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What possible uniform with decoration is my ancestor from New South Wales in the early 1900's wearing?

What possible uniform with decoration is my ancestor from New South Wales in the early 1900's wearing?

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I have found the below picture of my ancestor. It was taken approximately in the early 1900's in New South Wales, Australia.

I don't think he was knighted. I have found a census record that he was a dispatch clerk though. I didn't think the attire would be so complicated for that. Perhaps he was promoted.

What is he wearing?

I agree with the comments, it doesn't look military in nature. Looking at various organization, I finally found an item listed on ebay which seems to match both the wide emblem and the tasseled 8-point star with cross inset.

I've zoomed in on part of the image showing the large emblem on the sash, revealing the motto Amicitia Amor et Veritas or in English: "Friendship, Love and Truth". So it appears your ancestor was an Odd Fellow (no insult intended).

The Edwardian Era

The long, hot Indian summer between the death of Queen Victoria and the start of World War I. A time of elegant tea parties, Gentleman Snarkers, Art Nouveau, ridiculous Flying Machines and (mostly) unsinkable ships.

Strictly, the term Edwardian Era only applies to the British Empire during the reign of King Edward VII from 1901 to 1910, but it is usually extended up to the outbreak of World War I in 1914 to capture the end of an era, overlapping with the Progressive Era in The United States note From the election of Theodore Roosevelt to entry in World War I . Similar periods in other countries, like "La Belle Époque" in France note Roughly from the establishment of the Third Republic to World War I , and the Wilhelmine Era in Germany note From the dismissal of Otto von Bismarck in 1890 to the start of World War I. Noticing a pattern? , also often incorporate The Gay '90s.

The early 1900s were a great age of technological transformation, and numerous scientific discoveries were made during the period. This was the period when the first Nobel Prizes were handed out, when Albert Einstein drew a line between traditional and modern physics with his Annus Mirabilis papers, when the Wright Brothers invented the airplane, when the radio was created and popularized, when cars like the Model T first became commonplace, and when the first expeditions to the North and South Poles were made. The 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris and 1904 St. Louis World's Fair remain some of the more famous world's fairs due to their showcasing of this great change.

In Britain, the Boer War brought a rather unpleasant end to the Victorian period and foreshadowed the brutality of conflicts to come, but Britons at home remained unfazed as the United Kingdom remained at the top of the world both politically and economically. France enjoyed a cultural renaissance as the country bounced back from the Franco-Prussian War and Napoleon III's dictatorship, returning to the spotlight as the cultural capital of Europe. The United States cut down on the corruption that had plagued it during The Gilded Age thanks to the reforms of Theodore Roosevelt's administration, while the Wild West became a little less wild.

Not all was well in the world, of course. In many parts of Europe, class struggle and ethnic tensions started to boil over. The Ottoman Empire was in a period of collapse as the Balkans became a hotbed of nationalism, which would go on to spark something a little bigger, while poverty among the Russian peasantry began to approach the breaking point as an insurrection was attempted in 1905&mdashthe little brother of the 1917 revolution. This was also a period of extended colonialism Europeans, most infamously the United Kingdom and Belgium&mdashbut also including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Portugal&mdashsolidified their rule over Africa during this period after its establishment in the late 19th century. The Raj was at its greatest extent in this era, and the Spanish-American War and the building of the Panama Canal were closely tied to American imperialism in the Western Hemisphere and in the Pacific, which, along with the Caribbean, the United States promptly converted into an "American lake" in short order, flexing its ascendant naval powers and brutally crushing and colonising weaker, internationally-unrecognised protostates, like the Philippines note which had literally just broken free from over 3 centuries of Spanish rule at this point so much for self-determination . Meanwhile, the Empire of Japan got into the imperial game at around the same time the United States did, going to war with and defeating Russia in 1905—the first time an Asian power defeated a (politically) Western/European one—and was in the early stages of expanding control over East Asia by this time, Taiwan and the Korean peninsula were now both under Japanese rule.

In spite of its many problems and darker sides, the period still remains fondly remembered. It was especially popular as the subject of movie musicals in The Golden Age of Hollywood and still retains some cultural relevance today it's the time when women's suffrage came in full swing, it's the time when one of America's most beloved presidents was in office and when one of Britain's current primary political parties first took hold, is a greatly influential era to anyone interested in the history of science and technology, and it's also the period when many sports took the shape of their current forms, including when modern sporting wear developed and when the modern safety bicycle was popularized. The comic strip as we now know it (see the folder below) essentially got its start during this era.

See also The Silent Age of Hollywood, the Meiji Restoration, Imperial Germany, The Mexican Revolution, The Raj, and No More Emperors for more specific information on the period in different places. The Gay '90s and The Roaring '20s are the decades before and after the Edwardian period.

While no one is sure when Freemasonry began, most believe that Freemasonry started long before King Solomon built his temple. Most members belong to a Masonic lodge where they gather regularly with other members. Freemasons wear a variety of objects containing symbols to show other Freemasons that they are proud members.

How do you know what size Mason ring to buy?

You can measure your Masonic ring size at home with a ruler and a thin strip of paper. It helps to have a Freemason brother help you. Wrap the paper around the finger where you plan to wear the ring. Carefully make a mark at the point where the paper intersects and use a ruler to measure that distance. If your measurement is:

  • 1.8 inches, order size 4
  • 1.93 inches, order size 5
  • 2.06 inches, order size 6
  • 2.125 inches, order size 7
  • 2.25 inches, order size 8
  • 2.31 inches, order size 9
  • 2.43 inches, order size 10
  • 2.56 inches, order size 11
  • 2.61 inches, order size 12
  • 2.75 inches, order size 13
  • 2.85 inches, order size 14

One of the first things that many Masons buy is their pin. While some lodges give it to their Freemasonry members, others require Freemasonry members to purchase their own Masons pin.

