Alderfer (Altaffer) family

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Alderfer (Altaffer) is a Swiss family name found among the Mennonites of eastern Pennsylvania, in the General Conference Mennonite Church and Mennonite Church groups. Immigration records indicate that a Frederick Aldorfer arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732, and another Frederick Aldoerfer a year later. In the 1950s it was impossible to identify them with certainty. One of them is the ancestor of a large number of Mennonites living chiefly in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, today. He was a member of the Salford Mennonite congregation of this county in 1739; Mennonites now living in that area are undoubtedly his descendants. One of the well-known members of this family was Dr. Harold F. Alderfer of the faculty of Pennsylvania State College. Three of the ordained members of the Franconia Conference (Mennonite Church) in the 1950s bore the name Alderfer. Another prominent member of the Salford Alderfer family was Alvin C. Alderfer (1869-1941), late treasurer of the Eastern District of the General Conference Mennonite Church.

The other Alderfer immigrant settled at Quittaphilia Creek, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. According to Maurice W. Altaffer, United States Consul General in Bremen, Germany (1950), the family lived in that area for two or three generations; then the consul's ancestors located in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, for several generations, after which they settled in Williams County, Ohio. For many generations this branch of the family has been Reformed, although Mr. Altaffer believed that his Mennonite ancestors migrated from the neighborhood of Zürich, Switzerland, to the Palatinate in the seventeenth century and later to Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. James Y. Heckler, a historian of Salford Township, Pennsylvania, believed that the 1732 Alderfer immigrant settled in Salford, and that the 1733 immigrant located in Lancaster County. (It must have been Lebanon County.)

Author(s) John C Wenger
Date Published 1955

Cite This Article

MLA style

Wenger, John C. "Alderfer (Altaffer) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 23 Feb 2024.

APA style

Wenger, John C. (1955). Alderfer (Altaffer) family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 February 2024, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 43. All rights reserved.

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