The Ker Family Project

Ghote M.K. Miles is seeking assistance in helping the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society identify the living descendants of Edward Ker (1725-1790) and his wife Margaret Shepherd (1735-dec). The Historical Society would like to organize a Ker family reunion that might coincide with the Ghotes 2005 conference. The objective of the present project is to locate the living descendants of Edward Ker, regardless of their surname, and invite them to the family reunion at Ker Place in Onancock.

M.K. Miles is compiling the family information and has already traced most of them to about the time of the Civil War. To date he has found 356 descendants in 11 generations of descendants. The daughters married into various Eastern Shore families, including Scarburgh, Bayly, Wise, Kellam, Custis, West, Mapp, Christian, Finney, Boggs, Revell, Stratton, Seymour, Smith, Bowman, Snead, and so forth, which indicates that the Ker family stayed socially connected to many Eastern Shore prominent families.

M.K.'s main sources have included census records and Accomack and Northampton county records, Matthew Wise's book, The Littleton Heritage, published in 1997; reports in the Eastern Shore Public Library (ESPL) by Parker Barnes and E. Spencer Wise (both deceased), both descendants of the Ker family through some of the daughters of daughters; Jean Mihalyka's Bible records in the ESPL and a recent book by the late Dr. Doris Adler of Hickory House called The Ker Papers, published in 2003, with many family letters of the Dr. John Ker (1799-1847) family of Eastville, which is a look at the personal side of the family.

M.K. has created a file on the Ker descendants with data up to 1900, now posted on the Ghotes web page. (Click here.)

How GHOTES Can Help

Pre-1900 Data

Review the file at to see if you can fill in any missing data. If so, send the information, indicating exactly where it fits, to M.K. at

Post-1900 Data

If you have data on descendants of John Ker that date after 1900, please do this:
1. Send an email to M.K. at and ask him for the Ker file "with living persons." He will send you a data file and a descendant chart.

2. If you can add information, here's what M.K. would like you to do.

Phase One He would like to start out by adding names to his indented descendant chart. He wants to start by getting the descendant chart correct and identifying those who left the Shore starting about 1840 (like the Higginbothams), to fill in the more recent generations.
Phase Two The second phase is to get details about the land, the money, the influence, the personal side, etc. M.K. will add Whitelaw stories, information from The Ker Papers, and other sources.

Note: M.K. asks that you please send only corrections and additions to his files--not your data files for him to compare.

More: M.K. has already starting working with Dean Hickman from Melfa, who provided his Ker family file (but he did not trace the daughters). Gail Walczyk has offered to help as well.

There may be an article in the Society Newsletter or in the Eastern Shore Newspaper explaining the project and seeking input, and some sort of local meeting on this subject. Some local helpers may not be as comfortable communicating by computer, and so Barry Miles has offered to meet with people on the Shore to discuss this in person and take their data in either hard copy or verbally. More volunteers for this purpose are also needed.

Web site copyright 1996-2004 by Barbara Cox.  This page updated October 14, 2004

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