Vol. 51 No. 3 (2003)
Research Article

Amish Surnames, Settlement Patterns, and Migration

Published 2003-12-01



Distinctive surnames typically associated with Amish populations provide a useful means to identify group members. Utilizing listings of Wisconsin's licensed dairy producers between 1989 and 2001, growth and decline of various settlements of Amish dairymen are mapped and described. Overall, growth far exceeded decline, with the number of identified Amish surnamed dairy farmers increasing by nearly three-quarters. The examination of the spatial distribution of specific Amish surnames demonstrates the central role played by family groups in Amish settlement and migration. The prominence of several common Amish surnames differs among the state's largest Amish settlements, and Amish surnames new to Wisconsin are disproportionately found within recently established Amish settlements. Some of these surnames are only found in single communities.


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