The Johann Michael Mueller, now Miller, family began in the Germanic area of Europe long before the advent of written records.
With the decline of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, the Elbe Germani moved south into Southern Germany and Austria. The Alemannians lived in what are now Bavaria and the Baden areas, but was then called Swabia. Around 500 AD, or 2500 years ago, the Burgundians (French speaking) moved into western Switzerland. The Allemannians (German speaking) moved into what is the Middleland area of Switzerland. The Alemannians were an agricultural people, but pagan and barbarian. The Franks who lived in central Germany and who also moved into Switzerland conquered the Alemanni tribe and after a struggle, “Christianized” the people and set the moral code for the next generations. They also introduced feudalism to the area.
Thus a roaming Germanic tribe was given a moral and religious structure as they resided in and farmed the area later known as the Canton of Berne, where our German speaking Miller family is first found.
These ancestors lived in small villages and small inter-related family groups called clans. This organization was similar to that which was seen later on the American frontier. Many family surnames associated early in this part of Switzerland are seen later in Pennsylvania and Ohio among the Pietist religions. Hence the family associations that are seen in relationship to the Millers on the American frontier were linkages that go back many, many generations into Europe.
For many generations these people farmed the land in Switzerland and most likely were faithful Catholics.
When the Protestant Reformation came to the Canton of Berne, Switzerland, some of these rural families followed the teachings of Zwingli and became part of the Reformed Church. Others followed the teachings of Conrad Grebel and became part of the Anabaptist movement in Switzerland. These became known as the Swiss Brethren. The map below shows Berne as a fortified city in 1638. Perhaps our ancestors walked those very ramparts, entered through the city gate, conducted business and sold their wares.
Here’s an aerial view of the old part of the city today.
In the later part of the 17th century, the Swiss Pietists split into two groups; the Swiss Mennonites under the leadership of Hans Reist and the Amish who derived their name from Jacob Ammann of Erlenbach.
Thus the small clans and inter-related family groups who were farmers in the valleys of Switzerland now become members of three separate religious movements, namely the Reformed, Mennonite and the Amish. This is why years later on the frontier in America, the Reformed (now transformed into German Baptists known as Brethren or Dunkards), the Mennonites and the Amish have similar and seemingly related surnames and practices.
Switzerland to Germany
Our Miller family line begins in Switzerland with Johann Michael Mueller, born in 1655 in Zollikofen, Switzerland.
Zollikofen is just outside of Bern.
During the first half of the seventeenth century, Switzerland was relatively untouched by the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War, (1618-1648), a Catholic-Protestant conflict, fought principally on German soil. Switzerland enjoyed peace and prosperity and had a good market for its excess products. During the second half of the same century a social reaction set in, which was made acute by political and religious confusion. In 1653, the peasants of the Cantons of Bern, Lucerne, Solothurn and Basel revolted against the authorities, chiefly for social reasons. Since there were good opportunities for new settlers in depopulated Germany, many people left the Canton of Bern during this period and journeyed northward into foreign parts, specifically Germany.
The Rhine River was the way out of Switzerland and these families settled wherever it led. Beyond Germany, emigration into the “lowlands” (Netherlands) as the destination of the emigrants used to be called, lasted into the eighteenth century and was much more numerous than emigration to America – although many did eventually emigrate. The Millers, (then spelled Mueller), came from a village about 10 miles north of Bern Switzerland, called Zollikofen and were a part of the Reformed church there.
The earliest ancestor that has been documented is Johann Michael Mueller, who is believed to have been born in 1655, in the City of Zollikofen, Canton of Bern, Switzerland.
The Zollikofen church, above, shown inside today, built in 1306, still stands. Our cousin, the Reverend Richard Miller is, appropriately, standing in the pulpit.
Above, a view of the beautiful church from a distance and below, a street view thanks to Google maps street view.
It is likely that in the late 1680’s the Miller family along with perhaps other friends and relatives moved north along the Rhine River and settled in the Rhineland-Pfaltz area of southern Germany. They became part of the Steinwenden and Konken (Germany) Reformed parish churches and records of their respective families are recorded in the church records. The Steinwenden records began in 1684 and Konken in 1653, but the churches reach further back in time. There are other churches in the area whose records to not exist and those may have held other family records as well.
The Konken records include those of the Berchtoll family, including Hans Berchtol, whose daughter would marry the son of Johann Michael Miller (the first.)
Johann Michael Mueller married Irene Charitas, whose last name is unknown. That’s right, Charitas is NOT her last name, as is reflected universally on internet trees, but her middle name as recorded in church records, as was the custom of the time.
Cousin Reverend Richard Miller visited Zollikofen and provided the following information.
“On Friday, 04 October 1996, I was in Steinwenden and was entertained by the Burgermeister of Steinwenden. A television crew from Mainz came and interviewed me for a personal interest story of me coming back to the home of my ancestors, i.e., Johan Michael Mueller. Also present was genealogist Roland Paul of the Institue für Pfälzische Geschichte und Volkskünde located in Kaiserlautern. The Burgermeister of Steinwenden and the television station had asked Roland to research Johan Michael Müller, born 1692 in Steinwenden. The attached are two records which Roland gave me. He asserted that Michael’s mother’s maiden name is unknown, and that Irene Charitas is her first and middle name rather than first and maiden name.”
Irene may have been related to the Schlosser family, as there was a 1689 confirmation of Irene Charitas Schloser, daughter of Conrad Schlosser, of Steinwenden, if I’m reading this correctly.
At this time however, Irene Charitas was already married to Michael Mueller as they had their first child’s birth recorded in the church records in June of 1685, or earlier. They likely married in 1684. Their children were baptized in the Reformed church in Steinwenden, Germany, near Mannheim.
The bell tower of the original Steinwenden church is all that is left standing (1996) and is shown here.
Johann Michael Mueller and Irene Charitas Mueller had 6 children. Sadly, all of their children died other than Johann Michael Mueller who was the youngest, born October 5th, 1692. I can’t imagine the depth Irene’s grief at the deaths of her first 5 children – and her joy at the one that lived.
We don’t know where those children are buried, but my best guess would be the churchyard.
