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This page contains email correspondence regarding the Zelhofer's of Door County WI.  Art Lautenbach and Doris Rich are descendants of the Zellhöfer's of Kleinpertholz bei Martinsberg,  Zwettl, Niederoesterreich (aka Lower), Austria.  Many of this branch migrated to the USA in the late 1800's, settling first near Pittsburgh PA and soon/also in Door County WI and in/near Kane County IL.
email from Art Lautenbach 2 Oct 2002 re: family connections to Mary Zelhofer/Zellhofer of Door County WI.

I realized that I do have the 1910 Census information of Door County WI in a binder and I could figure out who Mary Zelhoffer's parents were. Anyway in the 1910 Census the Zelhofer name is spelled Zellhofer. So the connection between our two families may be closer then we realize. The Zelhofers presently living in Door County use only one "L".

There is a Frank Zellhofer (age 79) and his wife Thressa (age 72). There also is a John Zellhofer (age 67) and his wife Thressa (age 64). I believe Frank and John are brothers. It is possible they were Uncle and Nephew. Frank and Thressa apparently are living with their son Frank (age 40) and his wife Francis (age 32) and their children. John and Thressa still have two children (one daughter also named Thressa) in there 20's living at home yet in 1910.

Mary Zelhofer Lautenbach is listed as being 38 years old in 1910. The last name is misspelled as Lautenbock. Also Mary's sister Theresia Niemeyer (age 30) is listed as married to Jacob Niemeyer (age 37). I was never sure if Theresia Niemeyer was a Zelhofer or Lautenbach, but she had to be a Zelhofer because she is not listed as a child of Gustav and Carolina Lautenbach. When I seen the listing of Gustav and Caroline's children on the website, I knew this listing was correct. I never knew Theresia Niemeyer, but her daughter Josephine LaPlant and her husband, William, are both still living at the age of 92. I knew several others of Theresia's children whom passed away in the past 10 years, after they lived long lives. When I was a child my great uncles would talk about their Aunt Theresia Niemeyer and they always called her their Aunt Crazy Niemeyer. Why? I do not know. Even to this day in the West Jacksonport Area of Door County, if you mention Crazy Niemeyer, they all know who you are talking about and the old timers have a story to tell about her. There also is a Lizzie Niemeyer (age 32) married to Frank Niemeyer (age 40). I believe Lizzie also was a sister to Mary and Theresia. I knew Lizzie's sons Frankie and Johnny very well. Johnny died about 20 years ago and Frankie died in 1996. Lizzie's husband Frank died in a barn fire in 1910, shortly before Frankie was born. He was trying to rescue the horses. Lizzie never remarried, but her two sons remained unmarried and took care of her on their small farm. This whole group of people are buried in the church yard of St Michael's Catholic Church overlooking Lake Michigan in Jacksonport.

Getting back to Mary Zelhofer, I believe Frank was her father because she named two of her children Frank. The first Frank who died shortly after birth, and my grandfather who was born in 1904 and died in 1957. Also my middle name is Frank and I have a first cousin named Frank. For some reason they liked to keep the name Frank alive.

This Census information is from the Towns of Jacksonport and Egg Harbor. The West Jacksonport Area bordered Egg Harbor to the South and East. The 1920 Census data has been transcribed but due to problems with the storage of the microfiche, most of the data for the Town of Jacksonport was untranscribable. All of the data for the area where the Lautenbachs, Zelhofers, Niemeyers, Mosgallers, Mistlebauers and Felhofers lived is missing. What made the 1920 Census data valuable is the fact they recorded the language spoken by the individual and their birthplace. Gustav Lautenbach (a widower) was living with one of his sons in the Town of Egg Harbor in 1920. He lists his birthplace as Saxony/Weimer Germany. But since there is not any transcribable data on my great grand parents Charles and Mary Zelhofer Lautenbach or any of the other Zelhofer families, we do not have their place of birth or native language available to us. When the 1930 Census gets released in 8 years, hopefully much information on these families will be available.

I hope this information is useful to you and helps in your search for the family connections. I think there is a common ancestor for our respective branches of the family.


I had never heard that my great grandmother had a previous marriage, but I had heard that the Lautenbachs and Zelhofers had left PA about 1883 (some say they left in 1886) to come to Door County because family members had lost their lives in several coal mining accidents. They figured if they stayed in PA, they all would eventually be killed. My great grandmother would have been about 12 or 13 years old in 1883. I believe my great grandmother's maiden name was truly Zelhofer. Karl though may have been her brother, uncle, or other close relative who also was married to a woman named Mary.

Mary's oldest daughter, Emma, lost her first husband, John Mosgaller, at a young age. She had one child from this first marriage and many, many children (12, 13, 14???) from her second marriage to Merton Anderson.

I have never heard of the Zelhofer family in Door County naming any of their children Karl though. My great grandmother named my grandfather Frank Leo Lautenbach after two of her children that died as infants. If she had lost a brother at a young age, my guess is she would have named one of her sons after him. The Mistlebauers though liked to use the "Karl" name.

