Who are the Old Colony Mennonites? Broadly speaking this religious group shares some things in common with the Amish, including plain dress, use of German dialect, and Anabaptist heritage.

Today they are found in Latin America (Mexico, Belize, Bolivia, Paraguay), several Canadian provinces, and two US states.


Old Colony people in Belize. Photo: Stacey Inion

You can find a nice overview of the Old Colony peoples in Donald Kraybill’s Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites. Amish have entered the modern-day Old Colony picture by helping improve their religious cousins’ schooling system in Mexico (a collaboration with origins dating to the mid-1990s). Contributor Rebecca Miller wrote about this experience in a post on the project last year, which also includes more on Old Colony history.

You can also see Old Colony photos by photographer Jordi Busque here, on his personal site, or in this Guardian feature.

japas-logoThe reason I’m mentioning the group today, is that the newest edition of the Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies features five articles on the Old Colony Mennonite people, covering topics including business rules, education, colony discipline and more.

JAPAS is a free online journal based at Ohio State University and published twice yearly.  You can read the latest issue in full here, or find a listing of all previous issues here.

In addition to the Old Colony Mennonite content, the latest journal carries articles on Anabaptist healthcare, the memoirs of Amish-raised Saloma Miller Furlong, and two book reviews (Kenneth Auker’s Keeping the Trust: Issues Surrounding the Formation of the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church, and Mark Louden’s Pennsylvania Dutch: The Story of an American Language).

Get the Amish in your inbox