The village of Steinwenden is shown below, photography courtesy of Richard Miller during his visit to the Miller homeland.
Irene may have been joyful about her son that lived, but her husband, Johann Michael, their father, died three years later on January 31, 1695, still a young man, at age 40.
Some genealogical records show that Irene died and Michael remarried to Anna Loysa Regina, but the church records indicate that all of Johann Michael Mueller’s children were born to Irene Charitas. The summary record, below, provided to Richard Miller when he visited Steinwenden in 1996 lists Irene Charitas (with no last name listed) as the mother for all 6 children born between 1685 and 1692.
Many times the people who were designated as Godparents were relatives of the father or mother of the children. Godparents at that time were extremely important, and the children were generally named after the Godparents. In the case of the death of the parents, which happened all too often, it was the Godparents who would raise the children. The Godparents of these children were Hans George Shoemaker and his wife, Mich. Stahl – I can’t tell if this is two people or three. The second is Abraham, Hans Berchtol, Hoffman. Third was Samuel Hoffman. Fourth is Maria Catherine. Fifth is Eva ?, Catherine, Samuel Shoemaker. Finally, the sixth child’s Godparents standing up with Johann Michael Mueller born on October 5, 1692 were Johann Michael Shoemaker, Hans Berchtol and wife.
Little did they know that Hans Berchtol’s daughter, then 4 years old, would one day marry this baby boy.
After Johann Michael’s death, his widow reportedly married Jacob Stutzman whose wife had died. However, there exists a great deal of confusion about who Jacob Stutzman married. In the Gene Miller book, he attributes Jacob Stutzman’s wife, Anna Loysa Regina as the widow of Johann Michael Mueller – but as we’ve seen – based on the church records, Johann Michael Miller’s wife was one Irene Charitas, not Anna Loysa Regina, at least as late as 1692. Perhaps Irene died and Johann Michael Miller remarried to Anna Loysa Regina before his death in 1695. This conflicting information may never be entirely resolved, at least not until the entire set of church records is transcribed and translated, in full, such that the various families can be reassembled. However, there were many little villages in this area and people didn’t always stay in one place.
Johann Michael Mueller, born in Switzerland in 1655, died in the Steinwenden German Reformed congregation on January 31, 1695, at the age of 40 years. His reported widow, Anna Loysa Regina Mueller remarried a Hans Jacob Stutsman of the Konken German Reformed Congregation on September 29, 1695. If this is accurate, and Anna Loysa Regina was the widow of Johann Michael Mueller, that would indicate that Irene Charitas died between January 1692 when her only child to survive was born and 1695 when her husband died – and with enough time for him to remarry. That could explain why they didn’t have another child in 1694 – perhaps she was dead or perhaps she and the child both died during childbirth. If this is the case, the only mother Johann Michael Mueller would have known was Anna Regina and the only father, her second husband Jacob Stutzman. No children are attributed to Johann Michael Mueller and Anna Loysa Regina in church records, although she did have children with Johann Jacob Stutzman..
The Pietist Movement
The Stutzman family was originally from the Lake Thun area in Switzerland, according to the book, “Jacob Stutzman, His Children and Grandchildren” by John Hale Stutesman, Jr. who reports that they fled from religious persecution to the welcoming Palatinate in Germany before 1700. Of course, this is also the area where the Mueller family originated as well.
Ironically, this is less than an hour away from where I lived in the summer of 1970 – one of the most stunningly beautiful areas I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing.
This drawing of Thun isn’t far from Zollikofen where the Miller family is first found. So it appears that the Mueller and Stutzman families were located in the same area of Switzerland. One might surmise that they were part of a group that migrated together to Germany.
A beautiful view of Lake Thun today.
In Germany, later, the combined Miller/Stutzman family is found near Bad Durkheim where Johann Jacob Stutzmann was born on January 1, 1706, on the Weilacher Hof, near Hardenburg, son of the tenant farmer on the Weilacher Hof, Johann Jacob Stutzmann and his wife Regina Elisabetha.
Given that Johann Jacob Stutzman married Regina Elisabetha Mueller after the death of Johann Michael Mueller (the first), and in 1706 Jacob Stutzman’s wife’s name was recorded as Regina Elisabetha – it’s likely that Irene Charitas had died before 1695 when Johann Jacob Mueller died given that Johann Jacob Stutzman apparently married his widow. This makes Johann Jacob Stutzman (the second) born in 1706 a “step-brother” to Johann Michael Mueller (the second.) Said differently, Johann Michael Mueller’s step mother remarried after his father’s death and his step-mother and her new husband had a son, Johann Jacob Stutzman (the second.) This son and his “step-brother” Johann Michael Mueller were lifelong friends and companions – eventually immigrating to America together and moving in tandem across the frontier.
Many of the Swiss families had Pietist leanings. Some were Mennonite and eventually became Brethren, as did Johann Jacob Mueller (the second) and Johann Jacob Stutzman (the second.)
The Brethren sect itself began in 1708 in the village of Schwarzenau, in Wittgenstein, Germany with the rebaptism of eight people. The Brethren faith spread rapidly and it was only 11 years later that the first group of Brethren landed in Philadelphia.
It’s certainly possible that an entire group of Anabaptist leaning families relocated from Switzerland to the Bad Durkheim area in Germany. In 1714, the Miller family was in Krottelback, not far from Hardenburg.
The next step for these families, of course, was to safety in Holland, then on the ship Adventure in 1727 to America. Justin Replogle states that the Brethren in Holland had been in exile since 1720. It’s unlikely that Michael was among this group, because his son Philip Jacob was born in Germany in about 1726.
I surely would like to know the individual stories of the families involved and what prompted these decisions. What kinds of factors were involved? Did they know they would be kindly received when they relocated from Switzerland to Germany, then from Germany to Rotterdam and then from Rotterdam to Philadelphia, or was the future entirely unknown? Were they joining families who had already departed and were doing well in the new lands? What prompted the entire group of Brethren to depart – in fact causing the sect to die out in Europe? Were these families Brethren before they left, or did they convert after arriving in the US? We know the Bechtol family was Mennonite.
