Monday, January 30, 2012

Encounters in the Hix Family Part II - Verify the Facts

Yesterday we spent over three hours with Karen, going over our research and comparing notes. When we met at Sharis in Tualatin we asked for a large table in a far corner of the restaurant. We needed lots of room to spread out our notebooks, documents and a laptop computer. The staff was very gracious to us, as they accommodated all of our needs. Our first point of discussion was in resolving the death of Robert Hix. The previous post on this topic was posted last Wednesday.

After learning of Robert's death my friend was very disturbed about his death, so she finally decided to call his home on Friday. Who should answer the phone, but Robert himself. What a joyful reunion that was! After discussing this with Karen, we came to realize that there was another Robert Hix living in Iroquois County, Illinois, who had passed away.

One of the first things we did, after meeting, taking pictures and getting to know each other, was call Robert. He was so delighted to be included in our little family meeting, only wishing he could be there in person. Previously he seemed to know very little about his family history, only providing tiny tidbits of information. During the three phone calls that took place during this meeting, he continued to supply us with other important details. He is now in a place in his life where he is able to help us more in the work we are doing. Karen has a picture of his grandfather, which she is going to send to him along with some other family documents.

Karen is a great researcher, who has been to many of the record repositories in Iroquois County. We both had copies of the four probate files from the Iroquois Genealogical Society, but ours is a much better copy. The files are digitized, so she requested a copy of our file. Her family tree at is very good. That is how we came to be connected. We shared with her the top priorities in the present work we are doing, finding a copy of the father William Hix's will which is mentioned in his wife's probate packet and to identify the parents of this William Hix. We have three possible sets of parents, two of which seem unlikely, but the key to solving the puzzle is information on the parent's deaths in an Indian massacre sometime between about 1808 and 1817.

The information we have on William Hix is that he was born about 1795 in Kentucky, according to the 1850 Census. He died on 24 February 1858 in Iroquois County, Illinois and is buried in Vennum Cemetery in Milford with his wife Martha Patsy Lane, who passed away on 24 April 1871. He is said to have come to Kentucky in about 1820, after his parents were killed by Indians, possibly in North Carolina. He was supposedly appointed legal guardian of his sisters. The family was originally from Virginia.

William and Patsy had at least eleven children, all born in Kentucky, nine of whom are known to have married. My friend and Donna come off the line of Garrett Hix, the third son. Karen is off the line of William Hix, the eldest son. Judy and Robert are off the line of George Washington Hix, the fifth son. If you are a descendant of this Hix family, I have a group of people who would very much like to connect with you.

In our conversation I mentioned that I am not related to this family in any way. This is a volunteer project for me, because this family history intrigues me. The benefit for me is that I gain some wonderful material for use in the presentations that I do or articles that I write. Even though it is not a paid project, I want to be as thorough as possible and verify the facts as we receive them. My friend is not into genealogy, but she makes the phone calls, sends for records and uses inter-library loan to assist in the work.

Karen, on the other hand, has discovered her passion for doing this work. She, Donna, Judy and others are important connections on the path to solving the puzzles through resources we may not be aware of as individuals, but as a collective group collaborating we have a greater chance of success. We have been provided names and contact information of family members who are likely to have old family items stored in their homes.

Are you working with others on your path to solving the puzzles in your family history? Do you verify the facts, so that when you sit down to discuss your work with fellow collaborators you can explain your research? It is a challenge, but meeting with researchers from any line connected to your work may lead you to find those gold mines of information that we all want to find.

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