Friday, September 11, 2009

Seeking the correct Samuel Hott - a follow up post

It's been about 3 months since I wrote a post about the confusion between two Samuel W. Hott men, that had, from the records I could find, been confused long ago by researchers who published a book on the Hott family. The research done on this family is extensive, and this mix-up could easily have happened, but the fact remained that what I had found just didn't match up with the information that had been published and taken by other researchers to be correct. Because my research away from home is extremely limited - dare I say even "rare", I had to rely on what others could find, records available on the internet, and much help from well seasoned researchers to prove my thoughts on my 2nd great grandfather.

My original information was very little, I knew that his wife was M.M. "Holt" and I knew that he died "around the turn of the century in Romney WV" (information obtained from one of my QUICK cousins). Very little to go on, and I had my work cut out for me. Beginning with the wrong surname and the incorrect area I began my search with no luck whatsoever.

Then it happened, I found a birth record for Sarah Elizabeth Virginia HOTT in Hampshire County WV, parents listed as Samuel W. Hott and Mary Matilda Henderson. My Great Grandmother went by Sallie, a nickname for Sarah. But the last name threw me off, but the area and the birth date were correct. I then searched for a marriage for this couple and found it on Nov 17, 1870 in Hampshire County WV. The marriage record reflected Samuel's full name of Samuel William Hott. I had no luck finding a death record for him. Turning to the census records for the Quick family, I found Mary Hott, widow, aged 70 living in Washington DC in 1920. Not finding her in 1910, I looked at 1900 and found her in Fauquier County Virginia, also listed as a widow, living with three of her 7 children. Now I knew that Samuel had died prior to the 1900 census but still I didn't know where and had no idea what would have taken Mary to Fauquier County.

Further looks at the census records for 1860-1880 found Samuel William in the home of his parents John and Caroline Hott in Hampshire County WV. I was sure this was the correct Samuel, the age matched his marriage record and the records of his children's births.

Then it happened, I posted messages on Ancestry and my attention was brought to a book published on the Hott family - One Man's Family: George Hott Sr. & his Descendants, by Mary Catherine Hott Kuykendall. The researcher gave me a few details of Samuel's information listed, but corrected me about his parentage stating that he was actually Samuel Walker Hott, the son of James and Harriett Hott. Because this information was in "the book" it must be true right? Not in my mind! I quickly began doing some research on Samuel Walker and there was very little information available. My Samuel was still at his parents home in 1870 (married late in the year) whereas Walker was not. My Samuel used this name all his life, whereas Walker used his middle name on most records. Walker was born about 2 years earlier than my Samuel. I couldn't find any records of Walker's marriage, death or any other pertinent data. Then I reached out to Sylvia Hott Sonneborn, who is a fellow blogger and a wonderful researcher. She helped me search further for Samuel and we found records at Footnote that reflected Walker's path in life. He apparently fought in the civil war and then ended up in Fairfax County Virginia (according to his pension records), where he died in 1913. This could not be my Samuel!

Turing back to the marriage records in Hampshire County WV, and searching for the other children of the couple, I found their oldest daughter had married a man from Fauquier County and in 1910 was living in the area near her parents. With more family in the area, it made sense that Mary would be there. I then searched for headstones on Find-A-Grave, hoping to find something on the Hott family in Fauquier. BINGO! I found S.W. Hott, buried in July of 1899 in Prince William County Virginia. The researcher of the Hott book apparently realized that there was something amiss with his headstone, she mentioned the date on the headstone being 1847 and that the family was aware of the error... only it wasn't an error - Samuel William Hott WAS born in 1847 according to most all records. Because the family (and I still do not know who helped out on the research on Samuel's descendants for the book) always assumed that he was Samuel Walker Hott, they had his birth date listed in 1845. Now, if I could just figure out which of the hundreds of people this might be, I may be able to help set the record straight. Unfortunately, death records in the state of Virginia are not available from 1897-June of 1912, so I cannot obtain a copy of his death certificate.

I obviously wanted a copy of this book, not only because it was about one of my lines, but because much of the very early Hott family settled in a county not far from my home. The book wasn't available for months it seemed. Finally, I received word from Amazon that they had a limited number of copies available and I quickly placed my order. I couldn't wait for that book to arrive and I'm still flipping through its pages and enjoying the wonderful photographs submitted by various family members for publishing. The book was published in 1991 and is an incredible compilation of information and photographs. The wonderful lady who put it together has since passed away, but it's quite a work and one that I will treasure having for years to come!

I am confident and comfortable that the correct Samuel Hott has been found, but will of course welcome communication from any researchers or family members that can provide further proof or disprove the theory.

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