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This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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.
On December 26th, in the afternoon, we left. We crossed the "Eschel" [Ashley] River six miles from "Charlestown," passing over a large bridge. We then lodged with an Englishman, who knew Bro. Spangenberg and the brethren in Georgia, having been especially impressed by their singing. On December 27th, we traveled thirty-five miles, crossing on the way the "Panpan [Ponpon]," "Eschelboo" [Ashepoo] and "Comby" [Combahee] rivers. The tavern in which we lodged was very noisy, because three servants, who had run away from Georgia, were captured there. On the 28th, at noon, we came to the "Cussahetschy " [Coosawhatschie] River.* We were very tired on account of the great heat, When we heard that we would not find a house for twelve miles, but only water, we stayed there and rested. On Sunday, the 29th, we passed for the first twelve miles continuously through water, one foot deep, but we reached " Purisburg" [Purysburg].† We visited Melchior Lichtensteger and handed to him the letter of Abr. Bininger. He received us willingly. We stayed with him over night. On December 30th, we visited, early in the morning, Mr. Ehrhard. He was very glad when I told him that I belonged to the Brethren. He regretted very much that the Brethren had left "Purisburg."‡ He accompanied me into the town, and when I took leave his little daughter, ten years old, cried very much. When the father asked her why she cried, she said * This must be the Broad River in Beaufort county, S. C., at which the town Coosawhatschie is now situated. † Purysburg was laid out in 1732 by John Peter Pury, from Switzerland. It was situated on the left bank of Savannah river, twenty miles from the city Savannah. Most of the original settlers were Swiss. Their first pastor was Joseph Bugnion, who, during his stay in England, received Episcopal ordination. See The Reformed Church in Pennsylvania, by Rev. Dr. Dubbs, p. 30. ‡ The stay of the Moravians in Purysburg had not been of long duration. Rev. Peter Boehler and George Schulius removed from Savannah to Purysburg in February, 1739. But Schulius succumbed to the climate and died of fever, August 4, 1739. Towards fall, Peter Boehier left Purysburg and returned to Savannah. See Early History of the Moravians, p. 76, f.
written several names of Brethren. I afterwards learned in Georgia that Leonhard intended to go to Bethlehem. On December 22nd, we did not go very far, because it rained, but we came to the "Winiar River" [Winyah Bay], which is three miles wide. They refused to take us over, saying the wind was contrary. Hence we nad to wait. On the following day we had to wait again till ten o'clock for the tide. We passed half a mile from Georgetown, which is situated between two rivers. Then we journeyed fifteen miles before we found a house where we could lodge. But it became dark before we could reach it. We lost our way. When we called they answered us from an inn a mile away. We went to this place and stayed there over night. On December 24th, we were early taken across the " Sandy" [Santee] River, and after a mile we passed over the other arm of this river. We had nice weather and a fairly good road, hence we hastened to reach "Charlestown " [Charleston] before night. But we were unable to make it. We stayed, therefore, over night with a Scotchman, named Bruce. We had to go to this house, because the house before was full of negroes, who would not receive us. Bruce at first objected, but finally yielded and showed us much kindness. He discussed the Scriptures with us, which he knew very well. On December 25th, after having been taken across the "Copper " [Cooper] River, we came safely to Charlestown [Charleston]. We asked for Mr. Brunet, for whom we had a letter. He received us very kindly. He related to us the pitiable circumstances of the ministers and people there, and what evil reports they circulated about the count [Zinzendorf] and the Moravians, of which the libellous book of Gilbert Tennant* is the main cause. I inquired after Germans, but when I heard that only very few live in the city, I resolved to leave "Charlestown" on the following day. *This is probably the book entitled: "The Necessity of Holding Fast the Truth, represented in Three Sermons on Rev. III, 3. Preached at New York, April, 1742, with an Appendix, Relating to Errors lately vented by some Moravians in those parts. By Gilbert Tennent, M. A. Boston, 1743."
and, as we heard that there was no house for twelve miles, we stayed there over night. On November 18th, it snowed the whole night. We started early in the morning and went along on our way which was quite narrow and very wet on account of the snow. Moreover, we had to cross the Catawba Creek and a branch of the Roanoke, more than thirty times. There was no house for the first twelve miles and then none for the next fifteen miles. But although we we were in the water nearly the whole day, the Lord helped us through and brought us in the evening to an English house, where we enjoyed the comforts of a good fire. We had also a pleasant conversation with our host. On Sunday, November 19th, we were glad in anticipation of seeing the New River* to-day and asked the Lamb for a favorable reception among the Germans. Towards noon we arrived safely at the New River. We were taken across the river to Jacob Hermann,† who, together with his wife, received us with great joy and love. We had hoped to preach to-day, but as it was late the sermon was appointed for to-morrow. There we enjoyed a spiritual and physical rest. I firmly believed that my visit to this district, for which I had longed for four years, would not be in vain. On November 20th, I preached on the words of the Saviour: * A number of German families resided then on New River within the limits of the present county of Montgomery, then Augusta. The origin of this German community is involved in obscurity. The large German element in the Shenandoah Valley came almost entirely from Western Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania, and it is difficult to believe that any number of settlers would traverse the entire Valley of Virginia in order to locate on the New River. Maury, in his Physical Survey of Virginia (1878), states that a number of Swiss from North Carolina located in this region, and it was probably these settlers who were visited by the missionaries. † Jacob Hermann (Harman) and his son, living on New River, were killed by the Indians in March, 11156. In 1755 a number of other German settlers in the same region were also killed, and it is probable that nearly all the people visited by the missionaries along the New River were exterminated. See the Preston Register, Waddell's Annals of Augusta County, pp. 154-158 (1902).