Talk:Amish/Archive 1

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one visible sign of the care Amish provide for the elderly are the smaller Grossvatihaus ("grandfather house") often built near the main dwelling.

The German word would be „Großvaterhaus“; the plural, as would be appropriate in this context, „Großvaterhäuser.“ The only Google hits for "Grossvatihaus" are from copies of this text, while there are thirty nine separate results for großvaterhaus, in German. The above is probably wrong. 16:01, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

The Pennsylvania Dutch term, in Amish varieties of Pennsylvania Dutch, is "Daadihaus" or "Grossdaadihaus" (which if you want to argue about spelling, could be probably found spelled as "grossdawdy haus" or "Dawdy Haus", etc.). The only High German terms that should be used are religious terms from the Bible perhaps, otherwise I think it is wise stick to Amish Pennsylvania Dutch terms for words like "Daadihaus" and "rumschpringe" etc. Stettlerj 00:14, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
Daadi Haus search, dawdy haus search


Hi there, I just did some edits to a couple of sections that seemed American-centric. Hope it helps. 00:00, 29 May 2006 (UTC)


There is plenty of good material in this article, but it sure needs to be reorganized; having two different sections named "other" is a bad sign. Howabout this for an outline:

Origins in Europe
Amish split
Recent history
Religion, lifestyle, and culture
Hochmut & Demut
Language and dress
Growth and distribution
Relations with outsiders (Amish and the outside world? Amish and the "English?" Amish and popular culture? Can't decide what to name this part...)
Taxes, insurance, etc.

Wachholder0 16:28, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

It's done. No more "other" sections. Tweak as needed. I was going to split "Religion" and "Lifesty;e and culture", but they appear too closely intertwined. Wachholder0 16:03, 13 May 2006 (UTC)


Several of the sections lack any links at all. I should probably fix it, but meh... Notthe9 20:34, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

I think I have wikified everything that deserves to be. I prefer not to over-wikify, so I have not wikified things like dates, etc. Wachholder0 19:02, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

featured article[edit]

how do you submit to featured article status, imo this is a good example of an informative npov article.

IMO, this article still has a long way to go before it reaches featured staus. (though I am working on it). See the featured article guidelines.Wachholder0
I think we are getting closer, though we still have issues of verifiability and perhaps inelegant writing.Wachholder0 19:00, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Some comments on the article. Amish is said to be an ethnic as well as a religious group. Does this mean that if my grandparents are Amish that I am Amish? I have heard Amish used in this sense in one scholarly work, but if we are going to use this definition the article needs changed and it needs to talk about the Mennonite churches which descend from the Amish, which it does not. Second, the term Amish when used in this article, seems to exclude for the most part the Beachy Amish Mennonites, which is alright as long as it is consistant. However, it is not, For example, population figures given do not include the Beachy Amish, yet the phrase given in the same paragraph that says that there are Amish in 47 states inlcudes the Beachy Amish. Suddenly the article changes what it means by Amish to include the Beachy Amish (that is the only way to get this figure), but the population figure given prior does not include the Beachy Amish. So there should be consistancy, or explanations of what the figures include or do not include. About the population figures... what are the sources for these figures (I don't believe both figures are from 1990, I am in fact pretty sure the second figure given is much more recent) and why would we quote a figure from 16 years ago anyway when the Amish population doubles every 21 years or so. There are population estimates given by Kraybill that are very recent (this is where the 228 000 figure probably comes from). The first paragraph states that all Amish speak Pennsylvania German at home (a statement refuted in the language section - the "Swiss Amish" don't speak Pennsylvania German at home). Finally, "rumschpringe" does not translate as "jumping around" in Pennsylvania Dutch, that would be "rumtschumpe" and why is the Standard German "herumspringen" given, because it gives the impression that somehow "rumspringa" comes from "herumspringen" which it does not, although they are cognates. Stettlerj 19:40, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the Amish are certainly an ethnic group, in the sense that they "identify with each other, usually on the basis of a presumed common genealogy or ancestry" and "are also usually united by common cultural, behavioural, linguistic, or religious practices." However, other Mennonite groups descended from the Amish likely do not meet this definition, since they have different "cultural, behavioural, linguistic, or religious practices," and perhaps have married outside the community and therefore have reduced "common genealogy or ancestry." Right now the article mostly is about the Old Order groups, but I tried to rewrite the intro to emphasize their diversity. Please feel free to make the other changes you suggest. Perhaps it would also be nice to throw in a paragraph more specifically describing the variety of different fellowships. Any thoughts? Wachholder0 15:07, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
I've done some further cleaning up; I think it's very good up until the section "Relations with the outside world" -- at that point, there's little organization, just a series of topical paragraphs. If it can be cleaned up from there down, do people think it's ready to be nominated for FA status? DavidOaks 00:42, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Rewrote Intro[edit]

I rewrote part of the introduction, moving some information to the languages section and adding more about beliefs etc. I know that much of this is already included in the anabaptist and Monnonite articles, but I think there needed to be more on what the Amish actually believe and less emphasis on how funny they look/talk.

Politics (in intro)[edit]

"their pacifism and social conscience make them attractive to one major party, and their generally conservative outlook to another." This statement makes it seem as though only the followers of one of the two major political parties have social conscience and the followers of the other do not.

In the course of some stylistic patching, I adjusted this. It's one thing to be NPOV, another to pretend that pacifism is equally likely to be found in both national parties. I don't think NPOV requires us to pretend that "social conscience" is an equally winning slogan for Dems & Reps, any more than "law and order" and "national security" would be, even though just about anybody in any party thinks all those phrases represent good things. DavidOaks 12:55, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Dress Section[edit]

Why are these statements under the heading Dress: "The Amish are noted for the quality of their quilts and for their farming efficiency. Some Amish have enthusiastically adopted genetically engineered crops for their efficiency."

I'm not very educated about the Amish way of life, but it strikes me as extremely confusing to read about them accepting the use of GM (oh, or is it GE, genetically engineered) seeds for farming. I do believe that this deserves a very good explanation, reference, or both. Oh well, there was a mention of recent vandalism on history. Maybe it's just that? 21:46, 15 December 2005 (UTC) -was logged out when I wrote the previous, anon comment. Didn't find a reason to believe that the comment on use of genetically engineered seeds was vandalism. Still, any comment on the issue? Santtus 21:58, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Why is it confusing that the Amish could use GM seeds? Stettlerj 19:08, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
    • In Europe, GM is often seen as technology that is perhaps "too advanced" or "gone too far". Most people in here would recognize it as quite advanced and a recent invention, at least. With the supposed Amish aversion for technology, it would seem natural for them to shun the use of GM crops as well. I do understand that the perceived technological threat of GM food is not shared by Americans, but I would have expected it from the Amish. Just my two cents. Santtus 23:17, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

See this article... I think the reason is, first of all, in North America, GM foods are not seen so negatively in general as they are in Europe. Also, most Amish accept some modern inventions such as solar power, rollerblades, sometimes even cell-phones, etc. It is not technology per se that is seen negatively. I guess that is the best explanation. There would surely be some Amish who would refuse or hesitate to grow GM crops, but there are no church rules against it in any congregation as far as I know. I don't know if the ultra-traditional Amish groups (like the Swartzendruber Amish, Troyer Amish and the White-top Amish) grow GM or not, but I would be interested to find out. Stettlerj 02:14, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

In short, the reason that some Amish grow GM crops is that there are no church rules against it. Unless an Amish congregation and Bishop is prepared to shun someone who uses GM crops then it will be up to individual choice. I think at best some Amish may discourage its use, but I don't think the Amish will ever make it a test of membership. The Amish will follow their Bishop and community rules, and, maybe it is a small exageration but, if a given bishop said tomorrow "cars are ok" the next day half the families would switch to a different congregation, and the other half would buy a car tomorrow. In fact this has happened. (if you drive in certain amish communities, look who'se passing you on the freeway, he just might be an Amishman)Stettlerj 02:33, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

I've noticed that the dress section has a good summary on how men dress and stuff, but where is the info on what women dress? Someone should add this info.Zachorious 08:14, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Foreign lanaguage links[edit]

Is it impossible to link to Japanese language pages? I tried to link to [[ja:ƒA[ƒ~ƒbƒVƒ…]] but it doesn't show up after I save. I can link though from the Esperanto Amish page to the Japanese page.

