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Shamberger Genealogy
Nicholas Shamberger & Barbara Schmid of Pennsylvania

Historical Narrative
Descendant Listings
Documentary Sources
Discussion Groups
DNA Research


Many of the Shamberger families in the USA trace their ancestry to this couple, who were married in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1791. This web site is intended to be a compendium of the research done on Nicholas and Barbara Shamberger and their descendants. Much has been published on this family in various historical books and family histories, some of it accurate, some not so accurate. As is often the case with family histories, once something is in print, it often is considered to be "gospel". It is my hope that this web site will facilitate a critical examination and discussion of the facts, legends, and myths surrounding this Shamberger family and to allow us Shamberger researchers and descendants to learn more about our origins and our relatives' contributions to early America. The best way to separate fact from fiction and to resolve conflicting information is to go back to the primary sources (see Documenting Your Genealogy Research - Guide to Citing Sources). These include records of marriages, births, deaths, and burials, census listings, Bible records, tax lists, probate and land records, etc. The information in the descendant listings on this web site will include documentation of the primary sources as much as possible, and transcriptions of many of those sources will be presented in links below. This is a working document and not necessarily definitive, since much of it is based upon information found on the Internet or in published secondary sources. It will be modified and (hopefully) improved as more researchers provide input and, most importantly, evidence.

Historical Narrative

Nicholas Shamberger was born about 1760 in Germany, came to America in the 1780s, and settled in the area around Lancaster, Dauphin, and Cumberland Counties in Pennsylvania. His origins are not known, but he may connected to the Scho(e)nberger family that immigrated to Philadelphia on 27 August 1785 aboard the ship Adolph (sailing from Amsterdam). (See my Schoeneberger Research Correspondence.)

On this ship were Johannes Schonberger (from Ober-Mossau, Hessen, Germany; born 1739; son of Johann Peter Schonberger and Anna Maria Horn), several of his children (including Johann Nicholas!), his brother George, and Peter (a nephew?). Notes written in 1923 by Julia Grace Shamberger (a 2nd-great-granddaughter of Nicholas) say  "Nicholas Shamberger, a young man unmarried, about twenty, came from Hesse Castle [Hesse-Kassel in western Germany], Germany, to America about three years after the Revolutionary War.  He landed in New York and came from there to Lancaster, PA, then to Harrisburg, PA . . . He left one brother Henry and also a sister in Germany." The timeframe matches closely, but some of the other details don't (perhaps due to the passage of 138 years between 1785 and 1923). Still, the connection does appear intriguing.

The will of Johannes Schonberger (John Schoenberger), dated 15 August 1818, was proved in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania on 6 November 1826. Will of John Schoenberger (Adobe Acrobat document; 2,610 KB; 9 Jan 2009) It is written in German. I was able to pick out some of the names in the document, but I'm looking for someone who can translate the document into English. I am particularly interested in knowing if any mention is made of John's son Nicholas.

The parish registers of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manheim, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania list among its members in July 1790: George Schonberger, John Schonberger, and Nicolas Schonberger. The 1790 census shows John Shonenberger and George Shonenberger living in Manheim Town, and Nich's [Nicholas] Schonborg living in nearby Cocalico Township. (Keep in mind that it is quite normal for the spelling of Germanic surnames to vary considerably in 18th- and 19th-century American records.)

On 23 January 1791, the First Reformed Church of Lancaster recorded the marriage of Nicholas Schaumburg to Barbara Schmid (of Hempfield Township, Lancaster County) (more about Barbara later . . .). Their first child, a son Jacob, was baptized 22 February 1793 at the Salem Reformed Church of Harrisburg in Dauphin County (adjacent to Lancaster County to the north). (The names of the parents in the baptismal record were Nicholas & Barbara Shahberg.) The birth of their second son, Frederick, occurred by 1795, but his baptismal record has not yet been found. The next mention of this family is a letter dated 7 June 1796 with this information "Nicolaus Schaumburg, Hempfield Twp., Lancaster County, three miles from Lancaster, with Peter Musselman, tanner" (from Philadelphische Correspondenz by Melchior Steiner). The baptism of their third son Johannes [John] (born 17 November 1799) occurred on 1 January 1800 in Friedens Church in Cumberland County (erected in 1798 a half-mile north of Shiremanstown, a few miles west of Harrisburg across the Susquehanna River in what was then East Pennsborough Township, now Hampden Township, by the German Reformed Congregation), with parents' names recorded as Nicolaus & Barbara Schamburg. The 1800 census shows the family of Nich's Shumberger living in East Pennsborough Township in Cumberland County with three sons [Jacob, Frederick, and John] and a daughter [Margaret?], all under 10 years of age.