The Freemason pin shows two columns standing for King Solomons Temple. Most Masonic pins also have a blazing star in the top center showing that they believe that a deity is watching over them. Below the star is a book of religion. It can be the Bible, Quran, or other religious book based on the members belief.

On the right and left of most Masonic pins are straight lines standing for John the Baptist and John the Evangelist.

What is a Masons ring?

Most Masons do not get their Masonic rings until they reach Freemasonrys third degree. The Masons ring is also called the Blue Lodge Masonic Ring or the Masonic Signet Ring. While these Freemasons rings can have slight variations, most show a compass on top of a square.

  • The square represents the square of virtue. The mason wearing the ring promises to live a virtuous life.
  • The compass on the Freemasons ring shows that you are willing to let your god guide you. A compass is used because it was an important tool for early stonemasons who were influential in the founding of Freemasonry.

Some Freemason rings have a G on them, standing for God. Masons may choose to wear Freemason tie tacks, Freemason cuff links, Freemason watches, and many other Freemason items at the Masons lodge and in daily life.

What should you consider when buying Masons collectibles on eBay?

When youre looking for Masonic and Freemasonry collectibles on eBay, you can shop by category. Categories include rings and watches, jewels and medals, cuff links and pins, aprons and regalia, books/publications, belts and belt buckles, and more. Masonic objects can be found on eBay in conditions such as new, pre-owned, and used.

Bilbo Catcher (Bilboquette) and Cup & Ball

Item Last Updated: Thursday, 31-Jan-2019 22:38:23 EST

These toys were quite popular in Europe with adults and children alike throughout the time of the settlement of the New World colonies and would have been favorites on the North American continent as well, where they continue to be greatly enjoyed to this day.

Bilbo Catcher (Bilboquette): The Bilbo Catcher has a solid wood spindle 4 7/8" long, with a solid wood ball. In the Bilbo Catcher one side of the spindle is a straightforward cup and ball game, while on the other side the player must catch the ball on the tip of the spindle by a hole drilled in the ball for that purpose. Each toy is packaged in a poly bag with a history and instruction sheet.

Cup and Ball, Large: The large cup and ball toy is a solid wood turning 10 5/8" in length, with the cup designed in line with the handle. The ball is solid wood 1" in diameter. Each toy is individually packaged in a poly bag with a history and instruction sheet.

Cup and Ball, Small: The small cup and ball toy is also solid wood turning 6" in length, with the cup designed in line with the handle. The ball is solid wood ." in diameter. It is available in either natural wood or with a painted (yellow cup and red ball). Each toy is individually packaged in a poly bag by Historical Folk Toys.

These items are

Made in USA

Bilbo Catcher and Cup & Ball Games

Bilbo Catcher and Cup & Ball Games

  1. Check, by clicking, the box for each item and size wanted.
  2. Update the quantity if you want more than 1.
  3. When done selecting any/all items, click the "Put these items in my cart!" button.

Records available only at The National Archives in Kew

To access these records you will either need to visit us to see the documents for free at our building in Kew or, where you can identify a specific document reference , order a copy ( £ ) to be sent to you.

Pension case files, 1914–1920

Search our catalogue (below) for pension case files in record series PIN 26. Only a 2% sample of these records survive.

British military medical sheets and cards 1914-1920

These are selected records drawn from series MH 106, itself a representative, rather than a complete, selection of various kinds of medical records from various theatres of the First World War.

Search MH 106 in our catalogue by name, service number or unit for a sample of British servicemen’s medical sheets and medical cards. The detailed catalogue descriptions may mean that consultation of the original records is unnecessary.

The hospital admission and discharge records from this series are available to view online (see section above) but are not searchable by name in our own catalogue.

Unit war diaries from Russia, British colonies and other theatres of operations, 1914–1922

Search by unit name and number for document references to unit war diaries in series WO 95 using the series search. Use this search tool if you are looking for the war diaries of units that served in Russia, British colonies and theatres of operations other than the Western Front, Mesopotamia and Gallipoli – for these latter three see the advice on online diaries in the previous section.

For more detailed advice see our guide to British Army operations in the First World War.

Modest Royalty

This is the opposite of the Ermine Cape Effect, where persons in power, usually members of the royal family or the ruling monarch, prefer very simple clothing and will often refuse to wear anything but the simplest crown. They still won't dress like slobs or peasants &mdash that would be King Incognito. You might mistake them for well-mannered commoners in the right situation. Color-Coded Patrician is possible.

Sometimes the Princess Classic can go this way, but a Rebellious Princess almost always will. The Boisterous Bruiser, if a royal, usually does fancy clothing interferes with drinking life to the lees. It's not uncommon to see the King walk the streets as a King Incognito while their Decoy Leader handles the day-to-day.

This trope is usually confined to good fictional royalty. Evil royalty tend to go overboard with their costumes and impressive crowns, to emphasize that they are tyrants who like to lord their wealth over everyone else. Common exceptions are conquerors from Proud Warrior Races and Barbarian Tribes, who tend to dress in a simple but badass fashion, and those who insist they are Just the First Citizen. A possible example of this exception might be a Magnificent Bastard who dresses his Praetorian Guard up in gorgeous Bling of War to emphasize his power while he wears grimly simple garb himself to emphasize what a badass he is.

Largely Truth in Television, if only because you'd have to be extremely sybaritic to walk around every day wearing a fortune in irreplaceable jewelry and fancy clothes, although in the past, some came close. This is especially true if the royals actually personally lead armies or otherwise do something useful besides running the country. It's also necessary if a royal wants to avoid getting assassinated by dressing in a manner that gives him or her away.

