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Chris Yoder, editor of the Yoder Newsletter, presented a Powerpoint overview of the 8 separate YODER lines in America and their origins. This was followed by a description of the YODER DNA project which is indicating that nearly all Yoders (no matter how they spell the name) have a common heritage from Alsace, Germany and Switzerland.


The Script to Accompany the Powerpoint Presentation at the Yoder Reunion, October, 2006

(Read the script here, click to view the slide, then use the BACK button to return to this page)

1. COVER PAGE
Good evening ladies and gentleman. I am so pleased that the House of Yoder Committee is sponsoring this national reunion, and that they have invited me to speak to you tonight. I've been an editor of the Yoder Newsletter since it's founding in 1983. Rachel Kreider, our senior editor and co-author of the classic book "Amish and Amish Mennonite Genealogies brought retired school principal Ben Yoder and I together at her kitchen table in Goshen. Ben passed away just before our 10th year. Are there any of our subscribers in the audience? I certainly thank you all for your support. I'd like also to introduce Esther Yoder of Goshen, Indiana, who handles all of our subscription correspondence and orchestrates the mailing of the newsletter every six months. Esther Esther has been active in the House of Yoder since the first and often serves as a docent at the house.


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2. OVERVIEW
In this Powerpoint presentation I'll talk about:
- the origins of the Yoder name and the family in Switzerland
- the different Yoder immigrant lines, and invite each of you to make known which line you come from as I talk about it.
- I'll also discuss the Yoder populations in the US today and where we live,
- and then provide some results from the Yoder DNA project. This project began in January of this year and has already led to some exciting discoveries.

 
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3. ORIGIN OF NAME
The name Yoder comes from the Swiss name "Joder" and historians say: "the name Joder comes from St. Theodore (Theodorus, Theodulus (Abbrev. "Joder") ). St. Joder was a missionary monk who in the fourth centuryA.D. crossed the Alps from Italy to bring the Gospel to the Valais country in southern Switzerland."
Yoder Newsletter readers are familiar are familiar with St. Joder sites and tales such as:
- the St Joder chapel at Grafenort which was dedicated in November of 1482 and restored in this century with the help of European Joders.
- the St. Joder Stamp issued in 1981 by Liechtenstein to celebrate the l600th anniversary of St. Joder's appointment as bishop.
- and St. Yoders Day, August 16, which is shown in old church calendars as the feast day for St. Joder and is believed to be the date of his death. You can download and print off St. Joder's Day cards from the Yoder Newsletter Homepage. Have any of you all celebrated St. Yoder's Day?
The story credited to Echerius, bishop of Lyons in about 450 A.D is that a legion was recruited at Thebes in Egypt for the Roman army and they were commanded by General Maximian to hunt down a group of Christians who had incurred the disfavor of the Roman government. This they refused to do because they were Christians themselves. They were quoted as saying, "We are your soldiers but we are also the servants of God. To him belongs our allegiance. He is your God as well. We would rather die, dying guiltless, than to live in guilt... Do with us what you will -- torture or sword-- we are prepared (for the consequences). We are Christians and persecute them we shall not." Thereupon Maximian ordered every tenth man of the legion executed. They kept refusing until the whole legion was wiped out. Between 370 and 380 A.D. the bodies of these martyrs were found by St. Joder of Sion, who built a basilica over the site.
Now could I see a show of hands, how many ladies here are married to a Yoder gentleman? How many gentlemen here are married to a Yoder lady?


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4. THEODORE-JODER
Well, you'll be glad to know that the name Theodore/Joder is derived from the Greek words theos (meaning god) and doron (meaning gift). So your Yoder is "god's gift". Over the past 33 years I've had to remind my wife of this on numerous occasions.
 

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5. JODERS IN SWITZERLAND
The Swiss Encyclopedia traces the Joder family to the town of Steffisburg, in the Canton of Bern, where Joder's appear by the 1300s. Joders are in the neighboring town of Muri as early as 1529.

