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 This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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. 3 (Jan., 1904), page 241

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 3 (Jan., 1904), page 241 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 3 (Jan., 1904), page 241

    famous Mosheim,* whom Bro. Gottschalk also visited, and who received him with much love. His predecessor was the father of the well-known Stoever.† He was not at home, but had gone to Williamsburg to take his tobacco, which is part of his salary, to the market. The people there asked Bro. Joseph to preach for them, but he refused because the minister was not at home, and without his knowledge and consent he would not preach. Very modest and nice people live there; with four of them they became more fully acquainted. One of them said he would visit us, together with Rev. Mr. Klug, at Bethlehem. On July 30th, they came, towards evening, to the Licken Run [Licking Run], or Germantown, where they lodged with an old friend by the name of Holzklau. The little village is settled with Reformed miners from Nassau-Siegen.‡ They live very quietly together and are nice people. *John Lorenz Mosheim was a famous historian and theologian (1693-1755), professor in Kiel, Helmstadt and Goettingen. He is best known through his extensive church history. † On September 11 , 1728, there arrived in Philadelphia Johann Caspar Stoever, Sr., Missionaire, and Johann Caspar Stoever, S. S. Theo. Stud. The latter remained in Pennsylvania and was instrumental in founding many Lutheran churches. The former went to Madison county, Virginia, in 1733. The relation of these two men has long been a problem to Lutheran historians. Neither the editors of the "Hallesche Nachrichten" nor the last prominent Lutheran historian (Rev. T. E. Schmauk, in Lutheran Church in Pennsylvania, 1902, in Vol. XI, of Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society, p. 245) were able to shed any light on this subject. The statement of this diary settles this vexed quest ion definitely by informing us that the Virginia missionary was the father of the younger Stoever who labored in Pennsylvania. ‡ This statement dispels all doubts and conjectures as to the nativity of the first German settlers at Germanna. Bishop Meade, in his Old Churches and Families of Virginia, Vol. II, pp. 74-76. and Dr. Slaughter, in his History of St. Mark's Parish, pp. 42-45, give interesting accounts of these people, but their statements are to some extent inaccurate. Dr. Slaughter, especially, was in error when hazarding the conjecture that they were a remnant of the German settlement at Newbern, North Carolina, which escaped to Virginia after the Indian massacre at that place in 1711, and, unfortunately, later writers have adopted his theory as a fact. As shown by these diaries and as stated in a previous note, Germantown, Fauquier, was settled by colonists from Nassau-Siegen, Westphalia, Germany. The house built by Tillman

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  • The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 385

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 385 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Apr., 1904), page 385

    water, as the snow melt all at once through the great heat and the water could not run off. On Detember 20th, we passed from North Carolina to South Carolina. After having traveled about twelve miles we came to the wide ocean. It is inmpossible to travel on land, on account of the swamps. Travelers, therefore, pass over the sand of the beach at the time of low tide. They have to hurry to cover fifteen miles before the tide returns, or else they might lose their lives. When it is spring tide, whenever the moon is full, travelers must wait, for they cannot proceed on their journey. It is called Long Bay. As we did not feel confident that we could pass through before night set in, and were already tired, we stayed in an inn, which has been erected at this place. The name of the innkeeper is Dotz. On the following morning we were first taken across a small river, and then we passed along the sand. We had to wade through several rivers, which empty here into the ocean. After having traveled seven miles in this way, we came to a large stream. It had been described to us as very dangerous and so we found it to be, for towards the land there is a large swamp, and closer towards the water there is danger because of the strong waves. I thought, the Lord will help us through safely. An-other man traveled with us on horseback, but he did not venture to go first; we had to lead the way so that he might not risk his life. We passed through safely. We journeyed yet eight miles, then we came again on firm land. Here we refreshed ourselves, in a house along the road, with some potatoes and bread. After making twelve miles more we stayed over night in an English house. The name of the innkeeper is Mahary. He is a Free Mason. He told us much about his brethren. Among other things he related that three weeks ago a young German, Franz Leonhard, intended to travel from Georgia to Pennsylvania to visit his brother, who is a minister there (namely, Boehler). But he had become sick in his house and had died. He had only half a crown of money with him and two German books. The innkeeper offered to give them to me, as he could not read German. When I examined them, I found one to be a Moravian hymnbook and the other a small Halle bible, in which were

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  • The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 3 (Jan., 1905), page 276

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 3 (Jan., 1905), page 276 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 3 (Jan., 1905), page 276

    which we have crossed.5 We were all very glad when we reached the top. Going down the mountain we locked both wheels, hung a tree to the wagon, and thus we descended safely. The people had described these mountains as very dangerous, telling us that we would hardly be able to cross them. Morgan Bryand, who had first gone this way, had taken the wheels off his wagon and had carried it peacemeal to the top. It had taken himn three months to travel from the "Shanidore" to the "Edkin" [Yadkin]. At the foot of the mountain we crossed a large creek with steep banks, which empties into the Smith River. We came to a plantation where the people were very friendly and in answer to our request showed us the right way, which turns off a imile from this point to the left, but is not as convenient as the road to the right. One mile farther was a pretty large creek with banks so steep that we hardly knew how to cross. But after much labor and difficulty we passed over safely. We drove two miles farther to our camp. The road was very poor and we were stalled several tinmes. We pitched our tent close to a plantation. With all our labor and trouble we had only traveled seven miles to-day. It began to rain and we had to lie down wet. On November 9, most of the brethren rose very early, because they could not sleep any more. It rained very fast, so that the water flowed under us and we were all lying in the water. The river had risen two feet over night and we saw no possibility of crossing. We had frequent visits from the people in the neighborhood who wondered at our long wagon and that so many unmarried men were traveling together. They also asked for our minister. Bro. Gottlob enjoyed the affection of the people all along the way, and they would have liked to have lhad their children baptized by him. Towards noon the rain let up and we hoped for good weather, but soon it began to rain still faster, so that we could hardly keep a little fire. We 5 This mountain is possibly a part of the mountain range which separated Patrick and Henry counties. In that case the first large creek, passed by the Moravians, would have been Town creek, the second Rock creek, and the passage of the Smith river was effected six miles northwest of Martinsville, in the present county of Henry.

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