My heritage is a mixture of Irish, Scottish, English and Swiss, with some possible French Huguenots and Vikings further back.

My mother's family is almost completely Irish, originating from several Irish men and women that immigrated to America around the time of the potato famine of the mid-1800s. According to oral tradition, all these families emigrated from the famine-devastated counties of Northern and Western Ireland (Mayo, Donegal, Monaghan, Armagh), probably by way of Liverpool and an eight week voyage to America. During the 1850s and 1860s they settled in various Midwestern states (Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota) and farmed the land. Their sons and daughters migrated to Washington and California after 1900, where many of them now reside.

My father's family immigrated to the U.S. in 1920 from Switzerland. My grandfather, a Swiss businessman, had met my English grandmother in Egypt shortly after the turn of the century, while she was working as a governess for a well-to-do Egyptian family.  They lived in Switzerland until after the end of World War I when they moved to California.

main branches of the Miller tree are presented below in the form of a clickable image map; i.e., you may discover additional information about the named individuals or their descendants by clicking on the people icons or the marriage (=) sign. Collateral branches of the tree are presented in a surname list, now containing more than one thousand names. If you are a cousin or have information on any of these ancestors, please contact me at


  The surnames listed below are the ones that I am currently researching:













  BLANC(H)E -- According to family lore Thomas BLANCHE was born in Scotland sometime in the middle of the nineteenth century and to have been a member of the Royal Navy. Research at the Family Records Centre of London in 1999 revealed that in reality Thomas "BLANCE" was born in Delting Parish, Shetland at the far north of Scotland in 1842 and came from a long line of Blances that have been traced back to the mid-1700s in Shetland. By the late 1860s Tom had moved to London and married Margaret SAUVAGE. They lived in Poplar, a poor, dockside community in London's East End, where they raised eight children, born between 1871 and 1888; one of these was my grandmother, Alice Blanche. At present the fates of Alice's siblings and their descendants in the U.K. is not known, however, you can read a few educated guesses in "Filling in the Blanc s." 
  Alice (1879-1960) went to high school in Dundee, Scotland and later began to learn the hair dressing trade in London. Somewhere after the turn of the century she went to Paris for specialized training in hair dying and the manufacture of wigs or "transformations" as she called them. 

  While in Paris she accepted a position as a paid companion to a rich young woman who was traveling to Egypt.  After arriving in Egypt she was hired as a governess for the children of an English family.  During this same time she claimed to have attracted the eye of an Egyptian sheik who offered to make her the number one lady in his harem. It is unclear when all this occurred, but by 1905-06 she had met  Adolf Arthur MÜLLER, a Swiss businessman, who was working in a bank in Cairo.  They were married in Paris and returned to live in Switzerland by 1907 or 1908.
DUFFY -- Nicholas DUFFY was born in 1844 in County Monaghan, Ireland. When he was  twelve or fourteen [1856-58] Nicholas' parents died of some fever.  Lacking the money for his fare to the United States, he first went to Liverpool, where he learned some skill in a steel mill.  In two or three years he had  saved the needed money and sailed for America ca. 1860.  He arrived in Boston on the sailing ship "Glasgow" and went immediately to Pittsburgh to work in the steel mills there until he saved his money to go farther west.  He had an older brother and sister already in Illinois and wanted to join them.  It was after he had moved to central Illinois that he met and married Mary GREENE.
  The young couple went up the Mississippi by steamboat to Hastings, Minnesota and finally settled on land where Glencoe, Minnesota now stands.  The DUFFYS produced six boys, all of whom worked with some form of the "Railroad Game."  While working as a station agent and living in a boarding house in the small town of Cheewaukum, Washington my grandfather, Charles DUFFY, met Mary B. FLYNN,  who had just come there to teach.  They married in 1911 and over the next decade produced a family of four boys and two girls.

1999 Duffy Reunion
  FLYNN -- Patrick FLYNN was born ca. 1820 in County Mayo, Ireland.  Sometime during the Great Hunger, Patrick married Bridget CAVANAUGH and emigrated from Ireland.  Their first son, John, was born in 1850 and in various later records John claimed to have been born in England, Ireland, and Louisiana, respectively, and to have arrived in America in 1853.   The Patrick FLYNN family settled in Clinton, Iowa where two more children were born.  In 1855 or 1856 Bridget CAVANAUGH FLYNN died.  In 1857 Patrick remarried, this time to a Bridget ORMSBY.  They lived for several more years in Clinton, Iowa and in 1866 settled on a farm in Meeker County, Minnesota, where the family grew to include a total of 14 children.
  John FLYNN (1850-1936) , the eldest of the FLYNN children,  married Catherine MCCARNEY, the eldest daughter of James MCCARNEY, the farmer who lived next door.  The young couple lived for several years near their parents in Meeker County, Minnesota but in 1880 moved to Morris in western Minnesota.  John and Catherine had eleven children, many of whom, upon reaching adulthood, moved to Washington, North Dakota or California.
  John and Catherine's eldest daughter, Mary B. FLYNN (1879-1973), has been the inspiration for a great deal of my genealogical research.  In her home town of Morris, Minnesota,  Mary was known as "that long streak of education."  She began her 1898 valedictory address at Morris High School with the words "What a child owes to its mother, we owe to the past, namely our existence and the rudiments of our enlightenment" -- not a bad beacon for a professional archaeologist and an amateur genealogist!  In 1902, canvassing the county in a horse and buggy driven by her younger brother Jack, she made a successful run for the office of Superintendent of Schools of Stevens County, Minnesota.  Between 1904 and 1910 she taught her way across the west (North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Washington) until finally meeting and marrying Charles DUFFY in 1911.  Charles and Mary had six children and lived in Southern California.

