You are entering a new realm in researching your German Baptist Brethren ancestry. This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren. While the companion site, German Baptist Brethren Almanacs, Annuals & Yearbooks, holds many of the periodicals, this site will contain the various district histories, congregational histories, etc., etc., that have been professionally digitized by your host.
Yes, a good-sized portion of the works represented herein can be located online at "archive" web sites, but they are not truly archival in nature. In truth the majority of them are little better than poor, second generation Xerox copies. And, the files are often corrupted! A better term for that digital workflow would be "informational digitization" in that those works are generally lower in quality by magnitudes than what you will discover here. Furthermore, those images were acquired and highly compressed with the caveat that the images, before being compressed, were not tonally adjusted. Even worse is that the images were never saved in an archival digital file format. A picture was taken with the images immediately output to a PDF file for display on the Internet. No care was taken to ensure that the images would stand the test of time.
In our case the images were scanned in their entirety, in other words not cropped, with the over scan (that portion of the image outside of the page itself) being carefully removed. After several weeks of acquiring and "cleaning" the images, metadata was applied to the record set. For those not understanding that term, metadata is information about the image, in this case, the book and bibliographical information. Metadata can be thought of as the writing often found on the reverse of those old photographs we all have. In the case of the digital images the metadata was input into each and every image, no matter the size of the work being digitally preserved.
After this step a duplicate set of images was created for tonal and sharpness adjustments. The series of steps followed for each record set in creating this set of actions was carefully recorded so that the adjustments so made could be recorded into the metadata. After designing and running a script that accomplishes much of this, in actuality only a portion of the images to be adjusted needing to be sampled, the script was run for this alternate group of images.
At this point the images to be displayed on the Internet needed to be created. Again, a series of scripts was designed to accomplish this. This process removing the metadata from the images to be displayed online, the metadata was re-inserted into the online set of images. The final phase was to create a series of pages to be displayed online.
The result of these processes is now available to you. In the main most of the content available on this site is available to subscribers only. There is material available to non-subscribers, but it is limited.
The menu system utilized to access the books can be difficult to understand. It could have been simpler in design, if only the various books themselves had fallen into one larger overriding category. Such, however, is not the case. This site will eventually house books covering those states for which there have been district histories and other more generalized books.
In the case of the various district histories there are many states that are split into three, or more, districts. Pennsylvania has four districts: Eastern, Middle, Southern and Western. And, each district may have more than one published history; such as the 1920 and 1955 histories for the Southern District of Ohio. Thus there will be under the District menu link (when it is created) a link for Ohio > Southern District > 1920 as well as a 1955 menu item. The menus will be logical in nature so that should be fairly easy to follow.
Such may not be the case for other Brethren historical works. For instance, as of this writing there are two books online, The Minutes of the Annual Meetings of the Brethren — 1778 - 1917 and Some Who Led — Or — Fathers in the Church of the Brethren Who Have Passed Over. One book is a biographical work while the other is non-biographical in nature. Thus under the General menu link there will be a sub-menu item for each, Biographical and Non-biographical.
The only other envisioned menu item is one entitled "Congregational," or named something alike it, for the various and numerous congregations for which there are published histories.
Today’s blog, the first in a series that will hopefully be an on-going explanation of what I am presently working on, is about the various Brethren Miller families who were early settlers of Montgomery county, Ohio. The opening section below is some comments about the Miller families of note, followed by what I am working on at this time. In essence there are three Miller families that interest me, and I am not even remotely related to any of them, so, to that end, here goes.
This blog entry shall deal with finalizing, almost, the lands of Elder Daniel Miller (1755-1822). Elder Daniel owned land that today lies along the Upper Bear Creek Road of Miami township, Montgomery county, Ohio. When he owned it, and prior to that, the land was owned by Elder Jacob Miller (ca. 1838-1815). Normally to plat land it is fairly easy to transcribe a single deed and overlay that onto high-quality scans of the Montgomery County, Ohio Atlas of 1875. In this instance it is difficult as that particular section, in 1875 versus the early 18th Century, had been cut up into differing tracts. In other words, it was not easily done because of intervening deeds. To rectify this it fell upon me to pull all the deeds, at least those that were recorded for this section, which led to some discoveries.
If you arrived at this page via a Rootsweb mailing list posting then the material below is the same as in the posting to the mailing list. In that case, click on the button. However, if you discovered this blog entry, then please read the content below.
