52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – #20 Another Language

Cantons of Switzerlad

French or German or maybe Swiss-German and Norwegian

Stalter is an alteration of Stalder, a name frequent in Switzerland. “Stalder” is an Alemannic word meaning “slope”. No wonder that in a mountainous country like Switzerland many people live on sloping soil and received their names from their dwelling places. The early Stalders were merchants traveling the mining operations in the Alps.

Stalders are mainly concentrated in the Bernese Oberland and in the Canton of Lucerne. The former belong to the Reformed Church, the latter are Roman Catholic. Migration from the Swiss Alps also brought Mennonite Stalders to the Palatinate. Several of these Stalter families still live on farms around Zweibrucken.

The Catholic Stalters, who now live mainly at St. Ingbert, Saarland, go back to Casper Stalter who, being a Catholic, most likely pertains to the Stalders living in the Entlebuch Valley, Canton of Lucerne. His wife, Anna Margaretha, however was Reformed. On their way north, the couple made a halt somewhere in Alsace, where a son Johann Heinrich Ludwig Stalter,  was born about 1702. Casper Stalter made his home in Neunkirchen, Saarland, and was employed at that town’s important iron plant. His wife, Anna Margaretha, died there November 26, 1740 aged 77. Casper survived her by a few years.

Johann Heinrich Ludwig Stalter married about 1725 Maria Magdalena Camus (Camy), daughter of Phillip Camus, an ironmolder. From 1741 to 1759, he was a hammersmith at Muenchweiler, later he moved to Rentrisch, near St. Ingbert, where he died May 4, 1772. He is the ancestor of today’s St. Ingbert Stalters.

Johann Heinrich Ludwig Stalter and Mary Magdalena Camus had at least ten children, among whom was Nicolaus Stalter born at Neunkirchen July 17, 1729. At Muchweiler he met Elizabeth Morlo and was married to her at the nearby Catholic Church of Losheim on November 24, 1755. In 1764 the couple was at Dillingen forge and there responded to Baron Hasenelever’s invitation to come to work in New Jersey.

Longpond mine

Baron Hasenelever’s task was to provide ironworkers, miners and others in these trades to immigrate to America following the War for Independence. Nicolaus Stalter appears in the early census records in Charlottenberg, Bergen County, New Jersey noted for its early mining history.

The above information is a brief story of the Stalter/Stalder/Staldter families of Switzerland. Like many European countries the borders of Switzerland changed depending on who was at war. Sometimes you lived in France and sometimes you lived in Germany and if you wanted to remain Swiss you would have to move. Several tales of the Stalters reveal that the young man was German speaking Swiss and his love was French Catholic.  Obviously the French and the Germans didn’t get along so you had to pick what you wanted to be – French or German. If you were in the German territory and you wanted to be French, then you had to move and vice versa. Some Stalters lived in Alsace-Lorrain.

Joseph the son of Nicolaus had son John P. Stalter whose son John J. Stalter married Emeline Conklin of Monroe, Orange County, New York. Their son was Jacob Stalter who settled in the Hudson River Valley at Stony Point in Rockland County New York. Jacob Stalter and his family including son Perry Stalter appear in the 1910 census in Oklahoma. By 1920 Perry shows up in St. Paul, Minnesota in the Army and served in World War I. Perry married Signe Helmena Anderson whose parents immigrated from Norway in 1892 and their son was Jerry, my father. Another language to add to this ancestral line.

More on the Stalter’s New York history from the book “Doodletown” by Elizabeth Perk Stalter in the coming months.

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What’s In A Name?

What’s in a name? Stories. Even if the story is a little far fetched or not quite accurate, a name can tell you a lot.

Here is Jerry’s story.

Signe Viola Stalter and Jerry Frimpter Stalter

Signe Viola Stalter and Jerry Frimpter Stalter

My dad, Jerry Frimpter Stalter, while we were growing up, told us his name was really Perry, not Jerry and that his middle name was not Frimpter but should have been Trimpter. His reason, he told us, was because his mother’s Norwegian accent was difficult to understand and the people at the hospital put down the wrong name for his birth certificate. Ok, dad, good story!

Now for the facts, ma’am just the facts:

Signe Helmeena Anderson

Signe Helmeena (Anderson) Stalter

Jerry’s mother, Signe Helmeena (Anderson) Stalter was born in Bruce, Rusk County,Wisconsin in 1902. Her parents Hinberg and Signe (pronounced Sena) Anderson traveled from Norway to America in 1892. So, it was easy to believe that Signe, the daughter, could have an accent because it was obvious that her parents would have Norwegian accents.

(click on the pictures to make them larger)

Frimpter tombstone

Frimpter Headstone

During my genealogy research I found the family name Frimpter. The Frimpter name was the maiden name of Jerry’s grandmother Sarah (Frimpter) Stalter, mother of Perry Stalter, grandmother to Jerry. Check, question answered. Proof found.

Perry Stalter

Perry Stalter

Even though I had the answer to the Frimpter/Trimpter story I was puzzled by the Perry/Jerry part of the story.

Baptism registration for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America

Baptism registration for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America

Well this week was my lucky week. You can sign on to Ancestry through Labor Day for free and I used this opportunity to check out my “hints” since I am no longer a member of Ancestry. I found a reference to the baptism of Jerry Frimpter Stalter and to my surprise he was baptized Perry Frimpter Stalter. Check, question answered. Proof found.

His name probably should have been Perry.

(Growing up, everyone called him “Bud.”)

Makes me feel pretty good about the stories my dad told.

Young Sena and Himberg Anderson

Young Sena and Himberg Anderson