Dinner at the Sar-Louis’ home, ca. 1900

A dinner gathering at the home of the Sar-Louis (Sarlouis) family, in 1900. The text on the back originally stated the location as Marion Street, but this was crossed out and “9921 Hampden” was penciled in. That address is the one listed for the couple in every U.S. census through 1940, when they were both in their 70’s, around which time they retired to Winter Park, Florida. Present at this dinner, from left to right: Lena M. Betz (wearing her wedding ring), ten year-old Alphonse G. Sar-Louis (Sarlouis), Frank M. Sar-Louis (Sarlouis), Edward R. Betz, Louis Betz, Conrad “Cooney” Betz, Matthew Keller, Bernadette Keller, Lena Sar-Louis (Sarlouis).

More on the Sar-Louis family after the images.



On the subject of Frank and Lena Sar Louis, I want to note what we’ve learned for the benefit of any of their descendants that might happen on this photograph.

The first evidence we have of them is in the group photo, attributed to photographer John J. Betz and taken about 1887. In that image Lena is on the far left end of the middle row, and Frank is on the far right. On the back her name is given as “Lena Sar Louis.” In Marie Boehmer’s notes, written in the 1970’s, she simply notes that “Lena Betz married Frank Sar Louis” around 1888 in Johnstown. She was uncertain about the location. In fact Lena R. Betz and Frank Martin Sar Louis were married in Cuyahoga county, Ohio, on May 15th, 1888. The 1887 photo was probably taken shortly before their wedding, and her last name should have been given as Betz, not Sar Louis. This interpretation is bolstered by the fact that they are not posed together. It is unlikely to have been taken long afterward, because by 1890 they had a child, Alphonse. On his birth record Lena’s age is given as 23, and Frank’s as 25, making them around 20 and 22 respectively when the group photo was taken.

In searching for Frank’s origins I ran into many instances of the name “Sarlonis” in official records, including the 1860 and 1870 federal censuses for Cambria county, Pennsylvania. I believe these are all misspellings. Frank Sar Louis of Cleveland was the son of Peter Sarlouis of Johnstown, who was born in Prussia in August 1836, and emigrated here with his parents, Andrew and an unnamed spouse, in 1846 when he was nine years old. Peter served in Company G, 192nd Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry under Capt. William A. Mackin during the civil war. He was one of the early members of Alois’ Betz’s church, Immaculate Conception, and worked at Cambria Iron Works in Johnstown. Peter Sarlouis passed away in June of 1925, and Frank is named among the survivors in his obituary. The obituary and a photo of his headstone can be viewed here. Despite the fact that his name is given as “Sarlonis” in so many records, including the rolls of his infantry company linked above, I have chosen to use the spelling that was chiseled on Peter’s stone. Why Frank chose to spell the name differently, or why his son Alphonse later chose to hyphenate it, I can’t say.

As for Lena Betz, my great aunt Marie said only that she was a first cousin to Marie’s father Edward R. Betz. That would make Lena a child of a sibling of Alois. We suspect this family connection also goes back to Johnstown, but have not found documentation at this time.

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