Crossway Publications
Published: 2000
767 pages
ISBN: 0-9694504-0-4

The Kleine Gemeinde Historical Series

Vol. 7

Dynasties of the Mennonite Kleine Gemeinde in Imperial Russia and North America

Edited by Delbert F. Plett

From the preface: Some readers may well ask, “Why another volume about the Kleine Gemeinde?” This book consists of 20 family histories which I have entitled “Dynasties of the Kleine Gemeinde” in order to specifically highlight the important role of kinship networks within conservative Mennonite faith and culture.

This book completes the Kleine Gemeinde Historical Series. I assume that this set of seven volumes will be the major reference work for the foreseeable future on the Kleine Gemeinde of the Molotschna Mennonite Colony, Imperial Russia. Together with Saints and Sinners, a more popular introductory history published in 1999, the Kleine Gemeinde Historical Series allows researchers and interested lay people access to the rich and abundant KG “literary corpus.”

The partially completed genealogical material and family history contained in this work represented a significant body of knowledge, much of which would not have come to light if I had not completed and published it. To an extent the publication of this volume will also bring a degree of closure for me personally, signifying the completion of at the least the formal part of a study begun around 1978. . . .

It is fitting that the concluding volume in the “Kleine Gemeinde Historical Series” should be on family history. It was the extended family clans in conservative middle-class societies such as the KG which often anchored their assemblies. Frequently these dynasties were articulated by the ancient matriarchs who orchestrated the development of extensive kinship networks and sophisticated powers within that context.

Family history, although “quotidian drudgery to some,” has undergone a remarkable revival in recent decades, and so, hopefully, the contents of this humble volume will find at least a few interested readers somewhere out there.