Amish names and their meanings

The Amish names recur frequently due to the closed nature of their lifestyles. Their hesitancy to proselytize and unwillingness to unite with groups following certain behavioural patterns, dress codes, reluctance in embracing technology are among the factors making borrowing of names another shortcoming. Most of the names are derived from the Bible irrespective of The Testament. However, some are independent of the Bible. Amish Names from the Bible include Amos, Eli, Samuel, Moses, John, Jacob among others. These male names are common given their significant efforts in spreading God’s message in the capacities of priests and prophets. Non-biblical male names commonly used include: Leroy, Wayne, Elmer, Vernon, Mervin. Unlike Elijah (a prophet in the bible), the name Eli is common among the Amish names. In Hebrew the name John means God is gracious. Its popularity relates to the key Johns in the Bible, that is, John the apostle and the Baptist. Wayne is derived from England meaning wagon maker. Mervin can take the form Mervyn, Marvin or Marwan depending on taste and preference. However, some parents shy away from some of these names and prefer first names that are less common. They are mostly short forms of names i.e. Hannes from Johannes, Rudy from Rudolf. With respect to girls; Sarah Mary Elizabeth Rebecca Naomi, are some of the Biblical names. Mary is quite a catch since the virgin Mary refers to the mother of Jesus in the bible. Popular Mary in the bible is also Mary Magdalene. The name Elizabeth owes its popularity to the name John since according to the Bible Elizabeth John the Baptist’s mother. Sarah in Hebrew means princess Changed by God during the Old Testament from Sarai in a covenant. Non-biblical names common among girls; Linda ruby Fannie Emma with Adel, Lynita, Bena among the few common ones. These first names generally are also passed down among generations with surnames such as Fisher, Miller, Stoltzfus, Yoder, basically shared among most Amish communities today.