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 SHIRK. 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).
Four books in the Pennsylvania Room of the Centre County Library in Bellefonte apparently deal with the Shirk family. They are: Nancy Betts' John Shirk, Veteran of War of 1812; His Ancestors and Descendants (1934); J. Marvin Lee's Descendants of Jacob and Barbara (Shirk) Houser (1976); J. Marvin Lee's The Houser Record (1994 ed. of 1976 work with index by R. Fred Houtz); and, Henry Shirk's The Shirk Family Histoty and Genealogy from 1665 to 1914 (1914).
There are several different first-name entries for Shirk 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' SHIRK neighbors in 1890:
In BELLEFONTE Borough:
Jacob Shirk, 29, laborer--49 Pine Minnie
In BENNER Township:George, 22, laborer--Bellefonte
In COLLEGE Township:Caroline--State College
In HARRIS Towsnhip:Miss F.--Linden Hall
In HUSTON Towsnhip:Alice--Martha Harriet--Julian
In MILESBURG Borough:Joseph, 36, saddler Anna F. Harry 13 Jessie Mary
In PATTON Township:James H., 30, laborer--Buffalo Run Mary E. Effie Eva Ellsworth
In POTTER Township:Harry C., 37, farmer--Potters Mills Elizabeth E. Charlie H. 7 Lizzie J.--Potters Mill Agnes W.
In PHILIPSBURG Borough:Jacob, 35, laborer--Cherry St. Mary J. Mintie George W. 11 Elizabeth Emma M. Sarah A. Edna
In RUSH Township:Elmer E., 23, laborer--Philipsburg
In Spring Township:Samuel, 41, laborer--Bellefonte Mary E. Rebecca J. Jacob 17 James C. 15 Samuel C. 12
In UNION Township:George, 30, farmer--Fleming Mary E. Jacob W., 31, farmer--Fleming Fannie Fountain 3 William T., 38, farmer--Fleming Rebecca Mary P. Myrtle E. Lula M. Boyd I. Jennie