This particular blog entry is about an item not normally covered by the mailing lists I am involved in. My interests lying primarily with the German Baptist Brethren and Montgomery county, Ohio, and this book being about Ohio history, it may or may not be of interest to others.
This blog entry shall be another foray into the mysteries of land records, or perhaps more correctly, what can be found if you dig deeply enough into them. Additionally, it will include a somewhat fictionalized account of what may have occurred if your ancestor was contemplating moving to the newly opened Northwest Territory.
Unfortunately with the advent of the Internet, recliner-chair research is more the norm than the rule. And it keeps getting worse as time goes on. While any researcher worth his salt knows that researching deeds is one of the areas that should be explored not many are willing to travel down the road less traveled. Being lazy or unwilling to have it performed by a knowledgeable person prevails. Generally a researcher will got to the county of their interest and pull any and all deeds that pertain to their ancestor, and if they are smart they will spend time while there to research the deeds of other parties they are interested in. I do not recall how many times the trip to a court house has been made only to discover many months later that I should have pulled another record I saw. A lamentable fact, but true.
This blog entry stems from, and is in part courtesy of Dennis D. Roth, a co-worker in German Baptist Brethren research and documentation of Washington state. During one of his online research trips he located the newspaper article in the left-hand column below and posted it to the Rootsweb's Brethren Mailing List on July 28, 2014. Seeing the value in this wonderful find, I decided to make the spelling corrections, locate a proper source, and, make comments as an adjunct to it. Enjoy!!!
This blog entry shall delve into the various archival pursuits I have been involved with since my last blog entry, Discussion #5 — A Dunkard's Honor, in July of this year. It has been well received and has been read in excess of 200 times to date. One would think that a kind note to this author for the effort would have have been in order. Unfortunately, the more people have expectations that their research is online, the worse the social graces become when they read that same item of interest. This also applies to several e-mails recently sent regarding the Hendricks and Mack families as well as my latest creation, the Kansas district history by Prof. Craik of McPherson College. What a treacherous road to travel down for society, ignoring the niceties.
It as been a busy week around here with some 70 hours since last Friday having been spent updating ministers and congregation while at the same time adding three newly found ministers, two congregations and discovering an oddity of one of the congregations that was heavily involved in the Old Older and Conservative split of 1881.
Looking for one item of interest I found something entirely different, leading me down the researching-in-depth path from which there is no return. I loathe when this occurs, realizing it will lead me down other paths—eventually at times forgetting that which I was originally searching for.
get a minister, because they are so few in number. Hence they cannot raise enough money sufficient to pay a minister's salary. I preached for them, which they accepted with thanks. They expect more visits. They asked me to visit them again. John Jung and Hoffman's brother seemed to understand me when I spoke to them of the Saviour. IX. GERMANTOWN.* It is like a village in Germany, in which the houses are far apart. It is situated along a little creek, called Lucken Runn [Licking Run]. They are from the Siegen district, and are all Reformed people. They live about ten miles from the Little Fork of the "Rippehanning." They have as their Reader the old Mr. Holzklo,† who receives annually from each family thirty pounds of tobacco as salary. A church and a school are there. I preached in this church with the approbation of all. They thought the Holy Spirit had sent me to them. They would have liked to keep me as their regular pastor, if I so desired. They asked that I * To this place the original colonists removed in the year 1721, because Governor Spotswood refused to sell them the land on which they were settled at Germanna. They were of the German Reformed faith, the great German branch of the Presbyterian family of churches. The first grant of land to these colonists was made by the proprietors of the Northern Neck of Virginia, by deed dated August 22, 1724, which conveyed 1,805 acres of land to Jacob Holtzclaw, John Fishback and John (Henry) Hoffman, who were the only members of the colony then naturalized. Midland Station, on the Southern Railroad, is believed to be on land settled by them, and Licking Run flows through the boundaries of this early settlement. Further reference will be made to them during the publication of these diaries. For full and accurate accounts of Germanna and Germantown see Genealogy of the Kemper Family, by Mr, Willis M. Kemper, Cincinnati, Ohio, and also sketch entitled "The First German Reformed Colony in Virginia, 1714-1750," Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, Pa., Vol. II, Nos. 1-3. † Jacob Holtzclaw, a prominent member of the first Germanna colony. He was the schoolmaster of the colony, and is said to have been