They apparently moved across the river into Dauphin County, as they appeared in the 1804 and 1805 tax lists in Swatara Township. Their fourth and fifth sons, Nicolaus [Nicholas] (born 2 February 1801) and Simon (born 13 February 1805), were baptized 30 March 1805 in Zion Lutheran Church in Harrisburg, with parents' names recorded as Nicolaus and Barbara Schangberger. Nicholas appears on the 1807-1811 tax lists of Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County, but has not yet been found in the 1810 census. (See the map of the southern half of Dauphin County, below, as it appeared in 1875.)

Some sources list a daughter, Catherine, who was born (or baptized) 19 December 1809 and (perhaps) married 21 September 1826 to John Brown. (I have not been able to verify this information.) The last child born to Nicholas and Barbara was Andreas, who was baptized 12 Jan 1812 at the Salem Reformed Church in Harrisburg, with parents' names recorded as Nickolaus and Barbara Schamberg. Andreas is probably the same person as John H. Shambarger, who appears in the 1850 census of Morrow County, Ohio with his wife Dorcas and nephew David H. Shambarger (son of Frederick).

Nicholaus Shumberger, of Wenrichs [a congregation in Lower Paxton Twp., Dauphin County], age 50-60 years, was buried 24 July 1813, during the ministry of F. C. Schaffer of the Zion Lutheran Church of Harrisburg. His widow Barbara may have remarried, as noted in the 29 July 1816 issue of the Harrisburg Chronicle: "Md. in this borough of Sunday eve 21st inst. by Rev. Lochman, Mr. Thomas Kelly, teacher, to Mrs. Barbary Shomberger, both of this place." This marriage was recorded at Zion Lutheran Church. Nothing further is known about Thomas Kelly or his wife Barbara. However, there was a Barbara Shamberger listed as sponsor in a baptism of Elizabeth Ober (daughter of David and Margaret Ober) on 18 September 1818 at Salem Reformed Church in Harrisburg. (Did she retain her first husband's surname, divorce Thomas Kelly, or is this a different Barbara Shamberger?)

Barbara's background is still a mystery.  There is a biography (probably based upon the 1923 notes of Julia Grace Shamberger) that says she was "Barbary Eter, an English woman, a step-daughter of Simon Snyder of Harrisburg, PA, who kept the best hotel in Harrisburg".  The following appears in Annals of Harrisburg, by George H. Morgan (Harrisburg, PA: 1906), pp. 106-109 ("Where Washington Lodged"):

"The only houses of public entertainment that existed in that immediate neighborhood in 1794 at the time of Washington's visit - was that known as the "Bell Tavern", kept by one Simon Snyder, a vendue cryer by profession ... [and another] situated on the site of the new brick house recently erected by Mr. Shellenbarger on Front Street a few doors below what is now called Washington Avenue ...  Both of these buildings were wooden structures ... and were what might be termed second-rate taverns". This sounds like the hotelkeeper referred to in Julia's notes.  In the Oracle of Dauphin (a Harrisburg newspaper), there was a death notice dated 12 December 1804 for "Simon Snyder, innkeeper, of this town, on Wednesday last".  There was another Simon Snyder, a former Pennsylvania governor, who died in 1819.  Not our guy.

In the records of St. James Episcopal Church of Lancaster, on 21 December 1769, there was a marriage of Simon Schneider to Catharine Smith. Simon and Catherine Snyder [Schneider] appeared to have moved from Hempfield Township, Lancaster County to Harrisburg, Dauphin County around 1792. He was found in the Harrisburg tax lists from 1792 until his death in 1804. The 1795 tax list gave his occupation as constable and innkeeper. The records of Simon Snyder's estate listed a half-lot on Front Street and two lots on Second Street (in Harrisburg). The widow (Catherine) Snyder, in 1809, asked to be removed as administrator of the estate as she lived at some distance from the real estate. The lots were sold in January 1810 to John Beigler, and it was noted that the estate was not enough to pay debts and educate the children of Simon Snyder (as he and Catharine had several children). Perhaps Catharine's maiden name was Eter and she was first married to a Smith (Schmid), and had a daughter Barbara by her first marriage. Discovery of a Schmid/Smith marriage to a Catharine Eter in the Lancaster County area prior to 1769 would certainly add support to that hypothesis. So would finding records of settlement of Catharine (Smith) Snyder's estate, in which she mentions a daughter Barbara Shamberger/Kelly.

The fact that Nicholas and Barbara Shamberger named one of their sons Simon (not a very common name) adds credence to the connection to Simon Snyder.

Descendant Listings

Nicholas's descendants spelled the surname Shamberger, Shambarger, and Shumberger. Descendants of their son Frederick, who moved to Ohio around 1852, spelled the name Shambarger; those who remained in Cumberland County (primarily son Simon's descendants), spelled it Shumberger; everyone else apparently spelled it Shamberger. My descent is through Nicholas's grandson George Shambarger (picture below, taken ca. 1890) [#23 in the Shamberger database], who was Frederick's son.

