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This site, as are many others maintained on this domain, presents to researchers and historians high-quality images of historical reference books about the Brethren.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

  • History – Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico & Louisiana, page 16

    Thirty-One Years of Organized Work in Oklahoma,
    Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana by
    Church of the Brethren from 1891 to 1922

    page 16 — History: Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico & Louisiana [Click for larger image] title=page 16

    Spain claimed Texas on account of Columbus' discovery of America. King Louis granted (1712) all rights of Louisiana trade to Crozat. In spite of Spain's strict laws against trading with other nations, Crozat and his friends persuaded certain Spanish priests to allow them to trade in Texas, provided the French aided the Holy Fathers in establishing missions. The French Saint, Dimas led a trading expedition across Texas to the Rio Grande; this aroused Spain and caused her in 1716 to found six missions in East Texas; from this time, Texas was never without Spanish settlements. Spain's purpose was to convert the nations to Christianity, and to hold the territory for the king. The moral condition of the Indians made the task of the priests most difficult. The priests began with simple arbors and wooden buildings, worked patiently and persistently until they had trained the savages to labor so they could erect stone missions. The most interesting of missions was in and near San Antonio. Moses Austin, from Missouri came to San Antonio in 1820. Aided by Baron de Bastrop, he obtained permission from the Mexican government to settle 300 families in Texas. After the death of Moses Austin, his son Stephen located his grant of land on the lower course of the Brazos and the Colorado. Generous offers of land attracted many colonists. A revolution forced Austin to go to the City of Mexico (1822); in a year he returned after a special law had been passed by the Mexican congress, regulating matters in his colony. He was granted the right to settle 1,200 families and was the leading figure in the whole colonial era.

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  • Sketch… Northern Indiana, Title page

    A Brief Sketch of the Brethren Generally
    Known as "Dunkards" of Northern Indiana

    Title page — …Sketch… of the Brethren of Northern Indiana [Click for larger image] title=Title page

    A BRIEF SKETCH of THE BRETHREN GENERALLY KNOWN AS “DUNKARDS” of NORTHERN INDIANA, by OWEN OPPERMAN 1897 NEWS PRINTING Co., GOSHEN, IND.

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  • Ohio Archæological and Historical Society Publications, Volume XX [1911], page 32

    Ohio Archæological and Historical Society
    Publications, Volume XX

    Ohio Archæological and Historical Society Publications, Volume XX [1911], Page 32 [Click for larger image]Page 32

    THE PLACE OF THE OHIO VALLEY IN AMERICAN HISTORY. FREDERICK JACKSON TURNER. Professor of History, University of Wisconsin. [Mr. Turner, until the fall of 1910, was professor of American History in the University of Wisconsin. He is now professor of Western American History at Harvard University and the past yea r (1910) was president of the American Historical Association. He delivered the address herewith published at the meeting of the Ohio Valley Historical Association, held at Frankfort, Kentucky, October 16 1909). — Editor.] In a notable essay Professor Josiah Royce, of Harvard University, has asserted the salutary influence of a highly organized provincial life in order to counteract certain evils arising from the tremendous development of nationalism in our own day. Among these evils he enumerates: First, The frequent changes of dwelling place, whereby the community is in danger of losing the well knit organization of a common life; second, the tendency to reduce variety in national civilization to assimilate all to a common type and thus discourage individuality, and produce a "remorseless mechanism-vast, irrational;" third, the evils arising from the fact that waves of emotion, the passion of the mob, tend in our day to sweep across the nation. Against these national surges of feeling Professor Royce would erect dikes in the form of provincialism, the resistance of separate sections each with its own traditions, beliefs and aspirations. "Our national unities have grown so vast, our forces of social consolidation so paramount, the resulting problems, conflicts, evils, have become so intensified, he says, that we must seek in the province renewed strength, usefulness and beauty of American life. Whatever may be thought of this philosopher's appeal for a revival of sectionalism, on a higher level, in order to check the tendencies to a deadening uniformity of national consolidation (and to me this appeal, under the limitations which he gives it,

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