Neff (Neef, Nef, Naff) family

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Neff (Neef, Nef, Naff), is a Mennonite family name found in Switzerland, South Germany, and North America. The name is of Swiss origin, occurring as early as 1529 (or 1533) in St. Gall, when the citizen Othmar Nef (called Bublerin) was named as an Anabaptist. The Martyrs Mirror names Barbara Neff (Neef) in the canton of Zurich. The family probably immigrated to the Palatinate at the end of the 17th century, where in 1685 Hans Neff was living at Gundersheim and Heinrich Neff in Ibersheim. Other Mennonites in the Palatinate with this name were Johannes Neff at Mechtersheimerhof in 1738, Oswald Neff at Erbesbüdesheim in 1743, David Neff at Kleinkarlbach, and Michael and Johannes Neff at Kriegsheim, who came from Kleinkarlbach in 1768. The family was no longer named in Erbesbüdesheim after 1768. A Jacob Neff (1676-1743), the son of Oswald, settled in Durkheim. His grandson Jakob Neff married a daughter of Peter Weber of Hardenburg and immigrated to America, as did in 1840 Johannes Neff (son of Abraham Neff) (1783-1855), married to Magdalena Krehbiel, and many other members of the Neff family in the 18th and 19the centuries. Jakob Neff was listed as a preacher in Conestoga Township in Pennsylvania in 1790.

The best known of the Neff families was the one located at Assenheim, which is very likely related to the above Neffs. The progenitor, Johann Peter Neff, was born at Erpolzheim in 1717 (the son of Nikolaus Neff?) and came to Assenheim in 1747 through his marriage with Veronica Resch. He served as minister of the Erpolzheim congregation 1755-1769, and of the Ruchheim congregation 1769-1790 ([[Naamlijst der tegenwoordig in dienst zijnde predikanten der Mennoniten in de Vereenigde Nederlanden|Naamlijst]]). Johann's son Johannes (1748-1829) was the founder of the Neff line in Baden, which settled at Hoffenheim near Sinsheim and from there spread to Württemberg and Bavaria. He was ordained in the Mauer-Meckesheim congregation in 1772. Dr. Hermann Neff (1891-1950), who practiced medicine in Grünheim, Saxony, was a member of this family. He published a number of articles in Mennonite periodicals on ethical and historical problems concerning medicine. Peter, the second son of the progenitor Johannes (1750-1813), a preacher of the Ruchheim-Assenheini congregation from 1777 and an elder 1786-ca. 1796, continued the line in the Palatinate. As elder of the Assenheim congregation he signed the Ibersheim Resolutions. A Jakob Neff was an elder of the Erpolzheim congregation in 1790. Of greatest importance for the Mennonite community was Peter's great-grandson Christian Neff (1863-1946), pastor of the Weierhof congregation 1887-1945.

The name Neff is also found in the records of the Mennonite congregation at Danzig, Prussia, as early as 1693, but it is an open question whether this Neff family (the name is also written Newe or Neue) is related to the Swiss-South German Neff family.


Braun, Fritz. "Nineteenth Century Emigrants from . . . Friedelsheim." Mennonite Quarterly Review 30 (April 1956): 146.

Braght, Thieleman J. van. The Bloody Theatre or Martyrs' Mirror of the Defenseless Christians Who Baptized Only upon Confession of Faith and Who Suffered and Died for the Testimony of Jesus Their Saviour . . . to the Year A.D. 1660. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1951: 1121. Available online at:

Naamlijst der tegenwoordig in dienst zijnde predikanten der Mennoniten in de vereenigde Nederlanden. (1776): 52; (1775): 46; (1780): 45; (1793): 46, 56.

Neff, Elizabeth. A Chronicle Regarding Rudolf and Jacob Näf . . . and Their Descendants. Cincinnati, 1886.

Peachey, Paul. Die soziale Herkunft der Schweizer Täufer. Karlsruhe, 1954: 113, No. 101.

Reimer, Gustav E. Die Familiennamen der westpreussischen Mennoniten. Weierhof: Mennonitische Geschichtsverein, 1940: 114.

Author(s) Paul Schowalter
Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Schowalter, Paul and Nanne van der Zijpp. "Neff (Neef, Nef, Naff) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 23 Jan 2022.,_Nef,_Naff)_family&oldid=141073.

APA style

Schowalter, Paul and Nanne van der Zijpp. (1957). Neff (Neef, Nef, Naff) family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 January 2022, from,_Nef,_Naff)_family&oldid=141073.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 819-820. All rights reserved.

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