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This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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.
contents. chapter i. First Settlements. First Meetings Held. First Churches Organized. First Elections Held, etc. chapter ii. Customs and Manners. chapter iii. Erection of Church Houses. First Annuel Meeting. Trouble in Rock Run. First Sunday School. First Series of Meetings. Salem College. First Prayer meetings. chapter iv. Second Annual Meeting. Third Annual Meeting and Division of Church chapter v. District Meetings Organized. Organization of Different Churches. Mission Work Conclusion page 5 16 26 35 41
evening we came to a tanner, where Bro. Brandmueller had his shoes soled. On November 29th, the shoemaker, whose wife was a zealous Presbyterian, told us that some time ago he had read a printed sermon about us, and he had hardly ever read a clearer sermon. As we were somewhat delayed by the shoemaker, we did not make much of a trip to-day. In the evening we arrived at the James River, where we stayed over night in a house about two miles from the river. The lady of the house told us about the flood; that she and two of her children were lifted up by the water in the bed in which they slept and were carried about on the bed while asleep, until they woke up. On November 30th, we heard early the frequent howling of wolves as we passed over the James River. We had to travel about thirty miles to-day, finding but few houses and no bread. Towards evening we had to cross the two northern branches of the James River. At night we came to an Irishman [N. Bell] who cared for our necessities. On December 1st, we passed confidently and safely through the Irish settlement.* On December 2nd, we continued our journey the whole day, because we wished to be with the Germans on Sunday. Once we lost our way. But our desire to preach to-morrow strengthened us in our journey. In the evening we attempted to hire a man to go with us part of the way, but none was willing. We continued for a time down the Tschanator [Shenandoah] and arrived rather late at the house of the sons of the old Stopfel [Christopher] Franciscus,† who kept us over night. On Sunday, December 3rd, the young Franciscus went very early with us to show us the way to Matthias Schaub, who, immediately on my offer to preach for them, sent messengers through the neighborhood to announce my sermon. In a short * The Scotch-Irish settlement in Augusta county.† Christopher Frandscus was, in 1751, a resident of Pennsylvania, and in that year conveyed to Gabriel Jones, the King's attorney for Augusta County, 244 acres of land on the north side of the Shenandoah River. This land was a portion of the splendid estate belonging to the late Jacob Strayer, Esq., who resided about three miles below the present village of Port Republic, in Rockingham county.
Compiled by Eld. James Henry Morris (1876-1956) the book A History of the Brethren in Texas and Oklahoma with the alternate title, Thirty-One Years of Organized Work in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana by Church of the Brethren from 1891 to 1922, this book represents the first published history of the church, previously well-known as the German Baptist Brethren church, covering this region of the United States. The book was printed by the Higley Printing Company of Butler, Indiana.
The 542 page book, including the covers and blank pages, is a misnomer as to actually being a history. In the main the book is a series of newspaper clippings culled from The Gospel Messenger with a sampling of chiefly anecdotal historical content from other sources. While treasured amongst Brethren historians it is, to be blunt, poorly written from a historical standpoint. Through out the book the author will relate a series of events for a congregation or region, ending it with a name, a place, and a date. It may be three or four, or more, paragraphs. That's well and good.
However, when that actual article is examined in The Gospel Messenger containing the author, the location where the article was written, and the date of the communique, problems arise. In essence Elder Morris heavily editorialized the articles; taking a series of articles as published in The Gospel Messenger, sometimes as much as a year previously, combining them together. At times he omitted significant details from one clipping while entirely missing other items appertaining to the same congregation or event. And this does not include the hundreds upon hundred of spelling errors.
So... it is left to the serious German Baptist Brethren researcher of this region to further research statements therein made.