1906 with 2005 Update

(Updated information is in Italics)


The Lauffers are of the Reformed faith, and lived in the Rhine country, in the old Palatinate; and Heidelberg, its capital holds a place in family traditions. When the valley of the Rhine was devastated by French armies, the Palatines sought shelter in Switzerland, Germany, Holland; from the latter country many went to England, and thousands of them found an asylum on these shores, especially in Pennsylvania.


That Laufers have dwelt in Nuremburg (sic) is shown by the cuts of souvenir postals that are herein contained. These postals were sent to John N. Lawfer, of Allentown, by Mr. John Wanarnaker, of Philadelphia, who was a personal friend of the late Wm. R. Lawfer, of Allentown.







Laufer Tower

Photo by James R. Lauffer Sr 1985


Laufer Tower from Laufer Plaza

Photo by James R. Lauffer Sr 1985



Map and Legend near Laufer Clock / Gate Tower




Laufer Clock Tower and Gate, 1985

Photo by James R. Lauffer Sr 1985




Old Gate Next to New in Laufer Clock Tower

Photo by James R. Lauffer Sr 1985


Plaque on Laufer Clock Tower

Photo by James R. Lauffer Sr 1985


Date on Laufer Gate

Photo by James R. Lauffer Sr 1985


Sign on Laufer Clock Tower and Gate

Photo by James R. Lauffer Sr 1985




Street signs on building in 1985

Photo by James R. Lauffer Sr. © 1985






Street Signs in 1985

Photo by James R. Lauffer Sr. © 1985



It behooves us to look up our family tree when in Europe. That there are good Lauffers still on the Continent is shown by the following personal letter, which we produced in full, by courtesy of John N. Lawfer, of Allentown:

Weim, Mch. 2nd, 1905.

Dear John:-Herr Askar von Lauffer was to see me to-day after receiving a letter from Chas. A. Lauffer (is this your son?) and I had quite a chat with him. The letter was written to his father, who is 81 years old, so he could not come, and so his n Askar came. It appears from his talk that his branch of the family came from Switzerland, Canton Argon, who were under the rule of the Hapsburgers, the present Austrian reigning house, and went into Austria somewhere near the border of Germany. The Richter order of the Iron Crown was given to his father in May 1, 1884, when his father went into pension, so only this man and his sons are entitled to the von. He told me that sometime in 16 or 1700 the Lauffers lost their old order, probably this man's grandfather, three or four times removed. Their ancestors took part in some revolution and came out on the losing side, consequently lost his title and who knows his head or maybe the one who went to America. Gaston, the present owner of the title, has five sons.-

Gaston Ritter von Lauffer, aged 55, is Colonel at Kraskan.

Julius Lauffer, aged 51, is major.

Alfred Lauffer, aged 49, is an official of railroad at Groz.

Arthur Lauffer, aged 43, is in a Gun Factory, at Steier.

Askar Lauffer, aged 48, 1st Lieutenant in pension, living

with his father.


He is quite a large man but not in robust health, think he is a little paralyzed, has a little halt in his speech and in his walk, but has a familiar face and when I told him you folks were all large he said, "Yes, that is the Schweitzer mark, we are all large." He does not have a perfect history, a t least it does not go back to Weim as far as you say-1713-but somewhere in early 1800. It looks to me as if you might possibly be from Schwitz and when you find from what place in the Schwitz he came from, write to the town clerk and he perhaps can tell when your branch left for America. He told me there is a Prof. Lauffer in the Hoch school in Prog Austria but did not think he was any relation of theirs. A letter there might give you some trace. This man Askar has a full face although darker hair than you gentlemen at Allentown, but as far as the round face goes he might be a relation. He will write to you some time soon after he has his data all together. Said it would please him to get the History from the American side, so told him it would no doubt give you lots of pleasure to do it. I hope he will give you what you want. With best wishes to you and your Wife, Am as ever,


                                    Your friend,

                                                  HENRY S. SHIMER,


Office New York Life Insurance Co.

Rothen. thurm Strasse, 21.


