Surnames you are researching: McBeth/MacBeath, Moon, Davis, Starr/Starika—Danielson, West/Adams, French, Durand—Sexton, Lambert, Jeffs, Heskett, Anderson, Marr, Kump and Bowman just to name the first couple of generations
Locations you are researching: Scotland, England, California (Gold Country especially), Norway, French Canada, Slovenia, Gottschee Austria
When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?
My mother, her sister and my paternal grandparents have researched our family for as long as I can remember. I caught the bug at the age of 12. It was like being a detective for me —looking for clues and solving mysteries. I still find it to be like reading the best mystery novel of all time!
Last year, I also caught the DNA bug and began adding it to my research. I then chose to go professional. It was the biggest “aha” moment of all time when I realized this was the profession I was meant to have. I have been working for clients over the past year and am currently working towards becoming a BCG certified genealogist with an emphasis on DNA.
Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?
My favorite ancestors are the strong women who stood tall and made drastic changes in their lives even though it was not accepted at the time: Maria Emaline who refused to live with her Mormon husband when he took additional wives because she felt multiple wives was not an acceptable practice; Elizabeth Ann who divorced her abusive husband and started a new life with her children; Etta Mae who stayed strong through incredible adversity and lived to an old age. I love reading the stories of the women who faced hardships and won.
Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down.
Anna Clarinda Havens (My 3rd great grandmother) was a brick wall for me. I was unable to find out more than her approximate birth and death dates until I met a DNA cousin. This cousin had done extensive research in the New York archives on the Havens family and not only has the line fleshed out, but the sources to back it up. I might not have broken this wall if she hadn’t been a DNA match on Ancestry and if I hadn’t contacted her.
If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?
Jane Austen. She was an incredible and accomplished woman of her time and we are both authors. I am related to an Elizabeth Bennett though!
What are some of your interests outside of genealogy? Is there life outside of genealogy?
I write novels for children and young adults (have 2 published and working on another right now), love spending time with my family and friends, reading, gardening, and encouraging others in their pursuits.
How long have you been on WikiTree and how active are you?
I started in September 2016 and have become increasingly active since then. I became a greeter within 30 days after joining and was hooked. I can’t get enough of Wiki Tree and I can often spend an entire day working on various projects on the Tree.
What are some of the features/aspects of WikiTree that you love/don’t love as much?
I love the collaboration and meeting like minded genealogists, the fact that we are all trying to connect to one big tree, the many projects meant to help us grow our trees, the fact that all profiles should be accurately sourced and most of all THE SPIFFY BADGES! / I wish more people would teach themselves what correct sources are and then put them throughout their trees. I see dozens of profiles daily with other people’s Ancestry trees listed as the only source.
Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?
Look at everything, click on every link and simply play around. Then start adding your tree a few profiles at a time. If you have questions, don’t be shy and ask in G2G. Once you are familiar with WikiTree, volunteer for one of the projects. You will be glad you did.
If you could leave one message for your descendants, what would it be? Keep the family tree research going!