Learn the Meaning Behind Your Common Mennonite First Name (Men’s List)

When Menno Simons received the Ten Commandments back in 1536, he was also provided with a list of holy and righteous Mennonite first names, ten for women and ten for men. For centuries the original list was thought to be lost and had been spread solely by oral tradition. However, recently The Daily Bonnet has discovered the original list of Mennonite names as given to Menno Simons himself.

If your own name is not on this list, you may have to question the moral character of your parents.

Acceptable Mennonite Men’s Names and Their Meanings:

*Abraham (Abram, Abe): This name is Hebrew in origin and means “father of a multitude.” This tradition of fathering excessive numbers of children has been carried on by the Mennonites well into the 21st century. Famous Abes: Lincoln, Vigoda, Unger.

Art (Arthur): The word literally means “noble and courageous.” Depending on your particular understanding of courage there either were very many or very few Arts in the Selbstschutz. Famous Arts: Conan Doyle, Miller, Ashe, Wiebe.

*Cornelius (Corny, Knels): The name comes from an obscure Bible character who was generally regarded as the first Gentile convert to Christianity. The name means “horn,” so it’s actually rather inappropriate to abbreviate by adding a Y at the end. Famous Cornys: Vanderbilt, Rempel, Rhymer.

*David (Dave): So, if you have this name, you were named after the most important and famous of all the Hebrew kings. The name means “beloved.” It also means that you’re pretty deadly accurate with the sling-shot, which as a Mennonite, you are prohibited from ever using, even in self-defense. Famous Davids: Letterman, Bowie, Suzuki, Plett.

Henry (Heinrich, Hank): It’s kind of ironic that so many Mennonites named their children after kings and leaders. This name literally means “ruler,” which is exactly what Mennonites are never supposed to be, but what Mennonite Sunday School teachers occasionally used to discipline naughty children. Famous Henrys: Kissinger, Morgentaler, O., Kleinsasser.

*Jacob (Jakob, Jake): Literally – ‘supplanter,’ or in more colloquial terms, ‘a pain in the neck.’ You should name your baby this if he comes out and you can tell right away that he looks like a real Schwaä. Famous Jacobs: Gyllenhaal, Marley, Zuma, Peters.

*John (Jonathan, Johan): The word means “God is gracious.” Though it also means a prostitute’s client and a toilet. In this case, I’d stick with the first definition if I were you. Famous Johns: Lennon, Wayne, Denver (his grandmother was a Mennonite), Krahn.

Klass (Klaas, Klaus, Class, Claas, Claus, etc.): This is actually a shortened version of Nicholas, but is only listed as “acceptable” in this abbreviated version. It means “victory of the people,” which is why no Toronto Maple Leaf in history has ever had the name Klass. Famous Klaases: Santa, Bruinsma, Klassen.

Menno: Ahh, here it is, the holiest of all Mennonite names. It means strength, which can refer to physical, mental, spiritual or, in most cases, body odour. Famous Mennos: Simons, Meyjes, Oosting, Fast.

*Peter (Pete, Petey): Every good Mennonite under the age of 50 grew up listening to Christian rock legends Petra, so we all know that Peter means “rock or stone.” Of course, those of you who grew up listening to hymns probably know this, too. Famous Peters: the Great, O’Toole, Sellers, Dueck.

*Denotes names of Biblical origin, which guarantees the bearer a spot in Heaven

See women’s list here.

(photo credit: by pburka )