Tag Archives: Genealogy

12 Months, 12 Ancestors – George Hill

Note: this is the seventh installment in my own version of #52ancestors where geneabloggers have been asked to write about a different ancestor every week for a year. To understand the concept, read my blog entry from January 19, 2014.

In honour of my father on his birthday today, I have decided to take my July installment of #12Ancestors into his family tree to look into one of his great-grandfather’s.

George Hill

Here is how I am related to this George Hill:

  1. Corina (Hill) Harris (me)
  2. Howard Lloyd Hill (my dad)
  3. Albert William Hill (my grandfather)
  4. Charles Edmunds Hill (my great-grandfather)
  5. George Hill (my 2x great-grandfather)
  6. George Hill (my 3x great-grandfather)

Hailing from the small village of Pyrford, Surrey, England, my 3x great grandfather was the seventh child of Henry Robert Hill and Elizabeth Bamblett. He was baptized 20 Nov 1833.

As far as English villages go, Pyrford was a small one and hasn’t changed too much over the last 200 years even though it is fairly close to London. In 1833, only 10 other children were baptized in Pyrford, most likely at St Nicholas’ Church.

St Nicholas Church in Pyrford, Surrey, England
St Nicholas Church in Pyrford, Surrey, England

The church itself is one of the main reasons Pyrford is on my list of must see places should I ever make the trek to England from Canada. Built around 1140 AD, the church is a fantastic example of a complete Norman church. For more information, visit the current website for the church here.

Part of the census from 1851 listing George Hill and his parents.
Part of the census from 1851 listing George Hill and his parents.

I have found census records from The National Archives indicating that at the age of 17, George was living with his older brother William who was 16 years his senior, his parents Henry and Elizabeth and two lodgers, Elizabeth Bamblett and James Bullen. From other research I have done, it appears Elizabeth Bamblett would be his grandmother, even though they have her listed as a lodger. George, William and Henry are all listed as “Agricultural Labourer.” A fancy word for farmer. In Pyrford, this was a very common profession. (Click on the census image to enlarge.)

Fast forward a few years and George finds himself in church once again as he marries Emma Harding. He a bachelor, she a spinster, the two joined in matrimony on 2 Oct 1852. (See this post previously listed in The History of Me for more details.)

Together, George and Emma had 8 children. Their oldest, George (my 2x Great Grandfather) was born in 1854 just two years after their marriage. He was followed by Elizabeth (1856), William (1857), Anne (1861), Mary Ellen (1865), Edith (1868), Agnes (1870) and Esther (1873).

George Hill, Family History, Pyrford, Surrey, 1881
George Hill and his family still at home in the 1881 Census.

By the 1887 census, George’s life was going really well. At the age of 47, he is living at Green Farm in Pyrford with his family and is listed as a farmer of 100 acres, employing 6 men and 2 boys. This seemed huge to me. 100 acres? No other census records for the Hill family show us as having any kind of money but here it is in black and white. (Click on the census image to enlarge.)

In the 1901 census, George and Emma’s children have all flown the coup. They are living alone at Green Farm. George, aged 68, has shifted back to being just an agricultural labourer. Reviewing the census names surrounding George and Emma, it becomes strongly apparent just how much the Hill family had expanded and taken over the Pyrford Green. Nearly all the houses had someone named Hill living in them.

Only a 102 short years ago this week, George took his final breath. He passed away on 15 Jul 1912 at the age of 78. He was buried in the cemetery outside St. Nicholas’ Church on July 18th of the same year.

Thanks to Ancestry.ca, I was able to find this index of his will:

George Hill, Will, Probate, Mary Baker, Pyrford, Surrey
George Hill’s will from the England and Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966

Mary Baker, wife of James Baker, was George’s 5th child christened Mary Ellen. She inherited his effects and as of the 1911 census, George and Emma lived with her. George’s occupation in 1911 is listed as “Market Gardener Retired” and I’m sure he rather enjoyed living with his daughter and grand-children.

