Ancestry Name Origin

Like many people, we are interested in the ancestry and origin of our family surname. In his first book, Fred Wampler traced the Wamplers to Alsace (pronounced Al-sack), Germany from which they came in 1741. Alsace is in an area in Germany that had changed hands many times between the Germans and the French. At the time our ancestors came over to America, this area was called the Palatinate and those who came from here were called “Palantines.”

Granddaddy Wampler always thought that our ancestors were German but that was only partially true. They did speak German and lived in a German culture, but as Fred Wampler went back a generation or two he discovered that the Wamplers originally came from a beautiful Alpine Valley in Switzerland. Here he found records of christenings, he visited early dwellings of our family and took a number of pictures of the area. Dr. Wampler was the first genealogist to discover our roots in Switzerland and when he visited, he was the first Wampler in 300 years to go there.

Near the village of Diemtigen in Bern Canton, Switzerland are four houses that lie in the shadow of a wall of stone that rises high into the Swiss sky. The ancestry name origin for this kind of structure in the Swiss/ German dialect is “wandlfluh.” (pronounced vand-flew, well, sort of) . Someone who lived near one of these walls of stone would have been called a “Wandfluher” (again the W is pronounce V) which then became the ancestry name origin Wampfler, and then Wampler. There is even a sign at a bus stop of a place called “Wamplen” verifying the ancestry name origin of the Wampler Family.

Brethren Roots

Granddaddy Wampler was a story teller.

He always began with “have I told you the one about…”  and before you could say “yes,” if indeed you had heard it,  he was off to the races.   Most of Granddaddy’s stories were about people , which I think speaks well of where his interests and priorities lay.  With all of his accomplishments,  I don’t remember that he  boasted about himself. (not a lot anyway)  I had always supposed that the stories he told were true, truth as he knew it to be, but as I began searching for the Wampler ancestry I discovered several errors.  (I know this is patently presumptuous – my apologies,  Granddaddy)

Granddaddy seemed certain that the Wamplers had always belonged to the Church of the Brethren.   In the paperback booklet he put together in 1970 he stated,  “these Wamplers (the ones who came in 1741) were followers of Alexander Mack (founder of the Church of the Brethren).”

Brethren Church

I discovered that the Brethren movement had already begun in the early 1700’s as a protest to the three recognized state religions in Germany – Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed – in  particular,  they were opposed to infant baptism.  Alexander Mack was born in Germany in 1679 and was baptized and reared in the Reformed Church.  In 1708 he was one of the first to receive adult baptism,  which, at that time, was against the law.  In 1729 he, and 60 other families, immigrated to America where others involved in the Brethren movement had come 10 years before.

It is documented  that Hans Peter Wampler, Jr., our direct ancestor,  came with his family  to Pennsylvania in 1741. He had been christened in Alsace, Germany on August 4, 1722 at a Lutheran or Reformed church.  Hans Peter Jr. was married at Hill Lutheran Church in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania in 1743 and he and his wife sponsored several infant baptisms there of friends and family.  So when, exactly,  did the Wamplers become involved in the Brethren Church?

Fred Wampler of  Santa Fe, New Mexico has done extensive research on our Wampler ancestry.  He descended from Hans Peter, Jr.’s brother Hans Michael.   While I was in Salt Lake City, early in my research,  I went to the Genealogy Library there and found his first book “Wampler Family History 1701-1980.”  Later he published a second book  “Wampfler (Wampler) The 1500’s-1700’s.”  From these two well-documented and well-researched accounts,  I learned some very interesting facts about our ancestors and give him full credit, as noted (FW), for his work that I use hereafter.  In the past 15 years I have found other sources on my own – I have put together a intriguing and sometimes surprising picture of the Wamplers,  complete with unsolved mysteries,  Indian abductions,  and several very strange wills.

On Sunny Slope Farm Wins a WeddingWire Couples' Choice Award® 2015Harrisonburg’s Own On Sunny Slope Farm Wins a WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® 2015

Harrisonburg, Va – January 7, 2015 – WeddingWire, the nation’s leading online wedding marketplace, named On Sunny Slope Farm as a winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2015 for Wedding Venues in Harrisonburg, Virginia!

The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2015 recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. The esteemed awards are given to the top local wedding vendors in more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on their professional achievements from the previous year.

While many industry award winners are selected by the host organization, the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with On Sunny Slope Farm. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients.

“It’s always exciting to start the year by honoring the top-rated wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Network who represent more than two million reviews on our website,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “Each of the businesses recognized are committed to quality, professionalism and all around top-notch service. We applaud On Sunny Slope Farm for their impressive achievements within the wedding industry.”

As a Couples’ Choice Awards® winner, On Sunny Slope Farm is highlighted within the WeddingWire Network, which is comprised of more than 200,000 wedding professionals throughout North America and abroad.

On Sunny Slope Farm is proud to be one of the top Wedding Venues in Virginia in the WeddingWire Network, which includes leading wedding sites such as WeddingWire, Project Wedding,, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Weddingbee. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. We value all of our clients and truly appreciate the positive feedback that helped us earn the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2015.

For more information about On Sunny Slope Farm, please visit our WeddingWire Storefront.

To learn more about the Couple’s Choice Awards®, please visit Couples Choice Awards.

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Introduction | Historic Family Stories

I can’t remember when I wasn’t interested in our family history. Growing up on Sunny Slope Farm with stories of Civil War barns, wash houses, wells being dug, draft horses being bred and sold, the Dunkard Church influence and hundreds of other Granddaddy Wampler tales, I came, early on, to an appreciation of what I had come from and how it influenced who I was and would become. Being a Wampler in Rockingham County brought with it certain advantages and some disadvantages, a sense of both pride and responsibility to a rich tradition and a wealth of family lore. As I’ve talked with others in the family I have discovered that some, like I, are extremely interested in our genealogy and some couldn’t care less (Daddy, for one – although he does enjoy passing down some stories of his own.) Granddaddy Wampler was certainly interested and knew the family history back quite a few generations.

My first serious poking around into our genealogy came in 1989 when Harry and I took an extended RV trip out west. When we got to Salt Lake City, Harry wanted to go to the Mormon Genealogical Library to look up information on his family. I decided to browse and found a book by Dr. Fred Wampler of Santé Fe, New Mexico, who had traced our family’s roots. There were some real surprises in his research and from then on, I was hooked. Each year, on our RV trips north, I stopped at historical societies in Pennsylvania and began research on my own. I planned to use this information as a backdrop for a novel I was writing. After seven years of interweaving, what I considered, this fascinating family saga into the book, my editor informed me that though the stories were, indeed, fascinating, they simply did not work in my novel.

So I decided that what would work was to compile our ancestral story for my family, who, I was confident, would think it fascinating.

Recently, my son, Harry Jarrett, who happens to be one of the Wampler descendants who IS interested in our family history and the history of the farm where he owns and operates an events venue called ON SUNNY SLOPE FARM, asked if I would share my own research into the origins of the Wampler family. What will follow in the coming year is material that I gathered and wrote down for my own family as well as stories handed down and invented by a host of family members.