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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!