Derstine (Thierstein, Dürstein, Dierstein, Durstine, Dirstine) family

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Derstine is a Swiss Mennonite family name. J. R. Thierstein (1867-1941), who was from the Emmenthal, was an educator and leader in the General Conference Mennonite Church. The family was in the Palatinate in the early 18th century; a Samuel Dierstein lived at Hasselbach in 1731. As of 1956, the name was still found in Baden in the Bretten congregation, and in northern Bavaria in the Trappstadt congregation.

The progenitor of the Derstines of eastern Pennsylvania was Michael Dierstein of the Palatinate who at 20 years of age arrived at Philadelphia on the ship Samuel on 11 August 1732. A letter written to the Amsterdam Mennonites from Grumbach in the Palatinate described Michael Dierstein as unmarried. This letter, signed by the Mennonite ministers at Grumbach, stated that most of the 1732 emigrants either had money to pay their passage to North America, or they were promised aid from Pennsylvania. Dierstein settled in what is now West Rockhill Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, less than a mile from where the Rockhill Mennonite meetinghouse now stands. He was a farmer, weaver, and miller. Dierstein became the first deacon of the Rockhill congregation not later than 1767, and died June 6, 1777. His son Isaac (1744-99) appears to have been deacon following his father; his grandson George (1770-1837) served as minister in the same congregation. Later descendants were John L. Derstine (1864-1932), deacon of the Deep Run congregation; Abraham Z. Derstine (1867-1942), minister of the Franconia congregation; Bishop Clayton F. Derstine (1891-1967), originally of Souderton, Pennsylvania, later of Kitchener, Ontario; John Derstine Souder (1865-1942), local historian of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.


Wenger, John C. History of the Mennonites of the Franconia Conference. Pennsylvania: Publication Board of the Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite Church, 1985: 21.

Smith, C. Henry. The Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania in the Eighteenth Century. Norristown, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1929.

Author(s) John C Wenger
Date Published 1956

Cite This Article

MLA style

Wenger, John C. "Derstine (Thierstein, Dürstein, Dierstein, Durstine, Dirstine) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 1 Jun 2020.,_D%C3%BCrstein,_Dierstein,_Durstine,_Dirstine)_family&oldid=133618.

APA style

Wenger, John C. (1956). Derstine (Thierstein, Dürstein, Dierstein, Durstine, Dirstine) family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 June 2020, from,_D%C3%BCrstein,_Dierstein,_Durstine,_Dirstine)_family&oldid=133618.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vo. 2, p. 39. All rights reserved.

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