Time for some Shefler Genealogy (also Sheffler, Scheffer, etc.)

Well, for long lost relatives who may be interested, here is some information on my genealogy. The first name below, Bruno A. Shefler, was my great grandfather on my father’s side.

Bruno A. Scheffer (later Shefler) was born in Poland in 1883 to Johann Gustav Bruno Scheffer (1859-) and his mother was Bertha Belka. We do not know when the Scheffers emigrated to the United States. Bruno married Bessie Estella Taylor (September 20, 1885-December 17,1923) on January 13, 1912 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The bride’s parents were Harvey E. Taylor and her mother was Sarah Ellen Willis of Indiana. The bride was born in Bangor Township, Van Buren, Michigan. At the time of their marriage, Bruno had a son (John L.) who was either six or four years old.  Since John L’s military death certificate lists his place of birth as Illinois, it is possible that Bruno arrived in Michigan via Illinois. Bruno’s occupation on the marriage certificate is listed as a galvanizer. At some point between 1920 and 1930, he anglicized the family name to Shefler and dropped Scheffer. According to the 1935 City Directory for Kalamazoo, he lived on 1424 Olmsted and was a station fireman (which may be the same as galvanizer, some kind of iron worker?).

Bruno Shefler

This photograph is not labeled but I believe it to be my great grandmother Bessie Shefler. Note the cameo she’s wearing with a face on it. I have a cameo with a man’s face on it. If my guesses are correct, the cameo Bessie is wearing contains the image of her mother Sarah Ellen Willis Taylor, and the cameo I own has Bessie’s father on it, Harvey Taylor.

This picture came with the two above… is it Bessie’s parents? The Taylors were farmers, so I don’t think so. I wonder if they are Bruno’s parents. I think the man looks like Bruno Shefler? What do you think?

The Shefler household was composed of the following children: John L. Shefler (1906 or 1908-July 6, 1927); Harvey A. Shefler (1913)*; Velma E. Shefler (1914-); Bertha H. Shefler (December 15, 1915-April 27, 1992); Francis B. Shefler (1918-), Glenn Shefler (1908?-1967?) and Pat Shefler (?).

This is a photo of Bertha Shefler (1915-1992), my grandmother:

Here’s a photo of Francis Shefler (1918-?), my grandmother’s sister:

Interestingly, in 1930, seven year’s after their mother’s death, Velma (16 years), Bertha (15 years) and Francis (14 years) were all listed as “inmates” in the Census. According to the record, their household is located near W. Dutton Street. The census lists the House Number as  827, which is significant, because around the corner from W. Dutton Street, at “827” Westnedge Avenue, was an institution called the Kalamazoo Children’s Home. According to the census document, Della F. Harris (61, widowed) is listed as matron , Flora Bissell (67) as housekeeper. I suppose that after my great grandmother Bessie’s death, Bruno put his daughters in a home because he couldn’t take care of them? More research on the way…

Also, more photographs on the way…

*According to Social Security death index, one Harvey Shefler, born in 1912, died on July 1979 in Cleveland, Oklahoma. He was married to Lucille C. Meyer (1916-1999), and served in World War II as a first Sergeant. He is buried at St. Joseph’s in Norman, OK.


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