By Dr. Don Yoder

    A highly significant breakthrough in Oley Valley Yoder genealogy has been made possible by the gift in 2010 to the Historical Society of Berks County of the original Indenture of Release from four children of Yost Yoder (1679-1741) to Yost’s oldest son John Yoder (1718-1812).  This large parchment document, dated April 27, 1777, was donated to the Society by Robert Conwell of Westport, Indiana.

    The trail this document made from Pennsylvania to Indiana is so far unknown -- only its more recent history is on record.  Robert Conwell had, among other talents, a strong interest in genealogy.  His brother-in-law, Fred Erwin (1902-1966) of York, Nebraska, whose mother was a Yoder, inherited the document.  When he died, his wife Lucille, Robert Conwell's sister, sent some of his papers to her brother, among them the Release. Robert Conwell's genealogical instinct undoubtedly alerted him to the document's importance and he had the foresight and courtesy to send it to the Historical Society of Berks County.  I am happy to report that I learned these facts from Robert's widow, Jean Kieth Conwell of Westport, Indiana in phone conversations on February 26 and 27, 2011.  Thank you Jean Conwell!

     And now let us study the Yoder Release.  It begins in colonial legalese with the following statement:


    TO ALL CHRISTIAN PEOPLE to whom these Presents shall come ABRAHAM MAYER of Upper Hanover Township in the County of Philadelphia, Yeoman, and CATHARINE his wife, LAZARUS WEIDNER of Oley Township in the County of Berks Yeoman and ELIZABETH his wife, DANIEL YODER of Union Township and County of Berks and ANN his wife and JACOB YODER of Oley Township aforesaid yeoman and MARY his wife, They the said CATHARINE MAYER, ELIZABETH WEIDNER, DANIEL YODER, and JACOB YODER being Issue or Children of YOST YODER late of Oley Township then in the County of Philadelphia, but Now in the County of Berks Yeoman Deceasd , AND WHEREAS the said JOST YODER the father was in his life time Lawfully Vested in his Demesne as of Fee Simple and in Three Certain Pieces or Tracts of land Situate in Oley Township aforesaid Joyning Each other …


    The text continues by listing the three tracts of land in Oley Township owned during his lifetime by Jost Yoder and which in his will, dated May 29, 1741 and probated in Philadelphia in 1741, were bequeathed to his eldest son, John Yoder (1718-1812). By this document Yost’s four other children released their claims to their father’s “plantations” as such holdings were called in the 18th century, and each of the five heirs was paid 100 pounds.  For the sum of one hundred pounds of lawful money of Pennsylvania to each of the four children, paid by John Yoder, this release acknowledges the receipt of these sums, by which the four heirs have “granted, bargained, sold, remised, released and forever quit claimed and by these presents doth for them and each to his heirs and assigns forever all such estate right claim and demand whatsoever.”

    The three adjoining tracts involved in this release, all located in Oley Township, were the following: (1) 100 acres adjoining Hans


Yoder’s and vacant land, received from Edward Farmer and his wife Rachel, November 30, 1731; (2) 50 acres received from John Yoder and his wife Rosina, March 10, 1735; and (3) 100 acres adjoining Gabriel Boyer and vacant land patented by John, Thomas, and Richard Penn to Yost Yoder…[illegible], 17--.

    The signatures on the document, each attested by a red seal, were as follows: (1) Daniel Yoder (made his mark), (2) Anna Yoder

(made her mark), (3) Jacob Yoder (signed), (4) Mary Yoder (made her mark), (5) Lazarus Weidner (signed), and (6) Elizabeth Weidner (made her mark).  Strangely enough, the husband of the first-mentioned couple in the release, Abraham Mayer, signed without a seal, also his wife’s signature does not appear.  It is not clear where the document was signed.   The two external witnesses, who vouched for the signatures of the parties who did sign, were J. Billmeyer, probably a brother of the Germantown printer, Michael

Billmeyer, and John Dampman, who was a Yoder connection, since on April 26, 1777 (the same month as and one day before the release), the Reverend Alexander Murray, rector of St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church at Morlatton, now Douglassville, Berks County, had joined in wedlock John Dompman [Dampman] of Chester County and Susanna Yoder of Berks County.  It is thought that Susannah Dampman was a daughter of Yost-Hannes Yoder, but this has not been actually verified.  At any rate, the Release becomes more and more complicated, revealing for us many new glimpses into the Oley Valley Yoder clan.

    The fact that most of the signatories to the Release could not write tells us a lot about the state of education in 18th-century Pennsylvania.  Three of the men could write, but none of the women.  It is known that in some cases in that pioneer period, the girls in a family were taught to read but not to write.  More of the sons in a family did learn to write, since they, and not the women, had to deal with the outside world, in marketing, land transfers, politics, and other facets of colonial life.

