Comments by James Dwight Hartsell

It was at my grandfather's funeral in 1953 when I learned of my great great grandfather David Hartzell's grave in the same cemetery (Ash Grove). I was 14 years old. This was my great great grandfather, and he died in 1865! Wow. I was filled with curiosity about him. He was 60 years old when he died, so he was born in 1805. Later I found out from my grandmother he was from Connersville, Indiana, and maybe born in Virginia. That's all anyone knew when I started.

30 years later, in 1983, I finally stood on the land he bought in 1853, looking down at the ruins of what could have been his home. It was 100 years after he bought this land when I first stood at his grave wondering who he was.

I looked down the old well on the property. I walked the roads he walked. I found where he was living in 1840 and 1850 before he bought land. I found where he was just before the family wagon train to Illinois in 1860. I have the layout of the town of Connersville in 1856, the streets as he knew them. There are buildings still standing that he saw. I know who his neighbors were, and the roads that existed then. I've been to Metamora Old Town and saw the same town he must have seen. The church there was built in 1853. This is what things looked like!

In March 1982 I had mailed to all my uncles, aunts and most of my cousins a primitive summary of my findings along with what I learned from Donald Vere Hartzell. I had also done a narrative history of the times our ancestors lived, but it was out of date.

For 13 years I did nothing more. Then in Aug. 1995 I received a letter from my cousin, Thelma Jean Price-Papillo, followed by much information on the Walkers. The spark was re-ignited, and you now see the result. On Mar. 8, 1998, I created this website as a way to document and share the information we found.

On Feb. 5, 2001, I had the break of a lifetime. While scanning the Genealogy Forum on the web, I found Paul Swan's "Hartzell Chapter" showing the family of Adam and Christina Hartzell, who migrated from Pennsylvania to Virginia in 1799, had a son named David, and migrated to Ohio in 1815. Not only that, but this line of ancestry went back 7 generations to 1580! BUT, I later found that this mention of David as a child of Adam was based on wrong information from "The Hartzell Ancestral Line"! I found an 1830 marriage record for David Hetzel and Margaret Nieval in Montgomery County, Ohio. It was misread as Hartzel, and was assumed to be a son of Adam. But then after this, I found Adam Hartzell WAS most likely the father of my ancestor David Hartzell.

On Dec. 19, 2004 I published my "Evidence For Ancestry of David Hartzell" on my website. It brought us to 99.99% certainty that David's father was Adam Hartzell. But still no absolute proof like a birth record.

On Nov. 19, 2008, I had another break of a lifetime. Through ancestry.com, my Y48-DNA matched exactly to a direct male-line descendant of Adam Hartzell's son John, and in my generation. This DNA match, coupled with my "Evidence" document, provided the final proof. This was nearly 56 years after my first curiosity on David Hartzell's ancestry.

I wish Don could have known this.