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The Brethren Heritage Center has a rich “heritage” itself, having been blessed by many people over the years who have dedicated themselves to preserving the heritage and historical materials of a variety of Brethren denominations, all of which trace their roots to a set of believer baptisms at the Eder River near Schwarzenau, Germany in 1708. Here are a few individuals you should know about.

Beginning in the late 1970s historian and genealogist Donald R. Bowman of Brookville, Ohio, a member of the Southern Ohio District Historical Committee of the Church of the Brethren, began accumulating many books, historical records and artifacts from the several Churches of the Brethren in the Miami Valley, Ohio. This collection was housed in the old Happy Corner Church of the Brethren and was open by appointment to the public as "Brethren Heritage Center."

By 1999 some Old German Baptist Brethren became concerned about preserving their books and records. One of them, Fred W. Benedict, who had earlier pledged his entire library for preservation, met Larry E. Heisey and Mark Flory Steury, each of whom pledged to supplement a project from their own extensive collections. At the same time the Happy Corner project needed a new home.

In August 2000, Benedict attended a meeting of the Historical Committee and on January 24, 2001, members from several old-order groups, totaling about 30 persons, met in Greenville and agreed to meet with the Historical Committee at Mill Ridge Village in Union, Ohio.

The first joint meeting was March 24, 2001 at Mill Ridge Village. Monthly meetings followed, with eventually 18 to 20 persons meeting regularly in space donated by contractor Ronald J. Filbrun beneath Brookside Plaza in Brookville, Ohio. The Brethren Heritage Center was established in 2002 with 7100 square feet and an additional 6000 square feet added in 2008. Since then we have expanded to nearly 21,000 square feet.

Serving Christ by preserving and sharing our heritage

Our Mission

The mission of the Brethren Heritage Center is to collect, preserve and provide public access to primary and secondary sources of genealogical and faith records to the various persons and institutions that trace their heritage to a specific baptism near Schwarzenau, Germany in 1708.


All programs and services of the Brethren Heritage Center are made available to all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, age, disability, gender,
religion or political beliefs.


Our Vision

BHC’s vision is to become a resource for all ages and stages of life in regards to gaining an understanding of the core values of our various Brethren Christian denominations and our familial connections. We wish to make our growing historical archive available in formats and platforms that will serve young and old alike.


Our Commitment

We are committed to collecting and preserving the best of Brethren Historical Resources and in the most professional ways possible. We also are committed to making these resources and our expertise available one-on-one, in groups and in media platforms that can extend around the world.

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