Friday, December 26, 2008

Nathaniel Hillman 1840-1935

W. Nathaniel Hillman was born 6 January 1840 to George Hillman and Susanna Browne in Euphemia Township. He died in 1935 in Middlesex County. He married Margaret Sinclair 9 February 1869 in Middlesex County. Margaret Sinclair died on 29 September 1922 in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Their children were:
1.Elizabeth(Lizzy) Hillman 1870-?
2.George S. Hillman in Mosa Township, Middlesex County 1872-?
3.James Hillman in Alvinston, Brooke Township, Lambton County 1875-?
4.Lena S. Hillman 13March 1885-?
5.Susan Helena Hillman in Lambton County 13March 1886-?
6.Charles B. Hillman 7March 1889-?
7.Thomas Francis Hillman in Aldborough Township, Elgin County 10June 1909-?

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Rant for now

Well here I go with a rant on several topics. Being a Canadian usually I have little to say and stew inside instead.
The first is a mistake made by in an advertisement for Remembrance Day. They mistakenly put a German soldier rather than a Canadian one in the ad. They apologized for the mistake and mistakes can happen.
While organizing my father’s service medals I found that he was (I thought) missing one. Apparently not. It appears that the European campaign medal is only issued for six months active service. A year and four months spent on your butt in a POW camp does not count. Apparently in the British and American cases it does. It would appear that Veteran Affairs has a double standard. One on hand there is a considerable effort in remembering the sacrifices of the veterans, and on the other Veteran Affairs nit picks over the issue of medals that these vets deserve.
Lastly, Library and Archives Canada entered into an agreement with to digitalize the Quebec City immigration records, Canadian immigration lists from 1865 to 1935, and other records held by Archives Canada. All of these records were to appear on the free LAC website. Where are they?
I understand that it is a non cash agreement; however, there should be more clarification as to what the agreement involves.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reuban Hillman

Reuban Hillman was born to George Hillman and Susannah Browne in Westbury,Wiltshire,England on October 20, 1828 and died August 1899 in Lambton County, Ontario. He married Flora McLeish who was born in Scotland in 1838 and died May 13, 1876 in Middlesex County, Ontario.I do not have the date of their marriage. Their children were Neil Hillman(1856-1946), George Hillman(1859-1912), Daniel Hillman(1863-?), Nathaniel Hillman(1867-?), Alexander Hillman(1873-?).
Neil Hillman married Elizabeth Chisholm on 22 Feb., 1881. George Hillman married Catherine(Kate)Macdonald on 15 June, 1899. Nathaniel Hillman married Martha Johnston on 28 Nov., 1888.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Veterans of World War 1

I have found records for two Hillmans who served in the First World War. Their attestation papers can be found at
The first is Daniel Hillman(Nov.6, 1877-1975). He was the son of William James Hillman and Margaret(Patterson) Hillman. He joined the Canadian Corps March 1915 in Montreal with the rank of Lieutenant. He was a civil engineer who specialized in railroad construction. On the Western Front he worked with the railroad engineers constructing narrow gauge track to the front lines. He came out of the war with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
The second is John Alexander William Hillman(21 Nov.1893-?). He was the son of Neil Hillman and Elizabeth(Chisholm) Hillman. He joined the Canadian Corps Jan. 5, 1918 in Brantford, Ontario. He joined with the rank of Corporal. I am still researching to find his unit and thus where he served in the last year of the war.
One thing that strikes home as you read their attestation papers is the size of both men. They are both 5’4” tall. Interesting as most of the male Hillmans I know now are 6 footers.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The McKay-Shoemaker Connection

