Relative Something

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

But Wait

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Sometimes, it’s not what you think. When searching for something that continues to elude discovery because it is not where you expect it to be, one strategy is to go back to the start. I did just that yesterday and, although I may have ended up even farther from what I am ultimately seeking, I gained valuable new insight.

Since my search for the birth record in Hinesburg, VT of my 3rd-great grandfather John Hays (b.1795) was exclusively based on information taken from his youngest son’s death record, I decided to revisit that source death record to confirm I wasn’t misremembering anything.

Oftentimes, the information collected and entered onto the family tree record becomes gospel despite each tidbit of detail for each record having variable degrees of accuracy. It pays to keep in mind the fragility of the whole collection.

I looked up the actual record from which I picked up the belief my ancestor was born in Vermont.

Upon a fresh viewing, the first thing that caught my eye was that both parents are shown with the birthplace of Hinesburg. I have other sources about Laura Kittle that tell me that is not accurate.

It’s like having the wrong piece of a jigsaw puzzle in place that makes it impossible to find any adjacent pieces that will fit.

If it isn’t accurate for Laura, then what makes me think it is correct for John? Who provided that information upon John B.’s death? Why was that thought to be true? Something must be behind the thought of Hinesburgh being the place of birth. What could that be?

I have found a surprisingly thorough history of Hinesburgh, Vermont that makes the place sound barely established when I am trying to envision my ancestors being there. The first (colonial) birth was noted as happening in 1785 and there were no doctors yet. Despite there being very few families noted in the history of this community around that time, there is absolutely no mention of the name Hay(e)s anywhere.

Next, I revisited the details I’ve collected about John(b.1795) and tried finding notice of his death in 1840. I learned that death records weren’t kept before 1869 in Ontario. However, I did rediscover one of his daughters (under her married name) was buried in the same cemetery near Vankleek Hill.

Maybe, with her married name, I can find her death record to see if that one lists the birthplace of her parents. Of course, think about it. I really am relying on whoever the survivors were to report this information at the time of death. Genealogy research is one endless puzzle.

I think I’ll go finish the jigsaw currently on the old family table and get away from the online searching for a day.

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Written by johnwhays

January 30, 2022 at 11:25 am

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