Farming is my destiny.

This is everything I know about my family history. Pretty interesting to figure out, considering that we just talked about immigration in history. Anyways, here it is.

My dad grew up in a developing country (the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean), and due to war and a lack of technology and education, not many records were kept of our history. I know my great grandfather owned a quarry and that my grandparents helped fight with the British and Turkish invasions, leading to my grandpa’s tenure as secretary of staff of the whole government. All I know on that side is that we can probably be traced back further to the middle east, but our family has been living in Cyprus for hundreds of years.

On my mom’s side, however, I know a bit more. My grandpa’s ancestors were from Germany. They were farmers in Germany; Farmer John Miller came to Bloomville, Ohio in the mid-1800’s. Still farmed. John had a bunch of kids, and eventually my grandpa, Thomas George Miller, came to life. Most of the Millers are still farmers to this day. My grandpa sells seed and feed for a living and my great-uncle and his son own Hillcrest Farms. I guess I don’t really know that much on my grandpa’s side, but a family member on my grandma’s side recently researched and compiled lots of information about our ancestry on that side.

I’m going to refer to my grandma’s father’s side as the Leases and her mother’s side as the Windaus so we don’t get too confused. The earliest known Lease is Jacob Lease (Leis) born around 1730 in Luxembourg. His son, born around 1755, owned a plantation and married Dorothy Davis. They had a son named Henry Lease, born in 1777. Henry married Barbara Jacobs in 1802. They had four children named Joseph, Jacob, Eden and Mary. Eden was born in 1813 and walked with his brothers from Frederick, Maryland to Seneca Co. Ohio. To this day, the township most of the Leases live in today is called Eden Township because of his tenure as sheriff. He and his wife, Mary, had six kids. Lewis, their fifth child was born in 1847. He had 6 children, but only four survived. These four included, Clinton, John, Almelda, and Bert. Bert, who is my great great grandpa had a pretty interesting life. Because many of his older siblings died. He very protected by his parents. So protected that he wasn’t even allowed out of the house for 3 years! Bert eventually married Iva Rebecca Zeis and she died while pregnant with their first child. Bert went on to marry Fern Fogleman. She lived across the road from the farm that Bert had bought. He was a window and 11 years older and Fern’s family didn’t want the two to marry, because Fern’s family had picked an oil man for her to marry. Fern’s family disowned her after she married Bert, even though they literally lived across the street! They didn’t even want to see their grandkids. During Fern’s first labor, no one in her family wanted to help, so good ol’ Iva’s mother helped deliver the baby (weird). They named the baby Iva in honor of the first wife (weirder). Fern and Bert had two children named Iva and Earl. Earl was born in 1917 and died in 1999. He married Winifred Windau in 1940. They had six children: Rebecca, Roberta, Roger, Ronald, Richard, and Ray. They lived in the farm that Bert had originally purchased and turned the land across the road into a dairy farm. Roberta Lease married Thomas G. Miller in 1963. Their children are Cynthia, Jeffrey, Joseph, Beth, and Kyle. Beth married my dad in 1990 and eight years later I came along!

Here’s a handy dandy visual for you:

Roberta and Thomas      Grandparents

Earl and Winnie                 Great Grandparents

Bert and Fern                    Great Great Grandparents

Lewis and Lavina (Ellen)                Great Great Great Grandparents

Mary and Eden                 Great Great Great Great Grandparents

Henry and Barbara                          Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

Jacob and Dorothy                          Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

Jacob (maybe Phoebe) Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

Okay, on the Windau side. Florence Emily Collings Windau was born on November 20, 1895 in London, England. Her mother’s name was Emily Hole and Emily married Harry Collings in 1893. Florence celebrated her twelfth birthday while crossing the Atlantic ocean. Emily got sick on the ten day trip and the family was detained on Ellis Island for a short time before leaving for Bellevue, Ohio. They moved to Ohio to meet Mrs. Creech who was an aunt to Emily. Mr. Creech wanted to retire from farming and made arrangements for the Collings family to come to the Untied States to take over the farm. Harry Collings didn’t like farming so the family moved into City of Bellevue (not in the country area). Harry died of TB and Emily went to marry Harry Simmonds, who just so happened to be on their ship from England (conspiracy anybody?). They had two children, Edith and Alice. Edith died of cancer and Alice was a “mongoloid” child and only lived for 5 months. The family then moved to Sandusky, Ohio so Harry could work for the Lake Shore Electric Company. Both Emily and Harry died of cancer. Florence Collings married Edward George Windau in 1913 and they first lived in Sandusky as Edward worked for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad company. They later moved to Filmore, Ohio so Edward and his brother could start “Windau Brother’s Dairy.” Edward later started a butter business. In 1937, the family moved to Bloomville, Ohio where most of my family lives today. Edward died of a heart attack in 1938. Florence moved back to Sandusky in 1940. She worked at a nursing home and later married the owner of the home, Ted Britton. After his death, Florence worked in a publishing company and worked as a babysitter. Florence had over 150 descendants. One of her children, Winifred married Bert Lease and had Roberta, my grandma.

So basically, I need to be a farmer.


4 comments on “Farming is my destiny.

  1. Another interesting and captivating history on family. I find the stories of people with parents from out of the U.S. to be really interesting, and, there’s a lot of them out there. However, I am jealous that you’re able to trace back all the way to your “Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents” (I’ve never learned of my “Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents” which I find disappointing). Also, I really enjoyed this assignment; it allowed us to express a very unique part of us: family. ☺


  2. I just pictured you staring off into the distance saying “farming is my destiny”

    WOW. I absolutely love reading about other people’s family history. I love seeing where everyone and their ancestors are from. I know I’ve already talked to you about this, but I got into Ancestry.com and found people all the way back to the 1700s!!!!!! Most of my ancestors were farmers too.. we must be related or something. jk. Not gonna lie, I had to look up what a “mongoloid” child is.. poor Alice…

    aside from this post, I hope you’re doing alright. I love you! ❤


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