Lancaster County, PA. Lancaster Officials enacted a measure effective February 1 that will prohibit families with a “Stoltzfus” or “Stoltzfoos” last name from naming any newborns “John.” The ban comes after the latest edition of the Lancaster County phone book weighed in at an astounding 27.6 pounds with most of the weight coming from pages dedicated to residents of Lancaster County named “John Stoltzfus” and “John Stoltzfoos.”
Lancaster County officials also took issue with the tendency of the Amish community to share phone numbers and answering machines saying that the same first and last names, along with hundreds of different phone number extensions on the same base phone line, were causing chaos and confusion at a county and state level.
The law has drawn some ire from the members of the Amish community since “John” is a traditional name that has been passed down for centuries following the age old practice of naming children after earlier descendants of the family.
County officials have suggested in an open letter published in the Lancaster Area Journal that the Amish start naming their children “Bartholomew, Shaquile, Justice, or any other name that stands out from the other Stoltzfus children’s names in the community.”
The need for the law, say the officials, came to head when a jury summons for John Stoltzfus was sent out into the Amish community and resulted in ninety three confused Amish men reporting for the summons.
Officials are hoping this controversial new law will help clear up the name confusion with future generations although the American Civil Liberties Union has been threatening to bring the law to the judge’s bench.