Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reaching across the sea -- finding a cousin?

In recent weeks, we've had the good fortune to make contact with a lady in Reutlingen, Germany, who may very well be a "cousin" to our Miller clan from western Nebraska.

Lydia Leis, who works as a translator, writes us that her family emigrated from Kazakhstan to Germany in 1991.  Her great-grandparents were Johan Friedrich and Elizabeth (Steinbrecher) Miller.  Both were born in our ancestral village of Unterdorf on the "bergseite" of the Volga in 1869.

While there is no picture of Elizabeth, we were delighted that Lydia forwarded us this undated photograph of her great-grandfather, Johann Friedrich Miller.  Johan's father was Philip Miller, but there is no additional information about him.

Lydia's charts show that Johan and Elizabeth Miller had six children: Eva, born in Unterdorf in 1895; Peter, born in Unterdorf in 1897; Alexander, born in 1902; David, born in 1904; Heinrich, born in Unterdorf in 1906; and Friedrich, also born in Unterdorf, but with no listed date of death.  David was Lydia's grandfather.  He married Rosalia Stenger, who was born in Baku, Aberbajan, located on the west side of the Caspian Sea.   Both David and Rosalia Miller died in 1980 -- her place of death is listed as Zelinograd, Kazakhstan.

David and Rosalia had two children:  Leo, born in Unterdorf, and a daughter whom they named Rosalia.  She was born in Kazakhstan, so the family may well have been displaced there during or prior to World War Two, but we can't be certain.  Perhaps Lydia will share this information with us if and when it is available.

Lydia Leis was also kind enough to send us a photograph of her grandfather, David Miller.  His older sister, Eva (Miller) Bornhoef, is with him in the photo, and we've posted it in our Miller Gallery.  Eva died in Germany in 1977.

We are hopeful that further examination of family records and photographs might allow us to learn more about the Miller families of Unterdorf.  There were several, and we suspect that most of them were related.  Only time -- with avid research, and a bit of luck -- will tell.