Wednesday, May 11, 2016

New Land Record Found--David Miller to Son, Abraham Miller

Here is part of the land record of Newcastle County, Delaware, wherein On 1 Feb. 1730, land is deeded from David Miller (of the "County of Newcastle") to his son, Abraham (our William Miller's father). It's 300 acres south of White Clay Creek in Newcastle County, DE. David Miller had originally purchased this land from Robert French ("of the town of Newcastle"), deed dated 20 April 1703.
David Miller does this "for the good will and natural affection which he bears unto his son Abraham Miller" and passes to him "one-half of the aforementioned tract of land [thus 150 acres]...", including any buildings, etc. All this was done "in the presence of Thomas, John and James Armitage."

I've estimated the birth of Abraham to be around 1710, so this would make him about 20 years old. No wife of Abraham is mentioned in this record (a very common practice as I have seen in other deeds from this source), so it looks like his father deeded this land to him when Abraham was a young single man.  

This record also firmly establishes that the Miller's were in Newcastle County, Delaware in 1730.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Miller-Bradford Pedigree and Brick Walls

Now and then I like to add a pedigree to the blog so we don't get lost in who we are talking about (sorry it's a little fuzzy):

This chart shows where the work is cut out for us:  

  1. Finding the parents of  Rosannah Roddy
  2. Finding the parents of Samuel Bradford (1727-1782)
  3. Finding the parents of Samuel Bradford (1705-1767) and of his wife, Margret.

I hope you will join me in trying to break through these research "brick walls"!!

In addition, I have only shown William and Rebecca's son, Samuel (and his wife, Rachel Dawson) in this chart.  Now and then I write about Samuel and Rachel, but I would be happy to add posts about William and Rebecca's other children if any of you would like to email me stories and pictures about them!  The same goes for information about Samuel and Rachel Dawson's many children.  It would be wonderful for all of us to find out more about our "cousins."  Thank you!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Did William Serve in the Revolutionary War?

I have had this copy of a military document for many years, but I can find no proof that this is our William Miller.

To begin with, there is no indication of which part of Maryland this person is from.  According to Wikipedia, the 3rd Maryland Regiment was organized on 27 March 1776 of eight companies from Anne Arundel, Prince George's, Talbot, Harford and Somerset Counties of the colony." From everything we know about our William, at this point in time he owned property and lived in Cecil County, Maryland.  I also have records proving that an unrelated William Miller lived in Harford County at this time.

Additionally, according to Wikipedia, this regiment served from 1776 until 1783. We know from an extract of Cecil County marriage records that our William married Rebecca Bradford on 13 June 1778.  While this marriage date does not preclude military service, I think it is unlikely that our William, 46 years old when married, was serving at this time of his life.

Finally, our William is listed in the National Patriots Index, p. 470, National No. 300007, National Archives: "Miller, Wm.: b 2-22-1732  d 1814  m Rebekah Bradford  PS MD."  A letter from a fellow researcher, Ann Curnow, notes that PS stood for "Patriot Service" and meant civilian service.

If anyone has further information to prove this is our William Miller, it would be great if you could comment below or email at the address to the right.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016


At the Maryland DNA project website - - it looks like some of our Bradford ancestors are definitely listed, including a fascinating new piece of information.  The first listed William Bradford and David Bradford are brothers to our Rebecca Bradford Miller, and the information listed with them is already known.  However, the first entry is Samuel Bradford, Rebecca's father, and here is where we get that new information:
Samuel Bradford was born in 1727 in Ireland, and he did marry Sarah Bradford. The startling new information is that he is listed as dying in Fauquier County, Virginia!!

It has puzzled many of us that we have never known where Samuel died.  There is no record of him dying in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, which is where his wife, Sarah, moved to with their daughter, Rebecca, her husband, William Miller, and their children around 1782.  We have also never been able to find any death record for him in Cecil County, Maryland, which is where the family lived for many, many years before moving west.

If Samuel did go to Faquier County, why did he go without his family? When did he go there and when did he die there? This opens up a huge new avenue of research for us!

