Stephen Ulrich Sr., (born c1690), The Conewago Settlement and the Border War, 52 Ancestors #136

Unfortunately, we have very few records on Stephen Ulrich Sr., and those we do have often introduce more questions than they provide answers.

The Ulrich, Miller and Stutzman families reach back into Germany together. We first find records for Johann Michael Mueller, Jacob Stutzman and the Ulrich family in Lambsheim, Germany.

If you research these families and this is the first time you’ve heard of Lambsheim, you can thank our trusty retired genealogist who specializes in German records, Tom – he found this treasure trove.  This is the first time this information has ever hit the airwaves!


This early drawing of Lambsheim in 1645 is likely what the town looked like when Michael Miller, Jacob Stutzman and Stephen Ulrich lived there. You can see what looks to be the same church tower in the photo below. Also note the watch tower in the city wall.  You can see the gate into the city, at left and the fields outside the walls where the farmers would go to work each day.  Below, the city today.


By The original uploader was Romantiker at German Wikipedia – Transferred from de.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0,

In 2002, John and Eleanor Blankenbaker traveled to Lambsheim to visit where their ancestors lived and they have made two photos, below, available for genealogy usage.


Clearly, the tower is the old part of the church.


This photo shows the watch tower which is depicted in the 1645 drawing. The Blankenbakers indicated that the date in the stone wall was from the 1500s.  Stephen Ulrich, Jacob Stutzman and Michael Miller would have seen and maybe stood watch in this tower. The town is even older, dating from at least the 1300s when the first reference is found, but the Millers, Stutzmans and Ulrich families came from elsewhere in the early 1720s, roughly 1721. I have to wonder what drew people to this town at that time.

We don’t have proof positive, yet, that this is the same Ulrich family – but it’s very likely, given various pieces of evidence. What evidence, you ask? Let’s take a look.

Associated Families

We find Johann Michael Mueller, called Michael Miller in this document, as he is referenced by his descendants today, in Lambsheim beginning in 1721 and until 1726 where the Lambsheim records indicate that both he and Jacob Stutzman immigrate. In addition, the same records indicate that both a Johannes and Christian Ulrich immigrate on the ship, Adventure, in 1727. Unfortunately, the Family History of Lambsheim is in German, but Tom helped sort through that.

Indeed, on the same ship roster where Johann Michael Miller and Johann Jacob Stutzman are found, we also find Johannes Ulrich and Christopher Ulrich. The ship’s name is Adventure and the list made upon arrival is dated October 2, 1727.  These 5 men and their families embarked on a journey that would change their lives forever, as well as all of their descendants.

1727 adventure passenger list

In Pennsylvania, ship rosters weren’t kept until 1727 when a law went into effect that all Germans, age 16 or over, were required to take an oath of allegiance upon arrival. No oath, and you didn’t get to get off the boat – except to march to the courthouse or the magistrates to take the oath.  From volume I of the series, “Pennsylvania German Pioneers” by Strassberger and Hinke:


Oath 2

Lambsheim Records

Once again, my friend, Tom, comes to my rescue, because Heaven knows, I’m way, WAY out of my league here.

In the Lambsheim city history, I found these records, and asked Tom what they meant.

Ulrich Christoph der Alt,oo Agnes NN;beide 2.3.1723‚20.

3.1724;”wei1and Christoph U.des Alten Erben u.

Kdr”:1.Gg.Phil.,oo Marg.(lebt 1725),(1991);2.M.

Marg.oo Deschler (2282);3.Stefan (1995);4.Jo— hannes (1994)‚3o.11.1725.

Ulrich Stefan;20.3.1724‚50.11.1725,(1995).

2388 Ulrich Joh.,oo Susanne NN‚verkaufen Haus,15.2.27.

(1996?) ““ ‘”

2389 Ulrich Joh.‚oo Kath.NN,beide 12.11.172}‚(1997?)‚

This is from page 264, above, and on page 22, we see

Ullrich Johannes, Taglöhner‚ ebenfalls 1727 auf “Adventure” aus— gewandert; Ullrich Christoph, Taglöhner‚ ebenfalls 1727 auf “Adventure”

Tom replies:

Christoph Ulrich, Sr. and Agnes NN of Schriesheim, Heidelberg, Baden are the parents of Johannes and Christoph, Jr. who came to America with Michael Miller and Jacob Stutzman. Stephen is their brother.

The records seem to indicate that Stephen became a citizen of Lambsheim in 1721. It also indicates there are documents related to him for the period 1664-1712.

It further indicates that Christoph Ulrich, Sr. died in 1724 and his heirs were Georg Philip married to Margaretha (left in 1725); M. Marg. married to Deschler; Stefan and Johannes. No mention of Christoph Jr.

Also states:

Ulrich Stefan: 20.3.1724; 30.11.1725

Additional information from the “Purchase Protocol of the Municipality of Lambsheim:”

(C 49) for the years 1719-49. Numbers in brackets refer to the Numbers in Part D.

The sale of fields and houses. The purchases had to be done at the town hall. The corresponding data have been collected, respectively.

The above paragraph is translated by Google from German. It is the prefatory material prior to the listing of buying and selling of land in Lambsheim.

It definitely mentions Johannes Ullrich and Christoph Ullrich sailing on the Adventure.

I find nothing definitive about Stephen Ulrich departing unfortunately.

From page 22:

  • Ullrich, Johannes, daylaborer, likewise 1727 on the ?Adventure? emigrated.
  • Ullrich, Christoph, daylaborer, likewise 1726 on the ?Adventure) emigrated.

These lists evidently are from documents in the Lambsheim City Hall that concern the buying and selling of land. Emigrants would be usually selling land and disposing of property before emigrating if they had anything to sell.

Your crew is definitely “interesting.”

Tom, you’ve surely got that right!!!

So it looks like Stefan is the son of Christopher who died in 1724 and his wife Agnes. This is a great day!!!

Then Tom started digging a bit deeper and found the following:

According to the Lambsheim yome, noting that the bracketed numbers are reference numbers, not years:

Christoph Ullrich Sr. married Agness NN, children:

  • Johann (1994)
  • Stefan (1995)
  • Christoph (1993)

Christoph (1993), Jr. was married to Anna Margaretha Miller:

  • Children: Peter born 1720 who was a soldier in 1744
  • Georg who married in 1751 to Dorothea Haack:
  1. Childre Elis. born 1752
  2. Johann Heinrich 1752
  3. Georg Friedrich 1758

Stefan (1995) married NN in 1716

Johann (1994) the middle one) who became a citizen in 1712, born in Schriesheim, apparently the one who came to America??

Christoph Ullrich who came to America in 1727 is obviously not Christoph Sr. who died in 1724. I would think it not probable that Christoph Jr. (1993) would appear not to be the one who came to American as he has kids who were born in 1720’s and stayed in Lambsheim.

Who were the Ullrichs who came to PA on the Adventure? Pretty complicated at best. Will be hard to determine without some better records. Schriesheim records might shed some light.

Oh NOOOooooo, this might not be our Stephen after all?  Why do the records say nothing about Stephen immigrating?  Was this information just omitted? And why, oh why, oh why couldn’t they have listed Stephen’s wife’s name???  The lack of a few pen strokes in 1716 means this information is forever lost to us because the church records in Lambsheim don’t exist for this period.

These Lambsheim records are so confusing and frustrating and to some extent, contradict themselves, if not directly, then by virtue of omission. I’m sure, at the time, everyone knew everyone and there was no question about who stayed and left and did what to whom and when. But nearly 300 years later, we don’t have the luxury of personal insight.

But if this isn’t the right family, then who was Christopher Ulrich who immigrated on the adventure with Johannes Ulrich in 1727? Were there three Christophers, one who immigrated in 1726 and another one in 1727 and one who remained in Lambsheim? Clearly the Christopher who immigrated didn’t leave his small children behind, did he???

If this is our Stephen, he must have taken another ship, because he is not listed on the roster of the Adventure in October 1727, nor any other ship that year or in future years. My bet, at this point, is that if this is our Stephen, and I do believe it is, then he left in 1726 with the Christopher who immigrated.

If this is our Stephen, his 1716 marriage is dually frustrating because his wife’s name isn’t mentioned. However, if he immigrated 10 years later, in 1726, with 6 children born before arrival, that means that either they had 6 children in 10 years or this wasn’t his first marriage. Six children in 10 years is one child every 20 months, which is certainly possible. That does assume that all of those children lived, which would be unusual, but again, not impossible.

It’s certainly feasible that if Stephen sold his land in 1724 and 1725, that he immigrated in 1726, before the lists of immigrants were required, or recorded. The fact that he did not take an oath of fidelity might explain why he was naturalized in 1738 and Michael Miller and Jacob Stutzman were not. They had taken those oaths in 1727.

Per the records, George Philip Ulrich left two years earlier. I wonder what happened to Georg Philip and his wife, Margaretha.

It is of note that one of the persistent family oral history stories is that Stephen immigrated with (or had, in America) two brothers, one named John and the other name not recalled.

If this is the case, then those two brothers were likely Johannes and either Christopher or Georg Philip.

Given that we do find these families co-located in Germany, and members of all three families sailed on the same ship for the colonies, I’m going to make the leap of faith here that the Ulrich family in Lambsheim is one and the same with the Ulrich family later found in Lancaster, which becomes York, County, Pennsylvania with Jacob Stutzman and Michael Miller.

Just keep in mind that this may not be an accurate leap of faith, but given the evidence, I feel that it is certainly reasonable, at least until those Schreisheim records totally upset my apple cart.

Tom has made inquiry to the City of Lambsheim for additional information, but to date, no reply has been received.


The first glimpse we have of Stephen Ulrich in the colonies is his naturalization in 1738, in Baltimore County, Maryland. Typically, Brethren declined to be naturalized, although several were naturalized in 1767, probably in order to protect their land. This could well tell us that in 1738, Stephen had not yet become Brethren, or he bent the rules because he had never taken the original oath. If he was already Brethren, perhaps he too was attempting to protect land. For whatever reason, thank goodness for this rule bending.

On page 57 of the Council of Maryland, “Commission Book No. 82,” which contains miscellaneous entries from 1733 to 1773, we find an entry that says: “Ulderey, Stephen, Planter of Baltimore county, native of High Germany, naturalized 4 June, 1738; and his children Stephen, George, Daniel, John, Elizabeth and Susanna.” (provided by Dwayne Wrightsman)

If you’re wondering why Stephen would have been naturalized in Maryland and not Pennsylvania, that’s a great question. The area of Pennsylvania where Stephen lived was disputed between Pennsylvania and Maryland, and the residents in 1738 believed they were living in Maryland.

The absolutely wonderful thing about this naturalization document is that it lists his children born in Germany. If the children had not been born in Germany, there would have been no need for them to be naturalized. It’s worth noting that additional children could have been and probably were born after arrival, especially if Stephen was around the age of 20-25 in 1716, as was his bride.

  • Stephen
  • George
  • Daniel
  • John
  • Elizabeth
  • Susanna

Thank goodness for this list!

We don’t know and have never discovered Stephen’s wife’s name, although family trees are full of the first name of Elizabeth and various surnames, one of which is Waggoner. No proof has ever been found of any wife’s name, to the best of my knowledge, although perhaps the Lambsheim or Schriesheim records might give up some gems with further mining.

I suspect that the genesis of the name Elizabeth Waggoner is that the Waggoner family was a neighbor to the Ulrich family both in Lancaster County (1743 land grant on Conewago) and in Frederick County in 1751. However, for Stephen’s wife to be Elizabeth Waggoner, the Waggoner family would have to be found with the Ulrich family in or near Lambsheim, Germany before immigration.

We don’t know when Stephen immigrated, but we know it’s not before 1725 and not after 1738. I would hazard a speculative guess that it was about 1726, because that’s the year that the other Ulrich men who were selling property in Lambsheim began immigrating, along with Michael Miller and Jacob Stutzman.  1726, as opposed to 1727 or after would also explain why Stephen Ulrich’s name is not found on any ship’s passenger list from 1727 forward when oaths of allegiance were required.

The Land at Conewago

We believe Stephen Jr. was born no later than 1720 based on the fact that be obtained land in 1742 in Lancaster County, PA, adjacent land of Stephen Sr.

We know that indeed, Stephen Sr. did own land before 1742, although we don’t have a land grant.

Based on secondary information, Stephen Ulrich Sr. purchased his original tract directly from John Digges, who originally settled “Digges Choice in the Back Woods,” a supposed 10,000 acre parcel near present day Hanover, PA under a Maryland land grant. Today Digges Choice includes all of Penn Township and most of Heidelberg Township in York County, along with part of Conewago, Germany and Union Townships in Adams County. This land was surveyed in 1732 but a patent was not issued until October 11, 1735.

Some of the “squatters” that had originally settled west of the Susquehanna on what were still Indian lands were attracted to Digges Choice. Digges was advertising these lands as early as 1731. The first land record given by Digges was to Adam Forney in October of 1731, but clear title couldn’t have passed at that time, so Digges gave Forney his bond upon which he identifies himself as “of Prince George’s County, Maryland,” clearly indicating that he believed this land to be located in Maryland, not in Pennsylvania. Note that Adam Furney is one of the men naturalized along with Stephen Ulrich in 1738.

The Conewago Settlement, where Stephen Ulrich Sr. lived, was also on Digges’ Choice and is now located in Adams County.

On Feb. 16, 1742, Lancaster County, PA issued warrants 7-U and 8-U for Stephen Ulrick, Junr. to take up lands west of the Susquehanna. He staked out adjoining tracts in what was then a dense wilderness on Little Conewago Creek on land adjoining that of his father according to the warrant descriptions. We know that Stephen lived there as early as 1738 when the family surname is listed retrospectively in 1770 as a founder of Little Conewago Church.

Stephen Ulrich Sr. and Stephen Ulrich Jr. both owned land in or near Digges Choice in York, now Adams County. Hanover was at the center of Digges Choice, which was laid out about 1739.

Stephen Jr.’s warrant tells us where Stephen Sr.’s land is, approximately.

Stephen Ulrich Junior of Lancaster County, 100 acres of land situate on Little Conewago Creek adjoining his father Stephen Ulrich’s land and William Hoolerd? On the west side of Susquehanne River for 15 pounds 10 shillings and yearly quit rent of one half penny sterling for every acre thereof.

Stephen Jr.’s second warrant mentions Little Conewago and Indian Run, locations we can identify today.

I’m unclear about the exact location of Stephen Ulrich Sr.’s land that he purchased from Digges. There is no warrant and no deed, but original records do need to be checked. However, we do have hints from other sources.

In addition to Stephen Jr.’s 1742 warrant, we’re very fortunate to have a 1783 deed that provides us with a little more information about Stephen Sr.’s land.

This 1783 record further clarifies that Stephen Sr. lived on the main road in York County, which would have been present day Hanover Pike.

