April 2000


Research note:

Identifying Jacob Ammann



     Jacob Ammann, whose reform movement in Alsace, Switzerland and the Palatinate led to a well-known and painful schism in the 1690s, is one of the most controversial figures in Anabaptist history. Thanks to recent archival work by Robert Baecher we now know something of Ammann's ministry in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, Alsace in the years following 1695,[1]  but his early life has remained an object of speculation. Was he born in the Simmental or in the Oberaargau or somewhere else? Did he grow up in the Anabaptist faith or was he a convert? When did he move to Alsace? How old was he in 1693 when he confronted Hans Reist? What was his genealogical relationship to the minister Uli Ammann? What were some of the early influences that helped to shape his life?

     I first became interested in these questions in 1992, when-in my search for information about Anabaptists named Eichacher-I stumbled across a reference to Jacob Ammann in the Mandatenbuch of Thun castle. These books were compilations by district administrators of important decrees and regulations received from Bern. There I stumbled upon an order dated December 14, 1693 telling the governor to be on the lookout for "Jaggi Ammann of Oberhofen, a roving arch-Anabaptist" and offering a reward of one hundred Thaler for his capture.[2]  Sensing that this was a significant find, I digressed from my task long enough to copy out the entry and later looked unsuccessfully for the original in the Mandatenbücher of the capital, Bern.[3]  The absence of an entry in the Bernese Mandatenbücher was not too surprising since the order dealt with a single man and was not widely issued. But I did find the text under that date in the Ratsmanual, the register where all formal decisions of the two governing councils (Large and Small) are noted. The order concerning Jacob Ammann had been issued to only seven districts: Thun, Burgdorf, Brandis, Trachselwald, Landshut, Signau and Oberhofen (recorded in that order).[4]  Curiously, the phrase from the Thun Mandatenbuch about Jacob being from Oberhofen does not appear in the Bernese Ratsmanual, nor in the text as recorded in the Mandatenbuch of Oberhofen itself.[5] 

     That was the extent of my search at the time. I have since learned that the administrations of Burgdorf, Trachselwald and Landshut chose not to copy this order into their Mandatenbücher; those of Signau and Brandis unfortunately do not survive. I am reluctant to make very much of the fact that both Thun and its neighboring district Oberhofen went to the trouble to enter into their books the order to capture Ammann. To determine whether it received special attention there would require a detailed comparison of their Mandatenbücher with the Ratsmanuale to see what, if any, directives from Bern were being more generally left out.

     It may well have been the recording scribe in Thun who added the phrase "von Oberhofen," realizing they had dealt with this man before. The other possibility is that the phrase did appear in all seven letters from the capital, but the scribe in Oberhofen chose to drop it.[6] 

     Independently, Swiss historian Hanspeter Jecker had occasion to search the Ratsmanuale, which led him to the district Mandatenbücher-the reverse of my own experience. He persevered with the Ratsmanuale, finding the report of a bungled capture of Jacob Ammann at Walkringen, Bern the following summer, in July 1694.[7] 

     In 1993 a conference at Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines commemorating the tercentenary of the schism once again whetted my interest in Ammann. There I learned of the theory that he was from Madiswil, a parish in the Oberaargau region of Bern.[8]  I was skeptical, sharing the uneasiness expressed by Isaac Zürcher that a man who found his largest following around the Lake of Thun in the Berner Oberland (the Bernese highlands) would himself have come from the flatter country to the north, where temperament and dialect were different.[9]  I decided to pursue the older hypothesis advanced by Delbert Gratz in 1951, that Jacob Ammann had originated in Erlenbach in the Simmental. Gratz based his argument on entries from 1730 in the Manual der Täuferkammer, the records of the Bernese government's chamber of Anabaptist affairs,[10]  where an unnamed woman-"a daughter of the Täuferlehrer [Anabaptist preacher] Jacob Amman of Erlenbach who has died outside the land"-appeared before the chamber on April 12, 1730 and "requested to receive the holy baptism and to be accepted into the bosom of our church."[11] 

