Thursday, March 27, 2014

History of the Scofield Name

Our Scofield family heritage can be traced back 400 years in America to the birth of our country, and another 300 years in England to the middle ages in England.  

However, the Scofield name is most likely Nordic in origin from skali and feld - meaning "dweller by a field with a hut."

Scofield Family Crest

Scofield/Schofield is a common surname, especially in Lancashire, England where today there are an estimated 8000 Scofield families.

The predominant theory is the Scofields came to England during the  migration following the Norman conquest of England in 1066.    After the Conquest,  Normans, Frenchmen and Bretons from other parts of France settled in England. Early records mention John de Scolefeld who was recorded in the year 1343 in Lancashire and Edward Scholfield recorded in 1343 in Wakefield, Yorkshire. William Scoffield of County Lancashire, was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377).

The Scofield name is thought to have originated in  Escoville, Normandya small village near Caen, France.  Several sources indicate the Schofield family was granted lands in Lancashire by Duke William of Normandy for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  I haven't found actual documentation, instead, it may be a logical assumption based on the origin of the name as well as records, beginning in 1300s, documenting the Scofield family of Kent as landholders in Lancashire

A similar theory is the Scofields descended from Sir Esbern de Cillesfelle, a Norman Knight who came to England with the invading armies of Duke William in 1066. Sir Esbern's name appears in the "Domesday " Book of Kent.  Yet, this reference lacks evidence that the Scofields descended from De Cillesfelle.  In fact, De Cillesfelle is translated in English to Chelsfield, "open field."  Chesfield is an English Village aproximately 240 miles south of Rochdale, the home of the Scofield Hall.  It appears more likely that Sir Esbern de Cillesfelle established the village of Chelsfield, but is not an ancestor of the Scofield family.   

The Scofields indeed may have descended from the Normans who came to England in the 11th century gaining land and titles from the Duke of Normandy.  It is also possible that they simply took the name Scofield from their land, "Dweller by a field with a hut."  The Norman invasion is said to have transformed England's culture, language, politics and way of life.

If the Scofields did descend from the village of Escoville, Normandy France, what does that mean for our heritage, considering the Normans conquered northern France  about 100 years prior to the English, conquest....
Escoville is a tiny village in northern France with little documented history.  The nearby city of Caen, is actually known as "The City of William the Conquerer," for the buildings erected during his reign, including  Ch√Ęteau de Caen, one of the largest medieval fortresses, circa 1060, but also because William is buried in the city.  The first mentions of the name of Caen are found in acts of the dukes of Normandy inferring that the Normans may have built the city.  Certainly the Normans had great influence in the area, still there is no way to ascertain if a person emigrating from Escoville descended from French or Normans. In either case, the Normans, and Vikings before them, were, by nature, conquerers who migrated and assimilated with many cultures.

Spelling variations of the name include: Scofield, Skofield, Schofield, Scholefied, Schofelde, Scofielde, Scholefelde, Scholfield, Scofelte. Old and middle english did not have definitive spelling rules, thus it was not uncommon for one person to use different spellings within their lifetime.  In fact, our ancestor Richard Scofield is listed on the immigration ship to America in 1633 as "Richard Skofield," but in American records he used "Scofield."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cuthbert Scofield Family History

Beatrice P. (Scofield) Syska (my grandmother) is the daughter of Harry Scofield (1870-1965) and Maud Justina (Selleck) Scofield (1882-1968).  The families of both Harry and Maud can  be traced back to the first English colonies in Connecticut and Massachusetts.  In fact,  Richard Scofield  (my 9th great grandfather) came to America from Rochdale, Lancashire England in 1635 aboard the "Susan and Ellen" ship.  His brother, Daniel Scofield (my 8th great grandfather) followed in 1641, both settling in Stamford, Ct.