1783 – Deed – May 17th – George Adam Stum of Heidelberg Twp, York County yeoman and Mary Apelone his wife for better securing the payment of….sold to Sebastian Opold a 150 ac tract of land in Heidelberg Twp part of larger tract called Diges’ Choice adj the Conestoga Old Road which tract of land John Digges conveyed unto Stephen Ullery and the said Ullery conveyed unto Peter Neffziger….

Land Records of York Co, Pa 1775-1793 by Mary Marshall Brewer, p 70-71

Interestingly enough, there is a 1754 will for one Ulrich Naftsiger in Lancaster County, which surely makes me wonder – although Ulrich seems to be a much more popular first name at that time than as a surname.

Unfortunately, the location of this deed seems to introduce some ambiguity and discrepancy in terms of the location of the land of Stephen Ulrich Sr.  The land of Stephen Ulrich Jr. is unquestionably in Conewago Township in what is now Adams County, not Heidelberg in York County.  The mention of Heidelberg Township really threw men for a loop for awhile.

However, additional research in “Conewago: A Collection of Catholic Local History,” page 25, states that the area that is now Conewago Township in Adams County was previously Heidelberg Township.

I’m beginning to suspect that Stephen Ulrich Sr. may have owned more land than we know about today. Finding John Digges conveyances might answer a lot of questions.

Locating Stephen’s Land

As luck would have it, the area in York (now Adams) County owned by Stephen Ulrich and his son includes a section of the old road, laid out in 1740 and 1741, that was bypassed by the current Hanover Pike.


On the map above, you can see the short stretch of the old road just below Hanover Shoe Farms. Below, the aerial view satellite view. It just does my heart good to know that I’m looking at Stephen’s land, even if I don’t know the exact location. However, we can get pretty close utilizing several pieces of information.


The arrow above shows where Little Conewago Creek crosses the road. Little Conewago can be followed visually by following the treed area.

Apparently, the bypassing of the old road occurred long ago, because the old road appears to be very narrow, probably one lane or two if moving very slowly.


Today, utilizing Google Maps Street View, we can see the current Hanover Pike at the location where it intersects with Old Hanover Road, now privately owned. Above, the southern end of the old road. It just looks like a driveway today and you’d never know the difference without satellite view.

Below, driving on down Hanover Pike to the northewast, we can see the location of the south branch of Little Conewago Creek. This is the only intersection of Little Conewago Creek and what was then the main, and only, road.


Below, we can see the field beside the creek, at left, between the current road and the remnants of the old road.


You can see the “old road” in the distance if you look closely through the trees.

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t “drive” privately owned roads, so we can’t drive down this one lane old road today, sadly.

Here’s another peek at the old road that Stephen Ulrich lived along and certainly traveled often, from the north end of the Old Hanover Road.


The new road, Hanover Pike, is to the left and you’re looking directly down the old road. Only about half a mile of the old road is preserved today.

Here’s an aerial of just this area. The intersection above is at the top right beside the 194 road marker. There had to be a cemetery and an original homestead. Death was a constant, and both Stephen and his wife likely died while living here. I wonder where the homestead and cemetery were located. Sometimes you can see a very old structure, but that’s not the case here. There has been significant development today, so they could have been obliterated. If the graves were not marked with more than wooden crosses, they could simply have been overtaken by nature after the children moved on to the next frontier. It doesn’t seem that any of Stephen’s children remained in this area, at least none that we know of. There was no one to visit or maintain graves.


I’ll look more closely to see if I can spy anything that could possibly be an old cemetery. Oh look, there’s a quilt shop! Now I HAVE to visit.  (Note that you can click to enlarge any of these images.)


The only way this could get better is if I walked into the quilt shop to find a deed from Stephen framed on their wall, and they tell me that the old family cemetery is just out back. I dream about things like this.

Pardon my little fantasy flight of fancy there…back to reality!

John Hale Stutzman, when writing his book, Jacob Stutzman (?-1775), was apparently able to locate the land of Stephen Ulrich, Jr.

On the document below, the outlines of tracts A and B from John Hale Stutzman’s book are based on official survey, patent and deed records. This land was purchased by Jacob Stutzman from Stephen Ulrich Jr., and one of Stephen’s two land warants was described as adjoining his father, Stephen Sr.’s, tract.


Page 6, Jacob Stutzman (?-1775) by John Hale Stutzman, Jr. (JHS)

The Old Monacacy Road is today’s Hanover Pike and was referenced in a later deed as the “Conestoga Old Road.”

Tract C was purchased in 1759 from John Digges by Jacob Stutzman, according to JHS.  Jacob also owned tracts A and B which he purchased from Stephen Ulrich (Jr.). This suggests strongly that the boundary of Digges Choice was between tracts A and B which were obtained in Warrants from Pennsylvania and tract C which was obtained by purchase from John Digges.  This also suggests that tracts A and B were very likely in the area contested by Digges as lawfully his, which means that life likely became a living hell for Stephen Ulrich because the contested lands were the central flash points in the “Border War.”

Interestingly, based on the map above and the Google map today, it’s possible that Stephen Sr. owned the land roughly bracketed by Schiebert Road today (top left arrow, below), which crosses both old Hanover Road and Hanover Pike, then continues southeast to intersect with Sheppard Road (bottom arrow) which turns north to intersect with Narrow Drive (right arrow). Narrow Drive, just to the right of the intersection where Lovers Drive and Narrow Drive intersect, where the woods is seen on both sides of Narrow Drive (bottom right arrow), is the location indicated by Stephen Ulrich Jr.’s land grant. That area of foliage is Indian Creek and it intersects Little Conewago between Narrow Drive and Sheppard Road. This area between the arrows forms roughly an oval.

This would be a very logical location for Stephen Ulrich Sr.’s land and it meets all of the criteria – adjacent to Stephens Jr.’s, the old road and Little Conewago Creek.


Here’s the exact same image without the foliage so you can see the creek locations. Indian run, owned by Stephen Jr. crosses Narrow Drive and dumps into Little Conewago just below Narrow Drive, at right. At left, we can see where Little Conewago Creek runs between the old Hanover Road and today’s Hanover Pike (194).


Aha – We can’t drive down Sheppard Road, as it’s privately owned too.


Below, we can see Sheppard Road across the field, from Narrow Drive.


The intersection of Lovers Drive, Sheppard Road and Narrow Drive is closed too. It looks like many of the old roads are privately owned now. I bet that field that we’re looking at from this interesection was Stephen’s.


Given that John Digges did not convey land to Stephen Ulrich Jr., the 150 acres described in the 1783 transaction has to be that of Stephen Sr. and is likely his original land. Given that we have the owners name in 1783, it might well be possible to bring this deed to current and locate the land, exactly, today.

I did not find a deed to Peter Neffziger, but I also have not viewed the original deed books for Lancaster County, where this transaction would have taken place before 1749 when York was formed. If the transaction took place in 1749 or later, then it would have been in York County. Variant spellings for both Ulrich and Neffziger also need to be considered and researched.

It is believed that in 1738, during the time Stephen Ulrich lived here, he and his friend Jacob Stutzman organized the Conewago Congregation of the German Baptist in Conewago Twp. near Hanover, Pennsylvania. Notice I didn’t say church, because at that time, Brethren met in their homes and barns and didn’t build church buildings until much later. Even then, many were against building church buildings, fearing it would destroy the camaraderie of staying with other Brethren families who were hosting “church” on Sunday. Eventually, the Black Rock Church of the Brethren was established in 1876, about 10 miles distant from the area near Narrow Drive, shown below.


Given that the Millers, Stutzman’s and Ulrich’s lived near Hanover, they likely had church in their homes in that vicinity.

Michael Miller lived near or at the location of Bair’s Mennonite Church today, shown on the map below, in Heidelberg Township.


Brethren descendant and researcher, Dwayne Wrightsman says:

According to Morgan Edwards, writing in 1770, the Little Conewago congregation of Brethren was started in 1738, by “Eldrick, Dierdorff, Bigler, Gripe, Studsman and others under the leadership of Daniel Leatherman.” It is commonly thought that Eldrick was Ulrich, Gripe was Greib/Cripe, and Studsman was Stutzman. All were Brethren, friends, neighbors, and related by marriage. It is also commonly thought that Eldrick and Ulderey were one and the same.

That “all related by marriage” comment bothers me a bit. I hope he was referring to 1770 and not 1738, because if they were related by marriage in 1738, which means in Germany, we’ll never get this figured out.

We know that Stephen Ulrich Sr. was in Lancaster County, near present day Hanover, before 1742 and that he was naturalized in Baltimore County, Maryland in 1738.

The land where he lived was in a border area claimed by both Pennsylvania and Maryland, and was embroiled in what become known as the Border War until 1767 when the Mason-Dixon line was finalized.

PA-MD boundary issue

—“Cresapwarmap” by Kmusser – self-made, based primarily on the description at Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons

Stephen Ulrich Sr., was actually probably one of the more fortunate souls, because he purchased at least some land directly from Digges, himself. That land did not seem to be in dispute, other than the fact that Digges sold some 4,000 acres more than he actually owned. The land that Digges sold that he didn’t legally own is he same land that Pennsylvania issued land warrants for.  Since the 1783 deed says that Stephen Ulrich purchased the land from Digges, and not that he obtained it by warrant, this suggests that Stephen’s land purchase from Digges was deemed to be legitimate and was not in the contested area.  However, his 1743 land warrant and those in 1742 of his son, Stephen Jr. abutted the original Digges Choice grant and were assuredly in the contested area.  In fact, the “war” with Digges erupted at their neighbor, Martin Kitzmiller’s home.

Digges attempted to file a modified survey for his Maryland patent, to extend it to the full 10,000 acres, but in the interim, several men, likely including Stephen Ulrich Jr. in 1742, and Stephen Sr. in 1743 had already been granted warrants by Pennsylvania on this same land. Stephen Sr.’s 1743 grant is shown below.



Stephen Ulrich of Lancaster County, 100 acres of land situate on the west side of Susquehanna River adjoining the land of George Wagoner on great Conewago. The closest portion of “Great Conewago,” known simply today as Conewago, was 7 or 8 miles, as the crow flies, north of the land at McSherrytown where Stephen Sr.’s original land abutted that of Stephen Jr. Stephen Sr. likely did not live on this land on Conewago patented in 1743..


On the map above, Stephen Jr. and Sr.’s land was just south of Pennville on 194 (bottom arrow).  Conewago Creek, known as “Great Conewago” to differentiate it from Little Conewago, is the blue ribbon at the top of the image, running left to right between 15, 394, 94 south of Hampton and then to East Berlin at 234 (top arrows).

The great irony in this is that mother and I visited the Gettysburg National Battlefield years ago, located just slightly to the west, and while we appreciated the history at the historic site, we had absolutely no idea that we had our own history within ten miles or so. It makes me heartsick to think we were so close, but didn’t know, and now it’s too late to take Mom back again.

One Hot Mess – The Border War

This 1743 patent by Stephen Ulrich does not say “Jr.” so I’m presuming the patent is to Stephen Sr. If so, this land would likely have been in the contested area where Pennsylvania granted land to settlers and Digges thought the land fell within his patent. That may have been solely wishful and opportunistic thinking on Digges part.

Digges subsequently attempted to bully the men who had obtained grants from Pennsylvania into releasing their land in the disputed area to him. When that didn’t work, he tried intimidation and wanted them to repurchase their land, from him. That didn’t work either, and emotions escalated until the situation exploded like a tender box at the neighbor, Martin Kitzmiller’s, mill, shown below.  Kitzmiller’s land abutted that of Stephen Ulrich Jr.


According to an 1886 edition of the Gettyburg Compiler, quoted in the book “The Murder of Dudley Digges – 1752,” this mill had the year 1738 inscribed on a log in the gable 14 feet from the ground. So this building is the very structure that Stephen Ulrich saw and assuredly visited, standing inside, probably chatting, in German, of course, with Martin Kitzmiller as his grain was ground. The brick portion of the structure above was added in 1755 and in 1886, the article states that the older folks still remembered a house standing beside the mill. The article further states that the mill was located near the headwaters of Little Conewago, in Conewago Township and was a major hostelry stop on the main road. Locating this land would also give us a boundary on Stephen Ulrich’s land, because Kitzmiller owned the land adjoining Stephen Ulrich Jr.

John Digges’ son, Dudley, was shot and killed at the mill in 1752, and the situation became an untenable tenderbox. Most of the Brethren left at this time or had already fled for Frederick County, Maryland.

This wasn’t the first time that violence had erupted in the area known as Digges Choice, nicknamed Rogue’s Resort, reflecting on the general perception of Digges.

Another rabble-rouser, Thomas Cresap who became somewhat of a spokesman for the German community had killed a man in the 1730s as well, before returning to Frederick County, Maryland, becoming a Brethren and selling land to Michael Miller.

It seems that the group sympathetic to Maryland left for Maryland and the Pennsylvania contingent tried to tough it out in York County. For the Brethren, who wouldn’t take up arms, even to protect themselves and their families, it must have seemed like a good time to consider other options. There wasn’t an option without risk though, so the options boiled down to the one that seemed “less bad” at the moment.

Needless to say, it was one hot mess on the frontier in York County. It was also about this time, or a few years earlier as the situation began to escalate, that many of the Brethren began purchasing land in Frederick County, Maryland, about 50 or 60 miles due west, believing that this land was not involved in the border dispute. They began moving about 1751 and many relocated together. While we know that Stephen Ulrich Jr. moved in 1751, there is nothing to suggest that Stephen Ulrich Sr. did so. He may have passed on by then. It’s hard to believe his sons would leave an elderly parent behind in that volatile and hostile environment.

Stephen’s Death

What we don’t know is when Stephen died. Some descendants report his death in 1749, but there are no sources listed. I found no will or estate in either Lancaster or York County, although I have not looked at the books personally.  Indexes are listed online. Unfortunately, unless you can browse the index, it’s hard to find misspelled surnames. If we could find the deeds where Stephen Sr. sold his land, that would be helpful, as it would at least bracket the date of his demise. More effort should be expended in this regard.

If Stephen had 6 children when he immigrated, in roughly 1726/1727, and they were born every two years, and one was an infant, and none died, then Stephen would have married about 1714. Of course, he could have married significantly earlier or the children could have been born closer together, as we already discussed.

If Stephen married in about 1714, he was born no later than 1694, and possibly significantly earlier.

I don’t know if his children would have had to be naturalized under their own names if they were of age or not, or if they could still be covered by their father regardless of age, so long as they immigrated with him when they were children.

If those children were listed in birth order on the naturalization document, Stephen Jr. was born between 1716 and 1720, assuming it was our Stephen Sr. who married in 1716, the younger children would have been born every year and a half to two years, so possibly before 1726 or 1727, or perhaps as late as 1732.