My grandfather, Allen Miller Charpier, contended that his "grandfather Bradford" lived out his years on his "plantation in the Shenandoah Valley."  While Faquier County is not included as part of the Shenandoah Valley, it is very close by and is, as can be seen in the picture below, certainly as beautiful.  I  never put any credence in this story because there was just no indication to this effect in the records, but as we all know, DNA is turning the genealogy world upside down.  It may have just done so to our Bradford research!

I hope you will join me in searching out the records of Faquier County, Virginia.  Please email me or post to this blog if you find anything. Thanks!
Faquier County, VA

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Newly-Found Document For William Miller - Pennsylvania, Tax and Exoneration, 1768 - 1801

When William and Rebecca (Bradford) Miller left Cecil County, Maryland, they moved to Fayette County in southwestern Pennsylvania.  A couple of records led me to believe that they first lived in Franklin Towship.

A new record (new to me, that is), the index to "Pennsylvania, Tax and Exoneration, 1768 - 1801" lists the names of not only William Miller (1st page, 2nd name), but also his mother-in-law, Sarah Bradford (second page, 6th up from bottom), and her son, David Bradford (2nd page, 3rd from the top) as living in Franklin Township.  We know from census records that Rebecca's mother and brother David did move out to Fayette County with their family, so this record supports that fact.

Later they would move to near Connellsville in Dunbar township (perhaps to be closer to their boat-building business on the Youghigheny River, if indeed the boat-building legend is true), but it looks like they started their new life in Franklin Township as these tax rolls indicate. Sadly, it can't be determined from this record which year this is for, but we believe the families moved to Fayette County around 1782. [See research note below].

IMPORTANT RESEARCH NOTE:  Fayette County records mention a different William Miller whose wife's name was also Rebecca.  He is totally unrelated to our Miller's and was born in 1782 (our William was born in 1732).  It is difficult to distinguish which William Miller is being referred to in some records of a later date.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Great New Book - A Great Christmas Present Idea!

Here is an excerpt from an excellent blog by Denise May Levenick on April 28, 2015 on the site.  She has some awesome ideas on what to do with all those boxes of old photos that we all have!!  I can't wait to get her book! 

From the new book How to Archive Family Photos by Denise May Levenick, The Family CuratorHow-to-Archive-Family-Photos-Cover-web
How many photos are stuck on your smartphone? The tremendous growth of digital photography is a mixed blessing for family memories. Instead of one roll of film that might last through an entire vacation, with today’s digital photos there’s no extra cost in snapping multiple images in the effort to capture the “perfect shot.” The trade-off for all these extra photos is, well, extra photos. Hundreds and thousands of extra photos.
If you’re drowning in digital images, here’s help with 5 Fast Tips to Control Digital Photo Chaos from my new book How to Archive Family Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos DigitallyI get a lot of questions about organizing and archiving digital photos at my blog The Family Curator and when I speak on preserving and digitizing keepsakes. You’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed by the task of organizing and preserving your digital photos.
We’re taking more pictures than ever before, especially with smartphone cameras that have largely replaced point-and-shoot models. And unfortunately, organizing and backing up photos isn’t nearly as fun as taking pictures. The result?
• Digital photos on smartphones, tablets, computers, flash drives, SD cards, and external hard drives, but you can’t find the picture you want,
• Duplicate photos scattered across your devices,
• The dreaded “Out of Memory” warning on your smartphone,
• Complicated and inconsistent file names make organizing files a dreaded chore,
• Sharing photos through email and photo projects is time-consuming and laborious.
Digital photography can be enjoyable and manageable. Get a head start on organizing your own photo collection and moving from photo chaos to control with these 5 Fast Tips to Control Photo Chaos:
1. Collect Your Photos in ONE Location
Scattered digital files create confusion and result in unnecessary duplication. Decide where you will store your photos and set up a simple, yet organized folder structure to hold your photos. One of the easiest systems to manage is to use an External Hard Drive as your Photo Library. Images can be transferred to a new system when you upgrade your technology, and backed up to a Cloud service or second external hard drive for safekeeping.
2. Celebrate Your Digital Birthday
Pick a meaningful date in the near future – a birthday, anniversary, or first of the month – and vow to make that date your Digital Birthday. On that date, copy ALL the photos on your various digital devices to your computer and make a backup to an external hard drive or a cloud service like or Shutterfly’s From this date forward, make regular or automated backups of your photos and rest easier knowing that you have digital copies in case of smartphone or hard drive failure.
3. Digitize Oversize Photos
It’s hard to fit a large antique print on the standard-size glass bed of a scanner. That’s when I set up my digital camera, set the resolution to maximum megapixels, turn off the flash, and snap multiple photos from different angles. When paired with a tripod and automatic shutter release, a digital camera can become a do-it-yourself copy station that speeds up digitizing scrapbooks, photo albums, and oversize photographs.
4. Plan Photo Books with a Project Board
Whether your goal is a family history book or a photo book of your summer vacation, you’ll save time by planning ahead with a project board that reminds you of photos needed and design ideas. If you’re missing pictures of people, places, or events, think about using alternatives such as maps, census images, or advertising images. A project board can also help you compare prices and features from different photo book websites, and serve as a record sheet for ordering more books.
5. Try Something New
The popularity of digital photography has sparked new products and new ways to enjoy your family and genealogy photos. You’ll find easy, free online photo editors, mobile apps to help you create 5-minutes on your smartphone (no kidding!), and automated tagging and sorting services that make photos fun again. Turn your photos into giftwrap or wall paper with online fabric printing service Spoonflower. Create a quick and easy thank you photo book in five minutes on your iOS or Android smartphone with the Mosaic mobile app.

