The Virginia Milams
"The Virginia Milams" refers to two large Milam families that originated in Virginia in early 1700's, and whose descendants represent the vast majority of Milams living in America today. The patriarchs of these two lines are Thomas Milam of Bedford County, Virginia, and John Milam of Halifax County, Virginia.
It is believed that Thomas and John were brothers, although no direct evidence exists to prove this positively. No records exist that tie them together as members of the same family, and there are no records of them together in any business, legal, or governmental transaction. They are in no census together and their parents are unknown. The opinion that they are brothers is based upon circumstantial evidence such as living in relative close proximity to each other, similar naming patterns of their children, and apparent closeness in age.
Fortunately, although the ancestry of Thomas Milam and John Milam is still a mystery, their descendancies are fairly well known. There are many records of them in 18th century Virginia, and many of their children in other colonies, territories, and states when they later removed from Virginia. From these records several generations of family trees have been established. Unfortunately, not all of their descendant lines have been discovered, and there are some Milams of today who are currently unable to connect to these two main Milam lineages.
Adding to the mystery of their ancestry is the fact that Thomas and John are not the earliest known "Milams" in 18th century Virginia. There is a record of the marriage of Samuel Mileham to Martha Gardner on September 8, 1724 in Christ Church Parish, Lancaster County, Virginia. For several years it was thought that John and Thomas were the sons of Samuel Mileham and Martha Gardner, however, because no conclusive evidence exists, it is currently an open question. There is supportive circumstantial evidence on both sides of this question.
Also, there are reports that a Joseph Milam lived in northwestern Virginia in the early 1700s, in what is today Madison County. Milams Gap and the Milam Apple are supposedly named for him. His existence, though apparent, is currently undocumented, and his connection to Thomas and John, if any, is currently UNKNOWN.
Also, in Maryland there are records of 17th century Milams: John Milam, 1655; Eben Mylam/Millam, 1675/1677; Edward Milum, 1715; Elizabeth Milam, 1733. In North Carolina, there is a record that a Samuel Milam was there before 1730. The ancestry and the descendancy of these Maryland and North Carolina Milams are currently UNKNOWN. It is possible that they are relatives of Thomas and John, or separate and distinct Milam lines. Much more research is needed to properly place these Milams, genealogically.
Thus, when comparing the genealogy of the Boston Milams and the Virginia Milams, it can be seened that a gap currently exists from the late 1600s to the early 1700s. In other words, at this time there is no proven genealogical connection between the Boston Milams and the Virginia Milams. However, it is speculated that The Boston Milams and The Virginia Milams do have a common ancestor in early England, and are thus connected at that point at least. Much more research is needed in order to discover the true lineages of these Milams. Perhaps there is a more direct connection to be discovered.
Despite the existence of these questions, we know with certainty that Thomas Milam and John Milam of Virginia did exist, and that the vast majority of Milams in America today, can trace their roots back to either John of Virginia, or Thomas of Virginia.
John's descendants tended to migrate
south and west to SC, GA, AL, TN, AR. Thomas' descendants tended to migrate west to
WV, KY, TN, IL, IN, etc., and then south to MS, LA, TX. Benjamin Rush Milam, slain
hero of the Texas Revolution, and probably the most famous Milam, is one of Thomas'
descendants. Sadly, "Old Ben" was killed before marrying or leaving
The known descendants of The Virginia Milams are listed in the Family Tree section of this website.