Fonds MG 27 - Marion C. Keffer fonds

Marion Keffer reunion Marion C. Keffer

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Marion C. Keffer fonds

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CA ON00373 MG 27

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  • 1784-1988, predominant 1854-1988. (Creation)

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1.5 m of textual records
79 photographs : 6 tintypes, most in card photograph format or snapshots, 3 panoramas

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Biographical history

Marion Christena Keffer (1911-1987) was a scion of the Shunk and Keffer families, who were among Vaughan Township, Ontario's first settlers, arriving in the early 1800's. Marion was one of founding members of the Ontario Genealogical Society in 1961, its Vice President 1961-1971, later its Director, and an avid family historian. Marion was born on March 8, 1911 at Irvine, Alberta to William Michael Keffer and Lulu Shunk. The Keffers had moved to Alberta from Vaughan Township, Ontario ca. 1901. The Keffer family is counted among the first settlers in Vaughan Township, with brothers, Jacob and Michael arriving with their families from Brother’s Valley Township, Somerset County Pennsylvania in 1806. Jacob settled in Lot 12, Concession 3 and his sibling acquired Lots 9 and 10, Concession 3. The Keffers were nothing if not prodigious, for by 1906, in the 1000 acre block constituting the original Keffer lands, there were 125 Keffers. By 1970, nine generations of the Keffer family had lived in Vaughan. The Shunks (Schunck in German) also originated from Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Jacob Shunk purchased 200 acres located on Lot 8, Concession 4 from original grantee, Captain Richard Lippincott (a United Empire Loyalist) in 1804. Like the original Vaughan Township Keffers, the Shunks were Lutheran in terms of religious denomination. By the mid-1800's, the progeny of the above owned thousands of acres of property in Vaughan Township. In 1863, William Shunk married Mary McDougal of Scarborough Township (parents: William McDougal and Mary Loynachan), thus introducing a Scottish element to the otherwise Germanic Keffer-Shunk lineage. Marion Keffer came to find the history of her ancestors and the related study and practice of genealogy of great interest. Therefore, not surprisingly, she was one of the founding members (member no. 15) of the Ontario Genealogical Society. Her research, while focusing on her ancestors, came to encompass Vaughan township families as a whole. She ranged far and wide in these pursuits and was no stranger to the National Archives of Canada (then Public Archives of Canada), the Archives of Ontario (then Public Archives of Ontario), the Historical and Genealogical Society of Somerset County or any of a host of other research institutes. Nor were Ms Keffer’s forays into the realm of documentary evidence limited to the confines of the North American Continent - a fact to which numerous repositories in Great Britain can attest. The evidence also suggests that Ms Keffer was instructor in an introductory course sponsored by the OGS in genealogical methodology.

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Scope and content

The fonds consists of two sous-fonds: the Keffer Family papers, 1784-1901 (bulk 1854-1901), and the Marion C. Keffer papers, 1911-1988. The fonds reflects Marion’s activities and principal areas of interest. It also documents the role of the Keffer and Shunk families as well as a number of others on a somewhat smaller scale, in the development of Vaughan Township. In this regard, 19th century agricultural enterprises (size of farms, equipment, crops grown, market forces, local co-operatives) and the pioneer experience, in general, are particularly well-represented. The following records may be found in this fonds: Lutheran prayer book, 1784; marriage register, 1858-1872; Sherwood Grange, No. 205 (farmer's co-op similar to UFO) minute books, 1875-1887; Wm. Shunk copy book (arithmetic) from Edgeley School, 1854-1889; indentures and deed of land to Shunk property, 1854-1895; photoprints and textual material regarding Keffers and Shunks; Marion Keffer's personal papers; and notes and compilations of Marion Keffer regarding pursuit of genealogy in Ontario, and early Vaughan Township families. Fonds is comprised of the following series: Keffer-Shunk family papers Marion C. Keffer Personal Papers Keffer Family Reunion Genealogy/Family History Ephemera

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