See more of this excellent article at:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

County Londonderry
A book listed at the site gives us a glimmer of hope of someday finding where some of our Bradfords came from.  The book is:

Scots-Irish Origins, 100-188 A.D.; Genealogical gleanings of the Scots-Irish in County Londonderry, Ireland.  Part Two – The Plantation of Londonderry, c.1600-1670
(By Bob Forrest, B.A Hons; Economic and Social History (Queen’s University, Belfast). 65 pages + 3 maps + 1 illust.)

"In this book are the names of many Lowland Scots who migrated to Londonderry during the seventeenth century. These early settlers can be considered to be the founding fathers of the Scots-Irish in the region. One hundred years later, after the first colonies of British settlers were established in both Virginia and Londonderry, the descendants of Ulster planters began to emigrate in increasing numbers to the colonies of New England, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the Carolinas. Between 1718 and the War of Independence, half a million Scots-Irish left Ulster for the British colonies in North America. Many of their forbears can trace their origins to the early period of British settlement in county Londonderry. Surnames can provide much useful insight, if not proof, of family origins in Ireland..."  [Source:]

Bradford is including in this list of surnames.  There is no proof that this is our Bradfords, but at least there is precedent for finding the name in Ulster. I have seen the Bradford name mentioned in a few other records of other Ulster counties. 

While we know where Rebecca Bradford's Scots-Irish  father was from from County Donegal, we still have almost no clue as to the origins of her maternal grandfather, Samuel Bradford of Red Lion Hundred, Delaware.

As I have written before, the one clue we have is that Red Lion Sam's son was buried in a Presbyterian church yard (Old Drawyer's Church in Odessa, Newcastle County, Delaware), and that was the predominant religion of the Scots-Irish. Just the fact that the family was living in that region of America is a clue, as many Scots-Irish settled there.  Samuel's will gives no clue as to where he is from, nor do the land records wherein he is mentioned.  Taking all this into consideration, plus the fact that there are very few records extant for the Scots-Irish in Ulster, finding Red Lion Sam's origins is going to be very difficult, but hopefully not impossible!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Headstone:  William Miller Died 1814 In His 82nd Year.
Our progenitor, William Miller, moved his family to Fayette County in southwestern Pennsylvania in the early 1730's. He lived in Dunbar township for some time, and for sure in his later years till his death in 1814.

If he was, as is rumored, involved on boatbuilding, this was a perfect place, as Dunbar township bordered the Youghiogheny River which fed into the Monongahela, the important waterway supplying Pittsburgh.

