Challenges and Tips in Researching the Millirons of Scioto County

The origin of the Milliron name is most probably the German Mühleisen, and its meaning, "One who lived near a millstream or millrace."  

Anyone who has researched this surname soon discovers its numerous spellings.  What they might not realize is that it has been incorrectly transcribed for indexing time and time again.  As in my 2011 post "Locating James Kalb in the 1870 Census," the handwriting of the original records often leads less seasoned researchers straight into a brick wall.  The following is an example of how I'm able to locate the more difficult and less common surnames.

The first definitive ancestor of this Milliron family was William who was born about 1821 or 1822 in Tennessee, and later moved to Union Township in Scioto County, Ohio.  His marriage to Ann “Nancy” (Culp) was recorded in that county as having occurred on the 11th of November 1847.  He is believed to be the son of Christopher and Margaret, and the grandson of Michael.

In 1850 census the family was both enumerated and indexed as Millirons. Although the enumerator used only first initials for every person except William, we are able to determine from their age and genders that the household included William, Nancy, their two small children (William and Margaret); and also an S. Millirons, who most probably was William's younger brother Samuel. All were listed as having been born in Ohio.  

My initial search for the 1860 census came up empty, but I located who I believed to be his father, Christopher, who was born about 1795 in Tennessee living in that same township. In addition to Christopher, the household included wife Margaret (b.1804 TN); Sarah (b. 1837 OH); Samuel (b. 1835 OH); and Thomas (b.1839 OH) - the years included here being my estimation based on their ages in this census.

Fairly convinced William Milliron had remained in Scioto County, I quickly concluded (having personally indexed records) that their surname had more likely been incorrectly transcribed by the indexer rather than simply misspelled.  Researchers who are newer to genealogy are most likely using results generated from these indices.  While the search results generated from the transcribed records are tremendously helpful, there is much to be missed at times compared to the more valuable yet time-consuming task of browsing the township of a census page by page.  Missing this crucial step prevents the researcher from gleaning the over-all social climate of the area, and the often missed families and neighbors who were or would be later related to the family being researched.  
Notice the similarity of the M's and W's

When I've found additional information such as a vital record, news clipping or letter which leads me to believe a certain person or family should be in a particular place and time, and like William Milliron I am not able to easily locate them - I go out on a limb and utilize an entirely different approach.  Rather than searching by the various spellings of the surname, I conduct my search by first name only, leaving the last name blank.  Using FamilySearch.org I went directly to their U.S. census records for 1860, state of Ohio and county of Scioto.  Using the search boxes I entered only the first name George (one of the known children of William and Nancy) with a birth date ranging from 1853 to 1857.  I did not enter a place of birth.  This returned 160 search results.  That may seem like a lot, but it's easy to scan and eliminate surnames such as Adams, Baker, Clark etc.  Experience has taught me that a handwritten upper-case “M” is often mistaken for a “W” and on the eighth page of the results I found a “George Williams” age 7, listed in the household of a William and Nancy.  Although they were living in a different township from the 1850 census, the names of the other children matched what I knew. 

Looking at the enumerator's handwriting on the census image, one can easily see how an indexer might mistake Williams for the less common surname of Milliron.  The next step for me after locating a family is to view the first few pages before and after the targeted household for other family members.  This browsing also acquaints me with the enumerator's handwriting and searching for other names within that same township then proves to be much easier.

Moving to the 1870 census it was apparent the family name must have once again been misspelled in the index.  In this instance, the family was indexed as Mihrons, but a closer examination of the handwritten record revealed the enumerator had actually spelled it Miliron.  During this time, the family were residents of Camp Creek Township in Pike County, Ohio which is on the west side of the Scioto River and had once been part of Scioto County before Pike was formed in 1815.  Their household included William, listed as a carpenter age 47 born in Tennessee with additional household members as: Nancy age 38; William age 20; George age 19; Frank age 14; Joseph age 12; Laura A. age 10; Thomas M. age 8; Lily J age 5; and James age 3 – all born in Ohio.

The only child not listed in the census was their daughter Margaret.  A search for her also yielded information about her mother Nancy, both of whom were buried in Howard Cemetery #2 in Coopersville.  Daughter Margaret Millirons' inscription reads: “Daughter of W. and N. Millirons.”  Her mother Nancy died in 1872, her name transcribed from the Ohio Death records was spelled incorrectly as Millinno.  The record states she died of measles on the 13th of September at the age of forty-two and that she had been born in Kentucky.  

Widowed with a toddler, William remarried on the 8th of March, 1874 in the County of Pike, State of Ohio.  He took as his second wife, Malissa (Wallace) Kirkendall.  I believe researchers have mistaken Kirkendall as her maiden name whereas her death certificate and obituary indicate otherwise.  She and William were enumerated in Camp Creek Twp., in the 1880 census where William is listed as a 58 year-old wagon maker born in TN, father born in Ohio and mother in TN.  Children from his first wife Nancy listed are: Thomas M. age 19 laborer; Lilly J, age 14; James age 13; and Ellmore age 10.  Also included are two younger daughters presumably the children of Malissa: Sarah age 4, and Laura age one.

According to the Ohio county birth records, two additional children were born to William and Malissa:  Henry, born in 1881 and Rena D. who was born in September of 1882.  I have not located any record for William Milliron after this date.  The 1900 census lists Malissa as a widow, head of household, working as a washer woman to support young Henry in Portsmouth, Scioto County.  The census also states she had been the mother of twelve children, only two living.

