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Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Amazing FamilySearch

If you love family history, I hope you will all sign up for an absolutely free, no strings attached FamilySearch account (see link below). This is an amazing collection of billions of names and it would be rare not to find at least one line of your family there (in fact, I can promise you that William and Rebecca (Bradford) Miller are there!), but of course you can look up all your lines, not just them.

It's pretty user-friendly and there is lots of help available when you click on "Get Help" (top right). If you sign up for an account and can't get your questions answered and have any trouble navigating the site, also please feel free to email me at the address to the right and I would be happy to help you.

Just last week in under an hour, I helped a friend find all of her great-grandparents, and we extended a couple of her lines back several generations in colonial Virginia!

It's lots of fun and I can't encourage you enough to sign up. Again, it's completely free, no one will contact you, and your name and information isn't shared with any other organization.  

Wishing you a wonderful summer and lots of fun learning more about your family history!



Friday, July 17, 2015

The Search For Red Lion Sam Continues

Samuel Bradford, (known as Red Lion Sam in this blog) was born around 1690 and died in 1767.  He was the maternal grandfather of our Rebecca Bradford Miller. This far we have been unable to find out anything about his parents or where he came from. We only have his New Castle County, Delaware will and some land records (see previous posts).

Research into his son, William Bradford, has not provided many clues to his father's life, other than William attended a Presbyterian Church (possibly indicating the family was Scots or Scots-Irish).  William's will below does not extend our information about his father Samuel, but it does seem to indicate that William and his wife, Elinor (spelling unsure; later spellings included Eleanor) Bradford were able to sign this document in their own handwriting, and not just make a mark. To me this indicates that they both had received some degree of education, and that their respective parents must have been of a class that could afford such education.

Was Red Lion Sam a well-to-do tobacco farmer, or a merchant, or both? How did his daughter, Sarah, come to know the other Samuel Bradford in her life, her future husband, who definitely was Scots-Irish?

For more information about Red Lion Sam's land holdings, use the search box to the right and put in "Dragon Swamp."  Interesting...but again not containing any clues as to his parentage or place of origin.

I hope can all join me in finding the origins of our elusive Red Lion Sam!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Silas Miller Family Bible

I descend through William and Rebecca Bradford Miller's son, Samuel Miller, and then through Samuel's daughter Amy. However, several of our blog followers descend through Samuel's son, Silas Miller and his wife, Hannah Abrahims.  Hence I thought I would publish this wonderful page from their family bible.  Silas and Hannah's second son was named Samuel Enoch Miller, so I am wondering if he went by Enoch and if the family bible was passed onto him (see right column). Can anyone shed light on this? If anyone is interested in seeing other pages, please email me at the address to the right.


Monday, June 22, 2015

More Bradford DNA Information

Here is a screen shot from the Bradford DNA page.  The “Wm. Bradford” at the bottom of Group 4 who was born in 1770 in Cecil County, MD, is our Rebecca Bradford’s brother.  The listed family origin of Scotland is not in conflict with the known fact that Rebecca’s progenitors spent time in Northern Ireland; rather, it corroborates it since most of the people of the Ulster plantations originally came from Scotland.

In looking at Group 3, it is obvious that Rebecca’s paternal family is not related to Gov. Bradford.  It is also interesting to note that the original family name may have been Braidwood, something other pre-DNA researchers have speculated. 

Adam Bradford, who has spearheaded this amazing DNA project and to whom we are deeply indebted, descends from the other Group 4, R-Z8 member, the Samuel Bradford who died in Worcester County MD, in 1811 or 1812.  I believe Adam’s ancestry is as follows:
   1. Samuel Bradford, d. 1811/12 Worcester County, MD
   2. Adam Bradford, b. 16 Apr 1775 Worcester County, MD
   3. Isaac Neely Bradford, b. 12 Nov 1805, Bradfordsville, KY
   4. Samuel Vance Bradford b. 11 May 1846, Relfe, MO
   5. William Henry Bradford, b. 20 July 1882, Waynesville, Missouri
I have to admit that I am woefully ignorant on how to read these DNA charts.  I have written to Adam Bradford about the significance of the two different groups (R-Z8 and R-M269) in the the last column of Group 4 and a couple of other questions.

However, as mentioned above, it does seem obvious that our ancestry through Rebecca Bradford's paternal line goes back to Scotland, not Plymouth.