The 30 Years War may have had a lot to do with the decision to leave Switzerland. Germany was depopulated after the 30 Years War which ended in 1648, with some areas being entirely devastated. Overall, the population loss was from 25-40% with the Palatinate being particularly hard hit, losing 75 to 80% of the population. After the war, settlers from other part of Germany and Switzerland were invited to repopulate the area which included both Catholic and Lutheran (Protestant) churches.
According to the book, “Becoming German: The 1709 Palatine Migration to New York,” (pages 12-14), misery in this area wasn’t over yet. From 1688-1697, the War of the Palatine Succession brought French armies overrunning the German southwest, laying waste to vineyards, farmland and the regions cities and smaller towns. Mannheim was destroyed and Speyer stood uninhabited for 10 years. Farmland stood abandoned and German rulers sought to attract new settlers by offering tax concessions and religious toleration which specifically included Catholics, Lutherans, Mennonites and Jews.
This may have been part of the reason these Protestant families selected this area.
Colonies of religious dissidents moved to Germany from neighboring counties, in particular, Switzerland. In 1656 and 1657, more than 1000 Swiss moved to the Palatinate. In 1671, over 1600 Mennonites arrived from Bern. Portuguese Jews attracted by the elector’s concessions settled in Mannheim. Huguenot refugees followed as well.
Migration became a fact of life in this part of Germany. In one study, it was found that between 1593 and 1780, about half of one town’s citizens were not born there.
This area of Germany became extremely religiously diverse. In 1705, an edict called the Religionsdeklaration clarified the religious situation, unquestionably giving religious freedom to all individuals. Lutherans fell under the Reformed, as did other Protestant sects, which may be why we find both the Miller and Stutzman children baptized in Reformed or Lutheran churches. By this time, the pietists, an offshoot of the Lutherans, were calling for a more inward-looking and emotional faith than the established churches but were meeting privately, not able to establish open churches.
In 1675, Philipp Jacob Spener, a Lutheran pastor in Frankfurt encouraged his followers to create small, private groups to read and discuss the Bible. He didn’t intend for those groups to leave the established churches, but they formed what they called conventicles which further split the already fractured religious communities in Germany. Pietists become very closely bound within their own group, and the pietist groups throughout Germany tended to bind together tightly as well, between villages which weren’t spaced very far apart, forming a network.
What were these early Brethren people like?
To begin with, they didn’t care much about official clergy and buildings. They preferred to hear their neighbor farmer preach who farmed the other 6 days a week, gathered in his barn. The word congregation did not necessarily mean a stand-alone church building, it may have meant only a gathering of like-minded people.
Pietists did not stress the intellectual side of Christianity. They emphasized the literal text of the Bible and didn’t worry about theory. The community stressed humility, work and service to others. The Brethren were plain people, pacifists, remaining aloof during the worldliness of political office, military service, oaths, litigation and filing anything in court or at the courthouse, unfortunately including deeds and marriages.
The Brethren practiced shunning of church members and even their children who did things they did not approve of. Alexander Mack Jr., the son of the founder of the Brethren church shunned both of his daughters. One for marrying outside the faith and because the marriage “was performed with a license.” The second, who was shunned to the point where the family would not even eat with her, was shunned for doing something we’ll have to surmise, but it was said that the “sin was not so great because they had been engaged never to leave each other.” An entire Brethren congregation shunned another young woman because she sat in the lap of a man who was trying to force her into immorality, for an hour, pretending to be asleep.” Her father argued that she had not actually committed fornication, and left the congregation, taking several members with him.
Church historian Morgan Edwards summarized Brethren like this in 1770: “They use great plainness of language and dress, like the Quakers; and like them will neither swear nor fight. The will not go to law; nor take interest for the money they lend. They commonly wear their beards…They have the Lord’s supper…love feasts, washing of feet, kiss of charity…use the trine immersion…as the party kneels down to be baptized…” (Replogle)
We see this same culture in the Brethren, Mennonite and Amish, then as now.
The area where I grew up in Indiana had a well-established Amish, Mennonite and Brethren community. They tended to live in the same area, but they did not intermix, or at least not much. As much as they looked “alike” to those of us who were not members of those religions, their differences, to them, were chasms, especially the adoption of modern technology and conveniences like electricity, farm equipment and automobiles.
The Amish, typically called the “Old Order” were the most restrictive, not embracing any modern technology at all. These were and are the horse and buggy families.
The Mennonites were in the middle. They would ride in or drive cars, but they had to be very plain – always black, nothing shiny, no hubcaps or radios. The local car dealership always had to special order a group of Mennonite cars.
The Brethren were the least restrictive. Their men dressed almost normally, although some still had beards. Their women often still wore prayer bonnets, but their clothes weren’t always black. Their homes were plain, but did include modern conveniences. However, in our family, one will includes instructions for the man’s gravestone not to be highly polished. They were known as highly conservative “plain people.”
This photo is of my mother’s Brethren grandparents, Hiram Bauke Ferverda and Evaline Louise Miller, and their family taken about 1918. Other than their relatively “plain” dress, you would never know they were Brethren. Their son, third from right in the front row is also wearing a uniform, having served in WWI – something VERY un-Brethren. In this photo, the women are not wearing prayer bonnets, but mother said that she distinctly remembers this woman, her grandmother, wearing a prayer cap. My mother’s father, John Whitney Ferverda (b1882) is the second from right, back row.
This photo taken about 18 years earlier, around 1900, of Evaline Louise Miller, middle, and her parents, Margaret Lentz Whitehead and John David Miller looks much more typically Brethren. The men have beards and the women are wearing darker colors and prayer bonnets, covering their hair.
My mother’s family was Brethren until my grandfather, gasp, married a Lutheran woman and because there was no Brethren or Lutheran church in the small town where they lived, they chose to become Methodist! Oh, the scandal! With that religiously “mixed” marriage ended at least a 7 generations long line of Pietists who became Brethren, reaching back hundreds of years into Germany and Switzerland – back into the mists of time so far that we no longer have records, only the knowledge of how strongly those people must have felt about their religion to willingly suffer the persecution and displacement that they withstood.
I’m suspecting they literally rolled over in their graves to know that one of their descendants married outside the faith and became something un-Pietist.
