The Jacob Hochstetler Family Association
The First Twenty-Two Years
In August 1987 several Hochstetler descendants in northern Indiana met to consider how to observe the 250th anniversary in 1988 of the 1738 immigration of our common ancestors, the Jacob Hochstetler family. To provide a means of communication with the widespread clan in other areas, a newsletter was planned. The first H/H/H Family Newsletter was dated December 1987, and over the next months we mailed out more than 2000 complimentary copies. The Purpose as stated in the first issue has continued the same for each of the quarterly issues since then:
- To promote the heritage we share in common
- To help establish a feeling of family relationship
- To provide information of developing plans and projects
- To help descendants to become involved in activities
The Ad Hoc Committee continued to meet to plan for a Nationwide Gathering that was held at Goshen, Indiana on Aug. 6, 1988. A tentative constitution was approved at the Gathering that was attended by about 1200 people from 25 states. The first officers were also elected to provide continuing leadership. In 1991 the Association was incorporated under Indiana laws as a nonprofit organization. The Association includes all spellings of descendants of all adult children: Barbara, John, Joseph, and Christian. The family history and genealogy are given in two huge books by Rev. Harvey Hostetler: Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler, 1912, and Descendants of Barbara Hochstedler, 1938, which have been repeatedly reprinted by the Gospel Book Store, Berlin, Ohio. Hundreds of updated branches have also been published.
A second Nationwide Gathering was held at Kidron, Ohio on July 24, 1993. Attendance was around 1000. A third quinquennial Gathering was held on July 18, 1998 at Accident, Maryland. This was just across the state line from Somerset County, Pa., a very important area in the 19th century westward migration of the rapidly growing H/H/H family. The fourth gathering was held July 11, 12, 2003 at Kalona, Iowa. A book of early documents with comments by Beth Hostetler Mark was released at the Kalona Gathering. It is titled Our Flesh and Blood, A Documentary History of the Jacob Hochstetler Family, 1757-1765. A fifth Nationwide Gathering is now planned for August 1-2, 2008, at Bethany Christian School, Goshen, Indiana. The gatherings now include a Friday evening banquet, exhibits, vendors, interest group meetings, a Saturday catered meal, children’s activities, and an afternoon program, and much more.
Since the beginning, Daniel E. Hochstetler and J. Virgil Miller, both now retired teachers, have teamed as editor and contributing editor, respectively, of the newsletter. The Newsletter tries to keep a balance between historical and genealogical interests and items of general or more current interest. The Newsletter also includes reports of the semiannual meetings of the JHFA Board and the quinquennial Nationwide Gatherings. Miller in 2002 published Both Sides of the Ocean, a culmination of a lifetime of research of Amish Mennonite family history.
During these twenty or so years the editor has collected and filed a considerable amount of information on the extended family. Nearly 300 copies of updated branches of the H/H/H family as well as over 100 other books by, for or about the wider family have also been collected in the JHFA Library. This includes a rare 1787 Froschauer New Testament which had belonged to the immigrant's son Joseph and was handed down in the family. Eventually it was secured by a used book dealer, and $2000 were raised to purchase it. It is now displayed at heritage centers and selected big reunions. Over $32,000 were raised to build a replica of son John Hochstetler’s 1800 era “little house” in Spruce Forest Artisan Village at Grantsville, Maryland, and it was dedicated September 16, 2006.
Membership in the Jacob Hochstetler Family Association, Inc. costs $10.00 per calendar year, and includes the Newsletter. The renewal form lists a number of publications and items which the Association has produced during the past years, including, but not limited to:
- a self-guided tour booklet for northeastern Ohio;
- a reprint of a small 1913 booklet of corrections and additions to DJH;
- Our Flesh and Blood,
- all of the back issues of the Newsletter.
The Association sponsored a European Heritage Tour in 1989. An Index (now out of print) of the 18,000 unnumbered persons in DJH was published in 1993. The Association also solicits material for the Newsletter and encourages other research and publishing efforts, such as the Update Vol. I to DJH and DBH compiled by John Showalter and first released at the 1998 Gathering. Showalter also published an Index of the 34,000 unnumbered persons in DBH. The JHFA offers $100 research grants. Let us know what you are doing.
So, welcome, as we end the Second Decade! Do you have something to contribute for the H/H/H Family Newsletter, or for the JHFA Archives and Library?
One last thing: The H/H/H Newsletter is looking for a new editor who could take over relatively soon. We'll be very open minded about how this magnanimously volunteer position could be constructed, for example, we could consider two part-time "associate editors" that could work in tandem to publish this wonderful publication. The soon-to-be-retired editor will be more than happy to continue to contribute and to guide the new editor(s) in their efforts. Please respond to: email@example.com with any sort of reply, question or suggestion.
Let's hear from you soon!