If Stephen Ulrich Sr. was born in 1694, he would have been 49 years old in 1743 when he applied for his land grant in Pennsylvania. If he was born earlier, he would have been older.

Stephen Sr.’s Children

We do know something about some of Stephen Sr.’s children.

  • Stephen Ulrich Jr. was born about 1720, or possibly somewhat earlier. If the Stephen who married in Lambsheim in 1716 is his father, and assuming our Stephen was the eldest, he was likely born in either 1716 or 1717. Stephen Jr. died about 1785 in Frederick County, Maryland. He married Elizabeth whose surname is unknown, probably around 1742. His children are documented by the sale of his land following his death.
  • George Ulrich died in Frederick County before August 1753, his estate being administered by Stephen Ulrich and Nicholas Martin who were listed in the court document as “Protestant dissenters.”
  • Daniel Ulrich moved first to Frederick County, Maryland and then to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, owning the mill at Roaring Springs. This Daniel is often attributed to Stephen Ulrich Jr., but there is no Daniel shown as the heir of Stephen Ulrich Jr. in 1785, nor would one of Stephen Jr.’s children be old enough to have purchased land and built a mill prior to 1775. Therefore, the Daniel in Bedford County must be the son of Stephen Ulrich, Sr., not Jr. This Daniel is also not the Daniel Ulrich who married Susanna Miller, born in 1759, the daughter of Philip Jacob Miller.
  • John Ulrich lived on his home place in Frederick County and had 300 acres, 4 horses, 8 cows and two negroes (I believe this is from a 1782 or 1788 tax list.). John had started accumulating land years before with 50 acres. In 1802 he bought 2252 acres on the middle branch of Frankstown Creek (Bedford County, PA) about 2 miles west of Hollidaysburg, a town that came into being about 5 years later. He was 82 when he bought this land and he died the next year. Justin Replogle, Ancestors on the Frontier, pages 163-164. If this is accurate, it places John’s birth in 1719. The “negroes” who I presume were slaves surprise me, as the 1782 Brethren annual meeting spoke against slavery, according to Brethren church historian, Reverend Merle Rummel.
  • Elizabeth Ulrich is probably the Elizabeth to whom Stephen Ulrich and Nicholas Martin deeded land in Frederick County, Maryland in 1766. Elizabeth had apparently married by 1768 when this land was sold by Jacob Snively. The only explanation set forth by researchers for why Stephen Ulrich and Nicholas Martin would have been deeding Elizabeth land is as part of her estate settlement from her father, although that could explain Stephen but not Nicholas unless they were both administrators. If this is the case, Elizabeth was at least age 28 given that she was listed in her father’s naturalization in 1738. She may well have been significantly older. However, this calls the 1749 date for Stephen Ulrich’s death into serious question. If he died in 1749, his estate would have been distributed to his children, at the latest, when they came of age, which for Elizabeth would have been no later than 1759.  Furthermore, if this deed was as a part of her father’s estate settlement, why was Elizabeth the only Ulrich to who a transaction was made? Elizabeth has also been rumored to be the wife of Nicholas Martin, but given that we know, from the 1766 deed that she was an Ulrich in 1766 and a Snively in 1768, she clearly was not married to Nicholas Martin at this time.
  • Susanna Ulrich, about whom nothing more is known. Mary Kay Coker, a descendant of Nicholas Martin reports that his wife was named Susanna. Susanna Martin did not sign the 1766 deeds to Elizabeth Ulrich, but she did sign a 1794 deed with Nicholas. Susanna Ulrich could have been the wife of Nicholas Martin, but there is no proof. Finding any estate or land sale information about Stephen Sr. could go a long way in resolving the identity of his children.

Additional Research

Based on multiple land records, of Stephen Ulrich Jr. and others, it appears that Stephen Ulrich Sr. owned at least two and possibly three parcels of land, as follows:

  1. 1743 Pennsylvania land grant on Conewago
  2. Land abutting Stephen Jr.’s 1742 grant
  3. Land purchased from Digges, date unknown, but in 1783 located in Heidelberg Township, York County (now Conewago in Adams County) along the old conestoga road.

Items 2 and 3 could be, and probably were, the same land, given that Stephen’s land is referenced in Stephen Jr.’s grant.

Finding these deed conveyances from Digges to Stephen Ulrich and from Stephen Ulrich to the subsequent owners would be extremely useful. Of course, Brethren often times did not register deeds, but in the case of Digges, these deeds may not exist. Quoting from research about John Digges and Digges Choice, we find:

John Digges…settled on Digges’ Choice with his wife and children. His financial position can be gleaned from surviving information. He was heavily in debt in 1743 to Charles Carroll and Daniel Dulaney of Annapolis, Maryland. Digges was unable legally to deed land to settlers until after repaying these debts. A number of deeds were issued by Charles Carroll in the early 1750s to various settlers of Digges’ Choice. There is never a cost mentioned in these deeds. They appear merely to give clear legal title to the settlers for land for which they had already paid Digges.

These debts may be the reason for a resurvey of Digges’ Choice in 1745. There is evidence that Digges traveled east of the Susquehanna River to recruit settlers for Digges’ Choice, and by the 1740s he may be attracted an appreciable number of them. There was only one problem: many of these settlers were buying patents from the Pennsylvania authorities and settling on the borders of Digges’ Choice, rather than paying Digges for land inside of it. Consequently, by 1743, Digges realized little profit from land sales in Digges’ Choice. This, coupled with the fact that between 1735 and 1743 Digges may have had financial difficulties, might explain the resurvey of 1745.

It should be remembered that the original warrant to Digges was for 10,000 acres, but that the survey in 1735 was returned for only 6,822 acres. In 1743, Digges applied to the Pennsylvania authorities for a resurvey of the full acreage, blaming the error on the surveyor of 1735. Take notice of the year of this request. We know that Digges was in debt by this time. The application was refused. In 1745, he applied for, and obtained, a resurvey for 10,501 acres from the Maryland authorities.

The resurvey was illegal. It was in direct opposition to the terms agreed to in the Royal Order of 21 May 1738, which authorized the survey of the Temporary Line of 1739. That Order guaranteed legal rights to original tracts in Pennsylvania warranted and surveyed by Marylanders, and vice versa. However, it prohibited the owners of these tracts authority over land contiguous to the tracts, and also forbade resurveys of the original tracts. Because of these terms, the resurvey of Digges’ Choice was illegal.

In many instances, individuals tended to settle a tract and set up farming before buying a warrant for the tract. In some cases, a son of the original settler paid for a tract of land a generation after the fact. For settlers inside Digges’ Choice, pinpointing settlement dates can be no more accurate. As mentioned earlier, John Digges was unable to deed land to settlers until after 1750. Because of this unfortunate situation, some of the earliest settlers escape our notice entirely. We can discover cases of settlers moving into the area, settling for several years, and then moving west or south, all without leaving a record in official deeds, warrants or patents.

In the case of Stephen Ulrich, if we could find the land conveyance to Peter Neffziger or from Neffziger to Adam Stum, even that could potentially be helpful.

Additional research into estate records, inventories, administrations, court or any other records that may not be quite as popular as actual will records might yield some clue as to the death of Stephen Ulrich Sr. Even land records, if we could find them, might help narrow those dates.

Access to original records for both Lancaster and York Counties could prove very useful, as could every name indexes. It’s also possible that Baltimore or Prince George’s County, Maryland could hold early records as well, since that’s where Stephen believed that he lived.

I don’t believe every stone has yet been turned. I hope that other researchers, if they have researched these records will step forth so we can eliminate them as possibilities, and that future researchers will finish the due diligence in the early records that Stephen Ulrich Sr. so richly deserves.

I will post updates if they are forthcoming. 


We certainly could benefit from some types of DNA testing.

If a male Ulrich who descends from any of Stephen Sr.’s sons takes a Y DNA test, we can obtain useful information about our Ulrich ancestors via the Y DNA results. There are several Ulrich males that have tested whose ancestors are from Germany, and it would be very useful to know if we match any of those Ulrich men.

I have a DNA testing scholarship for the first male Ulrich who steps forth who descends from this line.

Unfortunately, the mitochondrial DNA line of Stephen’s wife seems to be dead to us. We know nothing of daughter Susanna. If daughter Elizabeth is the same Elizabeth who married Jacob Snively, there is only one reported child, a son, Jacob – although that doesn’t mean additional children didn’t exist. If Elizabeth was born in 1726, just before leaving Germany, then she would have been 40 years old in 1766 when the land was deeded to her. There are a lot of assumptions here, some of which may be incorrect, because she apparently did have one child, so she may not have been quite 40 when she married.

Mitochondrial DNA is inherited by all children from their mother, but is only passed on by the daughters. Therefore, to obtain Stephen Ulrich’s wife’s mitochondrial DNA, we would need to find someone who descends through her daughters through all females to the current generation. It appears that we have no candidates unless someone discovers what happened to Susanna or that Elizabeth had a previously unknown daughter.

Autosomal DNA, passed to all descendants, but divided in (roughtly) have in each subsequent generation might be interesting if descendants of Stephen Sr. match each other AND don’t also share other lines in common. One of the great challenges of Brethren genealogy and endogamous groups is that these lines are often so intermarried after generations of living together and migrating in communities that the DNA is extremely difficult to sort through and assign to specific ancestors. However, if any of Stephen Sr.’s descendants have taken autosomal DNA tests, please do let me know and let’s see if we share any of his segments.

In Summary

We don’t have Stephen’s signature or even know exactly where his land was located, nor can we visit his grave.  Perhaps if we can identify a segment of Stephen’s DNA that would be something very personal of his that still remains, intact and viable more than 300 years after his birth in Germany – in us, his descendants.


It’s amazing to think, in world so large, through an Atlantic crossing so perilous, and amid constant warfare on the frontier for all of Stephen’s adult life – that he survived and gave part of his DNA to me. I am the carrier of the torch, Stephen Ulrich’s torch, through many generations. But it’s only through the comparison of my DNA to other descendants who are also torch carriers and have tested their DNA that we can discover, collaboratively, which pieces of Stephen still exist.  Assuredly, something of Stephen remains.

Finding the DNA that exists from Stephen must be a “we” and not a “me” endeavor, bringing the descendants of Stephen together one more time…to find what remains of Stephen today.

Assassin’s Creed and Family Tree DNA Collaboration

“See, hear and feel the memories of your ancestor…”

This is really exciting, both the movie itself and the new testers this collaboration will bring forth.

And maybe, just maybe, some of my ancestors are portrayed in this movie.

I know my ancestors were warriors.  Am I???

The Warrior Gene and Family Finder tests will be bundled at $89 and that price also includes a findmypast subscription and a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas.  At this link, click on “learn more” to see details and order – and scroll down for the trip entry form.

Concepts – Why DNA Testing the Oldest Family Members is Critically Important

Recently, someone asked me to explain why testing the older, in fact, the oldest family members is so important. What they really wanted were talking points in order to explain to others, in just a few words, so that they could understand the reasoning without having to understand the details or the science.

Before I address that question, I want to talk briefly about how Y and mitochondrial DNA are different from autosomal DNA, because the answer to the “oldest ancestor” question is a bit different for those two types of tests versus autosomal DNA.

In the article, 4 Kinds of DNA for Genetic Genealogy, I explain the differences between Y and mitochondrial DNA testing, who can take each, and how they differ from autosomal DNA testing.

Y and Mitochondrial DNA

In the graphic below, you can see that the Y chromosome, represented by blue squares, is inherited only by males from direct patrilineal males in the male’s tree – meaning inherited from his father who inherited the Y chromosome from his father who inherited it from his father, on up the tree. Of course, along with the Y chromosome, generally, the males also inherited their surname.

Y and mito

Mitochondrial DNA, depicted as red circles, is inherited by both genders of children, but ONLY the females only pass it on. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited from your mother, who inherited it from her mother, who inherited it from her mother, on up the tree in the direct matrilineal path.

  • Neither Y or mitochondrial DNA is ever mixed with the DNA of the other parent, so it is never “lost” during inheritance. It is inherited completely and intact. This allows us to look back more reliably much further in time and obtain a direct, unobstructed, view of the history of the direct patrilineal or matrilineal line.
  • Changes between generations are caused by mutations, not by the DNA of the two parents being mixed together and by half being lost during inheritance.
  • This means that we test the oldest relevant ancestor in that line to be sure we have the “original” DNA and not results that have incurred a mutation, although generally, mutations are relatively easy to deal with for both Y and mitochondrial DNA since the balance of this type of DNA is still ancestral.

Testing the oldest generation is not quite as important in Y and mitochondrial DNA as it is for autosomal DNA, because most, if not all, of the Y and mitochondrial DNA will remain exactly the same between generations.  That is assuming, of course, that no unknown adoptions, known as Nonparental Events (NPEs) occurred between generations.

However, autosomal DNA is quite different. When utilizing autosomal DNA, every person inherits only half of their parents’ DNA, so half of their autosomal ancestral history is lost with the half of their parents’ DNA that they don’t inherit. For autosomal DNA, testing the oldest people in the family, and their siblings, is critically important.

Autosomal DNA

In the graphic below, you can see that the Y and mitochondrial DNA, still represented by a small blue chromosome and a red circle, respectively, is inherited from only one line.  The son received an entirely intact blue Y chromosome and both the son and daughter receive an entirely intact mitochondrial DNA circle.

Autosomal DNA, on the other hand, represented by the variously colored chromosomes assigned to the 8 great-grandparents on the top row, is inherited by the son and daughter, at the bottom, in an entirely different way.  The autosomal chromosomes inherited by the son and daughter have pieces of blue, yellow, green, pink, grey, tan, teal and red mixed in various proportions.

Autosomal path

In fact, you can see that in the first generation, the grandfather, for example, inherited both a pink and green chromosome from his mother, and a blue and yellow chromosome from his father, not to be confused with the smaller blue Y chromosome which is shown separately. The grandmother inherited a grey and tan chromosome from her father and a teal and red chromosome from her mother, again not to be confused with the red mitochondrial circle.

In the next generation, the father inherited parts of the pink, green, blue and yellow DNA. The mother inherited parts of the grey, tan, teal and red DNA.

The answer to part of the question of why it’s so important to test older generations is answered with this graphic.

  • The children inherit even smaller portions of their ancestor’s autosomal DNA than their parents inherited. In fact, in every generation, the child inherits half of the DNA of each parent. That means that the other half of the parents’ autosomal DNA is not inherited by the child, so in each generation, you lose half of the autosomal DNA from the previous generation, meaning half of your ancestors’ DNA.
  • Each child inherits half of their parents’ DNA, but not the same half. So different children from the same parents will carry a different part of their parents’ autosomal DNA, meaning a different part of their ancestors’ DNA.

The best way to understand the actual real-life ramifications of inheriting only half of your parent’s DNA is by way of example.

