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 This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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. XII, No. 3 (Jan., 1905), page 274

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 3 (Jan., 1905), page 274 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 3 (Jan., 1905), page 274

    which we had bought. We had to drive again on a pretty steep road, after half a mile we came to a little creek, and again half a mile farther to the "Black Water," a large creek with steep banks. After another mile we came again to a creek; and two miles farther to another, where we ate our dinner. There were several mud holes here, but we passed them safely. There the road branched to the left up the mountain. We missed it, by turning to the right and coming to an old mill race at Ringfros Mill. We then stayed on the left and turned up again to the mountain, where we came to the right way. Going a mile we came to a little creek and mud hole. Half a mile beyond we came to another creek, a mile farther to the left was a new plantation, and half a mile from it we had to pass through a bad swamp and creek. A mile farther we came to Robert Johnsen, from whom we bought some hay. He accompanied us half a mile to show us the way across the creek and a comfortable place, where we could pitch our tent. Our course to-day was west and southwest. We had gone sixteen miles. The road was pretty good, except some mud holes and steep banks along the creeks. It was twenty-five miles from this point to the Smith River.4 On November 6, we continued our journey. Bro. Herman stayed back to thresh oats at Mr. Johnsen's place. We had to pass through many mud holes. Frequently there was danger of our wagon becoming stuck. We were often compelled to hoist the wheels out of the holes, and we had much trouble in cutting our way through, because it was very narrow. Frequently we hardly knew how to get through when turning our long wagon. Two miles from our camp we went through a fence. We had to pass through much mud and about thirty times over a creek, which runs through the great swamp. Bro. Herman also joined us again and brought with him several bushels of oats, which he had threshed out. Mr. Johnsen had a pleasant conversation with Bro. Herman. He said that he had not heard a sermon for nine years. In the evening we pitched our 4 This estimate is certainly too high, because the whole distance from Magotty creek to Smith river is not more than twenty-five miles. Johnson, Renfro, Rentfrow

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  • Front cover

    Minutes of the Annual Meetings of the Brethren: 1778 - 1917

    Front cover — Minutes of the Annual Meetings of the Brethren [Click for larger image]Front cover

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  • The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 1 (Jul., 1904), page 65

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 1 (Jul., 1904), page 65 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 1 (Jul., 1904), page 65

    could no longer go astray. Thanking him very much I bade him farewell and went on my way rejoicing. [Acts, 8:39.] At noon I met an awakened English Baptist, named Ashkrafft, who showed me much love and with whom I could speak much of the Saviour. He intends to visit Bethlehem. In the evening I came to the last house, that of an Indian trader,24 beyond which there was no house for forty miles. It was a very disorderly house. The man was not at home. I asked the Lamb to protect me and it was done. On March 15-26, I arose early, being very glad and thankful to the Lord for having delivered me from this house. The Saviour gave me grace to speak to several people, who had conducted themselves very badly the night before. I continued joyfully on my way. To-day I crossed the high North Mountain, the appearance of which everywhere was terrible. If one is down in the valley he cannot look up to the high, steep mountains without shuddering. And if one is up on the top of the mountains, the deep valleys, in which no bottom but only the tops of the trees are seen and the rushing of the water is heard, are also awe inspiring. The last and highest mountain is called "High Germany,"25 and immediately after it is a deep valley, called "Devil's Alley," because it looks so terrible. But the Lamb helped me through safely with my horse. Towards four o'clock I cane to Colonel Chrassop, who received me very kindly. He has offered land to the Brethren from his own tract, at 35 pounds of Maryland money for one hundred acres. 24 This Indian trader was Charles Polk, as appears from the Journal of Washington. Under date of Mlarch 21, 1748, he states: "Travell'd up Maryland side all y. Day in a continued Rain to Collo. Cresaps right against y. Mouth of y. South Branch about 40 miles from Polks. I believe y. worst Road that ever was trod by Man or Beast." Journal of 1747-8, p. 30. Schnell refers to him in 1749 as Carl Bock—see Virginia Mlagazine, Vol. XI, p. 117. Gottschalk in his report to Spangenberg refers to him as "Charly Poak." See the present number, p. 79. 25 High Germany is an old name for a mountainous section of country in the northwestern part of Frederick County, Maryland. Mechanicstown, now called Thurmont, is in this locality.

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