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Thomas Hill UEL (abt. 1751 - 1813)

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Thomas Hill UEL
Born about in Somerset, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married about 1771 in Somerset, Englandmap [uncertain]
Descendants descendants
Died in York, York, Upper Canadamap
Profile manager: Lori Scott private message [send private message]
Profile last modified 8 Mar 2020 | Created 12 Sep 2010 | Last significant change: 8 Mar 2020
19:05: Michael Schell edited the Biography for Thomas Hill UEL (abt.1751-1813). [Thank Michael for this]
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Contents

Biography

UEL Badge
Thomas Hill was a United Empire Loyalist.
UEL Status:Proven
Date: 28 Feb 1798

Thomas Hill UE fought for the Loyalists during the American Revolutionary War.[1] He is mentioned in a list of early settlers of York, Upper Canada, in what is today Toronto.

Thomas Hill was (probably) born in Somersetshire England, the son of Thomas Benjamin Hill and Jane Bower. A March, 1751 christening record in Somerset England says he is the son of Thomas Hill and Jane. Link to record at FamilySearch. NOTE: an alternative birth year of 11 Jun 1754 is stated on the page of his father; a source for this has not yet been identified.

There exists an English death record for a Thomas Hill, died 17 Dec 1819, in Wellington, Somerset, England. He was a son of Thomas Hill and his wife Jane.[2] If this death record refers to the same person as the christening record, that eliminates his identity as Thomas Hill, UE. Various secondary sources claim he was born not in England but in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. More primary sources will be needed to determine the correct birth location [see Marriage and Family section below].

During the American Revolutionary War, Thomas Hill was a Loyalist who fought in Captain Sandford's Troop of Light Dragoons (1778), which was often attached to Queen's Rangers. In 1779 he is listed as "in regimental hospital." Hill also fought under Sandford in the British Legion (1781), commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton.

1783-1786: 33rd Regiment serving Nova Scotian Command. Thomas Hill is listed as a "Loyalist from Nova Scotia."[3]

~1784 and ~1793. Based on the church records the family is living in or near Digby, Nova Scotia, where two of his older daughters married sons of the Loyalist Isaac Hollingshead. No birth record found for son William (born 1781) in Digby, but he may have been born before Anglican Church records begin in Digby. Birth records begin in August, 1786. Alternatively, William was born in England near the end of the war (William's English birth is claimed in his son's biography).

Thomas Hill was a sergeant [Muster roll source desired] in the Queen's Rangers of Upper Canada when the Rangers were reformed in Upper Canada in Dec, 1791 by Governor Simcoe. The Queen's Rangers of Upper Canada were disbanded in 1802

Thomas Hill landed in St. John, New Brunswick in 1793, with Governor Simcoe. Except that Simcoe landed in Quebec city, not St. John. If Thomas Hill "landed" at St John, perhaps he arrived from Digby and then he would still have had to travel overland to meet up with Simcoe in Quebec or Niagara. Was Hill among the Loyalists who traveled by snowshoe from St. John to meet up with Simcoe?

The Queen's Rangers were first barracked in Niagara (1792-1793), but Simcoe determined that York, located on the northern side of Lake Ontario, was a more secure military location should war break out with the Americans.

Thomas was among the Queen's Rangers in 1794 when they landed at Little York (today: Toronto), and pitched their tents on the River Don. He participated in the construction of Fort York (1794) and Yonge Street (1795-1797).

Later in life he kept a tavern on Yonge Street at Lansing and appears on a list of inhabitants of York, Upper Canada 1797.[4]

In the centennial of the settlement of upper Canada by the United Empire Loyalists, 1784-1884, Thomas Hill, a "Loyalist from Nova Scotia" was living in Home district, which includes Toronto.

Marriage and Family

There remain a number of questions about the origins and family life of Thomas Hill, UE and also his wife Hannah. More primary sources would help sort out the possibilities.

