Monday, August 24, 2015

Michael Hait shares his favorite ancestor

In an interview with Thomas MacEntee, Michael answered the question "who is your favorite ancestor and why"?

It’s hard to pick a favorite ancestor. Some carry my interest because researching their lives involved breaking through significant brick walls. Others I am drawn to due to contributions to history. For example, I am directly descended from four Union soldiers, three Confederate soldiers, and one ancestor served in both armies during the Civil War. I am also directly descended from more than a dozen Revolutionary War soldiers, including a few officers. I have several ancestors who came to the U. S. before 1650, and have others who immigrated in the late nineteenth century. To me, it’s almost like asking a father to choose his favorite child. I love them all for different reasons.

One of the ancestors that I have spent quite a bit of time on would be “Elder” Henry Hait. He was a Primitive Baptist minister, first in Stamford, Connecticut, and then in central New York, ending up in Long Island. For years, both I and others researching his life thought he was born in Stamford. After all, his tombstone and the 1850 census both stated that he was born in Connecticut. But I struggled with this, because I could not find any reference to his father nor a reference to his own birth. Finally, I discovered, with the help of the Primitive Baptist Library in Carthage, Illinois, that he wrote an autobiography in a religious newspaper in New York. In the article he states that he was born in Bedford NY in 1779, but that his father died in 1780 and he was sent back to Stamford to live with his grandfather. Not only did the article clear up my concerns, and explain the negative evidence, it also provided a lot of insight into his personality. He was a very stern, religious man. I think that the amount of time, and the depth to which I combed through every aspect of his life in the course of researching him, adds to my appreciation of his life."

The entire interview can be found at Michael's course is filling up, so register now! With only eight courses left with seats remaining, now is the time to register. For more information, see

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