It is possible to do it, as I've seen Japanese links work correctly. What's the exact title of the Japanese page? Maybe I can figure it out. The Esperanto page displays only ???? on my browser, though the link works fine. Tokerboy

I linked successfully from the article on PA Dutch/German but I have not been able to do so with this person's Amish article. The title for the japanese article is "Amishu" written in katakana script.
But what are you supposed to type? I don't know how to write in katakana. I'll leave a message for User:Brion Vibber as he may know how to fix the link. Tokerboy

It doesn't show up even if I write it. I tried to write it in the first paragraph :). If you want to know how to get to the Japanese Amish page you can go to the page on PA German and go to the Japanese version and from there hit the link in the article. Then you have the Japanese version of the Amish. It is pretty small because my Japanese abilities are limited.

Unfortunately, all I get is question marks as I don't have any fonts that can display Japanese characters. (Unless every word in Japanese really is "???????", but I imagine that would be confusing.) Tokerboy 05:05 Feb 6, 2003 (UTC)

It works now. I found the article through the Esperanto page, then copied the name in the address bar. You can use ja:アーミッシュ or [[ja:アーミッシュ]], on a talk page showing up as ja:アーミッシュ; in Esperanto the Japanese characters themselves were in the edit box, and when I tried to copy these to the edit box in the English wikipedia, that did not work. I changed the Esperanto link to one of the other two forms to enable copying. - Patrick 11:17 Feb 6, 2003 (UTC)

The off site link gives some very questionable information about the Amish (and when one looks for the bibliographical backup for some of the questionable information one gets a website link that no longer exists!). I thus changed the offsite link to which I believe is far more accurate.


"Worldly modern appliances such as televisions, light bulbs, and hair blow dryers often use 110 or 240 volt electricity, and will not operate under twelve volt current."

A small nitpick: volt is not the unit of electric current (see Current_(electricity) and Ohm's law). I suggest changing the sentence to "Most twelve volt power sources can't generate enough current to power worldly modern appliances such as televisions, light bulbs, and hair dryers."

Since no one voiced objections, I went ahead and made the changes.

Amish life styles[edit]

Being a former Amish, I get very perturbed on some "fact" that I hear from time to time regarding the Amish. Even though I choose to abandon the community, I still have the utmost respect. Regarding the issue with a 16-year old being of age was not true in my community. Of age meant 21+ years-of-age, not 16.

Also, I keep hearing (from outsiders of course) about Amish teenagers being allowed to choose their lifestyle. That is almost an outrage. Amish beliefs forbid someone to choose, scripture says that one must remain in what they were taught - thus, born amish must remain amish. I would like to know where this originated from. What Amish community allows their children to choose the "outside", the modern lifestyle??? Yes, they may "choose" their lifestyle, but they certainly will then be shunned/banned or otherwise considered to have lost grace with God and will NOT enter the Kingdom of God for they live in great sin. Do not confuse allow with inability to control.

And by the way, the movie Witness has many, many flaws. It cannot be used as educational film.

If no one will provide me with a credible source to the above "choose your own lifestyle" claim, I will delete it.

The place I saw about this period of going out into the "English" world and choosing whether or not to return was in the documentary The Devil's Playground. It referred to this time as "rumspringa" and followed the lives of a variety of Pennsylvania and Ohio Amish teenagers.

Someone needs to fix up how clearly two people have written this page and one of them has copied a lot of stuff of the others. In 'Status' there is repetition of the Dutch/Deutsch comment, and also later a repetition of the Devil's Playground comment.

  • I agree. I've added the cleanup tag to get the attention of others. If I find myself with time, I'll do it. --Tysto 15:06, 2005 August 21 (UTC)

As another person of Amish ethnic heritage I have to disagree withe first comments on lack of choice. As mentioned several times in the article different Amish communities choose different things. For example, my conservative relatives belong to Ontario Amish churches affiliated with the Beachy Amish groups in the United States. The Beachy Amish, like any other congregation of any other Christian denomination, expect certain agreements on issues from their members, but unlike the Old Order Amish or Old Order Mennonite groups the Beachy Amish do not favour strong application of the Meidung (the shunning) of those who transfer to a more liberal church or even different denomination.

My grandparents, when they were married, chose not to attend one of the two churches which their families did, but went to a near-by, more liberal Amish congregation, later to be followed by about half of their siblings. But nobody was ever shunned or banned or anything like that. Indeed, to this day we carry on a healthy tradition of yearly extended family reunions. Never once on meeting a more conservative relative in the streets or other non-family gatherings have they been embarrassed to chat for a bit. Clearly no shunning going on there. I would suggest that the tone of the initial comments, focusing as they do on lack of choice and shunning, as well as the use of the term "abandon", that the poster might have had some negative experiences with the Meidung in his or her community which are colouring his or her views. I am a man with long hair, both ears pierced with a hankering for electronic gadgetry and never once has a more conservative Amish relative or acquaintance made me feel that I am less Amish than they are.

I will, however, agree with the initial poster's comments about using movies as an educational source. Until a few years ago I had never heard of the term "rumspringa" before. Yes, unmarried young adult Amish are given a little more leniency, just like the surrounding society gives to early twenty-somethings, but nothing so extreme as to require specific term for it. When I asked my Grandmother about it, she referred to is a something some American Amish groups practiced but she wasn't too familiar with it. From my personal investigation it appears that the use of rumspringa correlates with how conservative the group is. The more conservative the community is, the more you have "Amish Tweenies Gone Wild" type of thing. Beachy Amish communities place less significance on the rumspringa, possibly due to their lack of insistence on the Meidung. When people know that they have a choice and will not be excommunicated from their community for differing opinions there is less of a chance of (extreme) rebellion.

Also, in the Amish communities of Ontario with which I am familiar, "coming of age" happens at 18, just like the surrounding Canadian society, though that phrase implies some major celebration which does not exist (except for perhaps a slightly bigger birthday party).

My understanding of the rumspringa is that its use and extent varies, and that among some communities it has fallen out of use. I know of several people who went through it - and are now conservative Mennonite instead.

Image Used[edit]

I'd like to suggest a different image be used, merely as a pretext of holding with the Amish value of not allowing their faces to appear on photographs (related to the "graven images" doctrine of the Biblical law) - the current one seems to be clearly taken without the permission of the passing couple, and would likely offend them if they knew it were being used

Who cares? It's not like the Amish have Internet access, so you don't have to worry about it. Xizer 08:32, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
Good one Xizer, that's funny, I just got a laugh. This copyright thing and tagging, some people live for it...Scotty

There are lots of books and websites about Amish people and Amish country that show their faces[1]. --Tysto 14:49, 2005 August 21 (UTC)

Not that many really - following that link shows only two on the whole page. Generally such pictures are taken without their permission. Most pictures that are permitted are of children, which in many cases may be all right (or may not).
The picture is disrespectful. I think we should replace it J C 06:51, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

I am of the opinion that all the photos here are respectful of Amish culture. Even many Amish have hidden away a few photographs. We don't have to follow the Amish rules, and the Amish don't expect other people who are not Amish to follow their rules. Amish are not allowed to pose for photographs, as long as you don't ask them to pose, and you are not a nuisance when you take the picture, I don't believe it is disrespectful to show them in photos Stettlerj 19:12, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

Taking and using pictures of the Amish is to some degree the equivalent of putting the catholic Eucharist in a museum for public display. However I do understand what you’re saying, so I give in. J C 22:54, 16 January 2006 (UTC)
The picture should be taken off, it is called respect, we don't have to follow the rules, but out of resect we should do this, if you guys want to glorify wikipedia at the expense of the Amish this is wrong, and yes they do expect you to not take their pictyres Stettler! If you think it is disrespectful to hate black people but someone doesn't that doesn't make them expempt from respect for a black person! Besides, you are forceing those Amish to break their own rules, they would be disgusted Christiandude32 00:56, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Hey Christian, thanks for your opinion. I have not taken a photo of a baptized OOA personally that I can remember and I am not the one who put the pictures up. I am just stating an opinion, although your argument is valid. Anyway, I am not stating my opinion out of disrespect. Unfortunately it seems you imply I have been forcing Amish, among whom I have many cousins and relatives, to break their Ordnung. Stettlerj 03:45, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

All I am trying to point out is that they would not appriecate their picture taken, we should accept their wishes, this is an article about them, we should make sure people realize that the Amish don't like thier pictures, they don't mind if it is their farm or something, but they don't want themselves in the photo. Christiandude32 21:27, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Beachy Amish[edit]

see Talk:Beachy Amish for my opinion about whether Beachy Amish are Amish or not. I can't understand why user 130... thinks they are not. Some Beachy Amish practices are much closer to Mennonite practices, sure, just like Old Order Mennonite practices are closer to Old Order Amish practices than they are to the Mennonite Church USA. -User:Stettlerj

  • The Beachy Amish do not share Amish faith and practice. There are common elements among the Amish, and none of them exist throughout the Beachy Amish church. These include the use of homes for worship, Pennsylvania Dutch for language, the ban (and not just shunning), separated seating, uncut beards, shunning of electricity and automobiles, and more.
    • Although I would definitely consider the Beachy Amish to be Amish (perhaps in Lancaster there is a tendancy to keep the Amish identity for tourist reasons! I hope not), the Beachy Amish are definitely not what most have in mind when they think of Amish. However, I will admit, although I have Beachy Amish Freindschaft, I am not up to date on their opinions vis a vis the word "Amish" to describe themselves. Now I am interested to learn more. I think you are lucky to know people who were Beachy Amish User:Stettlerj

Pennsylvania German Wikipedia[edit]

Say your opinion, your oppositions or your support, about starting a Pennsylvania German Wikipedia at New Languages Pennsylvania German.

re: other[edit]

health care in canada is free, why were donations collected for the child?