The Spanish Armada and English ships in August 1588 by unknown painterBeatrice is related to both Richard and Daniel, as well as a number of other early american settlers.  Beatrice's ancestory consists entirely of American colonists from the 1600's. I'll post more about that in subsequent blog (the ancestry is quite intertwined with a number of cousins marrying - due to limited number of settlers)

The Scofield (Skofield/Schofield/Scholefield) family can be traced in England to the middle ages.  Cuthbert Scofield (Richard and Daniel's grandfather) was born about 1540 to 1550 at the Scofield Hall in Lancashire England. Sir Cuthbert was knighted for his service against the Spanish Armada.  

  •  A photocopy of a page headed: Encyclopedia of Biography, from A History of England shows a sketch of Sir Cuthbert Scofield and identifies him as a younger son of the Scofields of Kent, who was knighted in 1588 by Queen Elizabeth I, for his services in the fight against the Spanish Armada. This entry indicates that Arms were granted to the family in 1582 and Cuthbert was granted Arms upon his knighthood. 
  • In 1290 the family became known as the 'Scofields of Kent'. Arms were granted to the family in 1582, under Queen Elizabeth I, as: Gules, a fess between three Bulls Heads, couped, argent. (Red shield, a silver band between three silver bulls heads cut off straight at the neck) 
  • The Scofield family took their name from the estate of Scholefield. Early references of the family include  'John de Scolefield' as witness to a charter around 1310 (Coucher Book of Whalley, p.692). More about the Scofield name and history of Scholefield Hall in next blog entry.
An Interesting Historical 'Affair'

Cuthbert Scofield was son of James Scofield and Anne Lathom, daughter of Edward Lathom of Parbold.  Cuthbert married Ann Halgh, daughter ( illegitimate) of Sir John Byron and Ann the wife of George Halgh, date unknown.   Around 1561 Cuthbert filed a suit in the Bishop's Court of Chester for a divorce from "the Lady Byron's daughter" on the plea of adultery

  • Documented depositions from Cuthbert's tailor and sister, Helen Scofield, both witnesses to the incident which state, Mrs. Scofield and Michael Goodricke were alone in an upper chamber of Scholefield Hall while Cuthbert was away with his mother at the Rochdale market. When Cuthbert returned, the tailor told him of the goings on, and he,  "got to his sword" in an attempt to slay Michael Goodricke and Ann Scofield who both escaped out a window.  Cuthbert pursued the couple and was seen chasing them across fields, swearing vengeance before they escaped to Rochdale.
  • William Lathom and his wife deposed that Michael Goodricke "brought a gentlewoman" into their house whom he called his wife and they stayed there for two months while waiting for passage to Ireland. Upon discovering she was Mr. Scofield's wife, they "presentlie rid ye house of them." 
  • Michael Goodricke and Ann Scofield soon afterward left for Ireland. Ann Scofield's friends testified that Cuthbert was remarkable for "hys hatrid that he bare vnto women" and his numerous infidelities.

Cuthbert Scofield fathered two sons out of wedlock with Jane Langley: Alexander Scofield, born 1588, and John Scofield, born 1590. The Rochdale Parish Register notes, “b 1588, baptized Alexander, filius of Mr. Cuthbeard Scofeld et Jane Langley."  

Since Cuthbert did not have any legitimate heirs, his estate, along with Scholefield Hall went to his nephew, Gerrard Scofield.  Cuthbert's illegitimate son, Alexander, under the guardianship of Cuthbert Holdsworth, sued his cousin Gerrard in 1601 for the "Manor of The Holt" (Scholefield Hall), but lost the case.   Alexander married Mary Norton and fathered Richard (1613-1669) and Daniel (1620-1671), both of whom emigrated to America.

Scholefield Hall once stood in the field in the foreground below the lake. The site was in hands of Schofield family for over 400 years.  In it's heyday, the Hall, most probably built about 1500, was one of the most spectacular in the region.  The ruins and remains are a tourist attraction in Rochdale, England, in part because many Americans can trace their heritage to the emigration of Richard and Daniel Scofield.

