Frequently Asked Questions

I would like to have a special event (wedding, birthday party, family reunion) at the 1719 Herr House & Museum. What are my options?
We appreciate your interest in the Museum as a setting for your special occasion. It is possible to schedule private functions at the Museum on many days of the year, including evenings and other times when the Museum is normally closed. Please understand that on the dates of our special events, it may not be possible to accommodate another event. A Museum staff person must be present for any special use of the Museum.

Contact the Administrative Assistant by writing the Museum (1849 Hans Herr Drive, Willow Street, Pennsylvania 17584), by telephone (717) 464-4438, or by e-mail:

I am (or think I am) a descendant of Hans Herr. How can I find out more?
Congratulations! You are part of a very large group with the surnames Herr, Heer, or Hare, who are descended from Hans, not to mention those with other surnames.

In 1908, a genealogical record of the lineal descendants of Hans Herr by Theodore Herr was published; this was republished with an improved index in 1980. We offer this record for sale in our museum store. It is, however, incomplete in two respects. First, certain lines of descent are not represented in this record: the Kentucky branch of the family, though numerous, is mysteriously completely absent. Second, because the record ends at 1908, many people now trying to trace their lineage may have difficulty using the record, because they do not know of the generation of their ancestors before that date. In other words, if you know the name of your grandfather, say, and he was born in 1916, we may or may not be able to help you much.

Furthermore, Theodore Herr’s book presented the Herr family as having been descended from the knight Hugo Herr, a figure from the Middle Ages. This has since been shown to be false, and little is actually known for sure about the Herr family genealogy prior to the Hans Herr after whom the Hans Herr House is named.

We wish to encourage you to explore your own past. Generally, we recommend that you contact other members of your family and try to get as much information as you can from them. You may also wish to contact the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, although their genealogical records are also incomplete. We wish that we could give you a more complete, instantaneous resolution of your search, but we fear that it is the nature of genealogical research that the successes are such a thrill because there is great labor involved. Best wishes in your quest!

I have some old things (farm equipment, Herr family memorabilia, artifacts) that I would like to donate to the Museum. What is your policy on donations and what can I do next?
Generally speaking, we are happy to examine artifacts (even fairly large objects like threshers) to determine their suitability in the Museum. Smaller objects you may bring to the Museum: a staff member will ensure that the Curator will examine them. Especially for larger items, the Museum staff (sometimes including members of the Board) will wish to make a determination about the suitability of a donation before preparing any donation forms. (For certain small items, like postcards, books by Benjamin Herr, and pottery sherds, a donation form may be prepared immediately).

The Museum’s accession policy specifies several forms to be used in the accession process: one must be signed by the donor to certify the gift. Other forms are prepared by the Office of the Curator.

Please keep in mind that a donation to the Museum does not guarantee that the object or objects donated will be on display now or at any time in the future. Many items in the collection of the Museum are presently in storage as appropriate to the item.

For more information, or to discuss donations, contact the Director, by writing the Museum (1849 Hans Herr Drive, Willow Street, Pennsylvania 17584), by calling (717) 464-4438, or emailing at