I have tested at Family Tree DNA and so has my mother. All of my mother’s DNA and matches are directly relevant to my genealogy and ancestry, because I share all of my mother’s ancestors. However, since I only inherited half of her DNA, she will have many matches to cousins that I don’t have, because she carries twice as much of our ancestor’s DNA than I do.

Mother’s Matches My Matches in Common With Mother Matches Lost Due to Inheritance




As you can see, I only share 371 of the matches that mother has, which means that I lost 549 matches because I didn’t inherit those segments of ancestral DNA from mother. Therefore, mother matches many people that I don’t.

That’s exactly why it’s so critically important to test the oldest generation.

It’s also important to test siblings. For example, your grandparent’s siblings, your parent’s siblings and your own siblings if your parents aren’t living. These people all share all of your ancestors.

I test my cousin’s siblings as well, if they are willing, because each child inherits a different half of their parent’s DNA, which is your ancestor’s DNA, so they will have matches to different people.

How important is it to test siblings, really?

Let’s take a look at this 4 generation example of matching and see just how many matches we lose in four generations. We begin with my mother’s 920 matches, as shown above, but let’s add two more generations beyond me.


As you can see in the above example, the two grandchildren inherited a different combination of their parent’s DNA, given that Grandchild 1 has 895 matches in common with one of their parents and Grandchild 2 has 1046 matches in common the same parent. Those matches aren’t to entirely the same set of people either – because the two siblings inherited different DNA segments from their parent. The difference in the number of matches and the difference in the people that the siblings match in common with their parent illustrates the difference that inheriting different parental DNA segments makes relative to genealogy and DNA matching.

However, if you look at the matching number in common with their grandparent and great-grandparent, the differences become even greater and the losses between generations become cumulative. Just think how many matches are really lost, given that in our illustration we are only comparing to one of two parents, one of four grandparents and one of 8 great-grandparents.

The really important numbers are the Lost Matches, shown in red. These are the matches that WOULD BE LOST FOREVER IF THE OLDER GENERATION(S) HAD NOT TESTED.

Note that the lost matches are much higher numbers than the matches.


In summary, here are the talking points about why it’s critically important to test the oldest members of each generation, and every generation between you and them.

Autosomal DNA:

  1. Every person inherits only half of their parents’ DNA, meaning that half of your ancestors’ DNA is lost in each generation – the half you don’t receive.
  2. Siblings each inherit half of their parents’ DNA, but not the same half, so each child has some of their ancestor’s DNA that another child won’t have.
  3. The older generations of direct line relatives and their siblings will match people that you don’t, and their matches are as relevant to your genealogy as your own matches, because you share all of the same ancestors.
  4. Being able to see that you match someone who also matches a known ancestor or cousin shows you immediately which ancestral line the match shares with you.
  5. Your cousins, even though they will have ancestral lines that aren’t yours, still carry parts of your ancestors’ DNA that you don’t, so it’s important to test cousins and their siblings too.

Y and mitochondrial DNA:

  1. Testing older generations allows you to be sure that you’re dealing with DNA results that are closer to, or the same as, your ancestor, without the possibility of mutations introduced in subsequent generations.
  2. In many cases, your cousins, father, grandfather, etc. will carry Y or mitochondrial DNA that you don’t, but that descends directly from one of your ancestors. Your only opportunity to obtain that information is to test lineally appropriate cousins or family members. This is particularly relevant for males such as fathers, grandfathers, paternal aunts and uncles who don’t pass on their mitochondrial DNA.

I wrote about creating your DNA pedigree chart for Y and mitochondrial DNA here.

Be sure to test the oldest generations autosomally, but also remember to review your cousins’ paths of descent from your common ancestors closely to determine if their Y or mitochondrial DNA is relevant to your genealogy! Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA are all different parts of unraveling the ancestor puzzle for each of your family lines.

You can order the Y, mitochondrial DNA and Family Finder tests from Family Tree DNA.

Happy ancestor hunting!

Another Daniel Miller – A Y DNA Tale – 52 Ancestors #135

Just when you think you have the family all straightened out, a left hook comes along, sneaks up and sucker-punches you.

Indeed, as if there wasn’t enough confusion about the various Daniel Millers, we now have yet another very interesting twist in the Daniel Miller saga, thanks to DNA.

And a conundrum it is too.

In the article, “Daniel Miller (1755-1822), Musical Graves, 52 Ancestors #130” I provided this summary of the various Daniel Miller’s that we know existed in Montgomery County, Ohio at or about the same time that my Daniel Miller (1755-1822) lived there, or subsequent generations. Below is the summary from that article.

Daniel (1) is my ancestor and was born to Philip Jacob Miller and his wife, Magdalena, whose last name is unknown, on April 8, 1755 in Frederick County, Maryland. Daniel was married to Elizabeth Ulrich and died in Montgomery County, Ohio on August 26, 1822. Those are the easy dates. The rest are difficult.

Daniel (2) arrived in Montgomery County from Huntington County, PA. Daniel (2)’s wife was Susanna Bowman and Daniel (2) lived in what would become the City of Dayton proper where he settled on Wolf Creek in November of 1802, according to the History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, Volume 1.   For those specifically interested in this line, the Brethren Heritage Center has an article available written by Gale Honeyman.

Daniel (3) is the son of Daniel (1). According to the family Bible he was born on March 30, 1779 and he died on June 25, 1812. He would have been 33 years old, and unless he was disabled in some way, he was likely married and may well have had children. He would only have been about 20 when his father Daniel floated down the Ohio on a raft, probably in 1799. Daniel (3) could have remained in Clermont County when his father and uncle, David Miller, left for Montgomery County sometimes around 1802. There is no mention of an estate for Daniel (3) in Montgomery County.

Daniel (4) is the grandson of Daniel (1) through his son Stephen Miller. Daniel (4) was born in 1797 in Bedford County, PA and died in 1879 in Preble County, Ohio.

Daniel (5) is the son of Michael Miller and Salome Cramer of Montgomery County. Michael is the son of David Miller who died in 1845. David was the brother of Daniel (1). Michael obtained and farmed his father’s farm in Randolph Township. Daniel (5) was born in 1822, died in 1903 and was married to Isabella Cook.

Daniel (6) is the grandson of Daniel (1) through son Jacob A. Miller born in 1776 who married first to Elizabeth Metzger and second to Catherine Zimmerman. Jacob farmed his father’s land in Randolph Township past 1851 and likely until his death in 1858. Jacob’s son Daniel (6) by his first wife was born about 1800, married Susanna Hardman on November 1, 1819 and died about 1835 in Montgomery County.

Daniel (7) born in 1815 is the son of Isaac Miller, son of Daniel (1) and his wife Elizabeth Miller who is the daughter of David Miller, brother of Daniel (1). I know nothing more about Daniel (7).

Daniel Y. (8) born in 1808 is the son of John Miller, son of Daniel (1).  John’s wife Esther Miller, daughter of David Miller, brother of Daniel (1). Daniel Y. (8) married Margaret Bainter and died in 1833.

Daniel (9) is the son of Daniel (2) and his wife, Susan Bowman. Daniel (9) was born about 1808 and died about 1863 in Montgomery County, marrying Susan Oliver.

Daniel (10) is the son of the Elder Jacob Miller by either his first or second wife, who are unknown. This Daniel was born on September 6, 1780 and died on November 15, 1858 in Monroe County, Iowa. Daniel (10) married Elizabeth Shidler or Shideler on April, 13, 1808 in Montgomery County, Ohio, but by 1813, it appears that they had moved on to Union County, Indiana. When Daniel lived in Montgomery County, he owned land near the 4 Mile Church, east of Cottage Creek, about one and one half miles west of the Lower 4 Mile Church.

Today’s article specifically deals with Daniel (2), referred to in this article as Dayton Daniel to keep him separate from Daniel (1) who lived in Montgomery County at the same time as Dayton Daniel (2).

To this group, we need to add two more Daniels. It’s OK to groan now. I’ve been groaning all week!

Daniel (11) who is the son of Lodowich Miller, brother of Philip Jacob Miller. Daniel (11) was born about 1752, probably in Frederick County, Maryland and moved with Lodowich’s family to the Shenandoah Valley about the time of the Revolutionary War. Daniel (11) died in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1819.

Daniel (12), the son of John Miller, also a brother to Philip Jacob Miller. This Daniel was probably John’s eldest son and was one of the executors of his father’s estate in 1794 through 1799 when the estate paid the heirs.

Therefore, Daniel (1), Daniel (11) and Daniel (12) were all first cousins to each other – and Daniel (2), Dayton Daniel, we’ve discovered this week, was also somehow related as well.

The question is, who is Dayton Daniel and how is he related?  And how do we know he’s related?

Michael Miller’s Sons

As a short review, let’s take a look at the immigrant Michael Miller’s sons. He has three proven sons, and only three; Philip Jacob, Lodowick (Lodowich) and John, parents of Daniel (1), Daniel (11) and Daniel (12), respectively.

For many years, every stray Miller male in a several-hundred-mile radius around Frederick County, Maryland was pinned to Michael Miller like tails on the proverbial donkey. To date, we have disproved every line that has tested utilizing Y DNA. In fact, that’s the purpose of the Miller Brethren DNA Project – to sort out the various Brethren Miller lines.  I expected several lines to match Michael’s descendants, but surprisingly, they haven’t – until now.

Before this week, not one line that was not from Michael Miller’s proven sons has ever matched Michael’s line utilizing Y DNA. But then came today and all that changed.

And of course, the end of line oldest ancestor for the new Miller Y DNA participant was none other than Daniel Miller (2), Dayton Daniel, found originally in what would become the City of Dayton, in Montgomery County, Ohio, very early – his arrival date stated variously as either 1802 or 1804 and having come from Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.

If you recall from the article about “my” Daniel Miller, the son of Philip Jacob Miller, the son of Michael Miller, the immigrant, Daniel lived in Bedford County from sometime in the 1780s until around 1800 when he floated down the Ohio River and joined his father and siblings in Clermont and Warren Counties in Ohio. My Daniel migrated on to Montgomery County by 1805, about the same time as Dayton Daniel. In fact, when I first began researching Daniel Miller in Montgomery County, I found the information about the Daniel in Dayton and thought for some time that he WAS my Daniel, until I found additional information and pieces of the puzzle began not fitting. I figured out that there were indeed two Daniel’s living in Montgomery County at the same time, thanks to tax lists and other information. Actually, there were three Daniels until 1813 when Daniel (10), who is not descended from the Michael Miller line, did us the huge favor of moving on.

Dayton Daniel was also Brethren, but that alone does not mean he is related to my Daniel. Another man was Brethren too – the Elder Jacob Miller, who everyone thought surely WAS related to Michael Miller, but who, it turns out, is not – at least not through the paternal line. So just being a Miller male, a Brethren and being found in Frederick County, Maryland, then Montgomery County, Ohio does not guarantee a kinship relationship – as unlikely as that seems. I can see why people reached those earlier conclusions, before Y DNA testing, but they were wrong.

Michael Miller, the immigrant, had three proven sons – and only 3, who were:

  • John Miller who died in 1794 in Washington County, Maryland, formerly Frederick County, with a will which listed his children. This John had a son Daniel (12).
  • Lodowich Miller who died about 1782 and whose children (if not Lodowich too) moved south to the Shenandoah Valley about this same time also had a son Daniel (11) who died in Rockingham County, Virginia in 1819.
  • Philip Jacob Miller also had a son Daniel (1) who married Elizabeth Ulrich, moved to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, then on to Ohio where he was the Daniel who wound up in Montgomery County but did NOT live in Dayton. This is my Daniel.

After I published my article about Daniel, sorting through the various Daniel Millers in Montgomery County, a cousin, Doug, contacted me and was confused. Doug descended from Dayton Daniel (2), born in 1765, and he wondered, if his Daniel was not descended from Johann Michael Miller, why did Doug’s autosomal DNA so strongly match my mother and cousins. Obviously, I couldn’t answer that question, so Doug set about finding a male Miller, his second cousin, who descended from Dayton Daniel, to test. That participant is referred to as TM in this article.

Obviously, if TM’s DNA representing Dayton Daniel’s Y DNA had not matched my Daniel’s Y DNA, you either would not be reading this article right now, or it would be a very different story. But Dayton Daniel’s Y DNA does match the Michael Miller line.

Um….so now what? Who is Dayton Daniel (2) and who are his parents?  They can’t be the only three proven sons of Michael Miller – because all 3 of them had sons named Daniel and all 3 are accounted for.  So, who were Dayton Daniel’s parents?  Let’s walk through the possibilities and look a the DNA results.


Looking at the Miller Brethren project, we can see 5 men descend from Michael Miller. There are also two additional men, but they are not project members.   One is private, so I can’t even e-mail him.


The first thing I noticed was that marker 449 has two different values, shown at far right, in purple, above. I mapped them to the participants, with the hope that TM’s marker 449 would tell us which line he was from. In other words, I was hoping that 449 was a line marker mutation.


TM, shown at far left, has a value at marker 449 of 30. One of Philip Jacob’s descendants, RM as well as both of Lodowich’s descendants carry the same value. So no, marker 449 does not indicate a specific son’s line of Johann Michael Miller.

How can this same marker show up in two of Daniel’s sons’ lines, represented by HAM and RWM, but not in the third son’s line, represented by RM? Apparently this marker value has mutated in both Isaac and John’s lines, sons of Daniel, independently, someplace between Daniel and the testers, HAM and RWM today. We know that the original marker value is 30 because it is found independently in the lines of two different sons, Daniel and Lodowich, and probably a third son now with TM.

Ok, we know that marker 449 doesn’t help us, so where do we look next?  Let’s take a look at the genealogy.

Candidates for Dayton Daniel’s Father

Obviously, the first place to look for this Daniel is among the grandchildren of Michael Miller.

Dayton Daniel’s wife is Susanna Bowman who was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. They are both buried with tombstones that give their age at death, so we can extrapolate that information to obtain a birth date and year.  Thanks to the tombstone, we know that Daniel was born in 1765 and because he married Susanna who was born in the next county, we know that they were living there about 1785, marriage age.

Knowing Daniel’s birth year helps us rule out various grandchildren of Michael Miller.

We have already ruled out Philip Jacob Miller as Dayton Daniel’s parent, because his son was my Daniel (1), according to the family Bible.

Two of our other Y DNA testers descend from Lodowick’s son, Daniel (11), who was born in 1752 and died in 1819 in Rockingham County, Virginia. Clearly, this is not the Daniel living in Montgomery County, Ohio who died in 1849.

That leaves Michael Miller’s son, John, who also had a son Daniel (12).  Could Daniel (12) actually be Dayton Daniel?  Let’s see.

John Miller, Michael’s third son did us the favor of executing a will just days before his death listing his children.


Children named:

  • Daniel
  • John
  • Jacob
  • Abraham
  • Ludwick
  • David
  • Michael
  • Catherine
  • Susanna
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Underage sons were Ludwick, David and Michael.