Good point. It is probably just a fabrication. There is a small chance that it is not false. There is a chance that the Amish refuse to accept OHIP for example, and insist on paying themselves, but I dont think the Amish in Ontario refuse OHIP. Many Amish in Canada were in fact born in the USA, but then again, this child came from an Amish community that has been in Canada since the 1820's! Stettlerj 00:06, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

Wait... WHAT?[edit]

"The Amish are a tight-knit religious group, descending predominantly from Swiss German immigrants". The Sweiss German immigrants in where? The Swiss Germans in Austria are amish? The introduction is extremely ambiguous, as it does not specify where these immigrants live, or what country/continent/group of countries are we talking about. Personally, I do not believe that there are Amishes in North Italy, where there are Swiss German immigrants. Do you mean Swiss Germans in Brazil, or in France, or in Canada, perhaps Austria, or Eastern Europe, or where? -- 15:08, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

We mean all Swiss Germans everywhere are Amishes, it is the same thing Stettlerj 19:20, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

Amish paying Social Security taxes[edit]

Not all Amish pay into social security. "Tucked away in the 1965 Medicare Bill was a clause exempting the "Old Order Amish" and other religious groups that conscientiously objected to paying insurance premiums from Social Security tax. To be exempt, the group or sect must have been established prior to 1950 and maintain reasonable provisions for their elderly."

Vandalism and this site[edit]

What does it tell us about our society that this site seems to be one of the greatest magnets for vandalism? Stettlerj 13:39, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

I have a theory that vandalism can be correlated with research topics done by school children. Somehow I placed the New Deal article on my watch list and now notice that it is much more heavily vandalized than this article. It tends to happen during North American daytime hours and IP addresses often trace to schools. And maybe that brings us full circle back to this article: adolescents are more free to experiment with choices that many of us have given up by the time we reach the age of 25. JonHarder 15:49, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Plain sects[edit]

Could someone plese explain the relationship between Amish and plain sects. The latter article seems to imply that they are a subgroup of the Amish, whereas the description seems to coincide with the description of Amish given here. DJ Clayworth 16:15, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

The plain sects article is awful that is all I can say. That article is full of inaccuracies such as all plain sects are Pennsylvania Dutch and descend from Jacob Amman's teachings ! Yikes. Thanks for pointing it out. At least the writer is trying, I guess it's not the writer's fault to try, but it remains inaccurate. Stettlerj 21:20, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

The Pennsylvania Dutch are descendants of the Amish immigration for religious freedom. It started with widow Barbara Yoder and her 9 children, featured the docking of the "Charming Nancy" in 1737 and was essentially over by 1770 because of a healed schism in the European religious community.

What tourists call "Pennsylvania Dutch" are religious adherents. What Wikipedia calls Pennsylvania Dutch are descendants of those people, regardless of their religious practice.

The religious adherents are not called "Pennsylvania Dutch" except in Pennsylvania, and they tell you they aren't necessarily Amish, either. Just as the term "Pennsylvania Dutch" or "jew" is ambiguous, perhaps meaning an ethnic group, and sometimes meaning those who practice a faith, the term "amish" is ambiguous, sometimes meaning a group that calls itself amish, and sometimes meaning a group that adheres to the primary thrust of Amman's theology, that of leaning an unworldly (plain) lifestyle, under the discipline of apartness (shunning.)

The Old Order Amish of Allen County Indiana are considerably more plain than the Old Order Amish of Lancaster County Pennsylvania. The hoosiers don't have phones in their businesses, don't wear tennis shoes, use umbrellas to protect themselves in weather that reaches -20F each winter, as opposed to spiffy fiberglass enclosed buggies in a climate where it doesn't always reach 0F each year. The Old Order Mennonites of Lancaster County will insist that they aren't Amish, yet they are plainer than the Beachy Amish.

The Lancaster New Era and the Lancaster Intelligencer-Journal use the term "plain sects" to include both Amish, and other religious adherents who do not call themselves Amish.

When a short question requires a long answer, that's indicative of a problem. George Bernard Shaw observed "England and America are two countries divided by a common language", but really, we don't need England to do a number on us; we are quite capable of dividing ourselves into myriad pieces with our ambiguous language. ClairSamoht 23:15, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

tourists say Pennsylvania Dutch are the Old Order religious people... I agree largely with you. The Wikipedia article, however, does not say that all Pennsylvania Dutch are descendants of the Amish immigrants. I believe this would be mistaken. The Wikipedia article says that (or should say that) the Pennsylvania Dutch descend from not only Amish immigrants, but Mennonite, Lutheran, Schwenkfelder, Dunker, Moravian etc. immigrants as well. I will quote the famous Amish-born sociologist John A. Hostetler:
The emigration movement encompassed many people of every known faith in the region [Palatinate]. Most numerous were the Lutherans and Reformed, but there were Catholics, Schwenkfelders, and a variety of mystics, as well as groups of Mennonites and Amish. All these groups spoke the Palatinate dialect known today as Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania Dutch (Hostetler, 1993:52).
If you want to be even more confused... the Amish in Allen County don't even speak Pennsylvania Dutch and many many descendants of Mennonite immigrants to North America are not Pennsylvania Dutch at all Stettlerj. 00:47, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

The Amish in Allen County don't call it "Penncylvania Dutch", not do they call themselves Pennsylvania Dutch, but they call themselves Amish and speak Amish in their homes. Last time I was in Bruggeman's lumber yard in Milan Center, there was a sign that said "rauchen sie Nicht". When I lived there, the post office once delivered to me a copy of Die Blatt meant for a neighbor. I think it's safe to say you're incorrect in your assertion that they don't speak the dialect of Palatine German which you call Pennsylvania Dutch. And I don't see why it would be confusing that the son of a Mennonite who immigrated from Belize to Honolulu in 1968 should not be considered Pennsylvania Dutch. It'd be confusing if he WAS! ClairSamoht 01:34, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Hex Signs[edit]

The Hex signs link said

Contrary to some popular fiction, hex signs are not a part of Amish culture.

so I removed it from this article. OK?

(PJB 19:03, 22 February 2006 (UTC) ( Talkin' to me punk?))

Amish stud service?[edit]

I live in Pennsylvania and have frequently been in Amish areas and around Amish people, although I have never personally spoken with one. I have heard from two different sources that there is a sort of "underground" practice within some Amish communities of allowing outsiders to impregnate their daughters to avoid inbreeding. During the act, most of the woman is covered by a sheet, including her face. And during the whole thing, the parents of the daughter remain in the room. Now, I know that most of you will think this is off-the-wall garbage. But I heard it from two indepent sources that know nothing of each other. So there is a definite rumor here in Pennsylvania that this takes place. Of course, it would violate the conservative beliefs of most Christians to do such a thing, so I have my doubts. I have not been able to verify this on the internet. I would be interested in any comments on this subject.