When you look at your family tree the first thing that you notice is that there are a lot more names in the tree than your own. Sometimes these families are very interesting. Such is the case with the McKay/Shoemaker connection in the Hillman tree.
John David Hillman(1850-1936) married Hannah McKay(1860-1947) 2 Sept. 1879(her picture is in a previous blog post). Her father was Henry McKay(1833-1908), and Martha Shoemaker(1831-1914). According to the Latter Day Saints data base Henry McKay was born near Berlin(today Kitchener): however, in the 1901 Canada Census he says that he was born in Scotland. Something I need to work out.
The Shoemakers; however:, are a very interesting family for me. They are a German Mennonite family who immigrated from Pennsylvania sometime between 1834 and 1836(one child was born in Pennsylvania in 1834 and the next in Berlin in 1836).
Martha's father was Jacob D. Shoemaker(1799-1902), and her mother Jane Dunbar(1798?-1880). Jacob was one of those in the family tree that made it past 100. Jacob’s father was George Tyson Shoemaker(1778-1864), and Jacob’s grandfather was Jacob Shoemaker(1708-?). Jacob senior was born in Pennsylvania and in all probability his father was the one who immigrated to the U.S. before 1708.
The Shoemaker’s are interesting for me for several reasons. It’s a break from the English/Scottish Baptists. Secondly, it puts one branch of the Hillman family tree in North America over 300 years. It also highlights an immigration phenomena in particularly the Kitchener/Waterloo area of a large Mennonite movement from the U.S. to Ontario. In the Shoemaker’s case it looks as if most of the clan came to Waterloo County. In all the visits I have made to Kitchener/Waterloo in the past I never realized that I probably have distant kin in the area. What a small world.

Friday, October 10, 2008

John(Jack) Hillman

John(Jack) Arnold Hillman was born January 10, 1920 to William Wallace Hillman and Corlena Peckham. He joined the R.C.A.F. on the 5th December, 1941. He trained as a wireless air gunner with bomber command. He arrived in England towards the end of 1943 and joined the 426th (Thunderbird) Squadron based in Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire.
On the night of 15/16th March, 1914, Lancaster DS829/OW”U” developed engine trouble and went down on a raid over Stuttgart. John Hillman found himself a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft 6 after his second mission over Europe.
The interesting part of the war started for John Hillman after his was a prisoner as he remembered for the “London Free Press, June 4, 1984”. As the Russians advanced the Germans moved the prisoners west towards the Ally lines. For a man who says that he joined the air force so that he would not have to walk so much he must have logged more miles on foot than any army veteran. He was liberated at the British lines 0n the Rhine on 3 May, 1945.
John Hillman, needless to say is my father, and still hale and hearty at 88.

Photos are from my personal collection. Photo one was taken in 1943 before Jack went overseas. The second is of his Lancaster crew. Jack Hillman is third from the left.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Canadian Passenger Lists: 1865-1935 has now launched online the indexed official collection of Canadian ship records - the Canadian Passenger Lists: 1865-1935. There is a launch event in Toronto on Tuesday Sept.16. It has been a long time coming. You will need to be careful with the lists. They were taken from microfilm that was done in the 1950’s. The lists can be difficult to read and there are a number of transcription errors caused probably because of the difficulty of making out some of the names. Nevertheless this is welcome news for genealogists and historians.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hillmans of the World

While surfing the net I found Public Profiler/World Names. This web page claims to have 8 million unique surnames from 26 counties of the world in its data base. The names were taken from telephone directories and national electoral registers from 2000-2005. They are trying to map the modern distribution world-wide of common surnames.
I found playing with the search a lot of fun. The surname Hillman is described as European_Other Western. No surprise there. The most popular countries where the surname is found are United Kingdom, Australia, United States, Canada, and Sweden. Again no big surprise except perhaps for Sweden as I thought the surname was a common one in Germany. The most popular regions where the surname is found are Vermont , Idaho , Mississippi, Maine , and Alberta , Canada.
The most popular surnames they found were Herbert, Carl, Chris, Matthew, and Louise. Now there is good news, finally getting away from the Johns and Georges.
Public Profiler can be found at

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our First John(as far as I know)