Monday, March 17, 2014

KEUPER Immigration to America


Elizabetha Keuper (my 2nd Great Grandparents) and Michael Emil Zimmermann are the parents of Lizzie Zimmermann Syska. 

Eliesabeth (Elizabetha) Keuper was born in 1841 in Lewis, NY.  She was the first child born to Johann Jacob Keuper (1807-1889) and Maria Dorothea Pfeiffer (1816-1886) a year after the family came to America.  The father, Jacob, had come first in 1836 and then in 1840 he went back to Prussia to get his wife.  The family lived in the Adirondacks region of NY - close to the border of Montreal- for three years then moved to Waukesha County, Wisconsin.  Four years later, in 1847, they relocated to Plymouth, WI.  They had three more children, Jacob, Maria and Charles, all born in Wisconsin.  The father Jacob was a farmer and in the livestock business.  His son Jacob, engaged in a number of businesses and local politics in Plymouth.  Elizabetha Keuper married Emil Zimmermann in Sheboygan, WI in 1866 and moved to Chicago, Illinois.

  • An article published regarding their son, Jacob (1845-1931), states Johann Jacob Keuper (b.1807) and his wife, Dora,  were from Troyer which is in the German state of Bayern or Bavaria, the southern part of the country that borders Austria, Switzerland and a small part of France.  Other sources state the parents were born in Thalfang which is father north along the western border shared with Belgium.  The Keupers list their homeland as Prussia on all Census records.  

  1. Johann Jacob Keuper was born the son of Johann Zacharias Keuper (b.1775) and Anna Elizabetha Fetzer (b.1782) both born in Germany, deaths unknown.                                      -
  2. Zacharias Keuper's parents were Johann Michel Keupper (1745-1780) and Elisabetha Barbara Schmidt (1742-1786). Michel was born in Luckenberg, Elisabetha in Gielroth, Germany. They were married in 1775 in Thalfang, Germany.                                                  -
  3. Michel's parents were Johann Nickel Keupper (1714-1780) and Anna Elisabetha Weinig (1716-1781). Nickel was born in Luckenburg, Anna in Talling and they were married in 1738 in Thalfang Germany. 
    1. The Keupper name appears to have been changed to Keuper in the 1700's          -
  4. Nickel's father was Johann Georg Keupper (1677-1728) born in Burtscheid, Germany. Mother unknown.
All of the family surnames (Keuper, Fetzer, Schmidt, Weinig) can be traced to the 1600's in Germany.  

The Zimmermann Family - Great Great Grandmother's family


Gottfried and Caroline's granddaughter, LIZZIE (b.1871), married  William F. Syska, SR. (b. 1866) and is our Great Great Grandmother.  

Lizzie is the daughter of Michael Emil Zimmermann(b.1838) and Eliesabeth Keusser (Keuper) Zimmermann (b.1841)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


In April of 1848, ‘Gottfried’ Friedrich Zimmermann (1799-1873) and his wife Dorothee Leceralin Caroline Thieme (1806-1885) -my great-great-great grandparents- left their homeland of Brandenberg, Germany and set sail for the New world on a ship named the ‘Howard’ with their eight children, ages 6 to 23.  Their journey aboard the Howard, from Brandenberg to the New York Harbor took 5 weeks and 3 days.  The family did not, however, settle in NY, instead sailing up the Hudson River to Albany, New York.  From there, the family headed for Wisconsin via a train, arriving in Evergreen City in Sheboygan county, WI on June 5, 1848.  Along the way the family stopped in Buffalo and Rochester and passed by three great lakes.

Gottfried and Caroline were married March 1825 in Germany and had 7 sons and 1 daughter,  all born in their native country.

Gottfried was the son of Fredrick Zimmerman (b. 1770) and Sophia Sejdow (b. 1774) both of whom were from Brandenberg in Central Germany.  Records indicate that they had 2 sons in addition to Gottfried who also emigrated to the united states.  The oldest, Johann, also settled in Wisconsin although his year of arrival is unknown. Caroline’s ancestry is unknown.

