Jacob Hochstetler Family Association - the First 25 Years

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                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 and branches of descendants of all adult children of Jacob:  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 by different family lines.

                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 was held on August 1, 2, 2008, at Bethany Christian School, Goshen, Indiana, and the sixth met July 19, 20, 2013 in Mifflin Co., Pa. The seventh is anticipated for 2018. The gatherings now include a Friday evening banquet and program, Saturday exhibits, vendors, seminars, fellowship with distant relatives, a box lunch, children’s activities, and an afternoon program, and much more.

                From the beginning, Daniel E. Hochstetler and J. Virgil Miller, both retired teachers, had 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.  Virgil passed away on July 6, 2011, and Daniel resigned as editor as of Dec. 2011, but continues as Contributing Editor.  The Newsletter continues under the editorship of Paul J. Miller from Orrville, Ohio

                During these twenty-five years the editor had 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 Fröschauer 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 Jacob’s son John Hochstetler’s 1800-era “little house” in Spruce Forest Artisan Village at Grantsville, Maryland, and it was dedicated September 16, 2006.  It is occupied by guest artisans, and also contains displays, artifacts and wall space to tell the family story.

                Membership in the Jacob Hochstetler Family Association, Inc. costs $10.00 per calendar year, and INCLUDES THE QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER.  The renewal form lists for sale a number of publications and items which the Association has produced during the past years, including, but not limited to:  1) all of the back issues of the Newsletter; 2) Our Flesh and Blood; 3) a self-guided tour booklet for northeastern Ohio; 4) a reprint of a small 1913 booklet of corrections and additions to DJH.  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 this first quarter century, and continue.  Check us out on the Internet, scan the revamped website www.hostetler.net, and join the Facebook group page "Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler (official site)".  Do you have something to contribute for the H/H/H Family Newsletter, or for the JHFA Archives and Library? Let's hear from you again, soon.

Phone: 574/533-7819                                                                 Daniel E. Hochstetler, Past Editor                            For membership, send checks to:
E-mail: editor@jacobhochstetler.com                                     1102 S. 13th Street                                                      JHFA, Inc., P.O. Box 154
Revised January 2014                                                                 Goshen, IN 46526-4416                                              Goshen, IN 46527-0154
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