John Hillman was born December 4, 1819 in Westbury, Wiltshire, England. He would have immigrated to Upper Canada with his family sometime between 1839 and 1840. It is a guess at the moment; but, the family probably located first in Euphemia Tp. in Lambton County. By the 1851 Census of Canada John occupied 50 acres in Mosa Tp. near the village of Newbury. In 1859 he purchased 150 acres at Clathan, Elgin County which is the farm that my family remembers as the original homestead.
John Hillman married Isabella May who was born in Scotland 22 May, 1822. Their children were Daniel Duncan (1840-?), George(1842-?), Isabella(1843-1914), Hugh(1844-1894), Mary(1846-?), John David(6 June, 1850-4 Feb.,1936), Susan(1855-?), Margerit J.(1857-?), Christie Anne(1859-?), Harriet Elizabeth(1860-?), Angus(1863-?), Nathaniel(12 Aug.,1865-?).
By the 1901 Canada Census the Clathan farm was being run by John David.
John Hillman died at Clathan 3 October, 1906 and was buried beside his wife (who died 5 September, 1906) at McLean cemetery which is located virtually across the county road from his farm at Clathan.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hannah Hillman

When doing a one name family tree we often fall into the trap of forgetting that there are many more other names in one’s family tree. After all there are all those other grandparents, great grandparents, and great great grandparents. Sometimes they have very interesting stories.

My grandfather’s mother was Hannah Hillman(né McKay). She was born July 1, 1860 to Henry McKay and Martha McKay(né Shoemaker). She married John David Hillman Sept 2, 1879. The children were Henry Hillman (1880-1949), William Wallace Hillman(1883-1966), Martha Hillman(1885-1984), Olive Hillman(1889-1988), Ida Hillman(1890-?), Jennie P. Hillman(1895-?), Mildred Hillman(1896-?), and Bruce Hillman(1903-1976).

Henry McKay was born May 28, 1830 in Scotland. Martha Shoemaker’s data is not yet available but I do know that her family were Mennonites originally from Pennsylvania. Henry converted to the Mennonite faith and was the preacher to the Bethel Mennonite Church from 1875 to 1902. He also lists himself in the 1911 census as a mason. Bit of a change from the English/Scottish Baptists I usually find in the family tree.

The photo is of Hannah Hillman and little John A. Hillman(my father) sometime in the late summer or fall of 1920(from my personal collection).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bruce Ivan Hillman

Bruce Ivan Hillman was born on October 12,1921 the youngest son of William Wallace Hillman and Corlena Peckham. He died in a train accident at Lawrence Station on July 14, 1945 just a month or so after he returned home from service overseas.

In the late 1930’s and the early 1940’s Dutton was a hockey powerhouse in the Ontario Rural Hockey League. Bruce was very much with his brother John Arnold Hillman a part of the Dutton Thistles' success. I have included a photo of the Dutton High School hockey team that won a championship in the 1940/41 hockey season. Bruce is the goalie though that was never his favorite position.

He joined the Royal Canadian Air force on May 6 1941. He trained as a pilot in London, Aylmer, Trenton, and Hagersville. He left oversees Feb. 18 1943 and was attached to the RAF’s 65th squadron, where he flew Spitfires and Hurricanes.
He married Betty Alice Horsburgh Jan.1, 1945 while stationed in England.
The middle photo is of members of the 65th squadron taken sometime in 1944.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

James Hillman

James Hillman (George Hillman and Elizabeth Harman)was born on Jan. 12, 1821 in Westbury, England and died on Mar. 17, 1900 in Michigan, US. He married #Mary May Before 1851. Mary was born in 1827 in Scotland and died on Sep. 4, 1898 in Michigan, US.