    Uncle Abraham Mayer (1705-1787), whose Yoder connection was first revealed to us by the Release has turned out to be of great interest; he was a neighbor and good friend of the diarist David Shulze (1717-1797).  Mayer, who operated a mill in Upper Hanover Township, Philadelphia (now Montgomery) County, is mentioned frequently, along with other members of his family, in the 2-volume work, The Journals and Papers of David Shulze, translated and edited by Andrew S. Berky, and published in 1953 by the Schwenkfelder Library at Pennsburg, Pennsylvania.  Shulze’s Yoder connection (his second wife was a Yoder through her mother), and the fact that Mayer was a brother-in-law to Lazarus Weidner, another good friend of Shulze, undoubtedly strengthened the relationship.  Shulze was what was called in the 18th century a “bush lawyer,” i.e. a self-trained but skilled scrivener, surveyor, and preparer of wills, deeds, inventories, and agreements.  In January, 1786, he tells us that he wrote a new version of Abraham Mayer’s will from which we learn that Abraham’s eldest son John Mayer lived in North Carolina, the second son Jacob Mayer has settled in Georgia, and the third son, Abraham Mayer, Jr., was also a North Carolinian. In addition, his eldest daughter Barbara, wife of Michael Roeder, was a resident of Maryland.  I intend to report all of these Shulze-Mayer connections in a separate article, since all of these widespread Goschenhoppeners are newly discovered Yoder descendants.  Be patient!

    Uncle Abraham’s European origins, which I have traced to the parish of Winckel in Canton Zurich, Switzerland, give the Freindschaft a Zurich dimension, and the fact that he had a sister in Germantown who was the wife of Jacob Rittenhouse, adds further éclat to the connection.  Please note also that the surname Mayer is now normally spelled and pronounced “Moyer,” following the linguistic rules of Pennsylvania Dutch, just as Bayer became “Boyer” and closer to home, Eyster became “Oyster.”

    Now let us check additional sources on Oley Valley genealogy to prove how revolutionary the facts of this Release actually are.  The most important of the 19th-century sources of Oley family history is Dr. Peter G. Bertolet’s Fragments of the Past: Historical Sketches of Oley and Vicinity – a manuscript in the vast collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, which after more than a century of neglect, except for a few scholars who discovered and used it (principally P. C. Croll and myself), has been published in a handsome edition by the Women’s Club of Oley Valley in 1980, with a Foreword by Phoebe Bertolet Hopkins.  That printed version covers 125 pages, plus an index, and fortunately uses all the charming drawings that were made for the original by the Reading artist Francis David Devlan --- important views of the Moravian Gemeinhaus, the Bertolet homestead where the author grew up, the Oley Furnace, and Colonel John Lesher’s Oley Forge, the mansion house of which is still standing, a large and gracious house presided over by Lesher’s first wife, Maria Johanna Yoder, daughter of Hans Yoder, Jr.

    The manuscript is dated 1860, at least the author’s preface is dated at Oley, Berks County, Pennsylvania, July 23, 1860.  The dedication is “To my friends and kindred these pages are respectfully dedicated.”  His sixth chapter in the second part of the book is “Sketches of the Yoder Family” (pages 71-75).  In addition to his enlightening stories about both Hans and Yost Yoder, their relations with the local Indians, and their European neighbors, which I will not deal with here, this is what he says about Yost Yoder’s family: “Yost Yoder has the following children: viz. three sons and one daughter.  His oldest son was named John, generally nicknamed Yost-Hannes – a name, by the way he did not like.  His second son was Jacob, who moved on the other side of the Schuylkill.  His daughter was married to Lazareth [Lazarus] Weidner and the third son was Samuel and lived near Lobachsville.” 

    Dr. Bertolet was a descendant of Yost Yoder, and this is the reason why he begins his Yoder sketches with Yost rather than Hans.  He was in error, however, in stating that the brothers came over to American together.  Hans, as we know, left the Palatinate in 1709, spent the winter in London, and evidently arrived in Pennsylvania in 1710, possibly on the Maria Hope with Samuel Guldin (1664-1745) – who settled in Oley for awhile --- and the Mennonite families who settled in “Conestoga” (Lancaster County).  We have not yet located the European community where Yost Yoder lived after leaving his birthplace in Canton Bern, Switzerland, nor do we know when he arrived in Pennsylvania, except that he was here in 1720, when, along with his brother Hans, he signed the petition for the erection of Oley Township, Philadelphia (now Berks) County, Pennsylvania.  His secondary European settlement could have been, like that of Hans, in the Palatinate, or in the adjoining province of Alsace.  We just do not know.  I have asked the Palatine Yoder historians, the late Karl Joder and Othmar Jotter, for this data, but they were unsuccessful in finding it.  Hence also we do not know the maiden name of Yost Yoder’s wife.  Nor do we know if he married in Europe or in America.  His oldest son, John Yoder, was born in 1718, when Yost was 39 years old.  And if Jost-Hannes (born 1718) was born in America and thus was never naturalized, this would date Yost’s emigration in 1718 or before.  Something to check further!

