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 This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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 of 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. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 381

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 381 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 381

    lodged in an English house, where the people received us willingly, because they had also lived in Pennsylvania. On December 2nd, we went fifteen miles without finding a house. We then came to the large "Ronok" [Roanoke] River at Iden's Ferry, which is the boundary between Carolina and Virginia. We went twenty miles farther and stayed with English people. They said that they had not heard a sermon for several months. On December 3rd, I visited a German, who lives here among English people. His name is Zolikoffer, a Swiss.* He received us very kindly and showed us much love. He related to us much of his life; that he had been an officer in the army and had had much money. Then he had traveled to America out of curiosity. When he returned to Europe, he was taken before the King and the princes to describe to them the conditions in America. Finally he had again come back to America and had stayed here. His story prevented me from telling him something about the Saviour. On the 4th, we came, towards ten o'clock, to a large creek, called Stony Creek. It seemed to be dangerous to pass through, but we risked it and waded across safely. Afterwards we did not find a house for eleven miles. Towards evening we found one, where we lodged. On the 5th, we were taken across the " Duerr " [Tar] River. We passed many swamps. The way was difficult to find. To-wards evening we were rowed across the "Cotendne " [Contentnea] River. We had still two miles to the nearest house, but got into a Carolinian swamp, with so much water and mud in it that nobody passes through on foot, but only on horseback. Although I called loudly for help, when I heard a dog bark, * A few years prior to 1738, Colonel William Byrd, of Westover, endeavored to locate a colony of Swiss on the Roanoke river. The venture, however, proved a failure. In 1738, Colonel Byrd published a work entitled Meu-Gefundnes Eden in Virginia [New-Found Eden in Virginia]. It was printed at St. Gall, in Switzerland, and its purpose was to induce Swiss and German immigrants to settle in Virginia, especially in the Roanoke Valley. For the time being, Colonel Byrd became a German and his name appears as Wilhelm Vogel. This work is rare. A copy is to be found in John Carter Brown Library, Providence, R. I.

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  • Ohio Archæological and Historical Society Publications, Volume XX [1911], page 457

    Ohio Archæological and Historical Society
    Publications, Volume XX

    Ohio Archæological and Historical Society Publications, Volume XX [1911], Page 457 [Click for larger image]Page 457

    BRADY'S LEAP. BY E. O. RANDALL. In what is known as "Tract 29," issued in 1875 by the West ern Reserve Historical Society, the "tradition"—as the Tract calls it—of Brady's leap is related. That a famous leap by Brady was made, at the place generally designated as the site, there is little or no doubt. The time and attending circumstances of the achievement are much in dispute, and wrote Mr. L. V. Bierce, in 1 856, "the numerous traditions respecting Brady's Leap across the Cuyahoga River, and many other hair breadth escapes and adventures of that old frontiersman grow more and more vague and conflicting with the lapse of time." "Tract 29" consists mainly of a letter written at Akron, in 1856, to one Seth Day, by Frederick Wadsworth, in which letter Wadsworth states that in 1802 he was residing in Pittsburg and there met "a man by the name of John Sumerall," who had long lived in Pittsburg and who had been an "intimate friend of Brady," from whom he (Sumerall) learned the particulars of his (Brady's) life and adventures. According to Sumerall's account Samuel Brady "a powerful strong man, kind hearted, but an uncompromising and deadly enemy to the Indians," lived in his youth in Pennsylvania. During an Indian raid the people of Brady's settlement were killed and Brady escaping "swore eternal enmity to .the whole Indian race. " Sumerall relates to Wadsworth many of the encounters Brady had with the red men and among escapades the one involving the famous leap. Sumerall gave Wadsworth the date of this feat but the latter failed to remember it. This lapse of memory by Wadsworth is unfortunate as that is the main point in dispute by different relators of the incident. Wadsworth recites the story at some length as he had it from Sumerall who had it from Brady. Briefly the account is that Brady—at the time in question, date not given-left Pitts-

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  • The History… of the Potsdam Congregation, Page 2

    The History of the Potsdam Congregation
    of the Church of the Brethren

    Page 2— The History… of the Potsdam Congregation [Click for larger image] title=Page 2

    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

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