Some secondary sources say that Thomas Hill was not born in England, but rather in New York (or New jersey, or Pennsylvania, or Massachusetts). These lineages are mainly built on the idea that Thomas Hill is a brother of Nazareth Brower/Bower Hill. This alternative origin hypothesis has not been disproven, but it is complicated by some (possibly) false lineages that were fabricated as part of the Edwards Millions genealogy scam [see Research Notes]. The story is that Thomas Hill married Hannah Edwards and his brother Nazareth Brower Hill married her sister Catherine Edwards. The Edwards sisters were said to have been daughters of a Captain Robert Edwards, who owned the property in New York City where Trinity Church sits. In some versions of the story, Nazareth Brower Hill and Catherine Edwards were said to have been married in Trinity Church in 1776 or 1778. In most cases, the scam was perpetrated on people who had actual ancestors named Edwards living at approximately the correct time and place. Thus, the family names of the daughters Hannah and Catherine may well be Edwards--but the family origins an other details about the family or marriages might be shoehorned to fit the narrative of the scam.

About 1771, [source desired] Thomas Hill is said to have married Hannah Edwards either in England or perhaps in New York during the pre-war period. Did Thomas come to New York as a mercenary soldier for England? The source for the family name of Hannah Edwards (and her New York City roots) remains a point of uncertainty--or even outright fabrication-- because of the many false genealogies created as part of the Edwards Millions genealogy scam [see Research Notes].

When surviving Loyalists and their families were relocated to Nova Scotia after the war, it is uncertain whether Thomas Hill sailed directly from Charleston (where surviving soldiers of the British Legion Infantry were camped), or whether he first made stops in New York to meet his family, or (possibly) England. William, son of Thomas Hill was said by his son to have been born in Somerset, England in 1781. If this is correct, more information is required to understand the movements of Thomas Hill and his family near the end of the war, when British soldiers and Loyalists fled to Canada and England.

Arrival of Loyalists in Digby, Nova Scotia

Loyalists came to Digby in 1783. The Digby group were shepherded by the Rear Admiral Robert Digby, who commanded the British fleet off New York until that city was evacuated by the British in 1783. Not all of the settlers went to Digby. Other places that were settled by Admiral Digby's Loyalists included Digby Neck, the shores of Annapolis Basin and the shores of St. Mary's Bay.

A Digby muster roll of 1784 taken a year after the first of them arrived showed almost 1,300 people at Digby[5]

29 May 1784. Thomas Hill is listed on the first Digby muster roll, with 5 in his family (two children above 10, one under 10). Also listed are other Hill and Hollingshead Loyalists and their families. It is not established whether the various Hill families below are related:

  • John Hill, 6 in family (John, his wife, one child under 10, and 3 servants; "servants" includes former slaves). The child would be John Hill 2nd, who married Sarah Hollingshead in Digby in 1789. He was discharged as a member of Captain Richard Hill's company. Before the war, John Hilll he worked as innkeeper in New York City. He was a freemason, first in New York (English Registry), later in Nova Scotia.[6]His son, named "John Hill, 2nd," was married to Sarah Hollingshead of Grand Joggin on 16 April 1789.
  • Capt. Richard Hill, 8 in family (himself, 3 adult women, and 4 children under 10). He was a Captain of Class #5 of the Digby Militia. He was discharged as a member of Hill's company--i.e., he led the company. He married Jane (1740-1800), who was an Ulster Scott of Irish heritage; she is buried at the Trinity Anglican Church in Digby. Richard Hill was the brother of John Hill. From Westchester, Cumberland County, New York, " who was driven from his habitation to the Royal Army at New York; He was Robbed of his property but appointed inspector, with myself, at the Brooklyn Ferry" [7]. Richard Hill, Esq died 7 Jun 1803 in Digby.[8]
  • Thomas Hill 5 in family. The size of the family and ages of the children are consistent with the family of Thomas, his wife Hannah, older daughters Mary and Anne and son William. (Harriet, the youngest daughter would be born in 1785). Thomas was discharged from James Browne's Company. Since Browne was a ship captain, this probably means that Hill sailed in Browne's ship during the trip from New York Harbor to Digby.
  • Zachariah Hill, 7 in family (himself, his wife, 2 children over 10, 3 children under 10). He was discharged from Ritchie's company. He was a resident on a Lot west of Sypher homestead, Grand Joggin. This is known because his land was later sold Stephen Warne, son of Samuel Warne of Digby[9]
  • Anthony Hollingshead, 6 in family (himself, his wife, 3 children over 10, 1 child under 10). Hollingshead had been born in New Jersey, to a Quaker family. He joined the Loyalists and was thus disbarred from Quakers for non-pacifism.
  • George Hollingshead, single.

