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This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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.
July 19th. Sunday. Many people assembled, to whom I preached. The power of God and of the blood of Christ was felt among the hearers. Soon afterwards we bade farewell to our host, who had entertained us very kindly for four days. They wished us much success and blessing on our journey, asking us, if we should again come to their neighborhood, to visit them by all means. We would be welcome day or night. After wishing the Lord's peace upon them, we left them and traveled eight miles farther. July 20th. We started early on our way. We found no house for twelve miles, but met a large rattle snake, which barred our way, makiiig much noise. But wvhen we approached, it could not harm us, for the Lord protected us. Soon we met another one, which fled before us. We could not thank the Saviour enough for his gracious protection. At noon we stopped with an Englishman. He complained that for two years he had heard no sermon, although he had been compelled every year to pay the county minister. I had an opportunity of speaking with him about the assurance of faith. In the afternoon we again met no house for ten miles, but we struck high mountains12 and hot weather. In the evening we came to a house where it looked pretty bad, internally as well as externially, but the people were very jolly. July 21st. After marching twelve miles, we found a house and hoped to secure a breakfast, but as nobody lived in the house, a biscuit which I had carried about for fourteen days did good service. This we ate, while resting at a creek, and drank water to our heart's content. We traveled again six miles, when we found another plantation, butt the people told us they had just eaten the last bit of bread. Hence we stayed till the woman had baked some bread for us. Then we continued, wading through the North River [North Branch of Shenandoah]. We stayed over night with an Irishman. July 22nd. Leonhard [Schnell] had a bad attack of fever, which 12 The missionaries were crossing the North Moutntain, to get into the Shenandoah Valley.
rudely, called me a Zinzendorfian, threatened me with imprisonment, and referred to the travels and sermons of the Brethren in a very sarcastic manner. He said if I should get to the upper Germans they would soon take me by the neck, for he did not know what business I had among those people. In the first place we had been forbidden to travel around through the country, and then again they had such an excellent minister, that if the people were not converted by his sermons, they would certainly not be converted by my teaching. But soon afterwards he related of the excellent Lutheran minister that he got so drunk in his house that on his way home he lost his saddle, coat and everything else from the back of the horse.31 I was silent to all this, but prayed for the poor man that the Lord might open his eyes. On April 6-March 26, I started early. Matthias Selzer saddled two horses and took me not only across the South Branch of the "Chanador," but even five miles farther, so that I could not go astray. The regular road to the uipper Germans "is fifty miles, but across the mountain it is twenty miles nearer, hence I went straight across the mountain. It took me more than two hours to reach the top. The people there call this nmountain the "blue reach" [ridge]. When I was at the foot of the moun tain and also half way up it rained, but when I reached the top it snowed very fast. The path which leads across is covered with stones and trees, so that I had to stop frequently to think 31This was Rev. Mr. Klug, Lutheran minister of Hebron Church, in the present county of Madison, then Orange. The reader should bear in mind the customs and manners of the time, and pass a lenient judgment upon Mr. Klug. Bishop Meade, in his Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, cites many similar cases among the clergy of the Established Church, some of which are noted in Fiske's Old Virginia and Her Neighbors, Vol. II, pp. 262-263. 32 At the end of this diary see Orders of the County Court of Orange, naturalizing certain German Protestants, who were evidently members of Hebron Church, in the present county of Madison. The early deed and will books of Orange and Culpeper show the German family names of Utz, Hernsberger, Crisler, Crigler, Clore and others, who belonged to the same congregation. These people came with the second and third colonlies, which located at Germanna in 1717 and later.
J. C. Norris sold a lot in New Lebanon to the “old German Baptist Church” for twenty-five dollars on June 25, 1859. Located at 42 East Cross Street, the first meeting house of the Georgetown Fraternity of German Baptist was erected thereon in 1860. The Brethren of Brush Creek for the most part started migrating westward, resulting in its territory being ceded to the Salem district in 1869. At this juncture, Georgetown fell under the protective arm of both the Salem and Ludlow districts remaining so until the end of 1923. In just fifteen years, the growth of our congregation stretched the meeting house beyond its capacity. In 1875 a new larger house was erected. Herein lays a mystery veiled in time. Was this second meeting house erected on the original site or at our present site? Our present location at 22 East Cross Street was purchased for fifty dollars from the heirs of Daniel Snyder, including his widow the former Margaret Pippenger on January 24, 1884. Was this deed executed nine years after the fact or was the meeting house moved? Thirty seven years later, it became necessary to again enlarge and remodel the meeting house which was started in 1917. It was rolled south onto the parking lot, while the basement was dug. In rolling it back to the foundation, it was reversed, the former front becoming the back. Added to the existing structure were the classroom wings and a vestibule. All did not go as originally planned. “The dedication of our new churchhouse has been deferred on account of delay in getting the chairs for the Sunday-school rooms.” Gospel Messenger, June 1, 1918 “Notice.—The new churchhouse of the Ludlow and Salem congregations in Potsdam, Ohio, will be dedicated June 23. An all-day meeting has been arranged for, and the dedicatory sermon will be given in the afternoon. Mary Weisenberger, [sic] June 4.” Gospel Messenger, June 15, 1918 “The Church of the Brethren dedicated their new house on June 23rd. The gathering was large, about 2,500 people and automobiles numbering over 400. The weather was ideal. Thirty-six ministers of the Brethren were present. The eldest minister in age and service was Rev. Jesse Stutsman who has served the people over fifty years. Elder Van B. Wright gave a fine sermon in the morning and Rev. H[enry] C. Longanecker closed as one of the boys fifty years ago, being at the time referred to a boy of 19. At 2 p.m. Rev. Joseph Longanecker took charge of the dedication service and $2,000 was raised for the church. The sermon by Rev. J[ohn] W. Fidler was enjoyed by all present. In the evening Rev. Homer Bright and wife, Minnie Flory Bright gave fine talks about the missionary work in China. Thirty other ministers were present. Rev. Newton Binkley had charge of the services. In 1860 the first house of worship was built, the second in 1875 and now improved and enlarged in 1918.” Potsdam Correspondence, West Milton Record, June 26, 1918