The Early Years

My sister Dee has spent a lot of time on trying to find out about our family tree. Our heritage has become a very real concern as we get older with more and more medical issues arising. Luckily, our Aunt Irene shared with us some information she put together before she passed away. There is a secret about Aunt Irene I found out about many years too late. More about that in another post.

We have not found out much about our father to date but we have found out a lot about our mothers side of the family. I will try and discuss my fathers family in my next post.

Based on the DNA test Dee took last year, we have Eastern European bloodlines. Our ancestors could have come from England to Russia and Norway to France. Our mother’s grandparents were Heinrich & Katherine Mueller and they were German citizens but lived in Dietaal, Russia.

This is a picture of Heinrich and Kathryn taken in Russia. We are not sure of the date but we do know that Catherine The Great conscripted German farmers to Russia to grow food for her armies. This was in the 1700’s; about 25,000 Germans moved to Russia and created around 104 villages on the Volga River. When the communist took over Russia, life was hard for the Germans. Many of their rights were taken, taxes became exorbitant, and many young Germans were pulled in to the Russian army. It was during this rough time that Heinrich was born. After Heinrich married Kathryn, they joined many of the other Germans and fled to America.

The German areas of Russia had grown to several thousand.  Before the communists made them Russian citizens and took away their rights, many of them fled to America. Between 1871 and 1914 some 300,000 had fled. In 1907, Henry and Kathryn, along with their new son Henry Jr. and Henry’s two children from his first marriage, made the journey through several countries and finally took the 21 day sailing trip to Galveston Texas. After landing Heinrich became Henry Sr. and Kathryn became Catherine and their sir name was changed from Mueller to Miller.  (I think) From there they took a train and lived in several places in Texas.  They moved to Colorado where Eva and Molly were born, then finally settled in La Junta, Texas where they became very successful farmers. The Miller’s had three boys, Henry Jr., John, and Dave who were all farmers and a whole pot load of girls. There was Eva, Molly, Mary, Lydia, Leah, Kate, and Anne. All of this to get to my grandmother, Molly Miller. Henry Sr. became an American citizen in 1922 and died in 1960. Catherine died long before him in 1947.

My grandmother Molly Miller married Henry Albrecht (and yet another Henry) and were married in La Junata, TX. Henry was in construction and they settled in California where he opened his own construction business. They had five children, Rowena, Irene, Clifford, Wendall, and John. Molly died in 1972, and Henry died in 1975.


In 1980, when my Aunt Irene compiled the family history, there were 200 decedents of Heinrich and Kathrine Mueller. Who knows how many grandchildren and great grandchildren there are to this day.

Here are some more pictures from back in the day.

My grandmother Molly on the left and her sister Ava. They got married the same day.
My Uncle Wendell, my mothers brother.
My Mother Rowena when she was 14.

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