I have written a post covering my father’s side of family history, now I will be discussing my mother’s.
My mom, Cynthia Kellogg, was born from Edgar Lutz (Gramps) and Lorene Schaeffer (Gram.)
Beginning with the Lutz side — the oldest “Lutz” I was able to track down (through Ancestry.com) was “Christopher Lutz,” born 6 Nov 1766, died 21 Jan 1839. He was from the Berks County of Pennsylvania area, which can be said for the absolute majority of the Lutz (and Shaeffer) history.
The furthest back I could go on the Lutz side (through Ancestry) is all the way into the 1500s. These names include George [Jeorg] Schneider (born 1597, Switzerland); Hans Peter Gerltzenleuchter Stork Roth (born 1544, Switzerland); and Hans Martin Mould (born 1530, Germany.) The absolute majority of Lutz ancestors come from Germany, with a select few from Switzerland, France, and Hungary.
Around 1600s-1700s is when most migrated to the USA. It seems that the entirety of American Lutz’s resided in Berks County, Pennsylvania from the seventeenth century into the twentieth. So, that makes for three-hundred years of Pennsylvanian culture engrained into this family.
Henry & Lovina Fisher: ~1800s
Miraculously, I was able to find a Lutz photo from the mid-1800s. This is possibly the oldest surviving photo of this family line.
In this photo, is husband and wife, Henry Weaver Fisher and Lovina Keller Fisher. They were both born in Berks County, PA, where they spent their entire lives. Lovina was born in 1818, and Henry, 1817. They gave birth to Maria Fisher in 1845 — records of other children are currently unknown.
Henry and Lovina are Lammas’s great-grandparents, and Edgar’s great-great grandparents. That also makes them my mother’s 3rd great-grandparents, and my own 4th great-grandparents.
Lammas & Mabel, Edgar’s parents
Edgar’s father (my great-grandfather) was Lammas N Lutz. Lammas was born August 2nd, 1892, from Nathaniel H Lutz (1868-1923) and Louisa F Sunday (1867-1945). Louisa’s mother is Maria Fisher, whose parents are Henry & Lovina from the earlier photo. And her father is Hiram Jacob Sunday.
I found this to be very interesting — Louisa’s father’s last name is “Sunday,” but going back to her great-great grandfather, his last name is “Sontag.” Johan Henrich Sontag was born in Germany in 1710, but died in Berks County, PA in 1776. The word “Sontag” in German translates to “Sunday” in English. This is yet another example of immigrants from this time being forced to change their last name into the English language.
Lammas had many, many siblings: Ammon, Elmer, Eva, Anna, John, Ada, Norman, and William. His parents also had an infant son, who died before baptism and therefore was never given a name.
In 1929, Lammas began operating the watermill known as “Sunday’s Roller Mill.” The mill was run solely by Lammas and his brother Norman. It had been built in 1820 and originally ran by Jacob D Sunday, his grandfather.
Here is an article that was written about Lammas and the watermill, from 1956.
“Down by the old Mill Stream…” That old, singable song stirs romantic memories among many in the older generations. For the present “rock ‘n roll” generation, the romance of milling “down by the mill stream” in North Heidelberg Township could be unfolded for their utter amazement.Sunday Eagle Magazine, 1956
Lammas married Mabel Hartman (born June 25, 1891). They had four children: Laura May (1916), Jennie Mary (1918), Kathryn (1923), and Edgar, the youngest (1926).
Above is a photo of Lammas and Mabel, Edgar’s parents. Below, is a photo of Edgar and his three, older sisters in their elder ages. (Laura, Jennie, Katheryn, Edgar.) This photo was likely taken around 2000.
And here is the gang hanging out on lawn chairs…
Laura May Lutz, Edgar’s oldest sister, married Lloyd and they did not have children. I am named after her; she is my great aunt.
Now, moving into Lorene’s (my grandma’s) side of the family…
The furthest Schaeffer lineage I could locate was Hans Fenner (1616-1680) and Eva Valetin (1616-1673), both from Germany. From what information is given, the only other country that appeared besides Germany was France — Sarah Coquelin was born in 1727, and moved to Berks County, PA at some point in life before her death in 1786.
It seems that the Schaeffer story is nearly identical to the Lutz: the majority of relatives from Germany, migrated to Berks County, Pennsylvania, USA in the 1700s, and remained there for the following two or three centuries.
The truly last known Schaeffer is Michael H Schaeffer, born July 28th, 1829, in Upper Tulpehoken, Berks County, Pennsylvania. He passed on April 17, 1829. His father was John (Johann) Schaeffer, but there is little known about him.
Michael Schaeffer was Lorene’s great-grandfather. He married Anna Maria Brossman (May 13, 1831 – Jan 15, 1899), Lorene’s great-grandmother.
The next few parts in this lineage is very tragic.
John was born in 1858, and Elizabeth E Bordner in 1868. These are Lorene’s grandparents, and Curtis’s parents.
