for Google - This free genealogy site will help you use Google™ for your research. It will create a series of different searches using tips or "tricks" that will likely improve your results. The different searches will give you many different ways of using Google to find ancestry information on the Internet. - Family History and Genealogy Records - The largest collection of free family history, family tree and genealogy records in the world.

Top Genealogical Websites - These mighty roots resources compiled by “Family Tree Magazine”, will give you the power to bust through research brick walls and find answers about your ancestors—all from your home computer.

SurnameDB Free database of surname meanings - This site SurnameDB.Com contains a large FREE to access database (almost 50,000 surnames) on the history and meaning of family last names.




The following Link will take you to our library of genealogy reference books.   Here you will find bibliographies, family histories and books about names.  In addition, there are texts that pertain to ethnic and religion groups, history, geography as well as other books that will assist you with your research.


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Images gallery


Family Images

During my research I have collected images and photographs that are of general interest to a particular family.  Some of them are presented on this website because I believe they tend to provide the reader with additional information which may aid in the understanding of our ancestors past lives.


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Contact Information



Snail Mail:

889 Dante Ct.
Mantua, NJ 08051



Snail Mail:

889 Dante Ct.
Mantua, NJ 08051