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 This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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 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 390

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 390 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 390

    the afternoon at the "White Ploff," where several had agreed to stone me if I should undertake to preach. However, I paid no attention to them but went into the meeting house at the usual time. During the sermon they created considerable disturbance outside of the house, but I remained unmolested. After the sermon I visited Mr. Teus* and his wife. On the 16th, Mr. Barber, from the orphanage of Whitefield,† visited me. He invited me to come to the orphanage to visit him. On Sunday, the 19th, the minister from "Purisburg" administered the Lord's Supper to the Germans, at the court house [in Savannah]. The Germans of the white "Ploff," who liked me, came to the city to-day, with whom I held services in the afternoon. On the 21st, I traveled by water to Purisburg, spending the night with Mr. Ehrhard. On the next day I visited the Reformed minister there, named "Chiffeli."‡ He showed me his garden and plantation. When we returned to the house I asked him whether he would allow me to preach in his church. He said, * This is, perhaps, the German painter, Theus, who entertained Muhlenberg in Charlotte, S. C., from October 25, 1742, to November 12, 1742. See Muehlenberg's Autobiography, Allentown, 1881, pp. 115-117. According to Bernheim (History of the German Settlements and of the Lutheran Church in North and South Carotina, Philadelphia, 1872, p. 88), he was the brother of the Reformed minister, Christian Theus, who labored in Saxe Cotha, S. C., from 1739 to at least 1789. † The cornerstone of the Whitefield orphanage, at Savannah, was laid on March 25, 1740. When the building was completed, it received the name Bethesda. McClintock and Strong Cyclopædia, Vol. X, p. 983. ‡ Dalcho in his History of the P. E. Church in South Carolina, p. 386, mentions Rev. Henry Chiffelle as pastor in Purysburg. He was ordained by the Bishop of London, July 21, 1734. He is said to have come to South Carolina in 1744, and died in 1758. The date 1744 seems to be a misprint for 1734, because (1) this diary shows that he was already in South Carolina in January, 1744, his statements implying a long residence in this country. (2) Rev. Joseph Bugnion, his predecessor, died in 1734, and it is hardly likely that the S. P. G. should have left the congregation vacant ten years. (3) Rev. Chiffelle was ordained in 1734 for service in America, which implies his immediate departure for his field of labor. It is interesting to find him referred to as a Reformed minister in spite of his Episcopal ordination.

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  • The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 370

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 370 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 370

    MORAVIAN DIARIES OF TRAVELS THROUGH VIRGINIA. Edited by Rev. WILLIAM J. HINKE anid CHARLES E. KEMPER. (CONTINUED.) EXTRACTS FROM THE DIARY OF LEONHARD SCHNELL AND ROBERT HUSSEY,* OF THEIR JOURNEY TO GEORGIA, NOVEMBER 6, 1743-APRIL 10, 17444† On November 6th, new style, Bro. Hussey and I went from our dear congregation at Bethlehem to Philadelphia, where we stayed to the 11th, to be commissioned by the Brethren to our work. Bro. Hussey and I agreed, in a hearty conversation, to journey together in love and in the strength of the Lamb. We lodged eight miles from Philadelphia in an English inn. On the 12th, I spoke with a man whom we met on the road. He knew us to be Moravians. He said that he was anxious to visit Bethlehem. I gave him an English catechism and a "Fellow Traveller."‡ On the 13th, towards evening, we came to Lancaster. I * Robert Hussey, from Wiltshire, England. In 1749, teacher of the Moravian school in Oley, Pa. Died in Bethlehem, July, 1775. See Register of Moravians, p. 50. † The editors are under special obligation to the authorities in Bethlehem, especially to the courteous archivist, Mr. Robert Rau, for the loan of the original MS., which has made it possible to present this important diary in a much completer form than was originally intended. The original covers fifty-one closely-written pages. As it would have been impossible to present the full text in one issue of the Magazine, most of the conversations were abbreviated and many reflections of the pious missionaries were excluded, but no statements were omitted which in any way throw light on the condition of the Germans in the States through which the missionaries traveled. ‡ This English catechism bears the following title: "A short Catechism for some Congregations of Jesus, of the Reformed Religion in Pennsylvania, etc. First published in German by John Bechtel. Philadelphia, 1742." The "Fellow Traveler " was not an American publication. It must have been published in England.

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  • The History… of the Potsdam Congregation, Page 6

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

    Page 6— The History… of the Potsdam Congregation [Click for larger image] title=Page 6

    all could not be accommodated. Bro. Murray preached the word with power. He gave a number of object lessons for the children which were helpful to us all. We feel that our church has been greatly strengthened. Nov. 8 we were favored by having Bro. Edward Frantz, of Elgin, Ill., with us. He gave a powerful message on peace. Mary Weisenbarger, Nov. 10.” Gospel Messenger, November 22, 1924 Those who gave their hearts to our Lord this first year were: Irene Arnett, Joseph Arnett, Carl Delk, Charles Eikenberry, Herbert Eikenberry, Neva Eikenberry, Paul Eikenberry, Ray Eikenberry, Ruby [Eikenberry] Erbaugh, Max Johnson, Olive [Green] Kley, Mildred McCowan, Miriam [Delk] Myers, Burlin Overholser, Harry Schenk and the remainder whose names do not appear in the registry. An all time record was set during the 1936 revival meetings held by Bro. Charles L. Flory when 33 were added to the fold. 1956 Remodeling Dedication “The Potsdam Church of the Brethren will worship this Sunday for the first time in its beautiful new sanctuary. For a number of weeks the congregation has been meeting in the remodeled basement. An 18x84 addition to the church has been completed, containing rest rooms, baby room, class rooms, vestibules, [and] Aid room. The new sanctuary will be complete with modern fold doors, gothic arch with installation for organ sounding chambers, new baptistery and carpeting on rostrom [sic] and aisles. Birch woodwork has been used throughout. A new birch pulpit and a new blond spinet piano have been purchased for use this Sunday also. Dedication for the $40,000 building project has been set for Sunday March 18th, with Rev. Bob Richards of Long Beach, Calif., as speaker. An eight-day revival meeting will begin Sunday evening. An invitation is given to all to attend.” West Milton Record, March 14, 1956 Rev. Robert E. Richards, pastor of the Long Beach Church of the Brethren, was an Olympic pole vault bronze medalist in 1948 and won gold medals in both 1952 and 1956. Thousands attended his week long preaching mission at Milton-Union High School. “Over 625 gathered at the Potsdam Church of the Brethren Sunday afternoon to attend the dedication services of the sanctuary of that church. The time was 2:30, but cars started pouring into the village long before that time, quickly filled the parking lots of both the celebrating church and the United Missionary church, streets were lined, in fact the town was filled with cars. The seating capacity of the first floor was taxed, including the vestibules.

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