Sunday, February 12, 2012

MARY MILLER born about 1715, of Lancaster Co VA, wife of JOHN WOODSON--Not the daughter of WILLIAM MILLER & MARTHA TAYLOR!! FOR GOODNESS SAKES!!!

I know I will ruffle some feathers with this post, but here goes.

There is so much misinformation in online family trees about MARY MILLER b about 1715 who married  JOHN WOODSON Aug 10, 1731 in Lancaster Co VA. It's absolutely shocking. And if only people would take the time to a) actually look at records and b) think about the facts, they might refrain from putting such erroneous information on the web.

The record that started everything can be found in the book "Married Well & Often" by Robert K Headley, page 384.  There we see the following entry:

WOODSON, John & MILLER, Mary; marriage bond dated Aug 10, 1731; WILLIAM MILLER (sec). Groom was from Goochland Co VA; marriage took place in Lancaster Co VA.

Clearly, MARY MILLER was from the Miller family of Lancaster Co VA, from which I directly descend (my great grandmother being ALICE MILLER born May 3, 1856 Springhill, Livingston Co MO).  I've been researching this family for over 12 years. The problem is, too many people have assumed that a WILLIAM MILLER was MARY's father, and have tried to insert her into various branches of the family for which there are many records proving otherwise!!  There were several individuals with the name MARY MILLER and WILLIAM MILLER, not to mention several lines of this family that have never been properly researched.

So, without further ado, here is evidence to prove who MARY MILLER WOODSON wasn't:

1) MARY MILLER, daughter of WILLIAM MILLER & MARY HEATH of Goochland Co VA. First off, this couple couldn't be the parents of MARY who married JOHN WOODSON in 1731,as their own marriage didn't occur until 1741!  Also, all of their children's births were noted in the Douglas Register, Goochland Co VA.  This MARY MILLER was born March 6, 1756 in Goochland Co VA and married Obediah Periere.

2)MARY MILLER, born about 1715, daughter of JOHN MILLER & MARGARET of  Lancaster Co VA. 
There is  circumstantial evidence in the 1732 Lancaster Co VA will of MARGARET MILLER indicating that one of her daughters married a ROGERS.  And I believe that was JOHN ROGERS, who died 1765 Lancaster Co VA; his will shows that wife MARY renounced all benefits, that he had a son RICHARD ROGERS, a son WILLIAM ROGERS who died 1768, a son JOHN ROGERS (gleaned from his brother's 1768 will), a daughter MARGARET ROGERS and a daughter ELIZABETH ROGERS who married WILLIAM MITCHELL.

The 1732 Lancaster Co VA will of MARGARET MILLER shows she had a granddaughter ELIZABETH ROGERS; she does not mention daughter MARY in her will, but MARY is named as the granddaughter of RANDOLPH MILLER in his will dated 1720 Lancaster Co VA, and he indicates she was a daughter of his son JOHN MILLER.

This is convoluted & circumstantial evidence, I know, and if anyone has any further evidence, I would be glad to see it. On the other hand, there is absolutely NO evidence to show that JOHN & MARGARET MILLER of Lancaster Co VA had any grandchildren who were Woodsons.

My ROGERS  theory has met with extreme hostility from at least one researcher, who believes that this MARY MILLER was the one who married JOHN WOODSON 1731 in Lancaster Co VA. However, this person was unable to provide documentation to prove my theory wrong.

3) MARY MILLER, daughter of WILLIAM MILLER & MARTHA TAYLOR of Lancaster Co VA.
The last time I checked, there were 60 Rootsweb online family trees with this error. And there are over 400 on public family trees with this error.

WILLIAM MILLER was born about 1700 Lancaster Co VA to WILLIAM MILLER & FRANCES PARFITT, and was grandson of RANDOLPH MILLER of Lancaster Co VA;  MARTHA TAYLOR was the daughter of THOMAS TAYLOR & ELIZABETH THERRIOT of Lancaster Co VA.

Their marriage bond was dated Dec 10, 1718 Lancaster Co VA, William Dare, sec; Joseph Carter witness (as per "Married Well & Often" by Robert K Headley, page 245.)

The fact is, WILLIAM MILLER & MARTHA TAYLOR were a childless couple, as can be seen from MARTHA's will written 1774 & probated 1776, which shows her as a "widow, being old" with no children, but leaving property to siblings, nephews, nieces & cousins:

Will of MARTHA (TAYLOR) MILLER written April 22, 1774; probated March 21, 1776, Lancaster Co VA will book 20, page 94: 

Nephew: JOHN TAYLOR, son of my brother THOMAS TAYLOR; Cousin: MARTHA BALL, dau of Capt GEORGE BALL; FRANKIE CARTER, dau of DALE CARTER; Nephew: THOMAS BALL; SARAH BALL, dau of Capt GEORGE BALL; ELIZABETH PORTES BALL,  dau of my nephew THOMAS BALL;  sister ANNA BALL; nephew: DAVID BALL; Cousins: SARAH BALL & MARTHA TAYLOR; Overseer: BENJAMIN WILLIS; "To old JENNY her bed and 1 cow"; "To my nephew JOHN TAYLOR my blind boy ADAM and the care of old PATRICK as a Freeman;" Nephew: DAVID BALL Jr;  Executors DAVID BALL Jr & JOHN TAYLOR; Witnesses: JOSEPH WILLIAMS, MARGARET BALL, SARAH JONES.

A quick check of marriage records in "Married Well & Often" by Robert K Headley shows that MARTHA (TAYLOR) MILLER's sister ANNA TAYLOR, daughter of THOMAS TAYLOR & ELIZABETH THERRIOT,  married GEORGE BALL Jr, son of CAPT GEORGE BALL; their marriage bond dated June 14, 1736 Lancaster Co VA

Clearly, MARTHA TAYLOR & WILLIAM MILLER had no children of their own, and absolutely no connection with the family of JOHN WOODSON of Goochland Co VA.

So who was MARY MILLER b 1715 who married JOHN WOODSON?  Stay tuned....

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2012


Susan Clark said...

Kudos for tackling these errors!

I do so love the Northern Neck families. Too many people with the same name - generation after generation. Too few records remain. And so many assumptions based on incomplete evidence.

Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

Doesn't it make you absolutely insane? I think many of us have at least one person that is completely misidentified by the masses. And of course, the pseudo-genealogists just copy, copy, copy. Out of frustration, I wrote a similar blog on mistaken identity hoping it would eventually be seen by responsible researchers. Great job! Keep up the good work and know that you are not alone in your desire to right the wrongs!