A Deed of All Deeds – Teaching Myself a Lesson

When I started this series of posts regarding the deed I found and presented, that was written in 1798 documenting a piece of land that belonged to John Miller (1733-1796), that was being bestowed upon his eldest son, I was so excited that it mentioned John’s wife and all of his children.  After I wrote the last post, there was something that began to bug me.  I realized that there was a problem with John’s wife Justina.  Ever since I started researching John and Justina Miller, everything I saw indicated that Justina died the same year John did…1796…now how could that be if she was present at the writing of the deed? 

Realizing my mistake for all this time, I decided to go back to some of my original research, part of that being the book, written by Floyd R. Mason, Matthias Miller and His 17 Children. In it, the author mentions that Justina died in 1796.  In my last post, I showed the burial information for John Miller: 

From the book, “250 Year History of Christ Little Tulpehocken Church, Jefferson Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, 1730-1980″ by Herman M. & Jennie M. Lutz – West Lawn Printing, 1980. 

As I had stated in my previous post, there is a Katherin Mueller listed next to my John Miller, being born approximately the same year as Justina and dying in 1796, but if you look at the plot numbers before and after John Miller, you’ll see they are not in order. This means that the order of the burial plots would be K-18 (Katherin Mueller), K-19 (David Mueller) and K-20 (John Mueller), so David Mueller’s burial plot is between John and Katherin’s. In Mason’s book, he also mentions a David and Anna Catherine Mueller having ties to John Miller’s family, as some of David and Catherine’s children married children of Matthias Miller, John’s brother. 

There is also a picture in Mason’s book that shows the author at the gravesites of John, David and Katherin, which he clearly noted their order: 

From the book entitled “Matthias Miller and His 17 Children” by Floyd R. Mason (pictured above)- Published 1996 

So, this clearly casts doubt upon the Katherin Mueller buried in the Christ Little Tulpehocken Church cemetery as actually being Justina Miller.  So where is Justina Miller? 

I went looking…I first found the Find A Grave memorial page for Justina (Brossman) Miller. I contacted the manager of the page, Jeff Lighnter for any further information he might have. I also went looking on Ancestry.  This is what I found: 

Courtesy of Ancestry© 

There was also an image associated with this: 

Courtesy of Ancestry©-Pennsylvania, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993 – Index, K-S, 1750-1937 

The 2nd column is the residence, which is Tyrone Township, which I am quite familiar with, as many of my maternal ancestors came from this area. Tyrone Township, a part of Cumberland County, PA in 1816, became a part of Perry County, PA in 1820.  In Mason’s book, he also mentions that Justina’s daughter, Justina (Miller) Fenical migrated to Perry County. Also, notice the other name above John Miller, (to the far right) probably the same son that inherited his fathers’ land in the deed.  There are two Administration documents related to this index entry as well, but they do not provide any further information relevant to this post.  One other entry is relevant, but the recorded documents for it are still on microfilm.  The Estate Inventory for Justina Miller recorded as: 

Courtesy of Ancestry© 

Recorded Nov. 28, 1816 – Inv. #362 – being held by the Pennsylvania State Archives 

So now that I have decidedly determined that Justina did not die in 1796, but 20 years later in Cumberland County, PA, my next steps will be to try and find out where she may be buried. There are two possibilities. 

Jeff Lightner clued me into a book called “Church Between the Mountains-A History of Lutheran Congregations in Perry County, Pennsylvania” – David H. Focht – 1862 

On page 27, Justina Miller is listed as one of the communicants for the 26th of March, 1804 at the Lutheran Church at Loysville.  Here’s where it gets really interesting…on the previous page, page 26 a George Miller and Jacob Miller are mentioned, two names that appear in the deed as children of John and Justina Miller.  Going back another page, to page 25, I found “Justina Fenichel” and “John Fenichel”.  As mentioned in the deed, Justina Fenical was a daughter of John and Justina Miller. 

The possibilities of where Justina Miller could be buried are at the Lutheran Church at Loysville or the same cemetery where Justina Fenical is buried, Mt. Zion (aka Old Dutch Cemetery), Perry County, PA.  Alas, I have not found any cemetery records to confirm these two possibilities, but this journey isn’t over yet. 

Now I am beginning to put two and two together and I’m finally getting the right answers…not the answers that I thought were right.  I have changed my family tree on Wikitree to reflect this new discovery. 

This was a valuable teachable moment for myself…now, reflect on your ancestors and ask yourself the same question I have asked myself…am I right or do I have more work to do? 

Remember, don’t beat yourself up if you’re wrong about an ancestor…it happens to the best of us. Just pick yourself up and continue learning and collecting information. After all, any breakthrough with an ancestor is what this game is all about!

Sources: 

Find A Grave© 

FamilySearch© 

Google Books©

Matthias Miller and His 17 Children by Floyd R. Mason – 1996 

Featured Image: 1858 Map of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania-Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Acknowledgements: 

Cathy Meder-Dempsey – Opening Doors in Brick Walls 

Jeff Lightner – Thank you Jeff for the great tip off!

James Beidler – Jim’s Website – Roots and Branches -The Blog (Jim’s Blog Posts) 

Cheryl, my wife whose love and support is my daily breath 

2 thoughts on “A Deed of All Deeds – Teaching Myself a Lesson

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