Seems to me likely you've got an urban legend here; many elements are present. Suggest you document when and where you heard it, and what you can about informants without violating confidentiality. tracks urban legends. Adamdavis 20:03, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

That story doesn't have any of the characteristics of an urban legend. It fits better in the 'malicious lie' category. The idea of being covered by a sheet is particularly odd; the Amish dress conservatively in public, but they are not prudes. Neither does the idea of parents having their daughters impregnated by outsiders pass the giggle test: there are virtually no babies born to unmarried Amish women. Your story sounds like a bad version of A Boy And His Dog. ClairSamoht 01:39, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, I checked on Snopes, and they don't have anything on the subject. I doubt they would waste their time researching this. ClairSamoht--I am a highly skeptical person myself. I agree with you that this is extremely unlikely, but I figured I'd see if anyone else could substantiate it, in the spirit of Wikipedia being about the unbiased truth. I heard it from two separate people, who don't know each other, living about 100 miles apart in Western PA. Both people knew people who claimed to have been involved with this. Very bizarre. What we would have here is two separate malicious lies, remarkably similar, which makes me wonder. But if noone else can verify it, I guess I'll dismiss it in my mind as a local urban legend.
I too checked Snopes, with the same result. I agree 100% with Claire that it's a malicious lie, but that doesn't prevent it from being an urban legend (Brunvand's books contain a number of tale-types and categories that would qualify as malicious lies; the "Lights Out" gang-initiation comes to mind). I googled key terms, and came up with two more independent versions of what I'm ready to call the "Amish stud service" legend. I think it fits many of the descriptors well -- it's foaf- (friend-of-a-friend)authenticated, it shows multiformity, it demonstrably rides the line of believability. Some folkorists would classify it as rumor rather than legend, because it's a generalized report rather than a specific narrative, but that's not a reliable divide. As for wasting time researching -- well, folklorists aren't much interested since the old historic-geographic days in whether something's accurate or not (I agree, that would be a waste of time). More regularly, there's a functionalist inquiry: why is this story told? What does it do for the people and groups who circulate it? I don't think that would be a waste of time at all (or at least, I have decided to waste some time in this way). Counterfactual stories (as this one almost certainly is) are interesting for that sort of study precisely because -- in the absence of factual warrant -- one can be sure that whatever reason people have for believing it is something psychological or sociological. Claire is right to zero in on the detail of the sheet -- it's strange, gratuitous, therefore probably meaningful, but the best appraoch is not to use it as an index of unlikeliness, but rather one of meaning. I'd want to collect more samples, with some context, before venturing a detailed interpretation, but it's pretty clear (to me) on the face of it that it comes out of ambivalence towards the alleged saintliness and purity of the the Amish, and the telling of the story is a kind of vicarious corruption (maybe rape is not too strong a word) of people whose moral superiority (claimed on their behalf rather than by them, of course) is experienced as a reproach. The story expresses a kind of Schadenfreude. I would think that the psychology of this narrative is identical with the motives behind the common misunderstanding/distortion of the "rumspringa," and the enthusiasm with which incidents of incest or abuse among the Amish are reported in a way they are not in the case of (oh, for example) Ukrainians. Adamdavis 15:18, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for such an intelligent response. I agree. I live near Pittsburgh, but the stories that I have heard come from Northeastern Pennsylvania, which is a nice place to visit. I don't think I'll be collecting any further samples on this because I don't want to bring people down, if you know what I mean. I think that they're misguided, but there is a certain charm to their philosophy (maybe that's why I like "The Village"). I would think them a bunch of sickos if this were the truth, as would most other people, so I don't want to ask around about this because it would just spread the rumor further, causing more people to come to this site looking for answers, and eventually raising it to the level of a true Snopes caliber urban legend.

I don't find the story particularly credible, but it does have the virtue of being verifiable, at least in principle. Scientists routinely take genetic samples from whole populations of, say, birds so as to determine the precise lines of descent. In fact, this is how we've discovered the popularity of cheating among birds we once thought to be strictly monogamous.

So, if we really, really wanted to -- and they let us -- we could find out exactly how true the story is. If we found people whose biological father is not their mother's husband, this would confirm the story. Even in cases where the father is dead, we could use close relatives to rule out the possibility that a non-Amish stud was used. While we were at it, we'd also be revealing some cases of marital infidelity and showing precisely how imbred some people are. Somehow, I don't see this ever happening.

As for the sex through a sheet thing, that's been done before, at least in terms of unverifiable stories. It's been claimed for orthodox Jews, who supposedly make use of a hole in the sheet. Alienus 20:31, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

"If we found people whose biological father is not their mother's husband, this would confirm the story." That would prove that the child is a bastard. It wouldn't necessarily provide support for this story. The story doesn't lack credibility because the Amish are especially saintly; they aren't, and the Amish don't claim otherwise. It's the details - the unwed pregnancy, the sheet, the motivation of improving genetic matter - that provide a lack of voracity. If you made up a story about a guy, having been injured by a kicking horse, enlisting his brother to repeatedly impregnate his wife so his kids would look like him, it'd be far more credible. If you made up a story about an Amish construction worker being recruited by an English couple to sire a child, that's far more credible, too. I suspect both of those circumstances have probably happened. But the story as given just doesn't make sense. ClairSamoht 04:14, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

To be more precise, if we determined that someone's father is not anyone in the Amish community, that would prove that it was an outsider. Depending on the sort of genetic markers that turn up, we might also be able to rule out anyone from other communities with which they often interbreed. Again, this comes down to the details. Not that it matters, since they'd never allow such an experiment to be performed.

An interesting article [2], which does point to some motivation for this story if really does happen (which I doubt). Mathmo 17:39, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

A movie [3] with a plot similar to what was mentioned at the start of this section, however a movie is of course a work of fiction... Mathmo 19:07, 25 May 2006 (UTC)


Could somebody please double-check if the correct Amish spelling is "Glassenheit" as given in the text (in the part about "Demut" and "Hochmut") as the correct German spelling is "Gelassenheit" (e after the G). Thanks! --Scot W. Stevenson 10:19, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

That spelling renders the Amish pronunciation accurately, but maybe a spelling like "G'lassenheit" would make it clear that it's not simply an error. Adamdavis 20:13, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
I´m from Germany and have corrected some German words, especially the nouns which we write with capital letters. Gelassenheit ist the right orthography. It might happen that according to dialect influence and area in Germany syllables and even vocals got lost in everyday language usage like with the word for "to go" which is written "gehen" but oftentimes just said "gehn". I think the same can be said for English, p.g. for the word "literature" which I heard just spoken as "littridgere". Standard High German is stronger on rules, but often softer on pronunciation. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) .
Keep in mind that Pennsylvania Deistch is a relatively isolated dialect and may not necessarily be pronounced nor spelled in the same manner as that which is used in Germany. Particularly in Lancaster County, where some clans have a great amount of English language influence upon their Deitsch language. --Thisisbossi 03:10, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I read some books by authorities on the Amish Hostetler and Kraybill several months ago, and I recall some talk about spelling, which maybe isn't very consistent or well-settled in Pennsylvania Deitsch. There's also some stuff in the language article about different systems of writing. Lou Sander 03:59, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
There are many non-Amish who write "tits" and "vittles", not realizing that those are the proper pronunciations of "teats" and "victuals", so it's not surprising that in a community where reading is not highly valued, spelling might be equally slipshod. You're also going to get a lot of variation between different communities. In Holmes County, they refer to non-Amish as Yankees; in Allen County, the term is "English". The language seems to vary as much as whether buggies must be open, or whether canvas shoes are allowed. ClairSamoht - Help make Wikipedia the most authoritative source of information in the world 04:31, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Copyright violation?[edit]

This webpage and the pages linked to at the top and bottom have the same text as this article. Have they taken it from us or the other way around? -- Kjkolb 09:00, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

I contacted the owners but they did not respond. For this and other reasons, I suspect that they have copied the content from Wikipedia. --

I attempted to contact you regarding this issue. I have no intention of violating wiki copyright. I have added the lisencing at the bottom of the page. I dont know if this is enough, but I appreciate the wiki service, and would like to operate my business in compliance with your standards! Let me know if I have done everything to ensure proper representation.Kjkolb 02:44, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Good article[edit]

This article in my opinion has a few problems, which I will perhaps correct later. Some are quite minor like rumschpringe is never translated as "jumping around" (that would be "rumtschumpe"), but others are more major like no mention of the word "Ordnung" anywhere in the article, which is a term that is fundamental to understanding the Amish. The article talks about teenagers and rumschpringe and seems to suggest that teenagers or young adults who choose not to get baptised ever are eventually shunned, which is not the case. The article could perhaps talk somewhat about the government and the Amish, esp. post 9-11, since U.S. security measures and the Amish Ordnung often conflict. There is no mention of the Amish history in Europe. I also don't like the references that non-Mennonites don't understand the Amish. A lot of Mennonites don't understand themselves let alone the Amish, especially those who don't live beside the Amish, and of course some non-Mennonites would understand them just fine. Just my 25 cents worth. Stettlerj 01:43, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

least the Amish won't be offend, because, of course, they can't read it. --Rubberchix 00:34, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

holmes morton[edit]

the doctor who runs the clinic for special children is named holmes morton, not morton holmes. i fixed it. (it appeared both ways in this article.)

Good additions would be...[edit]

I've recently read a few Hostetler and Kraybill books on the Amish, so I have a current layman's familiarity with the subject. This is a very good article. There could be more on:

  • The extensive practice of helping one's neighbors (barn raising, expanded)
  • Amish religious services (long services held every other week at a member's home, unusual singing, method of choosing ministers for a lifetime of service, etc. After all, Amishness is primarily based on religion.)
  • Specific references to a few of the authoritative Hostetler and Kraybill books.

