Ties across Time and Space: Genealogy, Geographies and Mennonite Diasporas from 1500 to the Present Day


Katherine Hill (Birkbeck, University of London)




Goethe University Frankfurt (Campus Westend) and Zoom Meeting

In 2010, Waldemar Lehn donated and translated a transcription of a document in his family’s possession known as the Lehn Diary. This remarkable record is partly a chronicle of the Danzig Mennonites going back to the early eighteenth century. But it is also a family history, to which the Lehns have added over several generations and have preserved as a genealogical record, moving across places. Genealogy and family, sustained across wider geographies, have a particular importance in Mennonite communities: like the Lehns, many families produced their own family trees, and there are numerous resources devoted to Mennonite genealogical research. This paper will examine the concept of family and genealogy in early modern Mennonite communities, the construction of diasporic identity across places as well as the modern legacies on the ways in which Mennonites recall their family pasts. It will consider what family meant, how family connections and genealogies were recorded and preserved across places, and why family and genealogy have continued to be so important up to the present day in an age of digital connectedness.

This presentation was part of the POLY Lecture Series on “Space and Religion II”, held in the winter term of 2023 and 2024. Click here for more information.

Book this Event


Further Events