My Branch Introduction & Summary:
My immersion into genealogy and the research of my Yinger family history began with a simple goal. My father, Gerald A. (Bud) Yinger and his three sisters never knew anything about their paternal grandfather. Their father, Vernon H. Yinger was born on April 28, 1901 to a young unmarried couple. Vernon’s mother was named Edith May Davis. She was born in 1883. Therefore, at the time of Vernon’s birth she would have only been 17 or 18 years old.
Edith did not marry Vernon’s father. His last name was assumed by my father and his sisters to be Yinger because Vernon carried that family name. In 1909 Edith married a man named Harry Willis. In the 1910 census Vernon Yinger, my grandfather, is listed as a step-son in the household of Harry Willis and Edith May (Davis) Willis in the New Cumberland section of Cumberland County. They indicate they had been married on the census form for one year in 1910.
Later Harry Willis and Edith May (Davis) Willis had three sons named Harry, Clyde and Gordon Willis. These were half brothers of my grandfather, Vernon Yinger. This was the family Vernon identified with and naturally connected his 4 children to as they came along and grew to adulthood and had families of their own.
Vernon Yinger knew who his biological father was according to my father and his three sisters. However, Vernon chose to not share that information with his children. He deliberately kept the identity of his biological father a mystery from my father and his sisters. It was a taboo subject in their home.
Various theories existed in the minds of my father and his sisters over the years about the situation. Perhaps Vernon was uncomfortable with being born out of wedlock. Perhaps he felt abandoned or unwanted by his biological father. Allegedly on one occasion in later adulthood, Vernon’s biological father came to see him and was rebuffed by my grandfather for reasons that are largely speculation.
Another suggestion was that Vernon’s parents were both very young at the time of his conception and birth and they were forbidden by their respective families to marry each other in spite of the pregnancy. At any rate a code of silence on the subject was maintained by Vernon, his wife Anna Frantz Hocker, his mother Edith May (Davis) Willis, and any other Davis, Willis or Hocker family members who may have been privy to the identity of Vernon’s biological father.
One clue which came from a member of the older generation was that it might be productive to look for a trail in York County which was adjacent to Cumberland County where Vernon lived and raised his family. However, my father and my aunts never knew what records to look for or how to go about such a search. Furthermore, to do so while their father Vernon was still living would have likely met with serious family friction.
This was the situation I faced when a desire began to build in me to know something of my Yinger family heritage. I had always been curious and occasionally I expressed my desire to know to my father and aunts as time passed. We all wanted to know the truth, but did not know how to approach solving the mystery.
In late 2002 when I was 48 years old I decided to do something about the problem. My father Bud Yinger was facing increasingly serious heart and health problems and I wanted to find out something before he was no longer living. I was faced with an additional problem of geography. While I had been born and grew up in Cumberland County, in 1972 I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Lipscomb University where my mother, Edna (Baty) Yinger had attended for a short time in the 1940’s.
I have been living in the Nashville, Tennessee area ever since that time and have only been able to visit my childhood home and extended family in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania once or twice a year for relatively short visits. If the search was to be made in York County, Pennsylvania, I sure was not geographically close enough to begin poking around in that county’s records.
It was at this point that I tripped across the web site www.familysearch.org which is operated by the Mormons. One of the resources available on their web site was the 1880 census which was indexed permitting searches by surname. A quick search revealed, sure enough, a significant number of Yinger families in York County, Pennsylvania in the 1880 census. I printed all of the family units for Yinger families in the 1880 census in York County and began to familiarize myself with some of the relationships.
Shortly afterward I realized by fumbling around on the Mormon web site that they had an enormous amount of microfilmed records for York County, Pennsylvania in their holdings. Furthermore, I learned that many of the records could be ordered from the main library in Salt Lake City, Utah and shipped to a local Mormon Family History Center near my home in Franklin, Tennessee for my viewing.
I searched again on the Mormon web site and discovered that their was a microfilm #22148 titled “York County, PA Births, volume 1-3, 1893-1902.” This was too good to be true. We knew that my grandfather, Vernon H. Yinger had been born on April 28, 1901 so, if he was, in fact, born in York County, PA as family lore suggested, perhaps his birth would be recorded on this document.
I went to the local Family History Center in Franklin, Tennessee which is inside the Mormon Church facility and placed an order for this film. Finally it arrived on Wednesday, December 18, 2002 and I went to view it that same evening. I brought my father, Bud Yinger and my mom Edna Yinger with me and we were not disappointed.
Clearly recorded on the microfilm copy of the York County register of births was the birth of my grandfather on April 28, 1901 to Edith Davis and Dave Yinger! Eureka!! After all these years, we had a name to go on. It was at that instant that I became hooked on family history research. This was the long sought after revelation appearing right before our eyes in Franklin, Tennessee, 700 miles away from York County, Pennsylvania. Wow, that was awesome!
This same record is also available at the York County Archives of course which is in a quiet section of the city of York. However, it demonstrated to me that I could indeed do significant research on this long desired family history project from my very distant location.
For the record, a scanned image of the photocopy I made from the microfilm appears below indicating the birth of my grandfather Vernon H. Yinger to Dave Yinger and Edith Davis in Fairview Township of York County, Pennsylvania on April 28, 1901. Note that at the time the entry was made in the birth registry, a given name was not recorded for my grandfather, only his family name of Yinger and the fact that he was a male is indicated:
Once the name of Vernon’s father was known (Dave) the rest became an amazing, frustrating, exhilarating, and very rewarding family history project which continues to this day.
My research began to refocus on determining who Dave Yinger was. Who were his parents? What I discovered in my research was that David U. Yinger was the youngest child born to George K. Yinger and Hannah (Updegraff) Yinger.
He was born in 1882 and died in 1966 and is buried in Terre Hill Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA where he and his wife Sallie Weaver raised a large family who were half brothers and half sisters to my grandfather, Vernon H. Yinger. David U. Yinger and Sallie (Weaver) Yinger were married in about 1910 according to later census records I have viewed which indicate how many years they had been married.
This web site contains a large volume of materials based upon my research which all began with a discovery of the birth record connecting my grandfather, Vernon H. Yinger to David Yinger and his ancestors. Ultimately my research carried me back to our common immigrant ancestor Johann Paul Jünger who arrived in Philadelphia on September 15, 1748 aboard the ship “Two Brothers” captained by Thomas Arnot.
Here are some photographs of my direct paternal ancestors to place faces with their names which are presented in the family tree for my direct line of descent which follows. Note in particular the resemblance between my great grandfather David's facial features and my father Gerald "Bud" Yinger's facial features:
David U. Yinger Gerald A. “Bud” Yinger
My great grandfather My Father
Vernon H. Yinger Samuel E. Yinger
My grandfather Myself
The accompanying lineage chart for my line connects me to Johann Paul Jünger the courageous and perhaps somewhat desperate Germanic ancestor who is the patriarch of the Yingers of York County, Pennsylvania. My lineage chart can be viewed at the following link on this web site:
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