I'm not quite up to doing these edits myself, but maybe someday...

Alcohol and other Intoxicants?[edit]

I remember reading somewhere that alcohol and other intoxicants (recreational drugs) are prohibited within Amish communities. The article does not currently seem to mention about it (unless I have missed it) and so I am wondering if this correct or not, or if (like Tobacco which is mentioned) the policies are different between different communities? Canderra 15:41, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Policies are different in different communities. Alcohol was used in early Amish communities as far as I know and the practice continues in some communities. Smoking occurs in many Amish communities. Stettlerj 21:09, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Wine is consumed by the bridal pair at many Amish weddings. Adamdavis 03:08, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

One of Hostetler's books mentioned that smoking and drinking are accepted by more conservative communities, including most old order groups, but frowned upon by some progressive groups. Pipe smoking is widely accepted, but cigs are "worldly." Of course the Amish do not approve of illegal recreational drugs, but there have been unfortunate and widely puublicized incidents, like the Amish cocaine dealing arrests. [4] Wachholder0 18:03, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Pop Culture[edit]

I deleted the statement that "they do not expose themselves to popular culture." Not sure it's meaningful without closer definition -- unless we're just talking about media which depend on electricity. Adamdavis 03:07, 3 June 2006 (UTC)


I have added Category:Asceticism and a mention of asceticism to this article because Amish are considered ascetic, correct?--Conrad Devonshire Talk 21:25, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

No, the Amish may seem ascetic since they choose not to do certain things we find pleasurable, but that's not the same thing as avoiding pleasure, or trying to detach themselves from materiality. You should see how those folks EAT! And they really like sweets. Nor do they have any problems with sex (really big families), though they are extremely private about it. They are very social (amongst themselves, of course) and enjoy parties (of a type many non-Amish might find dull, but whatever floats yer boat, y'know?) There is no tradition of self-mortification, and no rhetoric of avoiding pleasure, though they do talk about avoiding worldliness, by which they mean, vanity, selfishness, display, competition for status. In sum: I have not taken it on myself to delete these mentions, but I recommend doing so. Adamdavis

laundry photo[edit]

I adjusted the caption for two reasons; 1) they actually do use wringer washing machines. 2) The phrasing they're "not allowed to" may not quite convey the same sense as "they choose not to;" "they don't" is NPOV and factual.Adamdavis

Highly Questionable[edit]

"The Amish therefore likely pay more in taxes, especially real estate taxes, than it costs for the minimal government services they receive."

I dunno about that. It seems to me to be very difficult to quantify monetarily the various benefits that the United States government provides (life, liberty, property, to name a few). Although the "likely" softens it a bit, I still think it's a bit of a presumptuous statement. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 01:49, 15 July 2006 (UTC).

Well, maybe, but real estate taxes are mainly used to finance public schools, which the Amish do not use. Lou Sander 13:06, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
Some Amish children attend public schools, and some do not - and free public schools exist to benefit the community, rather than to benefit parents. That's why education is mandatory; we want educated voters.
In terms of federal taxes, however, the Amish don't have a free pass. They pay the same income tax, and excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol as everybody else. The vast majority of federal taxes go to support the defense department and veterans administration, which has not needed to defend the US civilian population from foreign invaders since the Mexican War; these days, we fight wars mostly to benefit people who drive cars and trucks. The second largest category of federal taxes go for welfare, health and education programs, which offer minimal benefits to the Amish. They don't benefit much from the National Weather Service without radio and TV, and they aren't allowed to drive on the Interstate Highway System.
The Amish don't pay social security taxes, but neither do school teachers, librarians, Congresscritters and other government employees who, like the Amish, provide their own retirement and disability system.
In terms of local taxes, a 10-unit apartment building and an amish farm may be subject to the same local property taxes, but the residents of the apartment building will have many more visits from the fire department, will have many more domestic disputes requiring police visits, will have many more traffic accidents requiring ambulances, will have many more occupants receiving public assistance of some form, will require more public parks and libraries, and require more in the way of community water and sewer treatment plants. Cows and cornfields are cheaper to govern than tenements and rowhouses. ClairSamoht 21:12, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
Interesting thesis, Clair. Perhaps you can do some investigation and publish your findings. Until then, it is original research, and not appropriate for inclusion, no matter how plausible it may seem. 08:22, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Regarding U.S. Social Security taxes, people who joined the federal work force after 1983 are part of the Federal Employee Retirement System and do pay Social Security taxes. (Prior to that time, federal employees were in the Civil Service Retirement System and did not pay Social Security taxes. Some employees remained with CSRS after FERS came into being, but anyone who started with the federal government in the last 22 years has paid into Social Security.) Members of Congress have also paid into Social Security since 1983. Teachers in public schools do pay Social Security taxes (I have taught in three states); likewise librarians, police offices, and other non-federal public employees. The comment above seems to confuse Social Security taxes with a pension system. — 04:34, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
I posted the comment immediately above (from; didn't notice I was not logged in. Sorry. — OtherDave 04:05, 8 October 2006 (UTC)


The number of Amish in Ontario is very small, certainly not worth an 'especially' in the distribution. DJ Clayworth 13:53, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I also think it is questionable that the Amish are an ethnic group. Whoever added that, please explain your reasoning. DJ Clayworth 15:52, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

This is discussed above. Wachholder0 23:15, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Although the Amish are ethnically homogeneous, they are not an ethnic group. Here is why, there are families where the parents are Amish, the grandparents were Amish, but 2 children are Amish, 3 children are Mennonite, 1 child is Quaker, and 2 are Baptists. This means that not everyone within the same nuclear family is of the same ethnic group. This can not be. Stettlerj 14:46, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
I find it curious that baptists and quakers continue to live in the same household as parents who conform to the ordnung; I'd think they'd set up their own households so that they can have television and microwave ovens. Now, the family next door to me, he's an english jew, she's WASP, and their atheist daughter that lives with them has three kids, by a black man, a Puerto Rican, and a Korean. Could you possibly name an ethnic group that does exist? ClairSamoht - Help make Wikipedia the most authoritative source of information in the world 18:33, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
The difference between the two scenarios is in the second one the different ethnic groups in the family result from marriage with spouses from different ethnic groups (and atheist is not an ethnic group so I don't see really the point). A mother and a child can be 60 and 40 years old, they still form a nuclear family, besides, the definition of nuclear family is beside the point. An Irishman who joins the Amish is still Irish. An Amishman who becomes Catholic is no longer Amish. He may still be Pennsylvania Dutch, but he is no longer Amish, and he does not consider himself Amish, nor do the Amish consider him Amish, because Amish, to the Amish and to those who left, is a religion. Stettlerj 20:25, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

It may be helpful to consider the example (as was included in a previous edit of the article) of the duality of Jewish identity, as both a religious and racial/ethnic group. Or consider the definition of ethnic group:

An ethnic group is a human population whose members identify with each other, usually on the basis of a presumed common genealogy or ancestry (Smith 1986). Ethnic groups are also usually united by common cultural, behavioral, linguistic, or religious practices. In this sense, an ethnic group is also a cultural community.
From an objective standpoint, an ethnic group is also an endogamous population, that is, members of an ethnic group procreate primarily with other members of their ethnic group, something which is measurable in terms of characteristic average genetic frequencies. These differences, however, usually do not approach the magnitude of racial difference in that the genetic differences within an ethnic group are greater than the difference between any two ethnic groups. The characteristic of endogamy is reinforced by proximity, cultural familiarity, and also social pressure (in extreme cases, by legal command) to procreate within the ethnic group.