Upon arriving in Wisconsin, Gottfried, who was a shepherd in Germany and perhaps also a lawman, according to his application for emigration, purchased a ‘quarter section of land (160 acres) to farm in Wilson township.  In 1850 he added 120 additional acres.   Gottfried passed away in 1873.  Caroline then moved in with her daughter, Caroline Zimmermann Georges and resided with her daughter’s family until her death in 1885.  The oldest son Frederick Zimmerman (1825-1895) remained in Sheboygan county owning several business’ and holding political office.  Much of the family history is documented in a historical biography of Frederick Zimmermann in the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center.  Additionally, some records and photos were found at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Sheboygan.

The third youngest child, Michael Friedrich Emil (Emil) Zimmermann (1838 -1919)  married Elizabetha (Lizzie) Keuper  (1841-1935) on June 25, 1866 in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin- also my great-great grandparents.   Lizzie Keuper was born in Lewis, NY (near Syracuse), the daughter of Johann Jacob (John) Keuper (1807-1889) and Maria Dorothea Pfeiffer (1816-1886) who were both born in Thalfang, Germany which is in the southwest part of the country near the border of Belgium and France.  It is unknown when they emigrated to America or if they were married in Germany or the United States.  John Keuper’s family can be traced back another 4 generations in Germany to Johann Nickel Keupper (1714-1780) and his wife Anna Elisabetha Weinig (1716-1781).

Emil and Lizzie Zimmermann moved to Chicago between 1870 and 1880, according to the census records.  They had 6 children, one of whom was Dorothee Louise Elizabeth (Lizzie) Zimmerman.  The younger Lizzie married William F. Syska, Sr. in 1891.  The Syska family moved to New York sometime between 1900-1910.  Refer to previous post for the continuation of the Syska family tree.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Family and Life of William F. Syska Jr. (1896-1981) and Beatrice P. Scofield Syska (1906-1945)

William F. Syska Jr. (1896-1981) and Beatrice P. Scofield (1906- 1945) were married in 1926, location unknown.  

Beatrice Pearl Scofield was the daughter of Harry Francis Scofield (1870-1965) and Maud Justina Selleck Scofield (1882-1968), my great grandparents, both born and raised in Connecticut and descendants of early English settlers.  - more about the Scofield family history in future postings.  Beatrice grew up in Mamaroneck as the third of nine children.  She had four sisters- Edna, Helen, June and Maud- and 4 brothers- Francis, John, Maurice and Merlin. 

In 1910, the Scofield family's address is listed as Boston Post Rd,  Mamaroneck and Harry's listed profession was Grocery Clerk.  In 1920 when Beatrice was 13 years old, the family resided at Woodbine Ave. in Mamaroneck and Harry Scofield was employed as a Butcher at a Meat Market.   William's father owned a Meat Market in New Rochelle during the same time period.  It's possible, Beatrice and William's fathers knew one another through work.  The 1925 NY State Census shows the Scofield family residing on Rockland Ave. in Mamaroneck.  Beatrice was 19 years old and still living at home in 1925, the year before she married William. 

William and Beatrice had 10 children from 1928 to 1943.  On the 1940 census, William listed his profession as carpenter, but indicated he had only worked 26 weeks the year prior, earning $558.   Beatrice died, of stomach cancer, in 1945 at the age of 39.  She is buried in Beechwoods Cemetery, New Rochelle, NY in the Scofield Plot with her father who passed away in 1956.  It is unknown where William is buried.  He passed away in January of 1981. 

Census records and city directories indicate that William Jr. and Beatrice lived at multiple addresses all within New Rochelle while they were married:      
1930:  19 Burling lane New Rochelle, NY               
1936:  35 Clinton Place             
1938:  30 LeCount Place          
1940:  25 Church St.  

