Seven Major Errors in Early Haston Genealogical Documents

The "Beyond Family Lore" Series

There is much to appreciate about Haston family members of earlier generations who sincerely sought to discover and record the history of Daniel Haston’s massive family of descendants.  Unfortunately, compared to our current genealogical research tools and resources, they were severely constrained by their lack of mobility and communication channels which caused them to rely heavily on oral stories handed down from relatives and neighbors.  They relied on what they were told and not what they discovered through credible methods of research.  To a large degree, I stand “on their shoulders,” benefiting from much they have passed down.  However, their limitations as historians resulted in some faulty assumptions, disproven theories, and family myths that just won’t go away because they were initially received from folks they loved and respected and dared not question.  For the sake of future generations who are more interested in substantiated truth than lore, the record needs to be set straight about the following seven mistakes that have crept into what many Hastons still believe and pass along to future generations in their family lines.                                                                                                                                                              -Wayne Haston

1. Daniel Haston's Parents and Earlier European Ancestry

As I explained in the article accessible through the link below, from the time of some of Daniel Haston’s grandchildren, there was uncertainty as to whether Daniel’s ancestors were from England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, or the Netherlands.  No earlier Haston researchers suspected Switzerland, the real homeland of Daniel’s ancestors.

But I want to focus on one fallacious view that was very popular among Haston family genealogists (at least as early as) in the first half of the 20th Century, and even later, by families who blindly copied that view.  Some unknown person came up with the idea that our Daniel Haston was the son of William Haston and Allison Montgomery.  See this example that is still one of many that floating around the internet: Page for Daniel Haston

If you drill down deeper on this record, you will find that this William Haston was (presumably)  from Scotland.  And the person who posted this confused the death date of Daniel’s real father, Henrich Hiestand, with this Scottish William Haston.  Obviously, whoever concocted this view only found someone in old records with the name “Haston” (actually, Hestan or Hasten in the records) and assumed without further evidence that he–William H_____–was Daniel’s father.  And that unsubstantiated assumption has created an enormous amount of confusion to Daniel Haston descendants who have sought to discover their family’s roots.  And the myth is still alive in many places!

2. The Insertion of "Montgomery" into the Middle of Daniel Hiestand/Haston's Name

There are at least two more errors in the above record.

These are just a few of many examples of the “Daniel MONTGOMERY Haston” that you may come across while searching the internet.  I don’t know for sure, but I assume that the middle name “Montgomery” came from the previous myth–that his mother was Allison Montgomery (Haston).  If so, the first (above) error led to a second error that still hangs around like a proverbial ghost from our past.  There is NO documented evidence to support this fallacy.  We now know that Daniel was born into a SWISS Mennonite German-speaking family and the Scottish surname Montgomery would not have been assigned to him.  

3. The Insertion of "McComiskey" (or other spellings of that name) into the Middle of David Haston's (Son of Daniel) Name

From in January 2022

This is one of the more popular myths in the Daniel Haston family. says it is found in 816 public family trees, but that’s not exactly true–it appears in many family trees, but not all 816.  And by the way, the Mc____ name is spelled at least a half dozen different ways.  

Yes, there was a connection between Daniel’s oldest son David and a McComiskey family.  Many earlier researchers assumed that David’s mother’s name (wife of Daniel) was McComiskey, but not so.  The maiden name of David’s mother-in-law was McComiskey.  Mary McComiskey, who married Philip Roddy, was the mother of David’s wife, Margaret (Peggy) Roddy.  Peggy’s grandfather was Daniel McComiskey from Baltimore County, Maryland.  You can learn more about that story by linking to an article I’ve written about the McComiskey family.  Use the link below.

4. Relationship of Montgomery Greenville (M.G.) Haston to the Daniel Haston Family

Montgomery Greenville Haston just started appearing in Van Buren County records at the time he became an adult, but there was no indication to which branch of the Daniel Haston Family he belonged.  He was born too late to have been a son of Daniel and he doesn’t appear in any of the family records of David or Joseph Haston, the two sons of Daniel who remained in Tennessee.  The most common theory, which you will see in some old family documents, is that he was a son of Joseph because for a few years he lived adjacent to Joseph’s widow, Sarah Haston.  But there is MUCH more evidence that he was a grandson of David Haston, illegitimately born to David and Peggy’s daughter Mary (Polly) Haston.  The entire story can be found in the articles linked to below:

5. Two Knox County, TN "Hastings" Girls Assumed to Be Daughters of Daniel Haston

Some of the earlier Daniel Haston researchers stated unequivocally that Peggy Hastings, a daughter of Daniel, married John Ault in Knox County, TN on November 22, 1809. WRONG! Daniel and his family were already settled in White County by then. And the will of Bedford County, TN John Hastings clearly states that Peggy Hastings Ault was his daughter.

Early Haston research reports also state that Mary/Polly Hastings, a daughter of Daniel, married James Milliken (or Milligan) in Knox County, TN on September 4, 1805. Right or wrong? I can’t say for sure, but this is almost certainly INCORRECT.  You can read more about these theories:

6. The Original and Real Family Name of Daniel and His Ancestors

Colonel Howard H. Hasting, Sr. – a 1950s–early 1980s Haston family researcher – opened his research report on the family of Daniel Haston with this question: What is the name of this family?  He then proceeded to reference several different ways our H-surname has been spelled in official records.  I often get a similar question–Why so many different spellings of our H-family name?

Was the original and real name spelled – Haston, or Hastin, or Hasting, or Hastings, or Hastain, or Hestand, or something else.  Some (but not all) second and third generations of Daniel’s descendants–the ones who moved away from Middle Tennessee–began changing their family names based on incorrect assumptions about their earlier family roots.  But Daniel’s sons, Jesse and Jeremiah who also moved away (to Missouri}, kept the H-A-S-T-O-N spelling.

As you will see in the article linked to below, all of the these last names were wrong, if you go back to Daniel’s original surname!  It wasn’t until 2008 that DNA settled the question–Daniel was a Hiestand, but the name got changed to Haston while the family was living in East Tennessee, probably to conform to the tendencies of English and Scots-Irish clerks to misspell Hiestand.

7. Theory that Daniel Haston was a Revolutionary Veteran

This is the old theory that I was NOT excited about challenging.  I began my research  fully accepting the family story that Daniel Haston had received a military bounty land grant for 640 acres for his service in a North Carolina line of Revolutionary War Army.  But desiring to be a good historian, I had to find proof that this hand-me-down story was historically accurate and supported by credible documentation.  

The more I investigated the theory, the more I became disappointed.  I consulted with some of the leading historians of our generation who were experts about the Revolutionary War service of the North Carolina army.  Bottom line, the legend was established on the basis one very questionable document.  Furthermore, other pieces of evidence made the theory of his service unbelievable, maybe even impossible.  Overall, I spent MANY hours over 20 years trying to discover the truth about Daniel’s possible involvement in the Revolutionary War.

It’s a story I wanted to believe.  And it’s a story that some members of our family refuse to let go of, even in spite of numerous layers of evidence.  If you are a truth-seeker and want to let the facts speak for themself, I encourage you to read the following four articles that lay out most, if not all, of what is known about this matter:

These issues are also addressed in The Story of Daniel Haston Family book.

If you appreciated this article, please share it with others who might also enjoy it.


Leave a Reply