     In the parish registers of Erlenbach Gratz found only one candidate for the Anabaptist preacher mentioned-a Jacob Ammann baptized February 12, 1644 as the son of Michael Ammann and Anna Rupp.[12]  Given this evidence, Gratz showed restraint in not rushing to identify this Jacob as the Anabaptist leader. At the same time, however, he made an assumption that the preacher's daughter actually received state church baptism. In 1730 the Täuferkammer had directed Jacob's daughter to Erlenbach, giving her two letters, the text of which is the sum total of the matter as recorded in their records. She was to hand the first letter to the governor in Wimmis castle, which had jurisdiction for the lower Simmental, and the second to the church minister in Erlenbach, who was to instruct and baptize her.[13]  There is no evidence, however, that she ever followed through.

     Her baptism does not appear in the baptism register of Erlenbach, which would have been necessary to validate her citizenship rights there, nor in that of Wimmis, where Gratz's reading of the letter to the governor places it.[14]  After her baptism the governor was supposed to give her four Thaler, charging the expense to the central government in Bern.[15]  There is, however, no record in his annual financial accounts that he indeed paid out the money. Whether she actually arrived in Erlenbach or not, Jacob Ammann's daughter likely wandered back out of Bernese territory without being baptized.

     How she had come to stand before the Täuferkammer remains unclear. Most likely, it was of her own free will. Since they released her to travel to the Oberland to present letters, apparently unescorted, it seems improbable that she had been arrested. Likely her audience with the Täuferkammer in Bern made it clear that baptism was the only path to legal residence. Had she already been to Erlenbach, after a falling out with the Anabaptists, seeking relatives and financial assistance? We will probably never know. I am convinced, however, that the Täuferkammer's rationale for sending her to Erlenbach was a jurisdictional one. As subsequent findings have confirmed, Erlenbach was the family's Heimatort, their community of ancestral citizenship. Since the late 1600s, a person in the Bernese state needing public assistance was expected to return to his community of citizenship, which could not refuse him residence and aid.[16]  In most cases, the community of citizenship remained constant from generation to generation, no matter where the person moved.[17] 

     For some years I let the Ammann materials sit untouched. But I returned to them soon after hearing of Mark Furner's discovery of a new Ammann entry in the Ratsmanual, dated June 4, 1680 (presented in this issue of MQR as an accompanying research note). On June 4, the Bernese government wrote to its governor in Oberhofen in response to a letter from him to the central Chorgericht, the court which had jurisdiction over religious and moral matters. The governor had reported that Jacob Ammann "of Erlenbach" had become "infected with the Anabaptist sect." The Bernese council now instructed the governor to send for Ammann, question him again, and, with the local minister's help, try to convince him with kind words to return to the right path. If unsuccessful, he was to have Ammann escorted to the border and banished. Regardless of whether Ammann was willing to swear the oath-the standard oath never to return to Bernese territory-he was to be told that if he ever did come back he would be considered a perjurer and flogged. His property was to be inventoried and divided with the children, with his own portion added to the local church fund. Since these were standard orders,[18]  we cannot assume that he had children at this point. In any case, I found none for this Jacob Ammann in the baptism register of Hilterfingen, the state church parish to which Oberhofen belongs; and a search of the surviving Kontraktenmanuale (contract registers) did not turn up an inventory or division of his property.

     Jacob Ammann probably embraced Anabaptism in 1679. Earlier, on March 12, 1671, he was in good standing with the state church where he served as sponsor at the baptism of Uli Immer and Barbara Frutiger's son Jacob.[19] 

     Following the Ratsmanual reference to Oberhofen, I began browsing the contract registers of Oberhofen and quickly found a crucial piece of new evidence. Searching the year 1679, the year before Ammann was denounced to Bern as an Anabaptist, I discovered a contract dated August 2, 1679, in which "Master Jacob Amen the tailor, resident at Oberhofen" sold his house in Oberhofen village, along with a spot of vineyard, to "Ulrich Ammen, his beloved brother at Thal in the jurisdiction of Erlenbach."[20]  Here was not only the missing link between Oberhofen and Erlenbach, but also concrete evidence for Robert Baecher's hypothesis presented in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines in 1993 that Jacob Ammann made his living as a tailor.[21] 