There is even a correlation with good monarchs: all those dresses, furs, and jewelry cost money, which had to come from taxes, unless the monarch is a miser or exports some natural resource over which the state has a monopoly. However, those monarchies tend to become corrupt, too.

Firefight Continues

He fired at the farther bunkers and silenced those, but the big bunker remains a deadly problem. He has the M60-gunner fire on the bunker and he wants to charge to the bunker to clear it under the cover of that automatic fire. Before he could do that, a grenade flies out of the bunker and explodes right in front of the barrel of the M60, wounding the gunner.

Slabinski again assesses the situation. “The gunner is down. John hasn’t moved and my other two guys are still engaged in contact,” he said. “The plan in my head isn’t working so I have to do something different.”

Artist rendition of The Battle of Takur Ghar. (Painting by Keith Rocco)

He decided to get his small band out of direct fire. As he is doing that another SEAL was hit in the leg from the same machine gun Slabinski was trying to take out. “I sent the wounded over first and I crawled over to John, looking for some sign of life from John and didn’t get anything,” he said.

The place he chose to seek shelter from the fire was just about 30 feet away over the side of the mountain.


Reference this scientific study instead of Albino lies.

Please note: Byzantium/Anatolia/The Eastern Roman Empire/Asia Minor: are all the SAME place = Anatolia.

Which the Albino Turks from Asia took from the Black Eastern Roman Empire in 1453 A.D.


Quote: indirect contacts through geographically intermediary populations carrying&ldquosub-Saharan&rdquo biological features in the late Pleistocene&ndashHolocene period are discussion points.

Paleolithic period - relating to or denoting the early phase of the Stone Age, lasting about 2.5 million years, when primitive stone implements were used.
Mesolithic period - relating to or denoting the middle part of the Stone Age, between the Paleolithic and Neolithic. Approximately 11,700 B.C, to 2,700 B.C. (Depending on location).
Neolithic period - also called New Stone Age, final stage of cultural evolution or technological development among prehistoric humans. It was characterized by stone tools shaped by polishing or grinding, dependence on domesticated plants or animals, settlement in permanent villages, and the appearance of such crafts as pottery and weaving. The Neolithic followed the Paleolithic Period, or age of chipped-stone tools, and preceded the Bronze Age, or early period of metal tools.

Aurignacian culture - of or relating to an Upper Paleolithic culture marked by finely made artifacts of stone and bone, paintings, and engravings. It first appeared in Eastern Europe around 43,000 BP, and in Western Europe between 40,000 and 36,000 years BP. It was replaced by the Gravettian culture around 28,000 to 26,000 years ago.

Quote: We know from archeological data that in the upper Paleolithic period Anatolia was settled by populations with Aurignacian culture (Kuhn 2002). Recent genetic studies (Cinnioglu et al. 2004 Olivieri et al. 2006) based on the analysis of mtDNA (haplogroup M1 and U6) and the Y chromosome (R1b3-M269 lineage) suggest, in agreement with paleoenvironmental evidence (van Andel and Tzedakis 1996), that around 40,000&ndash45,000 years ago, populations with Aurignacian culture may have spread by migration from the Levant and southwest Asia to Anatolia and further into Europe (Bar-Yosef 2002). With the exception of these scarce molecular data, almost nothing is known about the biological features of these early Paleolithic Anatolian foragers. Nevertheless, considering the important demographic processes and biological changes undergone by human populations as a result of later and major events (e.g., the Neolithic transition), we believe that the causes of the observed affinity patterns have to be determined from these later periods.

From the Mesolithic to the early Neolithic period different lines of evidence support an out-of-Africa Mesolithic migration to the Levant by northeastern African groups that had biological affinities with sub-Saharan populations.

From a genetic point of view, several recent genetic studies have shown that sub Saharan genetic lineages (affiliated with the Y-chromosome PN2 clade Underhill et al. 2001) have spread through Egypt into the Near East, the Mediterranean area, and, for some lineages, as far north as Turkey (E3b-M35 Y lineage Cinnioglu et al. 2004 Luis et al. 2004), probably during several dispersal episodes since the Mesolithic (Cinnioglu et al. 2004 King et al. 2008 Lucotte and Mercier 2003 Luis et al. 2004 Quintana-Murci et al. 1999 Semino et al. 2004 Underhill et al. 2001).

This finding is in agreement with morphological data that suggest that populations with sub-Saharan morphological elements were present in northeastern Africa, from the Paleolithic to at least the early Holocene, and diffused northward to the Levant and Anatolia beginning in the Mesolithic.

Indeed, the rare and incomplete Paleolithic to early Neolithic skeletal specimens found in Egypt&mdashsuch as the 33,000-year-old Nazlet Khater specimen (Pinhasi and Semal 2000), the Wadi Kubbaniya skeleton from the late Paleolithic site in the upper Nile valley (Wendorf et al. 1986), the Qarunian (Faiyum) early Neolithic crania (Henneberg et al. 1989 Midant-Reynes 2000), and the Nabta specimen from the Neolithic Nabta Playa site in the western desert of Egypt (Henneberg et al. 1980)&mdashshow, with regard to the great African biological diversity, similarities with some of the sub-Saharan middle Paleolithic and modern sub-Saharan specimens.

This affinity pattern between ancient Egyptians and sub-Saharans has also been noticed by several other investigators (Angel 1972 Berry and Berry 1967, 1972 Keita 1995) and has been recently reinforced by the study of Brace et al. (2005), which clearly shows that the cranial morphology of prehistoric and recent northeast African populations is linked to sub-Saharan populations (Niger-Congo populations). These results support the hypothesis that some of the Paleolithic&ndashearly Holocene populations from northeast Africa were probably descendents of sub-Saharan ancestral populations.