However, all of us who descend through Rebecca also descend through her maternal grandfather, [the other] Samuel Bradford of Red Lion, Delaware, who of course does not appear on this DNA chart.  Thus far we know nothing about his background, so I suppose there is still a slight chance that we may discover ties to the most famous of Pilgrims!

As ever, if there is any male Bradford descendant of “Red Lion Sam,” I would be thrilled to help pay for the DNA test to try to discover  the origin of our most elusive ancestor!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hearth Rolls of County Donegal, Ireland

From previous posts you may remember that I have been attempting to trace where in Ulster (Northern Ireland) Samuel Bradford, father of our Rebecca, came from by attempting to locate the birthplace of his brother James Bradford. There is more written about James, probably by virtue of the fact that he is the father of David Bradford of Whiskey Rebellion fame.  I reasoned that if we can James' birthplace, we may have also found the birthplace of his brother and our progenitor, Samuel.

To refresh your memory, here is the reference where we learned that James Bradford was from Ireland:

"Mary Bradford, born about 1748 in Ireland, daughter of James Bradford [brother of Samuel Bradford, our Rebecca Bradford's father] and a sister to David Bradford who is well known in connection with the Whiskey Insurrection of 1791. Mary immigrated with her family from Ireland to Cecil Co. Maryland, later moving to Washington Co. Pennsylvania. She is buried in Chartiers Hill Presbyterian cemetery near Canonsburg, Pennsylvania." (source:

We learn later in this article that the above-mentioned Mary Bradford married James Allison, also of Ireland:

"Judge James Allison was a prominent citizen in Washington Co. Pennsylvania. James [Allison] was born in Ireland about 1743. He immigrated to Maryland with his brothers and one sister. He married Mary Bradford, daughter of James, and they moved to Chartiers Hill in  Washington Co. Pennsylvania where they raised 8 children. James along with Dr. McMillan and John McDowell established the Washington Academy later renamed Jefferson College. James was an associate Judge in Washington Co. He died July 24, 1820 and is buried in the Old Chartiers Hill Presbyterian Church cemetery near Canonsburg, PA. The 1882 History of Washington Co. by Crumrine has a biography. "

It's reasonable to suggest that finding the ancestral village of the Allison in-laws might provide a possible clue as to where our Bradford's hailed from. A Google search turned up Allisons in County Donegal, Northern Ireland "hearth roll" (see note # 1 below).  It mentions a James Allison in the parish of Conwal (see note #2 below).  I wondered if this was the same James Allison who married Mary Bradford, niece of our Samuel?  

However, upon searching this record which contains hundreds of names, not a single Bradford is listed.  As ever, our Bradford's remain frustratingly elusive!  

However, it did notice several Dunlaps and Gibsons, and those names are prominent in the list of in-laws of Millers and Bradfords respectively.

While it will take more research to determine of any of these people are our direct or indirect ancestors, this hearth roll record is worth keeping in mind as we continue our long-fought Miller-Bradford research.

#1:  In our day and age, many taxes seems extremely arbitrary.  It looks like this practice is not new--the people of Northern Ireland were taxed on how many hearths they owned!  Here is how the above-referenced record:

#2:  Is it just a coincidence that Conwal Parish is only 15 miles from Ballindrait, the village next to Lifford where our Miller's are from? 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

More About The Covenanters, Religion of Our Miller Ancestors

"Signing the Covenant"
This Ulster Historical Foundation article below corroborates the difficulty many of us have found in searching for our Miller Covenanter ancestors (use the search box, below right, to find other posts dealing with our Covenanter ancestors).  I also did not find anything relevant to our Miller's at the referenced "rparchives" site mentioned below.  Even though our Millers and Bradfords remain elusive as ever, this article sheds light on this on this interesting, albeit obscure group of people.

