From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Common Mennonite Surnames

Family names of Wenger Mennonites

Donald B. Kraybill and James P. Hurd cite the following surnames as the most common among Wenger Mennonites:

19% --Martin
18% -- Zimmerman
 8% --Hoover
 7% -- Nolt
 6% -- Burkholder
 5% -- Shirk
 4% -- Weaver
 3% -- Newswanger
29% -- Other names (37)

The complete table appears on page 158 of Horse-and-buggy Mennonites: Hoofbeats of Humiility in a Postmodern World.

Every one of these family names is found within the Mennonite community in which we live. In fact, the above list of the top Wenger names reads like a list of our Mennonite neighbors.

Dr, Donald Kraybill has written dozens of excellent books about Mennonite and Amish culture. The surname Kraybill probably appears within the group of "other names". Dr. Kraybill grew up in a Mennonite family in Pennsylvania. I am familiar with the Kraybill name from the Hutchinson, Kansas area, and it is associated with Mennonite lineage there, also.

On the web:
Interview with Donald Kraybill on the always-interesting Amish America blog

Hinkletown, Pennsylvania (vicinity).
Mennonite church yard on Sunday morning
Image from Library of Congress FSA/OWI Collection
John Collier (1913-1992), photographer


John Ruberry said...

My cousin married a Mennonite. A Martin.

Genevieve said...

Somehow the name doesn't surprise me. :)

Tom Glenn said...

Genevieve, I am curious about my Mother's maiden name, Howery. My grandfather told us our ancestors were Mennonites from Holland about 1800. Four brothers came over together. Our line eventually moved from Pennsylvania into Ohio, then Missouri, then Oklahoma. I think he said it was his grandfather that left the community and married a Scottish Protestant girl, becoming a member of the Church of Christ. Anyway, I would like to know more about the family name. I am suspecting it is German Swiss. Any help would be appreciated. My email: Tom Glenn.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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