Loyalist Military Record

Thomas Hill served in the British Loyalist army for about 10 years, firstly as a member of the 33rd Regiment of Foot, later joining the Queen's Rangers of Upper Canada (1792-1802)), retiring as a Sergeant. Possibly, Thomas Hill might have sailed with Cornwallis in 1776 arriving in North America just before the outbreak of the War in 1776, but this is speculation. Hill may have served with Banastre Tarleton as a member of the during the Battle of Sullivan's Island, also known as the "First Siege of Charleston" (June, 1776). In the weeks that followed the signing of the Declaration of Independence, British Troops sailed from Charleston to New York on 21 July 1776.

A timeline of Thomas Hills(s) on Loyalist muster rolls is collected below. It remains possible that there were 2 different men named Thomas Hill who fought for the Loyalists. The relevant names of the the troops are the 33rd Regiment, The Queen's Rangers, Butler's Rangers, the Bucks County Pennsylvania Light Dragoons, and the British Legion Light Dragoons (a Loyalist troupe, who fought at Charleston near the end of the war). The relevant commanders are John Graves Simcoe, Major John Butler, Captain Thomas Sandford, and the (in)famous Banastre Tarelton[10]

In Canada Thomas Hill was a Member of Queens Rangers of Upper Canada. In 1794, he came to Little York, Upper Canada with Governor Simcoe (commander of the Queen's Rangers after 1777). Simcoe was named Lt. Governor of Upper Canada in 1791, and the Queen's Rangers were reconstituted as part of Simcoe's agreement to go to Upper Canada. These Rangers were composed largely of Loyalist veterans from the Revolutionary War. The reconstituted Rangers of Upper Canada were disbanded in 1802.

A Thomas Hill served in Major John Butler's Rangers (1777-1778)[11]There is reason to suggest that this Thomas Hill is different from the one in this profile. This Thomas had enlisted on the American side, in Captain Robert Durkee's Wyoming Independent Company. He deserted on 17 April 1777 and he is among those named on a bounty list for Durkee's company.[12]He joined the Loyalist Butler's Rangers, just prior to fighting in the battle of Wyoming. After the war, he remained in Bradford County, Pennsylvania and lived for a time with the Indians, then he lived on the banks of the Chemung River, and as an old man he was cared for in Wyoming, Pennsylvania[13]

A Thomas Hill is listed as "in regimental hospital" on a muster roll for Captain Thomas Sandford's Troop of the Bucks County Pennsylvania Light Dragoons (a Cavalry unit) between 25 Oct and 24 Dec 1779, during which they were attached to the Queens Rangers during the 1779 campaign.[14]The Light Dragoons and Queen's Rangers were attached for the 1779 campaign only--during the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition. The Bucks County Light Dragoons, commanded by Captain Thomas Sanford, were raised on April 28, 1778. Sanford himself was captured on June 8, 1778 during the British evacuation of Philadelphia. He was released in a prisoner exchange, then recaptured (at sea) Jan 25, 1780. Sandford subsequently escaped jail on Sept 3 of the same year. Under the leaderships of Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton, Sandford led a group of soldiers [cavalry or infantry?] at the Battle of Çowpens on Jan 17, 1781 His troop was frequently attached to the Queens American Rangers, under Simcoe, then later attached to the British Legion in 1779 and absorbed in 1780. These dates of attachment correlate with the British Legion troops who sailed to South Carolina, during Seige of Charleston and after the Battle of Charleston, during the last months of the war.

