Amish Surnames

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What’s in a name?   Among the Amish there are a core group of surnames that make up the foundation of the church:  Yoder,  Mast, Stutzman, Stoltzfus  Hershberger, and various others.  The commonality of surnames is not surprising given the insular nature of the Amish church. None of the “lists” in this posting are meant to be all inclusive, because I would inevitably leave some out, it just makes for interesting discussion.

Then there’s a second tier of very common Amish names: Eicher, Slabaugh, Coblentz, Chupp, Troyer, Wengerd, Raber,  Petersheim and Miller that seem to be fairly universal across a broad spectrum of settlements.

Not too long ago I met an Amish man by the last name of Martin , an unusual surname among the Amish, but as common among the Mennonites as Yoder is among the Amish.  Turns out he was a rare Amish person that left the Mennonite church to join the Amish.

Some names are common mainly in certain areas: Glicks, Kings, and Lapps reign supreme in Pennsylvania, while Bontrager and Lehman reign supreme  in northern Indiana.

But then there are some other surname that are more rare among the Amish, probably because of recent conversions or are hyper-local to certain areas.  Stuery is an Amish surname that I run into frequently in southern Michigan, while Swarey is a name I see in some Amish settlements in Pennsylvania.  Schwartz is quite common among the Swiss Amish of Berne, Indiana and Webster County, Missouri.  Lengacher is a common Amish last name in the Grabill-New Haven area of Indiana, but I hardly ever see it elsewhere.  I spoke with a Jason Wanner in Conneautville, Pennsylvania recently who said there are only a handful of families with his last name.  His great grandfather had joined the church from the Old Order Mennonites.

In Holmes County, Ohio, Bowman’s Harness show stands-out among Amish businesses as a bit of an anomaly.  The name Bowman isn’t one you hear all that much among the Amish.  The harness shop’s owner explained to me that his grandfather’s family, a similar trajectory as the Wanners, joined the Amish from the German Baptist faith.  Duff is a last name found in Oakland, Maryland’s Amish settlement from a convert.

What are some other common Amish last names that I’ve left out? And what are some less common ones you’ve run across?

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The Discussion


  1. There’s a sizeable Mennonite community in Plain City, OH, near to my hometown. Yutzy is another super-common name there, along with Yoder, Troyer, and Milller.

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  2. I grew up in Berne IN and Wickey was a common Amish name there.

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  3. Jason Wanner’s grandparents were Old Order Mennonite. Jason’s father, Harry Wanner, also originally Old Order Mennonite, converted to the Amish in the 1970′s. Harry Wanner is a rather well-known individual in the Old Order Amish and Mennonite world. Google him, if you like.

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  4. The German Baptist Wanner great-grandparents converted to Old Order Mennonitism apparently then, as the Wanner surname is sprinkled through several different Old Order Mennonite churches.

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  5. Although I don’t know much about the surnames of the Amish and Mennonites, I am descended from people who were Mennonites from Berne, Switzerland. The names were Shantz (Tschanz in Switzerland), Amacher and Erb. Do you know of anyone by those names presently?

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  6. I live Porter Co In. I grew up by a Mennonite church and our neighbors were Apostolics Christians.The names that were (are) Good (change from Gut) Birky, Feller, Heinold, Martin and Miller.They came from a small town in Illinois.

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  7. I am in northern Indiana and a common name around here is Hochstetler. There are different spellings of that name.

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  8. Jo Whitman says:


    The area I live in in East Central Illinois is heavily populated with Apostolic Christians. Common surnames are Zimmerman, Steidinger, Zehr, Wenger, Slagel, Meister and Stork.

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  9. Here in the Ethridge, Tennessee settlement we have 13 family surnames for the 215 households – Gingerich, Hostetler, Schrock, Byler, Troyer, Zook and Swartzentruber are ones not on your list. We have Yoder, Mast, Hershberger, Stutzman, Miller and Wengerd as well.

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    • Thanks, Pat…I have Gingerich friends in Etheridge, so that fits:) I love Ethridge, you live there?

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      • Pat Whorl says:


        Good morning Kevin. Yes, I live in Ethridge. My sister and I have a quilting business here. I am aware that you NOAH Gingerich. Let me know when you and Rachel will be back this way, we would love to meet you and share more of our settlement with you.

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  10. Jasmine Carlson says:


    I have a Mennonite friend who used to live in Plain City who is an Erb.

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  11. I am trying to do genealogical research which has been extremely difficult for me. The last name I am searching for is “Benson” who were Amish supposedly up in Pennsylvania but converted to Mennonite around 1972. I have come across records stating Pennsylvania as their home origin, while at the same time, they are listed as originating in Arkansas. I have already been told “Benson” is a very “un-Amish” name, so, I do not know if they converted to Amish, then converted to Mennonite.

    The names are John and June Benson and they had {what is ascertained} four children {David, James, Daniel, and Stephen). Any information concerning John and June Benson including any other children they may have had will be appreciated.

    Thank you very kindly for your time and patience with me. I do appreciate it. Thank you.

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