Wednesday, February 22, 2023

A winter day visit to Chadron by Pete & Dora Miller

This is another of the several treasures shared with us some years ago by cousin Mike Miller of Ione, WA. It's grandfather Pete Miller and grandmother Dora Miller in front of the John Miller rental home at 223 Ann St. in Chadron, Nebr.  It was likely taken in about 1944, a few years before John and Lettie bought their long-time home at 450 Ann. In the background is the home owned by Luther and Helen Denton, both of whom had deep roots in both Dawes and Sheridan Counties of western Nebraska.  To view a wide variety of other Miller family photos, take a peek at our Miller Family Gallery.  You'll find a higher resolution version of this and many other family photographs.  As always, we'd be delighted to add any images that you're able to share. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Cousin Mike Pollock, 71, dies in Beaumont, Texas

We're saddened by news that cousin Mike Pollock died on Monday, September 27 in Beaumont, Texas.   That's Mike and his wife Barbara above – in happier times – on an Alaskan voyage back in 2006.

Like many immigrant families that settled in the heartland, Mike's maternal grandparents, Pete and Dora Miller, raised a good-sized family – only to have several of their children and grandchildren leave their small Nebraska village home to find new lives in Texas, Washington, California, Kentucky, and other far away places.

Mike's mother, Pauline Miller was the first of Pete and Dora's children to be born in Whitney, Nebraska – and one of the first to leave Whitney, finding her way to Texas, where she would marry Olen Pollock in 1948.  Michael Lynn was born April 15, 1950 in Houston, but would spend most of his years in the Beaumont and Vidor area.

With Miller descendants scattered across the country, many cousins grew up never really knowing each other, except for those who lived in their state or region.  We suspect that more than a few cousins never met one another.

Here is a link to the Michael Lynn Pollock, Sr. obituary that appeared in the Beaumont Enterprise newspaper on October 2, 2021.

We were fortunate to meet and visit with Mike Pollock a time or two – not exactly and close relationship – but one we recall fondly.  We understand that he was plagued with heart troubles for many years.  He persevered, but finally was taken from us last week. 

There's no way to effectively encapsulate one's life through mere words, but we're compelled to share information about which others may not know.

Mike started his career as a machinist sweeping out a machine shop and learning the business from the ground floor.  He would eventually own his own business, A-1 Machines in Beaumont. 

He enjoyed boating and owned them over the years, taking them out for a bit of fishing and relaxation.

Mike was a self-taught guitarist and learned to "play by ear," and demonstrated an aptitude for music.  We're told he even collected guitars, as one might expect of someone who enjoys music.

He had an interest in aviation and took flying lessons.  After soloing, he took wife Barbara aloft with him!

His real accomplishments, of course, are the lives he touched over his71 years.  Family.  Friends.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the Pollock family.


NOTEThanks to cousin Judy Callaway for sharing some of the information contained in this story.  For a few more photos of the Pollock family – and many other Miller cousins and relatives, we invite you to visit our MILLER FAMILY GALLERY.


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

How Time Flies! A 5-Generation Photo

Alas, we have no date or location on this photograph, but at least all persons in the photo are identified!  Youngest is the lad held in the arms of his great-great grandmother, Charlotte (Flock) Miller.  The baby boy is Dylan Van Voorhis.  Others, Right-to-Left are G-G-Grandmother Miller, G-Grandmother Charlotte Miller, Jean (Miller) Roark, Grandfather Kerry Roark, and mother Heather (Roark) Van Voorhis.  Whew!  Hope all of that information is correct.  

Like this image, we have several photos within our Miller Family Gallery that need a date, or names, or location – or all of the above!  Your help would be very much appreciated!  You'll find this image and many more in the Miller Family Gallery

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Another snapshot from years gone by...

 Marie Miller Derrick likely took this snapshot of husband Bill and two cute little girls – daughter Shirley Derrick at left and her cousin Linetha Miller on the right.  There's no date on the photo, but we're supposing it was about 1947-48.  Looks like they'd been practicing some "jump rope."  Alas, in 1949, young Shirley and her neighborhood buddy, Sandy Rankin, drowned in an accident at Whitney Lake.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Grandma Miller and "the girls" get together!

