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 This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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.

Monday, 30 December 2013 07:15

Discussion #1

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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.

Thursday, 02 January 2014 07:30

Discussion #2

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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.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 12:59

Discussion #3

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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.

Click HereOhio HistoryClick Here
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 05:16

Discussion #4

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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.

Monday, 28 July 2014 09:06

Discussion #5 — A Dunkard's Honor

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A War Incident Which Testifies to the Honesty of the Sect.

General E. P. Alexander in the Century.

Near Hagerstown I had an experience with an old dunkard which gave me a high and lasting respect for the people of that faith. My scouts had had a horse transaction with this old gentleman, and he came to see me about it. He made no complaint, but said it was his only horse, and as the scouts had told him we had some hoof-sore horses we should have to leave behind, he came to ask if I would trade him one of those for his horse, as without one his crop would be lost.

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!!!

Monday, 28 July 2014 09:06

Discussion #6 — Digital Projects

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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.

Thursday, 16 October 2014 06:11

Discussion #7 — Digital Projects #2

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Our Communion in Kentucky.

. . . I will give the particulars of our progress at present.  Brethren G. V. Siber, W. Cassell, T. Crider, and John Smith came from Ohio on the 23rd of November, and on the 25th of the same month organized a church, calling it the Blue Spring Church of Kentucky. . .

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.

Recently Added

  • Ohio Archæological and Historical Society Publications, Volume XX [1911], Title page (inside)

    Ohio Archæological and Historical Society
    Publications, Volume XX

    Ohio Archæological and Historical Society Publications, Volume XX [1911], Title page (inside) [Click for larger image]Title page (inside)

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  • The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 2 (Oct., 1903), page 115

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 2 (Oct., 1903), page 115 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 2 (Oct., 1903), page 115

    Pennsylvania Synods) were held during the years 1742-1748. At first the various denominations were largely represented, but when it was found out that the influence of the Moravians was predominant, most of the other religionists withdrew. Those who remained, although forming for a while a distinct element, ultimately entered the Moravian church, when it was fully organized as a separate denomination in the twenty-eighth Synod, held in Bethlehem, October 23-27, 1748. These Pennsylvania Synods carried on a most varied activity. They founded numerous congregations and maintained day schools and boarding schools at ten different places in Pennsylvania. They sent missionaries to the Danish West Indies to labor among the negroes, and to the States of New York and Connecticut to labor among the Indians. When the Indians were expelled through the hostility of the white settlers, a new Indian settlement was begun at Gnadenhutten, at the junction of the Mahony creek and the Lehigh river. But perhaps the most important work was done by a large number of itinerant missionaries, who traveled through all the middle colonies to preach the gospel to German settlers of whatsoever denomination, who were willing to hear them. Beginhing with 1743, these missionaries visited Virginia repeatedly. Their diaries, which are now published for the first time, give us the most valuable and detailed information about the German settlers in Virginia. EXTRACTS FROM THE DIARY OF LEONHARD SCHNELL* AND JOHN BRANDMUELLER† OF THEIR JOURNEY TO VIRGINIA, OCTOBER 12-DECEMBER 12, 1749. [The beginning of the diary, covering the journey from Bethlehem to Monocacy, has been omitted.] On October 26th, I started out with Bro. Brandmueller, after * Leonhard Schnell arrived in Philadelphia with" The First Sea Congregation," on June 7, 1742. Ordained a Presbyter in 1748. Itinerated in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Withdrew from the Moravians in 1751, and took charge of the Lutheran congregations of Macungie and Saucon. Pennsylvania. † John Brandmueller, born November 24. 1704, at Basle, Switzerland. Came to America with .. The First Sea Congregation." Ordained by

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  • Minutes of the Annual Meetings of the Brethren — 1778 - 1917

    First printed in 1876 by the Christian Publishing Association of Dayton, Ohio, under the authority of the Annual Meeting of 1874, the original work has been constantly updated thru the years. The committee in charge of the gathering of the minutes for the first printing were Elders Henry D. Davy (1811-1895) and James Quinter (1816-1888). This authority was invested in them by the meeting of May 26th to the 27th, held on the farm of Joseph Filbrun (1823-1889) in the bounds of the Sugar Creek congregation of Macoupin county, Illinois, Henry D. Davy, moderator.

