New acquisition: Gehman-Hiestand family registers

Written by Forrest Moyer on July 12, 2017

Last year Alma Shelly of North Newton, Kansas donated several family Bible registers that belonged to her late sister-in-law, Griselda Gehman Shelly (1925-2014), wife of Mennonite minister and author Maynard Shelly. The registers document four generations of Griselda’s ancestors, a unique and gifted family of the Berks-Lehigh community.

Griselda Gehman was an only child, born in Newark, Delaware to parents of Pennsylvania Mennonite origin. Her grandfather, William Hiestand Gehman,  had moved from Lehigh County, Pennsylvania to the state of Delaware, where

Continue Reading


Our Immigrant Heritage: Allebach

Written by Forrest Moyer on June 21, 2017

This series of posts highlights families descended from 18th-century Mennonite immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania, in connection with the MHC’s exhibit Opportunity & Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania, on display through March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

A large pioneer family

Christian Allebach, a weaver, had three stepchildren when he and wife Margaret immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1719. The family came from Dühren, Germany, near Sinsheim in the Kraichgau, and likely

Continue Reading


“Going to meeting” at Souderton, 1883-1902

Written by Forrest Moyer on February 8, 2017
Mennonite Heritage Center, Harleysville

Souderton Mennonite Meetinghouse, circa 1910

Another article from the first year of the MHEP Newsletter  features entries from the diary of William S. Hemsing (1866-1940) about his experiences at Souderton Mennonite Church. The full diary, subtitled An Intimate Look at Souderton, Pennsylvania, was published by Union National Bank in 1987 and is available to purchase in the Mennonite Heritage Center library for $8.00.

William Souder Hemsing, later to be Burgess of Souderton, was a teenage teller in the Union National Bank of

Continue Reading