Alas, we have no date with this photograph, but it was almost certainly taken at the "ditch rider" house in Whitney, probably in the early 1940's.  Shown are Grandma Miller and her daughters.  Left-to-Right, they are:  Evelyn, mother Dora Miller, Bertha, Pauline, and Marie.  Wish it were a wider view; would like to have seen the cars and more of the house, but it was fun to seeing Grandma Dora and "her girls" together! 

Friday, May 29, 2020

Busted! A case of mid-morning nostalgia...

It used to glow in the dark.  Wait...wait.  It still does!

I take pictures at the drop of a hat. And then some.  So this morning, – instead of doing chores that need to be done – Karen caught me rummaging through the "numerous" photos occupying space on my cell phone.  I had been busted....mesmerized by the photograph on the left above. 

It was nostalgia at first sight, a photo snapped a few years ago while visiting sister Linetha in Oklahoma.  

We were reminiscing about our days of yore, when I recalled a framed picture of a "vagabond duck" that used to grace her bedroom wall when we were kids.

"I still have it," she exclaimed.

"No!" I retorted in disbelief. 

"After all these years?"

Within minutes she produced the object of my interest.   It wasn't very big.  It wasn't framed.  It had faded a wee wasn't glowing!"  Nonetheless, I captured the above image of Linetha with her duck friend.

Yep, as a kid, I was enamored with this vagabond duck, apparently running away from home, or maybe just exploring new places.  And perhaps most intriguing for me (when I was a kid....and maybe still) was that this wandering waterfowl had glowed in the dark.

Maybe my early exposure to Linetha's vagabond duck explains why Karen and I have lived in a gazillion places over the past half century or so.

But my excitement over seeing this long-lost "friend" really was tempered by the fact that it didn't seem to glow anymore.  After all, that was what had really intrigued me as a kid.  I'm not sure what kind of goop (read that "chemically-treated goop") was applied to it to make it glow, but it did.

Methinks that goop has lost it punch, just like the rest of us.  

But with a little help from Photoshop, I wanted to let my dear sister know that her Vagabond Duck still shines! 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Still standing...Whitney's old Methodist parsonage

In the mid-1930's  Alex Miller met a high school girl from Crawford named Mildred Saxton.  But it would be a couple of years later, after he returned from working in Michgan, that they would marry.  It was on  July 1, 1936; they were married in the Methodist parsonage by Reverend C. Curtis Norlin.   It was Alex's 25th birthday, and they  were married nearly 50 years before he died in April of 1985.

Alex and Mildred's children have often visited the Whitney area, usually to visit the cemetery and occasionally to see if the old parsonage is still standing.  It was on one of those visits about 15 years ago that Charlene Miller took this photograph.

Charlene and brother Bruce were in Dawes County within the past few months  (winter 2020), and report that the old parsonage structure is, indeed, still standing!  Thanks to Charlene for sharing this photograph!

Friday, April 17, 2020

Happy Birthday TODAY to cousins Marlene & Darlene!

by Larry Miller

One of the real joys of genealogy is finding family you either didn't know you had – or reconnecting with family you've never met.

But those happy moments also apply to cousins you knew you had – but hadn't seen in a long time.  Say....50 or 60 years!

Such is the case with the Snyder girls, Marlene and Darlene (shown above, although it could well be Darlene and Marlene!)  They are  the twin daughters of Evelyn (Miller) Snyder, youngest of the 11 children born to Pete and Dora Miller, our German-Russian grandparents who lived the last 30-40 years of their lives in Whitney, Nebraska, where Evelyn was born in 1930.

I saw the twins at least once, but it was a long time ago.   I believe they were with Evelyn when she came back to Nebraska for the funeral of grandma Miller in 1963 – but in may have been in 1957 when grandpa Miller passed away.  

In any event, it was a long time ago!  Fact is, my memories conjure up only the images I've seen of them in two photographs.  One of those photos is shown above.

In March, after finding information about both the girls in a 2000 obituary published in Akron, Ohio, I was able to locate Marlene in Virginia and track down a telephone number.  

We had a delightful conversation – followed some days later by a phone call from Darlene, who also lives in Virginia!

It's safe to say that most of the Miller cousins whose photos have appeared on this website and the linked Miller Gallery have never met these ladies, who are still on the young side – even though they're celebrating a landmark birthday today!  We hope they're able to review some of the many stories and photos we've posted over the years, learning a bit about their Miller cousins.

