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This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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

  • The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 378

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 378 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 378

    district thought of him. They answered: "Not very much." Rev. Mr. Rieger had said that he was a good Evangelical minister, who did not try to draw any one away from his religion, and that he preached the word pure and undefiled to all who wanted to hear him. They also told me that a man by the name of Matthew Hoffmann lives at Bethlehem, who had written several letters to his brother, living ten miles from there.* He had brought the letters to him [the schoolmaster] to read them to him, because he feared that his brother had fallen away froin the true religion. The schoolmaster had then read the letters, but liked them very well. In the evening I visited an elder, at whose place all his neighbors again came together, when they heard that I was there. I spoke to them of the death of the Lamb. On Monday, the 25th, before we left, five women came, who showed us much kindness. We then took leave, being very grateful. The schoolmaster, "Holzkloh," accompanied us part of the way, and gave me a letter to a Reformed elder in Carolina, to whom he recommended me most heartily. Taking leave he asked us urgently to come again and stay several weeks. We had nothing but rain all day, and passed a creek, which was dangerous becatise of its rocks and holes. A man happened to come along, who took us over. Shortly before we had already passed a river, called "Repehennik" [Rappahannock], in a canoe. In the evening we came to a German innkeeper, Kuefer Stopfel,† called Dutch Cooper. After a while, when he heard that I was a minister, he told of an English minister‡ living in the county, who receives 16,000 pounds of tobacco as his of the Church of the United Brethren, by L. T. Reichel, Nazareth, 1888, pp. 62-68. * This statement shows that the second Reformed colony, settled at the Little Fork of the Rappahannock, and visited by Gottschalk in 1748 (see Virginia Magazine, Vol. XI, p. 232), was already in existence in 1743. † As the Anglicised name shows, the correct name of this innkeeper must have been Christopher Kuefer. ‡ This was Rev. John Thompson (see this magazine, Vol. XI, p. 232). The German minister was Rev. George Samuel Klug (see this magazine, Vol. XI, pp: 230 and 240, f).

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  • The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 3 (Jan., 1904), page 229

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 3 (Jan., 1904), page 229 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 3 (Jan., 1904), page 229

    V. MISSINOTTY [MASSANUTTON]. It lies on the South Branch of the "Chanador," in the center, between the so-called "Missinotty" mountains and the Blue Ridge. It is a narrow. small and oblong district, which can easily be viewed in its entirety frum the mountains.* Many Germans live there. Most of them are "Mennisten" [Mennonites], who are in a bad condition.† Nearly all religious earnestness and zeal is extinguished among them. Besides them, a few church people live there, partly Lutheran, partly Refurmed. The Rev. Mr. Klug visits them occasionally. It is, so to say, one of his branch congregations [preaching stations]. He preaches and administers also the Lord's Supper to them. They do not want to hear the preaching of the brethren at this place. A man lives there by the name of Matthias Selzer, the son-in-law of Jacob Beyerly, of Lancaster. This man is highly respected in the whole region, because he is rich and often helps the people in their need. He has considerable influence among them, but he is a bitter enemy of the brethren. As a result, all the others are not just our friends. VI. THE UPPER GERMANS.‡ They live behind [east of] the Blue mountains, about thirty miles from "Missinotty," in a straight line, otherwise it may be *This statement clearly implies that the entire section of country now known as the Page Valley was originally known as Massanutton, and that the term is not to be understood as meaning a single settlement in one particular neighborhood. This fact may be of value in future discussions as to the exact location of the first white settlement in the Valley of Virginia. † The Mennonites are followers of Menno Simons (149--1559). They are a somewhat primitive people in their manners and customs, being non-combatants and abstaining almost entirely from participation in public affairs. While not numerous, congregations of this denomination are still to be found in Rockingham, Shenandoah and Page. ‡ This settlement was composed of German Lutherans, the second colony to locate at or near Germanna. They came in 1717 and consisted of twenty families numbering about eighty persons. The third colony came at some time between 1717 and 1720 and numbered forty families. These colonists removed from Germanna prior to the year 1724 and

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  • The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 1 (Jul., 1904), page 56

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 1 (Jul., 1904), page 56 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 1 (Jul., 1904), page 56

    sick people. We continued our journey for some distance over a poor road. Handrup became very weak owing to the heat. July 8th. Since we learned that we would not find a house to-day for thirty miles, but only mountains and bad roads, we took a man with us who conducted us over the mountains. It was a way the like of which I have not seen in America. In the evening we came to an Englishman6 with whom we stayed over night. July 9th. We crossed the North Branch this morning, and again saw no house for twelve miles. Then we met a German, at whose house we rested for a while. July 10th. Our host showed us the way over two high mountains. We came upon a large rattle snake, but it remained quiet till we had passed. In the afternoon we came to Bettessen's Creek [Patterson's Creek], where a large number of German settlers live. We tried to get something to eat, but found little bread. We comforted ourselves with the thought that our Saviour, in his hunger, ate the grain in the field. When we entered a certain house we found a woman who scolded much about the Herrnhuters7 [Moravians]. She said she would take care that she would not be led astray by them. When she heard that I was a minister, she asked whether I baptized children? She had a child which was not yet baptized. She brought me several books to show me her Christianity. We soon left, but asked that it be announced that I would preach on the following Sunday. We came to W. D. [William Degart], whom I asked whether I could preach in his stable, for the 6 Probably Thomas Cresap, with whom the missionaries usually stayed. See Schnell's Journal of 1749, Virginia Magazine, Vol. XI, p. 118. 7 In his Special Report, Schnell describes Patterson Creek as follows: "I visited a place called 'Betesscns Creek' [Patterson's Creek], where many German's live, interspersed among Low Dutch [Hollanders] and English New Lights. The High Germans are a poor people, internally as well as externally. I preached twice for them. They expressed a desire that I should come again. Several New Lights asked me to come to them. They were very friendly to me." 8 So called from one of their chief settlements at Herrnhut in Saxony. Here the Renewed Church of the Brethren was organized on June 17, 1722. Reichel, Early History, p. 3.

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