Scholefield Family Tree

The sources I have located have stated that Harmanus DeGraff, Helen Scholefield’s father, was born in 1800; however, I also find possible matches who were born in 1796 or 1791. Which do I choose to believe? More evidence is needed. (And here is some…)

The 1840 Census reports:
Harmonus DeGraff of Amsterdam1
One male age 40-50, one male age 80-90.
One female under 5, one female 15-20, one female 20-30.

Harmonus DeGraff of Mohawk2
One male under 5, one male 20-30, one male 40-50, one male 80-90.
One female 15-20, one female 20-30, one female 50-60.
Page 2: Revolutionary pensioner in home, John DeGraff age 86

(I think these are actually the same household, enumerated twice. He might have had two homes or one time the census taker talked to a neighbor who reported information about the family which didn’t include a farmhand and mixed up the sex of the new baby and didn’t know about the pension…many explanations could be concocted! Because of the similarity, I doubt that there is more than one Harmonus here.)

1830 Census:
Harman Dgeoff of Johnstown (Look at the image and it is Harmanus Degraff — found with a search on Ancestry for first name Har* in Montgomery Co, NY)3
One male 10-15, one male 30-40.
One female 40-50.

In attempting to track the migration of a family, it is advisable to double check the location of the places mentioned records as you locate them. In this case — there looks to be NO MIGRATION! One of my favorite places to check on the history of places is Wikipedia. There I found that Mohawk was formed from parts of Johnstown in 1837.4 And both are in the Amsterdam area. Therefore, the family didn’t move between 1830 and 1840, the town boundaries did.

The data boils down to the fact that it appears that the only man with the name Harmanus DeGraff in Montgomery County around the time that Helen was born was himself theoretically born between 2 Jun 1791 and 1 Jun 1801 (remember that each age category is “of x age and below y age” and the censuses were to report the household makeup as of the first of June in 1830 and 1840). I say theoretically, because it is possible that the age may be off.

There is not quite enough data to truly rule out the Harmanus born in January of 1791. And with the addition of John the pensioner, I have added to the list of possible fathers.

Research Plan:

  1. Check on the other DeGraffs in the area for each census — they might be brothers!
  2. Check on John DeGraff’s pension record at Footnote.

1. 1840 U.S. census, Momtgomery County, New York, Amsterdam Township, p. 284 (stamped), 67 (handwritten), line 26, Harmonus Degraff; digital images, ( : accessed 30 Nov 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M704, roll 296.
2. 1840 U.S. census, Montgomery County, New York, Mohawk Township, p. 307 (stamped), 113 (handwritten), line 27, Harmonus Degraff; digital images, ( : accessed 30 Nov 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M704, roll 296.
3. 1830 U.S. census, Montgomery County, New York, Johnstown Township, p. 208, line 19, Harmanus Degraff; digital images, ( : accessed 30 Nov 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M19, roll 95.
4. Wikipedia contributors, “Mohawk, Montgomery County, New York,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (,_Montgomery_County,_New_York&oldid=279209765 : accessed 30 Nov 2009).


Scholefield Family Tree

It behooves the serious researcher to remember that not all search engines have indexed every part of the web. In this case, a search on Dogpile for
“harmanus degraff” turns up the following result from Ask and Bing:

blockquoteSimon, son of Daniel, born April 6th, 1753, married December 6th, 1779, first, Annatie, daughter of Simon Schermerhorn. She died September 21st, 1783, leaving one child, Gezina, who died young. He secondly married, April 12th, 1787, Jannete, daughter of Harmanus Bradt. Their children were:

Daniel, born August 12th, 1788, who married a daughter of the old surveyor, Josias Swart; also a son named Harmanus, born January 8th, 1791; also a daughter named Annatje, born August 23d, 1794, and now the widow of Alexander Van Eps, and residing in Schenectady.

Simon DeGraff’s first wife, Jannete, was a sister of Maus and John Schermerhorn, deceased, aged citizens so long and favorably known in this community.1

Searching for “De Graff” turns up the following which contains an iteration of the data about Simon’s family as well as another possibility:

blockquoteISAAC, son of Johannes, m. Sarah, dau. of Johannes Toll, Jan. 16, 1791. She was b. May 18, 1773, and d. Dec. 3, 1814, in Glenville. Ch. b: Johannes, July 11, 1791; Simon, Oct. 30, 1793; Harmanus, June 9, 1796; Arent, March 5, 1799; Catharina, Dec. 20, 1801, d. Feb. 8, 1802; Annatje, Jan, 31, 1803, d. June 15, 1806; Daniel Toll, Oct. 17, 1805; Isaac, Sept. 12, 1808, d. at West Glenville, Dec. 2, 1854; Abraham, May 15, 1812.2

Searching for “harmonus degraff” turns up a message board post that states that Alonzo’s father Harmonus was born in 1796 and died in 1892.3 Since the death date is so far off, was this person correct? How does this person know that the Harmanus born in 1796 is the one we want instead of the one born in 1791?

I’ll have to see if I can answer these questions!

1. Austin A. Yates, Schenectady County, New York: Its History to the Close of the Nineteenth Century (1902), 250-255; transcription, The Schenectady Digital History Archive ( : downloaded 2 Nov 2009).
2. Johnathan Pearson, Contributions for the Genealogies of the Descendants of the First Settlers of the Patent and City of Schenectady, from 1662 to 1800 (1873); transcription, The Schenectady Digital History Archive ( : downloaded 2 Nov 2009).
3. Robb DeGraff, “Re: Isaac Degraaf father of Eva-early1700’s,” DeGraff Family Genealogy Forum, message board, 4 Apr 2001 ( : accessed 2 Nov 2009).