January 13, 2013

Lewis Zirkle: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Randy Seaver has invited us to indulge in some “Semi-Random Research” during his weekly Saturday Night Genealogy Fun at Genea-Musings, saying:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1)  We're going to do a little bit of Semi-Random Research tonight...

2)  Go to your family tree database of choice (you know, like RootsMagic, Reunion, Ancestry Member Tree), and determine who the very last person on your list of names is.

3)  What do you know about this person based on your research?  It's OK to do more if you need to - in fact, it's encouraged!

4)  How are you related to this person, and why is s/he in your family tree?

5)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook Status post or Google+ Stream post.

I decided to take Randy up on this challenge, because the last person in my Reunion database is from a family I haven’t written about before. His name is Lewis Zirkle, or in the original German, Zerckel. The surname is sometimes found in American records as “Circle.” Lewis is a collateral relative to me, related by marriage to my seventh-great-aunt, Mary or Magdalena Roush.

Lewis Zirkle was born about 1740 in Telford, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.(1) He was one of several sons of Lewis Zerckel the elder, who emigrated from Germany and later migrated from southeastern Pennsylvania to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia before the Revolutionary War, the same as Mary’s father, John Adam Roush (Johan Adam Rausch).

Lewis Zirkle the younger settled on Smith Creek in Rockingham County, Virginia, near the town of New Market. Family lore holds that he and Mary had four sons and four daughters. They remained on their Smith Creek land all their lives. At the time of Lewis’ death at age 77, he owned 1500 acres, with a tannery and a mill. He died January 22, 1815. He and Mary are buried in the graveyard of St. Matthews Lutheran Church in New Market.(2)

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution has recognized Lewis Zirkle as a patriot for his contributions to the Revolutionary cause.(3)

The histories of the Zirkle and Roush families intertwined further with other marriages, even as descendents of both families moved westward and settled in Gallia County and Meigs County, Ohio. In studying one family, it helps to study the other. They played a big role in each other’s cast of friends, associates, and neighbors over the course of multiple generations.

Thanks for this challenge, Randy!

(1) Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com: accessed 11 April 2010), Lewis H. Zirkle memorial, no. 33568802, created by Jonathan Grimm on 5 February 2009, citing Saint Matthews Cemetery, New Market, Shenandoah County, Virginia.

(2) Lester L. Roush, History of the Roush Family in America, vol. 1 (Strasburg, Virginia: Shenandoah Publishing House, 1928), p. 677-682.

(3) “Ancestor Search,” Genealogical Research System database, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (http://services.dar.org/public/dar_research/search/?tab_id=0: accessed 12 January 2013), Lewis Zirkle, ancestor no. A131098, Virginia.


  1. These are my families. How fun to see them here.

    1. Wonderful, Rita! I wonder how we are connected? Please email me at sbishop@asenseoffamily.com and let me know. Thanks for reading!

  2. I knew if I read enough blogs I'd come across a connection. Mary Magdalene Roush is my wife's 5th great-grandmother.

    1. Wow, Randy, how amazing is that?! Very cool. I'm thrilled that Linda and I are cousins. Two of Mary's brothers, Jacob and Philip, are my 6th great-grandfathers (Jacob's son Adam married Philip's daughter Hannah). It was the Roush family history that originally got me interested in genealogy. We'll have to compare notes sometime!

  3. Shelley, I've been doing a bit of year-in-review thinking, and got to thinking about your blog and your contribution toward helping fellow Ohio researchers in particular.

    I wanted to let you know I really appreciate the encouragement you've provided me through various exchanges through blog comments--both your comments on my blog, and your responses to mine here--and on Twitter (and...who knows...maybe soon over coffee).

    I just nominated you for the "Wonderful Team Member Readership Award." Your comments on my blog in the past year have helped make A Family Tapestry what it is, and I really appreciate that!

    I've explained more about the award here.

    Thanks again for everything--not only for your encouragement to other bloggers, but for your own research stories and resources here on your blog!

  4. Thank you so much for these kind words, Jacqi. I appreciate them more than you can imagine. As a blogger, it's hard to know if the things you write really make a difference to anyone. I'm glad to know that you feel they have, especially since I really admire the posts you write for your blog. I'm honored that you nominated me!

  5. Shelley - thank you for this post! I believe that Lewis Zirkle was my 5th great grandfather through his daughter, Eve Zirkle Roller. I knew virtually nothing about him before I saw this post, and it will help me carry my own research a little farther. Thank you!


  6. Hi! I just made my own blog (shafferandzirkledescendants.blogspot.com) public and was doing a search to see if it came up, and came across this blog. I am related to both the Roush and Zirkle families thru Catherine Roush who married George Zirkle. (see my post from today) How great to find your blog!


  7. Just came across your site. I am A descendant of Lewis Harper Zirkle who was my mother's father/grandfather (same name.) My grandmother was Augusta Zirkle. Their children were: Franklin, Harold, Gordon,Frances Natalie( my mom), Robbie Jean, and Louie. My uncles have died and my mom is 91! My aunt Louie still lives in New Market on a portion of the original farm near Smith Creek. Keep the good work! Shirley Cadmus


Thank you for reading my blog! I welcome and appreciate your comments.


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