Sunday, December 24, 2017

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
                     --Donna S.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Letter That May Have Been Written By Rebecca's Mother!

Dunbar Creek in Fayette County, Ohio
While recently looking at Sarah Bradford's FamilySearch page (#KLBC-1NN), in the Notes section at the bottom, I noticed an item I had never seen before--a letter purported to be written by Sarah Bradford herself!

The Latest Changes box at the bottom revealed that one of two persons might have entered the letter.  On contacting them, neither had, one person figured it might have been entered by Family-Search in 2013.  

The letter seems to be authentic and seems to be written by Rebecca's mother, Sarah Bradford, the daughter of "Red Lion Sam" (see previous posts).  Here is the letter, including a note by a fellow Bradford researcher:

"Note: This letter written by Sara to son David who was living in the Ohio wilderness in 1809 expressing her feelings at being so far separated and so little able to communicate with a loved one. The concern she expresses with the health of her family and his must also be regarded in the context of that day when medical science was little able to help those caught in epidemics or victims of injury. This letter was read by descendants of Sarah Bradford in Iowa on Thanksgiving Day 1909, 100 years after it was written."

"Dear Son:
I received your letter by Mr. Black and likewise your gratitude enclosed with great satisfaction. That you are so mindfull to your duty to your mother in her old age, whose necesses (sic) seem shorter than formerly, but never have suffered yet, thanks be to God for His mercies. I wish to thank God for His mercies for sustaining me so long with so small a store. I have no reason to complain of my health considering my age being now past my 74th year, but feeling strength fast failing, scarcely able to walk up from the river without resting three lof four times, but if it is God's will to prepare me for a better world before I be much burden to myself or relatives. but let God's will be done.

"You have often encouraged my seeing you once more, but I have little hopes of seeing you in this world, but that is a small matter if we have well grounded hope of meeting in a better world.

"Dear son, when I think of your great incumberances in this world, it may be a means of depriving you of a better. I often remember you and yours in my private duty to God. But that will llittle avail without living in thfe duty yourself, which I hope you will remember - as the things of this world are fading as you may easily see. Your relatives here are in a tolerable state of health. At present our neighbors are healthy. I had a letter from your old aunt, my sisfter, lately, which is yet alive and three of her family, her second son, oldest daughter - and second daughter, her oldest son being dead some years ago, and likewise you uncle's son who left a widow and five children. Sammy Allen left a widow and one daughter. I understand my sister's second daughter married very well, a man of good credit and good estate. A man now living in Mrs. Crawford's old dwelling was over the mountains this winter and brought us accounts of our friends and old neigdhbors we left there is dead, and likewise Adam Wallace died last fall and Benjiman Miller died some years ago.

"Dear Son, we have all great reason to prepare for death. We have had many sudden deaths in our neighborhood this winter, which was very alarming, none very near but some children.
"We hear a great complaint of the scarcity of money with you and we have the same complaint with us; the markets first stopted by the embargo and now by the rum exportation act. I had an account from your brother Billy about three weeks ago by James Parkison (sic), that they were all well at that time. I have not seen Billy since he came from the Orleans which was four (?) ago but I hear he is much busied in providing for the things of this world , but I would wish, if I had the opportunity, to provide for a better world. James Parkison informed us that his sister Patty is married to a gentleman the name Benjiman Coulter who is going or is gone to your part of the country, and I understand but a few miles distant from you.

"Dear son, you informed me of your little son, that he excels in activity superior to any of his age. I wish you much joy and comfort of him, and likewise the rest of your dear family. But I would wish you not to set you affection too much upon him. I have often seen and heard of great disappointment in great expectations. No more, but remains your loving mother. But a good wish to you dear family.
Sarah Bradford
April 24th 1809"

"David Bradford
I wish you would write every opportunity."