tained in the book of M. J. and A. F. against. you."* The people had threatened that they would throw me into prison if I should come again. We did not say much, but pitied him, and, commending him to God's mercy and grace, we went to the house of a neighbor, an old Mennonite, who allowed us to preach in his house. We stayed over night with Caspar Funk, with whom a gentleman, "a King's attorney," lodged.† We gave the captain a copy of the act, [an act passed against itinerant preachers]. On December 8th, we visited a Mennonite, and in the evening came to a man in "Obeken," N. Schmidt Stepfa, a Catholic, in whose house we wished to preach because several Germans live in the neighborhood. But he assured us that the people were much incensed against us. He himself had heard how Rev. Mr. Klug had warned the people to be on their guard.‡ As for himself, he believed that we were sincere and faithful followers of Jesus. We would always be welcome in his house. On December 9th, we went ten miles farther to Benjamin Frey, the brother of William Frey,§ who was friendly in his way. In the afternoon we kept Sabbath, and as Bro. Brand- * The latter seems to be Andrew Frey, who engaged in very severe attacks upon the Moravians, in his books, Andreas Freyen, seine Declaration, etc., Germantown, 1748, and A True and Authentic Account of Andrew Frey, London, 1753. † Probably Gabriel Jones, the King's attorney of Augusta county, who was then a resident of Frederick. ‡ The conclusion seems to be irresistible that no German minister of any denomination was permanently located west of the Blue Ridge prior to 1749. Mr. Klug seems to have been the spiritual adviser of the Germans in all the region now comprising the counties of Rockingham, Page, Shenandoah and Frederick. In 1747 Rev. Mr. Schnell mentions a Rev. Mr. Schmidt, "a man now rejected by the people of Maryland and Virginia." The correct name of the Catholic mentioned above was Stephan Schmidt, as appears from another diary. § William and Verona Frey lived at Falkner Swamp, Montgomery county, Pa. See Register of Moravians, p. 121. Benjamin Frey lived on the Cedar Creek, see Journal of Rev. Mr. Gottschalk to be published later.
not pleased with the preaching of the Brethren, but become angry and bitter about it. When they learned afterwards that Bro. Schnell was a Herrnhutter, they wanted to pick a quarrel with Daehlinger, because he did not only not arrest him, but allowed him to preach and even helped him along with his horses. I felt the bitter, hostile and sarcastic spirit of the people in that district very much, and as the conditions were the same at Cedar Creek and in some respects even worse, I did not have the heart to preach to these people, but left again on the next day. The door at these two places is really closed. On April 4-March 24, I crossed the "Missinotty" [Massanutton] Mountain, and, passing the well known Paul's Fort,28 I came to "Missinotty." The road was full of water, stones and wood, so that I had often to think for a while which way the road went. At night I lodged with a Mennonite teacher [minister], Hans Rothen.29 I spoke with him about many things. By nature he is a good, pliable man, but without life. On April 5-March 25, I went to Mafthias Selzer,30 whose wife is the daughter of Jacob Beyerly. He is a rude and hostile man towards the Brethren. I was compelled to stay with this man all afternoon, because I wanted to make inquiries about the people in that district and because I was surrounded by water and terribly high mountains on all sides. He treated me very 28 Powell's Fort, a picturesque valley in the Massanutton range of mouintains. It was so called for one Powell, an Englishman, who, according to tradition, was a counterfeiter. He seems to have been nearly contemporaneous with the first settlements in the lower valley. For further account of this man and locality, see Kercheval's History of the Valley, second edition, p. 267. (Appendix.) 29 The Anglicised name of this man was John Roads. In August, 1766, a party of eight Indians and one white man crossed the Massanutton mountain at Powell's Fort and massacred Roads, his wife, and three sons. See Kercheval's History of the Valley, sec. ed., p 91. 30 In 1751 Mathias Selzer was a member of the County Court of Augusta couinty, Va. See Summer's History of Soutlhwestern Virginia, Richmond, 1903, p. 821, where his name is erroneously printed Seltger. He evidently resided in the southern portion of what is now Page, or the eastern portion of present Rockingham county, which territory was then embraced in Augusta. He was doubtless appointed to represent the rapidly increasing German element in that section of the valley.