When I began this journey of discovery back in 2012, my wife was already finding out about her Miller family, and when I joined the hunt for my Miller family, we somehow ended up on the same page. Let the confusion commence…were we cousins? We both had John Millers born about the same time, that had fathers named Jacob and some of the family trees out on the internet did not clear anything up, thus began my need to clear this up once and for all. Below are the best examples of the confusion that can occur with ancestors that share so many similarities.
From James Beidler’s book “German Family Tree Genealogy Guide”..”the joke among German genealogists is that everyone has at least one “Johannes Mueller/John Miller” ancestor.”
Jacob Miller, Family #1
Beginning in 1937 and culminating in 1952, Everett W. Miller compiled records through this time period for his ancestor, Jacob Miller, and published a book called “Genealogy of Jacob Miller and his Descendants”. In it, he describes how government records were obtained by Sigfus Olafson in 1938 for his Jacob Miller family and below is a portion of Everett Millers’ book of how and when his Jacob Miller came to America.
*”Jacob Miller was born in Germany in 1702 and came to Philadelphia in 1715 when he was a boy of 13. He married a Miller, also a German, but not related to him, as one of the couple was from the highlands of Germany and spoke the dialect known as High German, while the other was from the lowlands and spoke the Low German dialect. At this time Philadelphia was the port to which most of the German immigrants came, as well as many immigrants of other nationalities. There was not room for them in that vicinity so they naturally spread outward into the less settled portions of Pennsylvania and southward along the eastern ridge of the mountains, which at that time were an almost insurmountable barrier. In that way a good many of them found their way into the Shenandoah Valley, among whom was Jacob Miller. He settled in Rockingham County and there reared a large family.”
*“We do not know the date he settled there, neither do we know how many children, since records are incomplete covering these early settlers, and we understand the court house of Rockingham County was destroyed by fire with all the County records. However, we do have the names of the following children:”
1-Christian – lived and died in Rockingham Co., VA (from Augusta Co., VA records)
2-Henry – lived and died in Rockingham Co., VA (from Augusta Co., VA records)
3-Jacob, Jr. (1726-1806) m. 1st Eliz. Fudge (9 children), 2nd Margaret Sullivan (7 children) – Monroe Co., WV.
4-John, Sr. (1735-1826) m. Barbary Mauze (9 children) – Monroe Co., WV – Rev. War Vet.
5-George – lived in Monroe Co., WV, moved onto Madison Co., KY (possibly 14 children)
6-Barbary (1744-1819) m. Jacob Mann (3 children) – Monroe Co., WV
7-Katherine – lived in Monroe Co., WV, moved onto KY (no further record)
The wife of the above Jacob Miller was Margaret.
The above Jacob Miller family is my wife’s ancestors through John Miller, Sr.
There have been many historical items written about John Miller, Sr., so by searching his name along with Monroe County, WV, you will find histories that were written about him and his family. He settled on what is now an historical site called the Pence Farm, Monroe Co., WV.
*Source: Genealogy of Jacob Miller and his Descendants by Everett Wayne Miller, 1952.
Jacob Miller, Family #2
Another Jacob Miller that is similar to the above was written about in the book “West Virginia and its People, Volume 2”, Page 186, by Thomas Condit Miller and Hu Maxwell, 1913.
This Jacob Miller was born abt. 1698 and died May 1776. His father was Ulrich Miller from Zweibrucken, who was a burgher. Jacob first stayed in York Co., PA, then later, with his wife, Barbara and 6 children made their way to Shenandoah Valley by 1752. Jacob acquired 2,000 acres by 1766, 1,200 acres of which he laid out the town of Muellerstadt, which George Washington later renamed Woodstock.
Jacob’s children were:
Ulrich, Jacob, Barbara, Christian, Susannah, Mary and Martin
Christian Miller was born in Zweibrucken in 1744 and died in Woodstock, April 28, 1836. Christian was married to Catherine Wiseman (1746-1837).
Christian and Catherine’s children were:
Henry, married in 1815
Eight other children, two of which died young
As you can see, the similarities are quite easy to get confused, especially with names of children, and the dates at which they were born and the locations they lived in.
