Lively and replete with names, this book is a must for everyone, not only those with German-speaking ancestors. Founded in 1827 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, to support missionaries in the Indian Territory, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, “The Weekly Messenger of the German Reformed Church” soon became a huge success. Pastors began sending in, together with their subscription money, notices of deaths and marriages and other interesting bits of information, not only about members of their church but about anybody they knew. The newspaper gave fascinating details on marriages, deaths, parsons taking up new posts, appointments complete with lists of references, reports of accidents, murders (“the fiendish influence of Intemperance”), arrests, convictions, hangings, and even good news, of the founding of scholarships and acts of human kindness ($30,000 returned by honest hack driver). As far as locale is concerned, entries are not limited to happenings in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, but stretch as far as Florida, Missouri, Michigan (more than twenty-two states in all) and even Europe and Asia. However, the true value of the newspaper lies not in its scope but in the detailed information given in its columns. Death notices, for instance, give not only full names but often also the precise cause of death (sometimes quite graphically), occupation and the names of survivors, attending physicians and other regular visitors. Rosters of people who gave to collections and who paid their subscriptions, lists of those who attended schools or were elected to sit on boards, and a full-name index add to the value of this work.
(1992), 2012, 5½x8½, paper, index, 336 pp.