Holiday Hours: LMHS will be closed Saturday, December 24 for Christmas Eve. Regular Hours resume Tuesday, December 27.

Family Bibles Enter the Digital Age

People are often surprised and disappointed to learn that Mennonites have not been particularly good at record keeping. While genealogists and other researchers can access lists of baptisms, marriages, and deaths in the records of Lutheran and Reformed churches in colonial America, most Mennonite churches did not begin to keep congregational records until the twentieth century. Even then, the records can be spotty.

This reality makes other record sources especially important. Even if congregations did not record births, deaths, and marriages, families may have recorded such life events in books that were handed down from generation to generation. Often the book of choice was the Bible, but among Mennonites it also was not unusual for a “Martyrs’ Mirror” or devotional book to be used.

The Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society has in its collection well more than one hundred Bibles or other books that contain family records. Files containing images of most of these books are now available on the Society website—for free! To view the list of files, click on the link for Family Bible Downloads in the listing of Free Online Resources. Library visitors are welcome to view these books in person. The library is open Tuesday to Saturday, 8:30-4:30. Nonmembers pay $5.00 daily to access or use the collections.

Pennsylvania German Folk Art Sale

unknown-2Come to the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society for their annual sale of handcrafted goods. Enjoy a variety of work ranging from textiles to pottery and beyond, all done in traditional forms. The sale runs 8:30 to 4:30, Tuesday through Saturday, until December 31 at 2215 Millstream Rd., Lancaster, Pa.

Christmas Candlelight Tours


Experience the holiday season at the 1719 Hans Herr House & Museum this fall. Candlelight Tours runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on December 1 and 2 (Thursday and Friday), and from 5 to 8:30 on December 3 (Saturday). This year the tour explores the role of corn in early communities, both Native and immigrant. Learn more at This event is made possible in part by support from Gibbel, Kraybill, and Hess, llp.

New Arrivals in a New Land


Save the date! The 38th annual Lancaster Family History Conference will be held May 18 to 20 and the Farm and Home Center. John Landis Ruth will give the keynote address, “New Arrivals in a New Land”

Call For Papers

What Young Historians Are Thinking Symposium

June 5, 2017

The Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, in partnership with the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College, and with the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, welcomes paper proposals for its event “What Young Historians Are Thinking.”

Invited to participate are undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students, those who have just started careers in history, as well as those who are “young” in scholarly study of historical topics (no matter what their age). All must be engaged in original research using chiefly primary sources (written and/or oral). All should be a part of an Historic Peace Church (Amish, Brethren in Christ, Church of the Brethren, Mennonite, Religious Society of Friends/Quaker, etc.) or focusing on one or more of these traditions.

Learn more at

Proposals are due April 14, 2017

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