Though we don't yet know if it's authentic since no source is given, if it is real, there are many items in the letter which point to it being written by our Sarah Bradford.  Here is a list I made up quickly showing some obvious similarities:
  • It's written to a David, so that could be her son. 
  • "...past my 74th year" coordinates with her birth year of around 1735.
  • She mentions walking up from the river.  Land records indicate the Miller-Bradford families lived either near the Youghigheny River, or along one of its tributaries such as Dunbar Creek
  • She mentions "your relatives here..." which would fit as daughter, Rebecca and son-in-law William Miller, lived nearby.
  • The mention of only one aunt would fit with what we know of the children of Red Lion Sam who had only two daughters, Sarah and Martha. This is interesting, as it would be the first time there has been any mention of Martha since the will of Red Lion Sam.  Sadly, if this is Martha, the only thing it tells us is that she was alive in 1809.  Sadly, names of her husband, children and other family members are not mentioned.
  • Sarah talks about a Sammie Allen and while I don't know of a Sammie off hand, William and Rebecca's daughter, also named Rebecca, married into the Allen family.
  • I've often seen Wallace's (and Wallis') living near Bradford's and Miller's in Maryland.  I don't remember any marriages, but will have to research this further.
  • Benjamin Miller, is, I believe, either a brother or uncle of William Miller, Sarah's son-in-law.
  • She mentions "Jimmie" which could be her son James.
  • "Billy" could be son William who had been associated with the Parkinson's since he married a daughter and since the Whiskey Rebellion.  
  • That he (Billy) was, according to Sarah, "much busied with providing for the things of this world" goes along with the following quotation from my research database:    
"Apparently William did not do too badly for himself, either. According to a biography of William Bradford found in “The Holmes Tree” by Charles A. Noel, (1983), William moved to a neighboring county where he lived for several years. There he married Margaret Parkinson in 1799. Eventually the couple moved to Brooke County, West Virginia.  They built a flat boat in 1816 and moved downriver to an area now known as Manchester, 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 and only 20 miles away from where his brother, David Bradford, lived in West Union, Adams County, Ohio. Apparently  William Bradford, like his brother, was the owner two slaves, but again, like his brother, he freed both of them when the Civil War began. 

"A great nephew wrote: “William Bradford, was a large landowner in Braden County, Ohio [needs more research; no such county], was esteemed quite rich for those times, lived in Kentucky, and loaned his money in Ohio. I occasionally saw him an old man, leaning upon the top of his staff." (Source: Notes from “The Town As It Was In Olden Time” by Rev. D.G. Bradford; Jefferson College Historical Society, Cannonsburg, PA)."

Of course this article about David includes a time period beyond 1809 (the date of the letter), but suggests that David may have always pursued wealth energetically.  

Still, there seems to be quite a bit of evidence to suggest that this letter was written by our Sarah Bradford.

If anyone knows the origin and authenticity of this letter, please email me at:

Any information will be very much appreciated.  Thank you!
Donna S.
Maysville, Kentucky where William Bradford, son of Sarah, lived

Monday, July 10, 2017

Include Worcester County, Maryland, in Searching For Our Miller's

In searching for our early colonial Miller's, I'm reminded to expand research to include not just Somerset County, but also Worcester County, Maryland, which was created in 1742 from parts of Somerset County.

These Worcester land records dated 740 and 1744 list both a John and Joseph Miller as Justices of the Peace.  Our Miller's had moved north to New Castle County, Delaware, but could these be cousins they left behind?  Only time and more research will tell.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

William and Rebecca (Bradford) Miller in Western Pennsylvania

As you probably know, William and Rebecca left Cecil County, Maryland around 1782 or 1783, and moved to Fayette County, Pennsylvania, where they lived for the remainder of their lives.  Some of you have may have visited there, but for those of us who haven't, let's examine a little about this region.

Fayette County is in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, (it's blue on this map), its borders currently wrapped by West Virginia (then Virginia). The county was created on September 26, 1783 from part of Westmoreland County and its county seat is Uniontown.

In those days, the areas known as "Hundreds" were more common than today.  It was used as an administrative division, and in some places was literally 10 square geographic miles. Here is a map of the Hundreds of Fayette County.  

The 1810, 1820 and 1830 Fayette County censuses list William and his family living in Dunbar Township (near the center on this map).

An old land grant map shows a William Miller as owning property a near there, bordering the Monongahela River, the county's northern border.  If that is our William, and if William and his sons really were in the boatbuilding business, it would make sense that they needed some property along the river (though I have no absolute proof that the land owner was our William, or that our Miller's were the Miller's involved in boatbuilding in Fayette County), I suspect those things are true).

This document from a History of Fayette County indicates some "Miller's were involved in boatbuilding in this area.  I hope that someday we can find more documents that prove this was our Millers.

