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Welcome to the German Baptist Brethren Ministers & Congregations Site

German Baptist Brethren Ministers & Congregations

A comprehensive updated listing of the various ministers and congregations of the German Baptist Brethren Church of antiquity.

Begun as the result of frustrations felt by A. Wayne Webb, Gale E. S. Honeyman and Dennis D. Roth while researching, it now encompasses their research efforts into facts not in evidence in modern, published materials.  While The Brethren Encyclopedia (©1983) did an amazing job of compiling information, it at times missed information important to researchers, both genealogical and historical in nature.  While the three volume set of books was researched by hundreds of individuals there were many facts not denoted.  This site is an attempt to rectify this.

As pertaining to ministers and elders of the various branches of the German Baptist Brethren Church (Church of the Brethren, Brethren Church, Old German Baptist Brethren, etc.) this site deals with dates of birth and death omitted, the congregations they may have served, the date and place of their election, advancement or ordination, and, at times, their non-inclusion in the aforementioned reference volumes.  Interestingly, there are quite a few ministers, and even some elders, that because of oversight or poor research, never made it into The Brethren Encyclopedia.

When dealing with congregations it is a somewhat perplexing idiosyncrasy amongst researchers as to just what a congregation is.  Not wishing to get into this discussion, we have decided to list any "place of interest" as a congregation or meeting-house.  During our research it was noticed that while the list of congregations, as published in Volume 3, has generally acceptable dates associated in the listings, they are at times incorrect when compared with other, available data.  When possible the dates have been altered herein to reflect the newly found dates.

We are Volunteers

As mentioned this site (and work previously completed) was established as a concerted effort to update the entries for ministers and congregations as published in The Brethren Encyclopedia (©1983).  To that end each of the contributing editors has utilized records as diverse as newspapers of the 19th and 20th Centuries, almanacs and yearbooks of the German Baptist Church, the Church of the Brethren and the Brethren Church, district and congregational histories and, finally, any other information that could be documented.  This is not saying that infrequently "best guess" research was not utilized.  When so used the argument as to the veracity of the data was discussed and a decision by concensus was arrived at.

Mr. Dennis D. Roth, a resident of Washington...

Mr. Gale E. S. Honeyman, is a resident of Ohio, founding member, vice-chair of the board of directors and volunteer with the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio, charter member of The Fellowship of Brethren Genealogists and member of the historical board of the Southern District of Ohio of the Church of the Brethren.  He is a member of the Church of the Brethren, with ancestry in the church reaching back more than two hundred fifty years.  A lecturer and author of The History of Laura, Ohio (©1977); The House of Spittler-Spitler (©1977); Descendents of John and Susanna (Ulrich) Deeter (©1994); Descendents of Thomas and Elizabeth (Smith) Plummer (©2003 and ©2006); and contributer to numerous authors for their genealogical publications.

Mr. A. Wayne Webb, a resident of New Jersey and past editor of Brethren Roots, was born in Nashville, Tennessee.  While not a member of the Church of the Brethren he has taken an active interest in his heritage and the preservation of it.  To that end he has long been an advocate of digital preservation of Brethren periodicals, no matter the denomination, and has amassed the expertise and training to facilitate these goals.  Early on it was at his behest and forward looking view that a digital project involving the various branches of the German Baptist Brethren church, both religous and higher-education institutions was begun.  He has now directed his attentions to ensuring that the highest standards of digital preservation are utilized.  His Brethren heritage is the Arnold family of Frederick County, Maryland and the Howard family of York County (later of Bedford and Indiana counties), Pennsylvania.

Site Conventions

For the user of this site there are several editorial notes to be aware of.  To denote work previously covered by The Brethren Encyclopedia, that text will always be in black.  All new facts will be denoted by the use of the color of red.  All links to congregations and the like will be shown using the color of green or blue.  At the end of a minister's record that has been altered in some fashion, a set of initials enclosed in parantheses.  For instance, the usage of (AWW) means that A. Wayne Webb was the responsible party and any questions regarding the editing should be directed to him.  On occasion there are multiple editors which is denoted by the usage of a "/" character between their initials.  Other than AWW the other, at this time, initials used are GESH for Gale E. S. Honeyman and DDR for Dennis D. Roth.

Site Development

This site is hosted by BrethrenArchives.Com as a service to historically minded researchers.  The development and concept has been primarily fielded by A. Wayne Webb, a long time supporter of the Brethren Community-At-Large thru his semi-regular postings to various online communities.

At present (Oct. 2010) only information concerning congregations discovered thru the research of the contributors, Wayne, Gale and Dennis, is presented online.  This information is based on actual newspaper articles long out of copyright.  In place, but used only as a research tool of the contributors, is a comprehensive updated listing of the various ministers discovered thru many years of research.  Because of possible copyright infringement with The Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc. this data is avialable only on a need to know basis.

Understanding the need for an update of the lists presented in The Brethren Encyclopedia, a contributing member acquired a copy of the third volume in the series and disassembled it for digital scanning and OCRing for his own purposes.  Mentioning this to another member it was decided to see if a research tool could be created for in-house use.  To this end the file was prepared using Microsoft's Word and updating begun.  The conventions utilized were to highlight in red any new or updated information as well as the source of it.  If needed vertical files were created for supporting information in various file formats and linked into the master ministerial file.  Finally, the contributing member's initials, or contributors, were recorded.

At the same time, using a slightly different technique, the congregational list was prepared using traditional publishing standards.  As discovered in the digital Brethren newspaper collection of Wayne, the microfilm collection of Dennis, or thru Gale's access to newspapers at The Brethren Heritage Center of Brookville, Ohio, articles of interest in regard to congregations, or meeting-houses, was meticulously transcribed, documented, and prepared for use.  Flat Microsoft Word files were created using a designed template which was then electronically linked to the appropriate entry in the congregational file.

This process worked well until the amount of information began to overwhelm the digital guru of the project, Wayne.  He was the "clearing-house" for the assimilation and thus creating the majority of the digital files and /or ensuring the accuracy of the information and the proper typesetting enforcement.  After discussion it was decided that all parties involved needed to be able to contribute to the online component fully, necessitating research into a method.

It was decided to go with a content management system in lieu of the more traditional HTML web site development.  The primary reason for the use of a CMS was the large amount of data that would be involved.  A more traditoinal web site would have involved thousands of individual pages for the congregations and an interminably long listing of ministers.  After due research and discovery a method put in place for web space, training, and software acquisition.  This has been a process fraught with a tight learning curve and financial strain but it is hoped that the effort is well received.

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