Son Daniel Miller and son-in-law John Fisher were executors.

The will was made Dec 13, 1794 and recorded Dec. 20, 1794. Clearly John was literally on his death bed when he made his will.

On April 9, 1799, Daniel Miller and John Fisher, executors of John Miller’s estate made a distribution of 2010 pounds, 5 shillings and 9 pence, in equal parts to the 10 remaining children, all apparently now 21 years of age. The order of the named heirs is: Daniel Miller, John Fisher, Susanna Wissinger, Mary Studanbaker, Elizabeth Cameron, Jacob Miller, Abraham Miller, Lodwick Miller and David Miller. Michael is missing in the distribution list so he apparently died sometime between 1794 and 1799. Washington County Distribution Liber I, folio 80.

In 1799, when the estate was paid, all children would have reached the age of 21. The youngest child, Michael, apparently did not survive, so if we can presume he wouldn’t have become 21 until 1801, that means that he was born in about 1780. There were a total of 11 children, so a child was born every two years, with no deaths, then the oldest child, presumably Daniel, would have been born about 22 years before the youngest, or about 1758.

There is some confusion about John Miller’s name, because while most deeds and documents, such as his will, refer to him clearly as John, which would mean his German name was Johannes, with no middle name, one deed refers to him as Peter, not Johann Peter, just Peter. Was the deed in error, or was John really Johann Peter? We don’t know.

Did Michael Miller Have Other Sons?

The answer to this question is yes, he did, according to German church records. What we don’t know is if they lived, how many he might have had that are unrecorded, and if he had children after he arrived in Pennsylvania. Yes, there are a lot of unknowns.

In Frederick County, Maryland in the 1760s, there is a Michael Miller Jr. and a Hans Michael Miller, both of whom are involved with Michael Miller, the immigrant. It would be very unlikely for Michael to have two sons named so closely, but then again, stranger things have happened. One or both could also be grandsons. Or the two men could be one and the same.

In the Michael Miller article, I introduce both of these men. I did not follow either one forward in time, but it might well behoove the descendants of Dayton Daniel to pick up the trail where I left off.

Birth Records in Germany

My retired German genealogist friend, Tom, has found records of the births of several of Michael Miller’s children, in Germany. Unfortunately, the church records are missing for a time period, so we don’t know if all of the children lived, or how many more children might have been born. Tom is reading every single entry on every single page, just to be sure we don’t miss something.

Yes. Every. Single. Entry. On. Every. Single. Page.

Tom is my super-hero!

Michael Miller married Susanna Berchtol in 1714, who was born in 1688, in Konken, Germany. Their first child was born the following year, also in Konken.

  • Hans Peter Miller born January 19, 1715 (This might be John.)

The next children were born in Kallstadt.

  • Johann Jacob Miller baptized May 26, 1716
  • Regina Maria Elisabetha born August 30, 1717
  • Johannes Michael Miller born April 24, 1719 (This could be Hans Michael or Michael Jr.)
  • Johann Ludwig born April 10, 1721. (This would be Lodowich.)

Very unfortunately, by 1722, Johann Michael Miller and Susanna Berchtol had moved to Lambscheim where they live until 1726 where the records indicate they immigrated. I will be documenting these movements in a special update article about Michael Miller and Jacob Stutzman soon, but for today, we just needed the names of Michael’s sons.

We next find Michael’s immigration record, along with Jacob Stutzman, in 1727.

We know that Philip Jacob Miller was born about 1726, so he was probably a babe in arms on the boat.

If Michael Miller and Susanna Berchtol continued having children in the same pattern, they would have had another child in 1723.

Susanna would have probably had children until she was in her early 40s, so until about 1730. Therefore, in addition to Philip Jacob in about 1726, they could have had another child in 1727, 1729 and perhaps even 1731.

This gives us the opportunity for 4 additional sons (besides Philip Jacob) not recorded in existant church records. Of course, additional children may not have been male, and may not have survived.

Is John the Same Person as Hans Peter?

If John who died in 1794 is the same child as Hans Peter born in 1715, then he would have been age 43 in 1758 when his first child was born. That’s actually quite unusual for a man in that timeframe, so one of a number of situations have to be the case.

  1. The John Miller who died in 1794, brother to Philip Jacob is not the same Hans Peter who was born in 1715.
  2. The John Miller, brother to Philip Jacob who died in 1794 had more than one wife, and had children before 1758 who are all omitted from the will.
  3. The Hans Peter born in 1715 died and Johann Michael Miller had another son by the same or a similar name either in 1723, 1727, 1729 or 1731. This would make John between the ages of 27-35 in 1758, which is still on the older side for a Brethren man to be marrying, but more believable than age 43 for a first marriage.

However, even allowing for these possibilities, it still doesn’t seem reasonable that Dayton Daniel Miller who died in 1849 in Montgomery County, Ohio and was born in 1765 is the oldest child of John Miller. That would mean that the next 10 children were born beginning in 1767 and continue being born until 1787. However, we know that all of John’s surviving children were of age by 1799. Therefore, Dayton Daniel simply cannot be the son of John.

It’s also possible that John’s son Daniel was not the eldest, but the children seem to be listed in order, twice – once in the will and once in the distribution.  Daniel is listed first in both documents. It’s typical for the eldest son to be the executor.

Therefore, for all these reasons, I don’t think it’s feasible that Daniel Miller of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania who was born in 1765 is the son of John Miller who died in 1794.

However, Dayton Daniel’s descendant matches the Y DNA of Johann Michael Miller. Furthermore, Dayton Daniel’s descendants match several of Johann Michael Miller’s proven descendants utilizing autosomal DNA, so he has to be related in a reasonable timeframe. Autosomal DNA becomes less and less likely to match with each passing generation beyond third cousins.

Other Candidates?

Our next best candidate as the father of Dayton Daniel is Michael Miller Jr. and/or Hans Michael Miller.

I did not track them forward in time, but other researchers have spent some time on this endeavor. It is reported that Hans Michael Miller lived in Franklin County, PA and what is now Mineral County, West Virginia, and had a will. He reportedly paid taxes in Antrim Township in Franklin County and New Creek, now in Mineral County, WV, according to the 1772 Frederick County Tax list. He was given money by Michael Miller to purchase land called Pleasant Gardens, which could be Garden’s Delight and Add Garden’s Delight on the 1772 tax list as well.  This information is detailed in the Michael Miller article.

Michael Miller could have had other sons that did not accompany him to Frederick County in about 1750 from York County, Pennsylvania, or who do not appear recognizably as his sons in the Frederick County records. Those sons would have been 20 or slightly older by the time that Michael left Pennsylvania and moved to Maryland. It’s certainly possible that one of Michael’s sons survived infancy, the voyage overseas and the frontier, married, and did not elect to move to yet another frontier – instead, remaining in York County or striking out on his own.  Possible, but not terribly likely.  There was safety and help in groups, especially for a small religious denomination who were known as “dissenters” and not terribly well liked because they would not defend themselves, or the neighborhood where they lived.  Brethren tended to stick together, moving in groups.  Young families would not be inclined to stay behind, especially not if the rest of the family moved on.

If Michael Miller’s son, Johann Michael Mueller, born in 1719 is the father of Dayton Daniel, he would have married sometime around 1740 and could still have been having children in 1765. It’s also possible that Dayton Daniel was the grandson of Johann Michael born in 1719, but to do so, both Johann Michael and his firstborn son would have bad to have married young.

DNA Findings

When Doug and I first realized we were cousins, and I mean via DNA, we didn’t know exactly how. Doug had always assumed that Dayton Daniel was indeed a descendant of Michael Miller, the immigrant. However, as the documentation surrounding Michael Miller’s life unfolded, we realized that we needed more information and documentation. Doug and I discovered additionally that we are also both descended through the Stephen Ulrich line, so Doug and I could have been matching through that line and not the Miller line. That’s when Doug reached out to Dayton Daniel’s Miller descendant, TM.

Unlike Doug, TM does not descend through the Ulrich line, so any of the known Michael Miller descendants that TM matches should be matching through the Miller line only.


TM’s matches are shown above, in red. Of course, he matches his second cousin, Doug, as expected. But aside from that, he matches four of Philip Jacob’s descendants, and none of Lodowich’s, as shown above and below on the chromosome browser.


It’s exciting to think that the segment on chromosome 14 is shared by four of Michael Miller’s descendants. A piece of Michael or his wife that still exists today and is identifiable. That’s just amazing for a man and his wife who were born before 1700.

Is this Michael Miller or Susanna Berchtol’s DNA?

I have access to the kits that TM matches, and the DNA segments that match the other Miller descendants do triangulate, so we know for sure that these segments do indeed belong to the Miller line, descended from Michael Miller or his wife, Susannah Berchtol.  We can’t tell which, of course, without matching someone from another Miller, like Michael’s brother, or a Berchtol.  So now, we can simply say this matching DNA comes from this couple.

I know what you’re going to ask next? Did Michael have a brother that could have also immigrated and father’s children who, in turn, had Dayton Daniel in 1765?  Great question.

There is absolutely no evidence that Michael had a Miller brother who immigrated. In fact, according to the church records in Steinwinden, Germany, no other children born to Michael’s parents survived. Michael was the last child born before his father’s death.

Autosomal Messages

Let’s look at what the autosomal DNA suggests in terms of how closely related TM and these 4 matching individuals might be. The table below shows TM’s matches to the 4 Miller descendants, except for Doug.  We already know how TM and Doug are related.

Shared cM Longest block Segments >5cM *Estimated Relationship **Shared DNA Range ***Predicted Relationship Average DNA****
Barbara 98 27 5 6C 0-21 2-4C 2C1r-2C2r
Donald 87 29 4 6C 0-21 2-4C 2C2r
HAM 77 35 2 5C1r 0-41 2-4C 3C
Cheryl 57 29 3 6C 0-21 2-4C 3C1r

*Estimated relationship presumes (I know, bad word) that Dayton Daniel is Michael Miller, the immigrant’s grandson. Dayton Daniel cannot be Michael’s son, because Michael married a widow woman about his same age by 1754, after his wife died. In 1765, Michael would have been 73.

** Shared DNA Range is the range of the lowest and highest amounts of DNA found for the estimated relationship in the Shared cM Project.  In other words, this is how much DNA someone of that Estimated Relationship is found to share.  6th cousins share a range of 0-21 cM DNA, not 98cM like TM and Barbara share.

***Predicted Relationship is the relationship level predicted by Family Tree DNA based on the amount of shared DNA.

****Average DNA is the best fit from the chart I compiled in the article, “Concepts – Relationship Predictions” that combines information from several sources on the expected, actual average and ranges of DNA for each relationship type. The average DNA is taken from the column titled “Blaine’s Shared cM Average” which are results from a crowd sourced project indicating the actual amount of shared centiMorgans from various relationships.  In this case, the best fit for Barbara and TM would be between second cousins once removed (2C1r) and second cousins twice removed (2C2r).

Even though the average DNA suggests that these people are some flavor of second or third cousins, we know from the proven genealogy that these relationships cannot be in the second or third cousin range, because we know beyond a doubt that Dayton Daniel born in 1765 cannot be more closely related to Barbara, Donald, HAM and Cheryl than the nephew of Philip Jacob Miller, their common ancestor.  In fact, they cannot be related more closely than the 5th or 6th cousin level, as shown in the Estimated Relationship column.

Clearly, the amount of shared DNA exceeds the expected average for 6th cousins or 5th cousins once removed, significantly, for all 4 matches – comparing the value in the Shared cM column with the Shared DNA Range column. The amount of shared DNA also exceeds the maximum amount of shared cMs in the range, by at least double. In the case of Barbara and Donald, they exceed the maximum DNA for 6th cousins by 400%.  That’s not a slight deviation.   What could cause this?

There can be three possible causes for the amount of shared DNA to so dramatically exceed the maximum amount found for the estimated relationships.  I’ve listed these in the order of probability.

  • TM is related to Barbara, Donald, HAM and Cheryl through a secondary line. However, TMs mother is English and his paternal line is well researched back through Dayton Daniel. If TM and Barbara, Donald, HAM and Cheryl share more than one line, that occurred in or before Dayton Daniel’s father’s generation and Philip Jacob Miller’s generation. We do not know the surname of Philip Jacob Miller’s wife, Magdalena, nor have we identified the parents of Dayton Daniel. This shared secondary line is the most likely scenario for why TM shares so much DNA with Barbara, Donald, HAM and Cheryl.
  • For some reason, a very large amount of common DNA has been passed to TM and Philip Jacob Miller’s descendants. This is not one “sticky segment” but multiple segments, which makes this scenario less likely.
  • All 4 matches, meaning TM to Barbara, TM to Cheryl, TM to Donald and TM to HAM are extreme outliers in the relationship range shared centiMorgans. This is the least likely scenario and it would have had to have happened independently four different times.

If Philip Jacob Miller and the father of Dayton Daniel married women who were related, that would cause a higher amount of matching DNA in the descendants of both lines – but not to people the Lodowich line, which is exactly what we are seeing.

It’s also possible that in addition to being related to each other, both of their wives were also related to or descended from the Berchtol line, which would also drive up the shared amount of DNA in the descendants. We know during that timeframe it was not unusual for people to marry their first cousins and there were not a lot of Brethren brides to choose from on the frontier.

What Have We Learned?

This exercise has been very interesting and we have learned a number of things.

  • Via DNA and genealogy combined, we have probably confirmed that the immigrant Michael Miller did in fact have another son that survived and had offspring. Based on records alone, that son may be Michael Jr., or Hans Michael Miller. Additional genealogy work needs to be done to follow the records for these men from Frederick County, Maryland forward in time.
  • Via Y DNA, we know that Dayton Daniel does positively share a common ancestor with the descendants of Philip Jacob Miller and Lodowich Miller, both sons of Johann Michael Miller, the immigrant.
  • Via genealogy records, we have proven that Dayton Daniel cannot be the son of Philip Jacob Miller, Lodowich Miller or John Miller, the three proven sons of  Michael Miller, the immigrant.  All three of Michael Miller’s sons had sons named Daniel, but all three Daniels are accounted for and eliminated as being Dayton Daniel born in 1765 by other records.
  • Via autosomal DNA, we confirm that the relationship between TM and the Miller descendants he matches is in a genealogical timeframe, not back in Germany several generations. Due to the fact that Michael had no Miller siblings that survived, if the relationship was further back in time, it would have to be at least two generations before Michael Miller, the immigrant, making DNA matching between TM and Michael’s descendants unlikely at all, and certainly not at the level they match, as they would be at least 8th cousins.
  • Via autosomal DNA, we suspect that there may be a secondary matching line, and the best candidates for secondary lines would be Magdalena, the wife of Philip Jacob Miller along with the mother of Dayton Daniel.
  • Given the very high amount of shared DNA, more than double the expected maximum amount, it’s also suggestive that in addition to being related to each other, than the wives of Dayton Daniel’s mother and Philip Jacob’s wife, Magdalena Miller, may also have been related to Michael Miller and Susanna Berchtol. We know that Susanna Berchtol had relatives in York County. Michael Miller did not, except for his step or half-brother, Jacob Stutzman, whose will we have and who did not have a daughter Magdalena who married a Miller, nor another unknown daughter who also married a Miller.
  • Because of the Brethren Miller DNA Project, we have gathered together the descendants of several Brethren Miller lines which allows us to compare the Y and autosomal DNA and work together to solve this ongoing mystery.
  • Doug and I have now confirmed that we are related on both the Miller and Ulrich lines – and now perhaps a third mystery line as well.