 

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6. JODERS IN SWITZERLAND- #2
Research by the late Karl Joder of Germany has traced these Steffisburg Joders back even further to a Peter Joder born in the 1200s. I refer to the lineage as being "apocryphal" as it would not necessarily hold up to DAR standards assumptions are made about the relationships of generations based on speculating from birth and other records. But many of the assumptions are likely true, and the added generations make for an interesting story. A primary family in Steffisburg which has been the focus of attention by Yoder genealogists is that of Caspar Joder who was born in 1571 and married Margret Hennig in 1596.


 
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7. JODERS IN SWITZERLAND- CASPAR JODER FAMILY
This chart shows the families of two of their sons, Jost and Nicolas, who are the known ancestors of living American Yoders today.
Jost's son Caspar is said to be the great grandfather of Michael Yoder, 1825 immigrant to Somerset county, Pa. This Michaels' father Samuel wrote a letter in 1806 from Germany to his "Dear Cousins" of the 1742 immigrant Amish Yoder line; Jost's children Peter, Jakob (a Jakob who either married Verena Kauffman or Margreth Stehli), Anna (wife of Christian Blank), Christian and Caspar were identified in 1690 court records as suspected Anabaptists;
Nicolas's son Adam was the father of Hans and Yost Yoder, Reformed Church settlers to the Oley Valley of Berks Co., PA- first Yoders in America; his children Jost and Salomea (wife of Hans Gerber) were labelled as Anabaptists in 1690 and 1691.
Children of both Jost and Nicolas had fled Steffisburg by the early 1690s.
Jakob Amman, founder of the Amish, was born in 1644 in Erlenbach, Switzerland, not many kilometers away from Steffisburg. Steffisburg Joders were among his congregations in the Alsace, and some Yoders to America were Amish. A Christian Blank was one of the ministers accompanying Jacob Ammann during his tour of 1693 to seek support for his ideas, and a Hans Gerber was known to be with Jacob Ammann at Heidelsheim, Alsace in 1711. (You'll remember these names as marrying Joder girls).

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8. THE JODER FAMILIES
Steffisburg Joders settled in:
- the German Palatinate,
- at Eppstein, west of Frankfurt, where the name is spelled "Jotter"
- and Joders settled in the Franco-German area of Alsace
Joders live in all of these areas today.
 


 
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9. AMERICAN YODERS
This chart summarizes the major Yoder lines coming to America, and we'll talk about each one of them.


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10. OLEY VALLEY YODERS
· The first Yoders known to arrive in America were sons of Adam Joder and Barbara Ochsenbein of Steffisburg. Brothers Hans b. 1672 and Jost b. 1679.
· A record of Hans is found in the church records of Schwetzingen, Germany in 1709, where it is reported that he and his wife had left for the "Island of Pennsylvania".
· He traveled by way of England ? where a record shows he was in May of 1709, and had arrived in Pa by 1709/10.
· In 1711- Hans appears in Chester Co., Pa
· And by 1714- Hans had settled in Oley Twp. of Berks Co., Pa.
· This family belonged to the Reformed Church.
The Oley Yoders have hosted national Yoder reunions in 1996 and 2001. Could I ask all descendents of the Oley Valley Yoders to stand up an be recognized?
 

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11. HANS AND YOST YODER FAMILY SCENES
Some of you may recognize these scenes from one of the national reunions hosted by the Oley Valley Yoders. In the center, the entrance to the Pleasantville Union Cemetery where our earliest Yoders rest, at upper left the memorial stone placed in that cemetery honoring these first immigrants, and on the right photos from the Hans Yoder homestead - oldest in Berks county still in family hands.


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12. HANS OF GREAT SWAMP
The second line of immigrant Yoders was a member of the Mennonite Church. "Hans Yoder of Great Swamp" was in Bucks County, Pa around 1717 and purchased land there by 1720. Records of surveyor David Schultze show that the elder Hans died about 1753. His sons settled in Bucks County and adjacent Lehigh County in Pa, and descendants moved on to Mahoning and Columbiana County in Ohio. They stayed closely connected to the Mennonite church for many generations.
Would all descendents of the Mennonite Hans Yoder to stand up?

