German Baptist - Church of the Brethren Families

May 2, 2013 - the Church of the Brethren Newsline announces the completion of the Brethren Digital Archive! Celebrating completion of the Brethren Digital Archive - in the Brethren Digital Archive, available online in a full-text format without charge at . It contains 29 periodicals published from 1852-2000 by the spiritual heirs of those baptized in the Eder River. 

  1. First Brethren Families Project sponsored by the Fellowship of Brethren Genealogists (FOBG) information was posted in the Quarterly Journal "Brethren Roots." Three groups: First Brethren Family Roots, for those tracing their family line back to the original eight baptized - my sixth-great-grandparents Elizabeth Naas and Heinrich Hirt Landis families should quailfy for this as they were at the First Baptism in America Christmas day near Phildaelphia in 1723; First Century Brethren Roots, for those who can identify an ancestor with ties to a Brethren community before 1809 - should be all my other Brethren families listed below; and Second Century Brethren Roots, for those with Brethren ancestry prior to 1909. Details are given in the quarterly journal with application and rules published in the Fall 2012 edition and information how to receive a copy of the periodical was repeated by Thomas Liby online May 5, 2013 at BRETHREN-L Archives on
  2. Membership application at the official Church of the can be completed online, printed, and mailed.
  3. There is a pdf and an html form at another site at Rootsweb

Popularly known as Dunker's, "did not have an official name until 1836 when a query was sent to Annual Meeting asking what name should appear on a deed for a meeting house at which time the name Fraternity of German Baptists was chosen and used until 1871 when again Annual Meeting changed the name to German Baptist Brethren, who again changed the name in 1908 to Church of the Brethren." From GESH.

Most of my maternal and many of my paternal ancestors are Swiss-German Church of the Brethren. In the 1700's the Brethren meet in homes and barns, not building their first churches until the 1830's and 1840's. Similar to the Mennonites and Amish who were fellow Anabaptists, they did not baptize infants nor children. They dressed in distinctive conservative attire believing in unquestioning obedience to the teachings of Christ and the New testament, including non-conformity to worldly values, non-swearing, non-resistance, and non-participation in warfare. The motto still guiding the Lower Miami Church is in 1 John 3:18 "Let us not love in word and speech, but in deed and truth."

The Brethren arose as Schwarzenau Brethren in 1708 Germany. Their 300th Anniversary Celebration was in August 2008 in Schwarzenau, Germany. After the Thirty Year War in 1648 each German principality had been able to choose which of three religions - Catholic, Lutheran, or Reformed - would be recognized as their established religion. Known as Radical Pietism the brethren dissenters arose from the spirit wanting to establish the "true" Christian faith. Alexander MACK steered the flock closer to the Mennonites doctrinal principles to adher to the teachings of the New Testament in regard to baptism, the Lord's Supper and feet washing, along with resistance to violence or force. Their Pietism exists because of the Reformation.

The Brethren List discussion group welcome message states: "The term "Brethren" as used here alludes to all persons and places that now, or in the past, have any type of connection to the church groups that descend from the movement started by the Alexander Mack group during 1708 at Schwarzenau, Germany. Among others, names associated with this group include Tunker; Dunkard; German Baptist; Church of the Brethren; Dunkard Brethren; Grace Brethren; and Old German Baptist Brethren.

There have been a number of divisions within the church. Known as one of the "Peace" churches they are opposed to government oaths, allegiance, military duty and depending on which division may oppose modern living much as Amish Mennonite's. Besides local county libraries and the Allen County Public Library I have found a lot of family obituaries in Brethren publications at Manchester College North Manchester, Wabash County, Indiana. Some ancestor families like Landis, Groff/Graff and church histories can be found in Mennonite archives such as Goshen College in Goshen, Elkhart County, Indiana online at their collective Mennonite Archives. The church started around 1708 in Germany where the members were persecuted and even killed such as my Hans LANDIS for preaching against or not following the state religion. Families emigrated to the United States sometimes by way of England, the Netherlands, or other countries. There are several deacons or ministers in some branches of my families from the founding of the church in 1708 to the present time.

