A Father’s Day Look Up My Family Tree

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Kenny “Crazy” Miller

My dad, Kenneth Karl Miller, still living although he maybe shouldn’t be after all of the “crazy” things that have happened to him over the years: he blew up a house once accidentally, lived through a major motorcycle accident, car accident, tornado, lung cancer, numerous broken bones and other odd accidents that would only happen to him. He’s like a cat with 9 lives. He is usually called Kenny, but my kids call him “Crazy” or “Crazy Grandpa” because he always plays little jokes on them or acts a little off to tease them. For example, he would lay his hand on the table and tell them to hold it down and wind it up using his thumb as the crank. Then, when they’d let go, he’d flop it around on the table like an out of control wind up toy. They’d squeal in delight. I’m not sure how old he was in this photo, probably in his early teens, but even then, he looked a little mischievous. My dad lives in Findlay, Ohio.

 

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Karl H. Miller

Karl H. Miller, my grandpa, was born 19 February 1922 and died 12 November 2005, and a native of Wood County, Ohio. We are all still sad about losing him. He was one of the kindest, most gentle people I knew, and many say the same. He loved his wife for 60 years, they married in Zoar Lutheran Church in Perrysburg, Ohio in 1945. He worked his ass off despite a debilitating injury to his hip when he was nine years old. He always walked with a limp and used a cane most of the time I knew him. He worked an 80-acre farm with my grandma and drove a cement truck. He did all of that heavy physical labor despite his bad leg. He always had a smile on his face and never complained even in his worst pain, at least not that I heard. In the end, he had some strokes and spent many years in a nursing home, barely able to communicate. It was hard to watch a man of such perseverance, kindness, and strength be reduced to a pile of skin and bones, laying helpless in a bed. He always had a kind thing to say, a smile to give, or a funny story to share. I can still remember the shape of his hands, hard-working but gentle hands.

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Charles Miller, from wedding photo

 

Karl Henry “Charles” Miller, 1889-1972,native of Wood County, Ohio, died before I was born. I don’t know much about him except that after his wife Ernestine died, likely due to complications after childbirth, he left his three kids (Wilma, Karl, and Jim) to be raised by his parents, William and Carrie Miller.

 

 

 

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William “Bill” Miller, the only photo I have of him, from his 60th Wedding Anniversary

William John “Bill” Miller, 1863-1952, native of Wood County, Ohio. I didn’t get to know this man either, but I think my grandpa looked up to him. He always had good things to say about him and appreciated him for taking him and his siblings in. Bill was a farmer. Bill married Caroline “Carrie” Ann Limmer. I am named after her, but my parents spelled it “Cari.” (Which coincidentally, gets misread or misspelled as “Carl” all of the time. So, my grandpa “Karl” gets remembered in my name as well sometimes.) All my grandpa ever wanted was his own farm, which he eventually bought. My grandpa told me that his family knew German, would speak it sometimes at home. However, I have not yet found the Miller/Mueller immigrant in this line. Bill Miller’s parents were Fred and Mary Miller; Fred’s parents were John and Mary Miller, with no clues YET about their origins.

I don’t have any photos of Fred Miller, another native of Wood County, Ohio. He was born in 1842 and died in 1911. He married Anna Maria Artz in Wood County in 1862. His wife came from Nordheim, Germany. The Artz line has been traced back to Nordheim by some distant cousins. They have gotten me in touch with a cousin who still lives there. He’s a few months younger than me and I see him on Facebook from time to time. (Hi Ruediger!) Perhaps I’ll get to visit someday.

I feel most attached to researching this line but it is also the most difficult. With a brick wall like “John and Mary Miller” in the 1840s, it’s a tough research road. But one I’m gladly walking down.

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