New Information About Philip Jacob Miller (c1726-1799) and Magdalena Possibly Rochette (c1730-1800/1808) – 52 Ancestors #404

I’ve written about Philip Jacob Miller and his wife, Magdalena, whose birth surname has been reported forever as Rochette.

One of the reasons I publish such extensive articles, including literally everything I know or can find about each ancestor, is to cast a trail of breadcrumbs. There’s always a chance that a future researcher will come across something new. I may or may not be here, but I really do want accurate information to outlive me.

Recently, that’s exactly what happened. Christine Berwanger, Ph. D., a descendant of Philip Jacob Miller and Magdalena through daughters Christena who married Henry Snell, and Hannah who married Arnold Snider, contacted me with information I did not previously have. I’m very grateful to both Christine and Doris Sullivan Bache, who Christine credits with doing a great deal of the original research back in the 1980s.

Doris, an avid researcher and descendant of Philip Jacob Miller and Magdalena through the Snider line passed away in 2009 and is memorialized here.

Thankfully, Doris shared with Christine, who shared with me and has graciously granted me permission to share with you.

Let’s start with Philip Jacob Miller’s estate packet.

Philip Jacob Miller’s Estate Packet

Christine said that Doris ordered Philip Jacob’s entire estate packet and sent her copies of receipts along with a letter in 1989.

From Christine’s May 2023 email to me:

An ancestor’s estate file provides perhaps the most complete picture we will have of his life. Hence, I include the transcribed inventory and settlement of Philip Jacob Miller’s worldly possessions, in addition to his generous bequeaths of land to his children and their families. Note the Bible. Also of interest, the descriptions of the animals, the smoothbore gun, and the coffee mill.

Note the large sum due from Col. Thomas Hart to the estate. Thomas Hart was a prominent merchant in Hagerstown, Maryland, and an associate of Daniel Boone, who removed to Lexington, Kentucky in 1794. He was the father-in-law of Henry Clay. Henry Snell purchased his Fleming County land from Hart[i] There was clearly a relationship with this prominent person and the Miller/Snell family.

Receipt No. 54, 22 Nov 1795[ii], includes payment for a trip to Annapolis, and a payment of 9.15.1 to Nathaniel Rochester – who was a close associate and partner of Col. Hart, Hagerstown Postmaster 1793-1803, Washington County Maryland Sheriff 1804-1806, the first president of the Hagerstown Bank founded in 1807, and founder of Rochester, New York.[iii]

Other prominent persons are named in the estate. Martin Baum, born in Hagerstown in 1765 and later mayor of Cincinnati, was a witness to:

Receipt No. 33, 20 Sep 1808[iv]

Received at Cincinnati Septr 20th 1808 of Abraham Miller one of the Administrators of Philip Jacob Millers Estate Twenty Dollars being part of my legacy of the said Estate In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand

                                               his

Martin Baum            Arnold      x    Snider

                                             Mark

The estate was a complex one: the inventory was conducted in Sep 1799, but the settlement was not completed until Sep 1808. Abraham, as Administrator, documented thirty-nine days travel back to Hagerstown, Maryland, three trips to Lexington, Kentucky, four days travel to Chillicothe, Ohio (state Capitol and location of a land office), four days to the Court in Newport, Kentucky, and four days showing the land to appraisers. He charged the estate $88.50 for travel and expenses. David Miller, as Administrator, spent eighteen days travelling to Lexington, eight days to Fleming County, fifteen days going to Court, two days to the Sheriff of Campbell County, recording a deed in Williamsburg, four days to Chillicothe, for expenses of $58.18 ¾. He also credited himself with $8 paid to his mother.[v] Abraham and David had families and farms and were active in their Brethren Church. These duties must have been onerous, yet they persisted.

Collecting debts owed to the estate involved several transactions. The estate paid Nicholas Rochester 5.7.6 for collecting $699 2/100. (The image clearly reads Nicholas; I have been unable to match a Nicholas Rochester. Nathaniel did not have a son or a brother by that name. If Nathaniel was meant, this is a different transaction than the one in 1795.) Surveyor General of the Virginia Military District and prominent landowner William Lytle signed a receipt pertaining to the debt owed the estate by Col Thomas Hart. Witness James Taylor was a prominent resident of Newport, Kentucky.