A late Pleistocene&ndashearly Holocene northward migration (from Africa to the Levant and to Anatolia) of these populations has been hypothesized from skeletal data (Angel 1972, 1973 Brace et al. 2005) and from archeological data, as indicated by the probable Nile valley origin of the &ldquoMesolithic&rdquo (epi-Paleolithic) Mushabi culture found in the Levant (Bar Yosef 1987). This migration finds some support in the presence in Mediterranean populations (Sicily, Greece, southern Turkey, etc. Patrinos et al. 2001 Schiliro et al. 1990) of the Benin sickle cell haplotype. This haplotype originated in West Africa and is probably associated with the spread of malaria to southern Europe through an eastern Mediterranean route (Salares et al. 2004) following the expansion of both human and mosquito populations brought about by the advent of the Neolithic transition (Hume et al. 2003 Joy et al. 2003 Rich et al. 1998).

This northward migration of northeastern African populations carrying sub-Saharan biological elements is concordant with the morphological homogeneity of the Natufian populations (Bocquentin 2003), which present morphological affinity with sub-Saharan populations (Angel 1972 Brace et al. 2005). In addition, the Neolithic revolution was assumed to arise in the late Pleistocene Natufians and subsequently spread into Anatolia and Europe (Bar-Yosef 2002), and the first Anatolian farmers, Neolithic to Bronze Age Mediterraneans and to some degree other Neolithic&ndashBronze Age Europeans, show morphological affinities with the Natufians (and indirectly with sub-Saharan populations Angel 1972 Brace et al. 2005), in concordance with a process of demic diffusion accompanying the extension of the Neolithic revolution (Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994).

Following the numerous interactions among eastern Mediterranean and Levantine populations and regions, caused by the introduction of agriculture from the Levant into Anatolia and southeastern Europe (Bar-Yosef 2002 Keita and Boyce 2005 King et al. 2008), there was, beginning in the Bronze Age, a period of increasing interactions in the eastern Mediterranean, mainly during the Greek, Roman, and Islamic periods. These interactions resulted in the development of trading networks, military campaigns, and settler colonization (Cruciani et al. 2007 Edwards et al. 2000 Keita and Boyce 2005 King et al. 2008 Lucotte and Mercier 2003 Sahoglu 2005 Waelkens et al. 2006).

Major changes took place during this period, which may have accentuated or diluted the sub-Saharan components of the earlier Anatolian populations. The second option seems more likely, because even though the population from the Sagalassos territorywas interacting with northeastern African and Levantine populations [trade relationships with Egypt (Arndt et al. 2003), involvement of thousands of mercenaries from Pisidia (Sagalassos region) in the war around 300 b.c. between the Ptolemaic kingdom (centered on Egypt) and the Seleucid kingdom (Syria/Mesopotamia/Anatolia), etc.], the major cultural and population interactions involving the Anatolian populations since the Bronze Age occurred with the Mediterranean populations from southeastern Europe, as suggested from historical (cf. historical context) and genetic data (Berkman et al. 2008 Cinnioglu et al. 2004 Di Benedetto et al. 2001 Tambets et al. 2000).

Consequently, one may hypothesize as the most parsimonious explanation that sub-Saharan biological elements were introduced into the Anatolian populations after the Neolithic spread and have been preserved since this time, at least until the 11th&ndash13th century a.d, in the population living in the Sagalassos territory of southwestern Anatolia.

This scenario implies that the affinity between Sagalassos and the two sub-Saharan populations (Gabon and Somalia) is more likely due to the sharing of a common ancestor and that the major changes and increasing interactions in the eastern Mediterranean beginning in the Bronze Age did not erase some of the sub-Saharan elements carried by Anatolian populations, as shown by genetic data (e.g., Cinnioglu et al. 2004 Luis et al. 2004) and the morphological features of our southwestern Anatolian sample.

Towards the end of the Neolithic, in about 2,450BC, the descendants of the first farmers were themselves almost entirely replaced when a new population - called the Bell Beaker people - migrated from mainland Europe. So Britain saw two extreme genetic shifts in the space of a few thousand years. Prof Thomas said that this later event happened after the Neolithic population had been in decline for some time, both in Britain and across Europe. He cautioned against simplistic explanations invoking conflict, and said the shifts ultimately came down to "economic" factors, about which lifestyles were best suited to exploit the landscape.

Dr Booth explained: "It's difficult to see whether the two [genetic shifts] could have anything in common - they're two very different kinds of change. There's speculation that they're to some extent population collapses. But the reasons suggested for those two collapses are different, so it could just be coincidence."

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

The international nongovernmental organization presence is significant, ranging from various organizations of the United Nations that conduct a wide variety of projects across the country, to small groups that work in only one community. The programs they finance and implement include poverty alleviation, infectious disease control, contraception, educational assistance, and water purification, among others.

The development of civil society in Vietnam is still in its nascent stages, thus there are as of yet few indigenous nongovernmental associations that play a significant role in social life. Two types that appear to be gaining importance are patrilineages and religious or ritual organizations, such as local Buddhist Associations or Spirit Medium Associations. Some official organizations such as the Communist Party's Elderly Association that has a presence in villages throughout the country play an important role in organizing funerals and assisting the elderly.

The Johann Michael Mueller, now Miller, family began in the Germanic area of Europe long before the advent of written records.

European Beginnings

With the decline of the Roman Empire in the 5 th century, the Elbe Germani moved south into Southern Germany and Austria. The Alemannians lived in what are now Bavaria and the Baden areas, but was then called Swabia. Around 500 AD, or 2500 years ago, the Burgundians (French speaking) moved into western Switzerland. The Allemannians (German speaking) moved into what is the Middleland area of Switzerland. The Alemannians were an agricultural people, but pagan and barbarian. The Franks who lived in central Germany and who also moved into Switzerland conquered the Alemanni tribe and after a struggle, “Christianized” the people and set the moral code for the next generations. They also introduced feudalism to the area.

