Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Different Puzzle

with 2 comments

My love of toiling away on jigsaw puzzles and searching for specific shaped “needles” in the haystacks of pieces has a correlation to another of my treasured hobbies. This is probably not the first time I’ve come to the realization that I feel the same about the hunt and discovery of missing people in my family tree each time I return to my genealogy project.

I just began looking anew at my 3rd great-grandfather, John Hays (1795-1840) because he is the primary dead-end, or his father is the primary “missing piece” I would next like to find.

Just like with jigsaw puzzles, when I can’t find what I’m looking for, I will settle for other, easier pieces along the way. Because I haven’t been able to find out who John’s parents are, I have tracked down a lot of other people on different branches of my family tree.

But I always find myself returning to the missing link in the path toward confirming the precise origin of our surname.

According to information taken from the 1922 death certificate of one of John’s other sons, John was born in Hinesburgh, Vermont, USA.

In 1828, John married Laura Kittle (born 1807 in Lachute, Qc) in a Cushing Presbyterian church in Argenteuil, Quebec, Canada.

Their firstborn, Stephen W. Hays (1829-1910) has the birthplace of Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Canada.

Take a look at the proximity of the three locations on a map:

I haven’t found any record of who John’s parents were in Vermont in 1795.

When Cyndie and I traveled to Ontario in the early 1980s (with absolutely no genealogy experience whatsoever) we stumbled onto the plot of farmland owned by John, as well as his hand-written last will and testament. His will began with the fact he was ill of health but of sound mind. It was all very fascinating, but we had no way of knowing at the time that he had originally come from Vermont.

I wouldn’t mind visiting Hinesburg to see what we might stumble upon there in the present day. It looks like it might be a nice place to explore on my new bicycle.

Not having a good knowledge of history, I am curious what it was like to travel between countries in the early 1800s. Or, even fifty years later when Stephen W. traveled from Vankleek Hill with my very young great-grandfather, John W. Hays (1860-1931) to come to Redwing, Minnesota.

Was it a big deal to them to be crossing the national borders?

What took John from Vermont? Did that move happen when he was young and as a result of his unidentified parents’ decision?

How did John meet Laura Kittle whom he married in 1828?

Their son, Stephen W. married the girl who lived on the farm next door near Vankleek Hill. Maybe the answer to John marrying Laura Kittle will be revealed by a similar proximity of residence in the 1820s.

One thing I am sure of, it will be a huge rush if/when I find one of these key missing puzzle pieces of who John’s parents were.



Written by johnwhays

January 26, 2022 at 7:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. It was fun for me to realize my great grandmother was born in Maine – not far from our cabin. Discovery!! P.S. Love your idea to bike in Vemont – but get your legs in shape for those hills and mountains. And come visit us in Maine!


    January 26, 2022 at 9:03 am

    • Florence Douglass in 1877! “Not far” is a relative term, but I totally relate to such discoveries!
      Would love to bike to or from the camp. The electric assist was purchased just for such occasions of big climbs… šŸ™‚


      January 26, 2022 at 10:10 am

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