Yoder Newsletter Online

Volume1, Number 2 - October, 1983

Back to INDEX

View PDF copy of this newsletter



We have made previous reference to the fact that the name YODER traces back to St. Theodore, the first bishop of Octodorus in the Martigny-Valais district of southern Switzerland. Swiss scholars maintain that the name St. Theodulus of mediaeval times, as well as the French Theodule, are but variants from the original Theodorus. Dr. Eugen Gruber of Switzerland stated that in earlier times the accent was on the third to last syllable and the interchange of l and r was frequently made. This change in accent is the only linguistic shift in the derivation of the name, according to Dr. John Howard Yoder, distinguished theologian of Elkhart, Indiana, and he explained step by step how the evolution from Theodorus to Joder had become a matter of simple normal, effect in pronunciation. It may be a surprise to those Yoders who thought their name came from a clan of yodellers in the Alps to discover that the fact is stranger that the fiction, but the Swiss leave no doubt as to the derivation of the name.

In the archives at Sion in Switzerland can be found the doctoral dissertations of Dr. Gruber about the instituted grants made in the name of the saints in the diocese of Sitten in the Middle Ages. In one section is a scholarly account of St. Theodore, who, he wrote, "stood at the head" of a line of bishops in the Wallis country (Valais). He probably meant in time but perhaps also in importance. St. Theodore came into special prominence when he discovered the bodies of the martyrs of Theba and started the work of building a basilica in their honour. As time went on and legends were handed down, especially by "one wandering monk", other St. Theodores crept into the folklore--saints belonging to later times--who also were supposed to have discovered the remains of the martyrs. In the liturgical festivals they eventually had also taken on the person,and character of the first saint to the point that esteem for them did not need to be altered when the authentic St. Theodore was again discovered.

With many footnotes Dr. Gruber went into references to St. Theodore found in various documents, especially records listing the donations to his altars, the churches and chapels built to his honour, and the brotherhoods established in his name. By the thirteenth century there was more reference to his own remains, and by the fifteenth century emphasis centered more on the veneration of the saint himself. Not only did the Theodore cult spread into neighbouring dioceses, but the people of the Valais took it with them when they migrated to other valleys. He was increasingly honored in the French sectors, and chapels and churches began to appear all along the Upper Rhone. The inner Swiss took up the cult of St. Theodore for the most part after the fifteenth century.

In later issues we hope to tell more stories about St. Joder and to describe some St. Joder memorabilia. We wish here to mention only one item, one of several sent to us by Karl Joder of Ludwigshafen, West Germany, after receiving a copy of the YODER NEWSLETTER.

St. Joder StampMartin Joder of Konolfingen, Switzerland sent information to Karl Joder about the commemorative stamp depicting St. Joder. 1981 was the l600th anniversary of St. Joder's appointment as bishop and he participated in the Bishops' Synod of Aquileja in 381. Karl Generously sent us a stamp, issued by Liechtenstein and it was designed by Bruno Kaufman and Walter Wachter. A copy of the stamp appears above.

(Stamp collectors can find this stamp in "Scott Catalogue #4 (1995)" #713, Liechtenstein - St. Theodor, 1600th Birth Anniversary)

From the Editors--

Chris Yoder of Battle Creek, Michigan and Ben F. Yoder of Goshen, Indiana.

Indeed we are happy to present Issue #2 of the YNL. You have shown faith and support in this venture. In order that our subscription roster might expand, could we ask each of you to get one more subscription? You could tell a friend or relative--even give a gift subscription.

We're sorry to be unable to publish only a part of the material received. We appreciate your sharing with us! We hope future issues will afford space for all. Keep it coming.

We will still send a FREE copy of Issue #1 to anyone who sends a self-addressed business size envelope (SASE) to YODER NEWSLETTER, P. O.

Box 594, Goshen IN 46526.

A policy statement is in order to to inform you that this newsletter is strictly non-profit. The editors have and are willing to "stick our necks out" to keep things rolling and so far things are looking OK. We want to give you all your moneys worth. You can help by continuing to subscribe. Also why not consider sending in a gift subscription to a friend or relative? It would insure the continued success of this venture.

As this goes to press we have 29O paid subscriptions to the YNL. Non-Yoder names run at around 42% of our subscribers' list.

Many of you have expressed a willingness to contribute news, history, etc. towards the contests of the YNL. Encouraging notes and letters have also spurred us to greater effort. All these gestures of good-will are well taken and thank you much!

Whenever one writes to anyone asking for information or some favour it should be remembered that such a request should be accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE). People in a position to help others find overburdening postage bills and some don't bother to answer unless a SASE is enclosed. Others grit their teeth and do This is just to inform those who never thought of this before. Just a friendly reminder.

The first request for a free copy of the YNL was from Lamar and Lois Ann Mast. They are the editors of the MENNONITE FAMILY HISTORY, F. O Box 171, Elverson PA 19520. This is an excellent source of information to searchers of roots. They also are subscribers of YNL.

Mrs. Esther E. Lamberson of Elkhart IN was the first respondent to subscribe to YNL. Hats off to you, Esther!

When sending in a query be sure and give both husband and wife's names, date of birth, parents and grandparents' names. Of course, it is not always possible to furnish all of the above facts, but give as much as possible. Be sure and give your name and address.

Subscription for YODER NEWSLETTER is $3.00 for Issues #2 and #3 (Spring '84).

An explanation of the logos used at the heading of this newsletter. Since all of our origins were rooted in Canton Bern, its emblem on which the bear is embossed is used. To the right is depicted the Holy Bible, lamp of learning, and the grain sheaf. These items represent that the Word seemed to be the underlying foundation of the faith of our forbears which produced many scholars, tradesmen and husbandmen which are necessary for the foundation on which a lasting culture may be nurtured.

Dear Fellow Subscribers:

Going over the questionnaires it shows many of you have indicated a willingness to share genealogical information. We have discussed the possibility of starting a repository for the many less-known Yoder lines. If we could get as many individual family lines together, it is possible to form a meaningful source of information for all who seek their ancestry.

