(The following was written by Mrs. Florence Zula Shafer Witthoft in 1963 while preparing the 1963 Kilts Family newsletter.)
At the first meeting of the Kilts family, in 1931, a committee was appointed to investigate the history of the Kilts Familly. Two men were appointed to act with the President, Mr. Daniel E. Kilts, of Seward. They were Mr. Charles J. Kilts and Mr. Floyd Kilts, both of Albany.
At the second meeting, in 1932, three others were added to the committee - Mrs. Alice Saltsman and Mrs. John C. Kilts of Stone Arabia and Mr. Beardsley Kilts of Little York.
In 1933, Mrs. Alice Saltsman read a letter from Mr. Harry E. Stam of Brooklyn giving a history of the Kilts family but nothing was given in the minutes as to the contents of the letter.
At the fifth reunion in 1935, Mr. Stam was present and gave a very interesting talk concerning the ancestors of the Kilts family; among the items of interest, he mentioned that the first ancestors were Conrad and Susan Margaretha Kilts and that during the Revolution there were twelve Kilts who took an active part. Mr. Stam was elected Historian at this meeting.
Mr. Stam was also present at the tenth Reunion and gave an address but the minutes give no detail.
In 1947, the thirteenth meeting, Mr. Stam brought with him the typed volume in which he had compiled a record of the Kilts family. It contained 430 actual Kilts names and over 2,000 names of female descendants. Many other names could have been included if people to whom he wrote had answered his requests for information. At this meeting, he expressed his intentions of filing the Volume in the State Library at Albany where it would be available for reference to all who are interested.
During the next few months, Mr. Stam's correspondence with the State Library revealed the fact that they suggested that the Volume be filed in the N. Y. Genealogical and Biographical Society in New York City rather than incur the expense of sending it to Albany. But Mr. Stam felt that by leaving it in New York City it would be completely inaccessible to the Kiltses.
So at the 15th meeting in 1948, Mr. Stam presented to the Association the carbon copy of his records, and it was given into the keeping of the Secretary, Mrs. Witthoft, to be made available at each meeting of the Kilts Family.
In 1955, Mr. Stam died, and shortly afterward his daughter Lillian Stam wrote to Mrs. Witthoft as to the disposal of all her father's material regarding the Kilts family including not only the original typed volume, but also a box of his correspondence and two volumes of the worksheets he had used in making up the Volume. Mrs. Witthoft arranged for it to be brought to her by a cousin who was making the trip by car from New York City to Chatham. Some time after this, the original typed volume was given into the keeping of Mrs. Herschel Kilts and the worksheet volumes to Mrs. Arthur Lyker, and the carbon copy separated into family or branch sections for easier reference.
In the 1963 Annual Letter, it was announced that, "At last we have extra copies of our Kilts Volume. Mrs. George Vosburgh, at her own expense, had four copies made - one for the national D.A.R. Library in Washington, one for the New York State Genealogical and Biographical Society in New York City, one for the History and Archives Dept. of Montgomery Co. in Fonda,and an extra one for our own personal use." Shortly afterward, it was decided to make several corrections in Mr. Stam's records before more copies were made. Such corrections are still being given careful consideration by a committee consisting of Mrs. Witthoft, Mrs. George Vosburgh, and Mr. Harlan Kilts of Clockville. Any suggestions by any member of the Kilts family will be given thoughtful attention by the committee.
And now continuing the account of publishing a Kilts genealogy volume, David Kendall Martin published THE 18TH CENTURY KILTS FAMILY OF THE MOHAWK VALLEY, (West Chazy, 1985), a very scholarly, well done history which traces the Kilts descendants of Conrad through the first four generations in America with some record of the fifth generation. David stated that Milford Decker will continue his work in a forthcoming volume of Kilts history, carrying the account from the fifth generation to the present day. David gives credit to Harry Stam for his work and says, "His collection of material is the foundation of this study." In a letter to Herman Witthoft, dated 16 September 1998, David Kendall Martin states: "I hope that a final version (of this new Kilts book) would present the earlier generations as largely my work and that of Hank Jones."
And so now, 52 years after the Stamm account and 14 years after the publication of David Kendall Martin's book, we have this update of Kilts Family genealogy, THE DESCENDANTS OF JOHANN CONRAD KILTS, EMIGRANT TO AMERICA. Read it and enjoy!
Table of Contents for Kilts
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