Sunday, February 22, 2009

Some mysteries aren't solved

One of the interesting parts of genealogy research is investigating and finding out who is related to who and how. But sometimes you come across a family and just can't figure it out.

I have been corresponding with Don Miller in Florida for about 7 years who is researching two boys who were living with my Great Great Grandfather, James Henderson Hogan in 1880. Thomas Ellis Miller and Marion Pascal Miller were 10 and 8 years old and listed as his nephews.

Don's cousin hired a professional genealogist who had contacted a woman named Emma Morris in Galva Illinois in 1991. Emma was related to the Hogan family and published material on the family. They had read her material so they asked her to help research the question about how the boys were related to the Hogans. Emma died about 10 years ago and I received her research papers in 2001 from her family. I saw the Miller correspondence and contacted Don and his cousin to take up the question.

The boy's parents apparently died in 1880, in fact they were living with their mother on June 19, 1880 along with two sisters, Florence Matilda Miller and Julia Miller but 10 days later on June 29, 1880 they were living with James Hogan and the sisters were living with two other families with some connection to the Hogans. By 1885 they were no longer living with James Hogan.

Don and I have compared notes on the Hogan family and also every other family related to James Hogan, trying to find out how and why the two boys were listed as nephews and have not come up with a satisfactory answer. We have separately and together searched census and marriage records of every county in South Georgia and North Florida trying to figure out who John Miller (born 1834 in Georgia) was and who he married.

We know the wife's name was Sally and she was born about 1843 in Georgia. Both of them disappear, not appearing on the 1880 death index, (which should list them if they died in 1880) and the children grew up in various households as orphans.

At one point Don and his cousin were having a family history book published and since they couldn't go past the 1880 census on the Miller side of the family were in a quandary, trying to figure out what to put in the book for their ancestry. The book has been published, but what it says only represented their best guess at the time, now shown to be suspect.

To add more mystery to the question, I found a picture of Florence Miller and her husband John Brown in an old Green family bible. There is no one alive today who can say why she would be in the family bible.

Every couple months I take up this family again, searching another tree to try and find John and Sally Miller. There are about 5 possibles but none of them have any stronger case than the other. I know Don is still searching also, but suspect his cousin is satisfied with the conclusion in the book.
1880 Taylor County Census, Sup Dist # 18, En. Dist. # 149, June 1880, Page 42
Name Relation Marital Status Gender Race Age Birthplace Occupation Father's Birthplace Mother's Birthplace

James H. HOGAN Self W Male W 45 GA Farmer GA GA
Anne A. HOGAN Dau S Female W 14 FL Keeping House GA NC
John T. HOGAN Son S Male W 12 FL GA NC
Dora HOGAN Dau S Female W 8 FL GA NC
Thomas MILLER Nephew S Male W 10 GA GA GA
Paschal MILLER Nephew S Male W 8 GA GA GA
Source Information: Census Place "Precinct 1, 2, And 4", Taylor, Florida Page Number 371B

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