It seems to me that the Amish easily meet these criteria. In one of Hostetler's books he refers to the Amish as an ethnic group, and approvingly quotes an early anthropoligist (also formerly Amish) who described himself as a member of "the Amish race." I will go to the library and dig it up if there is serious dispute on this issue. Wachholder0 21:49, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

When you claim that the Amish are not an ethnic group because members of a nuclear family are not all Amish, and it turns out that you're not talking about a nuclear family at all, then the definition of a nuclear family is very much the point. Suddenly your argument is that people who are NOT members of the same nuclear family are NOT of the same enthnicities, which is hardly much of an argument. An Amishman who joins the Roman Catholic church is not non-Amish. He is shunned, which is something that the Amish do only to themselves. And as for your case of the Irishman joining the Amish, that happens about as often as an Eskimo becomes an African-American. ClairSamoht - Help make Wikipedia the most authoritative source of information in the world 22:06, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
I am aware of the quote about the Amish race. It is true that the Amish are extremely homogenious and could be considered an ethnic group, however the term Amish is not used as an ethnic marker by those of Amish origin. I think the main problem with the use of Amish as an ethnic identity is that it does not meet the same criteria as Jewish. For example Jewish people regularly claim Jewish cultural identity even if they are non practising, secular, etc. People who leave the Amish do not claim to be Amish however. They lose their Amish identity. I suppose that is where I have trouble seeing Amish as an ethnic group, it is more with attidudes of those who leave. I personally am of Amish descendance, yet I do not consider myself Amish, and would be ridiculed by practicing Amish for calling myself Amish. If Amish were an ethnicity I should be able to say I am Amish but yet I can not, because I do not practice the Amish religion. Among the Amish, only those who practice the religion are considered Amish. All others, despite Amish background are not considered Amish, nor do they consider themselves Amish. This is where we differ from Jewish people in my opinion. I agree that besides this, Amish would meet the requirements of an ethnic group, it is just that the people themselves do not consider it as such and do not use the term in this way. If Amish were an ethnic group on the basis of a presumed common genealogy or ancestry then not only I but those Mennonites who descend from the Amish and others who left the Amish faith would be Amish because we share our genealogy and ancestry with the Amish. Stettlerj 22:08, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
If you and your parents both practice endogamy within the Amish ethnic group, you will be considered Amish by the Amish, and by everyone else, even if you are an atheist. If they didn't, and you don't, you will be considered non-Amish, even if you paint a door blue to announce that your daughter is now husband-high. ClairSamoht - Help make Wikipedia the most authoritative source of information in the world 00:30, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Stettlerj, I believe you are saying the Amish meet the definition of an ethnic group, but the Amish themselves use the term (almost) exclusively to denote those who are active members of the Amish church community, and not as an ethnic/racial designation, correct? If so, I will likely rewrite the article to point out that. Wachholder0 17:44, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Wachholder, yes, this is what I wish say. Stettlerj 22:33, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

I have added a sub-heading to the "population and distribution" to make this distinction. I hope this helps. As always, everyone should feel free to edit it as they see fit. Thanks are due to Stettlerj and ClairSamoht for discussing this topic. Wachholder0 00:41, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Why the vandalism?[edit]

There's sometimes a lot of vandalism here, and I'm wondering what's behind it. I've read several books on the Amish, but I haven't lived close enough to them to know why folks mightn't like them. Lou Sander 21:20, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

People know very little about the Amish. There are plenty of myths that can fool even those whom have grown up around the Amish -- particularly when it comes to topics such as Rumspringa. Basically, it's Human nature to mock what is unfamiliar. --Thisisbossi 21:48, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm wondering if they get mocked/vandalized in areas near where they live. I could see the school kids making trouble for the Amish kids, who don't go to the school kids' schools. Lou Sander 02:49, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Nah, I never really noticed any issues like that growing up in northern Lancaster County. Most people just accept it as a way of life, and when I was young I thought there were Amish everywhere -- not just primarily in Lancaster County. I'm sure there are some youths that have yelled nasty things and I can recall a couple times where the newspaper's police log mentioned vandalism or verbal abuse; but by-and-large it's not at-all a common occurrence. Oh, apart from when the Amish teenagers are playing with the electronics in the supermarket... I'll admit even I smirk at that, but people are usually respectful enough to keep their chuckling to themselves. All of the Amish I know are understanding that they lead a very different way of life and simply ignore any insults thrown their way. As they tell me, the major concern between them and the outside world consists of two things: rising costs of living and road safety. To them, public image is irrelevant. --Thisisbossi 01:18, 5 September 2006 (UTC)


I did a rough translation from the German Wikipedia to create the Ausbund article. It would be helpful for anyone knowledgeable to go over that article. It should probably be referenced from this article as well. JonHarder 20:50, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Amish and Mormons[edit]

The short paragraph about this has been edited and re-edited many times. If one Googles 'amish mormon', one finds many references to the confusion between the two religions, but no explanations for the confusion (at least I didn't find any). It seems like the main confusion was from the film subtitles. I've deleted the "since" stuff, since no source is cited, it seems pretty speculative, and folks keep editing the wording. Lou Sander 13:03, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

The reason Mormons and Amish are confused is because no one really takes the effort to get to know about either group. Both groups are somewhat secret and mysterious from the outside. I'm just not sure why they're confused, they're vastly different. I agree though, there should be no more editing regarding the Amish and Mormon confusion.Reidhoch 13:58, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Ordnung article[edit]

Ordnung, which is linked to by this article, has had little attention paid to it and could use expansion. --Xyzzyplugh 11:26, 23 September 2006 (UTC)


Amoruso 04:11, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

  • It might deserve its own article; I don't know. But it's not about the Amish, and need not be mentioned here.
  • A stateless person is one with no state or nationality. I don't know of any Amish person who falls into that category, although there might be some that exist, somewhere.
The Amish in Pennsylvania do vote, a fact that was underscored by Jack Brubaker's column Tuesday. You may recall that in 2004, Jack broke the news that during Bush campaign stop in Lancaster County, in which Bush met privately with the Amish, trying to win their political support, he told them "I trust God speaks through me," and it was Jack's mention of Sam's story that got national attention.[5] Bush's spokemen repudiated the quote. Well, in Tuesday's column, he reveals that when Bush was in Lancaster recently, trying to raise funds for quizmaster Lynn Swann's gubernatorial bid, he again met with the same Amish. I can't find the column online yet, but it was in the Tuesday New Era, so it ought to be on within a day or ten. ClairSamoht - Help make Wikipedia the most authoritative source of information in the world 05:39, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't see much of a connection between "The Village" and the Amish. This would also open the floodgates to a whole slough of vaguely relevant pop culture references which plague articles of this type. Also, the Amish are indeed citizens of the United States (or Canada, Belize, etc.) and have no desire to form their own polity. Indeed, I believe doing so would be contrary to their beliefs. Wachholder0 17:04, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
Thank you. Amoruso 13:32, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
I expanded the section on the Amish in popular entertainment, and removed The Village because as pointed out above it is not about the Amish, but about an "Amish-like" community; I think this section should be limited to those that are clearly depicting the Amish, and I emphasized those which have the Amish as a central theme, rather than a passing reference of which there are many more. I'm sure I didn't get all of those that should be included, though, so would welcome additions. Tvoz 08:58, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

International Phonetic Alphabet[edit]

Why the emphasis on this obscure alphabet at the expense of commonly-understood ways of expressing English pronunciations? The IPA article says it "is used, often on a day-to-day basis, by phoneticians, dialectologists, and other linguists; speech scientists and speech therapists; foreign language teachers; lexicographers; and translators." Most of our readers probably fall outside that group. Why disrespect them by using the jargon and symbology of a narrow academic field? Lou Sander 16:44, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

It is true that most people don't know this system but what system do they know? For accuracy reasons and because it is an international standard I think we should use IPA however. What phonetic writing system would everybody be familiar with anyway? The answer is probably none (what commonly understood way is there, for example, to show the difference between the vowel in food and foot which everyone understands?) Might as well use the internationally, scientifically accepted method and once learned, it can be applied to any language to show pronounciations. Stettlerj 17:31, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

BBC gets info from Wikipedia?[edit]

"Each district is fully independent and has its own Ordnung, or set of unwritten rules" ." This was from an edit I made yesterday. Today the following sentence is on the BBC: "Each district is fully independent and lives by its own set of unwritten rules, or Ordnung." Maybe just a coincidence. Stettlerj 20:32, 2 October 2006 (UTC) ([6])

If they 'fess up and give credit or link to the article, there is a category and templates for that: Category:Articles referenced by the press. At least they chose a sentence from a reputable editor. JonHarder 21:30, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I'd say it's highly unlikely to be coincidence. You should e-mail the BBC - if there's an address on their page - and politely inquire if they consulted the Wiki article in preparing their story. If the answer is yes, then the above template should be inserted. And beyond that: someone should politely let the BBC know - or the writer of that story - that Wiki should be credited when quoted or paraphrased. Is there an official Wiki policy that covers this?PaulLev 21:56, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Some articles that cover related issues are Wikipedia:Citing Wikipedia, Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks, Wikipedia:Wikipedia as a press source and their talk pages. A quick scan doesn't turn up anything about how to approach suspected plagerism. JonHarder 22:36, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
More similarities at the end of the BBC article: "In some ways, the Amish are feeling the pressures of the modern world. Commentators say child labour laws, for example, are threatening long-established ways of life." Much like the opening para of the section 'Relations with the outside world' has an article from 10/2 entitled "The Amish - a community frozen in time" that clearly was lifted directly from this article.