"Blessed by an abundance of natural resources, Fayette County developed progressively into a manufacturing economy, using its two prominent rivers to move local goods throughout the region and into the markets of Pittsburgh.  Small riverboats were an essential part of moving settlers and goods to various markets.  Boats at this time were mostly single-trip vessels to be dismantled at their destination point, with the exception of keelboats, which were pushed upstream by men setting poles into the mud and shoving the boats along." (source:

Dunbar Township
This map is unfortunately unclear (I will try to get a clearer copy), but it shows that a William Miller owned property in the upper right-hand curve of the "Yough" (the locals' name for the Youghiogheny River), a perfect place to build boats for this booming industry.

Here is another supporting article

Boat Building

Boat building was a unique part of Fayette County’s history and economy in the 1800s.  Riverboat towns were economic and cultural hubs of the boat-building craft.  Some of the boat-building centers in Fayette County were home to craftsmen recognized for their skill as far away as New Orleans In fact, shipyards on the Monongahela grew to a scale of production that exceeded both the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers The second steamboat in history, The Comet, was built in Brownsville, Fayette County in 1813.  Another steamboat, the Enterprise, built in 1814 in Brownsville, was the first to go on power from Brownsville to New Orleans and back again.  Brownsville continued to operate a successful boat-building industry for more than a century and was the first and most important center for steamboat building on the Monongahela.  Accessory industries flourished to feed the boat-building economy during the early to mid 1800’s.  (Source: 

And finally, here is an except from a Fayette County history book that even connects the name Miller with boatbuilding.
From Fayette County History Book
I believe that our William Miller might be part of this boat-building enterprise and hope that future research will actually prove that this is the case. As ever, if you have thoughts, information, pictures, etc. about William and his family, to share with all the rest of us, that would be wonderful. Thanks!
Along the Dunbar Trail, Fayette County, PA

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Along The Dragon

Land Record mentioning Samuel Bradford of Red Lyon Hundred
Above is a portion of a 1740  New Castle County, Delaware land record which mentions "Red Lion Sam" (Samuel Bradford, the maternal grandfather of our Rebecca Bradford Miller).  You can see the "Saml. Bradford" mentioned at the beginning of the 6th line down.  This is the document mentioned in a previous post wherein William Carpenter and his wife sell 113 acres in the Dragon Swamp area to our Samuel. While this doesn't help us "break through the brick wall" and move a generation further back, it is very interesting to see these centuries old documents naming our very own ancestors!

For furthers discussions about Samuel and this interesting piece of land, just put "Dragon Swamp" in the search box to the right.

If anyone would like the full land record, it's in Ancestry or you can email me at the address in the right-hand column.

An Evening Ride Along the Dragon

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Where Did Red Lion Sam Come From??

Worcester County, MD

As you may know, we have hit a "brick wall" with "Red Lion Sam" - Samuel Bradford, maternal grandfather of our Rebecca Bradford and cannot locate the names of his parents or where he is from.

Here is information about some Miller's and Bradford's extracted from Worcester County, Maryland 1783 Tax Assessment records.  We need to investigate these clues to see if they contain any connection with our Red Lion Sam.

Though he died in 1767, perhaps his family of origin is the same as one of the persons listed below. If any of us do research on these clues, let's share our findings with everyone via this blog or the email listed to the right. Thanks!
Maryland State Archives
(Assessment of 1783, Index)
Worcester County
MSA S 1437

Isabella Miller. Enlargement, pt, 110 acres. WO Buckingham and Worcester p. 9. MSA S1161-11-7. 1/4/5/54
John Miller. Troy Town[??], 169 acres. WO Buckingham and Worcester p. 8. MSA S1161-11-7. 1/4/5/54
John Miller. Partners Content, 500 acres. WO Buckingham and Worcester p. 8. MSA S1161-11-7. 1/4/5/54
Elisha Bradford. WO Buckingham and Worcester p. 1. MSA S1161-11-7. 1/4/5/54
Isaac Bradford. Saint Martins Desart, pt, 48 acres. WO Buckingham and Worcester p. 2. MSA S1161-11-7. 1/4/5/54
James Bradford. WO Queponco p. 1. MSA S1161-11-11. 1/4/5/54
John Bradford. Golden Neck, 50 acres. WO Buckingham and Worcester p. 13. MSA S1161-11-7. 1/4/5/54
Levin Bradford. WO Buckingham and Worcester p. 2. MSA S1161-11-7. 1/4/5/54
Samuel Bradford. Mulberry Grove, pt, 145 acres. WO Boquetenorton p. 1. MSA S1161-11-6. 1/4/5/54
Samuel Bradford. Morris' Security, 146 acres. WO Boquetenorton p. 1. MSA S1161-11-6. 1/4/5/54
Samuel Bradford. Truitts Harbour, 100 acres. WO Boquetenorton p. 1. MSA S1161-11-6. 1/4/5/54
Solomon Bradford. Solomons Purchase, 112 acres. WO Queponco p. 1. MSA S1161-11-11. 1/4/5/54

