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This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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.
has done a unique and stupendous service in the field of western historic lore. These volumes will soon be beyond the reach of the purchaser as but one thousand copies were printed — "from type and the type destroyed" — say the publishers. Scarcity will therefore soon add to the value of the work. A BUCKEYE BOYHOOD. A very delightful and entertaining little volume of two hundred pages, recently published by The Robert Clarke Company, Cincinnati, is “A Buckeye Boyhood," by William Henry Venable. The mention of the author's name is assurance of the literary excellence of the story and the charming nature of the narrative, Mr. Venable early won high place among the Ohio men of letters by his “Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley," now a classic in Ohioana. His numerous other books of poetry, history, fiction and essay bespeak the range of his intellectual wealth and the versatility of his talent, thought and study. A dozen or more volumes on various themes, all gems in their way, attest the popular place Mr. Venable has attained among the readers not only of Ohio but the country at large. This last volume is a "veiled autobiography" — a renaissance of the life and times of the author's boyhood; much of the recital being his own personal experience. The story is given in a simple, lucid style of "everyday" English — rendering the pages fascinating alike to young and old. In the rush and whirl of our present day life the literature that seems most in demand is that either of the purely in forming kind — the knowledge more or less heavy or technical that men and women seek for practical purposes or the highly imaginative or sensational class that stimulates the emotions and is read, much as narcotics and intoxicants are taken, to deaden for the moment the oppressions and cares of an overwrought nervous existence. The Buckeye Boyhood is a reversion — evidently delightful to the author and hence also to the reader — to the simple rural life of a generation or two ago; the struggle on the farm, for a plain living, with its attendant enjoyment of the freedom and beauties of nature; the toil arduous but simple, and unhampered by the exactions and high pressure of the "get there" ambitions and superfluous luxuries. The fields and woods and streams and hills and dales were the boy's arena — the country school with its elemental studies, the glimpses of the village and city life and the wider range of vision they opened for the lad; his books and reading and his amusements; all these are set forth by the pen of Mr. Venable as with the brush of a master upon the canvas of memory by an artist not an impressionist but a realist. The chapter on "religious experience" is especially readable as it typifies the crucial trial through which nearly all thoughtful and serious
them and to administer the communion. But now he had gone to Germany, and thus they were entirely forsaken. They had, indeed, written to Germany several times for a minister, who would earnestly care for ihe salvation of their souls and not for money. However, none was willing to come. There are two other places in this neighborhood which would like to have a minister. On Sunday, the 24th, I preached to them in their church on Rom., 5: 1. About one hundred persons assembled, and if the weather had not been so unfavorable many more would have come. It is a very neat little church, kept in good order and clean. The people were very attentive and eager to hear. I felt God's grace, and was quite at home among them. The schoolmaster thought that I had a special gift for preaching, because he did not understand the power of the preaching of the blood of Christ. After the sermon I distributed some Reformed catechisnms* among them because they were all Reformed people. In the afternoon several men, together with the officers of the congregation, came to visit me. We spoke of various subjects. They said that they had a parsonage, together with one hundred acres of land and a garden, which a minister could occupy at once, if they had one, nor would they allow him to suffer want in other necessaries of life. They related to me that some time ago a number of people had lived in Georgia who had been very pious, and would not tolerate any one among them who cursed. The name of their minister had been Spangenberg. But they had not liked the place, and hence had removed to Pennsylvania to Zinzendorf.† I asked what the people of this February, 1743, and went to Europe to study medicine at Leyden, Holland, 1743-1745. Returned and settled at Lancaster, where he practiced medicine. Pastor of Schaefferstown, Lebanon county, and Seltenreich, Lancaster county, 1746-1762. Died March 11, 1769 at Lancaster. During his pastorate at Lancaster, 1739-1743, he visited Virginia. See History of the Reformed Church in the United States, by Rev. Dr. J. I. Good, Reading, 1899, pp. 166-170; 580-581. * The same as the Swedish and English catechisms mentioned above. † They were unconsciously telling the Moravian missionaries the story of the first Moravian settlement made in Georgia in 1735 and abandoned in 1740, which was, no doubt, well known to them. See Early History