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This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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.
“Potsdam.—A combined effort of the Ludlow and Salem congregations closed July 14. The meetings were continued for almost three weeks, following the dedication of the new churchhouse by Bro. Van B. Wright [Elder of Marble Furnace Church of the Brethren] of Peebles, Ohio. Though this was one of the busiest seasons of the year,--during harvest time,--the attendance was good from the first. Bro. Wright delivered his sermons in a simple, convincing manner that inspires and upbuilds the members, as well as those outside of the church. Eight souls were made willing to accept Jesus as their savior, four of them married people and four of them Sunday-school scholars. Mary Weisenbarger, July 15.” Gospel Messenger, July 27, 1918 Set Off as a Separate CongregationDecember 23, 1923 “Georgetown.—A called council of the Ludlow and Salem churches was held at the house in Potsdam Dec. 13, in order to perfect a new organization at this place. The reports were accepted and we were set apart as a separate congregation. Eld. Samuel Snell opened this meeting with appropriate remarks and Eld. Newton Binkley presided. We organized our new congregation Dec. 23 under the direction of Eld. Newton Binkley. Elders Wm. Minnich, A. Bucklew, Edw. Miller, S. A. Blessing, Enos Brumbaugh and G. W. Minnich were present also. Our organization will now be known as the Georgetown congregation. Officers recently elected were retained: Sylvan Bookwalter, elder; Harry Delk, church clerk; Jennie Eikenberry, “Messenger” agent. Auditing, finance, missionary and temperance committees were elected. Our house will be arranged for communion services in the near future. Our young people gave a Christmas program Sunday evening after which Bro. Walter J. Heisey gave a very interesting talk on China. Mary Weisenbarger, Dec. 25.” Gospel Messenger, January 12, 1924 164 Charter Members: Carl Arnett 1897-1983 Susie [Brown] Cain 1900- Lulu [Shuff] Arnett 1897-1997 Lydia [Dohner] Christian 1855-1932 David Baker 1882-1966 Mabel [Cassel] Cooper 1902-1940 Franklin Baker 1911- Ralph Cooper 1899-1976 Kate [Cordier] Baker 1883-1973 Hannah [Puterbaugh] Garrett Delaplane Lester Besecker 1903-1980 1907-1974 Lester Besecker 1903-1980 Blanche [Oda] Delk 1888-1973 Edna [Shanck] Minnich Bookwalter Cletus Delk 1889-19581878-1967 Harry Delk 1887-1970 Dortha [Heisey] Boomershine 1908-1990 Lola [Klepinger] Delk 1892-1961 Mary [Baker] Bridenbaugh 1907-2003 Elizabeth [Dohner] Ditmer 1863-1941 Pearl [Brunk] Brown 1907-1994 Emma [Fasick] Ditmer 1888-1961
them and to administer the communion. But now he had gone to Germany, and thus they were entirely forsaken. They had, indeed, written to Germany several times for a minister, who would earnestly care for ihe salvation of their souls and not for money. However, none was willing to come. There are two other places in this neighborhood which would like to have a minister. On Sunday, the 24th, I preached to them in their church on Rom., 5: 1. About one hundred persons assembled, and if the weather had not been so unfavorable many more would have come. It is a very neat little church, kept in good order and clean. The people were very attentive and eager to hear. I felt God's grace, and was quite at home among them. The schoolmaster thought that I had a special gift for preaching, because he did not understand the power of the preaching of the blood of Christ. After the sermon I distributed some Reformed catechisnms* among them because they were all Reformed people. In the afternoon several men, together with the officers of the congregation, came to visit me. We spoke of various subjects. They said that they had a parsonage, together with one hundred acres of land and a garden, which a minister could occupy at once, if they had one, nor would they allow him to suffer want in other necessaries of life. They related to me that some time ago a number of people had lived in Georgia who had been very pious, and would not tolerate any one among them who cursed. The name of their minister had been Spangenberg. But they had not liked the place, and hence had removed to Pennsylvania to Zinzendorf.† I asked what the people of this February, 1743, and went to Europe to study medicine at Leyden, Holland, 1743-1745. Returned and settled at Lancaster, where he practiced medicine. Pastor of Schaefferstown, Lebanon county, and Seltenreich, Lancaster county, 1746-1762. Died March 11, 1769 at Lancaster. During his pastorate at Lancaster, 1739-1743, he visited Virginia. See History of the Reformed Church in the United States, by Rev. Dr. J. I. Good, Reading, 1899, pp. 166-170; 580-581. * The same as the Swedish and English catechisms mentioned above. † They were unconsciously telling the Moravian missionaries the story of the first Moravian settlement made in Georgia in 1735 and abandoned in 1740, which was, no doubt, well known to them. See Early History
tent in the swamp. In spite of all trouble and labor we had only traveled ten miles. On November 7, we started at daybreak and got out of the swamp. We had to climb a mountain, which was very precipitous on the other side. Having crossed we forded a pretty large creek. Then the way was up hill again, and we had much trouble before we reached the top, because the ground was slippery so that the horses could not step firmly. Then we had a good road for a mile, whereupon it turned again into a swamp and crossed a creek several times. Our wagon was somewhat damaged, because the banks of a creek were so steep and the wagon went down so deep that the rear part struck the ground, and one of the boards of the wagon bed was broken. We repaired this very quickly and then ate dinner at the creek. Bro. Loesch went ahead to reconnoiter. Immediately before us was a very steep hill, followed by a pretty long mountain. From the top of it we could see Pilot Mountain in North Carolina, and we were glad that we should very soon see the Carolinian boundary and enter upon our land. For a mile we drove on the mountain, then the road turned down very precipitously. At the foot of the mountain we crossed a large creek with very steep banks, and finally came to the Smith River. We drove for a mile over a beautiful low land where there were many grapes, which tasted very well. Bro. Gottlob rode ahead for several miles to inquire about the way. We came to a mountain which we intended to cross to-night. We tried as best we could, but we did not succeed, the mountain being too steep. We pitched our tent at the foot of the mountain, close to the river. Several brethren took our horses to a pasture, half a mile away, and stayed with them during the night. On November 8, at daybreak, we continued our journey. We carried half of our baggage to the top of the mountain. Then we brought up the wagon, but experienced much difficulty, before we succeeded in doing so, because the way was very steep. Having reached the summit we loaded our baggage in the wagon again, and thus descended. Down in the valley we passed over a little creek, but immediately afterwards had to cross a second mountain. We had to unload again and carried most of our baggage to the top. It is the steepest of all the mountains