    The consent to have the minutes published grew out of a desire by the laity to know what had been brought forth to the standing committee, and the decisions thus decided upon. Previous to this time the minutes had been printed, the first known instance being in 1845, as referenced in Art. 24 of 1873.

    Art. 24.  Inasmuch as there are constant additions to the church and to the ministry of young brethren who are desirous to learn the proceedings of our Annual Meetings, would it not be advisable to publish, in pamphlet form, all the minutes of Annual Meetings since the last date of those contained in the Encyclopedia, previous to said date, and have said pamphlet arranged so as to admit subsequent minutes. Answer: We think it best to defer this question.

    Yes, it reads oddly in that it suggests that it was in 1873 that the minutes were printed in pamphlet form. This is not so as in 1850 article 2 and 42 denotes that they were, at that time, already in a published form:

    Art. 2.  How is it considered, inasmuch as our beloved brother, Henry Kurtz, is not present at this meeting, for to appoint a committee, to have the minutes of this meeting printed, and to receive all moneys appropriated to defray the expenses of printing? It has been agreed upon, by this meeting, that Bro. Benjamin Bowman, of Virginia, Daniel Summer, of Ohio, and David Hardman, of Indiana, be this committee.

    Art. 42.  Is it consistent with the gospel for the brethren to recommend to the churches a day of fasting, to be observed annually, and to have it published in the Minutes of the Annual Meeting?. . .

    So. . . there was, in pamphlet form, a published edition of the Annual Meeting Minutes, prior to the printing of a book. Indications are that they were printed annually as there are scattered copies of them. And, it was from these pamphlets that Elders Quinter and Davy produced their 1876 edition. One example, held by the High Library of Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, are the minutes of the 1845 meeting. In this year, on May 9th and 10th, the meeting was held within the Roanoke congregation on the farm of Eld. Daniel Barnhart (1791-1869) in Roanoke county, Virginia. It was printed in German.

    Ben der jahrlichen Berfammlung der Brüder, gehalten am Haufe von Bruder Daniel Bernhart, in Roanofe County, Virginien, am Freitag und Samstag vor Pfingften, 9. und 10ten Mah im Jahr unfers Herrn 1845. wurden die famtlichen befratigten Brüder gegenwartig als eine Comittee ernannt, die Botchaften von den unterfchiedlichen Gemeinden zu empfangen, und die Punkte und Fragen einzubringen, welche der jahrlichen Berfammlung darzulegen waren zur Berhandlung in der Furcht Gottes. Sie waren wie folgt:

    At the Yearly Meeting of the brethren, held at the house of Bro. Daniel Bernhart, in Roanoke County, Virginia, on Friday and Saturday before Pentecost, May 9th and 10th, A. D. 1845, all the ordained brethren present were appointed as a committee to receive the messages from the different churches, and to bring in the points and queries which were to be laid before the Yearly Meeting, for discussion, in the fear of God. They were as follows :

    It should be noted that the above Germanic text will not translate as the original manuscript uses some non-traditional characters. For instance, Bersammlung, should read Versammlung, which in English means Meeting. It has been exactingly reproduced except the unavailability of a Germanic font for use online.

    Whom the printer was is not definitively known, nor where it was printed. It is more than likely that Eld. Henry Kurtz (1796-1874), who had been in the printing business since the early 1830's, was the printer and publisher. Often during the late 1830's, and into the 1840's and later, he was the writing clerk for the Brethren's yearly meeting. There is no record within the minutes of the standing committee ever having the subject of the printing of the minutes brought before them.