Children of James Hillman and Mary May:
Mary J. Hillman was born in 1850 and died on Nov. 28, 1880 in Emmett, St. Clair Co, Michigan.
George Henry Hillman was born on Apr. 15, 1851 in Euphemia, Ontario, Canada and died on Mar. 17, 1938 in Deford, Novesta Twp, Tuscola Co, Michigan..
James Hillman was born in 1855 and died on an unknown date.
John Alexander Hillman was born in 1857 and died on an unknown date.
Daniel Hillman was born in 1859 in Michigan, US and died on an unknown date.
Isaac Hillman was born in Aug. 1860 in Emmet, St. Clair Co, Michigan and died in 1936 in michigan, US.
Jacob Hillman was born in Aug. 1861 in Emmet, St. Clair Co, Michigan and died After 1938.
Wellington Hillman was born on Jul. 24, 1864 in Emmet, St. Clair Co, Michigan and died on Feb. 24, 1914 in Evergreen Twp, Sanilac Co, Michigan..
Washington Hillman was born in Aug. 1864 in Emmet, St. Clair Co, Michigan and died After 1938.
The birth dates for Wellington &Washington are not set in stone as I suspect that they are twins. Even in the 1881,1991, and 1901 census they cannot seem to agree on their birthdates.
Isabella Hillman was born in 1867 in Michigan, US and died Before 1938.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hugh Hillman

#HUGH HILLMAN was born on Feb. 11, 1844 in Ontario and died on Jun. 3, 1894 in Aldborough Tp.., Elgin County. He married #SARAH CAMBELL on Nov. 30, 1870 in Wardsville, Ontario. Sarah, daughter of #James Campbell and #Catherine, was born on Jul. 9, 1851 in Aldborough Tp. and died on an unknown date.

HUGH ALBERT HILLMAN was born in 1872 and died on an unknown date.
WILLIAM ARTHUR HILLMAN was born on Jul. 13, 1877 in Ontario and died on an unknown date. He married #Laura Maude Pearl Page on Dec. 2, 1903 in Aldborough Tp.., Elgin County. Laura Maude Pearl, daughter of #William Page and #Nancy Amanda, was born in 1878 in Fingal, Elgin County and died on an unknown date.
CATHERINE ELIZABETH KATIE HILLMAN was born in 1877 in Ontario and died on an unknown date.
BELLA HILLMAN was born on Jan. 15, 1879 in Aldborough Tp. and died on Mar. 16, 1881 in Aldborough Tp..
ARDELLA HILLMAN was born on Sep. 22, 1881 in Aldborough Tp. and died on an unknown date.
INFANT HILLMAN was born on Aug. 10, 1883 in Aldborough Tp. and died on Aug. 10, 1883 in Aldborough Tp..

Friday, June 6, 2008

New York New York part2

The prices on the menu are great fun to read. The most expensive item is $1. Oh how things have changed.

New York New York 1945

Also found in my father's things were two playbills of the musicals Bloomer Girl and Up In Central Park. Along with a menu from Club Ritz which must have been somewhere close to the theaters on Broadway. I suspect that they belonged to my mother(Audrey June Steele of London, Ontario). My father John Arnold Hillman would have still have been in the airforce hospital recovering from injuries sustained after his brother's car hit a train at Laurence Station. Besides which they were not married until 1947, and father is more of the beer and hockey type.

Dutton High School Newsletter part3

Dutton High School Newsletter part2

Dutton High School Newsletter part1

While going through my father's things I found a student newsletter dated June 1940.
The three-floor central portion of the high school was built in 1927 and served as a high school until June, 1952. Both my father and his brother Bruce Ivan Hillman attended Dutton High School. This newsletter would have belonged to Bruce(more about Bruce Ivan Hillman in a future post).

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Why After a John?