     In 1951 Delbert Gratz had doubted that there was a blood relationship between Jacob and Ulrich (Uli), the two Ammanns involved in the schism. He had found an Anabaptist named Ulrich Ammann living in Peseux, Canton Neuchƒtel in 1733 who reported being born 1661 in Oberhofen. Unfortunately, however, Gratz was not able to check the baptism register of Hilterfingen, the state parish to which Oberhofen belongs. There we discover that Michael Ammann and Anna Rupp baptized a baby named Uli in Hilterfingen on January 12, 1662.[22]  This is the same couple that Gratz had found baptizing five children in the parish of Erlenbach over the years 1638-1651.[23]  Their son is the only Ulrich Ammann in the Hilterfingen baptism register during that whole century and is a near perfect match for the birth information recorded in Neuchâtel.

     Sometime after the birth of Uli the parents returned to live in Erlenbach. On May 1, 1673 Michael Ammann and his wife Anna Rupp, residents at Thal in the parish of Erlenbach, had a document drawn up concerning their estate by a notary in Oberhofen. Michael is referred to as Meister, meaning he had mastered a trade, which is not specified here. Because of age they were no longer able to take care of their farm property without the help of their children. Most of them-except daughter Cathrina, now of legal age-had already left the house and were gainfully employed. Uli was just a boy of eleven. If Cathrina would stay and help the parents until their deaths, she was to have thirty crowns for her wages, in property or coin, beyond her normal inheritance. Should she marry and move out before they died, she was to receive two crowns for each year of work, likewise to be paid after the parents died.[24]  Delbert Gratz found an entry in the Chorgerichtsmanual of Erlenbach which reveals that Michael Ammann and his daughter Cathrina were censured on July 9, 1693 for not having attended church services nor taken communion for some time.[25] 

     In a document dated Martin's Day (November 11) 1673, "Master Michel Amann the tailor at Thal, in the parish of Erlenbach" took over a debt of thirty crowns owed to Hans Jacob Wildt of Bern by "honorable Master Jacob Amann the tailor, his beloved son, presently residing at Oberhofen."[26]  Clearly both father and son were tailors.

     Beyond reasonable doubt then, the Jacob Ammann of Erlenbach who was denounced in Oberhofen as an Anabaptist in 1680 is the son of Michael Ammann and Anna Rupp. And, unless we postulate an intervening generation, their son is almost certainly the Jacob Ammann of Erlenbach who died as a Täuferlehrer outside the land and whose daughter requested state church baptism in Bern in 1730.

     The arch-Anabaptist named Jacob Ammann for whom the government of Bern was searching in December 1693 is, of course, the Jacob Ammann of the schism. In the district of Thun, at least, he was considered to have been from Oberhofen. Jacob, the son of Michael Ammann and Anna Rupp, not only became an Anabaptist there, but he had a brother named Uli, eighteen years his junior, who was born in Oberhofen. That this Uli also became an Anabaptist is indicated by the record of 1733 that Gratz found in Neuchâtel. The pieces all fit. To be sure, the evidence is circumstantial but, spectacular new findings to the contrary, I believe we can identify the Jacob and Uli Ammann of the schism as sons of the couple from Erlenbach. That Jacob Ammann was from Erlenbach and Oberhofen helps explain why he gained his largest following in Switzerland around the Lake of Thun, as shown by the work of Ernst Müller, Robert Baecher and Hans Rudolf Lavater.[27] 

     In 1693 Jacob Ammann from Erlenbach and Oberhofen was 49 years old, hardly a young man. Milton Gascho in his essay on the Amish Division begins a list of missing letters with one from Hans Reist, a letter in which Reist supposedly called Ammann a "young fellow."[28]  Since Reist's letter has not been found, it is unfortunate that Gascho places the phrase in quotation marks. As he makes clear (p. 252, n. 71), the phrase is his own extrapolation, based mainly on passages in Jacob Ammann's letter of November 22, 1693. The key passage in Ammann's letter is probably:

