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This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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

Recently Added

  • Ohio Archæological and Historical Society Publications, Volume XX [1911], page 236

    Ohio Archæological and Historical Society
    Publications, Volume XX

    Ohio Archæological and Historical Society Publications, Volume XX [1911], Page 236 [Click for larger image]Page 236

    BIRTH PLACE OF LITTLE TURTLE. CALVIN YOUNG , GREENVILLE. The village where Little Turtle was born in 1752 was located on the north tributary of the Eel River, twenty miles northwest of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, in Whitney County. This north tributary is known today as the Blue River Branch, near its junction at Blue Lake, to which it furnished an outlet only a short distance away. It stood on the west side of the river on a high sandy point of land, surrounded on three sides by a great bend in the river. A wide prairie marsh skirted those high lands north and south, but on the east the high banks neared each other, making it an easy ford to the north bank of the lake only a few hundred yards to the eastward. The Blue Lake contained possibly five hundred acres. Near the foot of the hill, immediate to the south, a fine spring of water bubbled forth underneath the shade of a beautiful grove of barren oak trees. A short distance south of the spring nestling in the middle of the prairie was a small lake containing four or five acres, and so very deep that the water looked a dark blue. It was called by the Indians "Devil's Lake", from the fact that something mysterious had appeared in or near it entirely unknown to Indian lore during a dusky Summer evening, at which the Indians became terribly frightened and ran all the way to Ft. Wayne then a frontier outpost. Along about 1863, and for a number of years later, the writer has been on this peculiar ancient village site many times, where Little Turtle was born, and which was his home nearly all his life. Along the river banks were Indian trails, worn several inches deep, which not only spoke of primitive, but also of recent times, as it was a flourishing village in 1812, and, possibly, was not entirely deserted until 1846, at which time the Indians were all removed to the West. It seemed that Nature had provided here with a lavish hand

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  • Some Who Led, Title page

    Some Who Led — Or — Fathers in
    the Church of the Brethren Who Have Passed Over

    Title page — Some Who Led [Click for larger image]Title page

    SOMEWHO LED Or Fathers in the Church of the Brethren Who Have Passed Over WRITTEN and COMPILED By D. L. Miller and Galen B. Royer “Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And departing, leave behind us Footprints in the sands of time.” BRETHREN PUBLISHING HOUSE Elgin, Ill. 1912

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  • The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 2 (Oct., 1904), page 151

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

    The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 2 (Oct., 1904), page 151 [Click for larger image]The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XII, No. 2 (Oct., 1904), page 151

    drove two miles farther over a good road, passed a creek and came to a house where we stopped most of the day. The people baked some bread for us and we bought a pig which we butchered at once. Mr. Illisen also came to us, from whom Bro. Herman bought the last corn. He asked the brethren to shoe his horse, which they did. He also said that he intended to travel to Philadelphia within a short time and that if we had anything to deliver he would gladly take it along. Bro. Gottlob and Nathanael wrote several letters to our dear brethren at Bethlehem, which they addressed to Sam. Powel in Philadelphia. This evening we went on four miles farther, but had a pretty good road. We took several loaves of bread along which had been baked for us at Lunis' Mill.35 We crossed a pretty large creek and pitched our tent two miles this side of the mill at a little creek, but we had to change its position soon, because the wind blew the smoke into the tent. We put our horses in the woods. Bro. Petersen and Merkli, who had stayed back to bake bread, came to us again late at night. They had been compelled at Lunis Mill to wade through the creek, which is pretty deep. On October 30, we had bad weather. It rained and snowed, but we kept pretty dry under our tent. Our horses had run off and some of our brethren had to search for them nearly the whole day before they found them. We were very glad when we had them again, because we had heard that many horses had been stolen in this neighborhood and the same might have happened to ours. As the brethren had become thoroughly wet and cold, we drank tea and were very happy together. We changed our tent again because of the smoke. We tried for the first time to bake our bread in the ashes. On October 31, we rose very early to start again on our journey. We soon had to climb a high mountain, which was very hard on the horses, for the ground was frozen hard and covered with snow. After a mile we came to a little creek, and after another mile to a pretty large creek, near which was a plantation. 35 This was evidently the mill of Robert Luhny, who is mentioned in the itinerary of Rev. Mr. Schnell as being on the James river. The reading which was considered doubtful (see Virginia Magazine, Vol. XII, p. 82) is corroborated by this passage. The ferry is given as "Looneys Ferry," on Fry and Jefferson's map of Virginia.

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