Ok - I put in a note about this, and a question about how best to proceed, in Wikipedia:Reference desk/Miscellaneous ("BBC & Daily Mail lift Amish Wiki text") PaulLev 17:29, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Well, the "consensus" over at Reference desk (two comments) is that the BBC should be written to, and anyone can do it. Stettlerj, would you like to do the honors?PaulLev 23:07, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

I do not feel strongly enough about it to complain. I am more upset that someone would actually use wikipedia or any other encyclopedia article as a primary information source. A high school student (at least in the better schools) is not even allowed to cite encyclopedia references for an essay because they are too general in nature. If someone feels strongly, then they should complain. Stettlerj 01:58, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
OK - I just sent the following to the BBC, via their official e-mail complaint system:
Dear BBC -
Your article "Who Are the Amish," published on your website yesterday, has two sections which seemed plagiarized from the Wikipedia article on the Amish --
"Each district is fully independent and has its own Ordnung, or set of unwritten rules" was written on Wikipedia the day before yesterday. Compare with the following which appeared on the BBC website yesterday: "Each district is fully independent and lives by its own set of unwritten rules, or Ordnung."
"The Amish as a whole feel the pressures of the modern world. Child labor laws, for example, are seriously threatening their long-established ways of life" appears in the Wiki Amish article (Relations with the Outside World section). Compare with your "In some ways, the Amish are feeling the pressures of the modern world. Commentators say child labour laws, for example, are threatening long-established ways of life."
I hope you can at least amend your online article to give Wikipedia the source credit it deserves. Beyond that, I'm sure the BBC is eager to reduce plagiarism, and will take steps to reduce the likelihood of this happening again.
I provided my e-mail for response. I'll keep everyone here posted on what I hear back.PaulLev 02:55, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Tragedy in Paradise[edit]

In light of today's events in Paradise, please take a moment of your time to honour the children whom have perished both in Lancaster County and in other schools throughout the country during this past week. I would just like to ask that, due to today's tragedy, those whom have come here to learn more about the Amish please understand that these are a people whom mean no harm of any kind toward the outside world. They are by their very creed a peaceful and non-resistant culture. I know this school well, and I am acquainted with many whom have grown up around it. May they all someday find peace. --Thisisbossi 23:25, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

My condolences. Inforazer 18:52, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Mine, too.PaulLev 19:18, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

BBC article[edit]

The BBC have just published an article on their website which is largely based on this one. It can be found at - 07:45, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, but we're already aware (look above 2 sections). --Thisisbossi 10:21, 3 October 2006 (UTC)


Although I can't really read IPA, I can tell there is only one pronunciation listed. On the news regarding the recent shootings two different pronunciations were used fairly consistently (in the UK at least): sometimes the first syllable as "arm" and sometimes as "aim". If there is a good explanation as to why one is more "correct" then it should be noted. Otherwise the other pronunciation should be added as a variant. GalaxiaGuy 10:49, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

I grew up adjacent to Amish Country and half of my family is of Amish/Mennonite descent. I can't speak for Amish communities elsewhere, but in that region it is universally pronounced "AHM-ish".--Caliga10 11:30, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
I did the IPA a few days ago and my researches agreed with Caliga 10 and suggested that the "ahm" pronunciation is the most accurate, and that is the one I transcribed. Just to add to the problem, I heard a third variation on the news with an "a" as in cat. This was originally in the article before I converted. I just don't know how many "incorrect" pronunciations we are bound to provide, since WP is not a dictionary --Slp1 11:54, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
In addition, I know that folks in Kentucky and Indiana use the prononciation I sounded out above (there are a number of Amish communities in Indiana), so I've heard it used elsewhere. I've never heard anyone use the "AIM-ish" pronunciation except for people with no exposure to the Amish (i.e. who are just guessing at the pronunciation). Can't say for sure whether or not it's used in western Pennsylvania or Ohio, though.--Caliga10 13:18, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

2006 Shootings[edit]

The article currently only mentions the recent tragedy in Nickel Mines in the "See Also" section. Does anyone think it should have a more prominent mention in this article, or is the link enough? Thoughts? -- Fogelmatrix 14:45, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't know that this article needs to address the shootings directly. But it does seem as though there might be questions raised by the shootings that this article could address. For example, I was wondering about how the Amish view modern medical technology, especially the use of respirators/ventilators or other life-support technology. It seems like this article could do a better job of discussing these questions, and it is certainly relevant at this time. –RHolton– 14:12, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Absolutely not (and an earlier section related to it was removed). To me, that would be like putting a similar section into the article on 'Pennsylvania'. Yes, this is a terrible tragedy, but it will likely not be a defining event in Amish society and history. If the shooting causes some kind of lasting change in Amish society (which frankly I find unlikely), then I'd want to see it mentioned in this article.--Caliga10 14:13, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

I tend to agree. But is there an article on School Shootings? If so, then that might be the right place to mention yesterday's tragedy, with a link to the Amish article.PaulLev 19:23, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Agreed.--Caliga10 21:44, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. I think the shooting should have its own article, linked from see also. Wachholder0 04:04, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
-I thought perhaps mentioning it in relation to the Amish's absolute pacifism, their complete rejection of violence. -- Fogelmatrix 17:55, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but again I respectfully disagree. I also note the irony given the beliefs of the Amish, but it's apparent that they were not targeted because they were Amish, but instead because they were conveniently-located in relation to the killer. Given that it (pardon me for making another analogy) is almost akin to including a section on the Colorado shooting that happened last week in the article about 'Caucasians' because the victim happened to be a Caucasian. There is already a link to the Amish school shootings article in the 'See Also' section of this article and I personally think that this suffices, because we do have an obligation to provide information to the casual viewer who might look at this article hoping to find information about the shootings.--Caliga10 17:01, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Caliga- I too must respectfully disagree. First, your analogy of this situation and the Colorado situation doesn't work. Caucasians are an ethnic group, a very wide ethnic group, encompassing damn near everyone of European descent (including the Amish). They encompass many countries and cultures. The Amish, on the other hand, are a very small community and a very distinct culture. Secondly, as the commenter below mentioned, the Amish reaction to this tragedy is very telling about their way of life. I think we all have been moved by the voice of a mourning grandfather forgiving the killer, even before his grandchild is laid to rest. It is a very appropriate example of the Amish's philosophy of peace, pacifism, and above all, forgiveness. -- Fogelmatrix 16:10, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
Would it not be a good idea to incorporate the tenants of forgiveness being shown by the Amish people in this situation, however. For example, they have welcomed the perpetrator's wife and have offered her charity as a victim in this situation. I would think it would be good to highlight this belief structure a little more in the article. Whether or not to reference this incident as an example would require a bit more thought though. -- 19:26, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Origin of Term "Pennsylvania Dutch"[edit]

It may be appropriate to point out in the intro that the term does not refer to Dutch ethnic origins but arose(?) from a mishearing by the "English" of "Deutsch" (German).

blue door for marrying?[edit]

I removed the reference to fathers of marriage-age daughters painting a door blue, as that is an urban legend, as far as I can tell (based on reading plus observation in Lancaster and Holmes counties). killearnan

I put it back, along with an ethnographic source. DavidOaks 22:33, 5 October 2006 (UTC)
I'd really like to see a better source if the 'fact' about the blue gates is going to stay. The practice isn't mentioned in any of the books I've checked (various Hostetler and Kraybill books, Scott's The Amish Wedding, and so on.......), and I don't know anyone who really relies on Aurand for information -- he's regarded as a bit sensationalist by the people I've heard mention him. The one mention I've found in a browsing my shelves is in Martha Denlinger's Real People: Amish and Mennonites In Lancaster County (Herald Press, 1993): "Some visitors have the idea that an Amish farmer paints his gates blue to announce that he has a marriageable daughter; that is completely untrue. Marriage outside the Amish faith is forbidden, and everyone in the church knows the status of everyone else. So what need to advertise! The Amish consider courtship a secretive matter."(p. 42) The definitely matches my observations in Holmes and Lancaster counties and the discussions I've heard Amish former neighbors have. If you have a more recent and reliable source than Aurand, I'd love to hear about it. killearnan

Verifiability is one of the three pillars of Wikipedia[edit]

Just a propos of nothing. 23:55, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Mary Kuepfer -- Canadian Amish girl hit by beer bottle in 1997[edit]