A hearty "Thank You" to those who have already made such contributions of their line!

The Editors.

At this writing we're aware of the following family reunions held this past summer. We hope readers will give full particulars of coming reunions for 1984 so that we can inform everyone.

Conrad Yoder Reunion--Hickory NC in Aug.

Mose H. Yoder " Belleville PA in Aug.

Reuben Yoder " at Shipshewana IN in Aug.

Noah C. Yoder " in Northern IN in June

Rev. Paul D. Yoder at Lancaster Pa in June

John T. Yoder Reunion at Kalona IA in Aug.

David S. Yoder Reunion at Kalona (?)July

Moses H. Yoder Reunion at Belleville PA, July 13-14. Moses' 150 birthday.

MennoS. Yoder Reunion-Shipshewana in July,

We will accept brief notices of 1984 YODER reunions. Send name of "Whose", date, and place and it will be announced in Issue #3.

We've received enthusiastic response from the Conrad Yoder descendants in North Carolina. A lot of interesting material was submitted. Lack of space in this #2 issue for background on this group makes us plan one for Issue #3 this coming spring.

The same goes for the Oley Yoders, Yost and Hannes, pioneers, from Palatinate, Germany, whose father was born in Steffisburg, Switzerland. Interesting reading will await you readers next spring.


There have been a number of Yoder genealogies printed over the years and much Yoder data included in works on other families. Most of these were assembled by folks for their immediate families and are now out of print. We would like to publish reviews of new family works as they are produced, and to identify genealogies still available. Please let us know of any you are aware of.

We must not forget women played a vital role in being proper administrators and contributors in the struggles of all times in history. The following anecdote is a good example of what a wise and brave woman did in the face of danger during tumultuous times.

The full story was told, probably by one who we now would call a news reporter and was graciously submitted by Karl Joder of Ludwigsafen, Rep. of Germany. Karl is a descendant of Yost and Caspar Joder of Switzerland. Since the text of the story was in German, Gregory F. Yoder, of Grand Rapids MI kindly translated it for the YODER NEWSLETTER. It follows--

Anna Barbara Joder (she must have been a very beautiful woman), daughter of Yost Joder and Catherine Gerber Yoder, born August, l750, in Oggersheim, Germany, owned the Hotel Pfaltzer Hof.

During the French Revolution (1792-1796) when the revolutionaries destroyed and burned the entire Pfalz (Palatinate). the French General Hoche came with his cavalry to Oggersheim on January 4,1794, and wanted to have the best quarters.

Anna Barbara offered him her hotel as his headquarters (see picture), and he accepted.

When the French soldiers plundered the small village of Oggersheim, Anna Barbara demanded of the French General that the stolen goods be brought to his headquarters.

Later, when the soldiers left, she then returned the stolen goods to the villagers.

The Hotel-Pfalzer Hof still stands today and is the best hotel in Oggersheim.

Letters to the editor:

My mother was a Yoder and I was raised with my Yoder grandparents on a farm immediately east of where the widow Barbara Yoder had land in what is now Tilden Twp. (Berks Co.). I am a descendant of that branch. As a youngster I spent much time in the old Bishop Hertzler Cemetery where some of my Amish friends believe that widow Barbara is buried.

What was my Grandfather's farm, in the 1940's he subdivided and sold for building lots. The streets are named after his children, and he turned the barn into ,apartments. The small community is known as "Yoder Heights" and boasts a population of over two hundred people. My parents now live in the old homestead in Yoder heights.

Yes I'm interested in Yoder history, now since becoming involved with Christopher. Found it to be an undertaking, especially at my age. Not as easy as it was one day. Seems we need to be reminded to reach out to Jesus since by his spirit he reaches out to both you and me.

-- Olen Yoder, Goshen, IN.

(Quite a testimony from a 90 some year old saint. Olen is the GGGGgrandson of 1742 Immigrant Christian Jotter.)

Near Meyersdale, PA.(Somerset Co.) there is a town known as "Yetter Stadt" (Yoder town). It is Summit Hills" to the English speaking people. I understand it was called "Yetter Stadt" because of the large number of Yoders living in and around the area. -- Ray V. Haning, Springs, PA.

After years of scrounging for so little information, I was a little resigned. Your newsletter and personal letters were an oasis in the long desert, a tremendous breakthrough to me. Excitement beyond words!

--.H. Walter Yoder,Grand Rapids

(The above letter from a satisfied customer" of the newsletter. From the information he submitted, we were able to add 15 members to his family tree who had been previously unknown to him. Thus, one of the purposes of this newsletter is beginning to be fulfilled.-- Editors)

My husband and l have made up a genealogy book of the David Y. Yoder family in 1975, he (David) was our great grandfather and a descendant of widow Barbara Yoder. I have the heating and cook stove of David's--over 200 years old. Picture is in our book.

-Sadie Brenneman,Salisbury.PA.

As my father was married four times John D. was the only child from the first wife so father married the second time and had five children and when father married my mother, his third wife, by now John D. was a grown boy so he married my Mother's sister. Later three of John's boys married my first wife's sisters which makes them cousins, nephews, and brothers-in-law. My mother then died when I was three years old and Father was 45 when he was a widower for the third time. Five years later he married a widow with nine children and together they had a son. So there are four sets of Yoders, two sets of Mullets in one family connection as stepmother's first husband had four children when he married her. This is one of the most mixed up families I know of.

-- Ben D. Yoder - Stuarts Draft, VA.

I really enjoyed receiving the first Yoder Newsletter recently. The information on the first page was especially important to us because we plan to spend several weeks in Germany and Switzerland during the summer of 1984. Now we have a map and information that will help us locate areas where our ancestors lived in Europe.