Receipt No. 55, 14 Apr 1800[vi]

Received of Daniel Miller by the hands of David Miller an order for Two hundred dollars on Colo Thomas Hart of Lexington Kentucky, which if accepted, is to be in full for the one hundred acres of land on which the said Daniel now lives as witness my hand this 14th of April 1800

Teste James Taylor                   Wm. Lytle

Summary, Life and Estate of Philip Jacob Miller:

Philip Jacob Miller was devoted to his family, his religion, his land, his community, and his country. He, in accordance with the principles of the German Baptist Brethren and other sects such as the Amish and Mennonites, chose to live a simple life. His estate inventory attests to that. Yet, he accrued wealth. He loaned money rather than spent it. He accrued enough to bequest each of his ten children 200 acres and further distributions from his estate.

He moved in the circles of the merchants and landowners of his time as well as the circles of his neighbors and co-religionists. His simple lifestyle did not mean he did not participate in the life of the broader community. Records attest that he did. We use our understanding of history to understand the context of the lives our ancestors lived; yet our ancestor’s lives influenced that history.

Mary Christine Berwanger

[1] Editor James F. Hopkins and Associate Editor Mary W. M. Hargreaves, editor, The Papers of Henry Clay. 2, The Rising statesman, 1815-1820 (Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 1961).

2 Receipts, Estate of Philip Jacob Miller, Campbell County KY Estate Administration, Settlement Drawer 1817-1836, envelope 1828 (should be 1808), Alexandria, Kentucky. 22 Feb 1989, Doris S. Bache mailed to me a transcript of receipts No. 27 through No. 66, typed pages 7 through 13, mostly distributions from the estate to family beneficiaries. Pages 1 through 6 were not included, presumably because they did not pertain to family members. This was in the day of taking handwritten notes, typing them up, and going to the library to make copies to mail to other researchers.

3 Biography at Sheriff Nathaniel Rochester’s Records, Washington County, 1804-1806

http://www.whilbr.org/rochester/index.aspx

4 Receipt No. 33, Receipts, Estate of Philip Jacob Miller.

5 Receipt No. 66, Receipts, Estate of Philip Jacob Miller.

6 Receipt No. 55, Receipts, Estate of Philip Jacob Miller.

[i] Editor James F. Hopkins and Associate Editor Mary W. M. Hargreaves, editor, The Papers of Henry Clay. 2, The Rising statesman, 1815-1820 (Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 1961).

[ii] Receipts, Estate of Philip Jacob Miller, Campbell County KY Estate Administration, Settlement Drawer 1817-1836, envelope 1828 (should be 1808), Alexandria, Kentucky. 22 Feb 1989, Doris S. Bache mailed to me a transcript of receipts No. 27 through No. 66, typed pages 7 through 13, mostly distributions from the estate to family beneficiaries. Pages 1 through 6 were not included, presumably because they did not pertain to family members. This was in the day of taking handwritten notes, typing them up, and going to the library to make copies to mail to other researchers.

[iii] Biography at Sheriff Nathaniel Rochester’s Records, Washington County, 1804-1806

http://www.whilbr.org/rochester/index.aspx

[iv] Receipt No. 33, Receipts, Estate of Philip Jacob Miller.

[v] Receipt No. 66, Receipts, Estate of Philip Jacob Miller.

[vi] Receipt No. 55, Receipts, Estate of Philip Jacob Miller.

Rochette

The source of Magdalena’s oft-reported surname as Rochette has baffled me and many other researchers for decades.

Christine, thanks to Doris, has been able to provide what is probably the original source for that surname. I’m saying it now, and I’ll say it again – this by no means proves that Magdalena’s surname was Rochette. It does, however, provide one more piece of evidence and an answer to the question of where that name came from.

From Christine:

Rochette – from a “loose paper in a family bible”

Click on the image to enlarge

This may be a copy of the “loose paper in a family bible.”

Doris S. Bache mentioned in her letter of 22 Feb 1989: “When I heard from Sharon Biggs in reference to the maiden name of Magdalena Miller, the name “Rochette” had come from a loose paper in a family bible. Author unknown, also. I am accepting the maiden name, but as you will note, most of the earlier information is incorrect, with the alternating of Phillip and Jacob in the generations before 1729. Of course, the name Morgan has been proven to be Maugens.” Doris is referring to the two pages above, taped together, which was included with her letter. She received this from Sharon Biggs.