William and Rebecca did for sure live in this area for the rest of their lives.  William died in 1814.  At some point in time, probably after her husband's death, Rebecca moved to Connellsville, or at least records show that she died in there in March of 1835.  She was buried near her husband in the Hill Grove Cemetery in Connellsville.

As more documents come to light, hopefully we will learn more about our Miller-Bradford ancestors.

Where Did Red Lion Sam Come From?

In the hunt to find the ancestral home of "Red Lion Sam,", and going on the thesis that he was of Scots-Irish extraction, I have been searching the very meager records available for Ulster in the 18th century.  The following record was found at

The "flax growers" would, I believe, have been the equivalent of "ranch managers," not the actual owners of the plantations who were usually quite wealth, possibly titled, and whose names do appear on records.

Hence, the Bradford's mentioned below probablay do not connect in any way to our Bradford's.  However, it is gratifying to find that this surname exists in at least this record from Northern Ireland, as I have found that in the few records that do exist for this time period, the name Bradford is rarely mentioned.

As ever, more research is needed and time will tell if either of our Bradford lines connect to these names.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Our County Donegal Ancestor - Ninian Dunlap

The tiny village of Ballindrait, County Donegal Ireland
For those of us who descend from William Miller (spouse of Rebecca Bradford), one of our ancestors is Ninian Dunlap.  William's father was Abraham Miller and his father was David Miller.  David's wife was Jane Dunlap, daughter of Ninian.  For me, this makes him my 6th great-grandfather.

Ninian Dunlap was undoubtedly from the same village as the Miller's--Ballindrait in County Donegal, Ireland.  They were part of the Scots-Irish population in this area those whose families had originated in Scotland and came over to work the Ulster "plantations."  Ninian was born around1635, probably in Ballindrait, but perhaps in Scotland.

These were Presbyterians and their ties to the Church were strong.  Their spiritual leader in the village of Ballindrait was the Rev. William Traill (use the search box of this blog to find more information about this interesting man).   Due to much religious persecution, many of the families in Rev. Traill's congregation (including Traill himself) immigrated America, several settling in the Somerset County area of Maryland.  Ninian came in 1688 according to the following immigration record:
This date of 1688 coordinates well with what looks to be his first land purchase in America in Somerset ["Som"] County, Maryland:
From an Ancestry record entitiled "Settlers of Maryland 1679 to 1700" 
After purchasing this 100 acres which he named "Dunlap's Choice," he eventually bought 2 more parcels of land up north in Cecil County: 200 acres bought on 10 October 1708 named "Sligoe," possibly named after the coastal town and county of Sligo in western Ireland, but did Ninian name this property, or had it been given this title by a previous owner?; and 100 acres, again in Cecil County, named "Monin" on 2 September 1714.  The following reference indicates that Ninian did choose this name (spelled "Monyn" in this article) in remembrance of their homeland:

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.

Research indicates that Monyn (or Moneen) was the landholding of one Roger Tasker in Ballindrait (see:  Did the Dunlaps live and work on this property, thus choosing it as the name for one of their properties in America?  This seems likely.

One more historical document shows that Ninian Dunlap, the Miller's and Rev. Traill were in Somerset County in 1689 when the inhabitants of Maryland were required to sign an oath of allegiance to King William and Queen Mary of England:

"Somerset County Support King William:  In 1689 an association in arms 'for the defence of the Protestant religion and for asserting the rights of King William and Queen Mary to the province of Maryland and all the English dominions was formed'... Among the signers were many Ulster Scots."

Signers included Ninian (sic) Dulap, John Miller, Andrew Miller (son or brother to John?),  and "Wm. Traile." (Source:  Ancestry document entitled "Old Somerset on the Eastern Shore of Maryland:  A Study in Foundation and Founders").  

Again, John is probably the father of David Miller, father of Abraham Miller, father of William Miller.  Andrew Miller is no doubt related, and of course, William Traill is the man who was responsible for bringing so many of his congregation back in Ireland here to America.

1  Where did Ninian die?  In Somerset County, or in later years did he move onto one of his properties in Cecil County?
2.  What is his exact birthdate and place?
3.  What was the name of his wife?
4.  Did he have other children besides Jane

Ancestry has a record of a Ninian Dunlop who was born in Scotland (birthdate calculated to be 1660), with a wife named Euphan McJonet (born 1658 in Ayr, Scotland), and daughters named Margaret (possibly born in 1680) and Jane (no birthdate listed).  Unfortuately, no source is give and no other information is listed.