-- Marc Yoder, Cedar Falls, IA

Places Named Yoder Series


by David Luthy

(The following article, which originally appeared in the July, 1973 issue of "Family Life", has been expanded and and updated by its author especially for the YODER NEWSLETTER)

Goshen County is located in the southeast corner of Wyoming and has within it towns named "Lagrange" and "Yoder". 'Do an Amish or Mennonite person this would appear very interesting, for "Goshen" is a town in Indiana and the hub of a large Mennonite settlement, "LaGrange" is the name of an adjoining Indiana county which contains the third largest concentration of Amish in America, and "Yoder" is the second most common Amish surname. Surely this Wyoming county would seem to have real Amish or Mennonite roots.

The origin of the name "Goshen County" does not, however, trace back to Goshen,IN. It is thought to have derived from an early trapper named "Goshe", By 1846 the name "Goshe's Hole" was applied to a rich irrigated farming area. By 1888 it appeared on the map as Goshen Hole. Since "Goshen" is a biblical name, it would appear that someone changed "Goshe" to "Goshen". 1

The town name "LaGrange" also does not originate from Indiana. It was named after an early homesteader, Caleb LaGrange.2

Last but not least is the town named "Yoder". It does, indeed,have an Amish connection. It is about a mile west of US Highway 85 and 12 miles west of the Nebraska state line. Its beginning is closely linked with the Philip J. Yoder family.

Philip Yoder was born in 1836 at Shanesville, Ohio. He was the son of Jacob D. and Barbara (Miller) Yoder, who are listed as "Amish" in both the Christian Fisher genealogy (No.6651) and the Barbara Hochstedler genealogy (No.4881). In 1861 Philip married Cinderella Hattery at Shanesville. The Barbara Hochstedler genealogy lists them as "Mennonite" which they may have been when married, but they did not remain so until death. Their first child, Benjamin, was born at Shanesville in 1863. Shortly thereafter they moved to Iowa where their second child, Amanda, was born in 1865 at Swedesburg in Henry County. Five more children were born in Iowa: Jesse(1869), Oscar (?), Clara (1873), Ida May (1876), and Sadie (1882).

In the fall of 1881, Philip and his oldest son, Benjamin F. or "Frank" as he was called, went to Wyoming. Frank spent the winter there, while Philip returned to Iowa. the following spring, Philip brought his family to Wyoming: three sons and four daughters with a fifth daughter, Nina, being born there three years later. 3

The Philip Yoder family settled in Goshen Co. on a ranch along Bear Creek. Philip prospered in raising cattle and horses. His Amish and Mennonite heritage was discarded. In late 1905, after an absence of 42 years, Philip and his wife traveled back to their native Ohio to visit. Mrs. Yoder suddenly took ill and died in the community where she had been born. Her obituary appeared in the Amish-Mennonite newspaper, "The Budget", published at Sugarcreek, Ohio in the Jan.11,1906 issue. Her remains were returned to Cheyenne, WY. for internment. Four years later, Philip J. Yoder died on July 28, 1910.

During Philip Yoder's lifetime, no town named "Yoder" had existed. In 1921 the Union Pacific railroad laid track from Gering, Nebraska to South Torrington, Wyoming, the county seat of Goshen, Co. The tracks passed several miles east of the Yoder ranch. Jesse Yoder, Philip's son, organised a Goshen Townsite Development Company to build a new town beside the railroad. The buildings from two tiny crossroad settlements, Springer and Lacy Corners, were moved to the new townsite. The name "Yoder" was chosen in honor of the Yoder family which had lived in the area since 1881 and for Jesse Yoder who had headed the townsite company. 4

Real estate offices, measuring a mere 4 by 6 feet, sprang up almost overnight at Yoder. Grocery, hardware, and dry goods stores were soon constructed; also a bakery and a cream station. In 1922 a brick schoolhouse was built and a weekly newspaper was started. That same year, electricity came to town, including even electric street lamps. A rodeo was held that summer to celebrate the founding of the town.

In four years' time, Yoder, Wyoming grew from nothing to a town of between 500 and 600 people There were three drugstores, two barber shops, three hardware stores, two cream stations, a hotel, a bank, several churches, a bakery, a doctor's office, a community hall, three lumber yards, a telephone office, a rooming house, and a livery stable--not to mention the many residences. 5

Yoder, Wyoming thrived for about ten years. Then came the Great Depression of the 1930's. One after another of the business places closed and people moved away. The population fell so that by 1970 the citizens numbered 101. Today it is just a sleepy country town with a grade school and a modern post office using ZIP Code 83244.

The Yoder ranch was still owned in 1973 by a Yoder--Philip's grandson, Oscar T. Yoder who had purchased it in 1931. His name is familiar to Goshen County residents for he served ten years in the Wyoming legislature (1955-1965) six in the house and four in the senate.


1. Urbanek, Mae, "Wyoming Place Names".

2. a letter from Oscar T. Yoder, Lagrange, Wyo. dated Apr.2, 1973 to the author.

3. Yoder, Oscar T., a mimeographed, undated writing entitled "History of the Town of Yoder, Wyoming" ,pg 3.

4. Allen, Florence A. "Yoder in the 1920's", Annals of Wyoming, Vol.39, No.2, 0ct.1967, pg.25

5. Ibid

Update note

We are grateful to the Hon. Oscar T Yoder of LaGrange, Wyoming for the following updates to this article written August 7,1983:

"My current information is that the population of Yoder has stabilized and has gained some after a modest decline. A new water tower has been constructed and a sewer system was installed some two years ago. The town sign indicates a population of 110, elevation 4245."

"My father was Frank Yoder (B.F.) He passed away in 1943 at the age of 80. He led a very active life, ranching in an extensive way in the Bear Creek, LaGrange, and Goshen Hole areas. I live near Bear Creek west of LaGrange in the home that my Grandfather built."