The Miller DNA
One of our Miller participants has tested to 111 markers and taken the Big Y test. Although our haplogroup is a subgroup of typically European R1b, we have only Miller matches at 12 through 111 markers, except at 25 and 37 markers where we have a match to a Morgan man whose ancestor, Morgan Morgan, hails from Wales and was born in 1688.
The Big Y DNA results, a test which not only checks for all known SNPs, but scans for new and unknown mutations as well, shows that our Miller participant most closely matches a man from Bulgaria. In this case, the word close does not mean in a genealogical timeframe. This match reaches back before the advent of surnames, as there are 3 known SNP differences and only 58 of 100 novel variants or previously unknown SNPs. This means that our common ancestor with this man is probably someplace around 3,000 or 4,000 years ago. Our next closest match is from Austria and from about as long ago. These are followed closely by three English surnames and a Spanish surname.
The Miller terminal SNP, which defines our haplogroup, is called R-Z2106.
The Y haplotree looks like a branching tree or a pedigree chart on steroids. Our twig, R-Z2106 is a part of a larger stick which is a part of a larger branch, etc.
Each of these branches becomes increasingly smaller and more granular. The 100 or so novel variants found in the Miller DNA will also become branches someday, so there may be several more. As DNA mutates, new novel variants, which are unnamed SNPs because they have just been discovered, continue to occur every few generations in each line. This means that our own personal branch of the tree may have several SNPs or mutations that no one else has. Whatever valley our ancestors may have been isolated in hundreds or thousands of years ago, perhaps during the last glacial maximum, may hold many men with the same mutations that today will become a small subgroup of a haplogroup – like Z2106. We don’t know the history, but by looking at groups of men with these same mutations, and estimating when the mutation happened, and pairing that with what we know historically and geologically was happening in the world at that time, we can piece some semblance of our own deep personal history together.
This is a map of the distribution of haplogroup L23. It’s estimated that L23 occurred in the first male about 7000 years ago.
Generally, the darker or most saturated regions are the origins of the haplogroup. L23 is interesting because it is typically not found in high frequencies in Europe, typically less than 5% or haplogroup R, except in Switzerland’s Upper Rhone Valley where it is found at 27%. That could be a clue for us.
This same paper, “Massive migration from the steppe is a source for Indo-European languages in Europe” by Haak et al, 2015, states that there is virtually no haplogroup R1b found in Europe before the period beginning about 4500 years ago in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Ages, and that this R1b found in these Russian burials appears to be mixed with Near East (Anatolian) DNA as well. This implies, of course, that one of the migration routes to Europe was north through Russia, and one was crossing at present day Istanbul and going through the Baltic.
Subgroup Z2103 is referred to as the Balkan and Asian branch of the L23 tree. Z2103 is found in a high percentage of Armenian men today.
Armenia is, of course, dead center in the middle of the migration path from the Near East to the Russian steppes, shown on the map above with a red balloon.
Referencing the Armenian DNA project, two men within that project carry the R-Z2106 SNP – the same one the Miller men carry. SNP Z2106 is exceedingly rare. I’ve been able to locate less than a dozen samples.
However, there are 21 men who carry the Z2103 SNP and 14 men who carry the Z2109 SNP in the Armenian project. Another 2109 SNP is found in Iraq and one in Germany.
This map shows what was occurring in the Balkan region about 4500 years ago.
In 2015, six graves were excavated near Samara, Russia, shown on the map below, that represent the Yamna culture and of those, four carried the mutation Z2103 which is estimated to have been born about 6000 years ago, as are SNPs Z2109 and Z2106.
SNPs Z2106 and Z2109 were not reported in the ancient burials, but we don’t know if they were tested for or not.
These men of the Yamna culture lived between 2700 and 3300 years ago (BCE). We share a common ancestor with these men. Where and when is the question that remains.
It is in the history of these maps, these peoples and our DNA that the story of our ancestry is told. We’re still trying to put the pieces together, but looking at these maps, and our SNPs and novel variants, we know that our ancestors were first found in Switzerland in contemporary records, but their history extends back into Eastern Europe and back to Anatolia before that. They may have moved into Europe with the waves of farmers from that region, or they may have arrived from the Russian steppes. Given where our other SNPS, Z2103 and Z2109 are (and aren’t) found, I’m betting that they migrated from Anatolia across the Balkan region into eastern Europe as part of the migration of the European Neolithic farmer culture.
None of this is cast exactly in concrete – more like in jello molds. We continue to make discoveries and learn every day in this emerging field. However, what we do know is exciting and tantalizing and every puzzle piece we find adds to the story of our Mueller family.
Wouldn’t Johann Michael Mueller be surprised to know the secrets his DNA shared with his irreverent Methodist descendants! But Johann Michael, take heart, because there are still many Miller Brethren families. In fact, we even have a Miller-Brethren DNA project to help sort and reconstruct those families!
If you descend from a Brethren Miller family, you are most welcome to join.
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Gorgeous column, Roberta. The church record says that Irene Charitas and Anna Ursula are Conrad Schlosser’s daughters.
Can you translate that entire entry for me? I don’t speak German.
Auf Ostern means “at Easter.”
u. is the abbreviation for und, meaning “and.”
Tochter with an umlaut over the o, means “daughters.” (If there’s no umlaut of the o in Tochter, then it’s singular, “daughter.”)
von means “from.” So it’s:
“1689 at Easter
Irene Charitas and Anna Ursula, Conrad Schlosser’s daughters from Steinwinden”
In case you’re interested, in the entries below the ones for Easter, “Auf Weynachten” means “at Christmas,” and “Auf Pfingsten” means “at Pentacost.”
Dear Roberta, This is a terrific post!!! It strongly applies to research I’ve been performing relative to my R-L20 origins.