     Auch hat der Häußli Hans zu mir Jaggi Ammon selbsten gesagt er stand vor mir, so wir doch im gleichen Dienste gestanden sind. Ist das nicht ein geistlicher Hochmuth? Es scheint wohl daß er über das Erb unser Glaubens hat wollen herrschen in der Meinung als ob man die Alten nachfolgen sollte, ob schon ihr Wort und Lehr nicht nach Gottes Wort und Lehr gerichtet ist, und auf der Jünger Lehr und Ordnung nicht zu viel sehen sollten, wie dasselbige in seinem umher geschickten und abtrünnigen Brief geschrieben ist.[29] 

As translated by John Roth:

     Hans Reist also said to me, Jakob Ammann, that he had more authority than me; but we are indeed in the same office. Is that not spiritual arrogance? Indeed, it seems as if he wishes to rule over the heritage of our faith in the assumption that one should follow the old ones even if their words and teaching do not conform to the word and teaching of God and that one should not pay too much regard to the teachings and the discipline of the younger [ministers] as is written in his widely distributed and apostate letter.[30] 

     The opposition old versus younger is apparent there. Der Jünger seems to be an undeclined form of der Jüngeren, indeed "of the younger [ministers]," as Roth translates it. Thus, the issue seems to be more one of seniority than physical age.

     Hanspeter Jecker has found some secondhand evidence that Ammann had been ordained to the ministry by Hans Reist himself. The following sentence appears in an undated letter from David Baumgartner to Elias Dätwiller: "Es hat auch disser hans Reist däm Jacob Ammen der [sic] angesetzde und Eltiste dienst befohlen."[31]  Unless we can date the letter approximately, we do not know how far it is removed from the events. However, it does seem reasonable for the leader of the Emmental congregation to have ordained a new minister in the neighboring congregation to the south.

     My findings in Oberhofen show that Ammann was not a native clan of that community, yet two contemporary men surnamed Ammann resided there, both named Jacob! Fortunately for us, one of them died on January 6, 1680,[32]  just seventeen days before the local Chorgericht decided to summon the other one, for reason unstated,[33]  and six months before the Oberhofen governor reported to the central Chorgericht in Bern that Jacob Ammann "of Erlenbach" was a budding Anabaptist. The deceased man is listed as "Jacob Ammann, Michel Straub's son-in-law." Michael Straub was a baker and innkeeper in Oberhofen,[34]  and Ammann, who was married to Straub's daughter Johanna, had worked for a time as innkeeper in Spiez.[35]  He is not Jacob Ammann the tailor. In fact, early in 1679 Jacob Ammann the tailor at Oberhofen lent 300 pounds to an Ulrich Immer, and both Michael Straub and "his son-in-law" Jacob Ammann served as witnesses of the transaction.[36] 

     Even more helpful is a document dated Martin's Day (November 11) 1679. Uli Ammann, who we learn here was also a tailor, borrowed 500 pounds from Rudolf Oswald, putting up as security the house he had just purchased from his brother Jacob. Both brother Jacob Ammann and his wife Verena Stüdler served as Uli's guarantors.[37]  It is uncommon for a woman to be mentioned in that capacity. The reason must be that her dowry or an inheritance was still tied up in that piece of property. Uli had purchased it for 1300 pounds, to be paid off in installments over four years. It may be he was borrowing the 500 pounds from Oswald in order to pay Jacob! Between November 11, 1679 and January 1, 1680 we find Jacob Ammann the tailor at Oberhofen lending out just over 500 pounds to three different parties. One of the borrowers, Hans Schallenberg, residing at Thal in Erlenbach, has Uli Ammann, Jacob's brother, serving as his guarantor.[38] 

