THE BEGINNING OF MY KILTS PROJECT
(How It All Came About)
My name is Herman W. Witthoft, Sr., born 23 June 1926, and I reside at 141 Hudson Ave., Chatham, NY 12037. I have been happily married for the past 46 years to Doris De Vane and have five children: Melissa Ann, Maria Elizabeth, Martha Jane, Charles Martin, and Herman Wellington, Jr., and four grandchildren. My father was the Rev. Charles M. Witthoft, Sr., (1889-1989) and my mother, Florence Zula (Shafer) Witthoft (1890-1986). I have four sisters and one brother: Ruth Elizabeth, Martha Adelaide, Doris Anna Maria (Peggy), Florence Lois, and Charles Martin, Jr.
The year 1990 marked a major change in my life. In August, after 31 years of employment with the State of New York, Department of Equalization and Assessment as Principal Real Estate Appraiser, I retired. However, in the winter before my retirement, I became interested in computers and genealogy, simultaneously. At the age of 64 my hands touched a computer keyboard for the first time -never too old to learn!
My interest in genealogy came naturally. My mother was an avid genealogist for over 70 years, and my two sisters, Florence and Martha for many years. All of my Mother's efforts were without the aid of a computer, just hand and typewritten notes, forms and letters. What a lot of paper!
I decided to use the genealogy computer program, Personal Ancestral File (PAF), produced and sold for $35.00 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Mormons. I reasoned that because they were the world's biggest genealogists, having over 150,000,000 names on file, their program should be the best and also the simplest because they appealed to the amateur genealogist and beginning computer user. (I need "simplicity"!) Information can be transferred back and forth with other genealogy programs using the GEDCOM feature of the program. (GEDCOM = Genealogical Exchange Data)
As of 15 May 1999, the total number of people I have researched and have in my PAF file, all families, is 65,382 people. My mother was interested in the Kilts family, her paternal grandmother, Sophia Kilts (1829-1918), and she was very active in that family's reunions which started in 1931. She never became too interested in her paternal grandfather's family, Daniel D. Shafer (1822-1860). Daniel moved to Whiteside Co., IL, died there, and his widow, Sophia, came back to Sharon, Schoharie Co., NY, and lived among her Kilts relatives. No one ever knew the cause of Daniel's death nor where he was buried. The family found out the burial information in 1993, but that is another story.
As of 15 May 1999, I now have, in 15 generations, 6,468 descendants of Johann Conrad Kiltz, and counting spouses, there are 9,872.
I researched this Kilts family using the Kinship transcription of the baptismal churchbooks: (a) St. Paul's Lutheran Church, West Camp, Ulster Co., NY; (b) St. Peter's Lutheran Church (Stone Church), Rhinebeck, Dutchess Co., NY; (c) St. Paul's (Zion's) Lutheran Church, Red Hook, Dutchess Co., NY; (d) Reformed Church, Rhinebeck Flatts, Rhinebeck, Dutchess Co., NY; (e) St. Paul's Lutheran Church of Wurtemburg, Rhinebeck, Dutchess Co., NY; and (f) Reformed Church, Germantown, Columbia Co., NY. I also researched the Kinship transcription of the marriage registers of these churches. These books are very accurate transcriptions of the original churchbooks and are available from: Kinship, Arthur and Nancy Kelly, 60 Cedar Heights Road, Rhinebeck, NY 12572, Tel: 914- 876-4592. To silence my family's questions, "What would you like for Christmas, birthdays, and wedding anniversaries," I now reply, "A Kinship churchbook!" The churchbooks are certainly a more useful gift, used daily, than the usual white shirt and/or ties that are only worn occasionally and soon wear out or go out of style!
Many hundreds of hours have gone into this effort. Enjoy the fruits of my labors. Locate your ancestor! Let us know the errors that you find. We know there are many as we don't claim to be perfect.
4 July 1999
W. Witthoft, Sr.
141 Hudson Ave.
Chatham, NY 12037-1431
Copyright © 2000. Herman W. Witthoft, Sr. and Berry Enterprises. All rights reserved. All items on the site are copyrighted. While we welcome you to use the information provided on this web site; this information is copyrighted and not to be reproduced for distribution, sale, or profit.
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