One interactive visualization tool I’ve also found useful in conjunction with the Eupedia Haplogroup migration maps is the following: http://geacron.com/en/?v=m&lang=en&z=5&x=9.2505048314411&y=49.449547581132&nd=8&d=963A1034A1330A1405A1548A1660A1737A1790A1806&di=890&tm=r&ct=0&ly=yyyyyyy&fi=700&ff=1820&sp=131A102A624A369A367A621A623A622&e=0A0A0A0A0A0A0A0&rp=0A0A0A0A0A0A0A0&re=0A0A0A0A0A0A0A0&nv=1A1A1A1A1A1A1A1
Or, in a tiny URL: http://wp.me/P1ehbH-v5
I set the time to 890 which shows the Franks in Italy. The map is very interesting and informative to illustrate where and when particular migrations occurred. The time periods can be advanced or retarded per the era of interest.
Their more general URL is http://geacron.com/home-en/?&sid=GeaCron344734
Thanks again, Ciao! ~ Burton Reynolds (F329104) Alexandria, Virginia
You said, “The Allemannians (German speaking) moved into what is the Middleland area of Switzerland. The Alemannians were an agricultural people, but pagan and barbarian. The Franks who lived in central Germany and who also moved into Switzerland conquered the Alemanni tribe and after a struggle, “Christianized” the people and set the moral code for the next generations.” ….This was really interesting to me. I have “grandparents” surnamed Alleman, Allemonge, Aloman, etc. Jacob, born in Switzerland c1701, had children born in France and ended up in Pennsylvania. Your information helps explains some of the movement of my own ancestors who evidently came through French Alsace and German-speaking areas of Switzerland. There don’t appear to be many who actually ended up with a surname referencing their Allemannian origin. I copied a quote that said, “only foreigners called the Alemanni by that name”. I wish I knew how my ancestors came to carry the surname !
…..As usual, an interesting post. D
There are French surname like that, Langlois (the English man), Lebreton (the Brittany man), Litalien (the Italian); or closer to inhabitant names like Normand (from Normandie), Picard (from Picardie), Briard (from Brie), Gascon (from Gascogne), Provençal (from Provence); even cities.
Why the origin stick to some as last name and not to others? Who knows. It was probably the thing that stand out the most about your ancestor.
The study of names, particularly surnames, called anthroponymy, is an incredibly fascinating one. My own, shortened from Deutscher, is the same toponymic use of a country of origin when surnames first evolved. It’s very common in many countries and in many languages. But my favorite surname usage is found in Spain where genealogists must have a wonderful time tracing families that insist on hyphenating both parents’ names or using the “y” to combine surnames, as well as the toponymic article “de”. We Americans could never handle so many names, one reason we shortened “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula” to simply Los Angeles!
As I may have mentioned before, the French word for Germany is Allemagne, and the Spanish is Alemania, clearly derived form the Alemanni.; and the German word for France is Frankreich, realm of the Franks. So Alleman as a surname should not be uncommon. I happen to know someone from Cuba with that name.
Great article, Roberta. Thanks
Just as an FYI: South of Hutchinson, KS is a pocket of Miller’s I am loosely related to through my maternal line. Most have left the Amish group there but when I lived in the area I believe there were still quite a few Amish Miller families. There was also an unusually high number of dwarfs in that population. The closest towns are Yoder and Haven. I have no idea if any investigation into their ancestors has been done. D
Thank you SOOO much for this lovely gift Cousin Roberta. Johann Jacob Mueller is my 7th great grandfather > Johann Michael Mueller > Barbara Miller Garber. The photos, dialog and records are a real treasure..
My 2nd great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Bowman (Bauman), was a real black sheep – he was a good Brethren until he went away to Bible College, converted and became a Methodist minister in 1852.
OMG – another Methodist!!!!!!!
Do we have a DNA match? Are you at GedMatch? I have several kits there who are Miller descendants and I’d like to see.
My GedMatch # is A072539. I match with William P. Campbell on CH 2.
Your work is out of my compreension range and I really admire it. As alwayys, your stories are exceptional.
Great article. I love it when you write about my ancestors, too. Johann Michael Miller was my 8th great grandfather. I have a photo very similar to yours, of a group of Brethren that includes my 2nd great grandfather, Amos Miller and his siblings with their spouses ( most from the Cupp family).
Where is this picture of your Amos Miller taken?
I don’t know for sure where it was taken but they lived in North Manchester, Indiana.
I’m assuming you have this photo?? http://www.frontierfamilies.net/family/Miller/C6/G3ABM.htm
I didn’t see a reply button to your last question-but yes, I have the photo. My aunt may know where it was taken. I can check.
Hmmm, should have been a reply button. I was just curious as to where the family lived and you answered that.
This is your best so far!!
Love the DNA maps.
Turns out my grandfather Orrin Welch, grandson of Jeremiah S. Welch (of Berlin, PA) and Eliza Mason Welch (daughter of William Temple Thomson Mason I or II, that is the mystery??), has a great grandfather John Welch, (of PA for birthing 7 of his 11 kids, but who knows really from where??) AND a great grandmother Elisabeth Glattfelder, daughter of the famous Swiss immigrant Samuel Glattfelder of Glattfelden, outside of Zurich, about 30-minutes by train.
So the Swiss info appreciated, thanks. See attached obit for JS Welch, copy of the marriage license (escaping the fire!). A photo of Orrin and next is of him, wife Elizabeth–mtDNA H63 tested by FTDNA–and me, Mary Elizabeth, named for both grandmothers, last photo.
This is also my family I would believe. My mother’s grandparents, Wilhemina Ewy and John Merk arrived in America with their parents after 1870. They were born in Neighoff and Galencia (now Russia) in the 1860’s. Their direct family ancestral surnames are: Shragg, Backman, Bergthold, Rupp, Bender, Hiestand and Mueller. When just a child she told me her story and wrote it out for me:
Her earliest known ancestors came from Berne Switzerland and followers of John Calvin’s teachings. Genocide became so severe that her ancestors them moved to what is now Bavaria/Germany. About this point in time I believe that the families split with some (including the early family group that included Rupps) and came to America. My Merk/Ewy line instead moved to what is now Russia (then the Austrian/Ottoman Empire) where they were promiced by the Czar that IF they would come and develop the Galencia/Nieghoff area from a wasteland into farmland that would support cattle, the men would not have to serve in the Russian army.