A Thomas Hill served in the infantry of the British Legion AKA "Tarleton's Raiders" (Captain Sandford's Troop) in 1781. Captain Thomas Sandford (prior commander of the Bucks County Pennsylvania Light Dragoons), assumed command of this troop in Dec 1779 until October 1782. This time span matches when Sanford was stationed at Charlestown from June 25, 1781 to February 23, 1782 to take charge of surviving rank and file members of the British Legion Infantry. It is also relevant to note that Simcoe, leader of the Queen's Rangers, went to Charleston in 1780, following his release in a prisoner exchange. On 27 Sept 1782, the British Legion Infantry was absorbed into the American Establishment of the British army They evacuated to Nova Scotia in 1783.

6 Sept 1783: Fitzpatrick orders the disbandment of the British Legion (under Tarleton) and the Queen's Rangers (under Simcoe). The 33rd Regiment on Foot, under Cornwallis, is retained but reduced in size and sent to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Also on this date, 11 Royal Regiments are ordered back to England.

The following divisions were disbanded in Nova Scotia: 17th, 33rd, 37th, 42nd, 54th, 57th, 60 th (3rd, 4th, Batts), 84th (2nd Batt), & corps of Tarleton, Simcoe, Donkin, & Fanning.

Of those Loyalists who could be traced, originally 50 percent were from New York, 20 percent from New Jersey, with additional representation from New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, Georgia and the Carolinas.[15]

1793. Thomas Hill emigrates (probably from Digby, about 100 km across the Bay of Fundy), along with his son William, age 12 at the time, landing at St. John, New Brunswick. Although he is often said to have arrived in St. John with with Governor John Graves Simcoe, Simcoe arrived from England and wintered in Quebec in 1791. By the time Thomas Hill is said to have met Simcoe in 1793, Simcoe would have been based in Niagara. Thus, it seems more likely Thomas Hill (and perhaps some other Loyalist veterans from Digby?) sailed from Digby to St. John and then traveled westward along the St. John River, until they reached the St. Lawrence Seaway near Quebec City, then sail to Niagara to Join the reconstituted Queen's Rangers of Upper Canada.

1794. Migrated to Little York, with the Governor, where they pitched their tents on the west side of the river Don--the place being marked by three wigwams.[16]

Excerpt from linked Wikipedia page:

After 1791, when Simcoe was named lieutenant governor of the newly created Upper Canada, the Queen's Rangers was revived to form the core of the defence forces. The leaders were mostly veterans of the American War of Independence. Although there was little military action during this period, the Rangers were instrumental in building Upper Canada through Simcoe's road building campaign. In 1795–6 they blazed the trail for Yonge Street, and then turned to Dundas Street and Kingston Road. They also built the original Fort York, where they were stationed. The Queen's Rangers were again disbanded in 1802 with most of the men joining the York Militia—from which many would take an active role in the War of 1812.

20 Aug 1795. He petitioned for 500 acres. He placed his claim in Innisfil township, near Barrie. "Served in America past war for 10 years. Prays for the quantity of land usually granted to reduced Sergeants. Ordered 500 acres when he is discharged from the Queen's Rangers and becomes a settler."[17]

1803. Moved to lot 15 concession 1 West of Yonge St., in York Township, and later to lot 5, West of Yonge St, in Toronto, where he died.

There is an interesting history attached to Lot 23 Con I York Twp east side of Yonge Street, in 1810 owned by Monis Lawrence. The original owner, Isaac Hollingshead (1766-1813), came from Nova Scotia where, in 1790, he married Mary Hill (ca1770-1813), daughter of Thomas and Hannah Hill, both families having come originally from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In 1797, Hollingshead received a grant of land, Lot 23 Con I York Twp, 190 acres on the east side of Yonge Street (North York ON) which he sold in November 1802. Hollingshead then received a grant for Lot 88 Con I King Twp, 210 acres on the west side of Yonge Street, beside Lot 89 Isaac Phillips, where he operated a sawmill in the Quaker Settlement at Newmarket. Isaac and Mary (Hill) Hollingshead were members of the Yonge Street Meeting of Friends.[18]

1813. Thomas Hill died in York (now Toronto), Upper Canada.

Vital Data

Name: Thomas Hill[19]

Birth: Abt 1752 in Somersetshire, England[20]

Christening: 31 Mar 1751, Hatch, Somerset, England, son of Thomas Hill and Jane[21]

Death: 2 Feb 1813 in York, York, Ontario, Canada[22]

Research Notes

It has not been established that the Thomas Hill, christened in Somerset, England as a son of Thomas Hill and Jane is the person in this profile. No immigration records have been found. The biography of his grandson says that Thomas Hill came from Somerset. Somerset is indeed a region of England with a high density of the (common) family name of Hill.

