Through the keyhole

One of the aspects of my ancestry on my father’s side is the fact that so much of it funnels through a very narrow triangle in what is now York and Adams counties in Pennsylvania and then splits into at least two major streams — one heading more or less straight west, while the other heads down the Shenandoah Valley to North Carolina, before veering north to Ohio generations later, where they finally unite in the northwest corner of Montgomery County.

My Hodgson/Hodgin/Hodson line and my grandmother’s McSherry line both settled on Big Conawego Creek just miles apart in Adams County, while my grandmother’s Ehrstines settled on Codorus Creek just miles away in York County. Admittedly, they weren’t all there at the same time, but it does remain a tantalizing, tiny eye of a needle.

There’s at least one line, however, that may have known all three. The Hoovers (originally Huber) started out as part of the Dunker (German Baptist Brethren) in York County, where my Ehrstines were members.

Two members of the second generation, Daniel and David Hoover, moved their families to Randolph County, North Carolina, which briefly had two Dunker congregations. At some point, however, the Hoovers joined the Society of Friends, or Quakers, where they became part of Centre Friends Meeting, where my Hodgsons were active. While Centre’s meetinghouse was in Guilford County, it was close to the county line.

When Daniel and David relocated to Montgomery County, Ohio, they applied the name of Randolph County to their new township — and Randolph Township was where my Ehrstines settled in their leap from York County, Pennsylvania.

Daniel and David remained Quaker, even though Randolph Township rapidly became heavily Dunker. Joining them in the moves was their brother John, the grandfather of President Herbert C. Hoover.