So my direct line went from Bavaria area in Germany to this area in Russia. As agreed, these now Mennonites did enhance this area, and it became a profitable area as agreed. But the promise made to these Mennonites changed and once again Genocide began again. The American government decided to rescue these folks and my great grandparents, then children escaped in boats at nightfall and were then taken to a port where they were boarded onto ships coming to America.
They had agreed to go to Mankato, Minn. and work for folks to help pay for the costs to bring their families to America. They were crammed into steerage, and one night during a ‘dreadful storm’ Wilhelminna (Minnie)’s mother, Elizabeth Bergthold-Ewy was thrown out of bed and into a heavy beam…her injuries were so severe that within three months after their arrival here in America,
Grandmother Merk also told me the story of their entrance to America: they of course had ‘no papers and her father was extremely worried that they would be sent BACK…but when they had to pass through the entrance gate, one of the ship personnel said, “Mennonite given passage by our Government..” Grandma Merk told me that he father began to cry…she said NO ONE ever loved America MORE than her parents!
If anyone want to know more details about the information that I do have, please contact me.
For the earlier group of these folks who arrived here in say the 1720’s or before, here are some EXCELLENT data that I highly recommend: “The History of the Griom Family of Pennsylvania and its Associated Families” by William Gabriel Long and specifically the chapter on the Pennsylvania German. This chapter provides an excellent history of these same families. Note in particular the name Conrad Weiser who played such an important role in the lives of these early folks.
Additionally, one Johann Casper Stover kept excellent records. He arrived on one of the few ships that has a preserved ship log, the James Goodwill and includes the Grim passengers. IF any of you had ancestors from this time in PA, look for the records of Rev. John Casper Stoever, Jr.
One final thought, it was through Stoever’s work that I was able to understand the naming conventions of these folks: they named all of their children for the same Saints or John for the boys and Mary for the girls for example. Then the middle name was a secular name and each child was known by this name..BUT the only times that the legal first name was used was for legal records…that means birth, marriage, and death..so about the only way one can determine which John Rupp you descend (for example), you have to find the names of all of the sons’ wives and then just pray that brothers didn’t marry sisters of another Mennonite family!
Donna Hillis Crosby
Loved it. The fusion of family and social history.
Hope it encourages more people to read up on the events happening where their ancestors came from at the time they left. Very rarely do our ancestors leave records telling us why they left, but the pressing issues of the time are strong forces that must have weighed on the minds or our forebears, even if it was something else that proved the final straw.
I get visual flashes with spelling errors, so when your chart showing dates of Haplogroup formation mentioned L21 being created in “caucus” I suddenly saw a smoke-filled room of politicians puffing cigars, or whatever else they smoked back then, and discussing tribal matters.
And where better for a gene to mutate?
The other one I have amusement from presently is the wonderful term Genealogically Significant Time. In my country GST means Sales Tax, so there can be some disconnect coming from family history to the political news of the day.
Thanks for the unintended humor.
I have Miller, I have Brethren, Germany and Switzerland to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and finally Botetourt Co. VA.
Thanks so much for the article. I seldom find Brethren information.
Very interesting Roberta. I believe your Millers were on my husband’s side. We have the Morgan Lewis Morgan you mentioned. He was b.01 Nov 1688 in Glamorgan, Wales, d.17 Nov 1766 in Va. He was s/o James Morgan and Sarah Prythereth, His sibs were Cadwalader b. c 1670 Gwenfel, Merionethshire, Wales, d. c 1711 Merion TWP, Chester, PA and John b.c 1670 Wales. d. c 1743 in Richard TWP, Bucks, PA
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I wish I could say that I understand most of the information you put up here but I don’t. I enjoy your work and need to spend more time on figuring things out. What I do have is our oldest sons DNA on GedMatch kit A313736 and his father, my husband descends from Johan Michael Miller. I have not had my husband tested, maybe I should to that. My husband is 6th great grandson of Johan Michael Miller.
You should test your husband because your son only got half of the DNA of each parent. So your husband would have twice as much of the ancestral DNA than your son does. What is your husband’s line from Michael?
My husbands father was Albert Ringgold Miller, s/o Hiram Conrad Miller, s/o Jacob Miller, s/o Jacob Miller, s/o Daniel Miller, s/o Lodowich (Lewis) Miller, s/o Johan Michael & Susanna Bechtol
Just ordered my husbands DNA Y67 test kit from familytree DNA. I guess some time next year we will know the connection for sure.
I apparently have the results of my husbands DNA test. His group is R-M269. I think I ordered it incorrectly because it has my name. I would like to upload to GedMatch but don’t see how to add it.
You can easily change the name on his kit by signing on and then clicking on manage personal information on the left hand side of your page. As for GedMatch, go to http://www.gedmatch.com and follow the instructions. To download your raw data file from Family Tree DNA, again, sign on and click on Family Finder on the myFTDNA tab, then on Download Raw Data. Follow the GedMatch instructions as to which files to download.
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My father is 96 years old. He has one son, who has one son, who has one son! (I’m just a “lowly” daughter.) We are listed in Mason’s Miller family book. What advantage is there to this DNA Y67 test? Is it just to prove we are (Johann Michael) Miller’s descendants?
Yes, the Y would prove he is a Johann Michael Miller descendant. It might also document any direct line mutations in his line. Which son does he descend from. You might want to have his autosomal DNA tested, because autosomal is divided in half every generation, so he had more “Miller” DNA than you or any of his children do. That might be very useful for you to have the future, and you can’t get it once he’s gone.
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Roberta, this was very interesting to me because my son’s ancestors are unknown past 1850. I had a Y37 test done and he has 2 matches at 25 and 6 matches at 37 and none of them have the same last name nor his last name, Moore. He has a lot of matches to people with Duer, Rhoner, Beichlin and Bectol as ancesters and Mueller also pops up a lot. His haplogroup is M-173 which I now see is not very helpful. I think that I need to upgrade his test to at least a 67. I would value your opinion about this.
You may pick up additional surname matches. But you won’t know if you don’t do the upgrade. In some cases it reduces the matches. You never know the outcome.
Fascinating information … thank you for publishing it.
I’m nearly certain that Johann Michael Mueller was my 8th grandfather, tracing back from my father’s father, Esta Aldine Miller.