Philip Jacob Miller married Magdalena Rochette, born in Sedan, France. Their children are listed (pencil checkmarks) with Abraham underlined. Both the name Rochette and the place Sedan, France are specific. If this is a copy of the loose paper from the bible, the (presumably) descendent who wrote it, knew the names of Philip and Magdalen’s children, so might indeed have known Magdalena’s surname and place of birth.

Sedan, France was a source of Huguenot refugees following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.

French Huguenots relocated throughout Europe and to the Americas. It is possible that Magdalen’s family fled to Germany or America.

Philip Jacob Miller and Magdalena Rochette are apparently the Miller ancestors of the author. Listed below their names are the Maugans / Morgan ancestors: Conrad Morgan, said to be born in Virginia, and wife. Listed are some of their known children, with Katherine underlined. The wife named, “Margaret Mynne or Marie” does not match other sources, who give his wife as Anna Rebecca Hoffman (1739–1810).

Next, Abraham Miller, son of Philip Jacob and Magdalena, married Katherine Morgan, daughter of Conrad and wife. Their son Matthias Miller is underlined. He married Elizabeth Gorman. Their daughter Emma Miller (1849-1925) is underlined. She married Elihu T. Hedrick.

The paper comprises a direct line Ahnentafel from Emma Miller to her great-grandparents. The author of the paper is likely Emma herself or one of her children. It is certainly possible for a person to know from family history the names and origins of his or her great-grandparents. It is also possible for confusion on the part of the person writing down notes from memory.

Abraham Miller’s entry gives his birthdate and place as 28 Apr 1764 in Frederick County, Maryland, which agrees with the entry in Philip Jacob Miller’s Bible: “My son Abraham was born April 28, 1764.” Katherine Morgan his wife, was born 16 Jul 1767 in Frederick County. The note further states, “Their children were born in Clermont Co. Ohio, on bounty land given to Abraham Miller’s father by King George 2.” This statement is a confusion of time and place, but as with most oral history, there is some truth in it.

Abraham’s father, Philip Jacob Miller, intended each of his children to have a 200-acre parcel. Sons Abraham and David, as administrators of his estate, purchased 2000 acres, most in Virginia Military Survey 3790. The Virginia Military District was established as bounty land for Virginia Revolutionary soldiers. Often, they did not occupy the land but sold it to someone else. “Survey 3790, for Taylor, James et. al for Jacob Miller, C. C. [chain carrier], Jacob Snyder, C. C. [chain carrier], and Abraham Miller, M [marker]. With William Lytle, D. S. [Deputy Surveyor], and dates February 20, 1880 and June 9, 1802. These survey crews were comprised of: The D. S. Deputy Surveyor, C. C. chain carriers, and M. marker. The crews were often early settlers in the area.”  Hence Survey of 3790, from which Philip Jacob’s estate subsequently purchased 2000 acres of William Lytle, was in the Virginia Military District, hence bounty land. Abraham sold his 200-acre lot from his father’s estate to William Spence for $400, 22 Apr 1805. He instead resided in Clermont County, but I have not tracked his deeds.

In 1808, Abraham and David surveyed part of the Virginia Military District in Goshen Township, Clermont County, Survey 5959. “Abraham Miller was marker, David Miller was Chain Carrier.”

Perhaps land that Philip Jacob Miller’s father Michael Miller bought in Pennsylvania was originally granted by George the Second. I have not seen his Chester County deeds. Stinchcomb’s deed was in 1725, sold to Michael Miller et al in 1744. George II reigned from 1727-1760.

Summary, Questions, and Coincidences: This document records family history, and most of the information is verified by other sources.

The name Rochette and origin in Sedan, France is too specific to disregard out of hand, especially since this document existed prior to the Internet, when one could search a name and connect it to a person with no other evidence than the surname.

Coincidence?

There was a French Huguenot Rochet family from Sedan, France, and daughter Suzanne was smuggled out, married, and settled in Virginia.