In Weber's Outlines of Universal History, page 287, paragraph 407, we read: "For the purpose of creating a diversion in favor of the Turks against the superior power of Austria, Louis XIV, took advantage of affairs relating to the inheritance of the Palatinate and the election of the archbishop of Cologne, to engage in the third war, called the war of Orleans. When the elector Charles died without male issue, and the land fell into the collateral Catholic line of Pfalz Neuburg, Louis XIV Claimed not only the movable property, but also the immovable estate, as the inheritance of Elizabeth Charlotte, the sister of the deceased Elector, and the wife of Louis's brother, the duke of Orleans, and when this claim was not admitted, he marched an army upon the Rhine.  For the purpose of rendering it impossible for the enemy to penetrate into France, Louvois, the hard hearted minister of war, gave command for creating a desert between the two kingdoms by devastating the banks of the Rhine. Hereupon, the wild troops fell like incendiaries upon the flourishing villages of the Bergstrasse, the rich cities on the Rhine, and the blooming districts of the southern Palatinate, and reduced them to heaps of ashes. The shattered tower of the castle of Heidelberg is yet a silent witness of the barbarity with which Melac and other leaders executed the commands of a merciless government. Towns and villages, vineyards and orchards, were in flames from Haardtge birge to Nahe; in Manheim, the inhabitants themselves were obliged to assist in destroying their own buildings and fortifications; a great part of Heidelberg was consumed by fire, after the bridge of Neckar had been blown up; In Worms, the cathedral with many of the dwelling houses became the prey of the flames ; and in Spire, the French drove out the Citizens, set fire to the plundered city and the venerable cathedral, and desecrated the bones of the ancient emperors."



Louvois (1641-1691)

Louvois - 6.5 ko 

Louvois’ career was focused both on developing France and imposing Catholicism on the German Protestants. Since 1661 his work is associated to his father with the Council of the dispatches and, as of the following year, with the secretariat with the War. He is a then superintendent of the Stations in 1668, minister of State in 1672, before succeeding Colbert as superintendent of the Building industries, arts and manufactures. he thus directs work of Versailles and the Goblins, having an enormous influence on Louis XIV , of which he flatters the tastes and the sizes. This influence is all the more large as Louvois plays a determining role in foreign policy since 1672. Louvois is intransigent with regard to Province-plain, during the "meetings", and it is at the origin of the devastation of Palatinate and the dragonnades intended to bring the conversion of the Protestants. But the essential role of Louvois is placed on the military level. Continuing to receive the councils of its father, it undertakes to form a large regular army and disciplined. "the hierarchy of the ranks is reorganized, the standardized armament, Louvois imposes also the uniform and takes care of the regular payment of the balances. It undertakes to put an end to housing people of war at the inhabitant and the first barracks will appear after its death in 1692. To improve recruitment always associated with soliciting, Louvois tries a draft of military service with the system inaugurated into 1688 of the provincial militia, which play the role of force of reserve. It is still at the origin of the first services of the back, with the creation of stores for the food and the ammunition, of fixed and traveling hospitals ". It contributes to the foundation of the Hotel of the Invalids for the old estropiés soldiers that Louis XIV wants to build to some extent to thank these veterans who allowed him to be the most powerful sovereign of Europe. All these reforms are accompanied by the creation of the administration of the intendants and the police chiefs charged to check the execution of the orders of the minister. With its death in 1691, Louvois leaves powerful an army of almost 450 000 men.


Nuremberg and Related Surname Research

From the research and travels of James R. Lauffer Sr., The Laufer connection to Nuremberg is found to be very interesting. Although many of the Laufer line spellings are Gentile, the spelling with one “f” is also related to the Jewish line due to the Hebrew rule of single consonants.  The early Jews had no last name and were addressed typically as “given name, son of, father’s given name”. As time went on, a surname identity was needed.  Families typically took the name of their village or local ruling family name.  The Jewish “Laufers” could have originated from the German common Lauffer name. This part of history needs further research.  If anyone has information on this history, please contact:

Visits to Israel found many Laufers; in fact there is a Laufer Airline and several Laufer doctors and dentists in Tel Aviv.  Visits to Australia found that most “Laufers” are Jewish, although there are Gentile Lauffers.


Sign on Office building in Tel Aviv

It was also found that most historic research groups involved with Nuremberg are from Jewish Universities or Historical Library organizations. This research is based on the persecution of the Jews in Nuremberg as far back as the 12th century. History shows the Jew were expelled from Nuremberg in the 1400s.

“The Jewish cemetery, which originally was outside the town, came to be inside the wall after the latest enlargement of the town in 1350 - 1427. It was partly in the Outer Laufer lane ["Laufergasse"],”


Ref:. “History of the Jews in Nuremberg and Fuerth based upon the available printed material from the Royal Archives at Nuremberg and Bamberg, from the archives owned by the Jewish Community and others published and updated until the present time by Hugo Barbeck; Nuremberg, Friedrich Heerdegen- Barbeck publisher, 1878, revised in 1945.”