Thus a roaming Germanic tribe was given a moral and religious structure as they resided in and farmed the area later known as the Canton of Berne, where our German speaking Miller family is first found.

These ancestors lived in small villages and small inter-related family groups called clans. This organization was similar to that which was seen later on the American frontier. Many family surnames associated early in this part of Switzerland are seen later in Pennsylvania and Ohio among the Pietist religions. Hence the family associations that are seen in relationship to the Millers on the American frontier were linkages that go back many, many generations into Europe.

For many generations these people farmed the land in Switzerland and most likely were faithful Catholics.

When the Protestant Reformation came to the Canton of Berne, Switzerland, some of these rural families followed the teachings of Zwingli and became part of the Reformed Church. Others followed the teachings of Conrad Grebel and became part of the Anabaptist movement in Switzerland. These became known as the Swiss Brethren. The map below shows Berne as a fortified city in 1638. Perhaps our ancestors walked those very ramparts, entered through the city gate, conducted business and sold their wares.

Here’s an aerial view of the old part of the city today.

In the later part of the 17 th century, the Swiss Pietists split into two groups the Swiss Mennonites under the leadership of Hans Reist and the Amish who derived their name from Jacob Ammann of Erlenbach.

Thus the small clans and inter-related family groups who were farmers in the valleys of Switzerland now become members of three separate religious movements, namely the Reformed, Mennonite and the Amish. This is why years later on the frontier in America, the Reformed (now transformed into German Baptists known as Brethren or Dunkards), the Mennonites and the Amish have similar and seemingly related surnames and practices.

Switzerland to Germany

Our Miller family line begins in Switzerland with Johann Michael Mueller, born in 1655 in Zollikofen, Switzerland.

Zollikofen is just outside of Bern.

During the first half of the seventeenth century, Switzerland was relatively untouched by the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War, (1618-1648), a Catholic-Protestant conflict, fought principally on German soil. Switzerland enjoyed peace and prosperity and had a good market for its excess products. During the second half of the same century a social reaction set in, which was made acute by political and religious confusion. In 1653, the peasants of the Cantons of Bern, Lucerne, Solothurn and Basel revolted against the authorities, chiefly for social reasons. Since there were good opportunities for new settlers in depopulated Germany, many people left the Canton of Bern during this period and journeyed northward into foreign parts, specifically Germany.

The Rhine River was the way out of Switzerland and these families settled wherever it led. Beyond Germany, emigration into the “lowlands” (Netherlands) as the destination of the emigrants used to be called, lasted into the eighteenth century and was much more numerous than emigration to America – although many did eventually emigrate. The Millers, (then spelled Mueller), came from a village about 10 miles north of Bern Switzerland, called Zollikofen and were a part of the Reformed church there.

The earliest ancestor that has been documented is Johann Michael Mueller, who is believed to have been born in 1655, in the City of Zollikofen, Canton of Bern, Switzerland.

The Zollikofen church, above, shown inside today, built in 1306, still stands. Our cousin, the Reverend Richard Miller is, appropriately, standing in the pulpit.

Above, a view of the beautiful church from a distance and below, a street view thanks to Google maps street view.

It is likely that in the late 1680’s the Miller family along with perhaps other friends and relatives moved north along the Rhine River and settled in the Rhineland-Pfaltz area of southern Germany. They became part of the Steinwenden and Konken (Germany) Reformed parish churches and records of their respective families are recorded in the church records. The Steinwenden records began in 1684 and Konken in 1653, but the churches reach further back in time. There are other churches in the area whose records to not exist and those may have held other family records as well.

The Konken records include those of the Berchtoll family, including Hans Berchtol, whose daughter would marry the son of Johann Michael Miller (the first.)

Johann Michael Mueller married Irene Charitas, whose last name is unknown. That’s right, Charitas is NOT her last name, as is reflected universally on internet trees, but her middle name as recorded in church records, as was the custom of the time.

Cousin Reverend Richard Miller visited Zollikofen and provided the following information.

“On Friday, 04 October 1996, I was in Steinwenden and was entertained by the Burgermeister of Steinwenden. A television crew from Mainz came and interviewed me for a personal interest story of me coming back to the home of my ancestors, i.e., Johan Michael Mueller. Also present was genealogist Roland Paul of the Institue für Pfälzische Geschichte und Volkskünde located in Kaiserlautern. The Burgermeister of Steinwenden and the television station had asked Roland to research Johan Michael Müller, born 1692 in Steinwenden. The attached are two records which Roland gave me. He asserted that Michael’s mother’s maiden name is unknown, and that Irene Charitas is her first and middle name rather than first and maiden name.”

Irene may have been related to the Schlosser family, as there was a 1689 confirmation of Irene Charitas Schloser, daughter of Conrad Schlosser, of Steinwenden, if I’m reading this correctly.

At this time however, Irene Charitas was already married to Michael Mueller as they had their first child’s birth recorded in the church records in June of 1685, or earlier. They likely married in 1684. Their children were baptized in the Reformed church in Steinwenden, Germany, near Mannheim.

The bell tower of the original Steinwenden church is all that is left standing (1996) and is shown here.

Johann Michael Mueller and Irene Charitas Mueller had 6 children. Sadly, all of their children died other than Johann Michael Mueller who was the youngest, born October 5 th , 1692. I can’t imagine the depth Irene’s grief at the deaths of her first 5 children – and her joy at the one that lived.

We don’t know where those children are buried, but my best guess would be the churchyard.

Steinwenden, Germany

The village of Steinwenden is shown below, photography courtesy of Richard Miller during his visit to the Miller homeland.

