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The Oley Yoder Heritage Association

The Oley Yoder Family

The Oley Yoders are proud of our heritage.

Our patriarchs, the brothers Johannas (OH) and Jost (OY) Joder came from the village of Steffisburg near the capital city of Berne, Switzerland. They sought refuge in the New World, from the religious persecution suffered in their native country. The genealogy of the lineage can be traced back to approximately 1340 AD.

Johannas (Hans) Joder is documented as the first Yoder to arrive in America. Chronicled data has established that Hans departed England in March 1709 with his family of a wife, two sons, ages nine and four, and a daughter age one. Solemnly, when the ship arrived in New York, only Hans and his oldest son Johannas come through the journey. Hans Yoder first bought land in northern Chester County, but by 1714 was granted land along the Manatawny Creek in the Oley Valley in Berks County, Pennsylvania. He and his brother Jost (Yost) petitioned and settled adjoining land in 1720, where they established a Family Cemetery in the midst of the two homesteads. The two brothers died in 1742. The original wills are registered at the Court House in Philadelphia. A translation of their wills appear on the Yoder Web site.

Four descendants of Hans Jr.(OH1) and nine children of Yost developed and cultivated the original land over the subsequent years, with many of their offspring buried in the cemetery.The Yoder Family Cemetery, now entitled the Pleasantville Union Cemetery, is located near the intersection of Route 73 and Covered Bridge Road in Pleasantville, Oley Township in Berks County, Pennsylvania. The restoration and maintenance of the historical family burial ground is the main focus of the present Oley Yoder Heritage Association. Several activities, such as the publication and sale of the Yoder Cookbook and the establishment of the 1996 Oley Yoder National Reunion were instituted to raise endowed funds for the cemetery. The Oley Yoders are planning a second National Reunion on July 21, 2001. Over the past four years, the association has sponsored an annual reunion on the 3rd Saturday in July. A family reunion has been held sporadically since 1920.

The Oley Yoder Heritage Association is made up of dedicated individuals who have family ties to the Oley Yoder Family lineage. Mailing address:

415 State Street, Pottstown, PA 19464.
E-mail contact:

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