We hope to learn more about Darlene and Marlene.  Perhaps they'll share with us a bit about themselves and their families as so many of our other Miller cousins have over the past 15 years or so.  Maybe a photo from time to time that we can add to our gallery (It'll be hard to top the cute photo above!)

But for now, we wish them both a very Happy Birthday!  May you and your families be safe and well!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Cousin "Pete" Miller passes away in Spokane, Washington

Pete Miller (1945-2019)
We're sorry to report that we've lost another Miller family member.

Freddy Paul "Pete" Miller passed away on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, in Spokane, Washington.  Pete had been suffering the past few months, the victim of mesothelioma.  He was 73.

Cousin Pete was born February 24, 1945 in Wenatchee, Washington, the second child of Fred and Charlotte Miller.  He was their first child born in Washington state after they relocated from Nebraska to the the Pacific northwest in the early 1940's.   Pete's sister, Jean, was born in 1943 in Chadron, Nebraska, where Fred and Charlotte had married in June 1942.  

Pete was the oldest of the three Miller boys.  His younger brothers, Wayne and Charlie, were both born in Ione, Washington.

Pete, like the rest of his siblings, grew up in Metaline Falls, nestled along the Pend Oreille River in northeast Washington.  He lived there the rest of his life.   Pete met Judy Newman, and they were married July 29, 1966.  Their two children, Paul and Rhonda, were both born and raised in Metaline Falls.

Like his dad, Pete worked many years for the cement plant.  After it closed, he went to work at the Box Canyon Dam a few miles south of Metaline Falls.  After retiring, Pete and Judy found great pleasure in camping and the outdoors – but their greatest joy came from their children and grandchildren.

Pete loved his family and was proud of them.  I believe he also found great joy in the area his parents had chosen to make their home.  The Pend Oreille Valley and the Colville National Forest region is one of the most beautiful areas of the United States.  Those of us fortunate enough to have visited there understand and appreciate the quality of life that abounds there – particularly for raising kids.

Pete was just a few days shy of his 74th birthday when he passed away.  Immediate and close family members gathered on his birthday to celebrate his life.  It was a good life.  And Pete was a good man.  I suspect his namesake grandfather, Pete Miller and wife Dora, are joined by Fred and Charlotte looking down and reflecting on Pete's life, saying, "Well done."  

Our hearts go out to Judy and the Miller children and grandchildren, as well as to Jean, Wayne, and Charlie.  

All of us are the better for having known this wonderful man.

We are told that a memorial gathering will take place in the spring.

Rest in peace, cousin Pete.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

In search of family......and finding them!

"Müller" and "Miller" families pose for this photo taken September 15, 2018 in Thaleischweiler-Froschen, Germany.  Left-to-right are Roland Kurz, Lydia Leis, Max Leis, Karen Miller, Andrei Krug, Eduard Leis, Nelli Leis, and Rosalia (Müller) Leis.  You'll find a few more photos/information in our Miller Family Gallery of photographs.

Most family researchers work long and hard to find family and get to know them.  Usually, it's a search for ancestors – often family they never knew:  a great-grandmother long since deceased or a great uncle  whose life was shrouded in mystery.  That process of finding and learning more about ancestral families is what excites genealogists, professional and amateur alike.

Sometimes, however, it's a search for living relatives with whom we've lost all contact, perhaps for decades.  In some cases, we discover "cousins" we never knew we had – family far away, perhaps in a different culture, with a different language.  Such is the case here.

First however, a short disclaimer.  As yet, we have no evidence that absolutely confirms a close relationship between the Miller family from Whitney, Nebraska, USA and the Müller family from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, now living in Germany (Above photo).  No matter, We've met these good people – and we consider them family.  Perhaps DNA testing will help confirm our relationship.

But let us explain.

We've dabbled with family research for about half a century.  Retirement 15 years ago allowed a bit more time to pursue this passion – and that's when we created a few family history websites, including this one.  Then, one day in June of 2010, I received an e-mail from a young lady in Germany who wrote that she had visited my website about Unterdorf, Russia, ancestral village for our Miller family line.  

"My great-grandfather Friedrich Miller was born in 1869 in Unterdorf..."

Lydia Leis was in search of information I might have about her family.  I was delighted to learn of  another Miller descendant whose ancestors came from Unterdorf.  And with several Miller families in that small Volga River village, there seemed a likelihood that Lydia might be a distant cousin!

