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This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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.
GENERAL HARMAR'S EXPEDITION. BY BASIL MEEK, FREMONT, OHIO. JOSIAH HARMAR was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1753, and there died in 1813. He was a captain in the First Pennsylvania Regiment, Continental Army, Lieutenant Colonel of the same and served till the close of the Revolutionary War. He was in Washington's army from 1778 to 1780. In 1783 he was made Brevet Colonel, First U. S. Regiment. In 1787 he was breveted Brigadier General, by Congress, and assigned to duty in northwest. He became General-in-Chief of the army, 1789-1792, resigning the latter year. General Harmar was Adjutant General of Pennsylvania, 1793-1799, and was active in raising and equipping soldiers of the state for Wayne's campaign against the Indians in the Northwest. Spain, France and England, as we know, contended for dominion over the country of the Northwest, basing their respective claims upon discovery and settlement, but as it would seem the principal ground of contention was more that of occupation than discovery. According to the principle maintained by civilized nations regarding the territorial acquisition by discovery, it was not sufficient as among themselves, to discover alone, but such discovery must be followed by actual settlement or occupancy. Discovery gave only the right initiate; occupancy must follow to consummate it. But there was another power asserting rights to sovereignty, whose claim could not be entirely ignored by the contending powers mentioned. This consisted of the native inhabitants, the North American Indians, whose rights, if occupancy governed, were paramount to all others. They considered themselves to be the rightful owners of the land from which they had sprung. According to their traditions and belief, they were, so to speak, indigenes, their first ancestors having, as a noted Indian chief once said; "Come up out of the ground." They knew nothing
which we had bought. We had to drive again on a pretty steep road, after half a mile we came to a little creek, and again half a mile farther to the "Black Water," a large creek with steep banks. After another mile we came again to a creek; and two miles farther to another, where we ate our dinner. There were several mud holes here, but we passed them safely. There the road branched to the left up the mountain. We missed it, by turning to the right and coming to an old mill race at Ringfros Mill. We then stayed on the left and turned up again to the mountain, where we came to the right way. Going a mile we came to a little creek and mud hole. Half a mile beyond we came to another creek, a mile farther to the left was a new plantation, and half a mile from it we had to pass through a bad swamp and creek. A mile farther we came to Robert Johnsen, from whom we bought some hay. He accompanied us half a mile to show us the way across the creek and a comfortable place, where we could pitch our tent. Our course to-day was west and southwest. We had gone sixteen miles. The road was pretty good, except some mud holes and steep banks along the creeks. It was twenty-five miles from this point to the Smith River.4 On November 6, we continued our journey. Bro. Herman stayed back to thresh oats at Mr. Johnsen's place. We had to pass through many mud holes. Frequently there was danger of our wagon becoming stuck. We were often compelled to hoist the wheels out of the holes, and we had much trouble in cutting our way through, because it was very narrow. Frequently we hardly knew how to get through when turning our long wagon. Two miles from our camp we went through a fence. We had to pass through much mud and about thirty times over a creek, which runs through the great swamp. Bro. Herman also joined us again and brought with him several bushels of oats, which he had threshed out. Mr. Johnsen had a pleasant conversation with Bro. Herman. He said that he had not heard a sermon for nine years. In the evening we pitched our 4 This estimate is certainly too high, because the whole distance from Magotty creek to Smith river is not more than twenty-five miles. Johnson, Renfro, Rentfrow
has done a unique and stupendous service in the field of western historic lore. These volumes will soon be beyond the reach of the purchaser as but one thousand copies were printed — "from type and the type destroyed" — say the publishers. Scarcity will therefore soon add to the value of the work. A BUCKEYE BOYHOOD. A very delightful and entertaining little volume of two hundred pages, recently published by The Robert Clarke Company, Cincinnati, is “A Buckeye Boyhood," by William Henry Venable. The mention of the author's name is assurance of the literary excellence of the story and the charming nature of the narrative, Mr. Venable early won high place among the Ohio men of letters by his “Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley," now a classic in Ohioana. His numerous other books of poetry, history, fiction and essay bespeak the range of his intellectual wealth and the versatility of his talent, thought and study. A dozen or more volumes on various themes, all gems in their way, attest the popular place Mr. Venable has attained among the readers not only of Ohio but the country at large. This last volume is a "veiled autobiography" — a renaissance of the life and times of the author's boyhood; much of the recital being his own personal experience. The story is given in a simple, lucid style of "everyday" English — rendering the pages fascinating alike to young and old. In the rush and whirl of our present day life the literature that seems most in demand is that either of the purely in forming kind — the knowledge more or less heavy or technical that men and women seek for practical purposes or the highly imaginative or sensational class that stimulates the emotions and is read, much as narcotics and intoxicants are taken, to deaden for the moment the oppressions and cares of an overwrought nervous existence. The Buckeye Boyhood is a reversion — evidently delightful to the author and hence also to the reader — to the simple rural life of a generation or two ago; the struggle on the farm, for a plain living, with its attendant enjoyment of the freedom and beauties of nature; the toil arduous but simple, and unhampered by the exactions and high pressure of the "get there" ambitions and superfluous luxuries. The fields and woods and streams and hills and dales were the boy's arena — the country school with its elemental studies, the glimpses of the village and city life and the wider range of vision they opened for the lad; his books and reading and his amusements; all these are set forth by the pen of Mr. Venable as with the brush of a master upon the canvas of memory by an artist not an impressionist but a realist. The chapter on "religious experience" is especially readable as it typifies the crucial trial through which nearly all thoughtful and serious