Irene may have been joyful about her son that lived, but her husband, Johann Michael, their father, died three years later on January 31, 1695, still a young man, at age 40.

Some genealogical records show that Irene died and Michael remarried to Anna Loysa Regina, but the church records indicate that all of Johann Michael Mueller’s children were born to Irene Charitas. The summary record, below, provided to Richard Miller when he visited Steinwenden in 1996 lists Irene Charitas (with no last name listed) as the mother for all 6 children born between 1685 and 1692.

Many times the people who were designated as Godparents were relatives of the father or mother of the children. Godparents at that time were extremely important, and the children were generally named after the Godparents. In the case of the death of the parents, which happened all too often, it was the Godparents who would raise the children. The Godparents of these children were Hans George Shoemaker and his wife, Mich. Stahl – I can’t tell if this is two people or three. The second is Abraham, Hans Berchtol, Hoffman. Third was Samuel Hoffman. Fourth is Maria Catherine. Fifth is Eva ?, Catherine, Samuel Shoemaker. Finally, the sixth child’s Godparents standing up with Johann Michael Mueller born on October 5, 1692 were Johann Michael Shoemaker, Hans Berchtol and wife.

Little did they know that Hans Berchtol’s daughter, then 4 years old, would one day marry this baby boy.

After Johann Michael’s death, his widow reportedly married Jacob Stutzman whose wife had died. However, there exists a great deal of confusion about who Jacob Stutzman married. In the Gene Miller book, he attributes Jacob Stutzman’s wife, Anna Loysa Regina as the widow of Johann Michael Mueller – but as we’ve seen – based on the church records, Johann Michael Miller’s wife was one Irene Charitas, not Anna Loysa Regina, at least as late as 1692. Perhaps Irene died and Johann Michael Miller remarried to Anna Loysa Regina before his death in 1695. This conflicting information may never be entirely resolved, at least not until the entire set of church records is transcribed and translated, in full, such that the various families can be reassembled. However, there were many little villages in this area and people didn’t always stay in one place.

Johann Michael Mueller, born in Switzerland in 1655, died in the Steinwenden German Reformed congregation on January 31, 1695, at the age of 40 years. His reported widow, Anna Loysa Regina Mueller remarried a Hans Jacob Stutsman of the Konken German Reformed Congregation on September 29, 1695. If this is accurate, and Anna Loysa Regina was the widow of Johann Michael Mueller, that would indicate that Irene Charitas died between January 1692 when her only child to survive was born and 1695 when her husband died – and with enough time for him to remarry. That could explain why they didn’t have another child in 1694 – perhaps she was dead or perhaps she and the child both died during childbirth. If this is the case, the only mother Johann Michael Mueller would have known was Anna Regina and the only father, her second husband Jacob Stutzman. No children are attributed to Johann Michael Mueller and Anna Loysa Regina in church records, although she did have children with Johann Jacob Stutzman..

The Pietist Movement

The Stutzman family was originally from the Lake Thun area in Switzerland, according to the book, “Jacob Stutzman, His Children and Grandchildren” by John Hale Stutesman, Jr. who reports that they fled from religious persecution to the welcoming Palatinate in Germany before 1700. Of course, this is also the area where the Mueller family originated as well.

Ironically, this is less than an hour away from where I lived in the summer of 1970 – one of the most stunningly beautiful areas I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing.

This drawing of Thun isn’t far from Zollikofen where the Miller family is first found. So it appears that the Mueller and Stutzman families were located in the same area of Switzerland. One might surmise that they were part of a group that migrated together to Germany.

“Thunersee” by Roland Zumbühl, Arlesheim

A beautiful view of Lake Thun today.

In Germany, later, the combined Miller/Stutzman family is found near Bad Durkheim where Johann Jacob Stutzmann was born on January 1, 1706, on the Weilacher Hof, near Hardenburg, son of the tenant farmer on the Weilacher Hof, Johann Jacob Stutzmann and his wife Regina Elisabetha.

Given that Johann Jacob Stutzman married Regina Elisabetha Mueller after the death of Johann Michael Mueller (the first), and in 1706 Jacob Stutzman’s wife’s name was recorded as Regina Elisabetha – it’s likely that Irene Charitas had died before 1695 when Johann Jacob Mueller died given that Johann Jacob Stutzman apparently married his widow. This makes Johann Jacob Stutzman (the second) born in 1706 a “step-brother” to Johann Michael Mueller (the second.) Said differently, Johann Michael Mueller’s step mother remarried after his father’s death and his step-mother and her new husband had a son, Johann Jacob Stutzman (the second.) This son and his “step-brother” Johann Michael Mueller were lifelong friends and companions – eventually immigrating to America together and moving in tandem across the frontier.

Many of the Swiss families had Pietist leanings. Some were Mennonite and eventually became Brethren, as did Johann Jacob Mueller (the second) and Johann Jacob Stutzman (the second.)

The Brethren sect itself began in 1708 in the village of Schwarzenau, in Wittgenstein, Germany with the rebaptism of eight people. The Brethren faith spread rapidly and it was only 11 years later that the first group of Brethren landed in Philadelphia.

It’s certainly possible that an entire group of Anabaptist leaning families relocated from Switzerland to the Bad Durkheim area in Germany. In 1714, the Miller family was in Krottelback, not far from Hardenburg.

The next step for these families, of course, was to safety in Holland, then on the ship Adventure in 1727 to America. Justin Replogle states that the Brethren in Holland had been in exile since 1720. It’s unlikely that Michael was among this group, because his son Philip Jacob was born in Germany in about 1726.