I'm sorry I can't be of much help on this one.



eMail fro Art Lautenbach Nov 2002:

Hello Ron

Thanks for this e-mail. This information is my great grandmother's family.

I was looking over this e-mail from Doris Rich you sent to me on 10/11/2002. I believe the information you were looking for in the e-mail I answered last night about a Mary Zelhofer married to a Karl Zelhofer whom died young in a PA coal mining accident is contained here. Karl Zelhofer, born in 1859, died in 1894, was married to Mary Kohl. It appears his father, Franz Zelhofer was married twice. Karl was from his first marriage and my great grandmother Mary Zelhofer Lautenbach was from his second marriage.

I knew many of the children listed below of Teresa and Jacob Neimeyer. Josephine Neimeyer LaPlant and her husband, William, are the only ones I know for sure are still living at the age of 92 each - they are pretty tough people (tight also). Billy (William) was a little, dried-up, old man 30 years ago, and it is hard to believe he is still living! I moved away from Door County in 1993, so I do not know what type of mental health they are in now. I could get their address for you. I think they still live on their farm. If they are still mentally fit, they would have alot of information. They lost their only son, Leon, in 1968 at the age of sixteen in a drowning accident. They do have several daughters living.

Charlie Neimeyer and his brother Leonard were bachelors that lived together on their family homestead. Charlie used to cut my hair when I was a boy in the 1960's. I barely remember Leonard - he died sometime in the mid-1960's. Charlie died only 5 to 7 years ago - he was in his 90's. I will always remember Charlie spitting his tobacco juice into a coffee can set on the kitchen floor as he was cutting my hair - it was pretty gross for a child to look into!! He always had a BIG, BIG wad of Bigger Hair tobacco in his mouth. He always looked like he had a mouth full of you know what and the juice was alway dribbling down his chin. Most likely why he was a bachelor.

Jacob may still be living also - either he or his wife passed away in the last couple of years - I cannot remember which.

I think you are going to find out the Zelhofers, with the different spellings of the name, are all one big family! I hope to get some time this winter to fill in information on the people below. I am in the process of adding a new bathroom to our home (dust churned up by tearing out the plaster and lathes in the room we are turning into a bathroom almost ended me up in divorce court) and with working a full time and a half job (salaried position), I do not have much free time to dig into this. If nothing else this will be a retirement project some day.



eMail from Doris Rich 8 February 2002, subject Thereso Zelopher

Ron, this is the information I have so far:

Generation #l
Franz Zelhofer Spouse: Anna Maria Rafetseder B & D dates unknown

Generation #2
Franz Zelhofer - B. 27 June l83l at Klein Pertholz 9 Austria
D. 09 August l9l3 at Jacksonport, Wi.
Mother: Annna Maria Rafetseder
Father: Franz Zelhofer
Married Franziska Lidl 06 March l856 - B. l7 Sept. l835 @ Klein Pertholz 5, Austria
Three children:

  1. l.  Karl Zelhofer B.l5 July l859 at Klein Pertholz l2 Austria
    Married Mary Kohl l0 March l884
    D. January l894
  2. Leopold Zelhofer B. 04 Sept l86l
  3. Josephine Zelhofer Married to a Mr. Kreutzer

Marriage #2
Spouse: Teresa Winman daughter of Joseph Winman B. 08 Sept l844
Seven Children:

  1. Frank Zelhofer Spouse Franzisca Mistlebauer
  2. Mary Zelhofer Spouse Charles Lautenach
  3. Walburga (Flora) Zelhofer Spouse Charles Felhofer & John McGee
  4. Elizabeth Louisa Zelhofer Spouse Frank Neimeyer
  5. Teresa Zelhofer Spouse Jacob Neimeyer (MY GRANDPARENTS)
  6. Joseph Zelhofer - Died at 7 years of age
  7. Hannah Zelhofer Spouse Joseph Geisler

Generation #3
Theresa Zelhofer B. l7 May l880 D. 20 Sept l935
Spouse Jacob Neimeyer B. 03 Sept l872 D. 20 Sept. l935
Thirteen children:

  1. Louise Neimeyer spouse Arthur Mattie
  2. Mary Ann Neimeyer spouse Arthur LaPlant/Raymond Verg (My Parents)
  3. William Neimeyer spouse Pauline Annen
  4. Leonard Neimeyer Single
  5. Charles Neimeyer Single
  6. Anne Neimeyer spouse James Lyman/Ernest Eicher
  7. Josephine Neimeyer spouse William LaPlant
  8. John Neimeyer spouse Helen Fasbender
  9. Theresa Neimeyer spouse Elmer Lindquist
  10. Hannah Neimeyer spouse Joseph Mosgaller
  11. Jacob Neimeyer spouse Betty
  12. Leo Neimeyer spouse Julia Jorns
  13. Margaret Neimeyer spouse John Reichhart

This is as far as I go on the Zelhofer's.  Except I do have reference to some of the Great Uncles & Aunts


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