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This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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.
again soon came to water. We still had four miles to Jost Haid's mill.16 We pitched our tent beyond the mill. Bro. Jacob Loesch again joined us, after having been on several plantations to buy bread and oats, but he had gotten little. We put our horses in a meadow, as we had no more feed for them. Bro. Lisher and Merkli stayed with them at night. Bro. Gottlob conducted the evening worship. We lay down soon afterwards for a good rest under our tent. On October 19, we rose at six o'clock, but we had not slept much, because the smoke had annoyed us considerably. One mile from here we had some bread baked for us, and towards nine o'clock we continued our journey. Several brethren preceded us two and a half miles to Mr. Neuschwanger,17 a German, 16 In connection with Jost Haid's mill, the following petition from the records of Orange counity will be of interest: To the worshipful his Majesty's Justices of Orange county. The petition of sundry inhabitants of Opeckon sheweth: That yr. Petioners at present lay under great inconveniency for want of a Road from Just Hyte's Mill to Ashby's bent Ford on Shenando, humbly pray that yr. worships will order that a wagon road be cleared. And yr. Petitioners, etc. David Vance, *Ulrich Bucher, Abrm. Hollingsworth, Robert Allane, William Hog, Robert Smith, Peter Wolff. Benj. Booden [Borden], Richard Wood, *Johannes Stockli, Joseph Calwer, Charles McDowell, John Harrow, Nathanael Thomas, *Jerg Dieter, Jno. Nation, William Reed, Luke Vickery, Thomas Branson, Jr., Thomas Postgate, Robert Warth, James Vance, Ellis Thomas, Philip Kenney, Hugh De Vine, Isaac Perkins [Parkins], John Branson, William Vance, Edward Corder, John Gaskin, George Harreson, Isaac Davenport, John Hite, John McDowell, Geshem Woodel, Joseph Davenport, Charls. Barns, Robert Mackoy, George Bowman, *Abraham Weisman, *Jacob Weiss, Jacob Christman, Joseph Robins, *Gottfried Steffneha Gambeler. June Court 1739. [* The names marked * are written in German script.] At a court held for Orange county on February 22, 1738, the above petition was laid before the court, and it was ordered that Lewis Stephen and Jacob Niswanger lay out the road. On March 22, 1738, the two men reported the completion of their work. 17 This was Christian Newswanger, who landed in Philadelphia August 24, 1728. See Rupp's Collection of Thirty Thousand Names,
changed our tent and dug a little ditch around it for the water to run off, but the rain came through the tent so that we becanme thoroughly wet and were kept awake nearly the whole night. On November 10, it began to clear a little. The river rose still higher. We passed our time with drying blankets, mending clothes and darning stockings. We bought several bushels of corn and some meat from our neighbors, who liked our prolonged stay as it netted them some money. In the afternoon we had a little love feast. Bro. Nathanael led the evening worship and we lay down to rest. On November 11, several brethren went to the river early to find out whether we could cross. The river had falletn two feet. A man showed us the ford and I rode through6 first on our white horse. We risked it and drove through safely. The banks were tolerably easy to pass. We then passed through a swamp, but stuck fast in a mud hole for a considerable time. We had much trouble to get out. Mr. Hikki, who lives half a mile from here and keeps a store (which is the nearest house, at which we can buy salt), came to us and showed himself very friendly. We had a miserable road to his house. Here we bought some provisions. A few miles from this place we met a man from North Carolina, who lives not far from our land. We heard from himn that it was known everywhere that we would soon come. He had also heard that we had two ministers with us, which was very good, because they lived almost as wild men and heard nothing of God or his word. They were also pleased to hear that we had a physician with us. We ate our dinner two and a half miles beyond Mr. Hikki, near a little creek. where we found a good pasture. We had had a pretty good road thus far. Then we continued through several mud holes and across steep hills. Every half or quarter of a mile we found water, often close to a deep swamp. In the evening we pitched our tent near a little creek, having traveled to-day eight miles, which was rapid progress. We were glad to have such beautiful and warm weather. At night we cooked Virginia potatoes which tasted very well. 5 This refers to the writer of the diary, wvho was most probably the Rev. B. A. Grube.