V-J Day & USS Habersham

In recognition of V-J Day, I wanted to share part of the story of my grandfather, Herb Hays. He enlisted in the Navy on 9 May 1944 at Chicago, Illinois. (2) After training, he joined the crew of the USS Habersham as a Motor Machinist’s Mate first class. (3)

The Habersham was at Eniwetok when the surrender of Japan was announced, and departed 9 September to carry cargo for occupation forces in Japan. Arriving Tokyo Bay 17 September, she unloaded cargo and departed for Guam and San Francisco 27 November. (4)

We have a Thanksgiving Day program/menu from their stay in Tokyo harbor. I’ll scan and post that later in the year.

Visit my 11 November 2017 blog post for the fuller story of that took Herb from the farm in Ogle County to the Harbor of Japan in the final months of WW2.


(1) “USS Habersham,” article and digital images. NavSource Naval History (http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/13/130186.htm : February 27, 2012)

(2) “U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 7 Nov 2017) Entry for Herbert Hays, enlistment date 9 May 1944, release date 29 Jan 1946.

(3) (6) “U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : 7 Nov 2017). Change report dated 12 May 1945, Entry for Herbert Charles Hays, line 26, rating: F1c(MoMM), Habersham (AK-186). Citing “Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 01/01/1939 – 01/01/1949”; National Archives, Record Group: 24, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1798 – 2007; Series ARC ID: 594996; Series MLR Number: A1 135.

(4) “Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships – Index,” Naval History and Heritage Command (https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/h/habersham.html : 27 Feb 2012) Entry for Habersham.

Anchor Ancestors 1: Henry Hays

According to a family bible, Henry Hays was born on August 30, 1808, in Maryland. He married Sarah Eakle (8) and they had nine children together. He owned land in Washington County, Maryland. (10-12)

According to a biography of his son Josiah, Henry moved his family to Ogle County, Illinois in 1854. (7) After his wife Sarah died (Source: family bible), he then married Mary Ann Leighman on April 29, 1875, in Ogle, Illinois. (9) He lived in Pine Creek township (Polo) until he died. (14-18)

He died on December 19, 1888 in a tragic train accident, having lived a long life of 80 years. (1-7) His headstone is in Fairmount Cemetery in Polo, Illinois.

See the Anchor Ancestors 1: Henry Hays page for children, research questions, and sources.

Anchor Ancestors

To help connect to Hays & Hayes “cousins” and share research, I’m developing profiles of my Anchor Ancestors. You may call them brick walls, but I prefer to think of these ancestors as the anchors to my family research.

If you wish to share your Anchor Ancestors with a broader audience, send me a profile. Please use source citations for your life events whenever possible. You can include:

  • Interesting stories you’ve discovered
  • Research questions you are pursuing
  • Links to other profiles of this ancestor (ie. FamilySearch and WikiTree)

I held back on posting Anchor Ancestor profiles earlier, because I was waiting for the profile to be perfect. But, that is hard in genealogy. Instead of perfect, these profiles show the story I’ve built, the evidence I’ve collected, and the questions I still have.

Let’s help each other untangle our roots and tell our Hays & Hayes Anchor Ancestor stories.

Check out the current list of Anchor Ancestors.


In recognition of Juneteenth, I will watch “BlackProGen LIVE! EXTRA: Juneteenth 2020 Celebration” Live on YouTube at 3 pm central today. I hope you can join us at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaimL-PvrlE.

Yesterday, I participated in Florida State Genealogical Society’s webinar “7 Proven Strategies-Identifying Slave Ownership & Reconstructing Families” with Janis Minor Forté. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Janis present a few times before. Her overview and examples were very helpful. FlSGS offers the handout and recording to members, but the membership fee is only $25.

RootsTech 2020

Not able to travel to the big show, check out the RootsTech 2020 Free Livestream Schedule. I’m looking forward to hearing several great topics on research plans, DNA, and interviewing. What are you looking forward to? #NotAtRootsTech

“All times are listed in mountain standard time. If you need help calculating the time difference to your time zone, visit TheTimeZoneConverter.com.”

If you are attending RootsTech, check out Trace.com Coaches’ Corner in the Expo Hall. “Back by popular demand, the Trace.com Coaches’ Corner in the Expo Hall is the place to go if you’re looking for one-on-one mentoring from an expert genealogist. Bring your biggest roadblocks or dead ends, and receive personalized help.”

Reasonably Exhaustive Search for George’s Probate

When reviewing the research I’ve done on my 4th great grandfather, I realized that my citation for his probate was incomplete. GASP!

Not a big surprise to me. My earlier research attempts were a bit slapdash. I also haven’t spent a ton of time of this one line, but that changes this year. If I had stopped at the initial search of Ancestry’s “Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998” collection, I would only have a part of the story.

A case study follows for why we should conduct a reasonably exhaustive search and a few tips for digging below the surface of online collections.

Continue reading Reasonably Exhaustive Search for George’s Probate

2019 Goal Achieved

For the past 3 years, I’ve been using my version of 52 Ancestors to keep my from being overwhelmed and to make noticable progress. After 12 years of genealogy research, converting gedcoms from different platforms, and early indiscriminate adding of hints, my source citations had been a mess.

Previously when I had a free moment, I would use random.org to generate a number that I could match to an ancestor’s ahnentafel  number.

Continue reading 2019 Goal Achieved

Best of 2019 from Hayska.org

The posts that were visited most often cover a wide range of topics including: WWII, social security applications, naturalizations, and organization. I look forward to connected with you and helping you tell your families stories in 2020.

If you are looking for information or have a question that isn’t covered in Hayska.org, contact me.

Honoring a Veterans Service: Mathew Szubinski’s WWII Story

[Medals in featured image (right to left): : American Defense Service Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon w/ 2 Bronze Battle Stars, Bronze Star Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon w/ 2 Bronze Battle Stars, and Work War II Victory Medal]

Mathew Emil Szubinski was my great uncle and my mother’s godfather. He was the youngest of four children born to Vincent Szubinski and Stanislawa “Stella” Muszynski, born in 9 Jan 1913 in Chicago, Illinois. (1)

Continue reading Honoring a Veterans Service: Mathew Szubinski’s WWII Story