Thursday, March 28, 2013

Daniel Miller Family - Cincinnati, Ohio

Daniel Frederick "Fritz" Miller and family - Cincinnati, Ohio.  Pictured are Daniel, Anna, Catherine, Fred, Freda, Lela, Ethel, Evelyn, and Anne (to my own family...I hope I have the correct names!).

I've posted this photo previously on our family blog, but wanted to include it today in conjunction with a few notes I've taken while researching this particular family.  Daniel Frederick Miller, and wife Anna Margaretha (Koch) Miller, are the parents of my maternal great-grandmother Catherine (Miller) Smith.  Catherine is the mother of my maternal grandfather, Russell Lee Smith.

When I began my foray into family history research a year or so ago, my grandfather graciously shared a document of collected names, birth dates, and memories that he had organized while doing his own genealogical research.  I combed through each line and added information to our tree.  It has been so fascinating to fill in some of the blanks for him - thanks to the wonderful resources now available to amateur genealogists like myself :).  I've worked  backwards a little with the Miller family, and I have been under the impression that prior to Daniel's father George's arrival in the United States from Germany, his last name was originally Mueller.  We may never know exactly why the decision was made to "Americanize" the last name - but we're definitely not alone.  So many immigrants consciously made a decision to change last names in order to seem less "different", and to separate themselves from the potential of stereotyping or discrimination (especially for employment).

So curious that from his birth in 1865 (in Cincinnati, Ohio) to parents George and Magdalena Miller (Mueller?), each and every census except ONE - the 1900 US Federal Census for Cincinnati's 29th Ward - lists the family's last name as Miller.  In 1900 - Mueller.  Daniel's mother is also listed on the same census with the last name Mueller...living just a few houses away:



One item of note...in the census listing above, Daniel's occupation is "puddler" at the local rolling mill.  According to my grandfather, Daniel worked in a Rolling Mill in Newport, Kentucky.

Miriam-Webster offers the following definition of "puddling":

: the process of converting pig iron into wrought iron or rarely steel by subjecting it to heat and frequent stirring in a furnace in the presence of oxidizing substances

I found an interesting excerpt from a book entitled, The Iron Puddler: My Life in the Rolling Mills and What Came of It , by James J. Davis (1922).  Check it out HERE .


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