“The most interesting story relating to the Huguenots of Manakin Town [Virginia] is that of Suzanne Rochet. After Revocation of Edict of Nantes in 1658, the refugee daughters of Moses Rochet wrote from Amsterdam to their father in France to send them their youngest sister, Suzanne. Since the French government was keeping strict watch to prevent the escape of Huguenots from the country, the Rochets always referred to Suzanne as “the Little Nightcap.” After several unsuccessful attempts to send his daughter past the Guards, Rochet finally smuggled her out of the country to Holland with the aid of a friendly ship-captain. In the French Church Amsterdam, Suzanne married July 1692 Abraham Michaux, a Huguenot refugee from Sedan. By 1705 they and their children had joined the colony at Manakin Town” [Virginia].

Source: “The Little Nightcap” by the Rev. W. Twyman Williams recorded here.

“At the same time, her sisters in Holland became very much concerned about her. They had found refuge in Amsterdam and wished to have her in safety there with them. So they wrote to their father, but for fear that the letter might be read by spies and informers, they did not refer to Suzanne. Instead, they asked their father to make every effort to send them “the little nightcap” they had left behind when they made their escape. But how? At last, Jean Rochet hit upon a plan. He found a ship’s captain.” “This man, though not a Huguenot, was kindly enough disposed to help. So Jean Rochet had his daughter set into a hogshead marked “merchandise,” fastened down the head of the large barrel, and hauled it to the ship. The captain had it taken aboard and stowed away. The ship was searched, but the hidden girl was not discovered. As soon as the danger of further search was over, the captain let her out of her uncomfortable hiding place and got her safely to Holland.”

This paper says Conrad Maugans / Morgan was born in Virginia. Some ancestry trees claim Magdalena Rochette was his sister. Is there any evidence that the Maugans were Huguenot? Or that they were in Virginia?

The name Rochette is sometimes given as LaRoche, which broadens the search possibilities.

French Huguenots went to Germany, and went to Pennsylvania, where they married into German families. It is possible that Philip Jacob Miller married a French woman, known to the family in Germany or met in Pennsylvania. “The French Element among the Pennsylvania Germans” should be understood before concluding that Philip Jacob Miller did not marry a French woman.

There is a German site dedicated to Huguenot genealogy, which contains the name Rochette.

Sources:

Alma A. Smith, The Virginia Military Surveys of Clermont and Hamilton Counties, Ohio 1787-1849 (Cincinnati, Ohio: A.A. Smith, 1985), p. 141, 20 Feb 1800.

 Alma A. Smith, The Virginia Military Surveys of Clermont and Hamilton Counties, Ohio 1787-1849, p. 174, 19 May 1808.

Excellent description of the connections and intermarriages of the French and Germans. George G. Struble, “The French Element among the Pennsylvania Germans” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, Vol 22 (July 1955)pp, 267–76,  https://journals.psu.edu/phj/article/view/22432/22201.

Deutsche Hugenotten-Gesellschaft e.V., https://www.hugenotten.de/genealogie/arbeitsgemeinschaft-datenbank.php

Click to access 2018-08-namensliste-pro-gen.pdf

My Analysis

I’m incredibly grateful to Christine, Doris, and Sharon Biggs. I’m especially impressed that Christine can actually find a letter from 1989!

Let’s take a look at this information.

The analysis of Philip Jacob Miller’s estate packet brings his life into perspective in a new and different light. The information I had previously was a list of inventory items and a list of bills. Doris clearly possessed the entire packet that included receipts with additional information, not to mention the additional research into the identities of the various people mentioned in the estate settlement.

It appears that Philip Jacob was quite well-off later in his life. I can’t help but wonder if the fact that he reluctantly served in the Revolutionary War may have opened doors that allowed him to purchase the 2000 acres, providing a 200-acre farm to each of his children.

Let’s look at the information in that unsourced but clearly authentic Bible record.

Philip Jacob’s birth location is likely incorrect. Philip Jacob Miller’s parents were living in Krotelbach, Germany, when they were married in 1714, with their first child baptized the following year. In April of 1719, another son was baptized in Kallstadt. A third son was born on the farm by the name of Weilach near Bad Durkheim in April of 1721. There is absolutely nothing to indicate that the family settled in the Netherlands before immigrating to the US. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely that Philip Jacob was born in the Netherlands between 1723 and 1727.

