Hi WikiTreers,

Welcome to a new installment of “Meet our Members.” It’s time to get to know another awesome member of our community: Meet Keith.

Keith Hathaway joined us in September of 2014 and is one of our wonderful WikiTree Leaders. He leads our Integrators project and makes sure we always have our Weekend Chat. You might have noticed him in our G2G forum – he’s one of the most friendly, welcoming members we have!

Tell us about your name?

My full name is Robert Keith Hathaway.  My father and grandfather were also named Robert so to prevent confusion I was always Keith to friends and family.  (I think my parents watched a show called The Partridge Family and found my middle name there).  When I was in the Army they referred to me as Hathaway-8015.  For the last fifteen years, in martial-arts settings and in my daily life, I am most often called Master Hathaway.  People are welcome to call me whatever they wish, I’m just happy to be called.

What are some surnames you are researching?

The Hathaway Family Association has published quite a bit on my surname and that was the first I studied.  When I joined WikiTree I was pleased to be able to contribute new information, propose merges, and otherwise help straighten the family out.  It made me feel useful right away.  There is still some work to be done on the very earliest Hathaways but in general they are in good shape.

I research Heidenstrom(s) from my mother’s Norwegian side of the family.  There are probably less than 200 people in the world who carry the name and I’ve managed to make profiles for about 130 of them.  I’ve been able to tie almost all of them to each other and into the worldwide tree.  I’ve been fortunate to have met close cousins because of my Heidenstrom work here.

Also from my mother’s side is the name Easton.  Our Josiah Easton seems to have stepped right out of the United States Civil War.  It’s unlikely his parents will ever be known, making him an endpoint ancestor, and our Easton(s) a finite family of descendants.

The Brick-Wall I wish most to smash concerns the parents of my great-grandmother Lillian Mabel (Moore) Bell.  Her father Frederick William Moore was supposedly born in England and her mother Mary J. Tye was born in Quebec, Canada.  Once in St. Albans Vermont they are well documented but I have never been able to find F. William back in England, nor any information as to his parentage.  Mary Tye has proven equally hard for me to pin down.  I’ve offered fresh Vermont maple syrup to anyone who can find and prove F. William’s parents… the bounty is still out there for the taking!

Locations you are researching:

I work on a Freespace project called the “Founding Fathers of St. Albans Vermont” that covers the earliest history of the town and the genealogy of the first settlers up to 1800.  This project has made it necessary to study the histories of Franklin, Chittenden, and Grand Isle Counties as well as Vermont’s most influential town at the time: Bennington.  The Revolutionary War is a closely related topic as most of the founders were Patriots or the sons of Patriots.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

When I was in grade school we were brought to the cemetery and told to make crayon-rubbings of a tombstone.  I wandered the graveyard and found one that said “Silas Hathaway, Baron” and chose that for my rubbing.  When we reviewed our projects with the teacher mine prompted her to relate some town history to us.  I learned that my ancestor had been one of the key people who founded St. Albans and helped promote settling in the county.  Throughout my school years his name was often brought up in history class as an interesting and colorful character.  That experience combined with living on Hathaway Point was no doubt what first sparked my enthusiasm for family history and genealogy.  Add some great stories from my grandfather and I was fully hooked at a young age.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Robert Meigs Hathaway

My grandfather Robert Meigs Hathaway because I knew him well and loved him with all my heart.  When I was young and he was alive he used to take me fishing.  Every time I do genealogy I think of him.

My favorite ancestor whom I’ve never met is probably Simeon Hathaway, father to Silas mentioned above.  Simeon was on the Board of War during the Revolution.  He and 6 of his sons fought in the Battle of Bennington, and his 7th son who was too young at the time joined in the war soon after.  Simeon was one of the original Green Mountain Boys.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down. 

I was able to solve some longstanding questions our family had.  There were several Hathaway names that we knew of and had seen mentioned in family documents but we did not know how they fit in.  Through WikiTree I was able to make all of the connections and share the information with my aunts and cousins at our very next family gathering.

