Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pioneer Ancestor Found via Family Search

I received an email today that stated “Charlene, we've found pioneers in your family tree”. Really this looks interesting. So I open the email to find:

Interesting, I think, but who is Andrew McCombs? I have never heard of him, of course I have to follow the link and click the big blue button above labelled “See My Pioneer Ancestors”. The link takes me to FamilySearch where I have to log into my account and now I am on the Pioneer Ancestor’s page.

Now I have two options, I want to view my relationship, so I follow that link.
And here lies the problem. Andrew McCombs is not my ancestor, well not my direct ancestor anyway. He at most is a distance cousin.  Why are the genealogy giants such as Family Search and Ancestry calling distant relations our Ancestors?  When I look up the definition of Ancestor I get the following: a person, typically one more remote than a grandparent, from whom one is descended. I don’t descend from Andrew then why do they get my hopes up and call him my Ancestor?

The second problem is the tree branch for my side (left) starting with Godfrey Hilts, I don’t have Godfrey as Lorentz Hiltz father but another Lorentz. This is the problem with a “shared” tree, anyone can make assumptions and changes. Therefore I click on Godfrey and see what sources were used for his record. When I click on Godfrey I do see that he has alternate names and a few are Lorentz plus Godfrey’s wife is what I have for Lorentz.

Wow, look at all the changes that FamilySearch is doing? Because you know they have to be the expert in my family, right? 

The reason given by FamilySearch – Engineer … was TF-907 Restore/Delete Cleanup. Oh, now that is clear as mud. However, no reason was given for the Alternate Name added by Family Search.

Now I do want to say that the Hilts/Hiltz/Heils family is very confusing. Especially with the entire last name variations but also because of all the familiar/common given names used in this family. I can’t say this is the only family such things have occurred, because heck I have other branches with similar problems. However I do want to say, that when a family that is large and uses the same given names in many branches, that it is not uncommon to find two people with the same name perhaps even born in the same year. This doesn’t though make them the same person. After doing a little more research in reviewing all the changes, I do see that someone merged a Godfrey to my Lorentz.

This frustrates me too much to deal with this mess. I could spend days, even weeks trying to clear up this mess. Heck I have done that in the past, but no more. I don’t have time to clear up this mess only to have someone come behind me and undo everything I just fixed.

This example just confirms why I do my tree on my computer with my genealogy software program. I can look at my sources and see why I have my tree the way I do. I can share my tree with other’s on other websites such as Ancestry and know that no one can undo what I have done. FamilySearch's idea of a “shared” tree is noble and I understand the logic behind the tree, but unfortunately, too many chefs spoiled the soup. Especially when they don't know what they are doing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Some of my AncestryDNA Results

It’s been a while since I have posted anything on my Hilts/Hiltz side of the family. Basically because I have been busy sorting through all my DNA matches.  Since some of these matches are from my Hilts/Hiltz side of the family I thought I would share my results.

None of my matches actually share a “shaky leaf” which means there are no Shared Ancestor Hints. The main reason is that I and my matches don’t always record the Hilts/Hiltz ancestor name exactly the same. I found these matches by “searching matches” and typing in the surname of Hilts.

Here is what I have:

First of all, I expected to see as my matches, my two sisters and my brother, along with my two nephews. I understand if one nephew doesn’t show up, because perhaps he never used the Hilts spelling in his tree. However, my siblings and I are all tied to the exact same tree, since I administer all three of their tests. I first verified that we are indeed tied to the same tree which I labelled “My DNA Tree” because this is a striped down version of my tree, with no pictures, and only includes our direct ancestors and their children. I guess this is a question for Ancestry.

Otherwise, my closest match is a 4th Cousin (possible range: 4th-5th cousins) for C.H. (administered by lpowell61). This match happened to be a known match.  Our closest ancestor is Lawrence Hilts and his wife Nancy. This couple is both of our’s 3rd great grandparents.

My brother not only matches C.H. as a 4th cousin but also ronjanhome. This match also matches Lawrence Hilts and his wife Nancy. This couple is only ronjanhome’s 2nd great grandparents and thus we are 3rd cousins 1x removed.

One of my sisters not only matches ronjanhome as a 4th cousins but also matches crstearns3. However, our common ancestor with this match goes back two more generations to Lorentz Hiltz and his wife Barbara. Our common ancestor is our 5th great grandparents and that makes us 6th cousins. My sister must share a lot of DNA with this person to have it show up as a much closer match.

Finally my other sister not only matches ronjanhome as a 4th cousin but also matches rrothcpa. His tree however is “locked” and thus I can’t actually see how we are related. However if I check our “Shared matches”, Q.K. (administered by contentedjoy1) and teechelle24 show up as 4th cousin matches.

When I check out Q.K.’s tree, I do not find any Hilts branches. Perhaps this person hasn’t research their tree back far enough.  When I quickly view the surnames in her tree, none jump out as familiar. Perhaps she descends through a female Hilts and the name quickly changes from Hilts.