In the fall of 1911, John hung himself in his barn and passed away. This is an incident that was not spoken of much in the family, so the details surrounding it are unclear. My mother had theorized that it had to do with poverty and possibly feeling like he was a failure to his family for not being able to provide for them.
Curtis & Mabel, Lorene’s parents
Curtis Michael Schaeffer was around 19-years old when his father committed suicide. In young adulthood, he fought in WWI. According to my mom and her sisters, Curtis refused to speak about his time in war. When they asked him about it, he would tell them, “all I did was peel potatoes” and would not explain any further. Curtis would also sing a lot of soldier’s songs with his thick, PA Dutch accent in his elder age.
Curtis married Mabel Esther Klopp. This Mabel is not to be confused with Mabel Hartman — that’s right, Edgar and Lorene both had mothers named “Mabel” — what are the odds?
Below, is Mabel’s family portrait. This shows her parents, grandma, and siblings. Mabel is standing between her brother and sister. The little baby in the photo is also her sibling — there is a large age gap!
Mabel attended school up until the eighth grade. She was forced to skip high school in order to start working on the farm and helping her family with money. At that time, it was not uncommon for girls to miss out on high school, but Mabel would have finished her education if she could. Below, is her eighth grade graduation diploma.
And here is a certificate of Mabel’s baptism when she was a baby…
Here is a photo of Mabel and Curtis on their wedding day. Notice how her wedding dress is black!
Curtis Michael Schaeffer was born Nov 29th, 1892 and Mabel, July 22nd, 1904. They had three children: Arlan, Elizabeth (Betty), and Lorene. Shortly after Arlan finished high school, he was recruited to fight in WWII, and passed away shortly after. He lived from 1925 to 1944, only to the young age of nineteen-years old. Curtis and Mabel had lost their child, and Lorene and Betty lost their brother.
Here is a photo of Arlan:
For my mom and her siblings growing up, Curtis and Mabel were known as “Pop pop” and “Grandma Shaeffer.” It’s astonishing to think about how heavy their struggles were and how much tragedy they both experienced, but family stories of them always highlight their boisterous sides.
Curtis (Pop pop) was known to have a big, warm personality. I recall my mom’s family telling stories about him, imitating his extremely thick, PA Dutch accent. And Mabel had a wild sense of humor, was known for dressing up as a clown on occasion. She was very theatrical; she really enjoyed singing, dancing, and music, as well as playing the organ. When Lorene and Betty were young, they would have the neighbor kids over and play records.
For how much they went through, it’s incredible to know that their joyful and silly personalities prevailed. Perhaps all of the difficulties taught them not to take life too seriously. You hear of people becoming resentful and bitter in their old age — this most certainly did not apply to Curtis and Mabel (Pop-pop and Grandma Shaeffer.)
Curtis passed away in 1979, and Mabel passed on when my mother was less than three months pregnant with me in 1994. Just prior to announcing her pregnancy with the family was right when it happened.
Edgar & Lorene
This brings us forward to Edgar Lutz and Lorene Shaeffer: my mother’s parents, my own grandparents. To me, they were known as “Gram and Gramps.”
The two were both born in raised in the same, small town in Pennsylvania. They married when Lorene was twenty-six, which was considered “old” during that time. Lorene was very much a free spirit, who had received a marriage proposal from a high school boyfriend, but she denied him because she felt too young to settle at the time.
To get a better picture of just how small her hometown was, here is a photo of Betty’s (Lorene’s sister) graduating high school class — seven students, Betty being only one of two girls. Betty said that she really did not like attending such a small school!
Here is a glamour shot of Lorene…
Lorene graduated high school and had some different jobs throughout her life, including secretary work and teaching children. She sang in the choir and played piano. In her youth, she had a beloved horse named “Blackie.” One day while riding Blackie, she lost control and the horse took her riding into town. Thank goodness, they were halted by “Monkey Messner,” the town’s mechanic, who saved the day!
Edgar served in WWII, although according to the stories I’ve been told, his role did not involve much fighting, or something along those lines. He certainly did a lot of traveling. His most memorable moment was crossing the equator, which was a major event. In this letter written to his parents, he describes quite the wildness of it all!
Edgar attended Penn State University, where he earned a degree as an engineer. If you know anything about engineers, then you can infer much about Edgar’s personality, as he completely had the stereotypical “engineer’s mind.”
They would go on to have a total of five children: Nancy, Cynthia (Cyndy), Deborah (Debbie), Arlan, and Mark.
People are surprised to hear that my mom actually never lived in Pennsylvania — considering how heavy this state is in her family background. Her and her siblings had to move around a lot because of Edgar’s job situation, living in different parts of New Jersey as well as Massachusetts at one point.
I have many lovely photos of Edgar and Lorene, in both their younger and elder years…
I also have some great photos of Mabel (AKA Grandma Shaeffer!) Her smile is so absolutely precious!
