Momber, a widely ramified family, which is found in the records of the Danzig Mennonite Church as far back as 1650, and which lived for the most part in Danzig until the end of the 19th century. The progenitor of the family, Anthony de Momper (born 1580 in Amsterdam, died about 1610 in Danzig), emigrated from the Netherlands to Danzig on account of religious oppression, and changed the name to Momber.
The Dutch ancestors of Anthony Momber can be traced back to 1440 in Bruges, Belgium. Jean de Momper I and his son Jean de Momper II (1485-1540), noted landscape painters in Bruges, were Catholic. The next son, Jodocus (Joos) de Momper I, alias van Lyons (born 1516 in Bruges, died 1580 in Antwerp), also a painter, became a Calvinist. His son Bartholomäus I (born 1535, famed painter, publisher, art dealer, and guildmaster in Amsterdam) was the father of Jodocus (Joos) de Momper II (1564-1635), who is still known for his landscapes in various European galleries, and who was a painter, etcher, and guildmaster in Antwerp, a friend of van Dyck and probably also of Rembrandt. Van Dyck and de Momper painted each other's portraits.
Another son of Jodocus I, Hendrik de Momper (Momboir, born 1540 in Amsterdam), was the father of the emigrant Anthony de Momper mentioned above. Anthony as well as his brothers Hendrick and Hans, who stayed in Amsterdam, became Mennonites. Another Anthony Momber was a member and probably a deacon of the Flemish congregation of Amsterdam in 1629 (Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente to Amsterdam II, 2, No. 571). Anthony's descendants in Danzig were craftsmen. Many served in various offices in the Mennonite congregation in Danzig. Abraham Momber, the oldest representative listed in the church records of Danzig (3 October 1650-20 May 1712), was chosen deacon by the Flemish congregation in Danzig in 1694, and preacher in 1703. His wife Maria de Veer (1661-1742) was appointed as deaconess of the congregation in 1720. Anton Momber (1670-1735) was widely known as the founder of the first coffeehouse in Danzig (about 1700), in which German and foreign newspapers were read and which was comparable to the London coffeehouse. At the home of Jacob Momber (1704-1772), a merchant, the elders of the congregation held a meeting to discuss arrangements for the care of the poor and a place for religious services during the bombardment of Danzig in 1734.
His son Hans Momber I (1742-1815), a deacon and preacher in the Flemish congregation, was according to the church chronicles, "gifted with rich talents and skilled in speaking and writing." For several years he collaborated with Peter Thiessen and Jakob de Veer in compiling the first German hymnal for the Danzig church, translating some hymns from the Dutch and writing others himself. Some of his hymns are still to be found in the Danzig hymnal. He had a special gift for composing hymns for special occasions, some of which have been preserved. He was a leader in the merger of the Flemish and Frisian branches of the brotherhood in 1808.
His cousin Berend Momber (15 March 1755-25 April 1840), a merchant, was the first Mennonite to acquire citizenship when Danzig was incorporated in Prussia. The Danzig state library contained his extensive manuscript of the history of his family during the siege. His wife Cäcilie lost her life in the bombardment of the city in 1813.
August Momber (9 March 1807-16 December 1882) established the linen business that grew from small beginnings into one of Danzig's leading industries. In 1869 he became a member of the church council. He took an active part in the change in the position of the congregation on nonresistance, mixed marriages, and the admission of members of related groups. He cheerfully sacrificed for the common good, and enjoyed the esteem of all.
When he lost his sight in 1880 his son Julius Momber (25 December 1839-5 December 1900) succeeded him on the church council. He and his brother Otto (30 January 1847-5 May 1929) carried on the paternal business.
Julius was from 1876 an active member of the church council and promoter of the Vereinigung (Conference of German Mennonite Churches). In the political life of his city he filled several posts of honor, and was also a patron of the arts.
The oldest son of August Momber, Albert Momber (26 July 1837-6 June 1909), was a teacher in the Danzig Gymnasium and in 1901 took the place of his deceased brother Julius on the church council. He was a highly honored figure in the public life of the city. The name was still common in the congregation at the time of its dispersal in 1945.
Some members of this family were found in Königsberg, East Prussia, while Hermann Momber was a "possementierer" (lacemaker, or merchant) and a distiller of brandy about 1735. Others were found in Berlin.
Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. 56v. Leipzig, 1875-1912: XXII: 158-160.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III: 158 f.
Mannhardt, H. G. Die Danziger Mennonitengemeinde: ihre Entstehung und ihre Geschichte von 1569-1919 : Denkschrift zur Erinnerung an das 350 jährigie Bestehen der Gemeinde und an die Jahrhundertfeier unseres Kirchenbaus am 14. September 1919. Danzig : Danziger Mennonitengemeinde, 1919.
Mennonitische Geschichtsblätter 8 (1956): 22, 27 f.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 739. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Momber, Wilhelm. "Momber family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M6527.html.
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