    Several comments on Dr. Bertolet’s list of Yost’s children will be useful here.

1.        Yost-Hannes (1718-1812), Bertolet’s great-grandfather, was so named because there was another contemporary John Yoder in his generation and in the same neighborhood, Hans Yoder Sr.’s son John, Jr. (1700-1779), hence the nickname “Yost-Hannes” meaning Yost’s son Hannes.

2.        It would seem that Bertolet confused the son Jacob and the son that he called Samuel.  It was Jacob Yoder who married Maria Keim and lived near Lobachsville (Keim territory), on the farm where his son Jacob erected a substantial house in 1827 that has recently been handsomely restored by its new owners.  Since there is no Samuel Yoder listed in the Release of 1777, it is quite possible that Bertolet called Daniel Yoder of Union Township, across the Schuylkill from the Oley area Samuel by mistake.  If there was a son Samuel he may not have been married or had heirs of any sort and thus was not mentioned in the Release, but that is highly unlikely.

3.        We know from the Release that Yost Yoder had not one but two daughters: (1) Catharine who married Abraham Mayer, and (2) Elizabeth, who married Lazarus Weidner.  Before I located the Release, Bertolet’s statement that Yost’s daughter married Lazarus Weidner was the sole reference in  manuscript or in print that had ever turned up, hence

the Release proves the Weidner-Yoder marriage beyond all doubt.  I am personally delighted to find this essential clue, since it makes me a descendant of Yost Yoder, through Lazarus Weidner’s daughter Maria Weidner (1751-1846), who married George Yoder, Sr. (1752-1833), although I derive my surname from the Hans Yoder line.

    Cousin Bertolet’s comments on my ancestor George Yoder, Sr. have of course interested me greatly.  He summarizes George’s revolutionary war service in the Jersey Campaign, and mentions that Yoder (probably George) and his next-farm neighbor Jacob Kaufman also served as teamsters during parts of the war, hauling supplies to the American army.

    Actually George Yoder was a first cousin of Bertolet’s grandmother, Mary (Yoder) Bertolet.  This close relationship was, however, not from the Yoder network, but through the wives of Samuel Yoder, father of George, and Yost-Hannes Yoder, who were sisters named Eyster, later spelled Oyster.  And another Bertolet-Yoder union was through the marriage of George Yoder Sr. to his first wife, Esther Bertolet (1746-1778), which made George Yoder an uncle by marriage of Dr. Bertolet’s father, Daniel Bertolet Jr. (1781-1868), the distinguished hymnist and diarist.  Hence the source of the George Yoder reminiscences in the manuscript.  The Eysters of Oley Valley moved there from the Falckner Swamp area of Montgomery County.  The pioneer John Eyster, father of the wives of Samuel and Yost-Hannes Yoder, in1734 took over the Peter Weidner farm when Peter’s widow, the redoubtable Catherine (Schneider) Weidner, pulled up stakes and took her young children to Ephrata Cloister, where she remained the rest of her life.  I am preparing an article for the Newsletter on the Eyster and Weidner connections.

    Dr. Bertolet’s descent from Yost Yoder comes through the marriage of Yost-Hannes Yoder’s daughter Mary (1749 - 1825) to Daniel Bertolet Sr. (1741-1797) on December 6, 1768 by the Reverend Alexander Murray at Morlatton, now Douglassville. Daniel Bertolet Sr. was the son of Abraham Bertolet (1712-1766) and his wife Esther DeTurck (1711-1798), and Abraham was a son of the emigrant Jean Bertolet (1687-1757), who like Hans Yoder emigrated from the Palatinate, but was of French-Swiss background, born at Chateau d’Oex in Canton Vaud.  Daniel Bertolet, Jr. married Maria Griesemer, the source of Dr. Bertolet’s middle name.

