The study of family history and genealogy, though an ancient and widespread enterprise in western culture, did not become a significant matter among Mennonites until the 20th century. It had very little vogue in Switzerland, France, or Russia, and little more in Germany, though considerably more in Holland, but has grown to considerable proportions in North America. The earliest known Mennonite family histories published in Europe are the following published in Holland: Teyler van der Hulst, Stamboek der Teyler's of Geslachtsregister der nakomelingen van Thomas Teyler en Trijntie van de Kerkhoven van 1562-1728 (Haarlem, 1728?); P. B.(eets), Stam-boek der Willingen of geslachtregister der nakomelingen van Ian Willink en Judith Busschers 1591 tot 1767 (Deventer, 1767). The first-known Mennonite family history published in North America was The Genealogical register of the male and female descendants of John Jacob Schnebele now Snively (Chambersburg, 1858). For listings of Mennonite genealogies, visit the various Mennonite Historical Libraries in North America.
In addition to genealogies family history has produced many interesting narratives of pioneer experiences and travels, as well as accounts of customs and practices, and religious and moral behavior. These materials, including other family records and genealogical data, have considerable value for general historical study, and also for specific Mennonite history. The often serious lack of group and congregational records coupled with a meager historical sense in the past seriously handicap the student of Mennonite history, theology, and piety. At times family history materials furnish important or even unique clues and traces, or major illumination. Some published genealogies contain significant historical materials in the introductory chapters.
Correll, Ernst. "The Value of Family History for Mennonite History, With Illustrations From Nafziger Family Materials." Mennonite Quarterly Review 11 (1928): 66-79, 151-54, 198-204.
Kauenhovenk, K. "Mennonitische Familienforschung." Mennonitisches Jahrbuch (1951): 28-33.
Mennonitisches Lexikon I: 631.
Canadian Mennonite University
Includes the Mennonite Heritage Centre
Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies (Winnipeg, Man.)
Columbia Bible College (Abbotsford, B.C.)
Conrad Grebel University College (Waterloo, Ont.)
Conrad Grebel University College library holdings are listed as part of the TRELLIS online catalog catalog which serves the University of Waterloo, University of Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier University
for Mennonite Brethren Studies (Fresno, California)
Menno Simons Historical Library (Harrisonburg, Virginia)
Mennonite Historical Library (Bluffton College, Bluffton, Ohio)
The Library is searchable through the Ohio Private Academic Libraries (OPAL) online system
Mennonite Historical Library (Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana)
The Goshen College library is searchable via the PALNI Library network. A search on this network also includes the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary (Elkhart, Indiana).
Mennonite Library and Archives (North Newton Kansas)
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. .299-300. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Bender, Harold S. "Family History." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 23 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/F3714ME.html.
APA style: Bender, Harold S. (1956). Family History. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/F3714ME.html.