The Portsmouth Daily Times, dated 31 Jul 1909 lists a handful of persons “Licensed to Marry” which included Mrs. Malissa Milirons, 70, widow and Enos Jones, 66 a laborer, both of Otway.  She either did not marry Enos or did not keep the married name of Jones if later widowed,  Her death record and obituary both list her as Malissa Milliron, but the latter also indicates she was thrice married.
Portsmouth Daily Times, 29 Sep 1916

Another printing of The Portsmouth Daily Times dated Friday, September 29, 1916, states Malissa died at the home of her granddaughter, Mrs. Grover Nappier.  It also states she had been born in Otway and had been a resident of Portsmouth for only one year.  It also corresponds with the 1900 census, sadly stating she had been the mother of twelve children, all of whom were deceased at the time of her death.  She was noted as a member of the M.E. Church, and her burial was “made in the family burials grounds” which I have not located.

As stated, the date of William Milliron's death is not known, nor has his place of burial been located; but it's likely he was buried near Malissa or Nancy.

William and Nancy's eldest son, also named William, was born in Portsmouth on 04 Mar 1851 and was married to Amanda J. Bettis.  Just as his parents household had been incorrectly transcribed, so also was the birth record for their son William B. Milliron who was born in 1875. Once again, if one knows to look for a W surname in place of a surname beginning with M, and combining the double "l" it becomes a much easier task to locate the Millirons.

But just as I began to get the hang of the Williams versus the Milliron search, I located the birth record of James Evert Millirons, son of William and "Mauda Jane Bettis" born in 1880 in Rush Twp., Scioto Co., Ohio.  To my surprise, his surname had been correctly transcribed.

Not all of the enumerator's had the best handwriting and many of these old records are quite worn and faded which makes transcribing them difficult.  The task of an indexer is a true labor of love, and one I'm familiar with as I have indexed for the Family History Library prior to internet days, and more currently at FamilySearch.org which I urge you to consider volunteering as well.  For me, it is a rewarding way of giving back to a community which has provided these records for free to anyone and everyone, and it's where I always conduct my research.

For more information on the William Milliron family of Scioto County, Ohio feel free to contact me.  And to Kay, dear friend of my mother and teacher of valuable lessons, this one's for you.


Although the 1850 suggests all persons in the household of William and Nancy were born in Ohio, additional records indicate William was most probably born in Tennessee, and Nancy in Kentucky.

The death record of Malissa Milliron, 2nd wife of William, lists her parents as Aaron Wallace and Rachel (Aldrige); and an Ohio marriage record shows a Milton Kirkendall and Malissa Wallace were married in 1866.

  1. Find A Grave Memorial# 135376022, Amanda Jane (Bettis) Milliron, created by Anonymous1, Sep 03, 2014
  2. Find A Grave Memorial# 133309760, Margaret A. Milliron created by Timeless Jul 25, 2014
  3. Find A Grave memorial# 133322477, Nancy (Culp) Milliron created by Timeless, Jul 25, 2014; Find A Grave Memorial
  4. New Cambria Leader 23 Feb 1917 - Obituary for William Burrass/Burris
  5. Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,database with images, FamilySearch: Amanda J. Bettis in entry for William B. Williams, 25 Mar 1875; citing Birth, Morgan Twp., Scioto, Ohio, reference v 0 p 272, county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 292,703
  6. Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003, database with images, FamilySearch: William Millirons in entry for James Evert Millirons, 14 Jan 1880; citing Birth, Rush township, Sciola, Ohio, reference P 68, county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 292,703.
  7. Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001, database with images, FamilySearch: Nancy Millinno, 13 Sep 1872; citing Death, Ohio, United States, source ID p30, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 292,757.
  8. Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013, database with images, FamilySearch: William Millirons and Amanda Jane Bettis, 09 Jun 1870; citing Pike, Ohio, United States, reference 269; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 292,749.
  9. Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013, database with images, FamilySearch: Milton Kirkendall and Malissa Wallace, 29 Dec 1866; citing Scioto, Ohio, United States, reference cn249; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 292,695.
  10. Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013, database with images, FamilySearch: William Millirons and Melissa Kirkendall, 08 Mar 1874; citing Pike, Ohio, United States, reference 360; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 292,749.
  11. Scioto Co.,OH Probate Marriage Records 1804-1911;Batch #M513041 (Milliron/Culp)
  12. United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch: Wm Millirons, Union, Scioto, Ohio, United States; citing family 62, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  13. A Time-Line History of the Michael Millirons Family and its Migrations, compiled by Norris M. Taylor, Jr., primary research by Linda Emry
  14. United States Census, 1860 database with images, FamilySearch: Christ Milirons, 1860.
  15. United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch: Wm Williams, 1860
  16. United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch:  Amanda Bettis in entry for Wm Bettis, 1860.
  17. United States Census, 1870 database with images, FamilySearch: William Mihrons, Ohio, United States; citing p. 19, family 143, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 552,756.
  18. United States Census, 1880, database with images, FamilySearch: Ohio > Pike > Camp Creek > ED 123 > image 10 of 20; citing NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  19. United States Census, 1900, database with images, FamilySearch: Malissa Millirons, Wayne Township, Precinct B Portsmouth city Ward 6, Scioto, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 1A, family 9, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,241,319.