Rachel Kreider

Identifying the early Amish Yoders in America and relating them in families has for years been a very difficult exercise. The repetition of names and the conflicting data from early times made the puzzle almost impossible to solve. Descendants of Christian Yoder Der Schweisz were good record-keepers, and when one day I impatiently asked, "Then why didn't one of them write down who his father was and his uncles and aunts?", the answer was "In those days all those who mattered to them already knew."

As it turns out, someone had listed his siblings. On October 22, 1809, one Christian Yoder (Butcher Christ) wrote: "now I will write down in what years my Father's brothers and sisters were (born)'':

Aunt Barbara Yoder Born in the year 1725

Aunt Mattie Yoder Born in the year 1726

Uncle Christian Yoder Born in the year 1728

Aunt Elizabeth Yoder Born in the year 1729

Uncle John Yoder Born in the year 1732

Father Yost Yoder Born in the year 1734

Aunt Franny Yoder Born in the year 1739

Uncle Jacob Yoder Born in the year 1740

Further along in the account, Jacob C. Yoder, his grandson, who continued the genealogy and had descended from two different Yoder lines, said that on his mother's side he was descended from Butcher Christian, son of Yost, who was the son of Strong Jacob. That the above children belonged to Strong Jacob was thus handed down in print from this source, an others, for many years.

Research in the Lancaster Courthouse, however, showed that there was something not right about this. Strong Jacob did have the same names for his children but the dates did not fit. He himself had to be of the same generation as those children. Surely Butcher Christ knew who his grandfather was, but the information from his grandson, who was that much further removed and had a mix of Yoder blood on both sides of the house, was hardly that reliable. By 1970 Dr. Hugh Gingerich of Washington, D. C., had turned sustained attention to the Yoder problems and familiarized himself not only with the individual Yoders but the Amish families with whom they intermarried. The task was not easy, for example, he found two John Yoders both born about 1732 and each married to an Anna!

As it often happens, the key to the puzzle turned up unexpectedly while in pursuit of other interests. Paul V. Hostetler of Connecticut, grandson of the Hostetler historian who helped Harvey Hostetler compile the Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler (the famous Hostetler book of 1912), was trying to clear up some problems in connection with his own roots. He was referred to Annette Burget of the Pennsylvania German Society. She responded with a long letter, which confirmed that most of us had been on the wrong track also in identifying the immigrant Jacob Hochstetler. When in the course of their correspondence she found out that Paul was also researching Hartzlers and pinpointing the location of the earliest Amish farms, she sent him a copy of the will of one Barbara Shirk, which had a reference in it to a Hertzler. He promptly and generously shared it with Dr. Gingerich and received a telephone call from the latter that first night. Barbara Yoder, the second wife of John Shirk, had named her brothers and sisters, outlining for us one of the first two Amish families in America!

Quoting from the beginning and the end of the will, we find: "I, Barbara Shirk of Cocalico Township, Lancaster County, in the State of Pennsylvania have hereunto set my hand and seal this seventh day of January in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety." She had made her mark (X) in the presence of Martin Keller, John Keller, and John V. Dishony. In Item 1 she nominated "my beloved brother-in-law John Hertzler and my nephew Jacob Jother to be executors" The bequests were made "to my beloved brothers and sisters viz, Christian Jother, his heirs, Jacob Jother, Michael Jother, John Jother, my sister Magdalene her children, my sisters Anna King and Veronica Hertzler.., Later in the will she repeated the names but after "my sister Catherine Kauffman her children jointly one share" she added "but their Father Isaac Kauffman shall have no part nor claim thereto...."

Coupled with information gleaned elsewhere, Dr. Gingerich could now construct a list like this (approximating the dates within several years):

Catherine ca 1720 m. Isaac KauffmanChristian ca 1722; d 1772 in Berks County; m Barbara (probably Beiler

Magdalena ca 1724 m. Christian Fisher

Jacob ca 1726; d. 1790 in Lancaster Co. m. Anna _ (This one fits to be the real Strong Jacob)

Anna ca l728; d. in Berks County; m. Samuel Koenig (King)

Michael ca 1730; d. 1799 in Mifflin Co

John ca l 732; d. 1804 in Berks County; m. Anna

Barbara ca 1734; d. 1790 in Lancaster Co; second w/o John Shirk

Veronica ca 1736; d. 1806 in Mifflin C,m. John Hertzler

The mother of these children, according to persistent tradition, was the famous "Widow Barbara". To this day there has not been found any satisfactory documentation for this, nor has it been disproved. There are nine children in the family, but not eight of them sons, as one story has it. We are inclined to believe that this is indeed the family of Widow Barbara and that the father therefore died at sea. There has been speculation about his name, some even published as fact, but more evidence is needed. From a study of land transfers we believe that the father of the other family was Christian. A Bible record gives a death date for him of November, l775, the autumn before Christian Der Schweiz, now believed to be his son, came over the Alleghenies to Somerset County.

Finding this will was indeed a break through. Dr. Gingerich could now account for all the Amish Yoder males in the first three generations and could make intelligent speculations on the unnamed marriage partners, but there was still work to do. Were the heads of the two families brothers? Does it signify anything that the oldest son in each family was named Christian? What was the correct separation of children in the two John-Anna families? What is the most promising connecting link with the Anabaptist Joders of that time in Europe? Much progress has been made, but the fascinating process of refining the Yoder family outlines goes on and on. Perhaps we are looking for documentation that no longer even exists.


- The Yoder Newsletter will publish Yoder-related ancestral inquiries or exchanges from readers. Please limit to around 30 words plus your mailing address. It would be appreciated if a copy of any helpful replies could be sent to this newsletter so we may help others with this data in the future.

Needed: PA birthplace and parents names of Andrew Klock Yoder (19 Aug 1852- 6 Apr 1921), m. Iialinda Salada (14 Feb 1852- 9 Mar 1917). Oldest record 1875 in Point Twp.,Northumberland Co.,PA. Reply:H.S.Yoder Jr,6709 Melody Lane,.Bethesda,Mb 20817.