    Much has been written and published about Dr. Bertolet’s father, Daniel Bertolet Jr., who was a Yoder through his mother’s heritage. A native of Oley Valley named Ammon Stapleton, who became a distinguished Evangelical minister and historian, gives good information in the article on “The Life and Character of Daniel Bertolet, Jr., of Oley, Pa.”  This contribution, which appeared in The Evangelical (Harrisburg, Pa.), October 6, 1904, tells us some amusing things about Yost-Hannes, Daniel’s grandfather.  For example, he tells us that if the weather was warm, Yost-Hannes went to church coatless.  He was, it seems, severely plain and an original “short waist man.”  This can be matched to Dr. Bertolet’s comments on the “rough and uncouth” character of Yost-Hannes, his addiction to hunting over the Blue Mountain, and the love of strong drink that finished off several early Yoders.  This intriguing thought leads me to say that the Yoder immigrants, with all their faults and virtues, were after all “mountain men,” born and bred in the northern ridges of the Bernese Oberland, that magnificent range of snowcapped mountains that they could see in the distance, across the Lake of Thun, from their Ortbühl Farm on the edge of Steffisburg, or even higher up, while working at Adam Yoder’s fulling mill at the Schnittweiler Bad.  And of course those pioneer days in Penn’s Woods, which they lived through – clearing fields, establishing primitive homes, pioneer schools and churches, relating to the neighboring Indians, and above all building a community – took courage, insight, pliability, yes, and sometimes roughness and unpolished behavior.

    It will soon be three hundred years that the Yoder farms have been tilled in the Oley Valley.  The Reformed Church that they helped to found (now Salem United Church of Christ at Spangsville), with its Lutheran offshoot, is still the spiritual center of the community; the mills that some of the Yoder descendants built are still grinding grain, the local schools are still turning out bright little Yoders, the entire Oley Township has been declared by the U.S. Government an Historic District, and the whole beautiful network of farms that make up the Oley Valley is still, as historian P. C. Croll said in Annals of the Oley Valley (1926), an “American Canaan.” 




    After a 110 year hiatus, a Yoder again joins the halls of the U. S. Congress! On Nov. 2, 2010, in the 3rd district of Kansas, Kevin Yoder won 134,692 votes (59%) to 87,920 votes (38%) for opponent Stephene Moore. He was sworn in on Jan. 5, 2011. On that day, he became the first Yoder Congressperson since Cong. Samuel S. Yoder (D-OH) who served (1887-1891) (See YNL 8).

    In the YNL 56 we gave an incorrect ancestry for Congressional candidate Kevin Yoder. He is not from the YRB line, but rather a great grandson of: YR23374d7- William T. Yoder (1/15/1886 Shipshewana, IN - 11/7/1964 KS) m1 Mattie Yutzy (2/5/1889-9/27/1955) (DJH3746), res Hutchinson, KS, Mennonite. Like the last Yoder Congressman, he's a member of the YR23 "Schweitzer Christian" Yoder line.

-  -                  -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -

    Judge John C. Yoder lost his race for West Virginia Supreme Court winning 231,669 (49.16%) to the 239,622 (50.84%) won by his 25 year incumbent opponent. John has already announced as a candidate for a vacant Supreme Court seat to be contested in 2012.

-            -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -

Both Kevin and John have FACEBOOK sites. You can "fan" them.


67 Marker Tests

for OH13 and OH14!!



Another Test LINKS TO Abraham Yoder (OH135)

    In the YNL 56 we published a major article on the family of Abraham Yoder (OH135) b. 1768 who married Hannah Leiss. Speculative family information had recently been supported by DNA test results from descendants of two believed sons of this couple (Abraham and Amos), and they matched back to the unique DNA profile originating with Samuel Yoder OH13.  Since that time, we have been contacted by Ann Thoma, a descendent of Abraham's son David. She outlined her family of "Yetter"s which ties back to Aaron Yetter b. 11/24/1828 PA who married Nancy Elizabeth Rooks on Apr. 4, 1858 and died May 7, 1908 in New Carlisle, Clark Co., OH. (These Ohio family records show a matching birth date to the PA records, but the year in PA record shows 1829). An additional 12 marker Y-DNA test from a male descendant of Aaron Yetter matches exactly to the unique profile which exists in the Samuel Yoder line.

    This is the second established instance of present day families using the "Yetter" spelling who originate with the "Yoder" families. (See the YNL32 article on the family of Martin Yoder (OH112) for the first instance). As we've previously reported, most American Yetters DO NOT match to the Swiss Yoder families and are suspected to originate with a German family of similar spelling.

    Note: Family genealogical information thanks to Ann Thoma of Frederick, MD, adds birth and death dates for David, son of Abraham (OH135), and his wife Susannah:


David Yetter, born 25 Feb 1795 in Pa, died 28 Oct 1880, his         wife Susannah, born 10 Jun 1803, died 23 Jul 1871


Then she traces family of his son Aaron, as follows:


Aaron Yetter (b. 24 Nov 1828 in PA- d. 07 May 1908 in New Carlisle (Clark), Ohio) m. 04 Apr 1858 to Nancy Elizabeth Rooks (b. 28 Aug 1841 in Ohio - d. 01 Jun 1931 in New Carlisle (Clark), Ohio) (dau. of Mahlon Rooks m. Maryetta ___ ) ,     Children:

