Unruh (Unru, Unrau, Onrouw) family

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Unruh is a widespread family name among the Mennonites of Prussia, Danzig, Russia, and North America. Herbert Wiebe found the name first recorded in 1568. It was found in the communities of Schönsee, Przechovka, Jeziorka, Konopath, Kazun, Tragheimerweide, and Thiensdorf. Whether all Unruhs found among Mennonites today have the same ancestor is not known. Hendrik Berents Hulshoff, who visited the Mennonites at Przechovka near Culm in 1719, reported that Abram Unrau was elected to the ministry. Among the 35 families who established Brenkenhoffswalde and Franzthal in Mark Brandenburg in 1765 the Unruh family was one of the names represented. From here the family was transplanted to Poland, the Molotschna settlement in Russia, and elsewhere. Particularly the Unruhs in Poland spread widely; many migrated to Kansas and North and South Dakota in 1874-75, led by Tobias A. Unruh. A significant number of this group joined the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite (CGC). Among the Alexanderwohl Mennonites settling near Goessel, Kansas, there were also many Unruhs; from here they have spread into several other communities. After World War I many Unruhs from Russia migrated to Canada and South America. Heinrich P. Unruh (d. 1927) was a prominent elder of the Halbstadt Mennonite Church, Molotschna, Russia.

A number of Unruhs served as deacons and preachers in the Prussian churches. Preachers at Montau have been Andreas Unruh (Unrau) of Dragass 1739-d. 1774; Heinrich Unruh (Unrau) (1740-1774) of Montau serving only June-23 November 1774; Peter Unruh of Dragass 1776-ca. 1788. The Dutch Naamlijst mentions besides these Abraham Unruh, preacher of the Schweingrube Old Flemish congregation ca. 1730-ca. 1765; Heinrich Unruh serving at Konopat-Przechovka ca. 1779-ca. 1800; Heinrich Unruh serving at Brenkenhoffswalde-Franzthal ca. 1782-1788.

J. A. Boese, who traced to 1930 the lines of two Unruhs born ca. 1740, found that they had 6,500 descendants. The genealogy of the Alexanderwohl Unruh family by P. U. Schmidt lists 251 names.

P. H. Unruh was a pastor of the Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, and a Mennonite Central Committee representative to Russia during the famine in 1922. B. H. Unruh was an educator and a minister who was a member of the Studienkommission that travelled on behalf of the Mennonites of Russia and was instrumental in doing research to help them find new homes in Canada and South America. He is the author of Die niederländisch-niederdeutschen Hintergründe der mennonitischen Ostwanderungen im 16., 18. und 19. Jahrhundert (Karlsruhe-Rüppurr, 1955). His brother A.H. Unruh of Winnipeg was an educator and Mennonite Brethren (MB) minister who taught in Russia, Winkler, and Winnipeg and wrote Die Geschichte der Mennoniten-Brüdergemeinde 1860-1954 (1954). Heinrich B. Unruh, the father of Benjamin and Abraham, was a prominent elder of the Karassan Mennonite Church in the Crimea, Russia. Heinrich's brother K. B. Unruh was a prominent educator in Russia. John D. Unruh served as president of Freeman College, and is the author of In the Name of Christ (Scottdale, 1952). H. T. Unruh was a General Conference Mennonite Church (GCM) minister at Halstead, Bluffton, and Hillsboro. W. F. Unruh was a missionary in India and secretary of the (GCM) Western District Conference. Verney Unruh did mission work in Japan. Walter F. Unruh was pastor for a long time at First Mennonite Church in Newton, Kansas In 1957 there were 21 ordained men of the Unruh family in U.S. and Canada, 5 Unraus (2 MB, 2 GCM, and an Evangelical Mennonite Brethren), and 16 Unruhs (5 MB, 5 CGC, and 6 GCM). Of these, 11 were serving in Canada, and 10 in the United States.


Hoop Scheffer, J. G. de. Inventaris der Archiefstukken berustende bij de Vereenigde Doopsgezinde Gemeente te Amsterdam. Amsterdam, 1883-1884: I: Nos. 1678, 1732, 2102, 2134, 2194, 2211, 2216, 2220 f.; II. Nos. 740, 763.

Hulshoff, H. Ch. "Bezoekreis van Hendrik Berents," in Bijdragen en Mededeelingen v. h. Hist. Genootschap 59 (1738): 67 and 74-79.

Koehn, H. B. "Minister Tobias A. Unruh Family Relation." Unpublished.

Mennonitisches Lexikon, "Unruh."

Naamlijst der tegenwoordig in dienst zijnde predikanten der Mennoniten in de vereenigde Nederlanden. 1829: 1773ff.

Reimer, Gustav E. Die Familiennamen der westpreussischen Mennoniten. Weierhof, 1940: 119.

Schmidt, P. U. The Peter Unruh Genealogy. Goessel, KS, 1941.

Stobbe,  L. Montau-Gruppe, ein Gedenkblatt. Montau 1918: 84, 85.

Unruh, B. H. "Die Mennoniten in der Neumark." Mennonitischer Gemeinde-Kalender (1941): 64.

Unruh, V. and A. J. Unruh. The Tobias A. Unruh Biography, Diary and Family Record, 1819-1950. Ottumwa, Iowa, 1950.

Wiebe, Herbert. Das Siedlungswerk niederländischer Mennoniten im Weichseltal. Marburg, 1952: 74-86, 95, 97.

Author(s) Abe J. Unruh
Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Unruh, Abe J. and Nanne van der Zijpp. "Unruh (Unru, Unrau, Onrouw) family." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 27 Sep 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Unruh_(Unru,_Unrau,_Onrouw)_family&oldid=133327.

APA style

Unruh, Abe J. and Nanne van der Zijpp. (1959). Unruh (Unru, Unrau, Onrouw) family. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 September 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Unruh_(Unru,_Unrau,_Onrouw)_family&oldid=133327.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 784-785. All rights reserved.

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