Kraybill Mennonite School visit

Genealogical Card File Digitized 

For years the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society has been compiling the genealogical card file, an alphabetical card file consisting of names, dates, and other vital statistics on an estimated 800,000 individuals. It draws together genealogical data from many sources, including obituaries, published genealogies, archival collections, wills, individuals, etc. Thanks to a partnership with, the card file has been scanned and is searchable through Ancestry’s website. Anyone may search the collection however one must either have a subscription to Ancestry or be present in the LMHS library to view the original cards/images. Up to this point researchers have needed to be in the library during open hours to make use of the genealogical card file. Now, of course, the collection is available any time to persons around the world. A second, significant benefit of the project is the ability to search for any name on the card rather than just the name that appears at the top of the card. This is especially helpful when searching for a female ancestor. Typically researchers have needed to know the name of a husband or father to locate females in the card file. The response to the news that the card file is now available online has been immediate and overwhelmingly positive. After posting the announcement on the LMHS Facebook page we have received numerous “likes” and “shares.” Both members and non-members responded with comments thanking us for making the card file more accessible in this way. To get started searching the online genealogical card file, visit the new webpage has been created to explain the arrangement of data on the cards as well as the source abbreviations you are likely to encounter. Happy hunting!

Winter Bookfest

Find quality used books from the most popular categories sold at the summer’s Bookworm Frolic. This midwinter sale runs from 3 to 8 p.m. on Thursday February 18, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, February 19, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 20. It will be held in the multipurpose room of Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. No registration required. Open to the public.

The Illuminated Letter

Learn the distinctive calligraphy of fraktur in this folk art class taught by Emily Smucker-Beidler on Saturday, February 13, 9 a.m. until noon at the Society—2215 Millstream Rd., Lancaster, Pa. The class costs $70 members/$80 nonmembers; materials are included in the tuition. Register by February 6 at or by calling (717) 393-9745. See more details here.

Redware Sgraffito

Learn the techniques used by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Pennsylvania German potters during a folk art class with the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. Denise Wilz, a local potter, will teach a workshop on redware sgraffito from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 27. Find out more here.

Pies in the Mennonite Tradition Rescheduled

Due to the weather forecast, Pies in the Mennonite Tradition has bee rescheduled for Saturday, March 12, between 6:30 to 8:30. Drop by the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and enjoy a slice or two of a wide selection of traditional pies. Pie bakers, including Valerie Baer, will be on hand to demonstrate the art. You can also learn more about life for Mennonite women of Lancaster County through special displays focusing on the early- to mid-1900s. Find out more and purchase tickets here.

Amish Quilts: A Social History

Learn about the origin and influence of Amish quilts with Janneken Smucker, a fifth-generation Mennonite quiltmaker and author of Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon. She will relate the stories of local quiltmakers and explore how the commercial success of Amish-branded goods has influenced Amish artisans. Hosted on Monday, March 28, 7 p.m., at Ridgeview Mennonite Church. This event is free and open to the public.

Forget Me Not: Opening the Doors for the Ladies in Your Ancestry

One of the main challenges to family historians is finding the identity of an obscure ancestral lineage in which the woman has an unknown surname.  If found, a whole new ray can be added to a tree, but until then we are left in the dark.  These challenges and many more involving the undocumented ladies in your ancestry is the focus of this year’s Lancaster Family History Conference. Find out more here.

Support our Sponsors!

Lancaster Roots programming is made possible with the help of our generous sponsors. Please support them.