If this were our Ninian, he would have moved to Ballindrait, Ireland, at some point in time to work the plantations.  Our Ninian then left for America in 1688 (see above record), at the age of 28.  It is possible to have been born in Scotland, move to Ireland, marry and have 2 daughters in 28 years.

Research into records in America have thus only uncovered Ninian and a daughter named Jane (who married our David Miller).  If Euphan was his wife and he had another daughter named Margaret, did they come to America, but are just not named in any records?  Could they have died in Ireland or en route to America.? This is an intriguing possibility that deserves further research.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Relationship Chart

Here is the best relationship chart I've seen.  Start at the red box and trace any direction to identify a relative. Sorry I couldn't get it any bigger, but hope it helps! - Donna

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Is Abner Bradford Related to Either of our Samual Bradford's?

Am still trying to determine if there is any connection between this Abner Bradford and our Samuel Bradford of Red Lion Hundred, Newcastle County, DE.  Research indicates pretty convincingly that this Abner's line goes back to Governor Bradford, and while I know that Samuel Bradford who is the father of our Rebecca Bradord is Scots-Irish and does not connect in any way to Gov. Bradford, we do have a second, unrelated Samuel Bradford [Rebecca's maternal grandfather, again of Red Lion Hundred] whom no researcher has been able to connect to any other Bradford line.

While I can find no relationship between Red Lion Sam and this Abner Bradford, I have also not been able to rule out a connection between them.

So let's all get to work and see if we can find if and how Abner Bradford and Red Lion Sam are related! There are so many online resources in this day and age that we should be able to either prove or disprove a connection.  Please post here or write me at the email above if you find ant connection, and I will too!

Friday, September 23, 2016

A Great Link For Genealogists

For those of you who use FamilySearch or just love genealogy, but need some technical guidance at times, here is a great link to the Riverton FamilySearch Library.  It contains handouts, guides, tips and other useful information.   I signed up for their Tip of the Week and really enjoy it.  Here's the link:''

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Planning a Genealogy Vacation? Leave Time To See The Region, Too!

Near the Village of Dunfanaghy, County Donegal, Ireland,
An Hour West of Ballindrait
What if you could actually walk the same streets as your great-great grandfather, or see the quaint little cottage where you grandmother was born?  Genealogy vacations are becoming more and more popular, and here is my dream version:

Now that we have identified the village of Ballindrait,County Donegal, Ireland, as where William Miller's grandfather, David, came from, my fondest dream is to visit there someday. But Ballindrait is an hour inland from the coast and I've been in love with the sea since childhood.  So after wrenching every last bit of genealogical information possible from the environs, I would be heading for places like Dunfanaghy (above) or  Brinlack (below) faster than you could sing "Danny Boy"!

Brinlack, County Donegal

Our daughter visited Ireland a few years back.  I got a call from her and she said, "Mom, I love you, but I'm never coming home!"  She, too, had become mesmerized by the west coast of Ireland.  Oh, how I want to pack my bags right now!

Sightseeing aside, to get the most out of a genealogy vacation, Gena Philibert-Ortega in a guest blog post for GenealogyBank says:  "...figure out what family history research can be done while you are there. Identify nearby libraries, archives, and museums and what resources they have. Make sure to exhaust online digitized items that you are able to access from home so as to not waste your time while you are there. Email librarians and archivists with questions about on-site research. You might even consider contacting a local genealogist in the area for a consultation, or to get help navigating repositories while you are there. There is a real benefit from working with someone who knows all of the ins and outs of an area and the repositories (source:

Also, advises that "As you do your research, fill in genealogy charts as completely as you can; scan non-digital family records and photos into your computer. Ensure all information is stored in one location or printed out so that you can access it during your trip" (source:

One other idea:  Try finding distant cousins while there.  They could be a treasure trove of family information.  Getting an Ancestry'DNA test is a great way to find these relatives.

Well, I'm inspired!  I'm going to start my family history trip piggy bank soon.  And maybe we'll meet over stacks of histories at a local Irish library...or possibly while beach-combing in Derrybeg!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Our Miller's and Their Relatives in Early Somerset County, Maryland

When our Miller ancestors came from County Donegal, Ireland to America, they first settled in Somerset County, the most southerly (and swampy) county in Maryland.

