A Short Strand in a Long Line

My paternal grandmother’s family name is Hine. Discovery of “Descendants of Thomas Hine, Milford, Conn., 1640” will make Hine family research easy. 1 In 1976, I thought I could just attach my grandmother’s Hine ancestors to the descendants of Thomas Hine. Forty-four years later, connecting William Lathin Hine, my paternal second great grandfather, to the Thomas Hine line of descent remains a puzzle.

An 1878 Goodhue County, Minnesota, “brag book” includes a William Lathin Hine biographical sketch. The sketch, likely supplied by William, describes his travels through the territories of the old Northwest. “Born in Courtland county, N. Y., April 11, 1822; 1840 moved to Michigan; remained 18 months then moved to Indiana; thence, in 1844 to Wisconsin; thence, in 1858 to Cannon Falls, this county.” 2

The account of William’s arrival in Magnolia Township, Rock County, Wisconsin, in 1840 conflicts with his Goodhue County biographical sketch. “The first settlements made in [Magnolia Township] were in 1840, by J. N. Palmer, Joseph Prentice, Andrew Cotter, W. Adams, W. Fockler, Abram Fox, Jonathan Cook, Edmund Basy, Ambrose Moore, George McKenzie, Widow Hines and her son, William L. Hines, and Sanford P. Hammond.” 3

Sanford Hammond and Elizabeth Hine married in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, 6 March 1838. What is Elizabeth’s relationship to William, and to the “widow” Hine? In 1850, Malvina Hine was enumerated with the Sanford Hammond family. 4 Sanford and Elizabeth had no children. How is Malvina related to Elizabeth, William, and the “widow” Hine?

How can a family line stretching over 400 years be so closed? Perhaps my focus is too narrow. Casting a wider net, I built an unsourced Ancestry Hine family tree consisting of 1,863 members. To date, the tree has amassed 1,000 records and generated more than 2,400 people, photo, and story hints from which an additional 315 public tree hints filled with conflicting information have sprouted.

A Hine family member said he edits a Hine family tree for a cousin who is the family authority. In response to information I provided about my Hine ancestors, the “authority” said a fit with his Hine family was “impossible.” Not so fast, I thought.

A Hine descendant—7th great grandson of Thomas Hine—and I share a DNA distant cousin match suggesting I descend from the long line of the Thomas Hine family. My short strand in the Hine line “daughtered” out with my grandmother’s generation. Another brick wall. I have done all of the online and Family History Library work I can do. I think there is a trip to the old Northwest Territories, western New York, and Connecticut in my future.


  1. “Descendants of Thomas Hine, Milford, Conn[ecticut,] 1640[, a] genealogy, and history of the descendants of Thomas Hine of Milford, Conn[ecticut], 1639”. [C]ompiled by Hon. Robert C. Hine, Judge of the Municipal Court, St. Paul, Minn[esota, 1899].
  2. History of Goodhue County… (Red Wing, Minn.: Wood, Alley & Co., 1878) 632.
  3. The History of Rock County, Wisconsin… (Chicago: Western Historical Co., 1879) 516.
  4. “1850 United States Federal Census,” database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8054/ : accessed 20 January 2020) > Wisconsin > Rock> Magnolia > Image 2, dwelling 791, family 791, Sanford P. Hammond household; NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 1005; FHL film no. 444,992.

1 thought on “A Short Strand in a Long Line

  1. Kathy M Walker

    I like your interpretation of “long line”! Sounds as the “the authority” isn’t willing to open the door to possibilities outside of his understanding. Dealing with closed doors makes the work so difficult! Happy travels!


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