1. Harry Orville Yetter (b. 12 Nov 1868 in Ohio - d. 24 Jun 1945) m. 18 May 1897 to Minnie Mae Johnson

2.  Mary Loretta (Etta) Yetter (b. 16 Jul 1859 - d. 22 Aug 1947) m. 15 Aug 1878 to Thomas McGinnis

3. Maine (Minnie) Arkansas Yetter (b. 17 Oct 1860 - d. 05 Apr 1882) m. Calvin Brown

4. Luella (Lou) Mae Yetter (b. 19 Jul 1862 - d. 27 Aug 1957) m. 26 Jun 1901 to John S. Lough

5. Anna Alwilda Yetter (b. 09 Jun 1864 - d. 24 Dec 1961 in Buried New Carlisle) m. 16 Jan 1889 to Alfred Armstrong

6. Leona (Ona) Leoti Yetter (b. 07 Nov 1866 - d. 18 Aug 1948  Buried: Glenn Haven Cemetery Gardens, Donnelsville, Ohio) m. 18 Apr 1893 to Albert Overholser

7.  Elmer Auswald Yetter (b. 17 Jun 1883 - d. 16 Nov 1957) m. 11 Feb 1913 to Elsie Huffman


Aaron Yetter  (In 1860 census residence: Salem, Westmoreland, PA: 1880 and 1900 Bethel, Miami, OH)


The Yoder Newsletter- Founded 1983 by

Ben F Yoder (1913-1992), Chris Yoder & Rachel Kreider

Chris Yoder, Editor, Saugatuck, MI; John W. Yoder, Circulation Manager, Middlebury, IN; Rachel Kreider, Senior Contributing Editor, Goshen, IN; Esther E. Yoder, Mail Manager, Goshen, IN; Donald Kauffman, YNL  Webmaster, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Other Contributors: Richard H. Yoder, Bechtelsville, PA; Dr. Don Yoder, Devon, PA; Neal D. Wilfong, Cleveland, NC.


Over the past 28 years, subscriptions have allowed us to support advertising of national reunions, to provide funding for many of the DNA tests, and to pay for new research into Swiss records. All of our staff members are volunteers.


       - FOR CIRCULATION ISSUES ONLY such as new or renewed subscriptions, changes of address, orders for back issues to: Yoder Newsletter, P.O. Box 594, Goshen, IN 46527-0594. 

    - ALL OTHER CORRESPONDENCE- dealing with ancestral queries or contributions for future YNLs or archives (such as reunion notices, Letters to the Editor, copies of Bible records or other historical information) to: Chris Yoder, 551 S. Maple St., Saugatuck, MI 49453 or email at .


       -Annual YNL subscription (published Apr. and Oct.) for $5.

       -BACK ISSUES of the YNL are $2 per issue.  (or you can download them free from the Yoder Newsletter web page: ).

Visit: for mail-in subscription form.


YODER DATA ON DISK- Includes back issues of YNL text, census and county records, family group data and pictures and scanned images. The price for our “Yoder Data on Disk” is $10 (postage included). Send to YNL address in Goshen. (Most of this info is also available free at the YNL Homepage and changes VERY slowly.)


Letters to the editor

    I was reading the book "Daring Young Men" by Richard Reeves. It was about the Berlin Airlift  in 1948 and the importance of it. After World War II they had disbanded and reduced the armed services. They were in dire need of pilots. On page 39 I found the following:

"The airlift began with leftover American C-47s, sleek no more, and whatever planes, usually bombers, the British had standing on abandoned airfields -- flown by any pilots they could find. Lieutenant Harry Yoder, a B-24 pilot during the war, was on leave, visiting his parents in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, when the local police chief appeared at the door at 2:30 A.M. on June 26, saying "I have a cable here , to Berlin before the end of the day on June 30."

    The airlift began in June 1948; consequently Harry would have been among the first pilots to deliver needed goods to Berlin. Thought you might be interested. - Olin Yoder


Cartoon complements of Olin Yoder, our Yoder artist. (see YNL 46)


Col. Harry Yoder, one of our heroes from the big war, is an active member of the Oley Yoder family. He is a descendant of AR- Benjamin Yoder b. 8/9/1817 PA
d. 5/21/1899 bur. Friedens Church, Oley, as yet unlinked.

-  -                  -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -

    Here are some recent pictures of the John Yoder YR25 home and barn at the end of King St. in the South side of Milroy,
Mifflin County, Pa. It was recently purchased by new owners. I haven't talked with them so I don't know their intension. They have recently restored a large adjacent farmhouse and barn so I hope they will keep this house. The house itself is in remarkably good condition. I don't think it would take much to restore it to its original condition when YR25 lived there.