I purchased Ancestry.com’s DNA package a few years back but it didn’t include any haplogroup information, and my DNA page on Ancestry.com doesn’t have any useful information though I was able to download a DNA “raw data” document which is a very long list of numbers that make no sense to me … $100.00 seems pretty steep for two paragraphs of general nonsense about my “genetic community” and a list of raw data that I can’t use … but it is what it is. 🙂 If it would be useful to anyone I’d be happy to share it.
You can upload your Ancestry file to both GedMatch and Family Tree DNA to find additional matches. The Ancestry file is only really useful if you attach your DNA results to your tree so Ancestry can help you find common ancestors with your matches.
Jeffrey Joe Miller we just traced back my moms line back to Micheal Muellar He’d be her 9th grandfather. Her 3rd grandmother Elizabeth Miller, Daughter of Isaac Miller, Married Clement Harris, which are descendants of Germany.
My Miller tree descends as follows:
– Jakob Muller b. 1585 (married Frau C Muller)
– his son, Johann Jacob Mueller, b. 1632 (married to Huber S. Muller)
– his son, Johann M Miller b. 1665 (married to Irene Charitas)
– his son, Johann M Miller b. 1692 (married to Sussanna Bechtol)
– his son, Lodowich Miller b. 1724 (married to Anna Barbara Meyer)
– his son, Elder Daniel Miller b. 1752 (married to Anna Garber)
– his son, Elder Daniel Miller II b 1784 (married to Anna Hoover)
– his son, Elder Joseph Miller b. 1815 (married to Catherine Bowman
– his son, Elder Issac E Miller b. 1849 (married to Rachel Miller)
– his son, Esta Aldine Miller b. 1879) (married to Ottia May Miller)
– his son, Isaac Joseph Miller (my father) b. 1918 (married to Betty L Fiskum)
This is all fascinating … I’m searching on Ancestry.com to see where your line and mine split off.
We split with the sons of Michael Miller who died in 1771.
Jeffrey We split at Johann M Miller B 1692
My mom is from Phillip Miller’s line.
I forgot to mention that my GetMatch kit number is A243501, if this is helpful.
I looked you up on Gedmatch and it looks like we don’t share any DNA. But you may with my mom. Or her Brother. I am getting my moms 23andme done next month.
I’m just getting back to reading more of these and my husband’s kit T058365 matches but 7.5 generations back.
In your case, if you haven’t yet tested your husband’s Y DNA, that would be the place to begin to be sure that he does indeed match the known Michael Miller Y DNA line. If you’ve already done this, just disregard:) If not, you can order from Family Tree DNA on the sidebar link and then join the Miller Brethren project.
Hi Roberta. My name is Brenda. My mom Is a descendant of Micheal Muellar. He is her 9th generation grandfather. Micheal Muellar married and had Micheal JR he married and had Phillip, Phillip married and had David, David married and had Micheal, Micheal married and had Isaac, Isaac married and had Elizabeth, Elizabeth Miller married a Harris and had Clement, Clement married and had Sherman, Sherman Harris married and had My grandfather and mom’s father James Harris. This was a really cool find for her to see where her roots came from on her fathers side. I have gotten my 23andme done and have matched DNA with several Millers on 23andme and GedMatch. My GedMatch code is M903419. I look forward to speaking with you. You can also email me at email@example.com. This was a very exciting find for my mom today.
There is another gentleman who believes he descends from Michael Jr. Can I ask where your Michael Jr. is found? I wonder if you two are looking at the same man.
Johann Michael Mueller Jr. Jr.
Birth 05 OCT 1692 • Steinwenden, Reinland, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Death 1771 • Hagerstown, Washington, Maryland, USA
We linked it back to Johann Micheal Mueller but were stuck until we found your article today.
I asked the wrong question. I think you and I may be related in the past few generations. I’m not sure I’m following your tree correctly. My line is Michael who died in 1771 in Washington Co., Maryland. His son, Philip Jacob Miller who married Magdalena surname unknown, his son Daniel Miller who married Elizabeth Ulrich, his son David Miller who married Catharina Schaeffer, his son John David Miller who married Elizabeth Lentz (maiden name) Whitehead (first married name), daughter Evaline Miller who married Hiram Ferverda, his son John Ferverda was my grandfather. Where does our line diverge. Has your mother DNA tested and if so, at which companies?
We are discovering just how big the Miller tree is because several men married more then once and they had big families.
We are also looking at how John Miller fits into the tree. We found a match on 23andme with the 3 grandaughter of Sarah Elizabeth miller who is the 4th grandaughter of John Miller. I am not sure how John is connected into our tree but the DNA match between her and I show me that it’s there. I have dominant Miller Harris DNA because that is what I have higher percentages with on Gedmatch and 23andme. Vs. My dads side where I share less percentage.
Birth 1680 • Rappahannock, Essex, Virginia, United States
Death 20 DEC 1743 • Essex, Virginia, United States
Sarah Elizabeth Miller Daughter of John H Miller Rev.
Birth 27 JUL 1851 • Milam, Williamson, Texas
Death 16 FEB 1935 • Santa Cruz, California, USA
It looks like Phillip is the father of both Daniel and David Miller. David Miller is my mothers 6th grandfather.
Birth 01 DEC 1757 • Frederick, Frederick, Maryland, USA
Death 18 AUG 1845 • Randolph, Montgomery, Ohio, United States
Who is the father of Micheal Miller
Birth 10 MAY 1784 • Washington County, Maryland
Death 18 DEC 1856 • ,Montgomery Co.,Ohio
Who is the father of Isaac Miller
Birth Aug 26, 1846 Ohio Death Nov 21 1935 Missouri
who is the father of Elizabeth Miller who Married Clement Harris my moms Great Grandfather
Dec. 4, 1868
Mar. 14, 1955
Clement and Elizabeth had Sherman my mom’s father James Harris dad.
My Gedmatch is M701514
And my FTDna is B198016
Yes, Philip Jacob did have sons Daniel and David. David’s home still stands in Montgomery County, Ohio, along with the family cemetery.
That would be really cool to see. It’s awesome to link all this together for my mom.
Hi Roberta, would that be Michael, brother of Lodowich, Christian, Jeramiah, Maria, Fannie, etc?
