Big changes have come to — all content is now read-only, and member subscriptions and the Shop have been discontinued.
Learn more

Milstead Genealogy Home Page

Updated December 24, 2009

The derivation of the name Milstead is not certain, but one likely theory is that it means the ‘middle place’, from Old English middel ‘middle’ and stede ‘site, place’. It is first recorded in the late eleventh century as Milstede.

The first Milstead in America that we know of was Edward born in 1656. He lived in Bethersden, Kent, England and was deported in 1674 for stealing 2 nutmegs, a pound of Gingerbread, and 3 shillings from two homes. After serving an indenture to pay for his passage, he went on to acquire land, marry thrice, and father a number of children, from which many of the Milsteads in America are descended. This site is dedicated to all the descendants of Edward I and also to my other ancestors.

For the first century after the arrival of Edward, the Milstead family multiplied and prospered with the colonies, acquiring lands and slaves, but also suffered under the "tyranny" of the homeland. When the revolutionary war came, at least one Milstead served in the Continental Army. After the revolution, some Milsteads chose to spread westward with the frontier and many moved South, while others remained rooted in Charles County.

Over the next three quarters of a century the now spread-out Milstead family in the North, South, and West had mostly, if not totally, lost all memory or awareness of each other. Charles County Milsteads were still living in a mainly agrarian society that was not unlike most of Virginia and the other southern states. Other Milsteads just a few miles away were running a brickyard in the thriving city of Washington by 1820. There were by this time groups of Milsteads in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Texas, Western Virginia (soon to become West Virginia after Virginia succeeded from the Union and then West Virginia succeeded from the Confederacy), Ohio, Mississippi, Alabama, and undoubtedly anywhere else that Europeans were within the new land. In Charles County, the Milsteads helped establish a church in Chicamuxen, MD that is still the center of gravity for the family today.

When war came in 1861, America underwent a great tragedy. It was an awesome and awful thing that affected everybody for the worse, whether white or black or something else. 600,000 killed, about 2% of the population. 23,000 were killed in one day, half of the total for Vietnam, but coming from a much, much smaller population. The Milsteads again were typical. By my count, there were 69 Milsteads that fought in "The recent unpleasantness." About 2/3 of Milsteads fought for the Confederate States, and the other 1/3 fought for the union. This pretty much maps the distribution of the family over the northern vs. southern states. Like every other group, we took our casualties in wounded and killed, although statistically we probably fared a little better than would be expected. Joseph H. Milstead is buried at Arlington Cemetery at the Confederate Memorial.

After the civil war, the family grew and became more diverse. Some became famous/infamous, and most went on to work, raise families, and passed into memory and beyond. The information contained on this site is my insufficient attempt to capture and bring back from the "realm of the nearly forever lost" some of the things we know, or think we know, about this great, and ordinary, American family.

The information presented herein is not perfect, in fact it contains many errors, but for all that, it is still a place to start for anyone who would like to attempt the rewarding, frustrating, and ultimately impossible task of bringing clarity to history that can only be viewed through the cloudy lens of scant and conflicting information. It is like viewing the world through a piece of glass that has been etched by the tides of time. Everything is distorted, but there is definitely something there. And every once in a while, the sun shines just right and there is just the fleeting moment of clarity..... or was there?