  George Shambarger [#23], son of Frederick Shambarger [#2] and grandson of Nicholas Shamberger

Here are listings of known descendants (through four generations):

Children of Nicholas Shamberger & Barbara Schmid

[Note: To view the Adobe Acrobat files, you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. This can be downloaded free from You can download the files to your disk to view them, or use your web browser with the appropriate plug-ins.]

Descendants of Jacob Shamberger (#1) & Esther Souder
Descendants of Frederick Shambarger (#2) & Elizabeth Hyde
Descendants of John Shamberger (#3) & Martha|Magdalene Hammer
Descendants of Nicholas Shamberger (#4) & Mary -----
Descendants of Margaret "Peggy" Shamberger (#5) & John Hertzler
Descendants of Simon Shumberger (#6) & Mary G. Seilor

Index of Names
Explanation of Format of Descendant Listings

Documentary Sources

USA Federal Censuses:


USA Notes (Vital Records, Wills, Deeds, Tax Lists, Cemeteries, etc.):

New Mexico
   Shambarger Death Certificates in Ohio (1913-1953)

World War 1 Draft Registrations
World War 2 Draft Registrations

Biography of George Shambarger (#23)
History of Jacob S. Shamberger (#122) Family , by Eula B. (Snowberger) Cooper (#12212)

See my library of digital images (photos, newspaper clippings, etc.) related to this family.

Discussion Groups

GenForum - Shamberger, Shambarger, Schoenberger
RootsWeb - Shamberger, Shambarger, Schoenberger

DNA Research

A new tool in genealogical research is the use of genetic markers in DNA to establish family relationships. See Genetics, DNA and Health History. The Y-chromosome is passed down from father to son to grandson to great-grandson, etc. along the male line (as are surnames in many modern western societies). Occasionally, due to random mutations, one or more of the genetic markers may change in an individual and be passed down to his son that way (similar to a surname changing from Shamberger to Shambarger or Shumberger). Standard tests are available (based on a cheek swab) to identify 12, 37, or 67 markers on the Y-chromosome. (The more the markers, the more precise the idenfication; I strongly suggest 37 or more markers, in order to be useful for genealogical purposes.) All direct male descendants of Nicholas Shamberger would have a very similar, if not identical, set of markers (or haplotype). Someone with a surname of Shamberger (or some variation), whether or not they had done in-depth genealogical research, could compare their haplotype to known Nicholas Shamberger direct male descendants to see if they were likely to be a direct male descendant of Nicholas Shamberger. Likewise, the Nicholas Shamberger haplotype could be compared to haplotypes of other Shamberger families in the USA, Germany, or elsewhere to see if these families were closely related. (This can also resolve the question of whether Nicholas Shamberger is closely related to the Schonbergers of the ship Adolph.) I would like to establish a confidential database of haplotypes of Nicholas Shamberger's direct male descendants to give us a tool to identify Nicholas Shamberger descendants and to find closely related Shamberger families. Ideally, we would need several samples from direct male descendants of each of Nicholas's sons. The Family Tree DNA testing service is one of the most well-known. If anyone is interested, please contact me by e-mail. The tests range in price from $99-$248, depending upon the number of markers, when ordered from Family Tree DNA as a part of the Shamberger DNA project.

To help defray the cost of the testing, I have set up a Shamberger DNA Project fund that will allow those of us without the Shamberger Y-chromosome (such as females born with the maiden name of Shamberger) to jointly share in the cost of this project. If everyone interested in this avenue of research can contribute a little from time to time, it will greatly help to increase the level of participation by direct male descendants with the "right" DNA. If you would like to take advantage of the fund for your test, let me know. Those of us not fortunate enough to have the Shamberger Y-DNA chromosome may help others out by contributing.

If you find this information useful and would like to contribute a small (or bigger) amount to help fund this research, please consider selecting one of the options below. This helps me pay for subscriptions to web sites (e.g.,, reference materials (maps, books), supplies (paper, ink, binders, folders), time, and travel.

Amount to Contribute

[I'd like to extend a special thanks to Ed Wevodau, a 4th-great-grandson of Simon Shumberger [#6], for his excellent research in the records of Dauphin, Cumberland, and Lancaster Counties, Pennsylvania. Ed has shed light on a number of mysteries and has contributed much to our knowledge of the Nicholas Shamberger family.]

If you would like to comment on any information contained within, or wish to correspond with me about this family, please send me an e-mail message at: Additions and corrections are greatly appreciated. I am especially interested in receiving information obtained from primary sources (census listings, Bibles, cemeteries, vital records, probate and land records, etc.) and photographs and digital images relating to this branch of the Shamberger family so that I can incorporate them into this page. Also, I would like to provide links to other pages on the Internet that deal with Shamberger genealogy.

Mark B. Arslan

Last updated on 28 April 2014