I surely would like to know the individual stories of the families involved and what prompted these decisions. What kinds of factors were involved? Did they know they would be kindly received when they relocated from Switzerland to Germany, then from Germany to Rotterdam and then from Rotterdam to Philadelphia, or was the future entirely unknown? Were they joining families who had already departed and were doing well in the new lands? What prompted the entire group of Brethren to depart – in fact causing the sect to die out in Europe? Were these families Brethren before they left, or did they convert after arriving in the US? We know the Bechtol family was Mennonite.

The 30 Years War may have had a lot to do with the decision to leave Switzerland. Germany was depopulated after the 30 Years War which ended in 1648, with some areas being entirely devastated. Overall, the population loss was from 25-40% with the Palatinate being particularly hard hit, losing 75 to 80% of the population. After the war, settlers from other part of Germany and Switzerland were invited to repopulate the area which included both Catholic and Lutheran (Protestant) churches.

According to the book, “Becoming German: The 1709 Palatine Migration to New York,” (pages 12-14), misery in this area wasn’t over yet. From 1688-1697, the War of the Palatine Succession brought French armies overrunning the German southwest, laying waste to vineyards, farmland and the regions cities and smaller towns. Mannheim was destroyed and Speyer stood uninhabited for 10 years. Farmland stood abandoned and German rulers sought to attract new settlers by offering tax concessions and religious toleration which specifically included Catholics, Lutherans, Mennonites and Jews.

This may have been part of the reason these Protestant families selected this area.

Colonies of religious dissidents moved to Germany from neighboring counties, in particular, Switzerland. In 1656 and 1657, more than 1000 Swiss moved to the Palatinate. In 1671, over 1600 Mennonites arrived from Bern. Portuguese Jews attracted by the elector’s concessions settled in Mannheim. Huguenot refugees followed as well.

Migration became a fact of life in this part of Germany. In one study, it was found that between 1593 and 1780, about half of one town’s citizens were not born there.

This area of Germany became extremely religiously diverse. In 1705, an edict called the Religionsdeklaration clarified the religious situation, unquestionably giving religious freedom to all individuals. Lutherans fell under the Reformed, as did other Protestant sects, which may be why we find both the Miller and Stutzman children baptized in Reformed or Lutheran churches. By this time, the pietists, an offshoot of the Lutherans, were calling for a more inward-looking and emotional faith than the established churches but were meeting privately, not able to establish open churches.

In 1675, Philipp Jacob Spener, a Lutheran pastor in Frankfurt encouraged his followers to create small, private groups to read and discuss the Bible. He didn’t intend for those groups to leave the established churches, but they formed what they called conventicles which further split the already fractured religious communities in Germany. Pietists become very closely bound within their own group, and the pietist groups throughout Germany tended to bind together tightly as well, between villages which weren’t spaced very far apart, forming a network.

What were these early Brethren people like?

To begin with, they didn’t care much about official clergy and buildings. They preferred to hear their neighbor farmer preach who farmed the other 6 days a week, gathered in his barn. The word congregation did not necessarily mean a stand-alone church building, it may have meant only a gathering of like-minded people.

Pietists did not stress the intellectual side of Christianity. They emphasized the literal text of the Bible and didn’t worry about theory. The community stressed humility, work and service to others. The Brethren were plain people, pacifists, remaining aloof during the worldliness of political office, military service, oaths, litigation and filing anything in court or at the courthouse, unfortunately including deeds and marriages.

The Brethren practiced shunning of church members and even their children who did things they did not approve of. Alexander Mack Jr., the son of the founder of the Brethren church shunned both of his daughters. One for marrying outside the faith and because the marriage “was performed with a license.” The second, who was shunned to the point where the family would not even eat with her, was shunned for doing something we’ll have to surmise, but it was said that the “sin was not so great because they had been engaged never to leave each other.” An entire Brethren congregation shunned another young woman because she sat in the lap of a man who was trying to force her into immorality, for an hour, pretending to be asleep.” Her father argued that she had not actually committed fornication, and left the congregation, taking several members with him.

Church historian Morgan Edwards summarized Brethren like this in 1770: “They use great plainness of language and dress, like the Quakers and like them will neither swear nor fight. The will not go to law nor take interest for the money they lend. They commonly wear their beards…They have the Lord’s supper…love feasts, washing of feet, kiss of charity…use the trine immersion…as the party kneels down to be baptized…” (Replogle)

We see this same culture in the Brethren, Mennonite and Amish, then as now.

The area where I grew up in Indiana had a well-established Amish, Mennonite and Brethren community. They tended to live in the same area, but they did not intermix, or at least not much. As much as they looked “alike” to those of us who were not members of those religions, their differences, to them, were chasms, especially the adoption of modern technology and conveniences like electricity, farm equipment and automobiles.

The Amish, typically called the “Old Order” were the most restrictive, not embracing any modern technology at all. These were and are the horse and buggy families.

The Mennonites were in the middle. They would ride in or drive cars, but they had to be very plain – always black, nothing shiny, no hubcaps or radios. The local car dealership always had to special order a group of Mennonite cars.

The Brethren were the least restrictive. Their men dressed almost normally, although some still had beards. Their women often still wore prayer bonnets, but their clothes weren’t always black. Their homes were plain, but did include modern conveniences. However, in our family, one will includes instructions for the man’s gravestone not to be highly polished. They were known as highly conservative “plain people.”

This photo is of my mother’s Brethren grandparents, Hiram Bauke Ferverda and Evaline Louise Miller, and their family taken about 1918. Other than their relatively “plain” dress, you would never know they were Brethren. Their son, third from right in the front row is also wearing a uniform, having served in WWI – something VERY un-Brethren. In this photo, the women are not wearing prayer bonnets, but mother said that she distinctly remembers this woman, her grandmother, wearing a prayer cap. My mother’s father, John Whitney Ferverda (b1882) is the second from right, back row.