Solomon Bradford. Sandhill, 61 acres. WO Queponco p. 1. MSA S1161-11-11. 1/4/5/54

Saturday, September 5, 2015

How Our Ulster Ancestors Named Their Land In America Could Provide Invaluable Clues!

In this interesting online article, two names of interest to our family history pop up - one a person and one a place:

Ulster Names on the Land
When land was patented in Maryland with a deed to the original owner, he gave his property a name. Many names are prosaic. Robert King, Gentleman, one of these Ulster Scots, called his 300 acres "Kingsland." Others preferred a memory of home. Wallaces had "Castle Finn," "Kirkminster" and "Camp." Caldwells called their tracts "Ballybuggin," "Desert" and "Clonlett." The Polks used "Ballendret," "Raphoe," "Moanen" and "Denegall" as well as "Polk’s Folly." Ninian Dunlap chose "Monyn." The Owens family used "Ballyshannon" and the Alexanders "Rapho." These emigrant families settled in Manokin Hundred of Somerset County together with McKnitt and Strawbridge families and others. Many of the names they gave their new homes are from townlands near Lifford. Magdalen Polk, wife of Robert Polk, for instance, inherited the townland of Moneen in the parish of Clonleigh (Lifford), Co. Donegal and left it in her will to one of their sons. The Polks were ancestors of U.S. President James K. Polk.

Ninian Dunlap is William Miller's grandfather's father-in-law (so if you're from my generation, Ninian is your 5th great-grandfather!

The place name of Lifford is the area in Northern Ireland where our Miller's hailed from.

This entire article is very interesting and very pertinent to our ancestry, and I encourage you to read it (see link above).

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.

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!


Add caption

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Rachel Dawson Miller - William and Rebecca's Daughter-In-Law

Mahoning County, Ohil
Below is the Mahoning County, Ohio, 1850 Census showing the wife of William and Rebecca's son, *Samuel, Rachel (Dawson) Miller. Rachel and Samuel were married in this area on 6 June 1810 (though  1846 this area was still Columbiana County), and their children were all born here.  Samuel had passed away 1850, probably before this census, as he does not appear in it.

At the time of the census, Rachel was 60 years old and living next door to her son, Silas and his family. Children Lovinia, Maria (also seen as Mariah in other records), Allen and Amy (my great grandmother and future wife of Zadok Charpier) were teenagers and still living at home.

We are lucky to have such records readily available online nowadays to help us learn more about our ancestors. We've not been able to find a picture of Rachel or Samuel. If any of you have one, please write to me at the email address listed near the top of this blog so we can share a copy. Thanks!

*Samuel was born to William and Rebecca on 1 May 1783 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

Mahoning County 1850 Census

Friday, November 7, 2014


Just some miscellaneous items of interest for you while I'm working on the 3rd Somerset County, MD, article: 
Donegal in Autumn
1.  From The Ulster Foundation’s early November newsletter:

For anyone interested in Scots-Irish families and DNA analysis,
check out Barry McCain's blog
and the Scots-Irish DNA Project website: 
Over 500 families are currently participating in the project.
Those of you whose ancestors were Highland Scots or Redshanks
will find it particularly interesting.

2.  I also now own (thanks to my brother!) the following book: Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors: The Essential Genealogical Guide to Early Modern Ulster, 1600-1800 by William Roulston.  As you know, researching Scots-Irish records is quite a challenge because there are very few records and most are only available through PRONI (see below), but this book promises to make great strides in aiding our research (thanks Bill!).

