When the genealogy bug bit I was just coming out of highschool and going into college. My grandmother gave me a book entitled "The Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler". The book, now almost 100 years old, was enormous and meticulously traced family after family to our single ancestral source, Jacob. Jacob emigrated to the American colonies with his family in 1736 from Switzerland, arriving in Pennsylvania aboard the ship "Harle". Jacob and a few other Amish settlers formed the first Amish settlement in the colonies in Berks County, PA. His family's story would go down in Pennsylvania history under the "Northkill Amish/Hochstetler Massacre" when in 1757 his wife, daughter and son were killed by a raiding band of Indians with another son taken captive. Their beliefs in non-violence prevented them from fighting back. The ancestral farm still exists and I visited it on a trip to Pennsylvania in 1993.
Old Samuel Hochstetler Farm: still Amish & still Hochstetlers
Just shy of 100 years later, Jacob's great grandson, Samuel, was part of a group of families to form the first Amish settlement in Indiana. Samuel came with his family about 1850 to the northeast corner of Marshall County, establishing a farm on Beech Road. This farm still exists as well. Samuel's son, Martin, left the Amish Church very late in life and his son, Stephen, was the first to marry outside of the church. Stephen was my great grandfather.
Martin Hochstetler Farm: still Amish & still Hochstetlers
A one room schoolhouse and cemetery were located just north of the farm which is where the family attended school and "Old" Samuel, as he was called, is buried. The Amish constructed a new school at this site and the old one, which was the longest continually used schoolhouse in Indiana, was moved to a nearby farm. The school was constructed in the late 1850's. If you've never seen an Amish cemetery, you should. The "plain people" apply their standards even in burial. Other branches of the family include Millers, Livengoods, Yoders and most recently, Mullet-the name of my Amish ancestors buried near Nappanee.
Borkholder Amish School & Cemetery, before it was moved
Amish Cemetery: Mullet ancestors buried here
Fortunately for me there was this break in the Amish faith. I guess. Although there are times when I long for a simpler life and suggest converting to my wife. I know many like to point out the inconsistencies with Amish folk, but I have to hand it to them, to continue any since of their culture in the face of everything modern is really quite remarkable.
My life, on the other hand, would be a never-ending rumspringer.