The second questionable item from that Bible record involves Conrad Maugans, sometimes referred to as Morgan. This man was born around 1735 and was clearly German. It’s unlikely, but not impossible, that he was born in Virginia. It’s also very unlikely that Magdalena was his sister. Three of her children married Conrad’s children. David Miller married Conrad’s daughter Magdalene Maugans.  Additionally, her son Abraham Miller married Catherine Maugans. A third child, Esther Miller, married Gabriel Maugans. First-cousin marriages did occur in Brethren families so that alone does not rule out Magdalena and Conrad being siblings. However, it is interesting that she has no child named Conrad, nor do her children who did not marry his children.

I have found no evidence whatsoever to indicate that Philip Jacob’s wife, Magdalena, was a Maugans. I’ve seen that rumor for years as well.

I strongly suspect the confusion arose because Conrad’s daughter, Magdalene married a Miller and was therefore Magdalene Miller. Conrad’s will was written in German, but has been translated by an anonymous researcher.

Next, let’s do some math. We know that Magdalena Miller was born sometime around 1730, and that she and Philip Jacob Miller likely married in York County, PA, around 1750 but no later than July of 1751 based on the birth date of their first child. It’s also possible that they married in Lancaster Co., PA or Frederick Co., MD. Unfortunately, Brethren did not register their marriages.

Philip Jacob was Brethren, so she would have to have been Brethren too, or converted, in order for them to be married and remain within the church. What I do know, absolutely, positively, is that there is no Rochette surname of any family in any of these three counties in a relevant timeframe. Women in that time and place did NOT travel around without their family. If Magdalena was a Rochette, then where was her father or other family members?

Furthermore, if Magdalena was indeed the Suzanne Rochet, Huguenot from Sedan, she was born sometime around 1658 and married Abraham Michaux in 1692, so she clearly is not the Magdalena born around 1730. The “little nightcap” story, however, is lovely and excellent history all by itself.

There is some discussion that the Magdalena in question is Suzanne’s daughter, but then her surname would be Michaux, not Rochette.

I’m highly skeptical based on that, in addition to the fact that the Magdalena who married Philip Jacob had to have been Brethren, either before or certainly at the time of their marriage.

I’d feel a lot better about the Rochette surname and the Sedan location if the rest of that Bible information was accurate. Doris mentioned that she had found additional discrepancies.

Having said that, the information is very specific, including the Sedan location. Perhaps this information is not entirely wrong, just a generation or two offset?

If Magdalena’s surname was Rochette or something similar, I would expect to have at least a few DNA matches. I have MANY Miller matches from Philip Jacob’s father, Michael Miller, through is other children.

However, I don’t have matches to someone with the surname of Rochette, or similar, with two exceptions.

Unfortunately, at Ancestry, I can’t search by ancestor, so while I do have matches to people with Rochette in their trees, the ones I reviewed are Magdalena listed as Rochette. What I really need to do is be able to filter by Rochette matches not=Magdalena Rochette who is married to Philip Jacob Miller.

I did find a Rochette match at MyHeritage, but the match to this person could be through a different line. Another French match that could be helpful has a private tree, so no cigar there, either.

At FamilyTreeDNA, my mother’s matches to Rochette are only trees reflecting Magdalena as a Rochette.

I checked Filae and found nothing for a Magdalena Rochette of the right age, but Christine jumped right into serious research.

Christine’s French Huguenot Research

From Christine:

Note: Madeleine or Magdeleine are French versions of Magdalena.

The Huguenots were Calvinist Protestants, and their Reformed Churches recorded sacramental records.

“On October 18, 1685, the Edict of Nantes was revoked and French Huguenots could either convert to Catholicism, face life in a prison or convent, or flee the country. At this time, there were about 800,000 Huguenots in France, and nearly one-fourth of them left the country.”

French Reformed sacramental records are available from Sedan, Ardennes, France, from the 1500s and 1600s, indexed on FamilySearch (link here) but not (on FamilySearch) after the Edict of Nantes when the French Reformed Churches were suppressed. The baptism records which documented “the Little Nightcap” family are amazingly easy to read.

From these records and online ancestry or FamilySearch trees, this Sedan Rochette family included men who did not marry or die in Sedan (from these records) who might have moved elsewhere to become the grand-father, father, uncle of Magdalena / Madeleine. [Chart below is incomplete, not verified with original sources.]

