I just picked up my 2002 Indiana Amish Directory for Elkhart, Lagrange, and Noble Counties, and flipped to a random page.

Here are the last names of the Amish in the 40 households in the district I landed on, in order:   Bontrager, Bontrager, Bontrager, Bontrager, Bontrager, Bontrager, Bontrager, Bontreger, Bontreger, Eash, Gingerich, Hochstedler, Hostetler, Jones, Lambright, Lambright, Lambright, Lambright, Lambright, Lambright, Lehman, Miller, Miller, Miller, Miller, Miller, Miller, Miller, Miller, Miller, Schlabach, Stutzman, Wagler, Whetstone, Wingard, Yoder, Yoder, Yoder, Yoder, Yoder.

The church directory, which almost all Amish communities put out, is an interesting book.  All families in a district are listed, along with maps and background info, birthdates and the like.

Comes in pretty handy when you have dozens of cousins in the neighborhood to keep track of, or when you’re trying to get to your uncle’s new place on the other side of the settlement.

They also often include historical backgrounds, and church ‘genealogies’.  This guide contains a diagram showing how the first congregation, starting in 1847, grew and split and then split and split again, becoming 114 by 2002 (likely nearer 130 today).

It’s nice to see the Amish unafraid to use this info as a community-building tool, especially at a time when some of us non-Amish are loath to even give out our last names.

Directories are usually available for sale at local dry-goods shops.  Scholars, genealogists and historians find them extremely handy as well.

The Amish update these about every five or so years, so northern Indy is about due for a new one.  This is only the third largest Amish community, and it’s over 600 pages long.
About the names:  Miller and Yoder, very common especially in the Midwest, are classic Amish surnames.  Miller is the most common of all Amish monikers, with this directory reporting a whopping 811 households with that last name at the time of printing.

Schlabach is seen spelled a few different ways (Slabach, Slabaugh, Slaubaugh), as are Bontrager (Bontreger, Borntreger, Borntrager), Hostetler (Hochstetler, Hochstedler), and Wingard (Wengerd).

Waglers are mostly found in southern Indiana in the Swiss-background community located there, so this family likely has roots there.   Eash, like the similar Esh, as well as Gingerich, seem to be somewhat Anglicized forms of the more Germanic Oesch and Guengerich, more commonly seen among earlier Amish settlers to America.

The un-Germanic-sounding Jones, as well as Lambright and Whetstone all come from later converts to the faith (see Steven Nolt’s A History of the Amish).

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