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Penner, a Mennonite family name, has occurred frequently among Mennonites in East and West Prussia, Russia, and North America. Records of the family have been found in the Marienburger Werder as early as 1592. In 1776 there were 118 Penner families in West Prussia. In 1936 the members were distributed as follows in Germany: Danzig 56, Elbing-Ellerwald 19, Elbing-Stadt-City 5, Fürstenwerder 21, Heubuden 62, Ladekopp-Orlofferfelde 58, Montau-Gruppe 1, Rosenort 49, Schönsee 8, Thiensdorf-Preussisch Rosengart 88, Tiegenhagen 54, Tragheimerweide 27, Berlin 13, Gronau 7, Hamburg 1, making a total of 469.

At Hamburg, Germany, Henrich Pender (Heinrich Penner) in 1669-78 was a partner with Carl de Vlieger, also a Mennonite, in the ownership of whaling boats operating near Greenland. Among the prominent bearers of the Penner name in West Prussia were the following: Elder David Penner (d. 1732), who left Lithuania with 120 Mennonite families in January 1724 because of persecution and settled with them at Thiensdorf-Markushof in the Kleinwerder (West Prussia). Abraham Penner of Tiegenhagen was an elder of the Old Flemish congregation of the Grosswerder 1749-67, and Jacob Penner (d. 1794) was a preacher of the Orlofferfelde congregation 1766-73. Gerhard Penner of Irrgang, the nephew of Gerhard Penner, Sr. was a preacher at Heubuden in 1861-1867. Heinrich Penner (d. 1890), the son of Gerhard Penner, Sr., was the elder of the "emigration congregation," and ministered to those who were compelled to postpone their emigration to Russia. Wilhelm Penner was an elder of the Danzig City congregation and chairman of the church board. Johann Penner of Prangenau (1871-1943) was ordained as preacher of the Ladekopp congregation in 1903, and elder in 1919. He also served as chairman of the Committee of Elders of the Conference of East and West Prussia. Jakob Penner and Johann Penner were elders in the Thiensdorf-Preussisch Rosengart congregation.

In Russia the following Penners should be mentioned: Bernhard Penner (b. 1756 at Elbing, d. 1791 at Chortitza), ordained preacher in 1790 and elder 1791 at Chortitza; Wilhelm Penner and Peter Penner were teachers in the Chortitza Zentralschule. Another Wilhelm Penner, born in Elbing, a brother of Johannes K. Penner, was a preacher at Ak-Metchet and later an elder at Aulie-Ata.

In America some of the Mennonite bearers of this name were as follows: Andreas Penner, a younger brother of Gerhard Penner, Sr., was preacher of the Heubuden congregation from 1854 and later served in Beatrice, Neb., Gerhard Penner, Sr. and Jr., were preachers in the Beatrice congregation. Two sons of the latter were Cornelius Penner (b. 17 May 1868 at Koczelitzke [Warnau] ), serving as a minister in Beatrice, starting in 1903, and Henry Gerhard Penner (b. 24 July 1872 at Marienburg), a physician in Beatrice. Peter A. Penner (b. 2 April 1871 at Bilisirkow, Ukraine, d. 1949), was a missionary in Champa, India. Peter William Penner (b. 12 February 1876 at Prangenau in the Molotschna), was a missionary in Janjgir, India. Jakob B. Penner (b. 10 February 1877) in South Russia, was a minister of the Mennonite Brethren congregation in Kronsgart, Manitoba, as were also Heinrich Daniel Penner and Johannes K. Penner. H. D. Penner was an important General Conference Mennonite Church minister and writer.


Andreas, W. C. "Highlights and Sidelights of the Mennonites in Beatrice." Mennonite Life 1 (July 1946).

Crous, Franz. "Mennonitenfamilien in Zahlen." Mennonitische Geschichtesblätter 5 (1940): 26-45.

Friesen, P. M. Die Alt-Evangelische Mennonitische Bräderschaft in Russland (1789-1910) im Rahmen der mennonitischen Gesamtgeschichte. Halbstadt, 1911.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. III, 340 f.

Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente te Amsterdam 1. Amsterdam, 1883-1884: Nos. 1571-79; 11, 2, Nos. 708, 736, 751.

Mannhardt, H. G. Die Danziger Mennonitengemeinde. Danzig, 1919.

Naamlijst der tegenwoordig in dienst zijnde predikanted der Mennonited in de vereenigde Nederlanden. Amsterdam, 1731, 1743, 1755, etc.

Oesau, Wanda. Hamburgs Grönlandsfahrt. Glückstadt-Hamburg, 1955: 132 f.

Author(s) Ernst Crous
Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Crous, Ernst and Nanne van der Zijpp. "Penner family name." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 24 May 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Penner_family_name&oldid=60157.

APA style

Crous, Ernst and Nanne van der Zijpp. (1959). Penner family name. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 May 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Penner_family_name&oldid=60157.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 133-134. All rights reserved.

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