    Thanks to you, The YNL, and Betty Hartzler of Belleville, our line has now located almost all of our ancestors except two. Ironically these are the closest to me. As I look at deeds and see the homes of our early ancestors and how much land they purchased I am amazed at their apparent wealth. I thought that they were a persecuted people that had all their land and belongings taken from them. Where did they get the money to make these purchases? - Ron Yoder, Thompsontown, PA



Bruce W. Staley posts on our FACEBOOK "Sighted, at a Shell Station on North Meridian St., Indianapolis, on Saturday, November 27, a car with Indiana License Plate "Yoder9"- and from Bill Yoder in NC: "I know of two (2) in North Carolina. I have "BYODER" and my youngest son has "YODER1"







OH13 and OH14- 67 MarkeR PROFILES


    In YNLs 50 and 51, we spelled out the two unique lines of Y-DNA profiles which entered the family with Samuel Yoder (OH13) and Peter Yoder (OH14). Ten matching DNA tests were done in the OH13 line and 6 matching tests in OH14 line. Extension of two tests in each line to 67 markers has now let us identify a 65 or 66 marker profile for Samuel and Peter themselves. This information may be of eventual use, as the American data base of Y-DNA profiles grows, in identifying males of a family present in the Oley area who could have been a natural father of each of these men. Presented below are the 67 marker profiles which have been identified from the added tests. Many Thanks for our test volunteers for participating in this upgrade and to our YNL readers for their contributions which supported the upgrades.


Samuel Yoder (OH13) Profile


                              *                                                                                                                                                                                                              *


    The OH13 Y DNA profiles of the two testees match at 65 of 67 markers, with the difference being at marker DYS390 and the second value at marker "CDY". 


Peter Yoder (OH14) PROFILE




    The OH14 Y DNA profiles of the two testees match at 66 of 67 markers, with the difference being at the first value at marker "CDY". For the full summary of Yoder DNA results, see: .



Ronnie A. Yoder of Alexandria, Va., chief administrative law judge for the U.S. Department of Transportation.


GOSHEN, Ind. — During the 112th Goshen College commencement Ronnie A. Yoder, the chief administrative law judge of the U.S. Department of Transportation, presented a commencement address to graduating seniors, titled "A Niche for You – Immortality" …

    Judge Yoder, of Alexandria, Va., is a past chair of the National Conference of Administrative Law Judges of the American Bar Association. He is a member of the American Bar Foundation, Federal Bar Foundation and the Prettyman-Leventhal American Inn of Court. He has been active in numerous administrative law judges' associations and in developing, teaching and writing on the administrative judiciary for more than 30 years.

    Before becoming a judge, Yoder was in private practice law for 14 years in New York City and Washington, D.C. He received his bachelor of arts and his juris doctor from The University of Virginia, where he served on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review. He also spent a year at Yale Divinity School as a Rockefeller Fellow. In addition to his legal career, Yoder sang professionally with the Washington Opera and local churches from 1985 to 1996.

    Yoder's father, Raymond Yoder, was a class of 1931 alumnus of Goshen College and an artist. After his father's death in 1997, Yoder helped establish the Ray Yoder Scholarship for art and sculpting at Goshen College. In 2007, Yoder also established a scholarship at Virginia Theological Seminary to advance the study of love as a unifying philosophical center for Christianity and other world religions.

    Yoder's family has embraced ethnic diversity; among his four children and eight grandchildren are one Chinese, three Chinese Americans, one Japanese American and two English Americans.

By Jodi H. Beyeler, Goshen College, Used with permission



Found on eBay was this photo of a musical group on WOAL radio (Webster Grove, MO) with the accordion player id'ed as "Uncle John Yoder". Who can tell us who he was?


The YNL will publish Yoder related inquiries or exchanges at no charge.  Send Queries to: Chris Yoder, 551 S. Maple St., Saugatuck, MI 49453 or email at .


From the  New York Documentary History page 395 to 405,
Isaac Juter in the North ward 1703
1 male 16-60
f 16-60
2 male children
1 female children

We first saw this reference in a collection of Yoder history prepared by one of the "Hans of Great Swamp" Mennonite Yoder descendants in Ohio. Later, it was also noted in the materials collected by YNL co-editor Rachel Krieder. This is the only reference we know of to this Isaac Juter, and we have no evidence that he is in any way connected to the Swiss Yoders/Joters. If anyone ever finds more on this family, please contact: Chris Yoder, 551 S. Maple St., Saugatuck, MI 49453.