In 1684, a John Miller (wife Isabel) acquired 300 acres known as “Enlargement” from John Emmett and his wife Hanna (see source below).  I believe this John is a relative of our ancestor, David Miller, probably a cousin.

"Enlargement” was situated on the east side of Chesapeake Bay about 1 ½ mile south of the Pokomoke River. (Somerset Co. Deeds, Liber L 1, p. 442.)

The first record of David Miller (father of our Abraham Miller and grandfather of our William) is in 1688 when David buys a parcel of land in Somerset County named “Spalding” (or Spaulding).  In the same year David Miller and the “Emitt’s” obtain cattle marks from
the court.  And in 1689 David's father-in-law, Ninian Dunlap, is mentioned in a Somerset County court record. While the exact location of Spalding is unknown, it is reasonable to assume that it was not too far from "Enlargement" (I'm still looking for the original land record regarding "Spalding."  If anyone has the link to it, I would truly appreciate it).

Our Miller's stayed in Somerset County about 8 years before moving north, presumably to find better farmland.

The following is from a GenWeb online article which might explain other reasons they wanted to move north.  Though it's dated several years after they left the area, I don't imagine things were much different when our Miller's lived there.

"This county [Somerset] lies very low, and the many rivers and creeks that empty themselves into the Chesapeake Bay abound in marshes, to a considerable extent. I was once led to believe it was one of the most unhealthy counties in the world; but from what cause I know not. It appears to have more aged people in it than I am acquainted with... The manner of those people living, is nearly as follows. They rise before the sun, and generally drink one or two drams, that is, one half peach or apple brandy, the other water with honey and sugar, and eat a piece of biscuit, then breakfast on cold meat with homony and as much coffee or tea as fills up the remainder of the stomach. The most of those persons I am acquainted with, and they generally labor (although not bound to do so, for they in general have pretty good) from breakfast to dinner, which is about 2 or 3 o'clock, they then dine upon good substantial food, such as beef, mutton, turkey . . . . . . those who live near the water, have a great plenty of shell and other fish. Their drink is cyder or strong toddy, perhaps no people drink less water. They smoak tobacco before and after dinner, which is their meal and retire to bed about 8 or 9 o'clock. It is requested by the writer of this, that some gentlemen will take the trouble of examining their several counties to see whether as great a number of aged persons can be found in two hundreds thereof, throughout" (emphasis added).  Source:


The John Miller listed above (born 1674) is said to have been in the “St. Martin’s area” by 30 March 1686.  He patented tracts Brent Marsh and Partner’s Contentment with Abraham Emmett [our David Miller's brother-in-law].  He was constable for Bogerternorton Hundred.  Sons: (1) John b. 1695, d. 1750; and (2) Joseph born 1700.  Below is a transcript of the original land record where John buys "Enlargement":