-Wish to find parents and descendants of Johannes Jotter, b.1763 d.10/26/1847 m.Phronica (Veronica) Emmerich, dau. of Herman & Hanna Emmerich, b. 11/28/ 1767. d.9/19/1833. m. 12/23/1788. Johannes lived in Rockland Twp.,Berks Co.,PA. Children: Hanna b.6/30/ 1789; Maria b. 8/27/17'90;Jacob b. 6/27/1792 d.9/23/ 1861.m1 Lydia Brown,m2 Catherine Ernst (my ancestor); Johannes b.6/19/1794 d.6/12 /1854 m. Magdalena Breyfogel;Catherine b.11/15/ 1796; Christina b.2/7/1807. AIl born Rockland Twp.Bapt. in Christ (Hertz) Luth. Ch., except Christian (bapt. Moslem Lions Luth. Ch.,Richmond Twp. Berks Co. Reply: Daniel W. Yoder,361 Valleybrook Dr.,Lancaster,PA 17601

Wanted: Info. on the location of the Yoder research files of:Charles T. Yoder, Was.D.C. circa 1890; Lynn Yoder of Fairmont, VA. circa 1940/50. Reply to C. Yoder,203 Lakeshire Rd, Battle Creek, MI 49015.

Wanted: Ancestry of Elizabeth Yoder(s) b.8/17/

1803 d.10/1881 Washington Co.,Pa. rn. Zachariah Sharp. Parents Jacob Yoder(s) b.? d.1/10/1843 Wash. Co.PA. and Elizabeth ? b.circa 1771 ,d. 2/6/1845 Wash.Co.Pa.Reply to: Mrs.R. Crane, 3518 State Ave, Ashtabula,OH 44004.

Wanted: UnpublishedYoder Bible records 1850 or Prior. Send data to 203 Lakeshire Rd. Battle Creek, MI 49015. Will be used in future newsletters or in research efforts.

Wanted: Information on Alsatian Yoder lines--anyone doing research or having early immigrant or Old World data, please contact Yoder newsletter for possible article development

HANS YODER (c1685-c1756) settled at Great Swamp,Bucks Co.,Pa. in 719. Seeking any verifiable documentation on this individual. Reply: Ken Hottle, Box 714, Allentown,Pa. 18105.

Wanted: Mother of Mary Yoder (1821-1892). Mary was dau. of John Yoder of Centre Twp. Berks Co.,PA.Who was his wife? Mary m.John Becker(1820-1900), son of John and Rebecca (Zimmerman) Becker. They were members Salem (Belleman's) Luth.Ch.Centre Twp. Reply: Mrs.Sidney Salzman, 821 Glen Allen Dr., Baltimore, MD 21229

Wanted: Information on Yoder Cemetery located North of Brotherton,Somerset Co.,PA. in the midst of a strip mine near the Cambria Tipple, PBS Coal,Inc. Known burial place of John Yoder (d.Oct.4,1860) and wife.Barbara (d.Dec.1,1856),36 other stones. Is this burial place of "Schweitzer Christian'' Yoder and his son Bishop Christian? Who else? Reply to Charles Yoder,227 S.Home Ave, Apt.102, Avalon,Pa. 15202.

Wanted: Information on the first wife of Conrad Yoder (North Carolina) who was a"Cline". Also any information on Conrad's other wife and children, as many married Clines or their descendants. Reply: Pauline Reinhardt, 503 St.James Ch.Dalton, N.C.28658

Wanted: Name of ship,exact arrival date. Maria Yoder b. 1780 d"1868 Somerset CO,Pa. Second wife of Johannes Schottler b.1776.Christian Schottler arrived July ? ,1831. Reply: Emery Shetler, Chesley,Ontario NOG 1LO, R.R. 1.

Seeking info. on William Henry Yotter, called "Henry". Married Matilda Metzger (1837-1911). He died before 1900. They lived in Freemansburg, Northampton Co.,PA where he owned canal boats running on the Lehigh Canal. Reply: Richard Yotter, 521 E.Newport Rd. Lititz,PA. 17543.

Who were the ancestors of Anna Yoder born about 1728, married to Samuel Koenig(King), born 1724, died 1783 and immigrant with father Jacob. Anna and Samuel had son Jacob King who married Barbara Zug (Zook). Respond to: Mabel Brunk,241'7 Jefferson Park Ave., Charlottesville, VA 22903

Who were the ancestors of Jacob Eschboch Yoder? Born l838, lived near Pottstown, PA, Mennonite, Several brothers, all their names began with "J". Went to Lynchburg VA as missionary to freed slaves. m. Anna Whitaker. Reply to: Joan Yoder, 130 Renola Dr., High Point NC 27263.

Descendants of Bishop Christian C. Yoder (1790-1846), Somerset Co. PA1!! His homestead graveyard has fallen into oblivion and is being plowed over. If you are interested in restoring this site, several other descendants could use your help. Contacts Chris Yoder, 203 Lakeshire Road, Battle Creek MI 49015.

BOOK SECTION: This newsletter will identify Yoder-related books currently available for purchase. If you know of any such books of interest to other readers, please advise the editors:

Descendants of David Y. Yoder, by Eli Brenneman. Traces the descendants of David Y. Yoder (1820-1899) of Somerset Co.,PA. David was a son of Yost H.,a son of Henry Y., a son of another Yost Yoder (all members of the Amish Yoder line). Sadie Brenneman, widow of Eli, says she has quite a few copies of this 218 page book left and would be glad to sell some $5 post paid . Order from: Sadie Brenneman, Rt. 1 ,Box 304, Salisbury, PA. 15558.

Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler, by Harvey Hostetler. This reprint of the 1912 classic is not specifically a Yoder book. It does,however include data on many of the primarily Amish Yoder lines. Its availability will be welcomed by quite a few of our readers. This 1200 page volume may be ordered from: the Gospel Bookstore Box 320, Berlin, OH. 44610 for $19.95 plus $1.50 for shipping.