     I suspect that these convoluted financial dealings are a reflection of Jacob's conversion to Anabaptism. He was not planning to run away with all his assets, which he probably realized would not be successful because the government would then have sought to recover them from his family. Apparently Jacob put the house in Oberhofen into Uli's name in order to help this seventeen year old brother, not yet an Anabaptist himself, get his start in life. Jacob reasoned that if his estate were confiscated, Uli would probably be able to keep the house and make payments to the government. Uli was formally accepted as a Hintersäss, a non-citizen resident, in Oberhofen at the end of 1682.[39]  He remained there through 1686, after which time his name no longer appears in the list of non-citizen residents.[40]  He still used an Oberhofen notary as late as 1690, when he sold three pieces of hayland within the boundaries of Erlenbach to an Abraham Lötscher of Latterbach.[41] 

     It remains unclear where Jacob Ammann's wife Verena Stüdler came from. Over the years 1675-1678 Jacob had an apprentice named Jacob Stüdler, Daniel's son from Buchholterberg, whom he taught the tailoring trade. And on January 1, 1680 one of the men to whom Ammann loaned 200 pounds was another Jacob Stüdler, who sat on the court at Krattigen, above the south shore of the lake.[42]  These may be relatives of Verena. No marriage entry for Jacob and Verena has turned up in the state church parish registers, neither in Hilterfingen nor in Aeschi, the parish to which Krattigen belongs. Buchholterberg was part of the parish of Oberdiessbach, for which no marriage records survive between 1655 and 1693.

     Aside from the biographical data, the big issue raised by my findings is, of course, the significance of Jacob Ammann's having practiced the tailoring trade. What role did it play in the development of Amish clothing regulations? The enforcement of Bernese sumptuary laws would have to be examined in order to learn what the Bernese state expected of its tailors in maintaining public modesty. A tailor named Hans von Känel, a contemporary of Jacob Ammann, was cited before the Chorgericht of Aeschi, on the south side of Lake Thun, and fined for making people pants with creases.[43]  So tailors were held accountable, at least to some extent.[44]  Ammann was undoubtedly sensitized to clothing issues long before he became an Anabaptist.

     While the Anabaptists in Bern were probably exemplary in their modesty, it seems unlikely that they wore garb distinctively different from the rest of the peasant population there. Such would have made them easier targets for government persecution. At Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, however, where Ammann settled, they found a tolerant government but developed dissension among themselves. As cited by Robert Baecher, the 1702 report of a Catholic priest describes three Anabaptist groups there, separate in their religion: "In order to distinguish themselves, one wears the beard long and the men and women never wear anything but linen winter and summer; the others wear the beard shorter and are dressed in coarse cloth; and the third are about like the Catholics."[45] 

     In 1697 Gerhard Roosen, a prominent businessman and elder in the North German Mennonite community of Hamburg-Altona, wrote a letter to friends in Alsace in which he offered his own perspective on the matter:

     . . . I am deeply sorry that you have been so unsettled by people who hold or think highly of themselves and make laws about things that are not established for us in the Gospel. If there were commandments in the writings of the apostles regarding how and with what a believer should be clothed, or whether he should go to this or that country, and one lived contrary to this, then the passage would have something to say. But in my view it is contrary to the Gospel that one wants thus to bind the conscience to a style of hat, dress, or stocking, shoes or the hair on your head, or to make a distinction as to which country one lives in, and then punishes with the ban according to whether one claims yet another thing for oneself, or does not want to accept it. . . . From where then does friend Jakob Ammann get that which he adopts as the basis for giving commandments to those people and expel from the fellowship those who do not want to obey him? If he truly considers himself a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and wants to pursue the external law, then he must not have two coats, nor money in his purse, nor shoes on his feet.[46] 

     In Jacob Ammann's long letter of November 22, 1693 he stated that while he had excommunicated no one on account of clothing, styling beards or long hair: "If there would be someone who wants to be conformed to the world with shaved beard, with long hair, and haughty clothing and does not acknowledge that it is wrong, he should in all fairness be punished. For God has no pleasure in the proud."[47]  Clearly, clothing was an issue already at the beginning of the schism. Unfortunately, we do not have Ammann's reply to the scriptural issues raised by Roosen. Jacob Ammann was not the first Anabaptist to promulgate clothing regulations,[48]  but he probably is the one who introduced distinctive dress among his people, in the beginning making many of the pieces himself.

