Thursday, August 7, 2014


I am Old Order Mennonite, on my Mom's side. Her last name is Shantz, which is wildly popular in the Waterloo region of Ontario, amongst Mennonites/Mennonite descendants. We took a little detour Sunday morning before the family reunion to drive through the "old parts" of Kitchener. (My personal branch of the family tree is not "old order" anymore, as my Grandpa's (Katie & Sylvanus) parents broke away from that faith, in favour of a more "mainstream" Christianity - like, they didn't believe all those rules were actually sins. They were shunned because of their "heretical beliefs", but unlike most shunnings (absolutely zero contact with family forevermore), they did keep in touch with certain family members, and were permitted to adopt their nephew, after his mother died in childbirth, and all children in the family that were not old enough to work the farm were given away (Approx 4 children given away). They adopted Menno Hintz, at around the age of 2 years old, and changed his name. He is my Great Uncle Carl Shantz, my Grandpa's older brother (and cousin:-). We went and saw different family history last year.
Church, in service

The parking lot was totally packed out!

A cornbroom outside of every door. A Mennonite "thing". Gotta keep a tidy space!

The house my Great Grandma Katie Shantz (nee Hintz) grew up in. This was the Hintz farm

Farm house. Built in the 1800's. Katie was born in 1900, and she died in '81. My earliest childhood memory is of her. I was  about 18-20 months old. This house had some additions added to it, Grandpa said, from the original house.

Passing by a church of "black bumper" mennonites. They have cars. But they are all black:-)

Lots and lots of plain black cars:-)

Ooops! One lonely horse and buggy amid all those cars:-)

Such a contrast between new and old. It's incredible to me how these folks remain so steadfast and simple in our crazy world.

Heading home
Another part of the Hintz farm

The property of the school where Great Grandma Katie attended, through grade 5. That was all the education she ever got. I believe that Great Grandpa Sylvanus Shantz (her husband), also only ever went up to grade 5.


  1. Your blog really caught my attention!!! You started talking about Katie and Sylvanus Shantz. She was first cousin to both of my grandmothers. (May parents being cousins one to another.) One mild correction. You said they were Old Order Mennonites. They were NOT Old Order. Old Order Mennonites do NOT use shunning. The Shunning idea came from my grand-grandfather, Bishop David W. Martin of Wallenstein. He picked that up from Menno Simons. The Old Order Mennonites dismissed him from the South Peel Old Order meetinghouse, west of Wallenstein, for his extreme position on shunning. Bishop David was uncle to Katie Shantz. And, the Hintz family went with what came the "Dave Martin Church." Simeon Hintz, their son, was the first one buried at the Dave Martin Meetinghouse just east of Wallenstein, across the road from bishop David's place. I knew your greatgrandma very well. She helped me a lot in my historical research and gave me a book (published by Ivan Groh) that I still much treasure. I could talk about the shunning issue until tomorrow morning, but I better not. It was the worst mistake Anabaptist people ever did. Misreading the Scriptures into becoming a real cultural nightmare. Sad to say. Anyway, I found your photos quite intriguing. Wow! I grew up close to Wallenstein. My father was an Orthodox Mennonite minister, a branch of the Dave Martin group, now mainly up in the Gorrie area. My brother-in-law is a bishop there. . . .
    Through it all, I do hope you find the RIGHT way to walk with Christ. The one that leads to everlasting life.
    This is not my website, but it might describe a bit:

    Wishing you the best,

    Peter Hoover

    1. Thank you for your comment! I guess I'm just using the word "Old Order" as that is what my Mom has always called her family, but I suppose it's not accurate, just what she somehow came to refer to their "old systems" as. I bet my Grandpa (Rev J. Allan Shantz, Katie's son), and my Mom (Rebecca/Beccy, Allan's daughter) would love to hear from you. If you email me privately darby jane 79 AT g mail DOT com (remove spaces and replace AT and DOT with @ .) I will send along their info. My Great Grandma Katie died when I was 2, and surprisingly, I have very vivid memories of her, her house, and a certain scent I can't "place" but in my head, I remember it as her home's smell, haha! I am so glad you commented. I love my family history, and I am hoping to make sure I pass it on accurately to my kids, so thank you for your corrections!