Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Huffman/Hoffman Kinexxion :: Susannah & John

Twelve years ago I received an email from Maggie Evans in response to my Genealogy Forum query regarding the parents of Susannah Huffman who married John D. Berlin (my 4th great grandparents). Maggie is a descendant of Susannah's sister, Elizabeth. A second email from Maggie included some family group sheets that had been prepared in 1987 by a 2nd cousin of her father. They provided the names of Susannah's parents (John and Catherine Coy Hoffman) as well as her grandparents (Detrick and Susannah Alder Hoffman) and her great grandparents (Michael and Maria Engel Hoffman). I was thrilled while at the same time a little disappointed - the information on the family group sheets was not documented and Maggie didn't have any additional information.

There was no doubt on my part that Susannah's maiden name was Huffman since family Bible records and her obituary (published May 6, 1880 in the Nappanee Weekly News of Elkhart County, Indiana) provided that information: “Mrs. Susan Berlin, wife of John D. Berlin deceased, died at the residence of her son-in-law, L.B. Winder in Locke, Elkhart County, Ind. April 22, 1880, aged 76 years, 1 month and 13 days. The deceased was born in Columbiana County, Ohio, March 9, 1804. On the 16th of February 1826, she was married to John D. Berlin, her maiden name being Huffman...” Death records and obituary notices for some of her children corroborate that information.

It should be noted that the “Huffman” surname has been found in documents with various spellings such as Hufmon, Hafman, and Huffan but more commonly as Hoffman. I will be using the spellings as found in the documents.

In the intervening years I was contacted by another Hoffman/Huffman descendant, Kathy Foster, who among other family documents, provided copies of the estate file for John Hoffman. John's will (probated in 1860 in Columbiana County, Ohio) only named a daughter Catherine, and two sons, Jacob and John. The latter two were appointed administrators of his estate.

The will of John Hoffman dated January 26, 1860
Columbiana County, Ohio Estate Packet 4992
I John Hoffman Snr of The Town of Washingtonville County of Columbiana in the state of Ohio. (Being weak of Body but sound of mind and memory.) Do make and Publish this my last Will and Testament in manner and form as Follows.

First it is my will and I hereby order that my body be decently buried and that Suitable Tomb Stone with inscriptions be put up at my grave, and that all my just debts and funeral Expenses be duly paid as soon as conveniently can be done after My decease.

Second I give and bequeath unto my daughter Cathrine Hoffman all that certain House and lot with the buildings and appertenances thereunto belonging in the town of Washingtonville and marked Number (29) Twenty Nine in the original Town plat and I further will unto my said daughter Cathrine One White heifer now in my possession (and if said heiffer should not live after my decease, My Executor shall furnish one of Equal Value out of my Estate. and I further will unto her all my household and Kitchen Furniture now in my possession.

Third I will that my Executors herein after named. Sell at public sale Two Lotts of ground Lying North of Town adjoining the A. & N. Rail Road and also all other property not herein before devised and the proceed thereof to be added to the remainder of my Estate.

Fourth, 4th) I will that the remainder of My Estate both Real personal or mixed, after the above bequest be satisfied and paid shall be Equally Divided among all my children Share and share alike And it is my will that the amounts already received by my children for which I Hold their notes shall be deducted out of the share due them severally and individually.

And Lastly, I nominate and appoint My sons Jacob Hoffman & Jacob D. Hoffman to be my Executors - of this my last Will & Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seal this (Twenty sixth. 26) Day of January AD one thousand Eight hundred & sixty.

Johan Hoffman Senr [seal]"
Uriah C. Helman, John Ryan {witness present at signing & Sealing}
John's will named his executors as his two sons, Jacob Hoffman & Jacob D. Hoffman but his sons were actually named John and Jacob D. as shown in the Letter of Administration dated February 13, 1860.

Although John's will did not list all of his children, there was a document in the estate file that listed the amounts paid to the heirs: Mary Walker, Susan Berlin, Elizabeth Stauffer, Catherine Huffman, Margaret Weikart, Hannah Ruckman, Henry Huffman, Sarah Pfeiffer, Jacob Huffman, and John Huffman, Jr.

All three images are from Columbiana County, Ohio Estate Packet 4992
Family History Library Microfilm 2033366, scanned May 26, 2011

As with my Rupert and Switzer families in Columbiana County, I did very little research on the Hoffman family since receiving those documents - primarily due to lack of easily available resources. But having spent “a little” time at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in the past year I've been able to follow up on the information provided by other researchers.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The Huffman/Hoffman Kinexxion :: Susannah & John," Kinexxions, posted March 4, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

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