2000 Flynn Reunion

  GREEN -- According to family lore, Mary GREENE traced her ancestry to the group of Scotch-Irish who came to this country before the American Revolution and gradually drifted southwest down the parallel valleys of the Appalachians to Kentucky.  Her parents had moved west from Kentucky as newlyweds in 1835, joining the early settlers in the state of Missouri.  There she and seven brothers and sisters were born.  When the Civil War broke out her father was suspected of southern sympathy and was imprisoned, but due to his voluntary aid in a smallpox epidemic, he was released on his promise to move farther north.  The family went to Illinois for the duration and when the rest of the family moved back to Missouri, Mary remained with an aunt in Illinois, there meeting young Nicholas DUFFY.  Soon after their marriage, they moved to Minnesota and finally settled in Hastings, Minnesota where six sons were born.  Here Mary developed severe attacks of asthma.  Hence, they decided to move to the relatively mild climate of central Illinois, where they settled in Mason City.
  MCCARNEY -- In March of 1846, while the potato blight was still just a minor problem and a full year before the full brunt of the Great Famine, James MCCARNEY (1830-1902), at just 16 years of age,  left his home in County Monaghan and set sail from Ireland. Two months later he landed in New Orleans and began to work his way up the Mississippi.  He lived for a while in Galena, Illinois, where he met Margery MCGINLEY.  They were married in Benton, Wisconsin and in 1851 settled near St. Paul, Minnesota.  They lived there until December, 1862 when James volunteered for the Union Army.  In 1867 the MCCARNEYS homesteaded a quarter section near Manannah, Minnesota and not far from the farm of James' younger brother, Patrick, who had come to the U.S. in 1849.  As of 2000 some of the great, great grandchildren of James and Margery are still working the Minnesota farm and others have spread across the U.S.
  James and Margery had nine children, the eldest of whom was Catherine MCCARNEY (1852-1935), my great grandmother.  Catherine married John FLYNN, the boy next door, in 1874. They lived in Mannanah, Morris and Eden Valley, Minnesota and had eleven children.

  MCGINLEY -- According to family lore Margery MCGINLEY (1827-1900) was from County Donegal in Ireland. She must have lived on the coast because she told her daughter (Catherine MCCARNEY) that when she was a girl she could see the coast of Scotland on a clear day. She also told how she used to get a salmon, hide it in her apron and take it to home to her mother for a meal, all the while defying the English coast guard. This story may mean that she lived on the Lough Foyle or on the northeast-facing coast of Inishowen. Family oral tradition says that she came from a village named "Bally-something"; there are several villages with the "Bally" prefix on the Inishowen coast
  Margery came to the United States as a young woman, probably at the time of the Irish potato famine (1846-1851), when her sister in New York sent her passage money in order to came and visit her. The official destination of the ship was New York but as they approached the Eastern Seaboard the captain claimed that the winds were unfavorable for him to put into New York harbor and that New Orleans was the safest place to land. [Many unscrupulous ship captains were paid to make such claims by the cotton growers of the south since the plantation owners found it more profitable to hire desperate Irish immigrants than to buy black slaves. Many of the Irish immigrants died of yellow fever working on the levees of the deep south]. When Margery landed in New Orleans she had enough money to begin the overland trip to New York. She got as far as Galena, Illinois where she met James MCCARNEY. He persuaded Margery to marry him and together they set out for Minnesota where they homesteaded. The farm is still owned by their descendants.
  MÜLLER -- On November 23, 1920 Adolf Arthur MÜLLER, along with his wife and two sons boarded the S.S. Rotterdamat the French port of Boulogne sur Mer and sailed for a new life in America. In leaving Switzerland, the Müller family abandoned a grand home outside of Zurich, a life of privilege replete with maids and a St. Bernard, and a large extended family established in the cities of Aarau and Zofingen. It is a mystery exactly why my grandfather left Switzerland and whether there are descendants of his extended family still living there. The only clues that exist concerning these questions are in the form of family oral tradition and old photo albums surviving from the old country.
  ORAL TRADITION -- According to my uncle, Norman (Bibs) MILLER, his father, although christened "Adolf" normally went by his middle name, "Arthur." He was the youngest of four children; a brother, Emil, and two sisters, Martha and Aida. The MÜLLER family tree reconstructed from this oral tradition and other documentation is shown below:

  PHOTO ALBUMS -- Two old photo albums containing a total of 67 photos survived the passage from Switzerland to California. Unfortunately, few of the photos are identified as to date or person. Several of the portraits are embossed with names of photographic studios in Aarau, Lucerne, Zofingen and Zurich. With the hope that one day some distant MÜLLER cousin will recognize some of these faces, I present here a digital sample from the MÜLLER album, along with educated guesses as to their identities.

  SAUVAGE -- Very little is known of this branch of the family beyond the fact that my great grandmother (father's mother's mother) was named Margaret BLANCHE nee SAUVAGE.  Born in Bromley on London's East Side in 1848, she married Thomas BLANCHE in 1869 or 1870 and had eight children. They lived in London during the late 1800s and she died at about age 40 from cancer. The photo at the right is of Margaret SAUVAGE.

Family stories have it that she came from a long line of British seaman.  One of her ancestors was supposed to have served under Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and another, of slightly shadier reputation, was claimed to be a pirate. The French spelling of this surname suggest that it may originate from the Huguenots that fled from France to England in the late 1600s.





LAST UPDATED March 21, 2002

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