Geertruydt (16th century)

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Geertruydt (or Geertruy Jansdochter), the wife of Menno Simons, whom he married in 1536. In 1554 (Opera, 259a) he wrote that he and his wife had been refugees for 18 years. This marriage very likely took place in Groningen where he resided temporarily in quietness. Vos's assumption that Geertruydt came from Witmarsum and was the daughter of Herman Hoyer has not been established. Fiction writers have gone into great detail in covering this phase of Menno's life, but the actual information about his wife and family is extremely scarce. Geertruydt's sister Griet was married to Rein Edes. Menno wrote Griet a letter, from which Vos (Krahn, 37) drew erroneous conclusions regarding further family relationships.

Life as a wife of a refugee preacher was not easy. In 1544 Menno reported that he had been unable to find a hut for as long as a year or even half a year for his "poor wife" and their small children (Opera, 521). Repeatedly Menno writes about his "poor sick wife" (Opera, 259a, 234a). In a writing to a Lasco in 1544 he speaks of "our small children" (Opera, 521). They must have had at least two daughters (Opera, 392b), and according to Vos (p. 4) they had a son Jan. Geertruydt must have died between 1553 and 1558. In 1553 Menno sent greetings from his wife (Opera, 456b) while in 1558 he included regards from his daughters only (Opera, 392b). Their son had probably died by this time. One daughter reported details of her father's life to P. J. Twisck (Vos, 14).


Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1906): 3.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: II, 85.

Krahn, Cornelius. Menno Simons (1496-1561): ein Beitrag zur Geschichte und Theologie der Taufgesinnten. Karlsruhe i. B.: H. Schnieder, 1936: 97 ff.

Menno Simons. Opera omnia theologica, of Alle de godtgeleerde wercken. Men vint se te koop t'Amsterdam : By Joannes van Veen, boeck- en pargament-verkooper, 1681.

Vos, Karel. Menno Simons, 1496-1561: zijn leven en werken en zijne reformatorische denkbeelden. Leiden: Boekhandel en drukkerij voorheen E.J. Brill, 1914: 3-6, 66, 266, 317.

Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Date Published 1956

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Krahn, Cornelius. "Geertruydt (16th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 1 Dec 2022.

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Krahn, Cornelius. (1956). Geertruydt (16th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 1 December 2022, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, pp. 442-443. All rights reserved.

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