Perhaps it’s unfair to declare only my father’s side of the family as stubborn…because my mom’s got her own challenging ancestors!

I made mention in an earlier post about the Smiths on my father’s side.  I mean really…John Smith?  Okay, moving on – my mother has a similar challenge in her lineage and that award goes to the Millers of Trenton, NJ!!!!!  Congrats guys on there being so many of you and living in an area where birth and marriage records are scarce.

As soon as I found out my mother’s grandmother’s maiden name was Miller I thought, “Oh Crap! You’ve got to be kidding.”  I don’t remember how I eventually found out her surname or how I stumbled upon the correct census info that listed her parents.  Once I found her parents, Oscar and Bertie, I also found a plethora of siblings.  Thankfully, they had unique first names like Calvin, Carl and Arthur.  No, not that Arthur Miller!  At least, I don’t think they’re one and the same. 😉

Oscar was born in, and lived for some time, in Pennsylvania.  According to the records I have been able to find Oscar, Bertie and their children moved from Hazleton down to Trenton, NJ between 1918 and 1920.  Thank goodness for the WWI draft cards and the 1920 census! My latest search is to find the real estate transaction for the home they purchased on Mulberry St.  One they lived in until at least the late 1940s.  I’ve come up short so far, but I’m continuing on.  I’m determined to find it.  But I think my next stop may involve visiting the local offices to look for records.

But there’s so much more to the story of Oscar and Bertie.  Bertie died in 1926 at a young age, leaving behind at least 8 children.  Four years later, the youngest daughter, Gladys, was living in the home of her mother’s sister; a home that she was still residing in as of the 1940 census.  Obituary records for her siblings and cousins indicate that she became more like a sister to her cousins.  Which makes sense since she literally grew up with them.

I wonder what life was like for them then.  How difficult must it have been for Oscar to have someone else raise his daughter after his wife’s death.  Granted, it was his sister-in-law but still.  It intrigues me to know their story.  Was there hurt feelings between them?  What was Gladys’ relationship like with her father in comparison to the one she had with her aunt and uncle?

But the story that caught me off-guard is this one…I found documentation and newspaper articles indicating Oscar remarried a woman named Delphina Dempster Kemble, sometime around 1945.  Delphina’s husband, Leroy Kemble had passed and Oscar was still a widow.  Here comes the most interesting part…according to the 1940 census Leroy and Delphina Kemble were living in the home of Oscar Miller and his sons (on Mulberry St).  Five years later, Oscar and Delphina were married.  So, my eyes bugged out of my head and the family detective/writer in me yearned to know more.

While I still look for verification of Oscar’s parents and grandparents I’m intrigued to know more about the stories and experiences that shaped them as individuals.