Still, it was a long shot.  We exchanged a few e-mails, and she gave me permission to post a photograph and information about her great-grandfather, which I labeled Reaching Across the Sea -- Finding a Cousin?  But we discovered no new information that might link our families.  And then......nothing. It seems that both Lydia and I became caught up in life activities – immediate family, friends, jobs, activities.  My web posting received little response from our "Whitney" Miller family, despite a gathering of our clan in Chadron the following summer (June 1911).  While it was a splendid reunion, the excitement of a possible relationship with another "Müller" family from Unterdorf faded. 

Fast forward seven years to October 21, 2017.  An e-mail arrived from a name and address I did not recognize. Nonetheless, I opened it...

"Dear Larry,  I am Nelli, sister of Lydia Leis from Germany..."

It revealed plans for visiting America, spurring visions of finally meeting other Miller family members whose ancestors also came from Unterdorf, Russia.  This happy prospect spurred my enthusiasm for re-visiting Miller family research.  

While Nelli and her husband were not able to make that trip to the United States last year,  wife Karen and I began planning our own trip to Germany!  While we had several objectives:  visit Monet Gardens in France, the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach, do the "Sound of Music" tour in Salzburg, and re-visit Rothenburg (a favorite place of ours on the Tauber River), my primary motivation was to visit Lydia, Nelli, and their families in western Germany.

We did just that in September 2018, and – for me – it was the highlight of our nearly three-weeks in Europe.  In the future, I'll be writing more about our visit with the Müller and Leis families who left Unterdorf, Russia, for Kazakhstan, where their families lived for generations before they "returned" to Germany whence their ancestors came centuries ago.  This, while our Miller ancestors set sail for America in the early 20th century. 

You'll find additional photographs and information in our online Miller Family Gallery.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The lessons of Tiananmen Square

Cousin Bruce Miller recently shared a story that we think is worth including on Miller Archives.  He referred to a speech given by a former Chinese student activist about events that he had experienced at Beijing's Tiananmen Square some 28 years ago.  We hasten to add that cousin Bruce was working in China when the popular nationalist protest occurred, forcibly suppressed by Chinese troops after the government invoked martial law.  Bruce began his piece with a refresher about that fateful event.

Bruce Miller
Dear Folks:

...Should memory not serve you, that bloodletting in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on the nights of June 3rd and 4th, 1989, was precipitated when a malevolent and evil totalitarian one-party government murdered hundreds – perhaps thousands – of its own innocent citizens who were petitioning for nothing more than the right to assemble, speak openly, and campaign for the establishment of basic freedoms and equalities that we Americans have long taken for granted.  That malevolent one-party state still ruthlessly rules the destiny of the Chinese people today.

I was in Shanghai, China that Sunday morning of June 4th, 1989, on a university campus where I had been teaching English for nearly two years.  How vividly I recall speaking with several of my students on the central plaza of the university that morning as the sun rose and awareness of the massacre on Tiananmen Square was taking hold.  One middle-aged professor who had been my English student, with tears streaming own his face, told me "Mr. Miller, what can we do?  The government's police and army have all the weapons, what can we do?!"

And that, in summary folks, is the strongest argument that I can propose to resist until our last breath the efforts of those in positions of power and authority in our statehouses, our federal governemtn, our colleges and universities, and sadly, even many of our churehes and religious institutions, to take away our right to freely keep and bear arms!

We have a national administration and President in place today that strongly acknowledges our 2nd amendment rights enshrined in the Constitution, but the time may well come, and likely will, when "liberal" leftist politicians will again gain ascendency and undertake once more their efforts to disarm our citizenry.

Look around, folks, even in our "democratic" world, citizens have been effectively disarmed and accepted the lie of big government that "we'll protect you – society is better and safter if only have arms!"  (It's a given that the first thing totalitarian governments always take away is the right to bear arms.)

In summary, remember, freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction!



Monday, July 31, 2017

The children of Alex & Mildred Miller - Summer 2017

Taken at the time of a Lusk (Wyoming) High School reunion in the summer of 2017, these are (left-to-right): Jerry Miller, Jeanette Gleed, Charlene Miller, Bruce Miller, and Connie Merchen.  Thanks to cousin Bruce Miller for sharing this photograph.  A nice looking group, don't you think?  For a higher resolution image, visit our Miller Family Gallery.