[*] John Hüppi is an independent researcher living in Logan, Utah. 1. Robert Baecher, "Le 'patriarche' de Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines" in The Amish: Origin and Characteristics 1693-1993, ed. by Lydie Hege and Christoph Wiebe (Ingersheim, France: Association française d'histoire anabaptiste-mennonite, 1996), 55-70. A translated version of this essay appeared in MQR 74 (Jan. 2000), 145-58. Return to Text

[2] . Staatsarchiv Bern, Bez Thun A 6, Mandatenbuch Thun N° 3 (1688-1712), 225-26. "Wir habend der nohtdurfft seyn erachtet, Jaggi Ammann von Oberhofen, einem im land hin und her streichenden ertztaüffer alles ernsts nachforschen ze lassen. . . ." Return to Text

[3] . Staatsarchiv Bern, A I 490, Mandatenbuch N° 10 (July 17, 1693-Dec. 19, 1704). Return to Text

[4] . Staatsarchiv Bern, A II 550, Ratsmanual N° 238 (Nov. 17, 1693-Jan. 24, 1694), 214. Return to Text

[5] . Staatsarchiv Bern, Bez Thun 12, Mandatenbuch Oberhofen 1652-1709, 293. Return to Text

[6] . Jacob Ammann had resided in their community, but not as a citizen. His political rights were in Erlenbach in the Simmental, a mountain valley to the southwest. Return to Text

[7] . Hanspeter Jecker, "Jakob Ammanns missglückte Verhaftung im Bernbiet 1694," Mennonitica Helvetica 18 (1995). Jecker mentions the phrase "von Oberhofen" (58, n.10) found in the Thun version of the capture order, calling it an important clue to Ammann's residence before his move to Alsace. Return to Text

[8] . John A. Hostetler, Amish Society (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1980), 42. Return to Text

[9] . Isaac Zürcher, "Die Ammann-Reist Kontroverse," Informations-Blätter 10 (1987), 10. Return to Text

[10] . Delbert Gratz, "The Home of Jacob Amman in Switzerland," MQR 25 (Jan. 1951), 137-39. Return to Text

[11] . Staatsarchiv Bern, B III 191, Manual der Täuferkammer II (1726-1733), 236-37. Return to Text

[12] . Staatsarchiv Bern, K Erlenbach 1, Taufrodel 1590-1670, 214. The mother's name was not recorded in this baptismal entry. However, the Michael Ammann married to Anna Rupp was the only father named Ammann baptizing children during this time period. As of 1628, Bernese law required baptism in the state church within eight days of birth in the city and within fourteen days of birth throughout the countryside.-Hermann Rennefahrt, Die Rechtsquellen des Kantons Bern, Erster Teil: Stadtrechte, Sechster Band, zweite Hälfte: Das Stadtrecht von Bern VI: Staat und Kirche, Sammlung Schweizerischer Rechtsquellen, II. Abteilung (Aarau: Sauerländer, 1961), 841, 875. Before 1628 baptism was required within three days of birth in the city and within eight days in the countryside. Return to Text

