Page from the book ‘Schantz and Johnstown’

A digitized page from the book “Schantz and Johnstown; a souvenir for the dedication of the Joseph Schantz monument in connection with the fourteenth convention of the German-American Alliance of Pennsylvania.” by John Meise, published in 1913 by the Schantz Memorial Committee.

Joseph Schantz (Johns) was the founder of Johnstown, which became an early destination for palatinate Germans and Swiss seeking religious freedom and opportunity. Schantz had connections back to Wurtemberg in Bavaria, as well as Melingen in Canton Aargau, a Swiss province that shows up in some of Alois’ early documents.

In 1859 a group of German Catholics split from St. Joseph’s church in Johnstown because it had grown too small for the expanding congregation, and was too far from their homes. They erected a new church in Cambria, across the Connemaugh river, and called it Immaculate Conception. In this German language description of the parish’s founding Alois Betz is listed along with a Jacob Betz.

There were not many families named Betz in the area at the 1860 census a year later, and none other with the name Alois, so our confidence that this Alois Betz was our ancestor is fairly high.


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