As we near the 102nd anniversary of his passing, I’d like to pay homage to my 3x Great Grandfather. Judging by all the Hill men in my family, I imagine he would have dark hair and a twinkle in his eye. Knowing he was a market gardener, I believe he was a hard working man who strived to ensure his family was well fed and taken care of. I’m certain, he’d be incredibly proud of my dad, his 2x great-grandson and all he has done to take care of his family and to keep them together through the years. I know I’m certainly proud to say he’s my father.

Happy birthday Dad!

Howard Hill, Tractor, Dad
My dad, Howard (Howie) Hill on his very own John Deere Tractor happily working away in 2005.

Looking at Ancestry Under Attack

This was the first tweet announcing an issue with the Ancestry website on June 16, 2014
The first tweet announcing an issue with the Ancestry website on June 16, 2014

This week I sat with anticipation to see what would happen to my favourite genealogy site, Ancestry.ca.

The second tweet on June 16, 2014 from Ancestry about their issues
The second tweet on June 16, 2014 from Ancestry about their issues

For two full days, the Canadian version, along with all other versions of the the Ancestry brand were inaccessible. Eventually it trickled out on Twitter and Facebook that the site was crippled by unknown assailants with a DDos Attack.

If they went down, where would all my research go? Would I ever be able to get back to trying to locate all my ancestors?

Chief technology officer Scott Sorensen wrote: “Around 1:30 p.m. MT on Monday, June 16, 2014, attackers targeted Ancestry with a Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS). During the attack, Ancestry websites along with the Find A Grave website were clogged with massive amounts of bogus traffic that took the sites down.”

It’s not incredibly shocking that something like this would happen. Ancestry is one of if not the worlds largest online research platforms for family history research. In many ways, they have an almost monopoly over the content and have multiple websites under their banner including: Archives.com, Fold3.com, ProGenealogists, Newspapers.com, Genealogy.com, MyFamily.com, and Rootsweb.com and FindaGrave.com. To a Hacker, it is entirely possible the temptation proved too hard to resist.

One of the things that I love about Ancestry, is that living people and their personal information are not searchable. This includes me and any of the living relatives on my tree. What if this attack set me or my loved ones up for identify theft?

“Your data was not compromised by this attack,” promised Sorensen. “This attack overloaded our servers with massive amounts of traffic but did not impact or access the data within those servers. No data was impacted in any way.”

I’ll admit, I have been slacking a bit in recent weeks by not doing much research. This is nothing new as I tend to research in burst mode for hours/days at a time and then take a few weeks off. I wasn’t aware the site was down until other geneabloggers started talking about it on twitter and the Ancestry Twitter and Facebook feeds started to trickle out information.

Issues continue with the Ancestry website on June 17, 2014
Issues continue with the Ancestry website on June 17, 2014

I wasn’t as nervous as perhaps I should have been. When hackers got into Target, they took all sorts of information. The team at Ancestry had assured everyone the attack did not compromise any data. Even though they were able to get most of the issue under control in two days, there have been intermittent outages. Even now when logging onto the site it has a disclaimer: You may be experiencing some intermittent service with the Ancestry.ca website. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause and appreciate your patience as we work to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

I avoided the website until this morning. A little part of my brain was worried the hackers would somehow gain access to my system if I went on. For some reason this morning I decided to give it a shot. All of my research was there, and many more leaves were shaking than the last time I was on the site. The new facts were a pleasant surprise and made my staying away worthwhile.

The first tweet indicating a DDoS attack to the Ancestry website June 18, 2014
The first tweet indicating a DDoS attack to the Ancestry website June 18, 2014

This whole experience helps demonstrate what a wonderful world we live in. This could have been disastrous for Ancestry and it’s users. Instead, it is a blip on the radar. It may have slowed down the post Father’s Day researchers, but it hasn’t stopped them forever. It is such a “First World Problem” having a website go down. I’m glad I could stay calm and sign in when I was ready.

Per the latest update 18 hours ago from Facebook, it looks like most of the issues have been resolved:

Ancestry Facebook Update 24Jun2014
The most recent Facebook update from June 24, 2014

Now it’s time for me to get back to researching my 6x great grandfather and his actions in the War of 1812 because let’s face it, history is never boring.