What’s in a name? Anyone who is researching the Hillman family tree will quickly find John’s by the bucketful. I can’t help but wonder why? Many of the reasons probably go back too far for us to really do little but speculate. John originates from the Hebrew apparently meaning “Yahweh is gracious“. Clearly though its popularity as a name is owing to two saints ,John the Baptist and the Apostle John.
John was the most popular name given to male children in the United States up to 1924. Judging by the number of John’s I have to deal with on my family tree it might be safe to say the same holds true for Ontario as well.
Perhaps it has to do with religion. Or maybe over the centuries it becomes viewed as a family name. Certainly I am guilty. My eldest got stuck with it simply because both of his grandfathers were Johns. There was no great philosophical reasoning behind it. Oh well maybe this is one of the great unanswered riddles of history. I just wish some of my ancestors could have considered a second name to make my genealogical research easier.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

William James Hillman

George Hillman m. Elizabeth Harman
Westbury, Wiltshire, England
Children: George Hillman, James Hillman b.1800

George Hillman(2) m. Susanna Browne Dec. 24, 1818
Immigrated to Upper Canada about 1829
Children: John (Dec.4, 1819 Westbury: died Oct.3, 1906 Aldborough Tp., Elgin County.)
James(Dec.1, 1821 Westbury: died ?)
William (Nov.3, 1824 Westbury: died Aug.10, 1888 St. Clair County, Michigan)
Elizabeth (Sept.30, 1826 Westbury: died ?)
Reuben( Oct.20, 1828 Westbury: died?)
Nathaniel(Jan.6, 1840 Euphemia Tp, Upper Canada: died 1935)

John Hillman m. Isabella May (May22, 1822-Sept.17, 1906)
Children: Daniel Duncan(1840 Upper Canada: died?)
George( 1842: Died?)
Hugh(Nov.2, 1844: died mar.6, 1894 Aldborough Tp, Elgin County, Ontario)
Mary(1846: died?)
William James(June 20, 1849 Upper Canada: died 12 Jun 1922 Mosa Tp.)
John Davis(June6, 1850 Upper Canada: died 1936 Aldborough Tp., Elgin County, Ontario)
Isabella(1852: died?)
Susana(Dec.5, 1854 Euphemia Tp, Upper Canada: died?)
Margaret(1856: died?)
Christie(1858: died?)
Harriett Hattie(1860: died?)
Angus(1862: died?)
Nathaniel(Dec8, 1865 Aldborough Tp., Ontario: died?)

William James Hillman m. Margaret Patterson(May26, 1850-?)
Children: John Henry(1871 Aldborough Tp., Elgin County: died?)
Duncan(1875 Aldborough Tp., Elgin County: died?)
Daniel(Nov.6, 1877 Aldborough Tp. Elgin County: died 1977)
Nancy(1880: died?)
Mary B.(June15, 1881 Aldborough Tp., Elgin County: died?)
Margaret Maggie(October19, 1885 Aldborough Tp., Elgin County: died?)
William A(Feb.16, 1889 Aldborough Tp., Elgin County: died ?)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ontario Genealogy Conference

The Ontario Genealogical Society conference will be held this year in London, Ontario May 30th to June 1st.
Labeled “Wired Genealogy” it will have 46 presentations and feature such personalities as members of the TV show “Ancestors in the Attic” and Dick Eastman of Eastman’s Online Genealogical Newsletter. It will be a well attended event for this city to host.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Wiltshire, England
George m. Susanna
Hillman Browne
?-d.1854 ?=d.1877

John b.4/12/1819-d.3/10/1906
James b.1/12/1821
William b.3/11/1824-d.10/8/1888
Elizabeth b.30/9/1826
Reuben b.20/10/1828
Nathaniel b.6/10/1840
Immigrated to Upper Canada(Ontario)sometime between 1829-1830

John m. Isabella May(Scottish)

Hugh b.2/11/1844-d.6/3/1894
Mary b.1846
William James b.2/6/1849
John David b.6/6/1850
Isabella b.1853
Susana b.5/12/1854
Margerit b.1857
Christy b.1859
Harriet b.1860
Nathaniel b.8/12/1865

John David m. Hannah McKay(Scottish)

Henry Arthur b.1879-d.1949
William Wallace b.25/12/1883-d.25/2/1966
Martha Anne b.1886-d.1985
Olive May b.1889-d.1986
Jane Pearl b.1893
Mildred b.1897-d.1977
Hazel b.1900-d.1987
Bruce b.1907-d.27/8/1973