Jacob Miller, Family #3
Our final Jacob Miller (Mueller) is my Miller family. This Mueller family name was originally spelled with the umlaut over the U as shown in the records below, although I’m sure there were many with the same spelling.
To begin, my Jacob Miller was born Oct. 22, 1697 in Tierstein, Germany. His wife was Catharina Charlotta (Charlotte) Loechner, who was born Oct. 11, 1699. The actual church records, (I received from Myron Miller, distant cousin through Jacob’s son, Jacob, Jr.), clearly states that Jacob Miller, Sr. and Charlotte Loechner were married Nov. 26, 1720. The record of their marriage and the birth of their first 4 children are recorded in the Evangelische Kirche Neipperg (OA. Brackensheim). Kirchenbuch, 1647-1925 FHL Film No. 1184764.
The authentication of the records for Johann Jacob Mueller has been verified, as recorded by the Christ Little Tulpehocken Lutheran Church, near Bernville, Berks Co., PA in the records of the Rev. Jacob Stoever, that Johann Jacob Mueller, b. Sept. 24, 1728, recorded the given names of the parents, date of birth, and the names of the witnesses, matching exactly to the church records in Neipperg. There can be no mistake that this is the same family.
*A note here about Jacob’s son, Frederich Adam. It is unclear if Frederich died on the ship, or after the family landed, but according to Jacob Stoever’s records, there were only 4 children with baptism records and only 4 children mentioned in Jacob’s will.
Coming to America
Jacob Mueller, his wife Charlotte, and 2 of his children left Germany on April 28, 1732 and came to America on the ship Johnson, of London, David Crocket, Master, from Rotterdam, last from Deal. Landed in Philadelphia on September 19, 1732 (September 19th happens to be my birthday). Jacob was required to sign an Oath of Allegiance.
A German author and genealogist friend of mine, James Beidler, wrote in his book the “German Family Tree Genealogy Guide” about the comparison of handwriting and signatures of our ancestors. I have been fortunate enough to be able to obtain copies of my Jacob Mueller’s actual signatures, one from the Oath of Allegiance he signed and the other signature from his will. You can see the comparison below:
After showing this to James, he indicated a match, which I had already believed it to be. You have to remember, after 34 years, a person’s handwriting can vary and change with age, but all the “tells” are there. How close the “L’s” are together in the Muller name, how the “r” is formed at the end, and how the name slightly arcs in the middle.
Birth Records of the Rev. Jacob Stoever
The birth and baptism records of Rev. Jacob Stoever helped solidify the authentication of my Mueller family:
The 2nd child, John (Johannes) Mueller is my 6x great-grandfather. He was baptized at White Marsh on Nov. 16, 1733 by Philip Boehm. Philip Boehm is my 7th great-grandfather on my mother’s side.
Source: Taken from Notes and Queries Historical, Biographical and Genealogical Relating to the Interior Pennsylvania by William Henry Egle, Annual Vol. 1899.
What Happened to the Children?
Jacob Mueller, Jr. lived in PA for a while, then moved onto Maryland where he passed away in 1803. I have a copy of his will and manage his memorial page on Find-A-Grave. Jacob’s son, John Miller was born in Maryland in 1777, and lived until 1865 and died in Petersburg, Ohio.
Johannes Mueller lived out his life in Berks County, Pennsylvania. He and his wife Justina are buried next to Johannes’s father and mother Jacob and Charlotte in the Christ Little Tulpehocken Lutheran Church Cemetery. I have a copy of his will.
Little is known of Mary Elizabeth Barbara Mueller, after she married John Hess.
Matthias Mueller is probably the most well-known of Jacob’s children. He was the youngest, was named as the executor of Jacob’s will, he fought with the PA Militia during the Revolutionary War as a private and had 18 children and 4 wives. In 1794-95, he moved to Rockingham, VA. Many of his children followed him to VA.
This is my Mueller family. It’s really not that confusing at all when you look at the records and all the evidence presented. If you are related to one of these Miller families, be mindful of the time periods of arrival, the amount of children and their names, and the locations of where your Miller family may have settled.
Special thanks to Myron Miller, pictured below, for the exceptional documentation he has provided.
Brian S. Miller