Who were the parents of  ELIJAH YODER (7/9/1803-6/7/1880) m1. Kitty Reed (1802- ) m2.Anna M. (Margaret) ______ (6/6/1811-2/13/1885) bur. Jacobs Church, Schuylkill Co.,PA. Contact: Chris Yoder, 551 S. Maple St, Saugatuck, MI 49453


Bishop Solomon Yoder (YR1286) Farm To Be Auctioned

    Thanks to Debra Orner of Johnstown, PA for passing along the news that the "Bishop Solomon Yoder Farm Up For Auction Sale. at 10:30 AM at the Baltimore County Circuit Court. It has been in John Yoder's family for about 150 years, when his ancestor Bishop Solomon Yoder b. 1800 moved to MD from PA. All his Yoder ancestors are buried nearby in Long Green cemetery". Originally scheduled for 28 Jan 2011, the sale was postponed to 11 March.

    Bishop Solomon Yoder (1800-1880) of Long Green, Maryland was the subject of an Oct. 1986 YNL8 article by noted historian H. Harold Hartzler. By the time this newsletter is in the hands of our readers the sale will have been held.

Aerial Map of Bishop Yoder Farm






“Find-A-Grave” - Document Your Own Yoder Line on the Internet

The “Find-A-Grave” web site allows you:  to post the name and dates of your ancestor in the cemetery where he or she rests; to add his or her photo; to add a photo of the gravestone; and to post a biographical summary or obituary.

   Visit the site at: . Already recorded are interments for: as of Feb 21- 7,568  (an increase of +1,156 from Oct 2010) –Yoder; 195  (+30) – Yother; 53 (+6) – Yothers;117 (+17) – Yotter; 33  (+3)  – Yoter; 57  (+11) – Yoders;, 11  (+4) – Ioder; 52  (+3) – Joder; 19 (+1) - Jotter family members; Joders - 1 (+1). You can either add your ancestor to a cemetery, or post data on an existing record. For assistance write: Chris Yoder at: .

A sample of posted gravestones is shown below.

 OY4346- Obediah Jotter 

b. Oct.4, 1835  d. Jan.27,1856, son of Johannes Yoder and  Magdalena Breyfogel,

Saint Peters UCC Church and Cemetery, Fleetwood, Berks County. PA









Unlinked CH- Johannes (1832-1885) and wife   Johannette  Muller Jotter  (1830 - 1904) German Church Cemetery Ghent Columbia County, New York








    Previous matching tests in these lines had been from the early Samuel Yetter (Columbia Co, PA) line and the Henry Yater line of Kentucky and Indiana. We now have in process a test for a descendant of  Ludwig Yetter (1749-1829). A number of family historians maintain that some or all of the 18th century Yetter lines are sons of Johannes Yetter b. 4/1/1724 in Stuttgart, Neckarkreis, Wertburg, Germany who married Margaretha Korst in Philadelphia on 8/2/1748. Johannes had immigrated to America 10/9/1747 and he died in Jun 1805 in Derry Twp., Mifflin Co., Pa. Each added DNA test will help with the Yetter puzzle.

The Samuel Yetter-Henry Yater Comparison




- Anne Williams McAllister of Hickory, NC, age 78, died Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010. Anne was an accomplished historian and a great friend of the YNL. She authored a two volume history on Heinrich Weidner, known as the first white man to cross the Catawba River. Weidner brought Conrad Yoder with him to North Carolina. She worked hard to try to find Conrad's roots in Europe.

-Grace Yoder Rae (YR23445555), 94, died May 5, 2010 in Tucson, AZ, daughter of Simon and Sarah Yoder, Middlebury, IN.

- Joseph L. Yoder, (YR234188), 100, d. Dec. 29, 2010, Elkhart, IN, s/o Jacob and Rebecca (Bontrager) Yoder.

- Thomas W. Yoder, 94, of Hershey passed away on Thursday, December 16, 2010. Born in Tremont, PA, on February 28, 1916, he was the son of the late Sara and Faion Yoder (OH132822).

-Clare Elizabeth (Moore) Yoder, 92, d. Dec. 4, 2010, widow of Raymond J. Yoder (YR2337a1242)








    In the year and a half since we took the The Yoder Newsletter into the "Facebook world" with a "fan page", we have grown to have over 420 fans! This adventure has brought us into contact will a broad new audience and, as can be seen from some of the items in this newsletter, has been a means for sharing Yoder news and gathering family items of interest….Hurrah!


The 60th Reunion

of the North Carolina Yoder Reunion

      The North Carolina Yoder Reunion commenced with a memorial service on Saturday, August 7, 2010 at the Old Yoder Cemetery off Zion Church Road south of Hickory. Held at 7 p.m. the service attended by 22 persons was led by family chaplain, Dr. J. Larry Yoder, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church.

     The program was opened by the group singing the hymn, “Faith of our Fathers” followed by prayers and scripture from Micah 6:6-8 and I Corinthians 1:26-31. Dr. Yoder spoke about the significance of tradition and family.