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13. THE 1700S AMISH YODERS
· The family which probably accounts for the largest number of present day Yoders in America is that of Christian Yoder (YR2) and his brother, the husband of the "Widow Barbara"(YR1). These first Amish Yoders arrived in Philadelphia Sept. 21, 1742 on the ship "Francis and Elizabeth" which sailed from Rotterdam. The Yoder signatures on the ship registry can be seen on this page.
· These families settled initially in Berks County.
· The chart shown here shows their speculated descent from the Jost Joder line. This was presented in and article by YNL senior editor Rachel Kreider, who is now some 97 years young, .
· Another early Amishman was Yost Yoder (YRB) who was in Pa by 1761.
Would all descendents of these 18th century Amish Yoders stand up?
 

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14. AMISH YODER SCENES
The cemetery of the Northkill Amish congregation near Hamburg in Berks County is the likely resting place for the first generation Amish Yoders. On the right is a photo of the log cabin which today still stands on the homestead of immigrant Christian, and then his son "Schweitzer Christian" (YR23).


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15. CONRAD YODER OF NORTH CAROLINA
The North Carolina Yoders have hosted national Yoder reunions in 1995 and in 2000. They are the descendants of Conrad Yoder, who is reported to have arrived in America in 1746 on the ship Neptune and accompanied Henry Weidner from Berks County to settle in the western part of North Carolina. The Oley Yoders had connections with the Weidner family. There he raised a large family and became a prominent landholder. On the left you can see the monument erected by the family at the Conrad Yoder homestead graveyard. On the right you see a picture from the 1995 Reunion of the North Carolina Yoders presenting a check to the House of Yoder in support of the effort here at Penn Alps.
Would all descendents of Conrad Yoder of North Carolina please stand up?

 

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16. MELCHIOR YODER OF WEIDENTHAL
The family of Melchior Yoder has been one of the least documented and hardest to track, but we've made a lot of progress over the past 23 years. In the past several years we've been able to identify his birthplace in Wiedenthal Germany and the name of his father as Niklaus. Oley immigrants had a brother Niklaus who lived in the general area and who died at about the same time. There are some apparent date conflicts, so we can't say with any certainty at this point that the two Niklauses are the same, but it is possible. Melchior came to America and was naturalized in 1765. It is known that he had a link to Conrad Yoder as there are records that the family corresponded with him in North Carolina in 1774. Would any descendents of Melchior please to stand up?

 

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17. 19TH CENTURY ALSATIAN YODER IMMIGRANTS
Yoders lived in Alsace from the late 1600's onward, and a number of families immigrated to the US during the 1800s. This chart shows the believed descent of seven of these immigrants from two sons of Jost Joder of Steffisburg.
Are there any Alsatian Yoders in the audience?
 
 

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18. 19TH CENTURY GERMAN YODER IMMIGRANTS
Other Yoder families from Steffisburg settled in southern parts of Germany. The family which settled in Eppstein adopted the spelling of Jotter. Some of the German Yoder immigrants from 19th century are shown on this chart.
Are any of the descendants of this group here to be recognized?

 

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19. SUMMARY OF YODER IMMIGRANTS
This chart, with a sub-title "A Rose by Any Other Name" gives some of the different spellings used by members of the Yoder family today. It also lists a few of the "unlinked" lines whose connections to the major lines is not known.
Are there any descendants of these "unlinked" Yoder lines here?

 

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20. YODER POPULATIONS IN THE US
· Several years ago we put together this map based on surname mailing lists to give an idea of how the Yoder population is dispersed. About 56% of us live in the four states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa.
· The US Census bureau reports that "Yoder" is the 1,118th most common surname in the US, representing about .011% of US Pop. This equals about 35,000 of us out of around 300 million Americans.

 

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21. YODER DNA PROJECT-BACKGROUND
And now for the "history making" Yoder DNA project.
To give you a bit of background, the father determines the gender of the baby. Only he can provide the "Y Chromosome" is handed down from father to son with little change.
· "Markers" on the DNA give it a unique "fingerprint"
· People with matching Y Chromosome markers have a common male ancestor
· A high degree of match can give a probability of closer ancestral links.
· We are Partnered with "Family Tree DNA" which the lab that is also working With National Geographic Society on it's "Human Genome Project"

 

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22. VOCABULARY
First I need to give you a bit of an explanation of some terms.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the structure of heredity; material in our cells that contains the genetic information about an individual
Chromosomes - Structure found in the nucleus of a cell, which contain the genes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, of which there are two sex chromosomes.
Marker - A physical location on the chromosome
Haplogroup - If we look at the world population as a huge genealogical tree, the Haplogroups are the original branches of this tree, which characterized the early human migrations.