This photo taken about 18 years earlier, around 1900, of Evaline Louise Miller, middle, and her parents, Margaret Lentz Whitehead and John David Miller looks much more typically Brethren. The men have beards and the women are wearing darker colors and prayer bonnets, covering their hair.

My mother’s family was Brethren until my grandfather, gasp, married a Lutheran woman and because there was no Brethren or Lutheran church in the small town where they lived, they chose to become Methodist! Oh, the scandal! With that religiously “mixed” marriage ended at least a 7 generations long line of Pietists who became Brethren, reaching back hundreds of years into Germany and Switzerland – back into the mists of time so far that we no longer have records, only the knowledge of how strongly those people must have felt about their religion to willingly suffer the persecution and displacement that they withstood.

I’m suspecting they literally rolled over in their graves to know that one of their descendants married outside the faith and became something un-Pietist.

The Miller DNA

One of our Miller participants has tested to 111 markers and taken the Big Y test. Although our haplogroup is a subgroup of typically European R1b, we have only Miller matches at 12 through 111 markers, except at 25 and 37 markers where we have a match to a Morgan man whose ancestor, Morgan Morgan, hails from Wales and was born in 1688.

The Big Y DNA results, a test which not only checks for all known SNPs, but scans for new and unknown mutations as well, shows that our Miller participant most closely matches a man from Bulgaria. In this case, the word close does not mean in a genealogical timeframe. This match reaches back before the advent of surnames, as there are 3 known SNP differences and only 58 of 100 novel variants or previously unknown SNPs. This means that our common ancestor with this man is probably someplace around 3,000 or 4,000 years ago. Our next closest match is from Austria and from about as long ago. These are followed closely by three English surnames and a Spanish surname.

The Miller terminal SNP, which defines our haplogroup, is called R-Z2106.

The Y haplotree looks like a branching tree or a pedigree chart on steroids. Our twig, R-Z2106 is a part of a larger stick which is a part of a larger branch, etc.

Each of these branches becomes increasingly smaller and more granular. The 100 or so novel variants found in the Miller DNA will also become branches someday, so there may be several more. As DNA mutates, new novel variants, which are unnamed SNPs because they have just been discovered, continue to occur every few generations in each line. This means that our own personal branch of the tree may have several SNPs or mutations that no one else has. Whatever valley our ancestors may have been isolated in hundreds or thousands of years ago, perhaps during the last glacial maximum, may hold many men with the same mutations that today will become a small subgroup of a haplogroup – like Z2106. We don’t know the history, but by looking at groups of men with these same mutations, and estimating when the mutation happened, and pairing that with what we know historically and geologically was happening in the world at that time, we can piece some semblance of our own deep personal history together.

This is a map of the distribution of haplogroup L23. It’s estimated that L23 occurred in the first male about 7000 years ago.

Generally, the darker or most saturated regions are the origins of the haplogroup. L23 is interesting because it is typically not found in high frequencies in Europe, typically less than 5% or haplogroup R, except in Switzerland’s Upper Rhone Valley where it is found at 27%. That could be a clue for us.

This same paper, “Massive migration from the steppe is a source for Indo-European languages in Europe” by Haak et al, 2015, states that there is virtually no haplogroup R1b found in Europe before the period beginning about 4500 years ago in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Ages, and that this R1b found in these Russian burials appears to be mixed with Near East (Anatolian) DNA as well. This implies, of course, that one of the migration routes to Europe was north through Russia, and one was crossing at present day Istanbul and going through the Baltic.

Subgroup Z2103 is referred to as the Balkan and Asian branch of the L23 tree. Z2103 is found in a high percentage of Armenian men today.

Armenia is, of course, dead center in the middle of the migration path from the Near East to the Russian steppes, shown on the map above with a red balloon.

Referencing the Armenian DNA project, two men within that project carry the R-Z2106 SNP – the same one the Miller men carry. SNP Z2106 is exceedingly rare. I’ve been able to locate less than a dozen samples.

However, there are 21 men who carry the Z2103 SNP and 14 men who carry the Z2109 SNP in the Armenian project. Another 2109 SNP is found in Iraq and one in Germany.

This map shows what was occurring in the Balkan region about 4500 years ago.

In 2015, six graves were excavated near Samara, Russia, shown on the map below, that represent the Yamna culture and of those, four carried the mutation Z2103 which is estimated to have been born about 6000 years ago, as are SNPs Z2109 and Z2106.

SNPs Z2106 and Z2109 were not reported in the ancient burials, but we don’t know if they were tested for or not.

These men of the Yamna culture lived between 2700 and 3300 years ago (BCE). We share a common ancestor with these men. Where and when is the question that remains.

It is in the history of these maps, these peoples and our DNA that the story of our ancestry is told. We’re still trying to put the pieces together, but looking at these maps, and our SNPs and novel variants, we know that our ancestors were first found in Switzerland in contemporary records, but their history extends back into Eastern Europe and back to Anatolia before that. They may have moved into Europe with the waves of farmers from that region, or they may have arrived from the Russian steppes. Given where our other SNPS, Z2103 and Z2109 are (and aren’t) found, I’m betting that they migrated from Anatolia across the Balkan region into eastern Europe as part of the migration of the European Neolithic farmer culture.

None of this is cast exactly in concrete – more like in jello molds. We continue to make discoveries and learn every day in this emerging field. However, what we do know is exciting and tantalizing and every puzzle piece we find adds to the story of our Mueller family.

Wouldn’t Johann Michael Mueller be surprised to know the secrets his DNA shared with his irreverent Methodist descendants! But Johann Michael, take heart, because there are still many Miller Brethren families. In fact, we even have a Miller-Brethren DNA project to help sort and reconstruct those families!

If you descend from a Brethren Miller family, you are most welcome to join.

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Watch the video: Your Ancestors Military Photographs. Findmypast (June 2022).