    Eld. Kurtz would, in 1851, begin publishing the first German Baptist Brethren newspaper, The Gospel Visiter, later The Gospel Visitor, in Mahoning county, Ohio.  This is recorded in the minutes of 1851, Article 8, which did not forbid it, and carried forth in a similiar manner the following year, 1852.  In 1851 annual meeting, later to be called annual conference, took place within the bounds of the Brick congregation near New Hope, Augusta county, Virginia, beginning on June 7 and ending on the 10th.  The 1852 meeting took place on the farm of Jonathan Wyland (1797-1864), some five miles south of Goshen, nearer to Baintertown, on May 29th to June 1st in his large bank barn.

    Art. 8.  What is the opinion of the Yearly Meeting, with regard to having a paper published, under the title, "The Monthly Gospel Visitor?"  Considered, at this council, that we will not forbid Bro. Henry Kurtz to go on with the paper for one year; and that all the brethren or churches will impartially examine the "Gospel Visitor," and if found wrong, or injurious, let them send in their objections at the next Annual Meeting.

    Art. 4.  In regard to the continuation of the "Gospel Visitor," it was concluded, that inasmuch as there is a diversity of opinion upon the subject—some in favor, and others opposed—we can not forbid its publication at this time, and hope those brethren opposed to it will exercise forbearance, and let it stand or fall, on its own merits..

    The first edition of a cumulative printed book, as previously stated, was published in 1876. The second volume, expanded to include the years 1877 to 1885, was entitled "Classified Minutes of the Annual Meetings of the Brethren: A History of the General Councils of the Church from 1778 to 1885."  Printed in 1886 by The Brethren Publishing Company of Mt. Morris, Illinois and Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, it is not included in the three-volumes-in-one that this series of pages represent.  That being said, on the reverse of the title page to the original 1876 volume (Book First), it states that the book was copyrighted, using the old style of "Entered according to Act of Congress," in 1886.  This is recorded in the roles of the Office of the Librarian of Congress by Elders Joseph I. Cover (1834-1889) and Samuel Murray (1806-1906).  The volume herein displayed has three "books," covering the time spans of 1778 to 1876, 1877 to 1881, and 1882 to 1917. Though the Publisher's Notice on page three states that books two and three are indexed, they are not. There is an index only for book three, 1882 to 1917. Unless this singular index is for books two and three.

    Book Second, included as Supplemental Minutes, has no notation as to whom the editors may have been and covers the years of 1877 to 1881.  Supplemental Minutes Book Part Third, covering those years from 1882 to 1917 signifies that the volume herein represented was printed by the Old German Baptist Brethren.  In other words, not by the German Baptist Brethren, now more commonly known as the Church of the Brethren.  It states in the preface of this printing that queries that came before the Annual Meeting that were "laid down or returned" were omitted for the years covered by the third book.  The editors were John M. Kimmel (1866-1958), William N. Kinsey (1859-1937) and David A. Onkst (1859-1937).

    This volume also includes an appendix containing: The Reconsidered Minutes, in Sections, as Read and Accepted by the Yearly Meetings of 1883 and 1884; The Brethren's Reasons for Producing and Adopting the Resolutions of August 24th; and An Abstract from Brethren's Encyclopedia of 1867. The second item, containing the writings of Elders Samuel Murray (1806-1906), George V. Siler (1825-1903) and Samuel Kinsey (1832-1883), is a discussion in regard to the turmoils of the late 1870's and early 1880's out of which the churches now better known as the Old German Baptist Brethren and Church of the Brethren became separate entities. The last section of the appendix is a one page publisher's note by either elder Quinter or Davy, followed by the Introductory Address of Eld. Henry Kurtz in his self-published, The Brethren's Encyclopedia, Containing The United Counsels and Conclusions of the Brethren at their Annual Meetings,. . . (Columbiana, Oh.: 1867).

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