28 Mar 2015
Genealogists have learned many early ancestors used the same personal names over and over again. The same name might appear in each generation of a family, sometimes without any middle names or convenient designations like “Senior” and “Junior.” When “Senior” and “Junior” were used, it might be to differentiate between an older and a younger person who had the same name (women as well as men) but who were not necessarily parent and child; in fact, they may not have been related at all! Even when parents gave each child two personal names, it was not unusual for the children to have one name in common. Cabarrus Germans frequently gave the same first name to several sons who went by their different middle names, like Johann George, Johann Michael, and Johann Henrich. Precisely because these situations exist, genealogists quickly learn, as a way to organize individuals, to add birth and death dates whenever possible. Even that does not always work.
Take the case of George Miller who died in Cabarrus County in 1836 and George Miller who died in Cabarrus County in . . . 1836! George Miller’s will, dated September 1835 and recorded in the April 1836 court minutes, named his granddaughter Christiana Barrier. The division of personal property in January 1837 named these additional heirs: Emilia Miller; Jacob Miller; the widow; Sally Pitts, wife of Moses; July Faggart, wife of Reuben; Elizabeth Melchor, wife of Christopher Melchor; Leah Barrier, wife of John; Paul Miller; and Teeny Miller. The list of heirs named in the July 1837 division of real estate was similar, but it omitted the widow and added one name, Catherine P. Barrier, daughter of Esther C. Barrier, deceased. the Petition for Dower Lands by the widow Regina Miller, found in George Miller’s estate papers, also gave the same list of children and heirs. George and Regina Plyler Miller and some of their children were buried in a family cemetery near Mount Pleasant; in 1975, their tombstones were moved to St. John’s Lutheran Church Cemetery.
A closer look at Cabarrus estate papers, however, reveals the estate papers of another George Miller who died in 1836. This Petition for Dower Lands was filed by the widow Eleanor Miller and named the following heirs: George Miller; Tobias Miller; Frederick Miller; David Miller; Christian Furr and wife Susanna; Henry Beaver and wife Melia; and Green Redwine and wife Anna. The burial sites of George and Mary Eleanor (Phipps or Phelps) Miller are unknown, possibly lost. Son, Tobias Miller, and other members of the Miller family are buried at St. Stephens Lutheran Church Cemetery in Gold Hill Township. If not for the surviving estate papers, George Miller himself may have been unknown and lost. Further connections to George and Eleanor Miller may be found at a Phipps family blog site: click here.
Courtesy of the Cabarrus County Public Library, Lore Local History Room