Gingerich is a Mennonite family name of Swiss Bernese origin. The name Gündrich, which likely became Güngerich, is found in the Bern records as early as 1389. It appears that the family originated in the county of Konolfingen, canton of Bern. By 1559 the name was spelled Günderich but did not yet appear in Anabaptist lists. In 1692 the Anabaptist preacher (Lehrer) Christian Güngerich escaped from the prison in Schwarzenegg, where he had been imprisoned because of his religion. In 1709 the records of the Palatinate indicate that Barbara Güngerich Tschantz had been involved in Anabaptism. The name is again found in the Palatinate Mennonite census lists of 1744, and appears rather frequently in the l8th century. Hans Güngerich is mentioned around 1711 as one of the Amish leaders seeking reconciliation with the Mennonites. In 1765 Christian Güngerich was mentioned as a leader among the Amish in Waldeck and a year later Preacher Christen Güngerich of Steinseltz near Weissenburg (Wissembourg) in Alsace was among the church leaders visiting the Amish in the Netherlands. At Huninghausen in Waldeck the "Schweitzer Christian Güngerig" rented a dairy farm in 1743. In 1792 the lease to this farm was passed on from Christian to Peter Güngerich, who was the ancestor of many of the Iowa Mennonites bearing this family name. A letter of 1781 mentions a Hans Güngerich who had been serving as preacher in the Weissenburg congregation for more than 50 years. In the 1940 Mennonite census lists of Germany, the name Güngerich appears both in south and east Germany. Paul Güngerich of Remscheid, Germany gathered Gingerich family records for many years, but unfortunately these were destroyed during World War II. Josef Gingerich (d. 1953) was the last president of the Königsberg, East Prussia, Mennonite Church.
The first mention of the family in North America is found in the Conestoga Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania assessment list of 1724, where the name William Gingerick appears. Johann Gingerich appears in the Warwick Township list eleven years later. Michael Gingerich from Alsace migrated to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1747. His son Abraham with his wife and ten children moved to Waterloo County, Ontario in 1801. Numerous descendants of this Abraham are numbered among the Ontario Mennonites. The Gingerichs of Dauphin and Juniata counties, PA are very likely descendants of Gingerich immigrants who settled in Lebanon Valley before or in 1747.
In 1831 Johannes Jüngerich and family and his brother Daniel were given a letter of recommendation by a Hesse state official, who wished them happiness in North America. This Johannes is the ancestor of Amish Gingerich descendants in Daviess County, Indiana and in the Arthur, Illinois Amish community. Jacob Güngerich, born near Kassel, Germany, came to North America in 1833 and settled in Holmes County, Ohio. Numerous Amish descendants of Jacob live in Ohio, Illinois and other states. About the same time Amish Gingerichs settled in Waterloo County, Ontario, and their descendants include Bishop Orland Gingerich of the Steinmann Church.
In 1833 Daniel P. Güngerich of Waldeck immigrated to North America. He was the father of Samuel D. Guengerich. Two years later Daniel's half brother, Amish preacher Johannes P. Güngerich, son of the Peter of Waldeck mentioned above, arrived in Pennsylvania with his family. Both Daniel and Johannes finally settled in Iowa. Johannes is the ancestor of Simon Gingerich, who was Mennonite bishop of Wayland, Iowa, as well as of a considerable number of other Mennonite ministers and church leaders, which have included Bishop Fred Gingerich of Canby, OR; Preacher J. C. Gingerich of Dagmar, Montana; Preacher Amos Gingerich of Parnell, Iowa; and Professor Melvin Gingerich of Goshen College.
Among the representative church leaders have been Michael Gingrich (1792-1862), a Mennonite bishop in Lebanon County, PA; his nephew Isaac (1822-1892), also a bishop in Lebanon County; Abraham B. Gingerich (1856-1938), Mennonite bishop in Ontario; Jacob Gingerich (1840-1920), Mennonite minister in Ontario; John Gingrich (?-1845), Mennonite bishop who immigrated to Illinois in 1839; Christian Gingerich (1820-1908), bishop of the South Danvers Mennonite Church; his son John Gingerich (1856-1931), bishop of the Danvers Church; and S. D. Guengerich (1836-1929), lay leader in the Amish Church.
The Gingerich family is widely scattered in North America and evidently descended from a considerable number of immigrants who were not closely related to each other. Twenty-nine obituaries in Mennonite periodicals between 1866 and 1915 show that persons with this family name lived in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Ontario, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. In 1954, 46 ordained Gingerichs were serving in the Amish and Mennonite churches of North America.
Beachy, Nettie. Family Record of Daniel J. Gingerich and His Descendants. Wellman, Iowa, 1930.
Bontreger, David R., Mrs. Family Record of Jacob Guengerich and Barbara Miller and Their Descendants. Millersburg, IN, 1949).
Irick, Simon H. Descendants of John Gingerich II. Frankfort, IN, 1952.
Cite This Article
Gingerich, Melvin and Ruth Runion-Slear. "Gingerich (Gingrich, Guengerich, Gingery) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2004. Web. 2 Oct 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gingerich_(Gingrich,_Guengerich,_Gingery)_family&oldid=91925.
Gingerich, Melvin and Ruth Runion-Slear. (2004). Gingerich (Gingrich, Guengerich, Gingery) family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 October 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Gingerich_(Gingrich,_Guengerich,_Gingery)_family&oldid=91925.
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