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You Probably Know A Belthoff: Massive New Milford Family Gathers For Photo

The Belthoff family's photo has been in the work for six months. Robert "Bob" Belthoff stands at the top of the stairs in the middle. Photo Credit: Tim Hillmann
Tim Hillmann snaps the Belthoff family photo in New Milford Sunday morning. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Alice Belthoff and Finn. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Baby Logan Belthoff and mom Laurie of New Milford. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Cousins and siblings mingle while waiting for the family photo. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Katie Belthoff McCarten with baby Shea, left, and husband PJ McCarten. Baby Cruz and his parents, Karen and Craig Weindorf, on the right. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Penny Hoeppner with baby Brynn, with sister Michelle and her daughter Lily Burgess of Wyckoff. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Robert "Bob" Belthoff waits inside his New Milford home before the family photo. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

NEW MILFORD, N.J. — Robert Belthoff stood on his New Milford porch Sunday morning, surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great-grand children.

Clutching babies and winter coats, the 60 of them mingled and organized themselves as best they could until the photographer arrived.

Belthoff, 89 -- and his late wife Ruth -- raised their 11 children in that same Graphic Boulevard house, so it only seemed appropriate to take the family photo on the front steps.

"Everyone knows a Belthoff," said Katie Belthoff McCarten, 32, whose dad is Tom Belthoff, the third oldest of the 11 Belthoff kids. "There are just so many of us."

Robert, Ruth and their 11 children lived together in their three-bedroom home on Graphic Boulevard, which Ruth bought from her parents when they moved to Ramsey.

The six boys slept in bunk beds in the basement, and the five girls slept upstairs. Ruth and Robert converted a room on the main floor into a bedroom.

They ate dinner together every night, and kids would often have friends join them. The tables spanned the dining room and living room -- but no one ever complained.

"A lot of people say they want to be a Belthoff," said Alice Belthoff, 51, the youngest of Robert and Ruth's children.

"I contribute that to the fact that our parents raised us properly. The brothers and sisters pass it down, and then cousins get together with their families and their little ones, and pass it down through generations, which is nice to see."

Many Belthoff children stayed local in New Milford and Oradell mostly. One family lives in Massachusetts and another lived in Texas, but recently moved to Wyckoff.

Keeping track of one another has proven to be difficult, which is why the family created a contact sheet with quarterly news alerts and updates.

When Daily Voice asked Robert what it was like to be surrounded by all of his loved ones at once, he smiled, and said simply: "It's great."

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