Little Night Cap had a daughter Anne Madeleine. [I did not record all her children. Daughter Olive Judith married an Anthony Morgan, who does not seem to be related to the Maugans/ Morgans of the Miller lines.]

Little Night Cap is not the only Rochette woman to come to the New World [see Susanna daughter of Isaac] and it is likely some of the Rochette men came also. Having their baptismal dates and relationships from the Sedan records makes it more likely to match them to other men of the same name and age.

Did Magdalena/Madeleine’s family also leave before 1685? Did the Huguenots who remained in France continue to record their sacramental records? If so, where might those be?

They migrated to Protestant Countries, so in those places their later sacraments would have been recorded, such as in the Netherlands (cited in Little Night Cap’s family), parts of Germany, etc., and their churches in the New World. They did end up assimilating.

Descendancy Narrative of Moses Thiery Rochet

From Christine:

Moses Thiery1 ROCHET was born in 1615. He married Suzanne RONDEAU on 7 Feb 1638 at Sedan, Ardennes, France.1 He died on 31 Dec 1649.

Jean2 ROCHET was born in 1641 at Sedan, Ardennes, France. He married Marie TRUFET on 21 Dec 1664 at Sedan, Ardennes, France.2

Susan3 “Little Night Cap” ROCHET. Her married name was MICHAUX. She was baptized on 13 Apr 1667 at Sedan, Ardennes, France.3 She married Abraham MICHAUX on 13 Jul 1692 at Amsterdam, Netherlands. She immigrated on 8 May 1701 to London, England. She died on 18 Dec 1744 at Virginia at age 77.4

      1. Olive Judi4 MICHAUX married Anthony MORGAN. Her married name was MORGAN. She was born in 1706 at Virginia.5 She died on 27 Oct 1760 at Virginiia.6
      2. Anne Madeline4 MICHAUX was born in 1706 at Virginia. She died in 1796 at Virginia.

Isaac3 ROCHET died in 1672. He was baptized on 30 Aug 1672 at Sedan, Ardennes, France.7

Louis3 ROCHET was baptized on 5 May 1676 at Sedan, Ardennes, France.8 He died on 1 Oct 1726 at age 50.9

Daniel3 ROCHET was baptized on 5 Jan 1679 at Sedan, Ardennes, France.10

Jacques2 ROCHET was born in 1642. He died in 1647.

Isaac2 ROCHET was also known as Isaac DE LA ROQUET. He was born in 1641 at Sedan, Ardennes, France.11 He was baptized on 10 Jan 1644 at Sedan, Ardennes, France.12 He married Jeanne DUFRAY on 16 May 1666 at Reformed Protestant Church, Sedan, Ardennes, France. He married Jeanne DUFRAY on 16 May 1666 at Sedan, Ardennes, France.2 He died in Nov 1695 at age 51.

    1. Susanna3 ROCHET. Her married name was GARRIGUES. She was born in 1686 at Sedan, Ardennes, France.13 She married Matthieu GARRIGUES on 28 May 1702 at Netherlands. She died on 30 Sep 1746 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.14

Marie2 ROCHET was born on 22 Aug 1645.15 She died in 1763 at Sedan, Ardennes, France.

Vincent2 ROCHET was born on 18 Sep 1646.

Charles2 ROCHET was born on 29 Dec 1647.16 He died on 12 Jul 1670 at Sedan, Ardennes, France, at age 22.17

Printed on: 13 May 2023

Prepared by: Mary Christine Berwanger, Ph.D.

Endnotes:

