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This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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


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. 2 (Oct., 1904), page 149

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 2 (Oct., 1904), page 149 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 2 (Oct., 1904), page 149

    side of the Branch, which is impassable at high water. As our tent stood at the base of a hill, the water flowed under us and we became thoroughly wet. On October 27, we rose early to dry ourselves, while the sky cleared. We were very thankful to have good weather again, for we needed it very much as otherwise we could not get along, our wagon being very heavy and we almost unable to push it up the mountains. For two miles we had a bad road, constantly goinig up and down hill. We came to the house in which Bro. Gottlob and Nathanael had passed the night and had been given good meals for little money. It is a beautiful and fruitful country. Very high mountains can be seen afar on all sides. This forenoon we had to unload half of our baggage for the second time, because it was impossible to ascend the mountain with the whole load. The road was slippery and the horses could not get a firm foothold, but fell continually on their knees. We ate dinner at the "Buffler" [Buflalo] Creek, which is about half as large as the "Lecha" [Lehigh], but in case of high water overflows its banks far and wide. Bro. Jacob Loesch shot the first turkey in this neighborhood, which we enjoyed this evening. We passed the creek and immediately afterwards came to a high mountain. It took us an hour to ascend. We had to push hard, but the weather was nice and agreeable. Reaching the top we had a beautiful view of high mountains and valleys on both sides. We rode on the summit for several miles. After two and a half miles we found a foot path to the left, and as we had heard that there was a spring some distance down in the valley and we were all thirsty, the brethren procured a kettle full of water, which was very refreshing to us. Bro. Herman went by this same path to a plantation to buy some feed, but could not get any. Then he went to a man, named Illisen, from whom he obtained several bushels of corn. Here he stayed over night. Our road became very bad, constantly going up and down hill. In the evening we pitched our tent eight miles this side of "Buffler Creek" at a little run. We started a good fire and rested from our labor, which had been rather hard to-day. As we were all tired we had no guards. On October 28, we started early on our journey. One of our horses took sick. After a mile and a half we bought corn at a

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  • The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 2 (Oct., 1904), page 151

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 2 (Oct., 1904), page 151 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 2 (Oct., 1904), page 151

    drove two miles farther over a good road, passed a creek and came to a house where we stopped most of the day. The people baked some bread for us and we bought a pig which we butchered at once. Mr. Illisen also came to us, from whom Bro. Herman bought the last corn. He asked the brethren to shoe his horse, which they did. He also said that he intended to travel to Philadelphia within a short time and that if we had anything to deliver he would gladly take it along. Bro. Gottlob and Nathanael wrote several letters to our dear brethren at Bethlehem, which they addressed to Sam. Powel in Philadelphia. This evening we went on four miles farther, but had a pretty good road. We took several loaves of bread along which had been baked for us at Lunis' Mill.35 We crossed a pretty large creek and pitched our tent two miles this side of the mill at a little creek, but we had to change its position soon, because the wind blew the smoke into the tent. We put our horses in the woods. Bro. Petersen and Merkli, who had stayed back to bake bread, came to us again late at night. They had been compelled at Lunis Mill to wade through the creek, which is pretty deep. On October 30, we had bad weather. It rained and snowed, but we kept pretty dry under our tent. Our horses had run off and some of our brethren had to search for them nearly the whole day before they found them. We were very glad when we had them again, because we had heard that many horses had been stolen in this neighborhood and the same might have happened to ours. As the brethren had become thoroughly wet and cold, we drank tea and were very happy together. We changed our tent again because of the smoke. We tried for the first time to bake our bread in the ashes. On October 31, we rose very early to start again on our journey. We soon had to climb a high mountain, which was very hard on the horses, for the ground was frozen hard and covered with snow. After a mile we came to a little creek, and after another mile to a pretty large creek, near which was a plantation. 35 This was evidently the mill of Robert Luhny, who is mentioned in the itinerary of Rev. Mr. Schnell as being on the James river. The reading which was considered doubtful (see Virginia Magazine, Vol. XII, p. 82) is corroborated by this passage. The ferry is given as "Looneys Ferry," on Fry and Jefferson's map of Virginia.

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  • The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 1 (Jul., 1904), page 64

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 1 (Jul., 1904), page 64 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 1 (Jul., 1904), page 64

    cording to the best of their knowledge. They were very glad and grateful for my visit and would have liked to keep me over night. During the afternoon I was alone in the woods. When I returned home, there were two men from "Manakasy," Ambrosius and Jacob Matthaes, who wished to see and hear me. On March 13-24, I preached in German, in the forenoon and in the afternoon, at Jonathan Haeger's. So many people were present that the room was not large enough for them. The Lamb blessed my words visibly to all who were present. I testified with an open and full heart of Jesus' blood and the grace contained therein. Many English people were present, whlo had heard that I would preach English and had traveled from seven to eight miles to hear me, but I told them that I had heard that their regular county nminister would preach for them to-day and I did not desire to interfere with his meeting by my own. After the services Capt. Prathor sent his son to take me to his house. I took leave of my host, Jonathan Haeger, who wept and was very sorry that I had to leave him. Ambrosius was also unable to say much because of his enmotion. Thus I left the place and in the evening came to Capt. Prathor, where I met the Sheriff, Mr. Dikson and Mr. Chaplain. They received me very kindly and would have liked to discuss some things witlh me, but as I did not feel able to do so, I refrained from conversation. I showed them also the Act of Parliament, which had been passed in favor of the Brethren.23 They thought, however, it would not benefit me much in Virginia, and pitied me because I would not get through [Virginia]. I told them that I would try. On March 14-25, Mr. Prathor accompanied me ten miles, conducting me to the right road over the mountains so that I 23 The Act of Parliamenit recognizing the Moravians, together with all the papers submitted to Parlianment, is printed in Report from the Committee to whom the Petition of the Deputies of the United Moravian Churches in Behalf of themselves and thieir Uniited Brethren was referred. London, 1749. A copy of this rare folio is in the library of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. For the history of this legislation see Prof. Hamilton's History of the Church Known as the Moravian Church. Bethlehem, 1900, p. 135f.

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