     The Sunday reunion at Grace Lutheran Church south of Newton, NC was chaired by President Phillip Yoder of Newton, NC. Approximately 90 persons attended the covered dish luncheon in the Grace Parish Building.

     The afternoon business meeting was opened with a discussion about thinning the Leyland Cyprus trees surrounding the Old Yoder Cemetery. Planted by the late Charles Miller whose property the graveyard is located, debate occurred whether to take down some of the trees or leave the grove as is. It was ultimately decided that every other tree needed to be cut. Some eight or more trees are slated for removal.

     Officers elected to serve the family the next three years were President, Rachael Hahn Kennedy, of Harrisburg, NC, and Vice-President, the Rev. Nathan H. Yoder, of Maiden, NC. Neal D. Wilfong, of Cleveland, NC, and Benelia Yoder Reese, of Hickory, NC, were reelected secretary and treasurer respectively.

     Suggestions offered by Ted M. Yoder challenged the group to honor the memory of our ancestors, share traditions with younger family members, and pass on oral stories. Larry Yoder was asked to recap his remarks given at the memorial service. He commented that we need to involve our individual family units in learning about values, heritage, and patriotism.

     Caleb John Coffey, who was born July 27, 2009, was the youngest

attendee. Nellie Poovey Settlemyre, 75, of Hildebran, NC, was the eldest guest. Kathleen Yoder Rotert, of Arlington, TX, and Dan Torchia and Karen Norris, both of Kansas City, KS, traveled the longest distance to attend the Reunion.

     Ted Yoder made comments about the DNA Project which Yoders have volunteered to support for a number of years. The study so far verifies that most Yoders who live in the U.S. are related.

    Quite some discussion was devoted to how to preserve and safeguard the historic Conrad Yoder Family Bible. W.A. “Bill” Yoder suggested that Rachael Kennedy and her siblings might wish to consult with the Director of the Catawba County Historical Museum and determine conditions, stipulations, and legalities concerning the storage of the heirloom at the Newton museum.

      Bill Yoder had met recently with Director Melinda Herzog and an Assistant Director at the CCHM regarding the status of Dr. Fred R. Yoder’s History of the Yoder Family in North Carolina. Surplus volumes of the history have been housed at the facility since 2000. No payment for sold books has been received to date. Bill had concerns that the book inventory and a collection of Yoder materials sent by Dr. Yoder’s daughter, Elaine Yoder Zakarison, needed to be identified as loans, rather than permanent gifts to the Museum. A possible agreement between Herzog and Zakarison seemed the best approach to clarifying the status of Yoder memorabilia housed at the Museum.

     Greetings were shared by Bill from Chris Yoder, the editor of The Yoder Newsletter, who congratulated the NC clan on having the longest continuous reunion of Yoders in America. Nationally recognized journalist Edwin Yoder, Anita Nail, and Elaine Zakarison, also sent greetings.

     Updates to the NC Yoder history were being performed by Chris Yoder and Ray Yount, the latter a descendant of Conrad Yoder who resides in Maryland. An 88-page revision of the family of David Yoder was recently received by Bill Yoder.

     Dr. Don Yoder will soon complete a 100-page introduction to the

proposed NC Yoder history update. New information about the descendants of Conrad Yoder will appear in the April 2011 edition of the YNL.

     A donation from the Yoder Book Fund account supplemented by a personal contribution from Mr. and Mrs. Bill (Marilyn) Yoder were presented to Mrs. Nellie Settlemyre and her son, Michael B. Huffman in appreciation for the pair’s continuing efforts in maintaining and preserving the Thessalonica Baptist Church Cemetery on Potts Creek. Conrad Yoder’s daughter, Catherine Baker and several other early Yoder kin are interred in the graveyard.

     Bill Yoder spoke about a project that he recently undertook where photos of selected tombstones of Yoder family members buried in area cemeteries were placed on CD Roms. Bill offered sets of the five compact discs for a donation to the Book Fund account. The treasury has a current balance of $1723.41.

     A power point program offered by Bill Yoder demonstrated how to access and navigate The Yoder Newsletter web site. The YNL is also a member of the social networking site, Facebook. The NC Yoder Family has a web location as well.

    Thanks were offered for the service of current officers and appreciation for the willingness of newly elected officers to lead the family. The kitchen staff was commended for their excellent performance.      A benediction delivered by Chaplain Larry Yoder adjourned the meeting.  Treasurer Reese reported an offering of $162.00. -  Neal D. Wilfong, Secretary- The NC Yoder Reunion


NC Yoder Family 2011 Reunion moved to Oct. 22-23. Activities  include Hart Square Festival, historic German liturgy or sunrise service and our traditional Sunday picnic at Grace Lutheran Church. RSVP as soon as possible.