  1. Ardennes: Sedan – Tables alphabétique des mariages, Ms 664/index, 1573-1682 family search.
  2. Ardennes: Sedan – Tables alphabétique des mariages, Ms 664/index, 1573-1682 familysearch.
  3. Name Susane Rochet
    Sex     Female
    Father’s Name     Jean Rochet
    Mother’s Name     Marie Trufet
    Event Baptism, 13 Apr 1667, Sedan, Ardennes, France
    “France, registres protestants, 1536-1897,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVN3-4BVH : 19 February 2021), Susane Rochet, 13 Apr 1667; citing Baptism, Societe de L’histoire du Protestantisme Francais (Society of the History of French Protestantism), Paris.
  4. Suzanne Laroche ROCHETTE (1667–1744)
    Birth 13 APR 1667 • Sedan, Ardennes, Champagne-Ardenne, France
    Death 18 DEC 1744 • Manakin Sabot, Goochland, Virginia, USA.
  5. Olive Judi Morgan (1706–1760) Birth 1706 • Manakin, Goochland County, Virginia, USA.
  6. Death 27 OCTOBER 1760 • Cumberland County, Virginia, USA.
  7. Name Isaac Rochet
    Sex     Male
    Father’s Name     Jean Rochet
    Mother’s Name     Marie Trufet
    Event    Baptism, 30 Aug 1672, Sedan, Ardennes, France.
  8. Name Louis Rochet
    Sex     Male
    Father’s Name     Jean Rochet
    Mother’s Name     Marie Truffet
    Event  Baptism 05 May 1676, Sedan, Ardennes, France.
  9. 1 October 1726.
  10. Christening • 1 Source 5 January 1679Sedan, Ardennes, Champagne-Ardenne, France.
  11. Isaac De La Roquet (Rochet) (1641–1695)
    Birth 1641 • Sedan, Ardennes, Champagne-Ardenne, France
    Death NOV 1695.
  12. 10 January 1644, familysearch.
  13. Birth 1686 • Sedan, Ardennes, Champagne-Ardenne, France.
  14. Death 30 SEP 1746 • Christ Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Colonial America.
  15. Birth 22 August 1645 Sedan, Ardennes, Champagne-Ardenne, France
    Death 1763 Sedan, France.
  16. 29 December 1647.
  17. 12 July 1670 Sedan, Ardennes, Champagne-Ardenne, France.

Rochette, or Not?

Combining the information provided by Christine and Doris along with additional research provides additional information but no smoking gun. The jury is still out. However, we now have additional information, including the probable source of the surname, Rochette.

At this point, I’m no more convinced that her surname was Rochette than I was before. I am, however, very grateful to have solved the mystery of where the Rochette rumor originated.

I’m hoping that some of the Miller researchers will be able to provide additional information about the source of the Bible or maybe even more about the source of Rochette.

I’m also VERY hopeful that someone will discover information about Magdalena’s origins. Or, perhaps someone has additional Rochette information that might be helpful. I was unable to find Rochette information in the relevant counties, but maybe other researchers have or can.

Just putting this out there and hoping that this update finds its way to the right researcher and that one day, we can actually solve the mystery of Magdalena’s parents.

However, we do have another clue…

Can DNA Help?

We have the mitochondrial DNA of Magdalena. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited from your mother through a direct line of females – so her mother, and her mother, on up the tree.

We know that Magdalena’s mitochondrial DNA is an exact match with a descendant of Mary Myers born February 8, 1775, in Pennsylvania and who died on September 28, 1849, in Montgomery County, Ohio. Unfortunately, we don’t know who Mary Myer’s parents were. Maybe one of you descends from this line or has information about the Myers family. Also spelled Meyers, Moyers.

Of course, mitochondrial DNA can reach far back in time, but the migration path from Pennsylvania to Montgomery County, Ohio, is the path the Brethren took to settle that region, and is where Magdalena’s descendant lives who tested. Montgomery County was the dispersion point for the Brethren North into Indiana and westward as well.

Another mitochondrial match also connects to the Zircle/Meyer family in Rockingham/Augusta County, VA where several Brethren families settled about the time of the Revolutionary War. These families originated in the Lancaster/York County, PA region or the Frederick County, MD region.

Tracking a match back to the earliest ancestor, I found that Peter Zirkle (c1745-c1818)’s wife’s name was “Fanny” and she is reported to be Frene “Fannie” Meyer. I have found several attributions, but no place can I find how the Meyer surname was attributed to her, or who here parents were. Assuming Fanny was born about 1745 as well, Magdalena born about 1730 could have been her sister or maybe a cousin.

Meyer/Moyer is noted as one of the founding Brethren families in York County, PA where Philip Jacob Miller was living when he married. It’s VERY likely that he married within the Brethren families.