The account of Mary Kuepfer (the Milverton, Ontario Amish girl who was hit in the face by a beer bottle in 1997) asserts that the bottle was eventually found to have been thrown from a passing Amish buggy, rather than from a car as was originally assumed. Is there any source for this info? I've marked this claim with a {{fact}} tag; if no source can be found for the statement, it really ought to be removed. Richwales 04:51, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Sorry for putting in perhaps a comment directed at one person in the edit summary, I forget we are not supposed to do this (" inform you, the Globe and Mail reported that the bottle was thrown by the Amish themselves. The article would be from 1997 so have fun finding it."). I suppose the point I am trying to make is that even though I am not the person who included this story about the beer incident, I know the story and so I think it must be stated that it was thrown by the Amish themselves, as reported in the media... I am trying to find a source but I can't. It might have been that the conclusion was that it was thrown by the Amish. I know in Perth Co. that is what the general consensus was but whether it was proven or not is another story. I think the entire story should be removed since it is doubtful it deserves mention especially when there is no proof of what happened, and that probably it was the Amish themselves. Stettlerj 01:49, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

citation requests[edit]

I am requesting citation for the assertion that "Almost all of these Amish phones [shanties] have voice mail service from the phone companies". This is a very interesting point that I had not come across before -- I think it should be included if it can be supported by a source, but it is likely too new to be found in any of the usual sources and is not something that is widely known.Tvoz 21:33, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

I removed the request for a citation regarding Donald Kraybill's expert status as it is supported by the "Further Reading" section which lists five of his books about the Amish. (If there is still question, note that he has been all over the national media in recent days discussing the schoolhouse murders, as the premier academic authority on the Amish.)Tvoz 21:33, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

In movies AND fiction[edit]

I like how the categories movies, television and fiction are distinct. We would not want to confuse movies and television portrayals with fiction. Ha!

You know, it would have been ok and taken less time to just go in and change "fiction" to "novels" rather than making your comment here. But that's ok, I did it for you. (By the way - "fiction" was intended to encompass novels and short fiction, some of which I will be adding as soon as I collect the references. I'll fix the heading again then)Tvoz 19:39, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

modern technology[edit]

This section was removed - perhaps inadvertently? - and I have reinstated it.

Also, the most recent edits of the telephone paragraph were incorrect. The article referenced noted that as cell phone use has increased in the general population across the country, the number of public pay phones has decreased. The impact this has had on the Amish in Maryland, and presumably elsewhere, is that fewer pay phones are available to them, so they are increasingly doing what Lancaster County Amish have been doing for a long time - they are building and using phone shanties at the edge of their property, or perhaps on a neighboring "English" farm, so that they can make phone calls but not have the telephone intrude into their homes. So the edit saying that the phone shanties have decreased was incorrect - I have reinstated the original wording, and clarified it. Tvoz 16:44, 11 October 2006 (UTC)


I removed the POV tag that was put up last night without any explanation - I see no justification for it, as this article is a neutral description of the Amish and has been designated a "good" article. If there are objections to it I think they should be discussed here before throwing on a tag that questions the neutrality of an article that has been diligently worked on by many editors, and that does not make value judgments. Tvoz 18:55, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Ack, I'm so sorry T_T I wasn't really paying attention, and I read the first few sentences and it seemed negatively biased. Guess kaiti shouldn't work when half asleep! Again, my apologies... stupid mistake ~Kaiti~ 12:27, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
It's ok, Kaiti - none of us should work when we're half asleep! No harm done. Tvoz 15:56, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Category removals?[edit]

Why was this page removed from the 'Pennsylvania culture' category? The Amish are an important part of Pennsylvania history and culture. If the idea in doing so was to emphasize that the Amish can be found in large numbers in other states, then I think a more appropriate solution would be to link the article to categories on state culture for those states.--Caliga10 12:16, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Caliga10 completely on this and am reinstating the categories and adding a few others. Also will look for appropriate cats to add from other states. Although at present Ohio's Amish population is a bit higher, Pennsylvania and the Amish are closely intertwined and someone browsing on another PA page should be able to link back to Amish via categories. Unless there is some other reason that is not apparent, I think the cats should remain. Tvoz 16:49, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Ontario buggy - beer incident[edit]

Sorry for putting in perhaps a comment directed at one person in the edit summary, I forget we are not supposed to do this (" inform you, the Globe and Mail reported that the bottle was thrown by the Amish themselves. The article would be from 1997 so have fun finding it."). I suppose the point I am trying to make is that even though I am not the person who included this story about the beer incident, I know the story and so I think it must be stated that it was thrown by the Amish themselves, as reported in the Globe and Mail or the entire mention of the event needs to go. The event was reported in 1997 in the Canadian media and probably got no mention in the US. Stettlerj 01:36, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

weddings and celery[edit]

User removed the reference to celery from the wedding section suggesting it was a joke entry. I did a quick check and found several separate websites that talk about this custom (not picked up from this Wikipedia article) so I reinstated the text, slightly modified it, and added two of the sites as reference info. If anyone knows more about this, and can verify the accuracy or inaccuracy of the item, please do so. Otherwise edits shouldn't be based on people saying they "know" something is incorrect just because they've personally never seen it. Tvoz 06:30, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for your research and edits. Next time I'll add a question to the discussion page rather than deleting text. I did a bit of research. According to the two web sites you linked to, both of the web pages are describing the Amish in Pennsylvania. The Amish weddings I attended were in Holmes County, Ohio and Reno County, Kansas. I obviously don't know first hand what all Amish weddings are like. Tonight, I asked an Amish lady from Kansas about celery at weddings. She confirmed that the Amish in Pennsylvania do serve cooked celery at their weddings, but she said it's not the main course. Based on what she said, the original statement "Celery is the main food..." was indeed false. Even if celery were the main food in Pennsylvania, the original statement would still not be true unless it would be qualified to say that it only applies to Amish in some parts of the country. Your changes do make it more accurate. 01:24, 24 October 2006 (UTC)


Just a heads up that someone whacked off the whole end part of this article, which the reverters have missed. I'm busy working on other problems, so won't fix it myself. JonHarder 00:43, 25 October 2006 (UTC)F

I fixed this - not clear how it happened, if it was vandalism or an edit error. Pleae check Preview before posting edits. Tvoz 09:57, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Songbook Photo[edit]

--MarcoLittel 16:03, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Added a photo I took of an Amish songbook at the language section; remove it if you think it inappropriate.-
Nice photo - not at all inappropriate. Thanks for sharing it! Tvoz 17:54, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

What songbook is it? It should be noted that it is not the version of the Ausbund they use in their services since the one they use in their services is noteless. Stettlerj 20:26, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
Can't help you with that, sorry. I took it in a Amish house/museum and did not get look at the title or anything.--MarcoLittel 21:30, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
It is maybe a hymn book used at youth sunday night singings or kept in Amish homes. "Vom Kreuz und Leiden" is probably a Lutheran hymn and it was written by Johann Pachelbel. So this is definitely not the Ausbund. Also the Ausbund has only about 140 songs wheras this has many more. However, I wonder what it is doing at an Amish house museum. Stettlerj 00:06, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
As I said, I took the picture at an Amish house/museum and did not get to see the title. I'm not an Amish expert, so if it's inappropriate inappropriate please remove it; however it was very interesting to see that old German text in Pennsylvania; it's not something you associate with the USA as an outsider. --MarcoLittel 07:37, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
Here's a snippet i found on one of the hymns found on the photo (Wer Gott vertraut, hat wohl gebaut):

This hymn was originally in one stanza. It is based on Ps. 73:25, 26. Joachim Magdeburg published it in his Christliche und tröstliche Tischgesenge, etc., Erfurt, 1572, where it is a hymn for Saturday evening. Stanzas 2 and 3 are first found in Harmonia Cantionum Ecclesiasticarum, Leipzig, 1597.

Letter Writing[edit]

Can anyone else find anything online relating to Amish letter writing? I've noticed among my Amish relatives that they tend to write letters to one another much more frequently than the 'English'. This is due to the obvious lack of telephones, but I was just wondering if anyone had seen anything worth quoting on it? Reidhoch 13:21, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

First sentence[edit]

The Amish are ... found in the United States and Ontario, Canada. They are living there, not found. What is the real true? --Pockey 20:49, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Feel free to be bold and edit such things by yourself :) I changed it slightly and invite others to modify it further. --Thisisbossi 21:43, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Time for the long tag?[edit]

The article is getting fairly large. Should some of the material be spun off into new articles? Wachholder0 15:00, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

It is a little long, but I don't think any of it should be spun off at this point - it's well integrated, and all sections seem to me to be directly relevant and necessary for an understanding of this group. It makes sense to spin off when there are, say, long lists inside an article - but in this case I'd rather see it remain intact as it is. Tvoz 16:34, 3 December 2006 (UTC)