Just because you may not know of your family history before your grandparents or great grandparents doesn’t mean it’s not out there. I didn’t know anything about the Lawrentz side of my family before my interest was peaked in 2003 by accidently reading an obituary that happened to have a Lawrentz in it whom I’d never heard of. That got me asking my grandma lots of questions and many late nights online searching and searching. I felt a little like Nancy Drew.
Over the years I’ve used ancestry.com to my advantage as well as a handful of Lawrentz cousins I never knew I had, generously offering me their findings and helping me put the puzzle pieces together.
Just yesterday, I received a large packet in the mail from my 3rd cousin (once removed) Jeff Lawrentz, who lives in West Virginia. That’s where much of the Lawrentz family got started. We’re trying to figure out if it was Germany or not that they initially came over, but all we know is Samuel Lorentz was born in Virginia in the mid 1700’s and moved west with his family to what is now West Virginia and the family grew around that area, some moving to the Akron area (my branch) and some stayed put. Obviously since then they’ve spread out all over the country, but I can’t keep track of everyone!
Anyway, to the point, Allison. Yes, the point. The point is that Jeff sent me a letter, a newspaper clipping, a couple pictures and a CD full of photos. These photos are of my 3rd great grandfather, Noah Lawrentz’s, log cabin he built around 1857. How amazing for an average person like me to be able to see my great-great-great grandpa’s house he built for his family! The cooler thing yet, was that after I discovered it was for sale in 2007, and another cousin told me it was the old Lawrentz homestead, I decided I was going to go down there and see it in person. That got my dad’s curiosity going too, and before I knew it all 5 Lawrentz’s were headed down to the Spencer Genealogical Fair in Roane, County, West Virginia. The fair was okay, not much info on the Lawrentz’ clan but we made our way by back roads to the church cemetery many of them were buried in, and further down the road, we saw it: the old cabin.
Some people had bought it and were there taking the siding off of it- they said they wanted to use the old logs as part of their new big log cabin they were building on the property. We had come just in time. We got to see the inside and outside of the old place and get a feel for what it must have looked like when Noah and his family lived there.
Now, three years later, little did I know, the owners decided it was too much work or something and were just going to tear it down and that was it. So my brave cousin Jeff stepped in and they allowed him to salvage it. He took it apart piece by piece, labeling and documenting everything so when he gets resources he will put it back together just as it was! That is one big honkin’ puzzle.