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This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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.
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.
On November 9th, Mr. Stump gave us a horse to cross the many creeks. We met an old Swiss, Anton Richert [Richard]. He had read [sermons] occasionally on the South Branch, and himself had baptized the children of his family. We also came to-day to the house of the father of our sister, Mrs. Anton Schmidt,* Peter Rith. He was not at home, but hunting bears. The woman who keeps house for him soon made us leave again. When we inquired about the way in an English house, the woman asked us for an English sermon, but we answered that we were German preachers. We stayed over night with Rogert Dayer, who praised Bro. Joseph's [Spangenberg's] medicine (he also lodged there), by which the son of the family had been cured. On November loth, we had to cross the South Fork several times. Then we came to several German families, where we appointed a sermon for the next Sunday. On November 11th, I was sick and the rest of the Sabbath was very refreshing. We lodged with Michael Probst, with whom we had become acquainted at Cohenzy. On Sunday, November 12th, I preached on the words: "It is a faithful saying and worthy of worthy of all acceptation," etc. [I Tim., 1:15.] There were about ten children present, whose baptism was urgently requested, but as most of the men were away hunting bears,† I refused, about which the women especially complained very much. We had great difficulty to-day to find out the way to the New River.‡ At night I went to an Englishman who told me how to go. But he did not want me to return alone, because it was very dangerous on account of the wild beasts. He therefore accompanied me with two dogs to my lodging place. On the way we met a large wolf. * Anthony Schmidt and his wife, Ann C. Rieth, were members of the congregation at Bethlehem. See Register of Moravians, p. 81. † Bear and deer still abound in this section of West Virginia. ‡ The Moravian settlement of Wachovia, North Carolina, was founded in 1753, four years after the visit of the missionaries to New River in Virginia. There were Gem'lan settlement.. in North Carolina, at this time, but they were along the eastern coast.