As with all genealogy, every question answered produces several new ones. What a wonderful puzzle to unravel and how lucky we are to have DNA tools in our genealogy toolbox today!!!

New Pedigree View Tree at Family Tree DNA

Ask, and ye shall receive.


It’s great when a vendor listens to what I’m sure probably wasn’t perceived as constructive criticism.

Family Tree DNA designed a new tree some time back, but with only a Family View.  Most genealogists utilize the Pedigree View, shown above, most often.  A few months ago, genetic genealogists asked Family Tree DNA to redesign the tree and include a pedigree view.  Today, the new tree view was added to everyone’s personal page!

The pedigree view is relevant for direct line ancestors.  This screen shot is of my own tree, but this view works for any of your matches who have trees attached as well.  You can see 4 generations of ancestors at once and click to expand to the next 4 generations with the right arrow at any end-of-line ancestor.  You can also scroll or click to make the tree larger or smaller.


The Family View still works just fine, and if you want to see siblings or children of ancestors, other than your direct line, the Family View is what you’ll want to select.


Thank you, thank you, Family Tree DNA!!!  Both for listening and for the new Pedigree View tree.

Elizabeth Ulrich (c 1720 – 1758/1782), Not a Cripe, 52 Ancestors #134

Elizabeth Ulrich, the wife of Stephen Ulrich (Jr.), has been rumored as long as I’ve been researching this family to be a Cripe, supposedly the daughter of Jacob Cripe, but she isn’t.

Unfortunately, we don’t know much about Elizabeth, and most of what we do know, including her name, is because she signed deeds selling land with Stephen, her husband.  Thank goodness for that!

Assuming she was Stephen’s only wife, and he was her only husband, they were likely married about 1740 or so, very probably in York County, Pennsylvania where Stephen lived at the time.  Stephen’s father, Stephen Ulrich Sr. had purchased land there and Ulrich was a surname listed as a founder of the Brethren congregation there in 1738.  At that time, and for some time thereafter, the Brethren met in homes and barns and didn’t build church buildings.

There weren’t a lot of Brethren families in this area early.  Many German families were Lutheran and some were Mennonite.  Elizabeth was almost assuredly Brethren, or Stephen would have been unwelcome in the Brethren Church.  Her family could have been a sister religion, like Mennonite, but when she married Stephen she would have to have converted.  Two Mennonite families related to the Brethren Miller family, who also lived in the area, were Berchtol/Bechtol/Bechtel and Garver/Garber.

If Elizabeth’s family was Brethren, the Brethren families that we are aware of in York County that early, based on the “History of the Church of the Brethren in Southern District Pennsylvania,” are as follows:

  • Leatherman
  • Martin
  • Ulrich
  • Greib/Gripe/Cripe
  • Becker
  • Stutzman
  • Miller (may not have been there in 1738, but arrived shortly thereafter and was related to the Stutzman family)
  • Dierdorff
  • Bigler

Unfortunately, Morgan Edwards, writing in 1770 also added the phrase, “and others.”  Perhaps other Brethren family researchers will know some of those “other” surnames that were in York County before about 1745.

The Brethren men tended to stay out of the record books, out of court, and out of the deed offices.  They didn’t believe in obtaining marriage licenses, and often didn’t have wills.  The Brethren churches didn’t keep membership rosters or other types of minutes.  Brethren didn’t serve in the militias either, but thank Heavens they had to pay taxes because often, that’s our only record that they were living in a particular place and time – if the tax records survived.

Brethren did sometimes register deeds, and they had to have surveys for land grants, warrants and patents.  There was no choice in that matter.  However, Stephen’s surveys for his 1742 land warrants weren’t returned until 1800 and 1802, many years and several owners after his death.

We can presume, and that’s a dangerous word, that Stephen Ulrich was married or marrying in 1742 when he was granted land.  Single men typically didn’t set up housekeeping by themselves.

Our best resource would be a family Bible, but we don’t have one of those either.  If you’re thinking to yourself, Brethren research sure is difficult….yes it is!!!

Based on the fact that Stephen Ulrich, Jr., would sign his name in German script in 1773 when his close friend, Jacob Stutzman wrote his will in German, it’s unlikely that Stephen or Jacob spoke English, or if they did, it was minimal.  This also tells us unquestionably that Stephen’s wife was German as well, and the logic tells us that she was also Brethren, although there was an entire German settlement in York County.

According to the “History of the Church of the Brethren of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,” in 1770, the Little Conewago Church had 52 families, and Edwards reports the entire Brethren population in all churches to be about 419 families.  By 1770, these should be second or third generation, so if you divide 419 by 5 (children per family) you would have 83 families 30 years earlier in 1735.  Of course, their children all married each other’s children.  If there were a total of 83 families in 1735 or so, or roughly 10 families per congregation, assuming no conversions between 1735 and 1770 and that all congregations were the same size.  Of course, the older churches were certainly larger, so perhaps the only Brethren families in Little Conewago were actually the families mentioned by Edwards.  Maybe there weren’t “others” or, at least, not many “others.”

Prior to 1742, according to Edwards on page 79 of the same book, there were only about 8 congregations, including the following:


That means Elizabeth was likely the daughter of one of those early Brethren families, or maybe the daughter of one of the unnamed “others.”  Perhaps other Brethren researchers can add to the list of Brethren families in York County prior to 1745.  York County was Lancaster County prior to 1749.

The Elizabeth Cripe Confusion?

I do know where some of the confusion arises relative to Elizabeth being a Cripe.

Jacob Greib/Cripe was Elizabeth’s purported father and the only known Greib/Cripe in York County.  Jacob wrote his will in 1779 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, but it wasn’t probated until 1801.  His wife’s name was Elizabeth and in his will, he thankfully tells us that she was “born Ulrich.” Given Jacob’s age, his wife, Elizabeth would have had to have been the daughter of Samuel Ulrich Sr., and therefore the sister of Stephen Ulrich Jr. whose wife’s name was also Elizabeth.

So we do have Elizabeth Ulrich Cripe.  This family liaison also explains why Jacob Cripe moved to Frederick County, Maryland with or near Stephen Ulrich Jr. in the 1750s.

Jacob Cripe, several of Stephen Ulrich Jr’s children along with Stephen’s two brothers, John and Daniel Ulrich, moved on to Bedford County, Pennsylvania in the 1770s.

What Do We Know About Elizabeth’s Life?

If our Elizabeth was born about 1720, she was probably born overseas, most likely in Germany.  Elizabeth was assuredly German, based on the fact that the German’s didn’t speak English, so to communicate with Stephen, she would have been a German-speaker.

Stephen and Elizabeth probably married about 1742, the year Stephen Jr. bought land in York County.

Stephen’s land was probably located along Narrow Drive, along Indian Run where it intersects with the South Branch of Conewago Creek, according to Stephen’s deeds.


While some of this land is beautifully groomed farmland today, other parts are still wooded and probably look much like they did when Stephen and Elizabeth lived here.  The photo above shows the land along Indian Creek, patented by Stephen Ulrich.  The tree line runs along the creek.

We do know that Elizabeth and Stephen’s land included part of the “Old Conestoga Road,” which is now Hanover Pike, shown below.


Then, it would have been nothing more than a wagon trail, and probably only wide enough for one wagon.  There would have been ruts and they would have been mudholes when it rained.  Wouldn’t Elizabeth be surprised to see this land today.  And paved roads.  There weren’t such things in the 1740s.  Only paths and dirt.

We know that Elizabeth had son, David Ulrich, about 1746 while they lived in York County, but we don’t know if he was the first child born to Elizabeth and Stephen Ulrich.  They could have had a child or children that died earlier, or David could have been born earlier than 1746.  It would have been very unusual for a couple to marry in 1742 and not have a child until 1746.

Elizabeth’s son, Stephen the third, was born about 1750.  A 4-year gap between children strongly suggests that at least one child died.

In 1751, Elizabeth and Stephen moved from York County to Frederick County, Maryland, a move of about 50 or 60 miles nearly straight west.


This move would have been made with the hope of escaping the conflict in York County surrounding land and the incessant bickering brought about by the “border war” between Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Daughter Christina was born about 1752 and eventually married Jacob, a son of their neighbor, Jacob Stutzman.

Samuel was born about 1754.

Elizabeth was born about 1755/1757 and she married Daniel Miller, son of Philip Jacob Miller who was about the same age as Stephen Ulrich and wife, Elizabeth. Philip Jacob’s father, Johann Michael Mueller/Miller was also one of the early Brethren settlers in York County.

There could have been another child born between Samuel and Elizabeth.

Mary was born about 1760.

There could have been a child between Elizabeth and Mary.

Hannah was born about 1762 and Lydia about 1764.

Given those birth dates, it’s possible that in about 20 years of child bearing, Elizabeth buried 3 or more children.

It’s actually surprising that they didn’t lose more children, considering the upheaval that surrounded them as they lived in the borderland between whites and Indians.

Not only were they living in a war zone in Pennsylvania – with the border being disputed by both Pennsylvania and Maryland for 30 years, but the ownership of their land was in question as well.

In York County, a murder occurred at their neighbor’s mill.  Stephen had a land grant from Pennsylvania, but a man named Digges had a Maryland land grant for that same area – and he tried to force the Germans who obtained Pennsylvania grants to surrender them to him, or at least repurchase their land. Needless to say, that didn’t go well.  Digges tried to force the miller to surrender his deed, and the miller’s son shot Digges son, Dudley, in the ensuing scuffle.  Danger and violence was ever present – a frightening prospect for a Brethren woman whose religion forbade even self-defense.

Finally, in 1751, the Ulrich family sold their land, packed up and headed for Frederick County with a few other Brethren families as well – namely Leatherman, Martin, Miller and Cripe.  The Brethren were converting other settlers as they went too – and Maryland was becoming a popular location for other German-speaking families because there were other Germans there.  When you don’t speak English, you need a German community.

It’s difficult for us to remember today that these people were at a distinct disadvantage, given that they did not speak English, nor would they have understood American customs well.  Letters written to the governor of Pennsylvania explained that these people, who spoke only German, didn’t understand the circumstances surrounding the land sales at Digges Choice and were being taken advantage of by Digges aggressions.  It didn’t help any, of course, that Digges was a slippery sheister and was very likely targeting the Germans who he felt were opportunistic targets.

The land Stephen and Elizabeth bought in Frederick County may or may not have had “improvements.”  Waggoner, the man they bought the land from sold two halves, and one of the two halves included the following:

One dwelling house 20 by 16 feet made of hewd logs and covered with lap shingles, a stone chimney, one dwelling house 27 by 22 feet of hewd logs and covered with lap shingles, plankd above and below, a stone chimney, a new barn of hewd logs covered with lap shingles, 49 feet by 27, 69 apple trees, 72 peach trees and 6 acres of cultivated land well fenced.

While a house 20 by 16 doesn’t sound very large by today’s standards, it was typical for the time.  Most cabins, even when referenced as the “mansion house,” were not very large.  But the barn, that’s another story indeed.  The husband would have been one very happy man with a barn more than twice the size of the house.  Dare I say he would have been in “hog heaven?”

In 1767, when Stephen and Elizabeth had their property resurveyed to include two new parcels into a homestead they would call Germania, there was only “a quarter acre cleared and 230 old fence posts.” That certainly doesn’t sound like there were many improvements, nor does it reflect “6 acres of cultivated land,” so apparently, Stephen Ulrich didn’t purchase the half with the two houses, peach and apple trees and cleared land.

If their land in 1767 had only one quarter acre cleared, how did they live and how had they lived since 1751?  Clearly, they weren’t farming the way we think of farming today.  If Stephen wasn’t clearing his land, what was he doing with it?  Did they only farm enough to provide food for the table?  How did they earn money for the rest of their needs?

More Issues and Warfare

I’m sure these families believed they had moved far enough south and west to avoid border issues, but ironically, when the Mason-Dixon line was completed in 1767, Stephen’s neighbor Jacob Stutzman’s land would straddle the Pennsylvania/Maryland border, and it’s probable that Stephen’s land did as well, given that a later deed for part of his land that was able to be accurately placed is located just north of the state line.

This picture, below, is take on Fort Loudon Road, which would have been the main and probably the only road at the time Stephen lived there. This land is just north of the Maryland/Pennsylvania border, looking east.  The land on the west side of the road is elevated and truly does begin the mountain range – so this land was literally at the foot of the mountains.  The land to the east is flat.  Perhaps this is what Elizabeth saw, if she could get high enough to see over the trees. Of course, not much was cleared at that time, so maybe all she saw was trees.  And behind the trees….Indians.


In 1755, Elizabeth’s life would have been turned upside-down.  When General Braddock was killed after marching his red-coasted soldiers through Frederick County on his way west, those same soldiers were soundly defeated.  The French and Indians saw that defeat as an opportunity to remove the settlers – and by remove, I don’t mean in a friendly way.  The Indians descended upon the settlers with tomahawks and torches, killing settlers and burning homesteads, and the people who would not defend themselves were easy pickings.  Elizabeth must have been terrified.

In 1755, Elizabeth had a 9 year old child, a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a baby.  She and Stephen packed the children, and probably as much as they could take with them, if anything at all, into a wagon and they evacuated – abandoning everything left behind to flames.

They were gone for at least three years.  The only clue we have as to where they went during that time is that in 1758, Stephen and Elizabeth sold land in York County, Pennsylvania from Baltimore County, Maryland.

The war officially ended in 1758, but the attacks didn’t stop at once, but slowly subsided over the next few years.  Taxes weren’t collected in Frederick County until 1762.  We know that at least some of the Brethren returned in 1761 – the Michael Miller family being one.

In 1761, Elizabeth and Stephen were back in Frederick County, rebuilding their home, and they also had at least one baby while they were gone – Elizabeth.  Depending on when they returned, Mary, born in about 1760, was probably born elsewhere as well.

Now Elizabeth is raising 6 children and living in conditions much like camping, minus the fun, while they rebuild their home and farm.  Elizabeth must have cooked over an open fire.  Perhaps they lived in their wagon during this process.  Or they may have lived with others as they rebuilt their homestead.  The Brethren, Mennonite and Amish were well known to have barn and house raisings, even yet when I was growing up 200+ years later.