The Reuben Yoder Family and Its Ancestry, by Chris Yoder,1983. Reuben Yoder was the son and grandson of two generations of Amish Bishops of Somerset Co.,Pa. both named Christian Yoder. This 156 page soft-bound book contains a descendant directory, 26 photographs.of family members and homesteads, ancestral information and an Appendix containing many documents written by Reuben and his ancestor- Price .$6 plus 75 cents postage, from Chris Yoder,203 Lakeshire Rd.,Battle Creek, MI 49015

Family Record of Eli Yoder,1973,by Dale E.Yoder. Eli Yoder was born 4/1/1853 near Salisbury, PA the son of Yost Yoder and Elizabeth Hochstetler.This 23 page booklet may be had from the author for $1. Limited number are available, and the author warns that there are a number of errors and unintentional omissions. Order from: Dale E. Yoder, RR, Kalona, Ia.

JUST OFF THE PRESS-Familv Record of John T Yoder and Anna Bontrager 1840-1983- . Hardback 472 p. $8.50 + 86¢ postage. Order from Katie Borkholder 30580 CR56, Nappanee IN 46550.


(This article has been reprinted with permission from the April 1981 issue of "The Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage", the quarterly magazine of the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, 2215 Millstream Rd., Lancaster, PA 17602.)

Karl Joder, a researcher from Ludwigshafen/Rhein, Germany, has researched the European Joder families for many years. The following article is based on his many notes, brochures, and charts.

The surname of Yoder is derived from the Alemannic given name "Theodor," derived from a Greek word meaning "man of God." The first known bishop in Switzerland was Saint Theodorus, who died about 393 A.D. His name was later changed to Saint Joder in the German-speaking sections of Switzerland, where it continues to be prevalent today.

Already in the fourth and fifth centuries, the Joders are known to have settled on the right shore of the Emme River on what is still known today as "Joder Hubel" or "Joder Hill" (elevation 9,870 feet). This hill was developed into a walled stronghold to protect Joder clans throughout the years.

On a 1384 tax register for the small village of Huttwil, Ulli Joder and his son, Heini Joder, are recorded as the highest taxed families. According to various Gaman knights' records, Elsi Zaugg, daughter of Blacksmith Peter Zaugg of Sumiswald, gave a large tract from her estate to the Gaman knights. Because of an unusually hard plague that probably caused the death of several of Ulli's and Elsi's children, tradition states that this gift of land may have been a token of gratitude for sparing one of her children.

Ulli's and Elsi's only known son, Heini Joder, moved Wabout 1385 to Steffisburg, Switzerland, in the southern part of the Emmental. The Joders lived here for approximately eleven generations before the Joders who joined the Wiedertaufer, or Anabaptist, movement were forced to leave their homeland in search of religious freedom.

The Steffisburg Joders, primarily farmers, were also involved in a variety of trades and service in civil administration offices. In 1428 a Jost Joder served as govemor at Laueren near Thun. Accounts of Joders involved in the Anabaptist movement include Heini Joder teacher and preacher, who was arrested and imprisoned in Basel in 1531. Karl Joder's research also reveals a number of Joder families who migrated to the Alsace or to the Pfalz and later to America.

Karl Joder traces his ancestry to Ulli Joder, born about 1340 in Huttwil, Switzaland, and married to Elsi Zaugg/Zook. Although no connection has yet been made to identify where Immigrant "Widow" Barbara Yoder fits into the family, we can assume at this time that Ulli and Elsi (Zaugg) Joder could be her husband's ancestors.

Ulli and Elsi (Zaugg) Joders son Heini Joder, married Leni Gerber. Karl Joder traces their two sons, Peter and Jost, through a number of generations that intermarried with Blanks, Esches, Gingerichs, Kauffmans, Meyers, Millers, Rupps, and Zooks, many of whom came to America. The following is a listing of nine Yoder generations traced through European church records.