[13] . Staatsarchiv Bern, B III 191, Manual der Täuferkammer II (1726-1733), 236-37. Here is a full transcription of the entries: Mitwuchen, den 12. Aprilis 1730. Wimmis. Weilen vorweißerin diß, ihrem vorgeben nach, eine tochter des ußert lands verstorbenen täüfer lehrers Jacob Ammans von Erlenbach, verlangt den heil. tauff zu empfachen, und in die Schoß unßerer kirchen aufgenommen zu werden; alß laßen Mehh. der täüffer cammer den h. castlahnen hierdurch fründlich ersuchen, die anstalt zu verfüegen, daß diß mensch von herren predigkanten zu Erlenbach darzu underwisen und vorbereitet, wan dan solches wirt von Ihnen geschehen sein, so soll diß mensch von Ihnen in dasiger kirchen offentlich getaufft werden, demselbigen dan, wan es wirt getaufft sein vier thaller für die einbünd zu endtrichten, und Mngh. zu verrechnen. Wormit&. Erlenbach an herren predigkanten. Mehh. der täüffer cammer laßen denselbigen hierdurch fründlich ersuchen, vorweiserin diß, des ußert lands verstorbenen täüfer lehrer Jacob Ammans tochter, die den heil. tauff zu empfachen und in die schoß unserer kirchen aufgenommen zu werden verlangt, darzu in der religion zu underweisen und zu diser heil. action vorzubereiten, wan dan diß mensch auf sein, des h. pfarrers befinden, gnugsamb instruiert und vorbereitet sein wirt, vor offentlicher gemeind in der kirchen zu tauffen, welchem dan von h. castlahnen, wan es wirt getaufft sein, etwas an gelt für die einbünd wirt endtrichtet werden. Wormit&. Return to Text

[14] . I believe the antecedent of the phrase "in dasiger kirchen," in that letter is more likely Erlenbach. Return to Text

[15] . Staatsarchiv Bern, B VII 1885, Amtsrechnungen Wimmis, 1717-1756. Return to Text

[16] . For an explanation of Bernese citizenship law, see Paul Anthon Nielson, Swiss Genealogical Research: An Introductory Guide (Virginia Beach: Donning, 1979), 1-5. For a more detailed presentation, see Karl F. Wälchli, Die bernischen Burgergemeinden als Heimatgemeinden (n.p.: Verband bernischer Burgergemeinden und burgerlicher Korporationen, 1997). Return to Text

[17] . The Familiennamenbuch der Schweiz, 2d ed., 6 vols. (Zürich: Polygraphischer Verlag, 1968-1971), the Swiss surname book, does not list Erlenbach as a community of citizenship for an Ammann clan, and Isaac Zürcher ("Die Ammann-Reist Kontroverse," 9) therefore discounted the possibility. The great limitation to the surname book, however, is that it lists only clans still possessing the community citizenship as of 1962. The local registrars were asked to send in lists from their registers of citizens, in most Bernese communities begun about 1823, leaving out extinct surnames. Return to Text

[18] . Hermann Rennefahrt, Die Rechtsquellen des Kantons Bern, Erster Teil: Stadtrechte, Sechster Band, erste Hälfte: Das Stadtrecht von Bern VI: Staat und Kirche, Sammlung Schweizerischer Rechtsquellen, II. Abteilung (Aarau: Sauerländer, 1960), 441-60. Return to Text

[19] . Staatsarchiv Bern, K Hilterfingen 3, Taufrodel 1640-1710, 114. Return to Text

[20] . Staatsarchiv Bern, Bez Thun A 369, Gerichts- und Kontraktenmanual Oberhofen (1679-1683), pp. 43-44. "Mr. Jacob Amen der schnyder wonhafft zu Oberhofen verkaufft Ulrich Ammen, seinem geliebten bruder zu Thal im gricht Erlenbach, . . ." Return to Text

[21] . Baecher, "Le 'patriarche'," 67. Return to Text

[22] . Staatsarchiv Bern, K Hilterfingen 3, Taufrodel 1640-1710, 93. Return to Text

[23] . Gratz, "The Home of Jacob Amman in Switzerland," 138-39. Return to Text

[24] . Staatsarchiv Bern, Bez Thun A 367, Kontraktenmanual Oberhofen 1672-1680, 39. Return to Text

[25] . Gratz, "The Home of Jacob Amman in Switzerland," 138. Return to Text

[26] . Staatsarchiv Bern, Bez Thun A 367, Kontraktenmanual Oberhofen 1672-1680, 60. Return to Text

