This column is part of a feature series which focuses on a different Centre County family each week. Five new columns will be released each month unless some technical difficulty enters the picture.
This column's focus is on Neff. An effort has been made to identify all persons carrying that name in the 1890 U.S. Census, using the Centre County business directory which was formed from a preliminary review of that census before the larger set of 1890 U.S. Census records was destroyed by fire. (Sadly, the postal directory does not typically provide the ages of females, but it's the best record we've got).
Two books in the Pennsylvania Room of the Centre County Library in Bellefonte apparently deal with the Neff family. They are: William A. Neff's Neff-Naf Family History, A History of the Descendants of Henry Neff, Manor (Hempfield) Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (1991) and Lois Nickerson Wilkins' Portrait of a Church: A Story of the Long Family of Livonia, New York (1976).
There are 18 different first-name entries for Neff in John Blair Linn's History of Centre and Clinton County (1883). In addition, there are many references to the name in Beers' Commemorative Biographical Record of Central Pennsylvania (1898).
And, now, your ancestors' NEFF neighbors in 1890:
In BOGGS township:
George M., 27, farmer--Mt. Eagle Lula B. Mary Mary E. John E., 26, carpenter--Milesburg Sadie Maud Sarah Fannie A. Joseph L., 54, farmer--Roland Margery E. John C. 25 Howard B. 15 Cora A. Chester L. Benjamin F. 9 Sarah E. Joseph L., 22, laborer--Roland Carrie M. Alice S. William E. 24
In HOWARD Township:William, 53, farmer--Mt. Eagle Mary E. Edgar A. 7 John H. 5 Lottie H. 4 William F. 2
In POTTER Towsnhip:Jacob L., 63, farmer--Centre Hall Mary A. Calvin R. 30 Charles B. 22
In RUSH Township:Reuben D., 32, physician--Philipsburg Bessie A. Charles J. 13 Robert B. 6 George H. 2 Woods M., 22, laborer--Philipsburg
In WALKER Township:Catharine--Zion George W., 22 Cline A., 39, laborer--Zion Rebecca L. James P., 36, farmer--Zion Anna M. Claude M. 5 Emma J.