Lydia Gross’s unknown marriage

Written by Forrest Moyer on May 15, 2020

The first part of this article, about Lydia Gross’s leadership in the Doylestown Mennonite Sewing Circle and proposed Women’s Missionary Society, was written by Mary Jane Hershey and published in the MHEP Newsletter in March 1996.

The second part, written by myself, is about Lydia’s unknown or secret marriage.

I don’t tell the story to cast aspersions on her character. Rather, it is an example of how complex life could be in the old days, even for conservative Mennonites who

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Historic local newspapers

Written by Forrest Moyer on April 1, 2020

Newspapers are a great source of genealogical information, not only obituaries and death notices, but also estate and marriage notices, and — the best part — anecdotes and news about ancestors and relatives. As more papers are digitized and made available online, this wealth of information is more accessible than ever.

The list below of local newspapers was begun in 1992 by Joel Alderfer to assist researchers at the Mennonite Heritage Center, and is limited to Pennsylvania German areas of Bucks

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Bishop Jacob Gross (1743-1810)

Written by Forrest Moyer on March 6, 2019

It’s been 15 years since I dove down the rabbit hole of genealogy. My interest continues to be piqued by my own ancestors, but has expanded to the stories of many others through my work at the Heritage Center and everyday conversations with folks from diverse backgrounds. The interesting characters among our ancestors are endless!

As a child, I knew that my grandmother Ruth was descended from an early American Mennonite bishop, Jacob Gross of Deep Run, Bucks County; but my

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Fretz

Written by Forrest Moyer on March 20, 2018

This is the last in a series of posts highlighting 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 until March 31, 2018. The stories reflect the enrichment brought to communities over centuries by the descendants of immigrants.

Bedminster and Tinicum settlers

The American Mennonite Fretz family is descended from two immigrants, thought to be brothers, who came from near Mannheim, Germany, and settled in Bucks County,

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New acquisition: Bower family tree

Written by Forrest Moyer on October 5, 2017
Mennonite Heritage Center, Harleysville

Zach Bower, a social studies teacher at Dock Mennonite Academy, recently donated an unusual family heirloom to the Mennonite Heritage Center — a hand-drawn family tree compiled by his great-great-grandfather, Henry Stauffer Bower (1836-1909).

Gift of Zachary Aaron Bower (2017.30.1)

The tree, signed and dated 1897, traces many branches of the descendants of Mennonite immigrant Hans Bauer, a native of Switzerland who settled in Hereford Township, Berks County in 1734.

This chart was made in combination with a genealogy that Henry

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Our Immigrant Heritage: Cassel

Written by Forrest Moyer on May 10, 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.

Viewing comets in Kriegsheim

Hupert Cassel, an immigrant bachelor who came to Pennsylvania in 1717, and his brothers Yellis and John, who came ten years later, were from a pious Mennonite family of Kriegsheim,

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