While teechelle24 does not have her results tied to an actual tree, when I view the results, she does have a tree tied to her account. However, in the three generations that are listed, all the names are private with the exception of her grandfather James Robbins and that name is not familiar with me yet.

When I selected “Shared Matches” for all the other 4th cousin matches, no new names appear.  I do have more “Distant Cousin” matches, but I will save those for another day.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Edith (Hilts) Miller

I received an email yesterday from my cousin who maintains the Hilts and Hiltz

Cousin Website through
She stated that she “found a Family Group sheet on Edith Hilts for a different Miller than the David Miller she had. I do see that a different Miller man was listed in an perhaps obituary, and so there is the issue, which of the men she was married to, only one, or to both of them.”

The Edith Hilts in question is the daughter of Julius Benson Hilts and Susan Catherine Doyle.
Background information: Julius was born Jun 1855 in New York, son of Lawrence Hilts Jr and Nancy. Susan was born in 1865 in Canton, Lewis, Missouri the daughter of Peter and Barbara Doyle.

They had 10 children and as the 1910 Census states, 9 children living. Known children are Estelle (Everett Stewart), Grover Cleveland (aka Stanley Uriah), Beulah (Frank Miltenberg), Edith (our subject), Maude (Walter Eutsler), Mabel (Unknown Salisbury), Carl, Florence (Malcolm Woods) and Julius Jr.
My cousin showed Edith (b. April 1891 in Canton, Lewis, Missouri) being married to David Miller (b. 1883 in Canton, Lewis, Missouri). She listed six children as follows: Norman Lee (b. 1908 Illinois), Marion Catherine (b. 1910 CA), Daniel and David (twins b. 1911 CA), Franklin (b. 1913 CA) and Thelma (b. 1915 CA).

What I found:
Obituary for Edith Hilts Miller listing only one child Thelma Ripple and siblings, Beulah Miltenberg, Betty Salisbury, Margaret Woods, Maude Eutsler and Carol Hilts along with grandson Rodney and granddaughter Diana Heintz plus 2 great grandchildren. (This matches our Edith Hilts).

In 1910 US Census, David 35 and wife Edith 19 who have been married 3 years, is living with Edith’s sister Estelle and her husband Everett. (This matches our known facts).
In 1920 US Census, Edith (26) is living with husband Albert (35) and daughter Selma (4) and Edith’s sister Beulah Hennegin. (Question: Is Albert and David the same man?)

in 1930 US Census, Edith (35) with husband Albert (45) with daughter Thelma (14). It also states that Albert’s age at first marriage was 39 (6 years ago) and Edith’s was 20 (15 years ago). Thus their first marriages were not with each other.
Also in 1930 US Census, David (57) is married to Alta (36) and David’s two children Catherine and Daniel are living with them along with Alta’s two children. It also states that David was 33 at first marriage (24 years ago) and Wife was 17 (19 years ago) and thus their first marriages were not with each other.

Conclusion: David’s age at first marriage matches closely to what the 1910 census states. It appears that Edith is fudging her age by four years and her age at first marriage by four years.
In 1940, Albert (56) and Edith (46) are living with grandson Rodney Joseph Grant (6) in CA.

I found birth certificate transcriptions online for Norman, Marion Catherine, David and Daniel listing either David Miller and Edith Hilts as parents or mother’s maiden name as Hilts.
I don’t find anything on Franklin.

At first overview, it appears that Edith did marry to different Miller Men, first David and then Albert. I found Albert’s obituary listing Edith as his wife and Thelma Ripple as his daughter. I need to further investigate this family.

However, at this time, I am still working on cleaning up my files and thus I will print these notes out for another day of investigation.



Monday, January 14, 2013

Cleaning up files

One of my genealogy goals is to go through the stacks of paper that is under my desk. Today I happen to be sorting through some of my Hilts/Hiltz relatives. I have a lot of newspaper clippings that came from my grandmothers scrapbook. Years ago I photocopy her scrapbook and cut out the articles and sorted them by family. Now that I have many more names than when I made the copies, these people are easier to sort. Plus with so much more available online, I am able to figure which family they may belong too.

So today as I sub divided them down, I have made new pages of these clippings. I scan them on one side of the page and put the image into word. Then I explain who these people are on the other half of the page. This comes in handy with those social clippings that tell who is visiting who. I printed out the page and file it with the correct family and then threw those little scraps away. Now my notes are on a standard size 8x11 sheet of paper.

It may seem boring, but I am finding some new facts and that is always fun and rewarding.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

More on Eliza J Hilts

In my previous post I talked about the website that I found a wealth of Eliza J Hilts information, it lead me to the author/webmaster who directed me to an e-book he did on his Handy Ancestors. Through this site I was able to get little more information on the descendants of Eliza J Hilts. Again no documentation but names are a gold mine too.

I took one of the names, Edda Handy, granddaughter of Eliza through her only son, Milton and his wife Marie. Doing reverse genealogy can be tricky. I find that I sometimes have to print out lots of census pages and then figure out which one is my person. This is why I like, I like when they give me suggestions, keep in mind these are only suggestions and some don't always pan out, but when they do. YAHOO!

