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This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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.
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!!!
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.
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.
IV, page 2404, in which place may be found a fair and discriminating account of the several sects in question: "The Tunkers are often confounded with the other peace sects, in Pennsylvania, of German origin, especially with the Mennonites, the Amish, Schwenckfelders, etc.; but they have no historical connection, and differ from them in some important particulars." Another quotation from Schaft-Harzog, Vol. IV, page 2403, may be allowed as fairly describing the Ephrata Society (the particular sect of Sieben-taeger with which we are here concerned): "The Sieben-Taeger, or German Seventh-day Baptists, are a secession from the Tunkers. They are now , nearly extinct as a denomination, but at one time existed in considerable numbers at Ephrata, Lancaster county, Penn., where, under Conrad Beissel. they formed a monastic community in 1732; and colonies were afterward formed near York, Bedford and Snow Hill. Beissel, a native of Germany, came to this country in 1720, and settled at Mill Creek, where he was baptized by Peter Becker, the Tunker minister of the Germantown church, in 1725. He published a pamphlet protesting against the change of the sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week, and also advocating celibacy as the higher order of Christian life." It was earlier than 1732, however, probably 1728, that Beissel, who had been baptized by the Dunker bishop, Peter Becker, in 1724, began the movement which formed the Ephrata Society. Community of goods was at first the rule at Ephrata, but was afterwards abandoned, at least in part. Celibacy was enjoined upon those who retired to the cloisters, and was recommended to others, but was not required of them. They adopted a garb similar to that of the Capuchins, and assumed, upon entering the order, monastic names. Having now succeeded, I trust, in setting the Dunkers clearly apart—showing what and who they are not—I have only left to tell, generally and briefly, who and what they are. The Dunkers (Brethren, or German Baptist Brethreh), are a large body of Christians, living chiefly in Pennsylvania, Maryland. Virginia, West Virginia. Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and California, with branch congregations and missons in Canada, Sweden, Norway, France, Switzerland, Asia Minor and India. They hold the Bible as the Word of God, and the New Testament as their creed. In faith they are orthordox and evangelical. They believe in the Trinity of the Godhead, in the divinity of each of the three Persons, in future reward and punishments. Faith, repentance and baptism are held to be the conditions of forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Ghost. They administer baptism by trine, face-forward, immersion. They perpetuate the Apostolic agape, or
lodged in an English tavern. Here the people complained very much, because they had no better preacher than the one ministering to them at present. On account of his disorderly life he he has no influence among the people. At this place I handed to the landlady the Swedish catechisms,* which Bro. Bryzeliust† of Philadelphia, gave me for his countrymen, who live three miles from here. On the 19th, we went to Roger Turner, who married the sister of Bro. Evans, and lives ten miles from here. They were very glad to see us. They urged me to give them a sermon, but my deficiency in the English language prevented me from doing it. We stayed with them a day and a night. When we departed they asked us very urgently to come again. I was here requested to baptize the child of an Englishman, nine months old, but I refused. On the 20th we continued our journey. Roger Turner accompanied us part of the way and showed us the right road. They gave us some Indian corn bread and cheese for the journey, although they were poor. At sunset we came to a German innkeeper, Jost Hayd,† a rich man, well known in this region. it seems to follow that he still occupied, in 1743, his first place of settlement on the Opequon, where the road passes the creek at Bartonsville. In 1748, he had removed to the Cedar Creek. See this magazine, Vol. XI, p. 228. * This Swedish catechism was a translation of the English catechism, mentioned before. It was translated into Swedish by Olaf Malander. See John Bechtel; His Contributions to Literature and His Descendants. By John W. Jordan. Philadeiphia, 1895. It is commonly thought that this catechism was actually composed by John Bechtel. But this view is erroneous. In the Bethlehem Diary we find the following entry, under date July 1, 1742: 'Bro Andrew Eschenbach and Gottlieb Buettner read from the Catechisnm for the Reformed congregations, which was written by Bro. Ludwig [Zinzendorf] and edited by Bro. John Bechtel." This statement settles definitely the authorship of the book. In fact, the title does not claim more than that Bechtel was the editor. ‡ "Paul Daniel Pryzelius" was ordained by the Moravians in 1743. He labored among the Swedes in West Jersey. See Register of the Moravians, p. 50. ‡ Just Hite, who was mentioned by Rev. Mr. Gottschalk in his Re-port and Observations, published in the January number, 1904, of this