Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Meeting Molly - born in Unterdorf!

One of the exciting prospects for learning more about our Miller family migration from Germany to Russia – then to North America – came last summer, when we had a chance to meet Molly Miller Both. It was during a trip to Washington state to visit family in the Metaline Falls and Seattle areas.

One of the few remaining “Miller” family descendants to be born in the Volga-Russian village of Unterdorf, Molly now lives in Marysville, just north of Seattle. While Molly and I had corresponded a few times over the past decade, we were unable to establish a firm link between our families.

However, with fewer than 100 families living in Unterdorf at the beginning of the 1900s, and with both families named Miller, it seems likely that there is a connection. While there’s still no documentation that confirms such a linkage, some aggressive sleuthing in the weeks and months ahead may well uncover something. At least, that’s our belief, and we’re proceeding optimistically.

Molly Miller was born in January of 1926 in Unterdorf, Russia, her family having survived the political upheavals and famine that cursed the Volga region in the early 20th century. That's Molly on the right, when she was about four years old.
Our patriarch of the Miller line in western Nebraska, Peter Miller, was born in Unterdorf in 1886 – some 40 years earlier. By the time Molly was born in 1926, Peter and Dora (Eckerdt) Miller were in the North Platte River valley region of the Nebraska panhandle. Chances are, they were making plans or were already on their way to a new home in Whitney. Molly’s family would migrate to Canada, where she grew up, later meeting and marrying Nick Both.

Molly is convinced that our Miller families are related, and I agree. But we’re still searching for the proof.

Until we discover that elusive document, we delight in discovering a new “cousin.” Our visit with Molly and Nick Both at their home in Marysville was a joy, and it was a bonus to meet a few other other members of their family. Much to our delight, Molly also agreed to a short video interview, which we did on the spot!

One of the rewards of genealogy is bringing together long lost relatives. Even if those elusive documents confirming such a kinship are never uncovered, we’re so pleased to meet one of the few remaining “Unterdorfers” -- a lady we’d be proud to call “family.”