The story of the Anabaptists in 8 minutes

If you ever find yourself wondering just how the Amish, Mennonites, or Hutterites came to be, you might enjoy today’s video.

Mike of Primitive Christianity has put together a short (8 min) and entertaining video detailing how each Anabaptist group ended up where they are today.

I particularly like his use of maps to tell the story (on one map he has highlighted the precise house in Zurich where the first Anabaptist baptisms took place).  This won’t substitute for reading a good history of Anabaptism, but it gives a nice outline of where these groups came from and how they landed in North America. A few interesting points from the video:

  • Hutterites once numbered 50,000 in Europe, mainly in Moravia (today part of the Czech Republic)
  • Amish came to America in two main waves, numbering about 300 in the 1700s, and increasing tenfold to 3,000 in the 1800s
  • At one point Holland was almost 10% Mennonite
Mike prepared the video for a Lancaster County historical society, which is why the story begins there:

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    1. Slightly-handled-Order-man


      Very well done!
      In my reading I’ve seen many of the images used, but I like the way it was all put together. I thought the scene where you had the first person to be Anabaptized moving across the map eventually to his end, was, ‘cute’ and creative!

    2. excellent

      The history of God´s chosen people is for me sometimes very difficult to understand, but in this video everything is clear and objective, without prejudices or mistakes.

    3. I really like this and may also put it on my own blog, since I sometimes have people asking me what the difference is between the Amish, Mennonites and Hutterites. Thanks Erik and Mike!

    4. Thanks for the comments!
      I cant remember if I mention it in the video or not, but the picture that shows up of Jakob Ammann (before the video begins) is one I drew, based on a photo of an Amish man (I added the mustache to be historically accurate! 😉 ).
      The background of that picture is the valley in the Alsace (France) where Jakob spent a good portion of his days until an edict (1712) that demanded an eviction of all Anabaptists from the area forced him (and practically all the rest of the Anabaptists in the area) to relocate. Jakob’s house (still standing today) is just behind and below the foreground shrubbery.
      A friend and I are working on a short biography of Jakob Ammann, hopefully to be published next Spring.

    5. Tom in Kentucky

      Great video, fun and informative.

    6. Andrea

      Very intresting

      Well this was so intresting about there history, loved it very to the point and in only 8 mins. Well done.

    7. Lattice

      Mike, is that your voice narrating? I hope to not offend whoever it might be, it’s just that I detect a hint of an accent, perhaps. Was English the narrator’s first language?

      Thank you for answering some questions I had about Russian Mennonites. Great work, by the way.

      1. Yeah, that’s me. If you were a Hoosier (maybe you are?), maybe you wouldn’t think I had an accent. 🙂
        I do know Spanish pretty well (spoke it for several years in South America), and am learning some German. So I suppose I have lost some of my original accent. But my dad was from the Ozarks and some northern people have told me that I have a southern accent. But I definitely dont say, “Ya-alllllll sound like a Yankee.” 🙂

        1. Lattice

          Okay, I listened again and I suppose I can hear the Carolina in your Hoosier [“smiley face”] (I’m technologically impaired)!

          The truth is, you pronounced some words just like my southern Amish friends.

          Very interesting and informational. And you drew Jakob Ammann? I’ll speak for everyone and say, “Wow, we’re impressed!”

    8. Alice Mary

      Thanks for sharing!

      Mike, this is just the kind of “learning experience” I need as I get older! I’ve tried reading(and tryng to “picture”) other histories of the Anabaptists, but your video is much more useful to me! I guess I always needed “pictures” (I grew up reading comic books my Dad collected) to fully understand what I was reading and “retain” it for more than 5 minutes. Very nice job, and I appreciate your humor, too. (I THOUGHT that looked like a hand drawn Jakob Ammann!)

      Good luck with your biographical project, too!

      Alice Mary

    9. Ed

      Wow – great video! I love the maps and the focus on immigration!

    10. Alice Aber

      Very well done and interesting. Thanks for sharing it!!

      Blessings, Alice

    11. Early ancestors from Alsace

      Oh boy.. I really enjoyed that video! Thanks so much!! Every time I read or see the Anabaptist’s history, I get sucked into my family genealogy..

      Family lore says that our family were Penn Dutch… and I remember my great grandmother and grandfather who could have quite easily been, as they looked the part. Only black or gray floor length dresses for my grandmother, and very austere living conditions.. The history that we have on part of that line (my g-grandmothers) we can trace back to Wingen, Alsace. Our first ancestor came over in 1733 from Rotterdam and before long, others came as well. Much of the information we have though is from Moravian diaries and records.. Some records show them as Morivian and others as Lutheran so as far as I know, there are no records of them being Amish, Mennonite, or Hutterites, although if they were, it could have also been thru numerous other familial lines that came from the same area several years later such as the Biehler’s, Petres, or Frey’s. There are slews of French & German ancestors who came to the US in the early 1700s and Im sure they were well acquainted with others who did at that time. So very interesting.. and to think I despised History when I was younger. 🙂

      1. The Moravian Brethren would have also dressed very plain in their earlier days. For that Metre so did the Methodists and other groups.

    12. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      I liked AA on my actual name facebook account, and saw this again. I still like it.

      I wanted to remind, partly myself, and people, that plain of the 1500s and 1600s are different than plain of the 1800s, 1900s and today.
      Imagine the “plain people” running around in the attire they are depicted in in this video, some of the engravings or drawings look like they might be wearing a long version of a kilt, or robe, they certainly, in many cases look to be European contenental Elizabethian certainly, don’t they.
      Picture an old order conservative Amish person dressing like that today.

      This video holds up as a useful tool


      Video not showing

      The story of the Anabaptists in 8 minutes

      I believe that I’ve seen this video before, but wanted to recommend it to a friend. I can’t seem to see the video on this page anymore. Can someone tell me if its available else where?

      1. I am not sure if it is available anywhere else. I wrote to Mike to see if it might be and I’ll let you know if I hear anything.

        1. Mike was great, got right back to me. I have embedded the video again above and should be visible now.