Bob Milstead
August 15th, 2004
Robert B Milstead

Edit Your Page

My Family History


Family Photos

  • Robert A. Milstead Shot and Killed by his Wife (155 KB)
    These articles appeared in The Washington Post in 1915. Irene Milstead was tried twice and eventually acquitted on the grounds that R.A. had it coming.
  • Josias (Joseph) Henry Milstead 1829 - ? (351 KB)
    The great grandfather of the webmaster. Joseph H. Milstead was born in Charles County, Maryland and is the father of several Milsteads that migrated to Burtonsville, Montgomery County, Maryland about 1890.
  • Deed to Land in Texas - J J Milstead 1858-1859 (1134 KB)
    This deed shows when Joseph J. Milstead b. 1816, son of Abraham Milstead b. abt. 1786 acquired over 5000 acres of land in Hildago County, TX in 1859.
  • The Oldest Known Milstead Gravestone (366 KB)
    Mathew Milstead who died in 1850 is the oldest known Milstead gravestone. It is located in Chicamuxen, MD. I bet there are some older ones somewhere, especially in England. Got one? Send a picture!
  • Edward Milstead Pays Fine for Siring Bastard Child (261 KB)
    One of the oldest documents relating to the Milstead family.
  • Milstead Family Reunion - 1987 (390 KB)
    The children and most of the grandchildren of Melville Milstead got togther for a reunion in the summer of 1987. Here is a photo of the group. Are you in this picture? Send me an email and say hi.
  • The Milstead Hotel in Laurel, MD (291 KB)
    William Milstead was a prosperous businessman in Laurel in the early 1800s. It was hard to find a business he was not in. He was a wheelwright, blacksmith, hotel owner, undertaker, and mayor.
  • Certificate from Governor of Maryland (74 KB)
    A certificate issued to the Milstead family by the governor of Maryland on the occassion of the 325th anniversary of the family in the state of Maryland
  • Civil War Map made from a Balloon above Chicamuxen (395 KB)
    This map waas made by Col. William T. Small on December 8th, 1861 from a balloon several hundred feet above Chicamuxen, which was at the time the headquarters of Union General Joseph T. Hooker. The map clearly shows Chicamuxen Creek, Budd's Ferry, and Stump Neck.
  • 1878 Map of Burtonsville, Maryland (143 KB)
    This map shows the property of Andrew Jackson Thompson. A. J. Thompson is an ancestor of many of the Burtonsville Milstead clan, because two Milstead brothers, Thomas Lee Milstead and Joseph Tilden Milstead married two of his daughters and settled in the Spencerville and Fairland areas in the late 1800s.
  • James Francis Milstead 1878-1945 (169 KB)
    One of the more handsome Milsteads
  • Jeannette and Delmar Milstead 50th Wedding Party (138 KB)
    Jeanette's maiden name was also Milstead. They were 3rd cousins. Check out the guest list, it is a virtual who's who of Burtonsville in 1933.
  • Grave of Joseph H. Milstead at Arlington Cemetary (44 KB)
    Joseph H. Milstead fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. He was wounded and captured on Culp's Hill at Gettysburg on July 3rd and spent almost 2 years at Point Lookout Prison, MD until the end of the war. He is one of only about 300 Confederates buried at Arlington National Cemetary at the Confederate Memorial. He lived until 1924. This may or not be the same Joseph H. Milstead that is the great grandfather of the webmaster.
  • Matthew Milstead Dies at Age 63 in 1850 (97 KB)
    The July 3rd, 1850 edition of the Port Tobacco Times announcing the death of Matthew Milstead at age 63
  • Mystery Solved on Unidentified Photo (197 KB)
    Barry Milstead remembered that his father had told him that this was a picture of Mary Speake, a friend of the family. Mary's sister Cora A. Speake married a Milstead.
  • Josiah H. Milstead Sued by R.D.P. Ratcliffe (90 KB)
    The February 26th, 1869 edition of the Port Tobacco Times highlighting a dispute over 87 acres of land.
  • The Runner Up to Oldest Known Milstead Gravestone (124 KB)
    The 2nd oldest known gravestone of someone named Milstead is Margret Milstead in Walnut Grove, TN. Do you know of an older one? Send a picture!
  • Obituary of Dr. Samuel Mudd (49 KB)
    Not really a Milstead thing, but the obituary of the famous doctor who treated John Wilkes Booth appeared in the Port Tobacco Times in 1883.
  • Painting of 2nd Maryland Infantry CSA Solidier (197 KB)
    This painting by Don Troiani shows the uniform of the 2nd Maryland Infantry CSA.
  • Joseph H. Milstead Captured at Gettysburg (114 KB)
    Joseph H. Milstead was wounded and captured on July 3rd, 1863 at Culp's hill in Gettysburg. He spent the rest of the war in prison, mostly at Point Lookout, MD.
  • Where Did The Milstead Name Originate? (39 KB)
    As recently as 1881 almost all of the Milsteads in Great Britain were located in the same small area around Maidstone England. Source: The CASA Project:

Related Files

  • History of Marshall Hall (25 KB)
    Another article about Charles County that really doesn't have a Milstead tie-in, but interesting, none the less.
  • Milstead Genealogy Compiled by Clarence Milstead (1082 KB)
    If you are looking for information on Milsteads from Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, or other southern states, this version submitted by Clarence Milstead in September 2005 may be helpful.
  • Civil War Era Letter from J J Milstead to his Wife (7 KB)
    Joseph J. Milstead b. 1816 (Abraham, Aaron, Joseph of Amherst, VA) wrote this letter to his wife in 1862.
  • Old Milstead Photos Wanted and Available to Share (19 KB)
    Send me your old photos of Milsteads or check to see what I have. Index of my photos here.
  • Milstead Family Wills (175 KB)
    A variety of wills from people in or near the Milstead family.
  • Solving a 200 Year Old Mystery with DNA Testing (13 KB)
    Was William Milstead b.1797 the son of Walter Milstead? We'll find out with DNA testing at the family reunion this year!
  • Who was Edward Milstead of Charles County, MD? (42 KB)
    The wills of four early Edward Milsteads in Charles County, MD that will help you sort out who was who in the earliest Milsteads in America.
  • Who was Joseph Milstead of Amherst, VA? (18 KB)
    There has been a lot of confusion over exactly how Joseph Milstead of Amherst, VA relates to Edward Milstead I. This discussion attempts to provide various viewpoints.
  • Was William Milstead the son of Walter Milstead? (35 KB)
    Some of the most important Milsteads to the webmaster are William Milstead b. abt. 1797 (father of Josias Henry Milstead and my gggrandfather) and Walter Milstead b. about 1760. I'm almost positive that Walter is the father of William and therefore my ggggrandfather. I just know it. But I can't prove it. If you can offer any evidence one way or the other, please email me at This article also contains information about the Thomas Thompson (d. 1815) family. Thomas was the grandfather of William's wife Lydia Verlinda Luckett.
  • List of County Hundreds & Parish Church Districts (72 KB)
    In times past, the location of a place was specified by in which "Hundred" or which Parish it was located. Here is a list of the Old County Hundreds and Parishes in Maryland.

Related Links

Created with Family Tree Maker

The content shown on this page has been submitted by a customer, and is not subject to verification by Neither nor its affiliates are responsible for the accuracy of any information contained on this page. The opinions expressed on this page are the author's alone and not the opinions of

Home | Help | About Us | Site Index | Terms of Service | PRIVACY
© 2009