Following the end of the war, John Graves Simcoe himself returned to Devon, England in 1782 to recover from war injury, and he was married there that year. The couple had 5 daughters born in England before moving to Canada in 1791.

Some secondary sources say that the marriage of Thomas and Hannah occurred in 1771, in Digby Nova Scotia. However, Thomas and other Loyalists only relocated to Nova Scotia following the end of the Revolutionary War, no earlier than 1783. The marriage records of some of his children suggest the family lived there between ~1784 and 1793, prior to migrating to St. John, which is located approximately 100 km west of Digby--directly across the Bay of Fundy.

FamilySearch REFN: 9J8N-S4

Emigrated in 1793 to St John, New Brunswick, then to Little York in 1794. In 1803 moved to lot 15 concession 1 West of Yonge St., York Township, and later to lot 5, West of Yonge St. He died there. Also owned Lot 4 5th con Scott Twp, which he divided among his children.[23]

Land and marriage records in Digby Neck, Digby , Nova Scotia give marriages of his two older daughters. His son and younger daughters were married in York, Upper Canada.

The Queen's Rangers of Upper Canada were created in 1792:

As first formed it consisted of two companies with one captain, one captain- lieutenant, two ensigns, six sergeants, six corporals, one drummer, and 194 privates. It was provided with an adjutant, a surgeon and surgeon's mate, a sergeant-major, and a quarter-master sergeant. Recruits were drawn from the ages of sixteen to thirty years, and the minimum height of the soldiers was to be five feet four inches. The personnel of the corps was English, consisting of veterans of British regiments, including a number of Simcoe's old corps of Queen's Rangers, also from the Battalion of the 73rd Foot and other established regiments. Later, on their arrival in Upper Canada, a half-hundred Canadians were added to the corps-United Empire Loyalists, judging from their names.[24]

The Edwards Estate Genealogy Scam

The Edwards Estate Fortune genealogy scam, involving prime Manhattan real estate, fabricated a number of different lineages--in various forms over many decades--that attempted to convince people that their ancestors were descendants of the original land owners of prime Manhattan real estate, located on the current site of Trinity Church. Depending on the family being scammed, the story would change. Thus, many false lineages were created for the Edwards, Brower, Bogardus, Hall, and Hill families. The specific details of the scam were modified to fit the particular family being scammed. For example, a 1926 version of the scam sent to Hill descendants in Ontario reads as follows:

About this Estate—it is the property in the heart of NY City (77 acres in all) which was leased for 99 years in 1778 by Capt. Robert Edwards, a brother of William Edwards who was our Great Great Grandfather and the father of Hannah Edwards Hill, wife of Thomas Hill who was a son of Thomas Benjamin Hill and Jane Brower Hill. So far as proving your Genealogy is concerned that will be unnecessary as my brother B.A. Hill of New Market Ontario has all our genealogies and has had them proven in the Court of Claims at Washington, DC (my brother B.A Hill has the original lease of this property and we have started and Association in Toronto under the name as you will see of this letterhead I am enclosing under a Government Charter. The number of heirs is limited to 400 but the book will not be closed until we have about 500. I am sure the membership fee is $25 and the dues $1/month until the Estate is settled. Now my dear cousin I hope you will be able to get the money together for your father and yourself and any other brothers or sisters you may have to join the Association as this money is to be paid to the members of this Association only, and as I was able to be at the meeting in Toronto last Saturday I feel quite sure we are going to get a settlement.[25]