Children of William and Beatrice Syska:
Stanley M. (1928-2005), carpenter, married Margaret Hennessy Syska (1935-1989) has 3 children.
Douglas (1930) married Joan Bateman Syska and had 3 children 
Paul W. (1931-2011) married (living-private) and had 6 children 
Daughter (living-private) 
Daughter (living-private) 
Walter (1935-2010)  
Robert (1937-2007)   
Son (living - private info) Married (living- private) and had 2 children
Russell (1940-1978) First wife: (living- private); 2nd wife name unknown, had 2 children.   
Son (living - private info) 

Monday, March 10, 2014

William F. Syska and Lizzie Zimmerman Syska Family

In 1891, William F. Syska (b.1866-) married Dorothee Louise Elizabeth (Lizzie) Zimmerman (1871-1954) – my great grandparents.  Lizzie’s parents, Michael Friedrich Emil (Emil) Zimmermann (1838 -1919)  and  Elizabetha (Lizzie) Keuper  (1841-1935) were both of German Descent.   
*More about this to be posted subsequently in entry dedicated to  Zimmerman Geneology and my our Great Grandmother’s Heritage.
 I haven't found the location of William and Lizzie Syska's marriage, but with Lizzie’s family in Chicago and William’s in NY, it appears they moved back and forth until approximately 1908 when the settled in New York, at least for a while.

The oldest of their eight children, Erna J Syska was born in Chicago in 1892.  Four years later, their second child,  William F. Syska, Jr. (b. 1896) - my grandfather,  was born in New York.  According to Census records, Chester, Herbert and Clara were  born in Illinois in 1899, 1901 and 1904.  The 1900 Census has William and Lizzie residing in the same household with Lizzie’s parents in Chicago. Then in 1905, their sixth child, Stanley, was born in Missouri.  The last two children, Adiele E. (b.1908) and Gladys L (b.1910) were both born in New York.  The 1910 census has the family residing in the Bronx. William owned and operated a Meat Market in New Rochelle, NY.   Sometime prior to 1920 the family moved to Fairfield Connecticut.  Together, William and Lizzie owned several pieces of land in Fairfield Connecticut and appeared to be doing well.  he 1927 Bridgeport Telegram, states, “Ms Adele Syska, is planning a trip to Holyoke, Mass after the Fourth of July.” 

William and Lizzie moved to Daytona Beach Florida in approximately 1930 where they spent much of the remainder of their lives and helped to raise some of their grandchildren.  The 1940 census has them residing with their daughter Gladys Syska Horton and her three children.    At some point, William and Lizzie returned to Connecticut.  William F. Syska’s Sr. obituary (in the Bridgeport Telegram) indicates he died at the age of 89 on February 6, 1956 in North Turkey Hill, CT. where he resided with a different daughter before his death.  His wife, Lizzie passed away two years earlier also in Connecticut on July 11, 1954 at the age of 83.

William Syska Sr. and Lizzie Zimmerman’s eight children included Erna J. Syska Braun (1892-), William F. Syska Jr. (1896-1981), Chester Emil Syska (1898-1983), Herbert Paul Syska (1900-1974), Clara Edith Syska Vogt Keller (1903-2001), Stanley E. Syska (1905-1979), Adiele E. Syska Burns (b. 1908-), Gladys L. Ellis Allard Horton (b-1910-2002) 


On June 15, 1885, Johnann ‘Adolph’ Szyzska (b.1824--1916) arrived in New York with his family having departed from Bremen, Germany aboard a ship called the Donau. Adolph, 61, came with his wife, Anna Carolina Petroll (1834-1895) and 4 of his 9 children to the United States.  The Passenger list is difficult to decipher, but it appears the children are Pauline, Bertha, Ottillie and possibly August.  Several of his older children emigrated to the US before this date.  Census records indicate Mary Wanda came in 1874 with her sister Augusta arriving in 1876.  In 1879, Adolph Gustav Szyzska (1861-1940) moved to America while his brothers Gustav Syska (1856- )  and William F. Syska (1866-1956) gave their dates of immigration as 1882 and 1883, respectively. 