[27] . Ernst Müller, Geschichte der bernischen Täufer (1895; rpt, Nieuwkoop, Netherlands: B. de Graaf, 1972), 279-319; Robert Baecher, "La communaut‚ anabaptiste du baillage de Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines 1690-1730," Souvenance Anabaptiste 6 (1987), 67; Hans Rudolf Lavater, "Die vereitelte Deportation emmentalischer Täufer nach Amerika 1710," Mennonitica Helvetica 14 (1991), 91-103. Return to Text

[28] . Milton Gascho,"The Amish Division of 1693-1697 in Switzerland and Alsace," MQR 11 (Oct. 1937), 242. Return to Text

[29] . Eine Begebenheit, die sich in der Mennoniten-Gemeinde in Deutschland und in der Schweiz von 1693 bis 1700 zugetragen hat, 4th Ed. (Baltic, OH: Raber's Book Store, 1985), 61. Return to Text

[30] . Letters of the Amish Division: A Sourcebook (Goshen, IN: Mennonite Historical Society, 1993), 31. Return to Text

[31] . Hanspeter Jecker, "Das Dordrechter Bekenntnis und die Amische Spaltung" in The Amish: Origin and Characteristics, 1693-1993, 221, n. 21. Return to Text

[32] . Staatsarchiv Bern, K Hilterfingen 3, Totenrodel 1651-1710, 246. Return to Text

[33] . Archiv der Kirchgemeinde Hilterfingen, 2-2 Band 23.1.1, Chorgerichtsmanuale 1660-1699, 211. Return to Text

[34] . Staatsarchiv Bern, Bez Thun A 369, Gerichts- und Kontraktenmanual Oberhofen 1679-1683, 256. Return to Text

[35] . This couple baptized children in Spiez in 1673 and 1675. In both entries the husband is called a local innkeeper.-Staatsarchiv Bern, K Spiez 1, Taufrodel 1595-1726, 250, 254. The family returned to Oberhofen by 1679.-Bez Thun A 369, Kontrakten- und Gerichtsmanual Oberhofen 1679-1683, 62. Return to Text

[36] . Staatsarchiv Bern, Bez Thun A 367, Kontraktenmanual Oberhofen 1672-1680, 336. Return to Text

[37] . Ibid., 355. "Mr. Ulrich Ammann der schnyder allß haupt, denne Mr. Jacob Ammann sein bruder, beid wonhafft zu Oberhofen und gepürtig zu Thal in der Kilch”ri Erlenbach, Castlaney Wimmis, und Verena Stüdler sein haußfrauw, sond'lich sy die frauw mit handen und gwaltt obgedachts ihres ehemanns, bürg vnd mittgültten, . . ." Return to Text

[38] . Ibid., 367-68, 371, 372-73. Return to Text

[39] . Staatsarchiv Bern, Bez Thun A 369, Gerichts- und Kontraktenmanual Oberhofen 1679-1683, 250-51. Return to Text

[40] . Staatsarchiv Bern, Bez Thun A 370, Gerichts- und Kontraktenmanual Oberhofen 1684-1691, 35, 112, 194-95, 280. Return to Text

[41] . Staatsarchiv Bern, Bez Thun A 371, Kontraktenmanual Oberhofen, 138. Return to Text

[42] . Staatsarchiv Bern, Bez Thun A 367, Kontraktenmanual Oberhofen 1672-1680, 320, 372. Return to Text

[43] . Walter Stalder, Aeschi: aus Geschichte und Heimatkunde (Bern: Paul Haupt, 1991), 45. Return to Text

[44] . See David Luthy, "Clothing and Conduct in Swiss Laws: 1450-1700," Family Life (July 1994), 23-26 and the longer work by John Martin Vincent, Costume and Conduct in the Laws of Basel, Bern and Zurich, 1370-1800 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1935). Return to Text

[45] . Baecher, "Le «patriarche»," 60. Return to Text

[46] . Letters of the Amish Division, 68-69. Return to Text

[47] . Ibid., 43. Return to Text

[48] . William R. McGrath, The Mystery of Jacob Amman (Carrollton, OH: Amish-Mennonite Publications, 1989), 23-25.


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