Last time I wrote about my family history in the context of the greater US history of colonial times. The more I learn, the more questions I have!
Take the Ohio Bethesda church of 1808. I found a lot of information about it through my ancestor Johan Mathias Noah. I started looking at him and that branch of the family because I was wondering about all the Old Testament names. Where did they come from?
So then I came across this, one of the initial Bethesda covenants: “We do solemnly promise not to divulge the secrets of the Church to the world, and to keep the concerns of the House of God completely within itself.”
I’m so curious. What were the secrets?
So then I came across this, another account of Johan Mathias Noah and his wife, Elizabeth Schmidt. Maybe they were Quakers, or maybe Mennonites?
So then I wondered: what are Mennonites?
The Internet is so sneaky. It leads you off in all these different directions. I came across this page on connections between Mennonites and Jews. There are a lot of similarities between the two faiths, apparently.
Now I’m thinking, where did the similarities come from?
And also: I learned about Crypto-Jews from the amazing author Kathleen Alcalá. Is it possible that there were other kinds of hidden Jewish communities throughout history, yet to be discovered? Did Mennonites start out as Jews, for instance?
Oh, curiosity. Good thing I’m not a cat, or it would kill me!
Guess I’ll keep on digging.