One of them was Roderick who my dad was told stories about as “uncle Rods”, but we knew that neither my grandfather nor great grandfather had any brothers.  Turns out Roderick was my grandfather’s great-uncle and all of the stories clicked into place.

If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?

A contemporary of Washington that I find fascinating is General Nathanael Greene, also of Revolutionary war fame.  It would be fun to have him as an ancestor or close relation.  His name and exploits are included in every complete documentary about the war.  The tactics he used in battle were creative, effective, are still studied in the military today.  In my opinion he was as important in the formation of the United States of America as anyone was.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I have studied the martial arts for 35 years.  I read, watch, teach, practice, and breath martial-arts daily.

I also enjoy fishing in all forms, especially spearing northern-pike.

We acquired a new (old) boat that we are most excited to put in the water… whether it runs or not remains to be seen, but we will have fun with it even if it stays tied to the dock.

I play Poker (by Shark Party) on the I-pad.  If you want to try your luck, work your way up to the big tables and look for “uLvfishdix”.  (my son is a South Park fan and came up with the name).  I warn you though… you’ll lose your chips 🙂

How long have you been on WikiTree and how active are you?

I joined WikiTree on September 15th of 2014.  Of course the first thing I did was learn just enough to make profiles, then I banged in most of my known family.  With guidance I then learned about the importance of sources and went to work on adding them to my profiles.

Some contributions can take hours or days of research and enter one change, others can be quick clicks that only take a second.  I had some quick-click projects I was working on early this year and managed to make the high contribution list in the WikiTree Newsletter in February, March, and April… my highest tally being 10,426 for the month of April.

Now I am most active off the click-count.  I exchange emails with other members constantly, I Mentor anyone who wishes assistance, and I serve as a Ranger 6 hours each week.  On G2G I promote the Weekend Chat and post Mentor Tips, as well as answering any questions I am able.

I am very active in asking questions of my own.  When I first started I swapped dozens of messages with my Mentor (the singularly exceptional Sally Stovall).  I was as taxing as a mentee could be and learned through her not only how to Wiki but also how to treat new members and be truly helpful.  Now I am enabled by the Help Index and G2G to find answers to most of my questions, but have the security of knowing there is always personal support when needed.

What are some of the features/aspects of WikiTree that you love/don’t love as much?

One of my favorite features is the Relationship Finder tool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Family Tree tools are super, especially the new Compact Family Tree.  I am amazed at how WikiTree just keeps adding newer and better things.

I love that it is interactive and positive.  We communicate with real live people who are genuinely nice.  Spending time on WikiTree is part of my plan for receiving positive input daily.

I was taught in my discipline never to change or criticize an art without having a full understanding of the original.  I do not know enough about WikiTree yet to think anything is wrong or should be better.  Perhaps one day when I know it all I might have some constructive thoughts on what could be better.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Familiarize yourself with the Help Index.  More than half of the answers I provide to people’s questions come directly from the Help pages.  Once you have used it a few times it becomes easier and easier to find what you need.  It gives you the power to find your own answers immediately.

Use G2G.  There is no need to be shy nor concerned about what others think.  There is no reason for people who are computer illiterate to be intimidated by trying it for the first time… it is easy to use and mistakes can be corrected or hidden.  G2G is by far the best way to get your question out to the most people.  Even if you have no questions, read G2G posts current and past.  The information contained within is invaluable.  The search feature on the top left enables you to find any topic easily.

Add Sources… not later, but now!

If you could leave one message for your descendants, what would it be?

It is true that we are all special and unique in our specific ancestry, but we are all part of the same human race.  We share ancestors, history, and blood with every person you will ever meet.  Every person is valuable and to be treated as such.  Don’t ever think you are somehow entitled or superior to anyone else because of a name in your family tree.  You lead your own life and will be judged accordingly.  Make your own choices and enjoy your time here.

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  2 Responses to “Meet our Members: Keith Hathaway”

  1. Great to get to know Keith better! Keith is a rock star in our community and one of the most supportive, positive people I’ve ever met.

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