Can anyone help me figure out the original surname of my German ancestor

+5 votes
One of my great grandfathers was Daniel Shire of Pennsylvania. He is a brick wall due to his surname being changed so much. From what I know he is of German ancestry. Thank you
in Genealogy Help by Lyndsay Matthews G2G1 (1.1k points)
retagged by Kylie Haese

I believe the person you are talking about is the Daniel Shire who died 1897 and was buried in Tamaqua, Schuykill County, PA ( Is that correct?

edit: corrected truncated URL

Thank you,

I’m sorry this reply is late. My family and I were on a camping trip. That is my Daniel Shire:) I should have specified I’m looking for the parents/ancestors of Daniel Shire. It ends with him for now because of the problem with the surname.

This Daniel Shire is found in the 1880 census in Tamaqua, where he said both of his parents had been born in Pennsylvania. In the 1870 census he and his family were in Schuylkill Haven, about 15 miles southwest of Tamaqua. The oldest son in the 1870 census, George W., was (according to his death certificate at born 1862 in Mount Joy, PA, which is in northwestern Lancaster County. According to the 1935 death certificate (at of son Elmer (born 1873), Daniel was born in Lancaster, PA, and his wife Sarah Wetzel in Myerstown, PA (in Lebanon County, about halfway between Mount Joy and Schuylkill Haven). This makes it a very good bet that your Daniel Shire is the one listed with a wife Sara and no children in Myerstown, PA in the 1860 census and the married Daniel Shire, born about 1830, listed in the 1863 draft registration (at as living in Tulpehocken Township (which is in Berks County just north of Myerstown).

I have not found Daniel in the 1850 census - at this point he was in his mid-20s and still single, and so may have been out adventuring somewhere.

If we are to believe that he was born in Lancaster County, PA, and given that his oldest son was born in Mount Joy, I think it reasonable to suspect that he was at least related to the family with the last name Share/Sharer in the 1830 and 1840 censuses - in 1830 both an Abraham Share and an Elizabeth Share, and in the 1840 census an Abraham Shaver, John Share, and Mrs. Share all had sons of the right age to be Daniel. However, I have not yet found any kind of definite proof for this.

"Scherer" would be a quite spread German name:
Hi there,

over time, many German names were anglicized in spelling, and perhaps the family was once Scheier? Your search name, Shire, would then be a phonetic spelling of it. There are loads of entries under Scheier on the internet, such as, ancestry,, etc. Maybe this helps. If it's Jewish in origin, it could have derived from Scheuer (scheuern (verb) = to scrub, clean hard.)

Happy hunting!

Kathrin :o)

2 Answers

+7 votes
Most likely Scheier, which is evidently a variant of Scheuer (and may have been spelled rather differently considering that there are many German dialects which don't necessarily share standard orthography).
by C Handy G2G6 Pilot (190k points)

I’m going to try searching with these names.
I tried Scheuer on google translate and is sounded like:

Shy Ah
Which could conceivably be transcribed as "Shire" by someone who wrote down what they heard, I'd say.
+2 votes
I think C.Handy has given good advice about the likely name Scheuer/Scheier.

Looking at the time-line I wonder whether you have an ancestor who was one of the miners who emigrated from the Harz mountains (Kingdom of Hanover) to the coal mines of Pennsylvania.

It will be a bit of a random search (Sche???). However, you might find the ancestor in the list of emigrants in German archives in Lower Saxony: (note you can change the pages to English)

The link was provided by Michael Schindler. I have used it to find a family member who emigrated as an ore-sorter in 1853. I was fortunate. The archives gave some useful biography.
by Steve Thomas G2G6 Mach 6 (67.9k points)
edited by Steve Thomas

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