(I don’t see a ‘reply’ button in your comment so I replied here.
My ancestor is Philip Jacob, son of Michael who died in 1771. Philip Jacob is the brother to Lodowich. The only proven children of Michael who died in 1771 are as follows:
Hans (probably Johann) Peter Mueller, baptized on January 19, 1715, at Konken, Germany. We don’t know if this child lived to adulthood. If so, he would probably have married when the family was living in Chester Co, PA. He may be John Miller below.
Lodowich Miller born 1724 or earlier in Germany. Migrated with his parents and lived in or near Hanover, PA and Hagerstown, MD before marrying Barbara, surname unknown, and migrating to Rockingham Co., VA about 1782 where he likely died in 1792.
Philip Jacob Miller born about 1726 in Germany. Migrated with his parents and lived near Hanover, York Co., PA. Inherited land from his father in present day Washington County, MD near Maugensville. Married Magdalena, probably in York County, who was reported to be a Rochette. He remained in Frederick County until 1796 when he, along with his children, migrated to Campbell County, KY where he died in 1799.
John Miller inherits part of Ash Swamp from Michael in 1765 and lived there until he died in 1795, likely being buried on his own land on a 50 by 50 foot cemetery plot, now lost to time. He may be Hans Peter Mueller born in 1715.
Hans Michael Miller is given money to purchase land.
Michael Miller Junior is given land.
“The only proven children of Michael who died in 1771 are as follows:”
That’s interesting … Ancestry shows 14 siblings. I’ve wondered how accurate Ancestry is. I’m glad my ancestor (Lodowich) is one of the proven.
I’m seeing on Ancestry that Lodowich married Anna Barbara Meyer (1734-1808) … daughter of Johann Georg Maier and Barbara Kingery … for what’s it’s worth.
Thanks for the info…
Ancestry trees are more often wrong than right. That’s one reason I’m writing these articles.
I am of the ‘newer’ Miller family….my grandfather, George, was born in 1881, he is the son of Marcus born 1868. I have been unable to find a death date for him. He was the son of William born 1834 and also, no death date. William was the son of David, 1809-1898 and then on up the line ( or down) to Johann Michael Miller 1655-1695.
Thank you for your detailed work on these lines! I had done a bit of research a few years ago on these lines. In preparation for taking my adult kids to Berne, IN soon, I was reviewing and pleasantly surprised to see your post. My mother was raised Church of the Brethren (Darke and Montgomery Co OH) Johanne Michael Muller, Stephen Ulrich and the Greib/ Cripes are all my lines too through Phillip Jacob’s son Daniel and his daughter Elizabeth Poe Miller. It is so important to know our history and to know it in context! Having done this for my father’s side and in process on my mother’s side, I know the time investment that it takes! Great Job! I am appreciative of you and cousin Rev Richard Miller sharing with the rest of us – and love the pictures inserted. A couple of us grand kids on my line are also in ministry. I wonder how many there might be among those who descend from these Swiss ancestors. Brenda S.
That’s an interesting question. I suspect probably a great many.
I really enjoy receiving your e-mails, Roberta! This time it was especially interesting as Johann Michael Miller is my 8th great grandfather. YES, HELLO COUSIN!! 🙂 I’m a direct descendant of his son, Ludowich Miller. My mother has a strong Church of the Brethren connection on her mother’s side of the family, which I have found quite interesting. The main surnames in her particular Brethern line are Garber, Miller, Erbaugh, and Funk.
I’m going to go back and read your information again as there’s so much good stuff in this article. Thanks for all you do as it really does bring to life where we came from in so many different ways. Amazing stories…
You’re right, they are amazing. I just wish they had left us a journal!!!
I have a question regarding the Miller DNA test. Is it the “swab the cheek” kind or “fill to the line with saliva”. I may be able to get my 98 year old father to allow me to swab, but doubt he will spit in a tube. Thanks. (We are Michael, Lodowich, Jacob)
It’s the swab the cheek kind. The link to Family Tree DNA is on the sidebar of this blog and you want the Family Finder test, unless his surname is Miller. In that case, if the surname is Miller, you want the Family Finder test AND (at least) the 37 marker Y DNA test.
I’m pretty sure the Morgan man you speak of is my family my dads direct male line goes Miller married Morgan, Miller married Miller, then two more generations of Miller marrying Morgan. If you can please email me with more information on your findings
The great-grand-mother of my mother is Evelina Miller born 10 Novermber 1856. Between 1870 and 1880 she married Jules Vachon, a man from St-Frederic de Beauce, Quebec, Canada. They only had one child named Cleophas (Clifford) Vachon borned around 1880. My mother heard that her great-grand-mother had German roots. In each census after 1891, Evelina speaks French and English, such as her son Cleophas and her husband Jules which means they probably met each other in U.S.A where Jules was working… My mother is now 91 years old. She passed a DNA test with Ancestry without significant results… If someone can help me to find the marriage of Evelina Miller and Jules Vachon it would be great.
Jules vachon, the husband of Evelina Miller, worked in Lewiston, Maine in 1874 and in Willaimson port, Pensylvania in 1874. According to Canadian Census, his son Cleophas was born in 1879. So… we are pretty sure the Vachon-Miller family leaved in USA between 1868 and 1891… Anyone can help me to find the marriage of Evelina Miller and Jules Vachon?!
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Hi Roberta, I ran across this page after taking a Y-DNA test through FTDNA. Please email me! Thanks.
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Thank you so much for this very interesting and informative article. I am a descendant of Johann Michael Müller and I actually lived in Steinwenden in the mid 1970s for 3 years while stationed at Ramstein Air Base. It’s a quiet and very clean little village. I actually lived in a beautiful new home within walking distance of the cemetery. I really appreciate this article. Thank you.
P.S. I forgot to mention the last time I was in Steinwenden was October 2006 when I went back to see my old home and have my photo taken there. I spent a month in Germany with my Oma and Opa but they lived up near Bremen.
I’m really amazed that I’ve stumbled upon distant ancestors that lived in the same village as me! Thank you so much for all the info you’ve provided. I’m really enjoying reading it all.