By early 1761, Elizabeth and Stephen were selling land in York County, again, and they list their residence as Frederick County.  Furthermore, Jacob Stutzman who had bought land in York County from Stephen sells his land there and purchases the land next to Stephen in Frederick County. I wonder if Stephen and Elizabeth returned to York County and stayed with Jacob Stutzman for at least part of the time they were in exile.  Surely those two men welcomed each other’s presence back on the frontier in Frederick County when Jacob moved next door to Stephen in 1761.  Stephen named his land “Good Neighbor” and Jacob named his “Good Luck.”

Hannah, Jacob’s wife would have been good company to Elizabeth as well.  We do know that there were other Brethren in the area, but the Miller family was located further east by at least 5 miles and possibly more – near present day Mauganstown.  The Leatherman and Martin families lived in the area too, but I don’t know where.  Jacob Cripe lived near Stephen Ulrich, as did Daniel and John Ulrich, brothers of Stephen Jr.

As the rhythmic cycle of planting and harvesting resumed after their return in 1761, and some semblance of normalcy returned, it would be short lived.

Just two years later, in 1763, the families had to evacuate again when Pontiac’s Rebellion reached Frederick County.  Reports were that the attacks were even worse than they had been in 1755.  Elizabeth must have been heartsick.  After all, they had just rebuilt and they had to leave the farm to flames once again.

By this time, Elizabeth had born another child, about 1762, and was probably pregnant  again for Lydia who was born about 1764, most likely while the family was once again in refuge elsewhere.

Elizabeth was most assuredly tired.  Tired from taking care of 8 children, tired of burying children, tired of evacuating and living someplace not her home.  Tired of fearing for her life, and the lives of her children, and tired of fleeing in terror.  She would have been tired of her home burning – and it assuredly burned twice from warfare – and that’s assuming it never burned any other time.  Many cabins did.

We know that Elizabeth and Stephen were back in Frederick County by 1766, because Stephen sells land then.  However, Elizabeth does not sign or release her dower, nor does she sign in 1768 when Stephen sells additional land.

It’s tempting to think that perhaps Elizabeth just didn’t sign for some reason, but given the history of Elizabeth signing deeds, that’s unlikely.

The following deed history is extracted from the Stephen Ulrich Jr. article as well as from Dan Olds work.  Unfortunately, sometimes our knowledge of early deeds comes from later deeds that reference unrecorded earlier deeds.  From their reports, Elizabeth signed every deed until 1761, although I am uncertain about 1755.  I feel that all of these deeds actually need to be verified against the original records.

  • 1753 – To Lodowich Miller, son of Johann Michael Miller
  • 1754 – To Lodewick Miller
  • 1754 – To Daniel Ulrich
  • 1755
  • 1758 – Sold land in York County
  • 1761 – Sold to George Wine, probably related to Michael Wine who would marry Lodowich Miller’s daughter. This transcribed record does not show Elizabeth signing. The original record should be checked.  If Elizabeth had children in approximately 1762 and 1764, she was clearly alive in 1761. Since we don’t know the exact birth years of Elizabeth’s last two children, it’s possible that both were born in or before 1761, and Elizabeth had died by the time the deed was signed.
  • 1766 – multiple deeds, none of which include Elizabeth.

We don’t know that Elizabeth didn’t die while they were in exile, and we don’t know that she wasn’t killed.  The commentary from contemporaneous writers was that nearly all families lost someone in the depredations.

In 1766, Stephen Ulrich and Nicholas Martin sold their tract of land that they had patented in 1761, in several pieces, giving Elizabeth several opportunities to sign…but Elizabeth did not seem to be present.  Ironically, they deeded part of the land to another Elizabeth Ulrich, thought to be the sister of Stephen Ulrich Jr.  Is it any wonder that Elizabeth Ulrich, Stephen’s wife, is so confusing and so often confused with other people?

By the way, Nicholas Martin is also rumored to be married to Elizabeth Ulrich, the daughter of Stephen Ulrich Sr., but since the Elizabeth Ulrich who received the 1766 deed married Jacob Snively, who sells that same land two years later, Nicholas Martin certainly can’t be married to her at this time.

If Stephen Ulrich’s wife, Elizabeth, died sometime between about 1764 and 1766, she may well have died in exile, leaving Stephen with children ages 19, 15, 14, 11, 9, 7, 5, 3 and a newborn.

Stephen did not remarry until 1782, to Hannah Stutzman.  How did he raise those children from roughly 1765 to 1782? By 1782, the children would all have been on their own, except for perhaps the very youngest who would have been about 18.  Did he marry between Elizabeth and Hannah?  Or did Elizabeth not die in 1765 or so, and simply fail to sign all of those deeds?

Elizabeth would have been about 45 when she died, assuming she died about 1765 – not old by any measure.  I cannot help but wonder if she died giving birth to a final child, who also died.

If in fact Elizabeth did not die in 1765, but simply stopped signing deeds, for some reason, she was assuredly gone by 1782 when Stephen Ulrich remarried to Hannah Stutzman, Jacob Stutzman’s widow.  In 1782, Elizabeth would have been about 62 – still not elderly.  So we can say with certainty she died between 1758 when she positively signed a deed and 1782 when Stephen remarried.

I wonder if Elizabeth is buried in Frederick County or if she died and was buried while the family was gone?  Did she die in the wagon along the road?  Did she die in childbirth?  Did she succumb to Indian raids?  It’s unusual that there are absolutely no stories about an early death and what happened to the children.  But by the same token, there were absolutely no stories about the Indian raids forcing the residents to remove, twice, and their homesteads burning either.

Did Stephen and the children ride home in that wagon alone – ending their exile.  It would have been a long, joyless, silent ride, punctuated only by the clip-clop of horse hooves as they propelled the family ever closer to home – or what had once been home.

How did the family feel to finally arrive where their home had been to only find charred rubble?  Did they pull up in front of where they had once lived and sit in silence looking at the shadow of what had once been, and now lay before their eyes in ruins?  If Elizabeth was gone, how were they going to survive without a mother?  Their home was gone and their mother was gone.  How could life get any worse?  They must have sat in that wagon feeling utterly dejected, staring at their former home, gone up in smoke and taking with it their hopes and dreams.  Now there were only charred remains, perhaps with weeds and vines growing in the cracks, returning to nature.  Not only did they have to rebuild their homestead, they had to rebuild their lives.  How did they do that?

Fortunately, they had other Brethren families to help them and provide moral support too.  Assuredly, someone helped Stephen with the younger children.  As the older children married, perhaps they took the younger ones under their wing.  Stephen physically could not watch young children and work in the barn and fields.

Elizabeth Was Not Jacob Cripe’s Daughter

The final nail in the coffin that proves that Elizabeth was not the daughter of Jacob Cripe is found in Jacob Cripe’s will, written in 1779 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.  Marian Corya was kind enough to provide me with this transcribed copy:

Will of Jacob Gripe (1801), Huntingdon County Will Book 1: 195, Huntingdon County Historical Society, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

Last Will & Testament of Jacob Gripe Deceased

June 4th 1779

As I live and not know how long and must Die and not know how soon so is this my Will after my decease. My Son Jacob shall have Three hundred Pounds in all in Money of the Piece of Land which I bought in Frankstown he shall have One hundred and fifty Acres where he used to live and it shall be paid out of the Three hundred Pounds and the Remainder of that mentioned Money he shall have from that Money arising of that sold place.

The two Daughters of my Daughter Elizabeth shall have One hundred Acres in Frankstown where their Mother used to live and they shall pay for the Land Thirty Pounds, their Mother & Stepfather shall live unmolested on the Land during their Natural Life and after their Decease the two Daughters of the Elizabeth shall have it free if the thirty Pounds are paid.

Christian Shively shall have Two hundred Acres where he used to live, whereof he shall pay One hundred and fifty Acres.

John Wise shall have One hundred and fifty Acres whereof he shall pay One hundred Acres.

My Daughter Catharine shall have my hundred Acres where John used to live but she must live herself on the Land and shall give to Easter Thirty Pounds.

My Son Daniel shall have One hundred Acres where he used to live and shall give to Easter Thirty Pounds.

My Daughter Hanna shall have One hundred Acres adjoining Daniel and shall pay to Easter Thirty Pounds.

The remainder of the Land shall have my Son Samuel and shall pay to Easter Thirty Pounds.

And my Wife Elizabeth a born Ulrich shall have the right to one half of Samuels Land during her Natural Life for her own Use and Benefit with the House, Garden, Meadows and Improved Land to have it at her own Discretion, further she shall have, One Mare and all the House furniture and the Horn’d Cattle Samuel shall have the Horses, Cooper Tools, Plough, Hoes and Axes and that such shall be kept and done shall my Wife a born Ulrich with her Son Samuel have the Right as Guardian in my Name to give the others Titles according to the Rule of the Country, And herewith all under the Commands of God.

                                                                                                Jacob Gripe

As you can see from this will, Jacob did indeed have a daughter Elizabeth who was clearly living in 1779, and living in Frankstown which is either in Bedford County or the adjacent county.  Furthermore, Elizabeth, the wife of Stephen Ulrich Jr. had 5 daughters, not three, and Elizabeth and Stephen Ulrich never lived in Bedford County.

Elizabeth and Stephen’s first two children were males, as was the fourth.  The third and fifth children were daughters.  The fifth child was Elizabeth who married Daniel Miller.  All of Stephen and Elizabeth’s children mentioned above were accounted for when they sold Stephen’s land in 1785, after his death.  In fact, that’s how we know who his children were and who they married.

Lastly, there is nothing to indicate that Stephen’s wife, Elizabeth, was married twice, but Jacob Cripe in his 1779 will clearly refers to the step-father of the two daughters.  If Stephen’s wife, Elizabeth, was still alive in 1779, she was living in Washington County (formerly Frederick County,) Maryland, not Bedford County, Pennsylvania.  Stephen and Elizabeth never moved to Bedford County.

We can’t say unequivocally that Elizabeth was dead by 1779, but given that she stopped signing deeds, it’s likely.  We know positively, however, that she is gone by 1782 when Stephen remarries and we know that Elizabeth, Stephen’s wife, never lived in Frankstown.

And so ends the myth that Stephen’s wife,  Elizabeth Ulrich, was Jacob Cripe’s daughter.

The challenge here, of course, is that we know who Elizabeth Ulrich isn’t, but we don’t know who she is!

Pure Speculation

Given that most of Stephen Ulrich’s land sales of Germania (later resurveyed as Good Neighbor) were to either Ulrich family members or people in or related to the Miller family, I have always wondered if Elizabeth was a daughter of Johann Michael Miller.  Jacob Stutzman was either Michael Miller’s step-brother of half-brother.  Regardless of the exact relationship, Michael was very close to Jacob, and the two men immigrated together.  Lodowich Miller was Michael’s son.  There is no way to know if Elizabeth was Michael Miller’s daughter, unless Stephen Ulrich’s Bible, or Michael Miller’s Bible shows up on e-bay one day.  Keep in mind that the Bibles of both of these men, unless they managed to be put inside the wagons when evacuating, probably burned when their homes burned in 1755 and 1763.

Again, this is simply thinking out loud and trying to put puzzle pieces together.  Please do NOT list Elizabeth as Michael’s daughter in any trees due to this speculation.  I’m simply hoping that perhaps this line of thought could lead to additional research or a discovery by another researcher down the road as other records become available.

Can Mitochondrial DNA Help?

Mitochondrial DNA is passed intact from a mother to all of her children, but only daughters pass it on.  Fortunately, it’s not admixed with any DNA from the father, so many generations later, it stays the same, except for an occasional mutation.  That means that if Elizabeth is the daughter of Suzanna Berchtol and Michael Miller, her mitochondrial DNA would match exactly to other women who share the same common ancestor.

Michael Miller and his wife, Suzanna Agnes Berchtol, had no proven daughters, so to be able to utilize mitochondrial DNA, which Elizabeth would have inherited from her mother, we need to reach back to Suzanna Berchtol’s sisters in Germany.

To see if Elizabeth’s descendants match Suzanne Berchtol’s mitochondrial DNA, we would have to find a descendant of the sisters of Suzanna Agnes Berchtol, descended through all females to the current generation, where the descendant could be male or female.  Suzanna Berchtol did have two sisters, according to baptismal records in Germany, Barbel (Barbara) born in 1693 and Ursula born about 1696.  We don’t know for sure if these women lived or married, so there may be no descendants today, but hopefully there are.

To prove that Elizabeth is Michael Miller and Suzanna Berchtol’s daughter, or not, we would also need an individual descended from Elizabeth through all females, to the current generation, which can be male or female.


If Elizabeth is the daughter of Suzanna, the mitochondrial DNA of anyone descended from her through all daughters will match the mitochondrial DNA of anyone descended through all daughters from either Barbel (Barbara) born in 1693 or Ursula born in 1696.

If a descendant of each line tests, and they don’t match (except for perhaps a mutation), then we know that Elizabeth was not the daughter of Suzanna Berchtol Miller, and we can look at the oldest ancestors of other people Elizabeth’s descendant matches to see if any of those matches come from Brethren families.

Fortunately, Elizabeth had 5 daughters who could have had daughters, highlighted below…on down the line to living descendants today.

Elizabeth Ulrich’s children were:

  • David Ulrich born about 1746 and died in 1823, married Barbara and had 7 children. They lived in Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Stephen Ullery born about 1750 and died in 1835. He married Susan Rench and they lived in Morrison’s Cove in Bedford County, PA and then in Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Christina Ulrich born about 1752 and died about 1810. She married Jacob Stutzman (Jr.) who later became her step-brother when their widowed parents married. They eventually moved to Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Samuel Ulrich born about 1754 and died in 1822. He married Mary Brumbaugh and they lived in Bedford County, PA.
  • Elizabeth Ulrich born about 1757 and died in 1832. She married Daniel Miller and they moved first to Bedford County, PA, then to Clermont County Ohio, then to Montgomery County, Ohio.
  • Mary Ulrich born about 1760 and died about 1842. She married George Butterbaugh and they lived in Bedford County, PA.
  • Hannah Ulrich born about 1762 and died in 1798. She married Henry Butterbaugh and they lived in Washington County, Maryland.
  • Lydia Ulrich born about 1764 and died about 1810. She married Jacob Lear, Jr and they lived in Cambria County, PA.

I have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone who descends from either Barbara or Ursula Berchtol, the sisters of Suzanna Agnes BerchtolI in the manner described above, through all females to the current generation which can be male or female.

I also have a DNA testing scholarship for anyone descending from Elizabeth, wife of Stephen Ulrich, through all females to the current generation, which can also be male or female.

Why Can’t Autosomal DNA Solve this Riddle – At Least Not Today?

Many times autosomal DNA can help identify families and parents, but in this case, it’s unlikely.  Why?

