Sunday, January 15, 2017

Müller Orphan Train Connection

The distant cousin that helped me with the discovery of the Müller family connections mentioned that he received some information from a Barbara Heise Grooman from Asheville, North Carolina. He didn't have an email address, physical address or phone number for her. I did a web search for her name and town and found snippets from two books on Google Books. The books were "Train to Red Cloud: A Small Boy's Journey" and "Journey's End: An Orphan Train Rider's Story". I found In the Journey's End snippet a good copy of the Müller family photo that I had only a poor copy from the Bixenman family history book.

This photo was scanned from the Bixenman family history book by Sister Catherine Seeman
This is the photo included in Journey's End by Barbara Heise Grooman

The person that Sister Catherine Seeman identified as my great-grandfather Charles Miller, Ms. Grooman identified as Christian Müller. I immediately ordered a copy of "Journey's End". I did a web search, tracked down her phone number and gave her a call. She answered and I verified I had the right person by asking if she was the Barbara that wrote these two books. She replied that this was her and I told her that I found a picture of my great-grandfather in her book.

Our conversation continued with me telling her a little bit about what I knew about the family. She replied with a bit about the Christian Müller family and George Müller Wells. We exchanged email addresses and said we'd discuss more in-depth via email.

I received "Journey's End" within a few days and read it quickly. It's about 90 pages and a very easy read. This is a follow-up to her first book, "Train to Red Cloud: A Small Boy's Journey". Train to Red Cloud was the story of George Müller, whose mother died when he was a young boy and his father brought him to the father's sister's house, who then brought him to the organization responsible for the Orphan Trains, put him on a train and sent him west. He was adopted by a family in Red Cloud, Nebraska and went by the name of George Wells. Journey's End discusses more information Barbara discovered since Train to Red Cloud was published along with her correspondence with George Wells in the 1970s and 80s. George was Barbara's grand-uncle.

It is a heart-breaking story about a young boy being sent away by his family yet also heart-warming story because he had a good life in Nebraska. I encourage my Miller relatives to read these books. Others interested in genealogy and the Orphan Trains should also read them. I felt a kinship to her as she explained the research she performed tracking down the burial location of George's family in New York.
The Children and Grandchildren of Johan Christian Müller. The family tree diagram software
has a flaw in that it shows only one of Johan Christian's wives. The children after
Dorothea Fredricka were born to Johan Christian's second wife, Anna Maria Liebrich.

George Müller Wells and my grandfather, Leo Henry Miller are highlighted
to show the relationship. They were first cousins.

I look forward to exchanging genealogical information with Barbara in the future and also figuring out who is who in the Müller family photo. By my calculations, we must be about third cousins. Other than my first cousins, this is the closest relation I've been in contact with on the Miller side of my family.



  1. How was her George related to your Charles? I love stories like this! What a wonderful chunk of info to run across!

    1. George was the son of Christian Müller. Christian was the brother of Charles Miller, aka Carl Müller. Charles was my great-grandfather.

    2. Christian discovered that he couldn't raise his children after the death of his wife, Theresa when George was about 6 years old.