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 This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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 o 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. XII, No. 1 (Jul., 1904), page 68

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 1 (Jul., 1904), page 68 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 1 (Jul., 1904), page 68

    I told them that I could not promise them anything. but it might be that they would be visited soon again. However, I did not know whether I or another one of the brethren from Bethlelhem would do it. Then I visited several families more, and lodged with Michel Stumpf.27 On April 1-March 21, Matthaes Jochem gave me his son to accompany me forty-five nmiles over the high southern mountains, between South Branch and the "Chanador." The way was difficult to find and hard to keep, because it had not been used for many years. It was overgrown with trees and blocked by stones and thus hardly recognizable. We kept a certain course and the dear Lamb helped us through safely. We traveled thirty miles before we found a house. The first settlers whom we met were English. They asked me to preach for them. At another house, which I passed, a woman urged me very much to come in to see a man who was deathly sick, to read to him a portion of scripture. I went in and told him that his God and creator had become man for him, had shed his blood for him and died for him. At night I lodged in a very disorderly, wicked and godless house of an Irishman, who kept an inn. The Saviour helped me through. On April 2-March 22, I continued the journey on foot to the Germans. I crossed the "Chanador," which was pretty deep, cold and had a rapid current. If the Lord had not supported me in the water by his angels, the rapid stream would have carried me off, for I was hardly twenty feet above a fall. To-day I visited several German people, but did not find the least sign of [spiritual] life. On April 3-March 23, I came to the real German settlement, and among others to a man named George Daehlinger, at whose house Bro. Schnell lodged and preached. The congregation [of the Brethren] is known and loved there as little as the Saviour himself. I found that the people in that district are 27 The lot of "Michael Stumps" was surveyed by Washington, "on ye So Fork of ye Branch," on April 2, 1748. See Journal of 1747-8, p. 44.

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  • The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 3 (Jan., 1904), page 227

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 3 (Jan., 1904), page 227 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 3 (Jan., 1904), page 227

    at the house of an Englishman named Collins,* who requested more services, which must be held in English; above, at the South Fork, I preached in English and German at the house of Matthias Jochem.† English as well as German people implored me to stay with them for some time, at least for two weeks. They also asked for more visits. In all Virginia I did not find another place like the South Branch, where I felt that the Gospel had such free course among the people. They were exceedingly well satisfied with my sermon. They like Bro. Schnell very much and would be pleased to see him again.‡ If anyone is to visit them and preach for them, he should erect his pulpit at least in four or five places, and take not less than two months for it, because it would be well to preach at these places several times in succession. The summer is the best time to visit these people, for the river is then low and can easily be forded, so that people can attend the meetings. Spring and fall are not so suitable. III. CHANADOR [SHENANDOAH]. This is also a large river, running over 100 miles before it empties into the "Potomik." In the first twenty to thirty miles from the great South mountains, in which the "Chanador" rises, no settlers live.§ The first people, whom I found, were English. They asked me to preach for them. A few miles further several German families, about nine of them, live together. I visited some of them and spoke particularly with one man. * John Collins had settled on land in the vicinity of Moorefield, Hardy county, before 1748. Washington stayed over night with him on April 9, 1748. See J. E. Norris' History of the Lower Shenandoah Valley. p. 63. † The same person as Matthias Joachim, mentioned by Schnell in 1749. See last number of this MAGAZINE. Vol. XI. p. 119. ‡ Rev. Leonhard Schnell had preached here July 19. 1747. as will be shown by his diary of that year to be published later. § This statement is not clearly understood. The head waters of both the North and South branches of the Shenandoah are in Augusta and Rockingham counties. South mountain is the old name for the Blue Ridge in the upper Valley of the Shenandoah, and the missionary must have intended to say that there were few German settlers in that section of the Valley. which was the seat of the Scotch-Irish settlements.

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  • Some Who Led, page 4

    Some Who Led — Or — Fathers in
    the Church of the Brethren Who Have Passed Over

    Page 4 — Some Who Led [Click for larger image]Page 4

    lect it is buried beyond recovery. We should never be content until we know it as fully as research and study make it possible for it to be known. I have long been convinced that there is much yet to be learned and recorded. Biography is history teaching by example. At the heart of a great cause is ever the heart of a great man. To know the cause one must know its central spirit. To the student these are the concrete expressions of great movements. Just as one finds back of all this wide, wonderful, beautiful world the personal God who made it and directs it, so one finds back of great religious move ments virile leaders whose thoughts and acts are the best explanation of the transforming power of the cause they espoused. In the Church of the Brethren it is peculiary true that we had great leaders—men whose towering leadership is of commanding influence to the day. That God should have given us leaders so great is cause for gratitude. That we shoudl known them not is cause for merited reproach. That their names and their deeds shold at last be concisely and carefully presented to us is cause for thankfulness. We cannot add to their glory. But we can profit by their high spiritual devotion. They do not need us, but forever we need them. Marshals of God, they were, and ours is the high privilege of following where the led. It is forunate that the record of their lives is here set forth by sympathetic and devoted follower of the same common Father. It is most fortunate that Brethren Miller and Royer should have been led of God to present these pioneer worthies to us before the dust of the centuries should have obliterated their footsteps forever. Thanks to our beloved brethren in the faith they loved and lived, we can once more commune with sainted souls whose lives are benedictions and whose deeds are sacred legacies. That the reader of this valuable treatise will know more fully the meaning of the faith of the church is certain. That he will become a stauncher and steadier soldier of the cross is inevitable. That he mae with increasing fervor and hunility follow the Master of us all is my ardent prayer. M.G. Brumbaugh.

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