 

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23. Y CHROMOSOME DNA
In our Yoder DNA project we've tested the "Y chromosome" of male Yoders. Again this is passed from father to son throughout the generations with little change.

 

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24. MARKERS- AND HOW THEY MATCH UP
To help you understand how the Y chromosomes are compared, let's use these three strands of beads. The first two match to each other, and the third does not. The lab measures and compares precise locations (markers) on the Y Chromosome.

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25. THE DNA TEST KIT
The DNA test kit is rather simple. The person being tested uses a toothbrush like instrument to scrape dead skin cells from the inside of their mouth and then sends to samples by mail to the lab.

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26. FINDINGS SO FAR- DIVIDER CHART
Over 50 Yoder males have been tested to date, from a wide array of immigrant families. Most of these folks have paid for their own testing. In addition several folks have made contributions to support upgrades of selected tests. The Yoder Newsletter has also dipped into our own funds for this purpose.

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27. THE YODER Y DNA PROFILE - 67 MARKER
By triangulating the tests of multiple sons of a specific ancestor, we have been able to identify the DNA profile of our Yoder "Most Recent Common Ancestor". This profile is show here. It is also the profile of Casper Joder from the Steffisburg family we focused on earlier.

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28. HAPLOGROUP "I1C"
As you'll recall "Haplogroups" are main branches of mankind and characterize the early human migrations. Our Yoder Haplogroup is "I"- most specifically "I1c". Quoting from the experts:
· "Haplogroup I dates to 23,000 years ago or longer- The I1c lineage likely has its roots in northern France. Today found most frequently within Viking/Scandinavian populations in Northwest Europe and extends at low frequencies into Central and Eastern Europe.
· "I1c families are found thinly spread throughout Europe and thought to be associated with the early Gravettian cultures [the so-called venus figures] of central and western Europe. These folk were members of the small Upper Palaeolithic community of Europeans. "
It is interesting that a family with such a large representation of peaceful Amish and Mennonites seem to be the leftovers of Viking warriors!

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29. 25 MARKER EXACT MATCHES
One of the folks tested was a Joder who was born in Steffisburg. He comes from the line of the Jakob Joder who married Margreth Stahli. According to research done by his father, they believe this fellow sas the Jakob who was the son of Jost, son of Caspar. It is interesting to see that after 350 years he is an "exact match" at 25 markers with descendants of three different sons of Conrad Yoder, three of Jost Yoder of the Oley valley, one from the Melchior line and two from the "Hans of Great Swamp" line.

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30. COMPARISON OF THE IMMIGRANT YODER LINES
This chart compares the major immigrant lines of Yoders, and shows a 25 marker view of the immigrant himself. Each line is considered a "match" to the other.

 

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31. SURPRISES IN THE OLEY YODER BRANCHES
This chart shows the results in the Oley Yoder family. Comparison of a descendant of Hans with multiple descendants of his brother Yost, reveal the DNA profile for their father Adam Yoder of Steffisburg.
Two surprises also appear in the data. The first is that Han's grandson Samuel Yoder (OH13) was not a natural son of his father. A diferrent genetic profile appears among his descendants.
In the line of Samuel's brother Peter (OH14) there is an additional non-matching profile, but unlike with Samuel, we are not yet able to see in what generation it appears.
These patterns should be useful in working through some of the "unlinked" Yoders which are believed to come from these lines.

 

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32. GREAT SWAMP YODER RESULTS
For the Mennonite Yoder line of Hans of great Swamp, we have one test from his second son and two from the line of his oldest son.
These tests show that Hans himself is an exact match to the standard 67 marker profile.
They also show that either the Han's oldest son, or a child of that son experienced a mutation-- marker "481" equals "28" vs "27" for Hans himself.

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33. CONRAD YODER RESULTS
· In the North Carolina line we have samples from descendants of sons John, David, Jacob and Adam (whose descendants moved to Georgia and took the spelling "Yother")
· Conrad himself matches exactly to the common 67 marker Yoder/Joder profile.
· The tested Adam Yother descendant matches exactly to Conrad.

