« Weird diseases | Main | New Hope »

March 31, 2007

The amazing Amish church directory

I just picked up my 2002 Indiana Amish Directory for Elkhart, Lagrange, and Noble Counties, and flipped to a random page.
Here are the last names of the 40 households in the district I landed on, in order:   Bontrager, Bontrager, Bontrager, Bontrager, Bontrager, Bontrager, Bontrager, Bontreger, Bontreger, Eash, Gingerich, Hochstedler, Hostetler, Jones, Lambright, Lambright, Lambright, Lambright, Lambright, Lambright, Lehman, Miller, Miller, Miller, Miller, Miller, Miller, Miller, Miller, Miller, Schlabach, Stutzman, Wagler, Whetstone, Wingard, Yoder, Yoder, Yoder, Yoder, Yoder. 

The church directory, which almost all Amish communities put out, is a fascinating thing.  All families in a district are listed, along with maps and background info, birthdates and the like. 

Comes in pretty handy when you have dozens of cousins in the neighborhood to keep track of, or when you're trying to get to your uncle's new place on the other side of the settlement. 

They also often include historical backgrounds, and church 'genealogies'.  This guide contains a diagram showing how the first congregation, starting in 1847, grew and split and then split and split again, becoming 114 by 2002 (likely nearer 130 today).

It's nice to see the Amish unafraid to use this info as a community-building tool, especially at a time when some of us non-Amish are loath to even give out our last names.

Directories are usually available for sale at local dry-goods shops.  Scholars, genealogists and historians find them extremely handy as well.

The Amish update these about every five or so years, so northern Indy is about due for a new one.  This is only the third largest Amish community, and it's over 600 pages long.

About the names:  Miller and Yoder, very common especially in the Midwest, are classic Amish surnames.  Miller is the most common of all Amish monikers, with this directory reporting a whopping 811 households with that last name at the time of printing.

Schlabach is seen spelled a few different ways (Slabach, Slabaugh, Slaubaugh), as are Bontrager (Bontreger, Borntreger, Borntrager), Hostetler (Hochstetler, Hochstedler), and Wingard (Wengerd). 

Waglers are mostly found in southern Indiana in the Swiss-background community located there, so this family likely has roots there.   Eash, like the similar Esh, as well as Gingerich, seem to be somewhat Anglicized forms of the more Germanic Oesch and Guengerich, more commonly seen among earlier Amish settlers to America. 

The un-Germanic-sounding Jones, as well as Lambright and Whetstone all come from later converts to the faith (see Steven Nolt's A History of the Amish). 


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The amazing Amish church directory:


Where did you obtain the 2002 Indiana Amish Directory. I have been trying to locate one.
Thanks, Meadow

Hello I'm not sure who this is going to,but I would like to talk to someone about the amish church. First let me say I beleive in the theological principiles and beliefs of the amish church. I grew up in a freewill baptist and nazarene church and heard mennonite preachers that came threw town.I grew up in california and now live in Seattle.I would like to learn more about the amish church and their life and really talk to someone who is actually amish to learn more.My e-mail is centralvalley31@yahoo.com if you could spare the time to talk to me I would very much appreciate it. Thank you Thomas

Could you please tell me where I can purchase directories? Is there a phone number one can call? Thank you very much.

I am mennonite from India
please visit

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo


My Other Accounts

Facebook MSN Messenger Skype Yahoo!
Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 11/2006