During a recent reunion at Shofner Lutheran Church in Shelbyville, TN, I had a conversation with James Rightman Blanks, the compiler of "The Shofner Family Genealogy" of 1989.We discussed the Shofner/Shoffner "disconnect," and did not come up with any particular conclusion as to the reason for it.
In my own line is an interesting example.According to the Blanks genealogy, my great-great grandparents, Austin and Rebecca Shofner(Shoffner?) had nine children, four of whom fought in the Civil War.The oldest, Plummer, joined and fought with the Union, while three younger brothers, Mitchell, Henderson and Monroe, all joined the Confederates.
Presumably, all four of them were raised with the same last name (whether one-f or two-f, I'm not sure).Today, the descendants of Henderson, one of the confederates, are "Shoffners," while, to the best of my knowledge, the descendants of the Union brother and the descendants of the other two Confederate brothers are all "Shofners."
Some basis other than political differences thus seems more likely for the different spellings, in this example, at least.
We also discussed the differences in Civil War alliegence within these four brothers.Mr. Blanks suggested that, in a border state like Tennessee, the split may well have been somewhat less idealogical, than practical.He theorized that there may have been a desire to have a position on "both sides of the fence" to protect the family lands from being appropriated by the eventual winner, North or South.Seems to me a rational possibility.