Introduction To Sam’s Stories

Hello!  My name is Sam Hiebel, and I am the professional genealogist for Roots Dig.  If you haven’t learned About me yet, I recommend you check out the About page on our website.  Once you have, it’s About time we get started!  😉

In this section of Roots Dig’s blog, I will post personal stories that relate to my genealogical research.  I originally intended to create a genealogy website blog back in the fall of 2014, shortly after accomplishing some of my greatest discoveries to date.  During this time I wrote a total of 14 blog posts.  Each post documented the story of how I made a personal discovery regarding a various ancestor or relative, while addressing a common theme, dilemma, or technique related to genealogy.

Unfortunately, my website was never completed as I became busy during my final semester in college.  Now that I am working a full time job and have a much less free time than I did in college, I figured this would be the perfect time for me to begin my blog.  LOL!  But I digress…

Over the coming weeks, I will begin to post these stories that I wrote a year and a half ago (with minor edits) to this blog.  The first eight posts will discuss the research stories of indivudual ancestors or family members, while the remaining posts make up a six part story documenting one of my greatest genealogical discoveries yet.  Once all of these stories have been posted, I plan to begin writing new posts related to other genealogical discoveries I have made in the past and in the time since 2014.

I hope that all of you enjoy these stories and learn something new!  Also, in the event that you suspect we may share a common ancestor while reading these stories, please feel free to contact me.  It’s always fun meeting new distant cousins!

Here is a little bit of information regarding my grandparents, as I will discuss how I was able to trace back their family lines in the upcomming stories to follow:

  • Edward Hiebel Jr: My paternal grandfather was born in Chicago, Illinois.  He was the son of Edward Hiebel Sr. and Martha Gregory.  Edward and Martha had one other child, who I never spoke with until recently (and will be the subject for one of my stories).  My grandpa was also in the United States Marine Corps.  He is primarly of German and Czech descent, with traces of other ethnicities including French, Dutch, and Danish.
  • Polykratis Kazakos: My maternal grandfather was born in Mytilinoi, Samos, Greece.  He was the son of Philoctitis Kazakos and AiKaterina Hatjigiorgio.  Philoctitis and AiKaterina had three other children; Eleni, Ioannis, and Stamatia.  My papou (grandfather in Greek) also fought in the Greek Civil War before immigrating to the United States in 1960.  He is of Greek descent.
  • Elizabeth Shanks: My paternal grandmother was born in Chicago, Illinois.  She was the daughter of Harry Shanks and Catherine McPhee.  Harry and Catherine had two other children; Harry and Agnes.  She is of Scottish, English, and Irish descent.
  • Alicia Kazakos: My maternal grandmother was born in Freeport, Illinois.  She was the biological daughter of Mary Stahl and Glen Griffin, and was adopted by a Greek immigrant in Freeport named John Kazakos.  She is of German, Irish, and Scottish descent. 


My paternal grandfather, Edward Hiebel Jr.


My maternal grandfather, Polykratis “Paul” Kazakos

Photo Aug 10, 4 51 49 PM (1)

My paternal grandmother, Elizabeth “Betty” Shanks


My maternal grandmother, Alicia Kazakos



Written by Sam

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