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  • Ephrata Cloister


Householder Homecoming

Date(s): 08/01/2020
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Householder Homecoming Now A Virtual Visit

            The married members of the Historic Ephrata Cloister always played an important role in the community’s success. These families, known as Householders, lived in the neighborhood on their own property, practicing a range of trades, and joining the celibate Brothers and Sisters in worship. Today, generations of the earliest families live through the nation.

            Saturday, August 1 will offer a special program to help descendants of these early families discover the place where their ancestors gathered. The Householder Homecoming planned to take place at the historic site is now a virtual visit happening at 2:00 p.m. that afternoon. Museum Educator Michael Showalter will host a new program called “Our Brethren Who Have Their Own Farms:” The Householders of Ephrata. The Zoom program will highlight the role of the Householders in early Ephrata and explore the relationship between the family members and their better known celibate counterparts.

            Advanced registration for this free program is necessary. You can register for this program at: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event.

            Householders have a longer history with the community than the celibate Brothers and Sisters. Even before Conrad Beissel arrived at the site of Ephrata in 1732, he had a following of families. These members provided economic support to the community and received assistance from the celibate members. At the peak of the community in the mid-18th century, the married congregation outnumbered the celibate order with about 200 family members. After the death of the last celibate member in 1813, the remaining Householders inherited and maintained Ephrata’s buildings, grounds, and artifacts. They formed the German Seventh Day Baptist Church at Ephrata and continued to live and worship at the historic site until 1934.

            During the eighteenth-century, nearly 140 different families associated with the community. Keeping track of genealogy for all these families is a daunting task, and the site’s limited resources remain focused on the first-generation members and their most immediate families who made direct contributions during the community’s founding century. The Historic Ephrata Cloister holds few genealogical records extending beyond the eighteenth-century, and many records remain incomplete. Genealogical materials relating to subsequent generations are extremely limited in scope. To learn if your family is among those with ancestry connected to the historic site, click here to view the list of people currently recognized as members of the Ephrata Cloister and the subsequent Ephrata Congregation of the German Seventh Day Baptist Church (1732—1934). We’ve also created short family histories of some people connected with the Eprhata Cloister. To view, click here.

For more information, email


Ephrata Cloister

Administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission:
Josh Shapiro, Governor – Hayley Haldeman, Chair – Andrea Lowery, Executive Director

Ephrata Cloister is one of 26 historic sites and museums on the Pennsylvania Trail of History. For more information or to request a free 24-page visitor guide, visit or phone toll free 1-866-PATRAIL.

The Ephrata Cloister Associates is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, supporting the mission of preservation and education at this National Historic Landmark.

Anne Brossman Sweigart Charitable Foundation
Irene Weidman Charitable Foundation
Ephrata National Bank
Black Forest Brewery/Americana 1777 Inn
A Woman’s Club of Ephrata
The Historic Ephrata Cloister May Hours of Operation: OPEN 9am - 4pm Wednesday through Saturday & OPEN 12pm - 4pm Sunday. CLOSED Monday and Tuesday