Blickensdörfer, the name of a Mennonite family of Swiss origin, now found in South Germany and the United States. Its name derives from the hamlet of Blickenstorf in the parish of Baar, Switzerland. Its earliest proved appearance is in 1412 in Hedingen in the canton of Zürich.
The progenitor of most of the present-day bearers of the name is Hans Jakob Blickensdörfer, who settled on the Kohlhof in the district of Ludwigshafen (Palatinate) as hereditary lessee. Several direct descendants in the 1950s were still living on the Kohlhof or were members of that congregation even though they lived at some distance. Others moved at an earlier or later date into the regions of the Sembach and Friedelsheim congregations. In 1748 and 1753 four sons of Hans Jakob Blickensdörfer (Johannes, Ulrich, Christian, and Jost) emigrated to the United States. None of these continued in the Mennonite Church; so the family is not found among the Mennonites in America. One joined the Moravian Church at Lititz, Pennsylvania, and one the Dunkard (Brethren) Church, changing his name to Blickenstaff.
Georg Blickensdörfer (1754-1833), a grandson of the progenitor, was chosen elder in 1790. He was married to Magdalene Neff, a daughter of Peter Neff, elder of Assenheim. Also later on there were numerous interrelationships between the two families. He is considered the founder of the Kohlhof congregation, which met for the first time as an independent congregation in 1791 under his leadership. With the Herrnhuters (especially their settlement in Neuwied) he maintained active contacts which are to some extent still functioning.
Samuel Blickensdörfer, a great-grandson of the above, b. 3 January 1848 at the Kohlhof, d. 25 June 1926, in Auerbach a.d. Bergstrasse, married to Katherine Krehbiel of the Weierhof, educated at the Basler Missionshaus and the university of Basel, became a teacher at the school at Weierhof in the Palatinate, serving from 1874 to 1876. For the next three years he served the Kaiserslautern congregation as their first theologically trained minister. In 1879 he accepted a call to the Sembach Mennonite Church and in 1899 to the Friedrichstadt (Holstein) Church, remaining there until his retirement in 1920.
In the 1950s there were about 50 Mennonites with the name Blickensdörfer living in South Germany.
Blickensderfer, Jacob. History of the Blickensderfer family in America. [Lebanon? Mo., 1899].
Mennonitischer Gemeinde-Kalender (1928): 34 ff. (biographical sketch with picture).
Neff, Christian. Mennonitisches Adressbuch, 1936.
Wihr, Rudolf. Die Rehhütter Chronik: Beitrag zur Geschichte des Bezirks Ludwigshafen am Rhein. Ludwigshafen-Gartenstadt: Selbstverl., 1937.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 362. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Schowalter, Paul. "Blickensdörfer family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B5607.html.
APA style: Schowalter, Paul. (1953). Blickensdörfer family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B5607.html.