The first families who settled in Rainham Township in Upper Canada, at the end of the 1700s, all had roots in the Swiss cantons of Zürich and Bern. But very quickly, after they cleared land, built a road, and set up welcoming log houses in the wilderness, other seekers arrived from many parts of the English-speaking colonies in North America and Central Europe.
Within these pages, the Lord willing, you may see, hear, and read much more about these families and their friends. Start with the . . .
Rainham Builders Project
To learn about your own family, or any other family associated with the Rainham Settlement over the years, click here. A wealth of historical information brought together by Anabaptist descendants far and near.
Swiss Anabaptist Families
Huber, Neff, Schnebli, Weber, Urmy and other families from Zürich, along with Schoerg (Sherk), Steiner (Stoner), Schenk, Müller, Zimmerman, Kolb and others from Bern, all of whom found their way to the Rainham Settlement in the early 1800s. Click here.
Coming from Switzerland through Germany and Pennsylvania, some families who settled at Rainham Township became acquainted with another Swiss group, the Bernese Amish who found their way through Alsatian France to the Nith Valley, further north in Upper Canada. Intermarriages with descendants of both groups bring ties to the families of Wagler, Lichty, Jutzi, Schrag, Bender, Zehr and others. Read more.
Thanks to the spiritual revivals that swept the Rainham Settlement over and over, in the Victorian age, a good number of German-speaking Anabaptist young people married English-speaking Canadians. A long process of acculturation followed for many of them, but among the non-conformed some things went the other way. English-speaking converts also found their way to the Lord, choosing the narrow way to everlasting life with God. If your family is one of these, such as Culver, you may find it here.
During and after the second World War, thousands of Anabaptists of Dutch/Prussian origin fled Eastern Europe to find new homes in North and South America. Many of them found homes along the North Shore of Lake Erie and within the Niagara Peninsula. Other families, of the same origin, came from Mexico. Once again there was interaction amongst them and Rainham descendants found marriage partners amongst them — Krahn, Wiebe, Doerksen, Willms, Reddecopp, and others. Read more.
Not long after the first families from Pennsylvania, settled in Rainham Township, immigrant families from the Rheinland — Baden, Württemberg and the Pflatz in what is now southern Germany — landed in Canada and travelled west along Lake Erie to find places to settle. This brought them to the Mennonite settlements and fascinating interchanges began to take place between them, at once. Werner, Moerschfelder, Fehrmann, Jäger (Yager), Föss, and more. Read more.
Last, but not least, Rainham descendants found their way into the fellowship of Hutterite Anabaptist communities. This brought interesting links with families originally from Moravia, South Tyrol and Kärnten (Carinthia) in Austria. Wurtz, Waldner, Glanzer, Kleinsasser, Wipf and others. Read more.