Jan 20

Photos from the “Germann Collection”

Here are a few more photos from what I like to refer to as “The Germann Collection,” a group of old photos that belonged to Edna and Viola Germann.

Edna (1896-1997), Viola (1900-2001), and their brother Wilbert (1905-1972) were the children of Stephen E. and Rosina (Schumm) Germann.

Their father Stephen was the son of Henry and Mary (Hertz) Germann and their mother Rosina was the daughter of Jacob Frederick and Maria (Germann) Schumm.

From time to time I have posted some photos from the Germann Collection and below are some more, photos from Edna and Viola’s childhood.

Edna and Viola Germann:

Edna & Viola Germann

Edna and Viola’s aunt Louise Schumm (their mother’s sister) married Henry Friedrich Schinnerer. Henry Friedrich and Louise (Schumm) Schinnerer had children William (1893-1963), Lydia (1897-1985), and Fred, and two other children who died in infancy.

Edna and Viola with their first cousins William and Lydia Schinnerer:

Edna & Viola Germann with 1st cousins William and Lydia Schinnerer

Edna & Viola Germann with 1st cousins William and Lydia Schinnerer

Edna, Viola, and their brother Wilbert Germann:

Edna, Viola, & Wilbert Germann

Edna, Viola, Wilbert Germann, and Fred Schumm:

Edna, Viola & Wilbert Germann; Fred Schumm

I believe the small boy in the above photo is Joseph Fredrick “Fred” Schumm, the son of Charles “CJ” and Jeanetta Ann (Bury) Schumm. Jeanetta was accidentally electrocuted a little less than 2 months after their son Fred’s birth. It appears that Fred went to live with the Stephen Germann family after her death. Fred was enumerated with the Germanns in the 1920 and 1930 censuses, shown as their nephew. Charles “CJ” Schumm was a brother to Edna and Viola’s mother Rosina, so Fred would have been Edna and Viola’s first cousin.

Thank you to Edna and Viola for labeling so many of your photos!

Jan 17

Tombstone Tuesday–Mary E. Lotter

Mary Lotter, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2015 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Mary E. Lotter located in row 4 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Mary E.
Dau of
J.P. & C.
Mar 6, 1889
13 mo. & 12 d.

Although the Lotters attended Zion Lutheran Church in Chatt at one time, where several of their children were baptized, neither Mary Lotter’s baptism nor her death or burial is recorded in Zion Chatt’s records. The only information that remains about her is the information inscribed on her tombstone.

Her tombstone indicates that Mary was the daughter of J.P. and Lotter–John Peter and his wife Catharine (Eichler).

Both of her parents were from Zweifelsheim, Bavaria. They immigrated in 1869 and moved to the Chatt area by 1875, where they attended Zion Chatt.

Mary had at least eleven siblings and she was one of the younger children, if not the youngest in the family.

Mary’s father and grandmother [Anna Lotter] are also both buried in Zion Chatt’s Cemetery. Her father died in 1891 and her grandmother died in 1890.

Jan 13

Offering Envelopes, Old and New

The late Don Caffee used to have an amusing little saying about church. He said, “Whenever two or more are gathered, there will be an offering.” This little quip, called a Donism by his son, is fairly accurate.

At the end of every year Zion Chatt’s members get their offering envelopes for the new year and we got our 2017 envelopes a couple weeks ago.

I also have a couple old 1928 offering envelopes that I found among my grandpa Carl Miller’s old papers. Apparently he did not use all of his envelopes that year.

1928 Offering Envelope

These old offering envelopes are really small—just a little over 3½ inches long. I don’t see how they could get very much money in them. I wonder if he put cash or a check in the little envelope.

Today’s offering envelopes are certainly larger than the ones they had about 90 years ago. Today’s envelopes are about 7” long, nearly twice the size of Grandpa’s envelopes.

2017 & 1928 Zion Chatt offering envelopes

I don’t remember an offering envelope quite that small but I do remember when we switched to the larger envelopes that we use today.  I guess they reason that the larger the envelope, the larger the offering will be. It must be a psychological thing.

At Zion, a member gets his/her first packet of offering envelopes soon after he/she is confirmed, at about age 14. Each married couple and each single person gets their own set of envelopes every year.

I do not know when Zion Chatt first started using printed offering envelopes. Early on, members may have just put their money in the offering plate when it was passed to them. Or perhaps they used regular envelops and wrote their name on it.

Today, as in 1928, each member/family has a number on the offering envelope. Grandpa Miller was number 139! Did they have that many members back then? Our membership is smaller today. We are number 2 because our surname is at the beginning of the alphabet.

The Sunday offering provides money to support the church, salaries, maintenance, pay the bills, and support missions.

God loves a cheerful giver!