Early 2000s & 2010s
Edgar (AKA Gramps) passed away when he was in his mid-seventies, in the summer of 2004. I was nine-years old at the time. He lived the end of his life with Alzheimer’s disease. I may have not been able to get to know him the way he truly was, but I do have vivid memories, and I could still feel his personality despite this disease.
I can see myself around the age of kindergarten, the rest of the family in the kitchen chatting or playing board games, while Gramps and I are in the living room. I’m playing the pre-recorded music on the piano and dancing for Gramps, who is sitting back on the couch. Each time he begins to space out or drift away, I scream, “GRAMPS! Look! Look at me!” And he snaps out of his daze and lets out a soft chuckle. And then, when he has drifted too far from reality, I grab his face and bring him back into the world, gently shouting, “pay attention, Gramps!”
Gramps was a quiet man, who really, really, loved kids. He was never one to become overly aggressive or shout at his kids when they were young. But he loved to roughhouse. He would “play horse” with his kids as he stood on his fours and let his children climb all over him. He would also get into “wrestling matches” with his goats!
Lorene (Gram) lived much longer, up until August 2019. I wrote a post here about her when it happened. I was very close with Gram, which makes it impossible to describe her in a mere few paragraphs. The best way to sum it up is this: a spunky, free spirit, with an overflowing amount of empathy. In many ways I saw her as not a grandma, but a close friend of mine.
In the last part of his life, Edgar/Gramps moved to an assisted living home. While Lorene visited him, there was also a man named Cliff, visiting his wife in the exact same situation. Through their shared grief, the two of them developed a strong bond. Later on, Lorene and Cliff had a marriage ceremony — not officiated by law, but “in the eyes of God.” And so, there are no marriage records because it was not a legal, but a spiritual marriage.
Cliff became a huge part of my life and was there to support me through my time in high school and transitioning into college. He passed away shortly after I graduated university. He was such a warm, polite, kind man who always had a smile on his face. He was quite the perfectionist who needed everything to be clean and tidy at all times — and Gram would always tell me with an eye roll, “it’s not easy being married to someone who’s perfect.”
PA Dutch Tradition
My mom’s side of the family comes from Germany. But during the time that they lived there, it was not yet called Germany — it was the Holy Roman Empire. Therefore, modern-day German culture is practically irrelevant — what’s more accurate is to call it “Pennsylvania culture” or “Pennsylvania Dutch” — which refers to those who resided in Germany and moved to the USA in the 1700s, before the United States even became its own, independent country.
The Pennsylvania Dutch did not speak German, rather, they spoke an unofficial, “slang version” of the language. Modern-day German speakers do not understand the Pennsylvania Dutch language at all, because they became so far removed from one another.
When immigrants migrated to the USA in the 1700s, they were forced to let go of their traditions and customs (ex: forced to speak English, forced to change their last name into something more “English-sounding.”) And unfortunately, to this day, immigrants are still treated the same way — expected to forgo their ancestral culture.
However, the Pennsylvania Dutch, being extremely stubborn people, clung to their heritage with more force than most. They refused to convert to English-speaking, and instead maintained their own language. But with schools not formally teaching their language, PA Dutch wound up becoming a very informal, unstructured, type of language with practically no grammar rules. Kids went to school and learned proper English, and then came home to their informal, PA Dutch-speaking families.
The “Schnitzelbank” is a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition that has been passed on through the generations. Anyone with PA Dutch background may be familiar with this song. We used to sing it at almost every single family event, then over the years, only on special occasions.
Thank you for reading about the family history of my mother’s side. I want to especially thank my aunt Nancy who really helped me gather all of this information, as well as helping me get in touch with distant relatives who I hadn’t been in reach with for a very long time. Thank you to everyone on both the Lutz and the Shaeffer side for sharing your stories, photos, and artifacts.
Learning about your family history is so important, and this is something I did not realize until I grew older, until I could understand the preciousness of life — the stories, the traditions, and the people who you imagine will be with you forever, until they’re not. I wish that while my older relatives were still living, that I could’ve sat them down and asked them more about their lives and where they came from. But it’s never too late — your aunt or uncle, your mom or dad, your cousin, your second-cousin and so-forth may have more gems to share than you’d think!
I think that most of us take our place in life for granted. You would not be here today if it wasn’t for the past. The money that was passed down to you — and even more importantly, the values, the beliefs, and the morality — was passed down to you through the generations. Your ancestors worked through long days, through intensive farm labor or toxic factory conditions. They fought through wars, through human rights, through the grief of their loved ones and perhaps even the grief of their own child. You are here today because of their hard work and strength.
You have far more in common with your great-great-great grandparents than you could even imagine. Your past can piece together and explain the mysteries of your present — why am I the way that I am? Why am I drawn to certain types of people, places, or things?
So, I want to honor and give thanks to all those who came before me. Family history ain’t nerdy, or stupid, or useless. It’s everything.
(P.S. There is so much more to uncover here; I will be writing more about family history, including more about the Kellogg side as well. If you have anything to share, please let me know in the comments!)