The Amish church directory

I just picked up my 2002 Indiana Amish Directory for Elkhart, Lagrange, and Noble Counties, and flipped to a random page.
Indy_amish_directory_012_65

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).

Indy_amish_directory_019_65
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.
Indy_amish_directory_021_65_smaller
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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    17 Comments

    1. Meadow Heiman

      Hi,
      Where did you obtain the 2002 Indiana Amish Directory. I have been trying to locate one.
      Thanks, Meadow

    2. Thomas Stone

      Hello I’m not sure who this is going to,but I would like to talk to someone about the amish church. First let me say I beleive in the theological principiles and beliefs of the amish church. I grew up in a freewill baptist and nazarene church and heard mennonite preachers that came threw town.I grew up in california and now live in Seattle.I would like to learn more about the amish church and their life and really talk to someone who is actually amish to learn more.My e-mail is centralvalley31@yahoo.com if you could spare the time to talk to me I would very much appreciate it. Thank you Thomas

    3. sarah miller

      Could you please tell me where I can purchase directories? Is there a phone number one can call? Thank you very much.

    4. Joseph

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    6. Pingback: The Amish of Mechanicsville, Maryland | Amish America
    7. Nelson

      If you want Amish Church Directories call Abana Books at 330-674-7679 , leave your name and number to call back or call during regular business hours

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    9. RE: Adams County Indiana, Eli Cobelentz's Side

      Is there an Online directory? And if not…Hmmm…I just wanted to see what family is still around, Sam N. Schwartz’s, Sammy, Lydianne, Amos, and the Hilty’s down the road, Rt one box 170, Bryant Indiana…are there stil any amish there?
      -Ethan

      1. There is no online directory Ethan but the Adams County Amish settlement continues to grow and is around 50 churches now, so there are probably even more Amish in the area you describe.

        And “Schwartz” is like the Adams County version of Lancaster County’s “Stoltzfus”…actually even more extreme, almost half the Amish there have Schwartz for a last name 🙂

      2. Willard Wickey

        willardwickey@gmail.com

        I’m sure there are heaps of Amish there.
        I have a sister just north of Bryant. They’re thicker than bugs on a bumper.

    10. Surname: App

      I am writing a historical fiction based on a true true event that happened in Stark County, Ohio about 100 years ago. Stark County is adjacent to Holmes County and other strong Amish and Mennonite settlements. The name Mr. S. L. App pops up in my research. I could rationalize that Mr. App’s name was Lapp and misspelled.

      I also have a practicing Court of Common Pleas Judge Ake whose last name confuses me. Would it have been too odd for an Amish man to be a judge in 1914?

    11. Jessie Cochran

      Todd County Directory

      Hallo Erik!

      Es ist mir wieder. I was wondering that, if you ever got a hold of a Todd County Directory from Minnesota, if you could be so kind as to email me a link to it. You would have to scan it or make it a PDF, of course. It would be great if you could do something like that for me, as I don’t have the means to get there (to Todd County) myself. Or maybe a friend who lives in Minnesota?

      Only reasoning I’m asking is because I want to write a fiction story based on as many true facts as I can get, which would include last names of people and possibly first names of Amish families who actually live in Todd County.

      Could I also have your email? Just to ask you questions, and sometimes I don’t want to put them up online for everyone to read. My email is jcochran232@gmail.com.

      Danke schön! 🙂

      Mit freundlichen grüßen,
      – Jessie C 🙂

    12. Cindy

      Are the Amish Church Directory still available? If so, how would I get one.
      Thanks

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    14. John

      Fine

      I would like to attend your church