My name is Delmer B. Martin. I grew up on an old order Mennonite dairy farm, right next to Elmira, Ontario, Canada. Myself and my parents and my Grandparents and my Great-Grandparents and my Great-Great Grandparents and my Great-Great-Great- Grandparents on my father’s side were all old order Mennonites and they all lived and farmed and died in the very same old house on the very same family farm where I am still residing and writing this very first blog page I have ever done.
I am not selling anything or looking to invest in much however my blog is true to the best of my ability and knowledge. I believe that this temporal life is so short compared to forever that really nothing but truth really matters. My personal GED computer database file has over 492932 individuals in 226384 families connected. Unfortunately or fortunately I was photographing churches, farms and gravestones long before the internet appeared. I have three rooms full of Mennonite and historical books and articles and documents so far. I must add here that I find it strange, now that the internet is in such wide use that the old Mennonite books and Bibles that people used to consider worth only pennies are now going for stupidly high prices. Just Goggle John L. Ruth’s 2 big Mennonite Conference Histories books to be mind-boggled at a what a recently written Mennonite Book will fetch nowadays. Mind you I must say Johns books were well worth the original release cost and his 2 big books are among the most detailed and well documented that one can purchase.
I am not a young man any longer, however this is my very first attempt at creating a blog page. Even though I am fluent in both English and the Mennonite German dialect brought over from Switzerland to Pennsylvania and finally Ontario Canada in 1800, I am not a gifted writer like so many books and articles and blogs about Mennonites. Since the early 1980’s however I have happily invested almost all my spare time as an avid researcher and analyst in both Mennonite genealogy and in Mennonite Church History. I am blessed to have amassed a huge amount of very old Mennonite Books and Articles and archival material in this process. I intend to add all the newer ones to my library as well, God Willing. My personal typed word and inputted photographs manuscripts for Mennonite Church Histories (including Conferences and Bishop Districts and ministry and deacons and founders and schisms of the well established Mennonite congregations in the United States and Canada total over 55,000 letter sized pages. Oh yes, of course I have an old Martin Family Bible which is the Martin Luther German Holy Bible which in my case was published in 1860 and this is how it all started for me. The only long holidays I ever had were invested first and foremost roaming around the old Weaverland “Weberthal” neighborhood in Lancaster County PA. Because I communicate in the old Mennonite dialect of Swiss German every normal day I always have a truly intense experience visiting with my extended society in Lancaster County PA. whether it be the Amish or the Mennonite. Fortunately nowadays I am equally comfortable having a chat with those who stress “Acts” or the “Great Commission” .
My interest in genealogy as a very energetic young man was my goal to trace my family tree back to Adam and Eve. After a lifetime of work so far I have only been able to actually document my personal Mennonite Heritage back to the 1500’s. I have in my possession copies of census and deeds and wills and burial records going back directly from my dear father who was born in 1927 (including every single generation) all the way back to the Martin Mennonite Progenitor who came from Switzerland to Lancaster Co. PA in the early 1700’s and was one of the many founders of Weaverland Pennsylvania. His name was Christian Marti and he was born in Europe in 1669. When we say our last name in our dialect we still say MARTI pronounced “Mahti” even though nowadays we use the spelling MARTIN. Tradition has been handed down from generation to generation that this Christian Martin was an Anabaptist minister who was imprisoned for his faith (for “Religious differences – beliefs contrary to the State Church and imprisoned in Trachselwald Castle from July 1717 to 1732, before being able to immigrate to America on September Sept. 21, 1732, when he arrived at Philadelphia aboard the Ship Plaisance. Christian was reunited with his sons in Weaverland, who had all immigrated to America before him as follows.
Christian Martin Jr 1694-1758 also a Mennonite Minister had immigrated to America prior to 1724 when he shows up on Tax Records as being a resident of the original “Conestoga Township” which included “New Holland PA”. A German Church record shows that Christian Jr. departed for America by February 1722. David Martin 1691-1784 and Jacob Martin c1720-1775 had previously arrived from Europe to America on September 30, 1727 on the Ship Molley and Henry Martin 1701-1784 had immigrated to America on the Ship Brittania on September 21, 1731.
So from a genealogical perspective my direct line to American Pioneer Christian Martin 1669-1749 and David Martin 1691-1784 and Bishop Henry Martin 1741-1825 and Canadian Pioneer Peter Martin 1769-1831 and John Martin 1806-1879 and Deacon Moses W. Martin 1832-1887 and Moses C. Martin 1861-1934 and Clayton Martin 1897-1952 and my dearly departed father Ornan M. Martin 1927-2002. Out of all of these above and myself included we all have in common and are separated by only 4 actual home farms (4 separate home addresses) and only 3 meetinghouse and 3 burial grounds in 348 years. I believe this is where we have adopted the Biblical term of “Goodly Heritage”
The Holy Bible (The Truth) and my goodly heritage have been the source of my motivation to research and analyze this “Goodly Heritage” combined with the fact that I feel such a lack of significance and substance as compared to ALL those that came before me. This Blog is intended as my attempt to explain my Pilgrimage seeking THE TRUTH and to connect with fellow pilgrims in the process. I have walked in the actual footsteps of my ancestors of the last 348 years and I am completely humbled in their shadows.
Now for those that may be curious, unlike most Mennonites I did NOT get baptized until I was 37 years of age and it was NOT with the old order Mennonite Conference. I did NOT even become a Christian until just prior to my baptism with the Mennonite Brethren Conference some 29 years ago. So for 37 years I lived as a non-believer, not recognizing or even acknowledging God or God’s Son Jesus. This is all for another blog at another time God Willing. That story would start with my earthly father and end up with my Heavenly Father.
I am still grieving the Christmas Eve death of my father in 2002. I guess I have chosen to grieve a little bit at a time so as not be completely devastated with the temporal truth of the matter. I hereby dedicate this blog to my dearly departed Mother and Father and all those Mennonites AND all the true Christians that lived and died before my parents all the way back to Jesus’s original followers. Many of these amazing people had awesome and amazing lives yet so often are simply listed in a “freindshaft book” as simply “Born-date-Married-date-Died-date”. I am fully aware that for many of these they believed that if praise was given to them they would actually be tempted to sin and they shunned worldly recognition. It is my intent to give wholehearted credit where it is due and to expose the truth whether it be good or bad. I also wholeheartedly believe that discernment is a gift.
I will share some personal pictures and am very willing to do my best to answer questions about Mennonites or Mennonite Church History from serious genealogists and historians especially sincere “seekers” and “fellow pilgrims”. I may even discuss politics for Gods sake and because of how strongly I believe in the THE TRUTH!
John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Delmer B. Martin
RR # 4 Elmira
PS: Photo of me and my dear father going out the back lane to get the mail after a morning in the bush making firewood. My father was and is still my hero!