1. Ulli Joder, b. ca. 1340-------m. Elsi Zaugg

2. Heini Joder, b. ca. 1363 -m. Lani Gerber

3. Jost Joder, b. 1387; d. at Steffisburg, Switzerland

4. Caspar Joder, b. at Steffisburg

------a Peter Joder m. Madlen Zaugg

------b. Caspar Joder m. Margret Moser


5. Caspar Joder m. Margaret Moser (or Meya)

------ a. Pauli Joder

------ b. Balthasar Joder

------m. Anna Jost

------c. Peter Joder

------m. Trini Eymann

-----------1 ) Peter Joder

------------m. Magdalene Zaug


6. Balthasar Joder, b. 1525 at Steffisburg

------m. Anna Jost

------a. Caspar Joder

------m. Anni Moser

------b. Elsi Joder

------m Hans Meyer

-------------(l) Hans Meyer, b. June 12,1580

-------------(2) Elsi Meyer, b. Sept. 16, 1582

-------------(3) Peter Meyer, b. Mar. 18,1585

------------(4) Caspar Meyer, b. Aug. 31, 1587

-----------(5) Christoffel Meyer, b. June 20, 1591


7. Caspar Joder, b. 1548 at Steffisburg

------m.Jan. 17,1571 Anni Moser

------a. Pauli Joder

------m Francis Hennig

------------(1) Anni Joder, b. Apr. 18,1591

------------(2) Caspar Joder, b. May 4, 1592

------------(3)Verena Joder, b. July 7, 1593

------b. Caspar Joder

------m. Margret Hennig

------c. Elsi Joder, b. at Steffisburg


8. Caspar Joder, b. Feb. 24, 1571 m. July 4, 1596 Margret Hennig

------a. Peter Joder, b. June 5. 1597

------b. Heini Joder, b. Oct. 10, I599

------c. Margret Joder, b. Feb. 8,1601

------d. Niclaus Joder, b. July 17,1603

------e. Barbara Joder, b. Sept. 28,1606

------f. Jost Joder, b. Nov. 30,1607

------g. Nicolaus Joder, b. Mar. 25,1609


9. Jost Joder, b. Nov. 30, 1607, at Steffisburg Oct. 14, 1642 Anna Trachsel

------a. Hans Joder, b. Apr. 21, 1644 m. July 17, 1671 Cathrine Risser

------------(1) Cathrin Joder, b. July 28, 1672

------------(2) Anna Joder, b. Jan. 25, 1674

------ ------(3) Jost Joder, b. Sept. 19, 1675

------------------m. Magdalene Gerber

------------(4) Barbara Joder, b. Aug. 14, 1678

------------(5) Christian Joder, b. Apr. 9, 1680

------------(6) Verena Joder, b. Feb. 12, 1682

------------(7) Hans Joder, b. Mar. 29, 1691

------------(8) Verena Joder, b. Mar. 12, 1693

------b. Anna Joder, b. Apr. 19, 1646

------c. Verena Joder, b. Sept. 12, 1647

----------m. N. Rupp------

------d. Peter Joder, b. 1649

------m. Dec. 13, 168 ________Stahli (?)

------e. Jakob Joder, b. Apr. 4, 1652------m Jan. 9, 1685 Verena Kaufmann

------------(1) Hans Joder, b. Nov. 19, 1685

------------(2) Christian Joder, b. Feb. 6, 1687

------------(3) Anna Joder, b. Sept. 16, 1688

------f. Anna Joder, b. July 17, 1653

------m. Dec. 13, 1680 Christian Blank

------------(1) Christian Blank, b. Oct. 16, 1681

------------(2) Anna Blank, b. Mar. 9, 1684

------------(3) Hans Blank, b. June 21, 1685

------------(4) Jost Blank, b. May 13, 1688

------------(5) Barbara Blank, b. Dec. 21, 1690

------g. Barbara Joder, b. Oct. 28, 1655

----------m. N. Berger

------h. Christian Joder, b. May 10, 1657

-----------m. Mar. 10, 1684 Barbara Gerber

------------(1) Peter Joder, b. Aug. 2, 1685

------------2) Christian Joder, b. Mar. 20, 1687

----------------------m. Margret Gerber

------i. Caspar Joder, b. ca.1664

------------------m. Jan. 21, 1681 Verena Stauffer

------------(1) Anna Joder, b. Apr. 16, 1682

------------(2) Anna/Ottilie Joder, b. May 20, 1683

----------------------m. Antoni Stauffer

------------(3) Hans Joder, b. Oct. 24, 1686

----------------------m. Catherin Esch

------------Children: Veronica (m. Johann

---------------Eichelberger) and Jakob

----------------------(m. Anni Esch)

------------(4) Christian Joder, b. Feb. 15, 1691

---------------------m. Anna Maria Clauss

------------(5) Caspar Joder, b. Sept. 1, 1695

--------------------m. Magdalene Gungerich

------------(6) Peter Joder, b. Feb. 18, 1700

------------(7) Barbara Joder, b. Oct. 29, 1703

------j. Catherin Joder, b. July 8, 1666

-----------------m. Jan. 9, 1685 Hans Rupp

------------(1) Hans Rupp, b. Feb. 6, 1687

------------(2) Hans Rupp, b. Mar. 25, 1689

------------(3) Catherin Rupp, b. Sept. 1, 1692


10.------Nicolaus Joder, b. Mar. 25, 1609

---------------m. Oct. 14, 1642 Anna Trachsel

------a. Barbara Joder, b. Mar. 8, 1644

------------m. Jan. 30, 1666 Hans Rupp

------------(1) Christian Rupp, b. Oct. 29, 1672

------------(2) Christina Rupp, b. Feb. 20, 1676

------------(3) Anna Rupp, b.Oct. 12, 1679

------------(4) Jakob Rupp, b. Jan. 24, 1686

------------(5) Benedic Rupp, b. Sept. 23, 1688

------b. Anna Joder, b. Apr. 13, 1645

--------------m. Jan. 7, 1670 Hans Berger

------c. Caspar Joder, b. June 4, 1648 m. Jan. 7, 1670 Anni Zaug

------------(1) Anna Joder, b. Nov. 2, 1672

------------(2) Christina Joder, b. Mar. 15, 1674

------------(3) Margret Joder, b. Feb. 6, 1676

------------(4) Hans Joder, b. Oct. 7, 1677

------------(5) Barbara Joder, b. Dec. 7, 1679

------------(6) Verena Joder, b. Jan. 28, 1683

------------(7) Christine Joder, b. Jan. 28, 1683

------------(8) Mathis Joder, b. July 20, 1684

------------(9) Caspar Joder, b. Feb. 6, 1687

------------(10) Verena Joder, b. Oct. 20, 1689

------------(11) Cathrin Joder, b. July 30, 1693

------------(12) Niclaus Joder, b. Feb. 23, 1696

------d. Adam Joder, b. July 22, 1650

---------------m. Jan. 9, 1671 Barbli Ochsenbein

------------(1) Hans Joder, b Mar. 10, 1672

------------(2) Niclaus Joder, b. Oct. 5, 1673

------------(3) Barbara Joder, b. Apr. 9 1676

------------(4) Jost Joder, b. Oct. 5, 1679

------------(5) Caspar Joder, b. Sept. 9, 1683

------e. Hans Joder, b. July 22, 1650

---------------m. Mar. 9, 1688 Anna Eicher

------------(1) Caspar Joder, b. July 28, 1689

------------(2) Magdalane Joder, b. Oct. 4, 1691

------------(3) Caspar Joder, b. Jan. 28, 1694

------------(4) Anna Joder, b. Feb. 2, 1696

------------(5) Barbara Joder, b. Mar. 13, 1698

------------(6) Margret Joder, b. Mar. 10, 1700

------------(7) Cathrin Joder, b. May 28, 1702

------------(8) Hans Joder, b. Oct. 5, 1704

------------(9) Verena Joder, b. Apr. 22, 1708

------------(10) Elsbeth Joder, b. Nov. 9, 1710

------------(11) Peter Joder, b. Apr. 2. 1713

------------(12) Christian Joder, b. June 28, 1716

------f. Magdalene Joder, b. Feb. 29, 1652 m.