"This Indenture made the Ninth day of June in the Second year of the Reigne of William & Mary of England King & Queene Scotland ffrance & Ireland^ defenders of the Prodestant Religion And in the year of our Lord God one Thousand Six hundred & Ninety Betweene John Emmitt & Hannah his wife of Somerset County in the Province Maryland of the one Part And John Miller resident in y Said County & Province of the other Part Witnesseth That wherease the Rt: honr:ble Charles Lord & Proprietary of the Province of Maryland & Avalon Lord Baron of Baltemore &c by his Deed of Graunt undr: the great Seale used in the Said Province of Mary(land) for granting of Land there bearing date at the Citty of St: Maryes the first day of June in the 12th:year of (the) Dominion &c Annoge: Dom: one Thousand Six hundred Eighty and Seaven for the Consideration there-  thereto mentioned Did grannt unto the Said John Emmett a Certaine Tract of Land Called the enlargement Scituate Lieing & being on the east Side of Chesepeake bay and on the Southeast Side of Pocomoke river about one mile & a halfe off the river beginning at a Corner hiccory belonging to A mulbery Grove from thence North thirty degrees west one 
hundred perches to a marked white oake Thence east Thirty degrees North Sixty perches to another white oake marked Thence South thirty eight degrees east one hundred Sixty Seaven perches to a marked white oake thence South thirty four degrees west three hundred & eighty perches thence North fifty four degrees one hundred and four perches binding upon George Truitts Land to a white oake marked thence North thirty Six degrees east binding upon Mulbery Grove to the first hiccory Containing & layd out for three hundred Acres more or Lesse according to Certificate of the ~ Survey thereof taken & returned into the Land office at the Citty of St: Maryes bearing date the Eighteenth day of September Annoqe. Dom: 1684 & there remaining upon record for three hundrerd acres as aforesaid Together wth: all rights Proffitts bennefitts & Priviledges thereunto belonging royall mines excepted To have & to hold the said Tract of Land to him the Said John Emmett his heires & assignes for Ever undr: the rents and Services in the Said Grannt reserved relacon there unto being had more fully & more at large it may & doth appear Now this Indenture further Witnesseth That the Said John Emmitt and Hannah his wife for divers good Causes & valuable Considerations them thereunto moveing but more especially for & in Consideracon of Seaven Thousand pounds of Tobacco unto them in hand paid by the said John Miller before Sealing & delivery hereof the receipt whereof & of every part and parcell thereof the said John Emmitt & hannah his wife doth hereby acknowlege and thereof doe fully freely Clearly & absolutely acquitt exonerate & discharge the Sd. John Miller his heires executrs: & administrators for Ever by vertue of this Indenture have given granted bargained & Sold enfeofed & Confirmed And by these presents doe give grant bargaine Sell enfeofe and Confirm unto him the Said John Miller his heires & assignes for ever all that Tract of Land before mentioned Called the enlargement Scituate and bounded as aforesaid Together with all the rights proffitts bennefitts & appurtenances thereunto belonging Royall Mines excepted To have and to hold the same & every part & parcell thereof to him the said John Miller & to the only proper use & behoofe of the Sd: Miller his heires executors: administrators: & assignes for Ever without any Mortgage Condition redemption use or Limitacon to recall alter Charge or determine the Same The rents & Services due to the Lord or Lords of the fee alwaies excepted & foreprized And the Said John Emmett and Hannah his wife for themselves theire heiress executors administrators & assignes doe Covenant promise & grant to and with the Said Jno: Miller his heires executrs: admrs. & assigness & to & with Every of them by these presents in Manner & forme following That is to Say That they the Said John Emmett and Hannah his wife now are & both of them is and Standeth Lawfully ~ possessed and Interrested of and in the Said Tract of Land Called the Inlargement with all wholy & Singularly appurtenances thereof And that they the sd: Jno: Emmitt & hannah his wife have good right full power & Lawfull Authority in themselves to give graunt bargaine aliene Sell Convey assigne enfeoff & Confirme the said Land & pr:misses with the and Every of the appurtenances unto him the Sd: Jno: Miller his executrs: administratrs: & assignes in manner and forme as aforesaid And that he the said Jno: Miller his heires executors administrators & assignes Shall & Lawfully may from time to time and at all times for Ever hereafter standmp amply perfectly firmly Lawfully and effectually Seized and possessed of and in the premisses and the appurtenances And Shall or may peaceably and quietly have hold occupy possess the Land aforesaid Called enlargement Together with all wholly and Singularly the ~ Commodities hereditaments and appurtenances thereof in any wise appertaining without the Lawfull Lett Suit trouble interuption or disturbance of any person or persons whatsoever And also free & Clear & freely & Clearly acquitted exonerated & discharged or otherwise Sufficiently & well Saved & kept harmless of and ~ from all and all manner of former & other bargaines Sales guifts Graunts Leases estates rights Tyles Joyntures Dowers fines forfeitures mortgages Statutes recognizances Judgemts: execucons Rents ~ Annuities Charges Burthens Incumbrances whatsoever had made done or Suffered or to be had made ~ done or Suffered by the Said John Emmitt or hannah his wife or either of them their or either of their heires Executors administrators or assignes A by any other person or persons whatsoever And also that they the Said John Emmit or Hannah his wife or the heires executors administratrs: or assignes of either of them Shall & will from time to time and at all times hereafter at the reasonable request & at the only Cost & Charges in the Lawe of the said John Miller his heires executors administrators or assignes make doe acknowledge execute & Suffer or Cause to be made done acknowledged executed & Suffered...... all & every such further & other Act & Acts thing & things device & devices assurance & assurances in the Law whatsoever for the further & more ffull perfect "  (Source:

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