My South African Cousins

edward-howard-miller

Edward Howard Miller, 1883-1933

I have Miller cousins in South Africa, the descendants of my grandmother’s brother, Edward Howard Miller. Two or three years ago I received an email from his great grandson, Martin Kotze. He had found a photograph of Edward, whom he knew as “Grandad Ted,” on my webpage and he recognized it because he also owned a copy of the photograph. I emailed back but never got another reply. I would dearly love to make contact with the South African side of our family.

Edward Howard Miller was born in a log cabin in the small settlement of Birtle, Manitoba, in 1883, the second child and oldest son of Charles Edward Miller and Annie Maria Bayley. His parents had emigrated to Canada about 1882 from  Liverpool, England.

Charles Edward Miller

Charles Edward Miller

Annie Bayley Miller

Annie Bayley Miller

 

About 1889-1890 the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Annie’s two brothers, Neville and Howard lived. While in Pittsburgh, about 1895, his younger sister, Ethel, was playing with matches and caught her dress, and herself, on fire. After several months of treatment in Pittsburgh, her father took Ethel to England for more treatment and the rest of the family soon followed. The family spent over ten years in England before returning to the United States.

 

 

Edward, age 4 and age 12

 

 

 

edward-howard-miller-boer-war

Edward in his Boer War uniform, November 1902

 

 

Edward, though, did not follow his family back to the United States. Instead he signed up to fight in the Boer War in South Africa where he remained, living in Transvaal, after the war. He married a woman named Annie Mary and they had eight children between 1907 and 1930: Constance Beryl, Edward Howard, Reginald Ernest, Charles Frederick, Nina Annie, Gwendolyn Ethel, Robert Douglas, Richard Neville, and Joyce Helen.

Edward returned to England to fight in World War II, was a prisoner for a short time and later returned to South Africa. While in prison his hair turned white, according to family members.

 

 

 

xmas-card-from-south-africa

Christmas card sent in 1908 from Edward and Annie to his sister Connie and her husband Roy Baker

Edward died in 1933 at the age of 50 from Miner’s Consumption, known now as silicosis, an occupational lung disease which he developed from working in the mines. In 1915, at the time of his son Charles Frederick’s christening, he was working in the Deep Level Mines, for Simmer and Jack Mining Company. His children and grandchildren resided at one time in or near Witbank, Transvaal, South Africa. Witbank is east of Pretoria and Johannesburg. In 2006 it was renamed eMalahleni, meaning “place of coal”

five-miller-sisters

The Miller sisters: Nina, left, Esther, Connie, Lucy and Ethel, about 1943 in Tulsa, Oklahoma

 

 

Edward’s sisters and a couple of their children were in contact with the children of Edward and Annie up until the 1950s. I hope to reestablish that connection and find some of their descendants.

 

 

 

miller-siblings

 

 

Connie, Esther, Fred – Edward’s only surviving brother – and Ethel, 1973.

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10 Responses to My South African Cousins

  1. Wendy says:

    Hi My name is Wendy Miller. My father is Charles Frederick Miller. My father was born in Johannesburg 5th November 1915 in Johannesburg. His father marries Annie Mary Hazelhurst.
    Ted is his brother

    • kakadu1995 says:

      Hi, Wendy,
      I replied to you through another email account but have not heard back. Was thrilled to hear from a Miller descendant in South Africa. I have been waiting a long time. Please keep in contact and tell me more about your family. Let me know if you got my other email.
      Anne

      • Wendy says:

        Hi Anne,
        Thrilled to hear from you. Yes, I will certainly keep in contact with you and give you more information about the Miller clan in South Africa. At the moment I am in the middle of shifting, when I am settled I will dig out old family photos and send them to you.
        Regards,
        Wendy

    • Tim McGinnis says:

      Wendy:
      My name in Tim McGinnis and i live in Seattle, USA. My grandfather was Frederick Miller – born in England in 1998 – Edwards brother and youngest sibling. All of my life, i and all of my US Miller family thought that Edward had not survived the Boer War. I just called my uncle Frederick Jr. in California and he confirmed that his father Frederick and his aunts Connie, Ether & Ester (pictured above) had never known what happened to Edward and had assumed that he had been lost in the war. It is great news to hear that he survived, had a family and that we have cousins in South Africa. I was in Johannesburg several years ago with my brother, Brian, and sister, Patricia. If we ever make it back, it would be interesting to try to connect.

      Regards,
      Tim

      • kakadu1995 says:

        Hi, Tim,
        I am the one who wrote the book on the Miller family and notified you and your siblings a couple months ago. Check my webpage, http://www.annefield.net, for more on the Millers, including Edward Howard. We knew he survived the Boer War because we have a photo of him in his WWII uniform. We knew he married and had children and we knew he died from silicosis from working in the mines. In addition to Heidi and Wendy, we have another cousin in Pasadena, a descendant of Edward and his wife Annie.
        Anne

      • Wendy Miller says:

        Hi Tim,
        Lovely to hear from you.
        My father was christened Frederick Charles, but everyone knew him as Charlie.
        My grandfather, Edward Howard not only fought in the Boer War but also in World War 1. The Boer War he enlisted in Britain and WW1 he enlisted in South Africa.
        Edward married an Annie Hazelhurst. They had a few children. Constance, Edward (Heidi’s grandfather), Reginald, Frederick (my father), Robert (he died young), Richard (Patsy’s father), Nina (she died young) Gwen, and Joyce (her daughter lives in California.). When Edward became ill, they all went to live with Annie’s parents as they had a farm at Barberton. Annie died shortly after Edward, Connie (the eldest) adopted the younger siblings and raised them as her own.
        I do not know all the cousins. The few cousins I have contact with are Heidi (Ted’s grand daughter)
        Patsy (Richard’s daughter.) There is also another cousin who lives in California.
        Heidi still lives in South Africa, Patsy lives in England and I live in Australia. So we have spread ourselves around.
        Regards,
        Wendy

      • kakadu1995 says:

        Oops! I meant to say that Edward was in WWI, not WWII.
        Anne

      • Wendy Miller says:

        Hi Anne,
        Ha Ha, Easy to do. Let’s hope there is never another world war. The Miller family book is very interesting. The reason why I became interested in looking up my family tree, my grandson each year learns about the wars which Australia has participated in. Every year we pay tribute to our lost soldiers in WW1 with ANZAC DAY. He asked me about if he had any family members who fought in WW1. I mentioned to him that my grandfather fought in both the Boer War and WW1. Jensen’s teacher was fascinated about that he fought in both Boer War and WW1. I realized that I really did not know much about my parents background, so decided to research.
        You have done an amazing job with all the research. I find researching the Scots and Irish very difficult as they virtually all have the same names, and more or less live in the district as each other.
        Becomes very confusing indeed. I can see the family pattern names in each generation, so now have an understanding as to where they originate from.
        Wendy

  2. kakadu1995 says:

    I remember ANZAC Day and also the war memorials in Adelaide. I think every town had a war memorial.

  3. Berlinda Harley says:

    Hi Tim,
    My name is Berlinda Harley. My grandfather was Edward Miller. My mom was Joice Helen Miller. I have only just discovered that I have relatives in USA . I found Anne through Wendy via ancestry website. We live in Pasadena CA. We left South Africa 20 years ago. I still have a sister Yvonne that lives in Pretoria with her family. My other two sisters also left SA and live in the U.K. with their families.
    Nice to know that I still have some family scattered closer than what I thought!

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