3.  Of course, what we really need is for the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) to allow the microfilmers in to copy their voluminous archives!  Very few records are available online, but at least the electronic "card catalogue" is now available and will hopefully make searching out our Scots-Irish ancestors just a little easier:

  •  (name search)
  • (search catalogue)
  • (browse catalogue)

Except for the name search, I can't say that it looks super user-friendly (, but if any of you have luck with a search, let me know!

If any of the online addresses in this article don’t come across as "hot links,” you will have to cut and paste them into your search engine’s Search Box.

Hope you are all having a lovely Autumn, wherever you are! - donna

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Colonial Somerset County, Maryland - 2

Somerset County, Maryland
Most of Somerset County is flat, tidal plain. Its rich soil, sparse population and comparative religious tolerance lured many immigrants, including the ancestors of our William Miller. For an interesting history of this area, look up "Somerset County, Maryland; A Brief History."

In the previous post we learned a little about what life was like in the 1600s and early 1700s in Maryland in relation to tobacco farming. Prompted by a suggestion from one of our wonderful members, Chalmers Williams, I have done more research on this topic which has helped answer a question I have had: Why did our Miller’s leave Somerset County and move northward to Newcastle County, Delaware and eventually right next door into Cecil County, Maryland. The excerpt below may hold the answer [emphasis added].

 “One problem with growing tobacco is that it rapidly depletes soil fertility and as a result, a piece of land could only be used for four or five years. Colonists lacked the means to fertilize the soil, and the few attempts to do so with animal manure reportedly produced a harsh, foul tasting tobacco. Instead, they adopted an approach from the Chesapeake Indians and abandoned the old fields for about 20 years. During that interval, nature restored soil fertility and tobacco could again be grown there. With this approach, new crop land had to be regularly prepared to keep a plantation operating. Historians estimate that about 50 acres were needed to keep one worker continually raising tobacco. As a result, plantations tended to be large, averaging about 250 acres. This created a settlement pattern of farms widely dispersed over the landscape. Because most colonists lived along or near the water and the Chesapeake provided excellent water highways for ships, the planters had little need for markets or towns, since they could buy goods directly from ships… Minimal town development is a highly distinctive feature of the colonial Chesapeake, a feature closely related to the focus on growing tobacco… While medical science has revealed the serious health problems associated with tobacco, there is no doubt that this crop built Maryland, greatly influenced the society that developed here, and is an undeniable part of the state’s rich cultural heritage. It is also a cultural legacy that forms the very roots of Southern Maryland’s extraordinary human traditions.” 

Our Millers are mentioned in several Somerset County, MD, lands records, including the one mentioned in the letter below which Chalmers Williams graciously shared with me. Remember, David and Jane Miller are the parents of Abraham Miller and grandparents of our William Miller:

"On 25 Nov 1693David Miller and his wife Jane (or perhaps Janet) of Somerset Co. sell by receipt of an indenture land to John Steel. This land is 100 acres out of a 600 acres tract called “Spalding” that David Miller acquired from Edmund Howard. Howard acquired Spalding in 1682, and though it is difficult to read, it appears that David Miller entered into an indenture with Howard in May 1688.  David Miller paid him 18,000 pounds of tobacco for Spalding, completing his required payments in 9 Jan 1692. (Somerset Co. Deeds, Liber L 1, p.78, and Liber L 1, p144.).  *Spalding is located “between Bogerternorton and Assateague  Bay...Cypress Ridge." 

It is pretty likely that the Miller's grew their own tobacco and, as was common in that day, used it for bartering as in the above example. Then, as time passed and the soil gave out, some of the Miller's moved northward. This is corroborated by the Wiki article from last month's post which mentions that towards the end of the 1600s, settlers in southern Maryland starting moving north and west to find better soil (some turning to growing wheat, which did not deplete the soil as radically as tobacco).

This could very well be the reason why some of our Miller’s eventually left Somerset County, MD, and moved to northern Maryland.

In the next post, we will move backwards in time and ask the question:  Why did the Miller's come to such a remote location as Somerset County, Maryland in the first place?

*This entry is somewhat puzzling as Assateague Bay is in the far eastern portion of Worcester County, Maryland.