So how do I do my reverse genealogy, I try to find Edda with her known parents and then see if I find any suggestions. If I find suggestions, I start looking at them. Especially for females it can be challenging because names change. I found Edda as a Warren and how do I know this might be the correct Edda, because living with her in 1940 was her Mother Marie Handy. That is all I need to confirm that this is most likely my Edda and now I have two children, Charles F and Masie Jeanett or Marie J.  I have a lot more research to do on Eliza's descendants, but this at least keeps the fire going.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Eliza J Hilts

Today while searching for documentation for the Marriage of my Lawrence Hilts and his wife Nancy I came across a webpage  (Handy Ancestors, Descendants, & Related Families) with his oldest known daughter Eliza Hilts who married Chauncey Charles Handy . This website had information that I didn't have. Even though I don't have any sources, I added the information to my tree making sure I sourced this webpage. This way I know this is someone elses work and when I find time, I should try to get supporting documentation for this information.

This is why I wish people would include their sources, because then I can review what they looked at, without having to start from scratch and find sources to prove this. However, I have heard that some genealogist don't include sources so that people who want to know more must contact them directly. This way they can find out if you are related and how and have you as a resource if they need it. This can be a smart way too, but then perhaps they should have a statement such as "Sources available upon request."

I personally, don't want to slow down anyone's research efforts for them to have to wait until I reply to their email. There are many times, when I am traveling that I don't check my email, I don't want to check my email or I don't have access to my email. For example, when I went to Peru, until I made it back to the hotel, I didn't have internet access and I only had it because I brought my iPAD along. I wasn't going to bring my laptop because it was too heavy to lug around.

When I was on a cruise this past spring, I didn't check my email because I was too cheap to pay the price for internet access. Plus it was vacation, I had my laptop only to download my pictures from my camera, so that I would have more space available to take more pictures.

Back on track... If you want to collaborate with cousins, you need to get your trees out there. I do want to thank the author of the Handy Ancestors... website for taking the time to publish it on the web. It was put out there in 2008 and four years later a distant relative (me) found it.

I publish/share my tree with I do keep my tree private so that people have to contact me to get to view the tree. However, they can match to my tree, it is not totally private. I always ask how they are related to the person they are inquirying about and if I can match them, they have access. If I can't match them, I give them a brief report about the person they are inquirying about.

One final note: don't be a taker without being a giver too. If you take from someone's tree, their information (don't forget to give them credit by sourcing it) perhaps you should give your information so they can update their tree. This way both trees grow into something bigger and more beautiful.

Good Luck in your Genealogy research!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Andrew Spring (1779-1852)

I have been trying to figure out who the spouse of Margret Hilts (1782-1818) daughter of Christopel Hilts b: 1738).

I have conflicting information on her. I was given that her husband is Philip Sternberg and they had two children: Catherine (b: 1808) and Christina Maria (b: 1817).

I was also given that her husband was Andrew Spring (b: 1779 Rowan, NC, USA d: 1852 York, Onatrio, Canada).

First of all, besides user submitted trees on, I can't prove either relationship.

I can't really find Philip Sternberg at all through or

However, this is what I found on Andrew: He is the sone of Albright and Barbara Spring according to the Canadian Immigrant Records, Part Two (Berczy Papers) found on

I found an 15 Nov 1836 Ontario, Canada marriage between an Andrew Sping and Anne Nibls. If this is my Andrew Spring it would make him  57 years old at the time of marriage.

Finally, I found an 1851 Census of Canada West (Ontario) listing Andrew Spring, male, age 73 (est birth 1779) born in US, living in York County, District # 42; sub-district: East Gwillimbury; Sub District #: 406.

He is living with Samuel Spring age 23 (son) and son's wife Mary Ann Spring age 23 and another son John Spring age 22.

Based on this, it makes Andrew 50 years old when his son Samuel was born and 51 when John was born, therefore, if Anne Nibls is his wife, it would be a later marriage. However, I was given that Andrew wife Margaret Hilts was born 1780 and died 1855. If Margaret didn't die until 1855, why is she not living with her husband and sons? Perhaps she actually died in 1835 if he did remarry in 1836.

Based on all this information, I am just as confused as when I started. When I go back to the person who gave me this information, she claims it is correct because of all the user submitted trees that have this information. However, when I contacted those users, those that replied (which was alot of them), stated that they copied it from another user submitted tree. I wasn't able to get the information from the orginial user. Also, my person stated that she was listed on the 1855 census, but I can't find her.

Moral of this story: People should not copy into their trees, information that they haven't proven. Or at least include their sources and list whose tree you copied it from. I add it into my tree showing the source and then I can sort out those sources as those that I need to prove when I find more time. Another idea, mark it as speculation based on a user submitted tree and try to contact the submitter of the tree if they don't list any sources. If they did list sources, track them down and analyis that information.