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Some of my family lines are still Brethren members today, all of these families were at one time

EIKENBERRY many ministers and some descendants were teachers at Manchester College which formerly had an Eikenberry Hall.
FOLLIS two generations married COB. Cousin John FOLLIS was a COB minister in California.
HECKMAN Peter was an unordained minister in 1770 Little Swatara congregation with services held in his home in Tulpehocken Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. Dwayne Wrightsman lists some of the farms along the Little Swatara River.
NAAS early minister PROUGH married COB, Daniel Prough was a minister in the west - Kansas? REAM married COB ROYER SWANK
ULLERY ZEIGLER had deacon and minister ZUMBRUN sibling lines still active in Blue River COB Whitley County, IN

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Gospel Visitor Index before 1873 Obituary Index Pilgrim & Weekly Pilgrim 1870-1876 1881 Great Divide Old German Baptist Brethren COB Newspapers Before 1883 1883 Gospel Messenger - A. Wayne Webb version
Annual Conference - Recorded and Future Annual Conferences 1895 Brethren Almanac 2008 Brethren World Assembly photographs About the Dunkers
Bethany Seminary - Earlham College Library Bethany Theological Seminary - Richmond, Indiana Blue River COB Whitley County, IN Brethren Brethren in America Brethren Digital Archives Brethren Digital Archives on BDA Collection on  
Brethren Churches and Cemeteries Brethren Encyclopedia Brethren Groups Brethren Heritage Center Brethren Life 1998
Brethren Life - Merle Rummel Rootsweb Brethren Mailing List Search Rootsweb Brethren List Archive by the month! Search entire Rootsweb Brethren List Archive by word! Brethren Press
Brethren Profile Brethren Revival Fellowship Church of the Brethren Dunkard Group in Geology a type of rock formation in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. COB Genealogy and History
The History Of A Baldwin City Religious Institution: Willow Springs Old German Baptist Brethren Church - Flory's from Whitley County, Indiana Church of the Brethren Timeline Christopher SAUER house Germantown Fellowship of Brethren Genealogists Gospel Messenger Obituary Index
Brethren Heritage Center Brookville, Ohio History of the Brethren Church   Brethren Seeking Peace Church of the
Church of the Brethren history The Conflict of Ages particularly #36 Dunkard Brethren Elder John Kline of Rockingham County, Virginiaphoto of home Ephrata Cloister Lancaster, PA in Harper's New Monthly Magazine
Church of the Brethren titles on CrossRoads Shenandoah Valley Virginia Brethren History of the Church of the Brethren in Indiana - Otho Winger - Google book Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians - glorious deaths of European Anabaptist martyrs between 1524 and 1660 Fellowship of Brethren Genealogists
Goshen College Goshen, Elkhart County, Indiana The 1899 book A History of the German Baptist Brethren in Europe and American by Martin Brumbaugh on Google. Harley Herli Family mentions Landis, Naas and Ringoes, New Jersey Horse and Buggy Mennonites Lost Children
Monastery Stables former original COB church Manchester College North Manchester, Wabash County, Indiana Manchester College Archives and Brethren Historical Collection MennoSearch Germans Swiss Mennonite's Mennonite Archives Obituaries
Newspapers of the German Baptist Brethren before 1883 Pricetown, Berks County, Pennsylvania - Oldest Brethren Meeting House My David ZEIGLER and his brother Lykens Valley Philip ZIEGLER were River Brethren. From infoplease, some became Old Order River Brethren, and some became Brethren In Christ, the Wikipedia verson or even United Zion Church
Shenandoah Valley Brethren Center Some Who Led by D. L. Miller and Galen B. Royer - A. Wayne Webb version Samuel Fluke Photo Album Collection 1908 - Two Centuries of the Church of the Brethren by Martin Grove Brumbaugh
Trout Family has Naas Amwell, New Jersey link Johann Peter Laushe Lawshe has Naas and Wabash County, Indiana link Brethren Archives Glass Plate Photo Collection - A. Wayne Webb Elizabethtown College Class photos - 1928, 1912, 1929 and 1921 - A. Wayne Webb originals up to 14 feet long Brethren Historical Library and Archives - official repository for Church of the Brethren publications and records. Its purpose is to keep alive the Brethren faith heritage...

If you find research that adds to, or contradicts mine, please leave a Comment on my Follis Families in the United States Facebook page, or send me an Email.

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