The History of York Co, PA, written in 1907 tells us that the first Brethren congregation in York (now Adams) County was the Conewago Church which was established in 1738, “20 miles west from the town of York, on the Little Conewago,” which was in the vicinity of Hanover.

Surnames of the families who were among the early church members were Eldrick, Dierdorff, Bigler, Gripe (Cripe), Studsman (Stutzman) and others.

Prominent members include Jacob Moyer, James Henrick, preachers; Hans Adam Snyder, George Wine, Daniel Woods, Henry Geing, Joseph Moyer, Nicholas Hostetter, Christian Hostetter, Rudy Brown, Dobis Brother, Jacob Miller, Michael Koutz, Stephen Peter, Henry Tanner, Michael Tanner, John Moyer, Jacob Souder, Henry Hoff, John Swartz.  The wives of these persons named were also members of the church.

Unmarried members were Barbara Snyder John Geing, Maud Bowser, George Peter, Hester Wise, Christian Etter, John Peter Weaver, Barbara Bear, Elizabeth Boering, Grace Hymen. Their first preacher was Daniel Leatherman, Sr, followed by Nicholas Martin, Jacob Moyer (Meyers) and James Hendrich (Henry.)

In 1741, a new church was founded “on the Great Conewago, about 14 miles west from the new town of York.”  Founding members there include John Neagley, Adam Sower, Jacob Sweigard, Peter Neiper and Joseph Latshaw. The first elder was George Adam Martin followed by Daniel Leatherman Jr. and Nicholas Martin. In 1770 members included George Brown, John Heiner, Peter Fox, Anthony Dierdorff, Nicholas Moyer, Manasseh Brough, Michael Bosserman, David Ehrhard, Daniel Baker, Abraham Stauffer, Henry Dierdorff, John Burkholder, Andrew Trimmer, Eastace Rensel, Peter Dierdorff, Barnett Augenbaugh, John Neagley, Michael Brissel, Welty Brissel, Matthias Bouser, Laurence Baker, Philip Snell, Nicholas Baker Jr., Adam Sower, Adam Dick, Henry Brissel, David Brissel, Henry Radibush, George Wagner and George Reeson.  Unmarried members were Peter Wertz, Ann Mummert, Christian Fray, Samuel Arnold, Mary Latshaw, Catharine Studabaker, Nicholas Baker, Marillas Baker, Sarah Brissel, Jacob Miller, Rudolph Brown.

Can anyone tell me what happened to the Moyer men listed above?

  • Jacob Moyer
  • Joseph Moyer
  • John Moyer
  • Nicholas Moyer

Are they related? Who is their father? Who were their wives?  And perhaps more importantly, did they have a sibling or child, Magdalena, born about 1730?

Does anyone know if any of these men wound up in Rockingham County, VA by 1773 or so?

Please reach out if you descend from these families, and especially if you descend from these families through all females to the current generation, which can be male or female. If you do, you carry the mitochondrial DNA of their wife and daughters. Please reach out to me.

Do You Descend from a Brethren Female Line?

Do you descend matrilineally from a Brethren female line, meaning through all females beginning with your mother? If so, your mitochondrial DNA descends from a Brethren family.

If you have already taken the mitochondrial DNA test at FamilyTreeDNA, please join the Miller-Brethren DNA project. If you have not tested, please order a mitochondrial DNA test, here, and join the Miller Brethren DNA Project.

Based on the Brethren cultural handicap of not registering marriages, mitochondrial DNA testing is critically important. It provides the tools to identify and place Brethren females with their families. DNA, in this case, promises to do what traditional genealogy cannot.

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6 thoughts on “New Information About Philip Jacob Miller (c1726-1799) and Magdalena Possibly Rochette (c1730-1800/1808) – 52 Ancestors #404

  1. Thank you for the update. My grandmother Rilla Miller Landon is a descendant of Philip Jacob Miller. My mother’s Catherine Toms had a dispute with Philip Miller in Frederick County, Maryland in1769.

  2. Roberta, as usual, you never disappoint! Thank you for such an informative and fascinating article. While we may not be researching the same names, I always find your blogs to be models of “how to” that provide ideas and examples of good research. Best of luck in finding the answers you are seeking.

  3. I really enjoy your articles on your ancestors lives and especially how you go about researching them. You’ve a fascinating history. Please don’t stop!

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