Thursday, January 26, 2012

Serendipity Moments - Encounters in the Hix Family

For the past two years I worked with a new friend that I met in our family history center on the Hix family history. In the process we met several people who were willing to collaborate with us in this work. Most of our research was in the town of Milford in Iroquois County, Illinois. My friend made several telephone contacts with people of this town who were very helpful.

The caretaker of the local cemetery was most helpful. He even went so far as to visit the Iroquois County Genealogical Society to inquire about additional family information. They refused to even discuss the family with him, as he is not related. We had previously paid the society for copies of forty pages of four probate files at the cost of $22. As a bonus they included several obituaries for the family. They were very gracious to us, we just wanted someone who could physically go there to inquire about any other information that they might have.

At about this time we met Robert Hix last February, who lived in the area, and had several nice visits with him. Due to family circumstances he was unable to follow through on visiting the society. We were surprised that we never heard back from him.

In May of last year we connected with Karen through She is located near us and we discussed getting together to share our research. Last week I finally contacted her again to arrange this meeting. My friend called her last night to finalize the plans. I like to have family members talking to each other in the process of sharing. She unfortunately shared the news that Robert Hix passed away last summer. We are saddened by this news.

I think we learned a quick lesson in not judging people who appear to not follow through when they offer assistance. There are times when I forget to follow through, and I always encourage people to send a reminder if a month passes and they do not receive what I offered to send.
Then there is Donna who had placed several family pictures on When we copied the pictures to our file they were rather grainy, so I asked Donna if she would be willing to share the original scans. We are very pleased with this improved quality of these fantastic pictures. In the middle of our communications her town was hit with straight line winds and they had no power for three days. Once that was recovered from she sent us a few more pictures.

Recently we reconnected with Judy and she further explained some of the onsite research she has accomplished. She researched in Pike, Parke, Benton, and Clinton counties in Indiana. Then in Watseka and Milford in Iroquois County, Illinois. They took lots of pictures at the cemetery. Then they visited the County Recorders Office and Genealogical Society, where they ran out of time making copies of records. Their last stop was Danville, another place where the family lived.

On this coming Sunday we are meeting with Karen, who visited the towns where the family lived in Iroquois County, Illinois and did onsite research. It will be interesting to hear of her experiences in researching there.

There are two family items we would especially like to further explore.
First we would like to confirm the parents of William Hix, who the family information says, that his parents were killed by the Indians (about 1810-1820) and he was appointed guardian of his sisters. This could have occurred in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee or Virginia. Somewhere there may be a record in a Court House.
Second William Hix was noted to have a will in his wife's probate file, but there is not one listed in the probate index at the genealogical society. Is it filed somewhere else at the Court House?

The finding of answers to these unanswered questions would surely generate serendipity moments. Working together and collaborating with others is the most likely way to find our answers. In comparing our findings and places searched, we can concentrate on other possibilities.
Have you had similar encounters in your family history research?


  1. I love hearing stories about Serendipity in Genealogy. There are two books I would highly reccommend reading. Both books are by Megan Smolenyak. The 1st one is "In Search of Our Ancestors". The 2nd one is "Honoring Our Ancestors".

    A couple of times when I was at a cemetery and had been looking for a while, I was finally leaving and either heading for the car or in the driving off in the car when I finally saw the graves I was looking for. Another time a 19th century photo album made its way back into my hands, a descendant.

    Regards, Jim

    Genealogy Blog at Hidden Geenalogy Nuggets

    1. Hi Jim,
      Thank you for sharing your experiences. It is amazing how often these moments happen in our research. Megan is a great writer and I also recommend her books.