Jan 10

Tombstone Tuesday–Johann Christopher Michael Lotter

Johann Christopher Michael Lotter, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Johann Christopher Michael Lotter, located in row 7 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Hier Ruhet
Christopher M.
Gest 17 Oct
Alt 15 Jahr
10 Tag

“Here rests Johann Christopher M. Lotter, died 17 October 1894, aged 15 years and 10 days.”

There are only two entries in Zion Chatt’s records for Johann Christopher Michael Lotter—when he was confirmed and when he died.

According to the church death and burial record Johann Christopher Michael Lotter was the son of John Lotter and wife. The wife was not named. The record goes on to tell us that Johann Christopher Michael was born 17 October 1879 in Wapakoneta, Ohio, and died of typhoid on 27 October 1894 in Adams County, Indiana, at the age of 15 years and 10 days.  He was buried on the 28th.  Survivors included his parents and siblings.

Who were his parents? It is complicated because there were actually two John/Johann Lotters mentioned in Zion Chatt’s records and they were both married to women named Catharine–Catharine Eichler and Catharine Kniesel. It appears that one man went by the name of John/Johann and the other went by the name of John “Peter.” I suspect the two were brothers.

It appears that Johann Christopher Michael, was the son of John Lotter and his wife Catharina Kniesel. Several records, including a couple entries in Zion Chatt’s records point to this:

Johann Christopher Michael Lotter was confirmed at Zion Chatt in 1893 and his father was shown as John Lotter. In that same confirmation class was John George Lotter, born 20 January 1878 in Adams County, Indiana, the son of John P. Lotter. John Lotter was differentiated from John P. Lotter in this record.

The church records document that John Peter Lotter and his wife Catharine (Eichler) had a son Lorenz, born 6 June 1880, and baptized at Zion Chatt on 18 July 1880. His birth would have been about 7½ months after the birth of Johann Christopher Michael Lotter. It is possible that Catharine (Eichler) gave birth to another child after 7½ months, but not very likely.

In 1880 Johann Christopher Michael Lotter, indexed on Ancestry.com as Christoff Latter, was living with his parents John and Catharina in Wapakoneta. Their household in 1880: John, 39; Catharina, 36; Christoff, 8 months, and Anna, 73. John was born in Bavaria, Catharine in Württemberg, Christoff in Ohio, and Anna in Bavaria. The 73-year old Anna was John’s widowed mother. [1]

This 1880 census was actually a very good find because it shows where the mother Anna was living in 1880. Plus, since Anna is listed as John’s mother in the 1880 census and Anna is identified as John Peter’s mother in Zion Chatt’s records, that information from both records indicates that John and John Peter were brothers.

Their mother Anna eventually went to live with John Peter in Adams County, Indiana, shortly before her death and she is buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery, next to her son John Peter.


[1] 1880 U.S. Census, Wapakoneta, Auglaize, Ohio, ED 3, p.369A, line 46, John Latter; digital image by subscription, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 Jan 2017); NARA microfilm T9, roll 993.

Jan 06

Driving Grandma

It is hard to imagine not driving–not getting into your car and driving whenever and wherever you want. But that was the case with both of my grandmothers. Neither one could drive. At least neither one ever had a driver’s license or drove an automobile.

My grandmothers, Gertrude (Brewster) Miller and Hilda (Scaer) Schumm, always relied on someone to take them wherever they needed or wanted to go. Usually that someone was grandpa–grandpa Miller or grandpa Schumm.

I am not sure why my grandmothers did not have driver’s licenses. Were they afraid of driving? Did they think they would not pass the driver’s test? Were they so busy around the house that they didn’t have time to drive around? Or was it just something that women didn’t do so much back then? After all, I remember a time when married women seemed to lose their given name after marriage. My grandmothers were known as Mrs. Carl Miller and Mrs. C.L. Schumm.

Ohio drivers were first required to have a driver’s license in 1936. I guess before that time anyone could just drive if they wanted?

Below is a copy of my dad’s chauffeur’s license. I found this last year and I did not even know he had a chauffeur’s license.

Herb Miller Chauffeur’s License, 1959-62.

Evidently Ohio drivers did have to register their vehicles earlier than they had to get a driver’s license. Here is a copy of grandpa Miller’s Ford vehicle registration in 1923:

Carl Miller Ford vehicle registration, 1923.

My grandpa Miller’s vehicle registration in 1927. It appears he was driving the same Ford vehicle:

Carl Miller Ohio vehicle registration, 1927.

Here is a photo of my grandpa Miller by his car.

Carl Miller, undated photo.

I remember when grandpa Miller used to drive grandma (and me) over to visit her mother Pearl Brewster in Geneva. Grandpa also took us shopping to the Fair Store in Berne, where grandma bought her spring garden seeds. I also remember going with them to grandma’s medical visits to Doc Osborn in Willshire.


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