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34. UNIQUE MARKER FOR 18TH CENTURY AMISH
The 18th century Amish show a unique marker value at the pre-immigrant level. Male descendants of both YR1 and YR2 reflect a value of "16" for Marker "19" (as does the unlinked "Yost Yoder" (YRB). All of the other early immigrants show a value of "15". This distinctive marker could be a key to proving the European lineage for these folks. You can see also on this chart that Christian's son John (YR25) had a mutation at marker 389-2 which appears in his descendants. When at least two different sons of the same father show the same mutation, this generally establishes that the father was the source of the mutation.

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35. CASPAR JODER FAMILY
This chart shows what we are able to say about the sons and grandsons of Caspar Joder of Steffisburg. We have test results from descendants of four sons of Yost (including a living Joder born in Steffisburg-whose research gives Jost's son Jakob as the Jakob who married Margreth Stahli). We also have one descendant of Nicolas- representing the Oley Yoders.
The charts gives a 30 marker view. So far the only unique pattern seen in these generations which may be an identifier deals with the Amish pre-immigrant marker of "16".

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36. AMISH PROGENITOR?
The results RULE OUT three grandsons of Caspar as being ancestors of the Amish Yoders of 1742. Adam of the Oley line, son of Nicolas, is, of course, ruled out. Jost's son Christian has been reported for years in some of the Latter Day Saint records as being the father of YR1 and YR2. He could not have been. The Jakob who married Margreth Stahli can also be ruled out.
Two possible lines of descent are RULED IN, as supposed descendants . Both of these are sons of Jost. The first is his oldest son Hans who married Catherine Reusser. European research gives this Hans as the ancestor of many of the Alsatian Joders. The second is Jost's son Caspar who married Verena Stauffer. He is reportedly the ancestor of both Michel Yoder, 1825 immigrant, as well as the "Ioder" immigrant to Illinois. Michel was the fellow whose father wrote Schweitzer Christian a "dear cousin" letter in 1806.

Experts from the test lab indicate that it is "unlikely" that two brothers would independently experience the same mutation. So the open question is whether the European ancestries in one of these two families have been mis-linked. Further testing, particularly of additional Alsatian lines may help sort this out, as may re-looking at some of the European source data.

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37. YORTY/YORDY FAMILY FINDINGS
There were many sons of the Nicolas and Jost Joder of Steffisburg, who seem to have left that town by 1700, and then "disappeared". This has made us wonder for many years if they could be among the "J-o-d-r-e-s" in the Palatinate, some of whom became Yordy or Yorty or Yotty in the US. Some of these folk settled in Anabaptist communities in Germany and Alsace.
1st immigrants were Peter (c1717) and Ulrich Yorde to Lancaster Co., Pa in 18th Century. A Peter Yorde descendant shows a 23 out of 25 marker match to the Steffisburg Joder profile! This degree of match, means "there is a 99.9% likelihood you have a common ancestor" with the Swiss Joders!
This means that the first Yoder to run for President of the United States has already done so. His name was Sam Yorty, former mayor or Los Angeles, and he ran in 1972!

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38. TESTS FOR "MISSING LINKS"
The relative small rate of mutation within the Yoder lines work against "magic" solutions coming for unlinked lines. But we have been able to rule some things in or out. Some of the initial test results from "unliked lines" can be seen here.

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39. OTHER TESTS DESIRED
There are many more samples I would like to see taken over the years ahead. The unique profiles in the Oley line may be invaluable in sorting out several unlinked Yoder groups. We also are in contact with a descendant of a separate Joder line in Germany which pre-dates the Caspar Joder family of Steffisburg. Contributions to help pay for such added testing are very welcome. See the October Yoder Newsletter for details. As more results come in, we will continue to publish them on the Yoder Homepage and write about them in future newsletters.

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40. CONCLUSION
In conclusion:
· Thanks for Your Attention
· Thanks to the "House of Yoder" for hosting this event
· I'd particularly like to thank once again, all of those who have contributed to the Yoder DNA Project!!
· Enjoy the Fellowship at the Yoder Reunion

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