This is the fifth article in a six part series about the case of Joseph Peter Miller (1814-1895).
The first article introduced the challenge, and
the next four articles present research about
different aspects of the case, working generally
from the most compelling evidence through to
that which is more conflicted. The sixth article
critiques our work program. Links follow.
a. OooO, Joe. Could this be a match made in (wiki) heaven?
b. Research Part 1 - Joseph Peter Miller takes a bride
c. Research Part 2 - Sticky Dates and Aha! Moments
d. Research Part 3 - "How do you solve a problem like Maria?"
e. Research Part 4 - Stories of Christmas Past
f. Wacky, wiki wonders
Note: The four research articles are also intended to provide examples to technologists who are developing evidence models that support the research process.
"When what to my wondering eyes should appear ..."
"Celebrating family historians, everywhere."
-- Thankful Bear
This article is a celebrates the remarkable work done by family historians. It highlights two family historians whose work greatly advanced the case of Joseph Peter Miller.
Largely because of Jack Stover's "boots on the ground" and tenacity, research about his ancestor, Joseph Peter Miller (1814-1895), and about Peter Miller's son, Joseph Miller (b. 1814) has gone well beyond the low-lying fruit. At some length, we have drilled into each source and the conflicts found among the different information.
Jack has been doing this kind of work all along. Communicating by phone more than 2,000 miles away, he's said, "Okay, I've reached the end of this cemetery row, should I turn right or left?" Jack has driven from county to county, usually in the rain (but that is another story), to visit this or that library. At least once, someone has told him, "We don't really know much about those records, maybe you'll figure them out." Knowing Jack is a reminder that family historians DIG, with passion and persistance. :-) He is a great family historian.
Sigh. We had learned much from our collaboration, but the proof that Joseph Peter Miller was Peter Miller's son remained based on circumstantial evidence. Haunted by the knowledge that some 400 men named Joseph Miller had married at Ohio at about the same time, the good news was that we could say Joseph Peter Miller was perhaps the son of Peter Miller. The bad news was that we could say no more. Heartbreaking, as the man at the center of the story, Joseph Peter Miller, had lived such a long and full life.
And then came the note from Dena Z, hoping to confirm that her her ancestor, Homer Miller, was the grandson of Peter Miller (ca1779-1845).
At the time, Jack and I were still pretty hung up on the problem 1837 baptismal entry (see, "How do you solve a problem like Maria?")
Dena could make the connection between her ancestor and Peter Miller, but she was tentative about some of the family history materials she had inherited--those materials might not be accurate or complete.
Dena hasn't necessarily been at this a long time, but she has that special gift of curiosity--where did it come from and what does it mean? Knowing Dena reminds me that family tradition doesn't just happen--it is passed with care from generation to generation. We strive to maintain the unbroken chain, or to repair those links that might otherwise have been broken. Dena is a great family historian.
Among Dena's materials she found the previously transcribed version of a 1908 Christmas greeting written by Lettie Miller (1851-1935), Peter Miller's granddaughter.
Lettie's 1908 greeting had apparently been sent to close family members, including Dena's ancestors, Homer and Anna (Rohrbaugh) Miller. When Anna wrote a "Miller Family History" some years later, she incorporated Lettie's greeting.
In her Christmas greeting, Lettie included something personal about each of Peter Miller's children--her aunts and uncles. The work is remarkable as the earliest family record known about Peter's family that calls out more than just the children's names.
About her uncle Joseph, Lettie wrote one line, "Joseph was a minster of the gospel in the denomination known as the 'Church of God.'"
Genealogical conclusions are not set in stone. In this case, we needed to re-visit our earlier recorded evidence and conclusions in light of the newly discovered/corroborated information about Joseph Peter Miller.
As a result of revisiting the different evidence, I believe I have proven and have so concluded that Joseph Peter Miller was the first born son of Peter Miller and his second wife, Mary Stewart. I will be adding the different links, relationships, sources and proof to my materials.
This new information has changed how I perceive the different conflicts about Joseph Peter Miller, too.
(a) I still am not certain about whether Joseph Peter Miller was born on 6 July 1814 (death record) or 6 August 1814 (baptismal record). I do accept the notion that his parents may have fibbed about his age for the purpose of the baptismal record. (See, Sticky Dates, for "More to the Story.")
(b) Little Maria Miller born in 1837 is now probably (rather than perhaps) the daughter of Joseph Peter Miller and wife Rebecca Thoma. (See "How do you solve a problem like Maria?")
With great family historians like Jack Stover and Dena Z involved, I just know we'll learn even more about these circumstances and families.