To begin with, Elizabeth Ulrich is 7 generations back in time from me.  That’s a long time, genetically speaking.  Autosomal DNA is divided approximately in half in each generation, so I could only expect to carry less than 1% of Elizabeth’s autosomal DNA.


This doesn’t mean that I can’t match people who also descend from this couple, because I can and do, but it means that I’m unlikely to be able to tell with a combination of both DNA and genealogy who Elizabeth’s parents are.  Obviously, in this case, the genealogy is entirely missing, so we have to rely entirely on DNA.

Also making this even more difficult is that I have one other wife with an unknown surname in this same family grouping, from about the same time and place.


Philip Jacob Miller’s wife’s name was Magdalena.  Philip Jacob married Magdalena about 1751, also probably in York County, or possibly in Frederick County, Maryland.  She too would have been Brethren.  Clearly, both Elizabeth and Magdalena could have been from any of the other Brethren families, and they could also have been related to each other, or any number of other Brethren families.  In other words, it’s not impossible or even unlikely that they shared some DNA, then.  The Brethren lines continued to intermarry, and many Brethren carry the DNA of these early founders.  The only family lines we can eliminate, positively, as Elizabeth’s (or Magdalena’s) parents would be Jacob Cripe, Stephen Ulrich Jr. and Sr. and Jacob Stutzman whose will was probated in 1776 and lists his children.  Aside from that, all Brethren families are candidates.

Therefore, if I did receive a “Brethren” match from a line whose genealogy was complete, with no unknown ancestors, and who did not descend from either the Miller, Stutzman or Ulrich lines, I would not be able to tell if the match was from Magdalena’s line or Elizabeth’s line – because I carry DNA from both of those women.  Furthermore, I don’t know if there are any lines out of this area that have not intermarried by this time.  The Brethren moved together, intermarried and founded churches together, for generations, and can still be found living adjacent today.

Still it’s fun to see who I match that is descended from Stephen and Elizabeth Ulrich.  If you descend from these families and have taken an autosomal DNA test, please do let me know.  We might share a segment of Stephen and Elizabeth’s DNA.  I share segments of DNA with other descendants of Stephen and Elizabeth through four of their daughters and one son.

My mother, who is one generation closer than me is at Family Tree DNA under the name of Barbara Jean Ferverda and her kit number at GedMatch is T167724.  She isn’t at Ancestry, because she passed away before Ancestry began autosomal testing, but I’ve tested at Ancestry.

In Summary

I hope that one day we can resolve the question of who Elizabeth’s parents were.  That resolution could happen because of DNA testing, or it could happen as more records become available and indexed at genealogy sites, or some combination of both. Even today, if other Brethren researchers can eliminate a few more York County families as candidates by providing the names of their children, or add some additional Brethren families known to be in York County before 1745, that would be most helpful.

Regardless, of who Elizabeth’s parents were, she was clearly one very brave lady, facing the trepidations of warfare from the time she married in the early 1740s until the mid-1760s.  That could have been her entire adult life, depending on when she died.  I hope that she lived longer than we think.  I so want her to be able to see her children grown to adulthood – to cry at their weddings – and to be able to hold her grandchildren.

I want her to be able to sit in a rocking chair on her porch, overlooking the vistas in the distance, without fear, telling stories from “long ago” to wide-eyed grandchildren about living in the wagon when the Indians came, cooking in a pot over a fire under the starlight when they returned and building houses in the woods where no settlers had lived before.  I want her to be able to pluck peaches and pears and apples from the trees she and Stephen would have planted when they returned in 1766 and bake pies when her grandchildren come to visit.  I so want Elizabeth to have had some good years.

Ancestry V1 vs V2 Test Comparison

In May, Ancestry changed the chip that they use for autosomal DNA processing and comparison. They removed roughly 300,000 of their roughly 682,000 locations and replaced them with medical SNPs. That means that people who tested before the middle of May, 2016 are only being compared to a little more than half of the SNPs on the chip of the people who tested on the V2 chip after the middle of May, 2016.

Clearly there are going to be some differences in matches reported. Ancestry said they should be minimal, but I must have some Missouri blood someplace, because I wanted to see for myself. I ordered a V2 test to see just how the V1 and the V2 tests compare.

I am specifically interested in ethnicity percentages and match numbers. But first, let’s step through the order process.

Ordering at Ancestry

Ordering a second kit was amazingly simple – done just by clicking on my current account “Order a new kit.” They keep my credit card information on file, so literally it was a one or two click process. Unfortunately, what they didn’t do was to have me read all of the Terms and Conditions and small print when I ordered, so by the time the kit arrived, and I was already financially invested, there was little I could do about the Ts&Cs if I didn’t like them. I strongly suspect most people don’t read the fine print, because at that point, it doesn’t matter since they’ve already paid for the kit and made the purchase decision.  And let’s face it, you’re excited about the kit arriving and want to take the test.

After my kit arrived, I had to activate the test, and of course, I got to do some clicking and answer some questions. Let’s walk through that process, because it has changed since I ordered my original kit several years ago.


When you click the box that says “I have read the Terms and Conditions,” actually read the Terms and Conditions. It’s unfortunate that you don’t see the Terms and Conditions until AFTER you’re purchased this product – because the contents of the Terms and Conditions might well affect your decision about whether to purchase this DNA test or not. Maybe that’s why it’s here and doesn’t appear during the purchase process!

Here’s a link to the Terms and Conditions.

Please take note specifically of the following paragraph from the Terms and Conditions document:

By submitting DNA to AncestryDNA, you grant AncestryDNA and the Ancestry Group Companies a perpetual, royalty-free, world-wide, transferable license to use your DNA, and any DNA you submit for any person from whom you obtained legal authorization as described in this Agreement, and to use, host, sublicense and distribute the resulting analysis to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered. You hereby release AncestryDNA from any and all claims, liens, demands, actions or suits in connection with the DNA sample, the test or results thereof, including, without limitation, errors, omissions, claims for defamation, invasion of privacy, right of publicity, emotional distress or economic loss. This license continues even if you stop using the Website or the Service.

Note that the Terms and Conditions then links to the Ancestry Privacy Statement, which by implication is part of the Terms and Conditions, so read that too. And that statement is different from the AncestryDNA Privacy Statement, so you’ll want to read that as well.

Please note specifically in the Ancestry DNA privacy statement, the following paragraph, 6-i:

Non-Personal Information also includes personal information that has been aggregated in a manner such that the end-product does not personally identify you…

Because Non-Personal Information does not personally identify you, we may use Non-Personal Information for any purpose, including sharing that information with the Ancestry Group Companies and with other third parties. In some instances, we may combine Non-Personal Information with personal information (such as combining your name with your geographical location). If we do combine any Non-Personal Information with personal information, the combined information will be treated by us as personal information, as long as it is combined, and its use by us will be subject to this Privacy Statement.

Ancestry then asks you about Research Project Participation, which is a specific authorization for third party research projects that is different from the above.


You can read the entire Informed Consent document here.

How many people do you think actually read, and understand, all 4 documents hot linked above? If you do, that makes 2 or 3 people that I know of.  If you have insomnia, these documents will cure it, guaranteed:)


I’m glad to see Ancestry encouraging people to link to trees.  Now if testers would just make those trees public instead of private.


I did link to my tree during the activation process, but when my results came back, my tree was not linked. Be sure to check…otherwise you won’t have any Circles or Shared Ancestor Hint leaf matches which means your DNA matches and you share a common ancestor in your trees.

A couple of steps didn’t work correctly, but I was still able to register the kit.

Another item, which I think is important and I don’t believe was reflected in the Terms and Conditions verbiage is that Ancestry kits are now being processed by an outside lab, Quest Diagnostics.

A few weeks later, my V2 results were returned, so let’s take a look at how they compare to V1.

V1 versus V2 Match Results

It took one day short of a month, after my test reached Ancestry, for my results to be returned.

Given the rather dramatic change in the number of genealogy SNPs on the Ancestry chip between V1 and V2, and given that only about half of the locations are the same between the V1 and V2 chips, I expected significantly fewer matches on the V2 chip than on the V1 chip.  In other words, I didn’t expect that the V2 chip would be nearly as effective in matching the V1 test takers, because those two chips only shared about half of their locations.

There were more V1 matches, but not nearly as many as I expected.


*Leaf matches are Shared Ancestor Hints that mean you match someone’s DNA who also has a common ancestor listed in their tree. This is by far the most useful DNA tool at Ancestry.

I need to confess here that the matches I’m actually the most interested in are those “Shared Ancestry Hints” matches, with a leaf, because the common ancestor is identified for the matching pair of people, unless one of the two has a private tree.  Then the non-private tree user cannot see the private tree’s ancestors, which means that you cannot determine the common ancestor with someone who has a private tree.


The 19 Circles are the same Circles for both kits, which is what I expected. This also tells me that the missing matches weren’t that critical match that made the difference between a Circle being formed, and not.

Unfortunately, there is no good way to print or download your list of matches, at least that I have been able to discover. I used (ctrl+P) to print all 7 pages of leaf hint match, which was 12 printed pages for each match page, in case you’re so inclined. I then compared the V1 to the V2 matches manually. Yes, this was a huge pain, spread across 84 pages.  However, I really wanted to see if the V1 kit leaf matches were the same as the V2 leaf matches. These should be a good representative sample of the rest of the matches, and I’m not about to manually compare 15,000 matches.

Of the old V1 kit matches, 7 matches were present on the V1 list and absent on the V2 list, including my last two “lowest confidence” matches who were obviously teetering on the threshold – and some of those missing SNPs were just enough to push us below the threshold, so we are not considered a match on the V2 chip.

For the new V2 kit, only one match was present on the V2 list and absent on the V1 list. Apparently that one kit’s critical matches were in the area of the medical SNPs and the genealogical SNPs alone (if there were matches in that area) did not cause the kit to rise above Ancestry’s matching threshold. Unfortunately, without a chromosome browser, we can’t see anything about the locations of the matches on our chromosomes.

About 2.5% of the matches were absent in the V2 test when compared to the V1 test. However, the net difference of 5 was not reflective of the matches being the same. A total of 8 were absent from the other test, in total.

Other than these 8 kits, the rest were the same matches in both kits. I would suspect that the matching percentage of about 97.5% would hold for the total matches as well.

Of the highest confidence matches, all of the matches were present. The match order was often significantly different, indicating that the reduced SNP count did matter in terms of how well they matched, but did not reduce the match enough to cause them to drop off the match list – except for those 7 of course. As expected, the V1 kit did out-perform the V2 kit, but not by a lot.

NADs are New Ancestor Discoveries, which are inappropriately named.

It’s interesting that the new V2 kit has no New Ancestor Discoveries. I checked several times over two or three weeks, thinking that some might appear. That’s actually fine with me, because, as I’ve written before, NADs have proven to be entirely useless. Still, if I were a V2 test taker, especially an adoptee or someone with unknown parentage, I would want every hint I could get. In the past few days/weeks, the same NADs on the V1 account have been coming…and going…and coming…and going. If you don’t have NADs, and you want NADs, give Ancestry’s customer support a call and ask them to kick the tires for you. Lack of NADs could be a bug.

**The day I did the initial comparison between the V1 and V2 kits, I had 3 NADs on the older V1 kit. Two days after I did the initial comparison on the V1 kit, I had 7 NADs (which remain 3 weeks later) and still zero on the newer V2 kit. Today, the NAD total is 8 on the old V1 kit and still zero on the new V2 kit.

V1 versus V2 Ethnicity

The V1 versus V2 Ethnicity is really nothing to write home about. There was a very slight difference between two categories, by 1% each. Scandinavia, where I have no documented lines, moved from 10 to 11% and Great Britain, where I have multiple lines, moved from 4% to 3%. Go figure.


It’s somehow ironic that my trace regions include 3% in Great Britain and 2% in Ireland, where I have multiple documented lines, and the same amount, 2% in Italy and Greece combined where I have absolutely no connection at all.

As I’ve said before, about all of the testing companies, these ethnicity tests tend to be relatively reliable between continents, meaning Europe, Asia, Africa and Native American – and much less reliable within continents. Don’t be trading in your kilt (or anything else) based on these kinds of tests.


I was really quite pleasantly surprised that the matching difference wasn’t greater between chips. And truthfully, the matches I’m the most interested in are my closest matches, because they are the matches with whom I’m most likely to be able to identify a common ancestor – and my Shared Ancestor Hints leaf matches, because a common ancestor is already identified. All of my close matches were present in both kits – probably because losing some matching segments didn’t affect the fact that we do match.  Most of my Shared Ancestor Hints were retained too.  The matches that were lost tended to be the lower matches, based on Ancestry’s highest to lowest matching order.

Losing just under 2% of more than 15,000 matches isn’t anything I’m going to lose any sleep over. Losing 2.5% of my leaf matches isn’t anything I’m going to lose sleep over either, although those certainly do hold more promise than non-leaf matches. I would like those additional 8 leaf matches not present in the other kit, but again, I wouldn’t lose sleep over those either.

The net-net of this is that if you have already taken the V1 test, before May of 2016, you don’t need to order the V2 test. The V2 test is slightly less productive, but all in all, it’s still of the same approximate quality as the V1 test – except for those NADs.

If I had already tested on the V1 kit, I certainly would not pay an additional $99 for 1 additional Shared Ancestor Hint leaf match that I’d have to manually compare with the other kit to find – and I would have to maintain that duplicate comparison into the future. I went through that process for this article, but had I been doing this just for myself and known the outcome in advance, I truthfully wouldn’t have bothered. It’s a lot of work for very little return.

The differences in terms of matches, ethnicity and circles are minimal, and the V2 test received slightly fewer matches in total, slightly fewer leaf matches and no NADs – so there would be absolutely no benefit in retesting on V2 if you’ve already tested on V1 – aside from 1 match that you’ll have to manually compare to find. I’m glad I took the original V1 test, because it does fare somewhat better overall, but not enough to make a lot of difference.

I have been pretty unhappy with some of Ancestry’s past choices and changes, to put it mildly, but this time, Ancestry seems to have done this right. I wish Ancestry hadn’t changed chips at all, because their motivations are entirely self-serving and the chip change doesn’t benefit the genealogist at all.  However, in terms of how Ancestry handled this chip conversion, and compared to 23andMe’s disaster, Ancestry hit a home run.  The change may not benefit Ancestry’s customers, but it also doesn’t damage them (much) or impact their ability to utilize the testing and matching for genealogy – which is why they purchased the test in the first place.

Ancestry was correct when they said that the V2 chip wouldn’t affect matching much with the V1 chip customers, and that there was no need for V1 customers to purchase a new V2 test.

Now, if Ancestry would just implement a chromosome browser so we can see how and where we match people – we would all be really happy campers!!!  Yes, I know, Hades has not yet frozen over…but hey…winter’s coming and hope springs eternal.