The political situation in Poland/Prussia/Germany at the time, could conceivably have impacted the family's decision to emigrate  from their home in the Poznan province.    Poznan (also called Wielkopolski), is a large province with both a sizable Polish and German population.  In 1793, during the partition of Poland, Poznan became a province of Prussia, but in 1848, it was annexed as part of the German Confederation. Germanisation policies, including restricting polish language in schools and land seizures, were adopted to attract German settlers.  It was during this time that the Szyzska family moved to the USA.  After  WWII, Poznan was returned to Poland, but by then the Szyzska’s and their descendants were Americans!

Upon arrival, the Szyzska family settled in New York City, but ten years later, Carolina died on November 9, 1895.  Adolph and Carolina were  married on June 9, 1851 in Radlow, Oder-Spree, Brandenburg, Germany.  Carolina was the daughter of Johann Christian Petroll (1801-1855) and Anna Dorothea Gumpett (1811-1853), both from the Poznan province as well.  After the death of his wife, Adolph lived with his daughter Augusta  and her husband, Hiram Hoffman, in the Bronx until his death in 1916 (according to 1910 census). 

Adolph has a great many descendants and it appears that most, if not all, the Syskas in this country can trace their heritage to Adolph and Carolina (although there are a number of similar names that appear unrelated – Sisco, Cisco etc.)   At some point prior to 1900, the family name was changed from Szyzska to Syska.  The 1900 census has the name spelled as SYSKA.  Adolph listed his occupation as a farmer on the ship coming to the United States but it is unknown if he worked in the USA..
Adolph and Carolina had 9 children – Augusta 'Amalie' (Syska) Plate Hoffman (b. 1852 - 1935),  Anna Wilhelmina Syska (b. 1855), Gustav Syska (1856- ),  Johann Julius Syska (1857-1857),  Wanda Syska Gerlach (b.1858-1948), Adolph G. Syska  (b. 1861-1940), Ottillie (Syska) Strassle (b.1863), William F. Syska (b. 1866-1956) - my great grandfather,  Pauline B. (Syska) Brunotte (b. 1869-1938), August W. Syska (b. 1871-1955), and Bertha J. Syska (b. 1875-1949). 

*OF NOTE - Adolph G. Syska (1861-1940) married Katherine Stapelfield and had a son Adolph G. Syska (b. 1889) – my grandfather’s first cousin,  who co founded the Syska Hennessey engineering firm in New York City in 1928.  

Stanley M. Syska Family Tree

Stanley M. Syska (b.1928-2005) - Oldest Child of William F. Syska (1896-1981) and Beatrice P. Scofield Syska (1906-1945)
Add caption

The Syska Family Genealogy blog is created to share our family history and make connections.  I think you will find the information quite interesting and I would love to hear from anyone who has information, questions or comments.   

The Syska  Family was a mystery to me as I was growing up.  Although we have countless cousins, we were spread so far apart, geographically and socially. A year ago I began my adventure to trace our roots on my father's side with very little information.  I only knew my parents and grandparents names and where my father grew up, but Syska is not a very common name.  It turns out that most of the Syskas in the United States descended from my second great grandparents:  Johnann Adolph Szyzska(1824-1916) and Anna Carolina Petroll (1834-1895).  Adolph and Carolina came to America from a part of Prussia that was originally in Poland.  

During this journey I have also traced my great grandmother's family, the Zimmermans who settled in Sheboygan Wisconsin and the Keupers, both families of German origin, as well as my grandmother, Beatrice Scofield's, family, the Scofields and Sellecks who settled in southern NY and CT and descended from the early English settlers.

I am going to post all my research to date, but new and updated information is constantly available.  Most recently, I found my grandmother, Beatrice Scofield's grave, which was significant in confirming the date of her death and her father's name.  Hopefully, you will find this blog enlightening and will want to share the information, documents, photos or stories you have.