" Though it is over 250 years since the signing of the Covenants of 1638 and 1643, the word Covenanter still has significance. Covenanter has been used as a general term to describe Presbyterians, though this article is focussed on its application to the Reformed Presbyterian Church. A great many people in the United States are the descendants of eighteenth-century emigrants of Covenanter background. Emigration was not confined to the eighteenth century, of course, and many Reformed Presbyterians left Ireland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to seek a new life in another part of the world.
"How difficult is it to trace Covenanter roots? It is well known that there are major obstacles to overcome in the pursuit of Irish ancestors. Researching Covenanter ancestors is especially difficult for a number of reasons. First of all, there is the paucity of Reformed Presbyterian records, such as registers of births, marriages and burials. This is discussed in more detail below.
"Secondly, there are various categories of record from which Covenanters were excluded, or rather excluded themselves, because of their religious beliefs and in particular their views on the state. They did not vote and so will not appear in freeholders’ registers. They were opposed to the payment of tithes for the support of the Church of Ireland clergy, though to what extent they were able to evade the tithe collectors is unclear.
"They do not seem to have made regularly wills that were probated as that would have meant recognising the authority of the Church of Ireland which had responsibility for all testamentary matters before 1858. Of course, as is revealed below in the discussion of the earliest session book of the Antrim congregation, there were those who broke the rules and were censured for it.
"Researching Covenanter ancestors who emigrated to America in the eighteenth century is particularly problematic. A close reading of Jean Stephenson’s meticulous Scotch-Irish migration to South Carolina will show that in very few instances is it possible to identify the Irish place of origin of the hundreds of families, many of the them Covenanter, who emigrated from Ulster in 1772.
"While the majority of these emigrants were probably from north Antrim, it is impossible to be more precise than this for all but a handful of the emigrants. One exception is Hugh McMaster, ‘late of parish of Ballymoney, Co. Antrim’, whose will of 1787 refers to his brother John back in Ballymoney and includes a bequest of money to a society of Covenanters in America. Careful sifting of records in America might reveal further references to places of origin in Ireland of Covenanter ancestors.
"An initiative that merits attention is that of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America to digitise their older publications, such as the magazines The Covenanter and Reformed Presbyterian, both founded in the nineteenth century, and make these available online ( Obituaries notices were carried in these publications and, if the deceased was from Ireland, these will often include the individual’s place of origin on the island."


Monday, May 11, 2015

Purnell Bradford - Is There A Link?

There is a Purnell Bradford that I have run across in my research, but I have never found a link between our Rebecca Bradford and him.  Yet, there are intriguing similarities in their respective geographies.

Map showing Worcestor County and next-door Somerset County, Maryland
This Purnell Bradford is from Worcestor County, Maryland (born about 1770) and is listed in the white section of the Bradford DNA project chart (see following link) does not seem to be related to our William Bradford (son of our "Red Lion Sam" Bradford) who listed in the blue area, at least according to my very limited understanding of this DNA chart (I assume that the different colors indicate completely different lines, but please correct me if I am wrong!). Here is the link (sorry it's not a hot'll have to cut and paste it into your browser):

And yet it is interesting to note that the Purnell Bradford family came from Worcestor County, Maryland,which is right next to Somerset County, Maryland where our Miller's first settled when they came to America.  Is this when the Miller and Braford families became acquainted?

Also, as you can see from the handwritten letter at the end of this post, the Purnell Bradford family eventually moved to Adams County, Ohio, and finally settled in the Maysville, Kentucky area.

It so happens that our Rebecca Bradford Miller's brother, William Bradford, and his wife, Margaret nee Parkinson, moved to Adams County, Ohio, and then to Maysville, Kentucky according to the paragraph in blue below which was shared with me by another Bradford family researcher.

That these two Bradford families (and possibly our Millers) wound up living so close to each other in three different locales seems almost beyond coincidence . 

Thoughts? Opinions? Any DNA experts out there??

William BRADFORD (son of Samuel BRADFORD & Sarah BRADFORD) was born on 8 Jan 1770 in Cecil Co., MD.  He died on 19 Oct 1862 in Maysville, Mason Co., KY.  He was buried in Bradford Cemetery, Sprigg Twp, Adams Co., OH.  William Bradford was a native of Cecil County, Maryland, but lived in Washington County for a number of years.  A few years after their 1799 marriage, William Bradford (1770-1862) and Margaret Parkinson Bradford (1780-1852) moved to Brooke County, West Virginia.  They built a flat boat in 1816 and moved down river to an area now known as Manchester, Adams Co., Ohio, and purchased a farm about four miles up river from Aberdeen, Brown County, Ohio, where they built a brick house in 1822.  Sometime in the 1840's they moved to Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky, which is across the river from Aberdeen, Brown Co., Ohio. William Bradford owned two slaves, both of whom were freed when the Civil War began.  Both he and his wife are said to have been buried in the family plot on their farm located on Lick Skillet Road between Aberdeen and Manchester, Ohio.