Benjamin Rush Milam William Alexander Milam

Please help to discontinue the propagation and perpetuation of outdated conclusions, false research, and mis-information of the Milam family history.


The following is a general overview of the earliest known history and genealogies of the Milam family.


The name of Milam is a family name of Old English origin. It is believed that the name referred to someone who lived in or near the old Roman town of Mileham in County Norfolk, England. In England the e and h are silent, hence the eventual spelling Milam.


Currently, the earliest known Milams to come to America are the brothers John and Humphrey Milam / Mylam who settled in Boston prior to 1635. Early records list them as being from Oxfordshire, England. Both men were by trade "Coopers"; builders of barrels. They were members of the now historically famous First Church of Boston. John had 10 children including 7 sons. Humphrey had 7 children, all daughters.

Recent research by a group of Milam historians have discovered that John Milam / Mylam of Boston, and his wife and all of his surviving children migrated and settled County Waterford, Ireland sometime around 1652. So far, as the research continues, indications are that none of the John Milam / Mylam sons every returned back to America. This would preclude any of the Boston Milams from being the progenitors of the Milam family of Virginia.

For more information about this significant research and discovery, please visit the John Mylam History web page.


At this time, most all Milams in the United States can prove descent from one of two men who are found in Virginia as early as the 1730s and 1740s. These men are the Milam Patriarchs, John and Thomas. Though it cannot yet be proven, it is traditionally believed that John and Thomas are brothers.

I. John Milam was born before 1718 and married a woman named Judith, possibly Bartlett, as early as 1739. John may have lived in Louisa County, Virginia before he is found in Brunswick County, Virginia in 1752. In 1764 he is found in Halifax County, Virginia where he lived until sometime after 1782 when he then migrated to York County, South Carolina where he died and left a will in 1789. John was a soldier of the Revolutionary War. John and Judith had 10 children.

II. Thomas Milam was born before 1716 and married Mary Rush no later than 1744. Early records find Thomas living on the north side of Doubletop Mountain near a Gap that takes it's name from him; Milam Gap. His land was part of Orange County, Virginia until 1749, when it then became part of Culpeper County. Thomas sold this land in Culpeper County in 1760 and in 1761 migrated to Bedford County, Virginia where he died and left a will in 1775. Thomas and Mary had 7 children


The long standing tradition that the 'three' Milam brothers, Thomas, John and Archibald, were the sons of Samuel Mileham and Martha Gardner, who were married 1724 in Lancaster County, Virginia, has been extensively researched for verification and as a result has been thoroughly and completely proven as false. Thomas and John have been proven to have been born long before the marriage of Samuel Mileham and Martha Gardner, while additionally Archibald has been proven to have never existed. For more information about these new conclusions, click here for the discussion Major Change in the Virginia Milams originally written in the January-February 1994 issue of Milam Roots.

Much of this old belief was based upon poor memory, incomplete information, inadequate research and false data, combined with an overly-zealous effort to make things ‘fit’ by the early Milam researchers of the late 1800s through 1930s. [see Milam Research History]

Unfortunately, despite exhaustive, extensive, thorough and detailed research by many Milam family historians the last 25 years, the identity of the parents of the Milam brothers has continued to be elusive. Milams have been extremely difficult to locate and identify in earlier Virginia and Maryland records, and those few that might have been found have not clearly been connected to the Virginia Milam brothers.

The popularly theorized Boston connection that has been vigorously pursued for over 15 years has uncovered extensive valuable information, but as yet has failed to provide the substantial proof necessary. In fact, the most significant discovery that has been made is that the John Mylam who arrived in Boston prior to 1635 and married, raised a family, and achieved great success, had removed himself and his entire family to Ireland in 1652, thus eliminating all the male Mylams in Boston after that point, lessoning the possibility of the Virginia connection to the Boston Mylams. For more information about this significant research and discovery, please visit the John Mylam History web page.

Meanwhile, do be sure to visit the various websites referred to and linked to from throughout this website and review their research and discussions. Most notably, be sure to visit the website of the Milam Family Historical Society, and the very well researched website Milam in Virginia.

Please help to discontinue the propagation and perpetuation of outdated conclusions, false research, and mis-information of the Milam family history.

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