--------------Apr. 26, 1689 Peter Meyer

------------(1) Caspar Meyer, b. Mar. 30, 1690

------------(2) Madlen Meyer, b. Feb. 5. 1693

------------(3) Madlen Meyer, b. Apr. 15, 1694

------------(4) Hans Meyer, b. Sept. 4, 1698

------------(5) Verena Meyer, b. Mar. 6, 1701

------------(6) Anna Meyer, b. Apr. 29, 1703

------------(7) Margret Meyer, b. Apr. 25, 1706

------------(8) Christian Meyer, b. Sept. 22, 1709

------g. Annegret Joder, b. Apr. 10, 1653

--------------m. Feb. 10, 1673 Ulli Risser

------------(1) Hans Russer, b. Feb. 1, 1674

------------(2) Anna Russer, b. Apr. 22, 1676

------h. Jost Joder, b. Jan. 13, 1655

---------------m. Jan. 9, 1685 Barbara Rupp

------------(1) Barbara Joder, b. Aug. 29, 1686

------------(2) Anna Joder, b. July 1, 1688

------------(3) Johann Joder, b. 1710

------------(4) Christian Joder, b. 1712

------i. Salomea Joder, b. Apr. 13, 1656

---------------m. Mar. 7, 1678 Hans Gerber

(addenda to Mast's article on page 7)

The families of Jost and Nicolaus Joder of Steffisburg are certainly not the only ones from whom American Yoders may be descended. There are, however, reasons to pay particular attention to these families when attempting to sort out the European origins of various Yoder lines. Some of these are outlined below:

1. Research by Karl Joder and Dr. Don Yoder has identified Hans and Jost Joder (para 10d (1) & (4)) as being the founders of the Oley Valley Yoder branch and the first of the name in America.

2. Karl Joder has established that 1820 Amish immigrant Michael Yoder was the grandson of Jacob Joder, son of Hans Joder and Catherine Esch (para 9i (3)).

3. Five children of Jost Joder (para 9) were identified in 1690 Steffisburg records as suspected Anabaptists Peter (9d); Jakob (9e); Anna (9f)-wife of Christian Blank; Christian (9h); and Caspar (9i)

4. Two children of Nicolaus Joder have known or suspected Anabaptist links: Jost (para 10h) was a suspected Anabaptist in 1690; Salomea (para 10i) and her husband Hans Gerber were labelled Anabaptists in 1691.

5. The Staadtsarchivs of Bern show a record of 7/16/1690 "the government orders the provincial governor of Traschselwald to find out whether the Anabaptists Jost Joder and Christian Blank of Steffisburg, as have been reported, are staying in Schangnau and whether they took their capital with them. As soon as this is ascertained, a report shall be given to the Tauferkammer there." Were these 10h and 9f? It seems likely.

6. The Staadtsarchivs of Bern show in a record dated 4/8/1695 "The Anabaptist Christian Joder, of the jurisdiction of Steffisburg, has left the country. For the property he took along he must pay a 5%o fee of 10 lbs(?)." Was this 9h? Possible.

7. Erlenbach, reported home of Amish founder Jacob Amman, is only about ten miles distance from Steffisburg. When Amman made his tour of 1693 to seek support for his theological ideas, one of the ministers accompanying him was a "Christian Blank". Can anyone of our readers shed light on whether this was the same man as at para 9h?

8. One Hans Gerber was known to have been with Amman at Heidelsheim in Alsace in 1711. Could this have been the same as the man at para 10i?

COMING IN ISSUE #3.!! New material from Ken Hottle, Allentown PA, on Hans Joder of Upper Bucks Co., PA (Great Swamp). Dorothy Coffman, of Malvern PA has found new material on the Montgomery Co. Yoders.

(clipping sent Mrs. Nettie Poteat of Hickory,

North Carolina, printed in the DAILY RECORD.)

The 33rd annual Yoder family reunion was held Sunday (13th of August) at Zion Lutheran Church.

The North Carolina Yoders are descended from Germanic-Swiss pioneer Conrad Yoder, who came to Catawba County around 1750. His grave is just south of Zion Church, which his children helped start in the 1790's.

President Jimmy Yoder opened the meeting. Richard Yoder presented memorial roses to the family of seven clan members who died during the last year, and reported on the Yoder Newsletter, a new national family publication.

He and Dr. Larry Yoder of Lenoir-Rhyne College reported that the memorial to Dr. Robert Anderson Yoder, first president of the college, is nearing completion on the site of the razed Yoder Building on campus.

They urged all family members and friends to designate any gifts to the college for the memorial since the clan earlier agreed to support the memorial.

Next year's reunion will be at Zion Church on the second Sunday in August.

The 1000 page volume which traces over 140 Amish surnames from immigration to an arbitrary date of 1850 is nearing publication. Dr. Hugh F. Gingerich, PhD, of Washington DC and Rachel W. Kreider, MA. of Goshen IN have compiled data that represents 30 years of diligent research.

The Yoder section will cover the most pages, with Millers a close second. This covers only the Amish Yoders mentioned in Section 3 of the first issue of the YNL which shows the maps.

The prepublication price is $35.00, plus handling and shipping for individual orders. You may order from Levi L. Stoltzfus, Treas.,

98 South Graffdale Road, Leola, PA 17540.

Who was the brother of Conrad Yoder, early pioneer founder of the North Carolina clan, who was supposed to have gone west in the early 1700's? Anyone who can give a clue on this please contact the YODER NEWSLETTER, P.O. Box 594, Goshen, IN 46526

Back to INDEX Back to CONTENTS

Yoder Newsletter - © Christopher K. Yoder, 1992, 1994