Roots & Branches: Smiles all around as Miller family tree extends out

Last week’s “Roots & Branches” column gave a nod to a correspondent of mine, Brian S. Miller.

His information had extended my “umbilical” line — that is, my mother’s mother’s mother and etc. — a generation, breaking through what had been one of four Miller brick walls in my lineage.

In this case, information from the Find A Grave website led me to Miller’s WikiTree webpage allowed me to find out the parentage of my four-greats-grandmother, a shadowy woman named Sarah Miller Rauch, who the 1850 U.S. Census showed as 49 years old, suggesting a birthdate in 1800 or 1801.

Find A Grave had the photo of a tombstone for Sarah Miller Rauch, and the site linked her to parents Jonathan Miller (1777-1858) and Elisabeth Schaeffer Miller (1775-1863), who was another step in the umbilical chain.

When a Google search for Jonathan Miller and his birth and death years led to Brian Miller’s WikiTree site, I smiled since we’ve corresponded for a number of years after he received my book “The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide” as a gift a few years ago.

The smile grew larger when Brian informed me that he, too, was a five-great-grandchild of Jonathan and Elisabeth — making the two of us sixth cousins.

And I smiled even more when I got past Mother’s Day and started inspecting the Miller-and-wives branches of Brian Miller’s family tree. That was because Jonathan Miller’s mother was Justina Catharina Brossman, daughter of immigrant Frantz Brossman.

That led to an enormous grin, since Frantz Brossman was the ancestor of the late Schuyler C. Brossman, a dear friend of mine who wrote the “Our Keystone Families” newspaper column for more than 30 years.

I read much of Frantz Bross­man, one of the many Pennsyl­vania German pioneers to the Tulpehocken, of Berks and Lebanon counties, over the years. I just never realized that he might be my ancestor, too.

When I drilled further into the Miller side of the line, I found that Brian Miller and people with which he worked had determined the village of origin for the immigrant of this family, a Jacob Miller whose marriage and children’s baptisms are found in the Lutheran records of Neipperg in Wuerttemberg. This was a bit of a landmark for me since none of my other three Miller lines have been traced beyond immigration.

Teasingly, the marriage record in Neipperg named Miller’s father as Gregori and gave the father’s town of residence as Tuerstein (likely to be Thierstein or Tierstein, a town in different area of Wuerttemberg).

Contact Beidler either at Box 270, Lebanon, PA 17042 or by e-mail to Like him on Face­book (James M. Beidler) and follow him on Twitter, @JamesMBeidler.