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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.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Abner Bradford - Any Relation??

Plymouth Colony
In researching our Bradford ancestors in Delaware, I have often come across an Abner Bradford for whom there is quite a bit of online information. He is, apparently, a direct descendant of the famous Governor Bradford of Plymouth Colony fame. However, I can find no tie-in to Abner via any of our Bradford relations ...yet!

Of course we know that the father and maternal grandfather of our Rebecca Bradford were both named Samuel Bradford. Her father has been ruled out as being related to Governor Bradford, this Samuel (and his brother James) being Scots-Irish, having come from Northern Ireland in the 1700's.

Of Rebecca's maternal grandfather, whom we affectionately refer to as Red Lion Sam in this blog, we know nothing of his origins. We only know that he was born around 1690 (place unknown), married "Margret" around 1710, and we learn from his will that he died on April 20, 1767, in Red Lyon/Lion, New Castle County, Delaware. The only children mentioned in the will were William, Sara (Rebecca's future mother), and Martha.  From land records, we know that Samuel owned a piece of land called “Dragon Swamp” located in Red Lion Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware.  And that is it.

We know nothing of this Samuel's parents or where he came from. However, if we ever do find a connection with the famous Governor Bradford of the Plymouth Colony, it would have to be through this Samuel Bradford.

Can we glean any clues about Samuel's life by studying the history of Abner Bradford?

Here is an interesting description of  young Abner, a Revolutionary War patriot, who enlisted soon after the Declaration of Independence:

Taken From A Delaware Military War Record
In addition to the above information, I have learned the following from other researchers:
  • Abner Bradford was born 1758 in Brandywine Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware. Brandywine Hundred is right next door to Christiana Hundred where he enlisted (see above), and both are only about 10 miles north of Red Lion Hundred, where our Samuel lived.
  • Abner died March 2, 2841, in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania
  • His first wife was Rachel Baldwin.  She died and he had a second wife named Elizabeth (surname unknown to me).  He and Elizabeth lived for awhile in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.
  • He is thought to be the son of Abner Bradford (b. 1707 Kingston, Massachusetts) and Sarah Porter.
  • That would make him grandson of Israel Bradford and Sarah Bartlett) whose father was Deputy Governor William Bradford, son of the famous Governor William Bradford.
While I have been unable to find a link to Abner, there are some interesting coincidences, the first being proximity.  Many of our Bradford's and Miller's lived in this region of Delaware, including our Abraham Miller (Rebecca's father-in-law) who owned property in Christiana Hundred (he is noted on a 1777 tax list of Christiana Hundred as having owned 13 acres there).

Secondly, descendants of Abner Bradford wound up in Adams County and Fayette County, Pennsylvania, just like many of our Bradford's did.

Still, I have found no direction connection between Abner Bradford and our Bradford's.

Additionally, because researching Bradford's is never straightforward or without confusion, a Rootsweb entry lists an Abner Bradford as being born in 1758 (a match), married to Rachel Baldwin (another match), having parents named Abner Bradford and Susannah Porter (close, but not quite a match), and that he was born in 1758 in Kingston, Plymouth County, Massachusetts (not even close to the Brandywine Hundred, Delaware as noted above)!
Brandywine Valley, Delaware

So as always, the mystery continues! Are we, as descendants of Rebecca Bradford Miller, or are we not, related to the famous Governor?? Only time and lots more research will tell.

NOTE:  If any descendants of Abner Bradford can throw any light on this question, we would love to hear from you!

Also, if any of you men can trace your surname line directly back to Red Lion Sam, a Bradford DNA test would be invaluable in solving this mystery (please see immediately preceding post).

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Great news for all my fellow Bradford researchers!

It looks like the Bradford Surname DNA Project ( is still alive and well, and is now reaching out through  [**Note:  It appears that the delmarvabradfords site is actually not working right now. I have emailed the creator to see if there is another way to access his information.  But the MyHeritage link is good].

Below is a screen shot of the main page and if you look under the "Goals" section, they are looking for "...representatives from every distinct Bradford lineage...who may share a common descent."  Ultimately the goal is to work backwards and find the origins of each of these lines.

Since there are so few records available for our Bradfords, this opens up exciting possibilities!  It is so important that as many descendants of Samuel as possible join this website and also that Bradford surname male descendants take this particular DNA test.  You can sign up for the test and also join MyHeritage at this link (sorry it didn't come over as a hot link, so you will have to copy and paste it):

There is a free trial going on right now to join and after that it's incredibly cheap, under $10.00 per year. The DNA test is only $99.

I'm joining MyHeritage and hope you will do the same!


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