About Me


I am a retired Presbyterian minister.  I served as Pastor and Minister of Education for churches in Ohio and Missouri.  I also served as a regional administrator for the Presbyterian Church in Nebraska-Iowa and in South Dakota.

I grew up in Northeastern Ohio – Youngstown and Ashtabula.  I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowling Green (OH) State University, a Bachelor of Divinity and Mastery of Theology from Princeton (NJ) Theological Seminary, and  Doctor of Ministry from the Ecumenical Theological Center in Detroit, Michigan.

I am an avid fly fisherman.  After retirement we moved from Nebraska (where there was only one trout stream within a 3 hour drive) to Missouri where trout streams are many.  When I can’t get to the trout stream, I enjoy tying my own flies.  For me, fly fishing is a spiritual activity – standing in a clear stream, watching fish dart upstream and downstream, the rhythmic meter of fly casting, occasionally seeing turkeys or deer or beavers.

Over 30 years ago, Dana Bode (my 1st cousin once removed) stopped to visit our family in St. Louis.  He showed me his genealogical notebook on the Brenners.  While I was not interested in genealogy at the time, I knew that it was a treasure trove.  So, with his permission, I copied all the pages (hand-written, hand-drawn family group sheets; notes; family pictures; and photoed copies of documents.  As soon as other family members discovered that I had this material, I was “dubbed” (by silent acclimation) as the family historian.  Over the past ten years, my brother-in-law (now ex-) and I collaborated as he gathered data on the family of his wife, my wife’s sister.   By the time I retired, I had significant data on 5 of the 8 great-grandparents of my children.

Now my son and I are collaborating on a major genealogical project – a) extending the data which we already have – that is, providing source citations for what we have; finding additional information about those currently in our family tree; and adding additional “ancestors” and “cousins” to the tree…     and b) building a wiki-based online genealogical system for that data.    My son lives and works in Silicon Valley, California.  He is the technological advisor to our little project; I am the field researcher.  I am grateful for his involvement.  I know that when I become an ancestor, our work will continue on for at least one more generation.

To view the surnames which we are researching (some actively, some less so) check out the SURNAME page on the Stardust ‘n’ Roots blog.  I also invite you to visit the Brenner Family Tree website.

  3 Responses to “About Me”

  1. I am a descendent of Anton Brenner what if any is our relation. He was involved in the civil war and one of my relatives wrote a book regarding this. Thanks

  2. Hello, it seems you have managed to integrate wordpress and mediawiki in a way that I haven’t been able to figure out. How did you do it?

  3. Hello,
    I have noticed your genealogy blog. Because it is a WordPress site, you might be interested in my genealogy plugin for WordPress which displays family tree and other genealogical data within WordPress blog. It has the same functions as most of the desktop genelogy software including GEDCOM file import, maps, charts etc and it works with virtually any WordPress theme. Plugin’s address is http://genealone.com/genealone-wp/ and you can see online demo here: http://genealone.com/demo-wp/
    I can provide you the plugin for free for testing purposes, if you’d like.
    With regards,

    David Nebesky

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