My Great Grandparents, Otto and Augusta Miller

Otto and Augusta Miller

In 1907, a ship arrived at Ellis Island. Aboard that ship was my great grandmother, Augusta Miller and her seven children. Unfortunately two of her children, twins under the age of one, died during that journey.

Augusta came to the United States from Germany to join her husband, my great grandfather, Otto Miller who had arrived months before to establish a place for his wife and children.

I believe their last name was Mueller but they changed it to Miller to Americanize it.

Both my great grandparents were deaf mutes. And from what family members have told me they were the first deaf and mute immigrants to become American Citizens in the state of Massachusetts.

When Otto was born the doctors thought he might be still born. To be sure they probed and poured hot water in his ears. It was found that he was not still born but very much alive. Only now, he was permanently deaf.

Augusta was born hearing but when she was three years old she caught scarlet fever. It was this illness that left her completely deaf.

The house that Otto built at 31 Massachusetts Avenue, Dedham, Massachusetts
The house that Otto built.

Otto, a cigar maker by trade, built a house for his family at 31 Massachusetts Avenue, in Dedham, Massachusetts. He made the walls of tin so that he and his wife could tell if the children were being quiet or raising a ruckus. They would know this by feeling or seeing if the walls were vibrating. What a great idea that was.

I grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts only a few houses away from the house my great grandfather built. To this day, it still stands, although I do not know who lives there.

From what I remember being told, on Augusta’s death bed she whispered the words, “I see God” right before she died. The only words she had ever spoken since she became deaf at the age of three. From what my brother remembers it was Otto who said this. The sad thing is there is no one alive who can verify which one it was. Both were deaf and mute so no matter who said it their comment speaks volumes!

My brother who has always been into genealogy decided about a year ago to make a Facebook group to find long lost relatives of our great grandparents and has been successful in finding quite a few. A family reunion was held this past August. I was unable to attend due to medical issues but I am hoping to attend the next one.

If you believe you may be related to Otto and/or Augusta Miller please send a request to join the Otto Herman and Augusta Miller Facebook Group. Someone will get back to you….

Further Information:

Otto Herman Miller
Holle, Germany

Augusta Jennie (Dunker – maiden name) (Schutt – first husband’s last name) Miller
Hamburg, Germany

Children of Otto and Augusta Miller
Rudolph Schutt/Miller 1891-?
Elsie Schutt/Miller Block 1893-1978
Otto Miller Jr 1898-1941
August Miller 1901-1964
Edward Miller 1902-1966
Lillian Miller Wright 1904-1976
Charles and Freida twins who died on their way to America 1907-1907



  1. What an amazing story. We have a similar FB group for all the family that came from Switzerland and it is so interesting to get to know all the “cousins” and how much we have in common.

  2. I read this with great interest–what an amazing couple, and you have every right to be proud to be descended from such enterprising people! I have a question–do you know when in 1907 Augusta arrived at Ellis Island, or on what ship? Both of my maternal grandparents came that year, too, on separate ships (I have no idea whether they knew each other before they came to America or if they met here). They were Polish, but they both sailed out of Hamburg, my grandmother on the Andalusia, which arrived at Ellis Island on July 5, and my grandfather on the Pretoria, which arrived in November (I don’t remember the exact date). Wouldn’t it be a hoot if our ancestors traveled on the same ship and maybe even knew each other!

      • I started a Facebook one as well, but had no responses. I know some on one side. My father side is unknown as his parents came directly from Italy. I would like to be on one of those genealogy websites, but I really can’t afford to do that right now, as well as the DNA test. I would really like to do that. I did find a very distant cousin, but for some reason we lost touch.

        • I think those DNA tests are interesting. If I had the money I would do it myself. My brother searched Facebook for people with family names and sometimes he hit on one. Then he would invite them to the family group.

          • That is a good idea, but our name is so common. I used to go on the forums for the genealogical sites, but the last time I checked I could not access that. That is how I found the distant cousin. He was in North Carolina, right where I wanted to move to. We corresponded for awhile. He could not help me in my search, other than telling me that the original name had a variation from the way it was registered, so that was a problem. The name was Sloss, but in some registers it appeared as Slopp or even Slapp. The S’s and A, were not recognized. That would be a roadblock there. He just stopped writing me and I really enjoyed hearing from him. He was on Facebook. I sent him a request and he never answered that either.

            • That’s too bad he didn’t keep in touch. That would be tough finding relatives with your name spelled different ways. My grandparents original name was Mueller but they changed it to Miller when they came to the United States so that it would be more Americanized.

              • I think a lot of people with that name would Americanize it to Miller. Wow, that name would be hard to track I think it is a lot more common than mine. I mean my maternal side. But the one side is Stephens, and that is very common. I have a lot on that side, but not the Glenn side, another common one. I can not find anything about my fathers side. They were immigrants from Italy.

                  • Thanks good advice. I think there’s probably a lot of people that don’t even think about checking Facebook for genealogical research. I am going to check that though. I knew about that other folder, but I have not checked to see if there was anything in it.

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