Last updated December 2022

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Correspondence between the Dutch and Prussian Mennonite Congregations 1600 – 1800

Collected, Organized and Edited by Glenn H Penner (Mennonite Heritage Archives)

 Translated by Lydia Penner (Den Haag, Netherlands)

The purpose of this project is to make good quality colour images of the original Dutch and German language correspondence together with English translations available to researchers.

This is an open-ended project which will depend on funding and the availabilities of the translator and editor/organizer who both have other commitments. The total collection contains about 2,300 letters, of which about 400 are related to this project. It is expected that this project will take several years to locate, collect, translate, and post all of the relevant correspondence.

More information may be obtained from Glenn Penner at .

1828 Chortitza Colony Statistical Data

State Archives of Dnipro, Dnipro, Ukraine, Fond 134 Opis 1 Delo 980
Translated by Glenn H. Penner

The following document was recorded on 8 Jan 1829 and signed by the Vorsteher (District Oberschulz [Jacob] Penner, Gebiets Beysitzer (District councilor), and [unknown] Epp. Note that there are 3233 sheep missing from the final total. These sheep were kept at the community sheep farm. Note also that those Mennonites living in the city of Ekaterinoslav are included, but not those living in the nearby village village of Kronsgarten.

1828 Chortitza Colony Statistical Data – Link

Peter Willer – Mennonite Architect, Engraver and Artist

The Mennonite Peter Willer was obviously a very talented architect, cartographer, engraver, and engineer. Some of his work comes to us through his illustrations in the book Der Stadt Dantzig historische Beschreibung, worinnen von dero Uhrsprung Situation Regiments-Art geführten Kriegen Religions- und Kirchen-Wesen außführlich gehandelt wird by Reinhold Curicke. A beautiful example can be seen here.

His life and work have not received nearly as much attention as his predecessor Adam Wiebe. Much like the situation with Wiebe, there is no evidence that the present-day Wielers and Wiehlers of Mennonite background are related to him. It has been known since 1779 that the existing Mennonite Wielers at the time were descended from a Behrend Wieler, who lived in Ellerwald in the late 1600s. Willer was a Frisian Mennonite, while the later Wielers were Flemish.

A short Polish language writeup on Peter Willer, which includes images of his tombstone, see here.

In 1970 the West Prussian Mennonite historian Horst Penner wrote a short biography of Peter Willer. My somewhat edited translation of that article is available below. Note that anything I have added is in square brackets.

Glenn Penner ( )

A Mennonite master builder and engraver in 17th
century Gdansk

Ministers/Preachers and Aelteste in the Fuerstenland Mennonite Congregation 1870 to 1926

Ministers/Preachers and Aelteste in the Fuerstenland Mennonite Congregation 1870 to 1926 – Link

From the Diary of Peter Niebuhr (Mennonite Heritage Archives. Volume 4353, File 9)
Translated by Glenn H. Penner

1789 Statistical Census of Mennonites in West Prussia

1789 Statistical Census of Mennonites in West PrussiaLink

Extracted by Rod Ratzlaff, Modified by Glenn H. Penner

This census is only a village by village count of fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, male servants and female servants in the Mennonite households of West Prussia. It contains no names. The extraction has been condensed down to a spreadsheet, for statistical purposes.

1842 Description of the Mennonite Colonies in Russia

1842 Description of the Mennonite Colonies in Russia – Link

Volume 2, Part 1, 1842

This is an electronic version typed off the original typewritten translation by John P. Dyck of Springstein, Manitoba from the Russian journal “The Journal of the Ministry of State Dominion.” Dyck’s translation has not been checked against the original.

This version was typed by Selenna Wolfe with editing by Selenna Wolfe and Glenn H. Penner.

*Origin article is: “Opisanie Menonistskikh kolonii v Rossii” Zhurnal Ministerstva gosudarstvennykh imushchestv , 4 (1842), 1-42. Much of this article is also reproduced in a report from about 1858 as found in the St. Petersburg archives (RGIA) Fond 821 Opis 5 Delo 955.

Lists of Structures in the Molotschna and Chortitza Mennonite Settlements for 1831

1831 Lists of Structures in the Molotschna and Chortitza Mennonite Settlements – Link

State Archives of Dnipro Regin (DADO) Fond 134, Opis 1, Delo 912
Prepared by Glenn H. Penner

This document provides information on various structures which existed within the Molotschna and Chortitza colonies or owned by the colonies or their inhabitants. This is not a translation of the document. The German in these documents is typical of the bureaucratic German used by the colony administration and the Guardianship Committee for Foreign Settlers, for whom these documents were prepared – lengthy and convoluted sentences. I have replaced all umlauts, etc. of the original German, but retained the original spellings of names and locations. This is also not a list of businesses run by Mennonites, as many of those were part of the person’s home and not found in separate structures.

Traditional Mennonite Village Names

Village Names Analysis – Link

Those who are familiar with the history of Low-German Mennonites are well aware of the transplantation of village names from West Prussia to South Russia, and from there to other parts of Russia, North America and South America. As fewer Mennonite genealogists have a good knowledge of German, it becomes more important that the origins and meanings of these village names be explained. With this in mind, I have prepared a guide to the meanings of some of the numerous prefixes, roots and suffixes used to generate these village names. In addition, I provide information on the history of some of the original villages of a given name.