Sources

  1. https://archive.org/details/cu31924028900475/page/n285/mode/2up/search/hill
  2. "England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JZY1-KQY : 9 March 2018), Thomas Hill in entry for Thomas Hill, burial 17 Dec 1819; citing Wellington, Somerset, England, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 1,526,056.
  3. The Old United Empire Loyalists List https://archive.org/details/cu31924028900475/page/n197/mode/2up/search/hill Link at Archive
  4. 200 Years Yonge: A History, edited by Ralph Magel, p. 20
  5. History of Nova Scotia
  6. https://archive.org/details/cihm_25958/page/n205
  7. http://www.royalprovincial.com/military/mems/ny/clmjhill.htm
  8. Digby Trinity Parish records
  9. Wilson, I. W. (1893) A geography and history of the county of Digby, Nova Scotia. Halifax: Holloway Brothers, p.352
  10. http://www.royalprovincial.com/military/rhist/britlegn/blcav1.htm
  11. http://trees.ancestry.com/rd?f=image&guid=e5a535d4-43b0-437f-842a-3a1a6f3b1637&tid=112019&pid=-212463323
  12. By John U Rees, in Military Collector & Historian, vol. 62, no. 1 (Spring 2010), 24-35
  13. https://www.joycetice.com/craft/c04.htm
  14. National Archives of Canada, RG 8, "C" Series, Volume 1862, page 92.
  15. Taunya Dawson: The Church of England’s Role in Settling the Loyalists in the Town of Digby, 1783-1810, Acadia University, MA thesis, 1991
  16. History of Toronto and County of York Ontario, vol 1. 1885: Toronto, C.Blackett Robinson, publisher. Page 68.
  17. Report of the Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario by Ontario. Department of Public Records and Archives; Whitney, James Pliny, Sir, 1843-1914 (association); Fraser, Alexander Campbell, 1886-1955 (association). Link at Archive
  18. Joseph Hill (1761-1833) The Story of One of the Founders of the Quaker Settlement at Yonge Street, Newmarket, Ontario, including Hill Family History, by Sandra McCann Fuller and Heather Hill-Gibson.
  19. #S-1707889694
  20. #S-1707889694
  21. England births and Christenings 1538-1975, accessed at FamilySearch
  22. #S-1707889694
  23. History of Toronto and County of York Ontario, vol 1. 1885: Toronto, C.Blackett Robinson, publisher. Page 68
  24. History of the Queen's Rangers
  25. When One Hill Joins Another. By Violet Johnson Petty and Ross Hill Petty. 1986: Decorah, IA. Anudsen Press.
  • Nova Scotia Immigrants to 1867, Volume 2, compiled by Colonel Leonard H. Smith, CG, and Norma H. Smith, Genealogical Publishing: Baltimore (2008).
  • MA thesis of Taunya Dawson: The Church of England’s Role in Settling the Loyalists in the Town of Digby, 1783-1810, Acadia University, 1991
  • 971.554 H2H= History of Toronto and County of York Ontario, vol 1. 1885: Toronto, C.Blackett Robinson, publisher. Page 68.
  • Source S-1525611297 Repository: #R-1829493010 Ancestry public member tree
  • Source S-1707889694 Repository: #R-1829493010 Ancestry OneWorldTree

Acknowledgements

  • This person was created through the import of 104-B.ged on 12 September 2010.


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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Thomas by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Thomas:

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Comments: 3

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I have changed the location of the 1771 marriage to Somerset England because Loyalists only arrived in Nova Scotia about 1783. Another possible location for the marriage would be New York before the Revolutionary War broke out.
posted by Michael Schell
The 1771 marriage in Nova Scotia is surprising if other info about Thomas Hill is correct. It is possible that the 17-year-old Thomas was sent to Nova Scotia as part of his military service, but then how did his wife Hannah Edwards get to Nova Scotia if her father Robert was in New York?
posted by Michael Schell
What does the UEL stand for in Thomas Hill's name?
posted by Michael Schell

Thomas is 16 degrees from Greg Clarke, 16 degrees from George Hull and 14 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.