Friday, March 29, 2013

The Puzzle


If you review the two posts previous to the Roots Tech blog, you will remember that we are trying so solve the puzzle of whether or not our Scots-Irish ancestor, Abraham Miller (our William’s father), or perhaps Abraham’s father or grandfather, left their Northern Ireland home near the village of Ballindrait, County Donegal, and fled religious persecution of the Presbyterian Covenanters by going to Holland for a period of time as did quite a number of  the Scots-Irish, including the father and grandfather of their pastor, William Traill (see [see previous posts about Traill to establish the connection between him and our Miller’s).

          John Miller-----> David Miller-----> Abraham Miller-----> William Miller
     born about 1660   born about 1685      born about 1710    born 1732 in America

The above diagram shows our William's descent from his great grandfather John Miller1. To date, we have written very little about William's father, Abraham. Even where and when he was born continues to be a puzzle of many ill-fitting pieces that leads us to ask: Was he born in Ireland, America or Holland?! We are certain that his son William was born in 1732 in America, but our knowledge ends there and surmise begins.

Following is a summary of the conflicting information that is contained in each of three documents (see images below):

PUZZLE PIECE ONE is a document known as The Allen Family Record which claims that Abraham Miller was born in Holland, "his ancestry having fled from England during a violent persecution of Protestants." (footnote ?).

PUZZLE PIECE TWO is a page from an 1820 publication called The Christian Herald, gives a brief history of Abraham's son, Alexander. It includes a note about Alexander’s parents, listing Abraham and wife "Susannah" [footnote] nee Roddy as "both originally from the north of Ireland," but there is no mention of birth dates and no mention of Holland.

PUZZLE PIECE THREE is the transcript of a land record from Somerset County, Maryland, indicates that Abraham's grandfather, John, was already in America by 1684, lending credence to the theory that Abraham was born in America.

Here are the supporting documents:


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                                 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Transcript of a land record from Somerset County, Maryland showing that Abraham’s grandfather was in America by 1684: 

"On 18 Sep 1684 [date is difficult to make out, but it is thought this is correct], John Miller acquires 300 acres known as “Enlargement” from John Emmett and his wife Hanna. John and his wife Isabell sell part of this land to Samuel Taylor on 5 Feb 1697/8.  On 24 Mar 1697/8, John Miller sells another 100 acres of Enlargement to Samuel Davis. “Enlargement” is situated on the east side of Chesapeake Bay about 1 ½ mile south of the Pokomoke River." (Source: Somerset Co. Deeds, Liber L 1, p. 442)  

Other land records clearly show how parcels in Somerset County, Maryland, Newcastle County, Delaware, and Cecil County Maryland, were handed from John to David to Abraham and finally to William (see previous posts using “land record, Miller” as your search terms).

                               * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So according to these three sources, Abraham was either born in Holland, Northern Ireland or America. Did I mention this was an "ill-fitting puzzle"?!

Next time: We will continue exploring whether the Miller's really went to Holland or not, and where Abraham was born. Your theories are welcome! Just write to me in the comments section below, or email them to me, so I can enter them into the mix of ideas!



1:   Birth years of all except William Miller are approximated from William’s known birth year of 1732.

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