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Hi WikiTreers,

Welcome to a new installment of “Meet our Members.” It’s time to get to know another awesome member of our community: Meet Carol.

Carol Keeling became a WikiTreer in August of 2015.  She’s active in many ways including in our England Project as a helper for Sussex County.  Carol also works hard as a Connector and Data Doctor.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

My maiden name was Winton, so that has to go top of the list, closely followed by Whitbread, Woodhams, Alger and Anthoney. On my husband’s side there is Keeling (of course!), then Rolfe, Bossley, Shovlar and Higginbottom. I’ve picked some of the unusual ones to list, but I have plenty more common surnames that could be added.

 What are some of the locations you are researching?

Both my parents were born in London, England. But I have ancestors from the counties of Sussex, Kent, Devon and Bedfordshire.

The Keelings were from Lincolnshire, (and probably Staffordshire, if I could only get back that far). There are also connections to Kent, Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Suffolk. So quite a wide variety.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

In 1979, Gordon Honeycombe presented a 5 part series on BBC, based on the research he had done into his own family. I was hooked, it totally fascinated me, and I started to enlist the help of family members  right away.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

This is a tough one to answer, but I’m going to choose my great grandmother Sarah Ann Winton. She was widowed in her early 40′s with 5 young children to support. (I use the term ‘widowed’ loosely here, as she was never married to the father of her children). She kept the family together and took in lodgers as a source of income. Her guests were mainly theatrical people, who were appearing in the local theatres of Deptford and New Cross (in South London). One of my most prized possessions is her visitors comments book, which contains not only names and dates, but also the touring company they were appearing with. I have a couple of photos of her, she looks quite a determined person, and I’ve always felt that she was quite inspirational.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through.

I have far too many brick walls that are waiting to be broken down, so will write about one that I’ve solved.

George David King and his wife Elizabeth, had their first child Mary King, born in Marden in Kent in 1837. Although they had two subsequent children, I was unable to identify their birth registrations, so Elizabeth’s maiden name was unknown. When the GRO launched their website (I think in 2016), it gave the ages at death from 1837-1866, and mother’s maiden name for all births 1837-1911.

I checked the age at death for George and Elizabeth’s youngest child Ann King, who had died in 1848. It showed age 4, which came as a complete surprise. She had been baptised just a short while before her death, so I’d assumed that she was an infant. I was able to locate her birth registration in Medway district (of Kent) in 1844, which showed her mother’s maiden name to be Pearce. I already knew that Elizabeth had been born in Marden, so a quick check of the parish registers confirmed that Elizabeth Pearce had been baptised in Marden in 1805. I’ve since confirmed this with a couple of DNA matches, so am confident it’s correct. Elizabeth’s surname had been shown as unknown in my tree for over 20 years.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

During the winter months we live in Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, so I spend a lot of time walking along the coastal promenade, and sitting in my garden in the sunshine reading. I love a good thriller and have several favourite authors who write genealogical mysteries. (Would recommend Steve Robinson and Nathan Dylan Goodwin, for anyone based in England). We also enjoy dining out with our friends and neighbours.

Our summers are spent in England. I love to be out of doors, walking and often shopping. And I have a garden in each location that keeps me busy as well. I also enjoy travelling; last year we went to China, and the year before we visited Canada.

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

I joined WikiTree in August 2015, and have probably been logged on nearly every day since then!

My time is split between connecting and correcting ‘suggestions’ as a data doctor, and both of these tasks involve sourcing as well. I’m a member of the England Project, and a helper for the county of Sussex, so I’ve been concentrating my efforts recently on that county. Using WikiTree+, it is now easy to identify what needs working on in specific locations. I also check all G2G posts that are tagged ‘connectors’, and try and help if I can.

During my first few months on WikiTree I uploaded a lot of my tree using Gedcom. I’ve set myself a target this year to revisit as many of these profiles as I can, to clean them up, add to them and check all of their sources. So far this year, I’ve found two branches on WikiTree that I can link onto my tree, which is an added bonus.

What brought you to WikiTree? (In other words, how did you find us?)

I was very disillusioned with Ancestry, and started to look at other options searching the internet. I found a lot of recommendations for WikiTree, so here I am. I particularly liked the emphasis placed on sourcing, and found the website easy to navigate.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree, or which feature(s) do you like the most?

Every morning when I log on, I ask myself ‘what shall I do today?’. There are so many options, but never any compulsion to hurry and get something done. So my favourite thing has to be the happy and relaxed atmosphere that WikiTree has, it’s like a welcoming friend, always there when you need it, but not intrusive when you have other things to do. You can spend as much or little time as you have, and still feel you are making progress. And I’m always eager to get back to it after a holiday away.

My favourite feature is the profile design. All the important information that you need is top left, and if you need to read more then the biography is available as you scroll down.

I’ve enjoyed taking part in both the Source-a-Thon and Clean-a-Thon weekends. They’ve encouraged me to become more involved, working as a team, and will eagerly await the next one.

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?

Another tough question. In my role as a connector, I’ve liaised with many people who, after uploading a Gedcom file, have then realised that their tree doesn’t all connect together (whether as a result of missing people, or often skipped people that are already on WikiTree). I’m saddened that we often lose these people and have had comments like ‘It was all such a mess, that I just left it’. I know the mentors do an excellent job, but it’s very hard admitting to someone else that you need help. Maybe we can devise a way of reaching out to anyone in this situation, without them feeling inadequate.

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy or how you’ve helped genealogy with WikiTree?

Having started to build my tree over 35 years ago, uploading my research to WikiTree has encouraged me to revisit each and every person on it, to check and add sources and include other family members. Needless to say I’ve found several errors, brought to light mainly by the abundant sources now on-line. As I work through each profile, I feel more confident that it is proven to be correct, and will be freely available for any other researchers to use.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Take it slowly, manually add quite a few ancestors before contemplating a Gedcom upload. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Send a message to anyone that you find already on WikiTree that you are related to, so begin to make friendships. Check and correct any suggestions on your profiles every week. Try and read some posts on G2G every day, just to see what others are working on and maybe struggling with.


 

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Hi WikiTreers,

Welcome to a new installment of “Meet our Members.” It’s time to get to know another awesome member of our community: Meet Michelle.

Michelle Ladner joined WikiTree back in October of 2012.  Among other things, she participates in our Louisiana Families Project and as a Greeter and an Arborist. Michelle especially enjoys helping other WikiTreers as one of our Mentors.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

A few of the names I am researching are Saucier, Ladner, Roth, Conerly, Cuevas, Necaise, DeLherbe, Wiese, and many, many more.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Louisiana, The Mississippi Gulf Coast, which was once Colonial Louisiana, The Carolinas, and Quebec, to name a few.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

I have always been interested in family history. My family was the pioneer family in Colonial Louisiana and came from Canada with D’Iberville in 1699. My maiden name of Saucier nearly fills an entire phonebook.  My heritage was spoon fed me from birth. My grandfather knew his history back to the early 1700′s and could tell stories about his great grandfather and beyond, handed down to him and then to me. I like to call his tales, Pioneers, Pirates, and Prohibition. Every summer we took a trip to my great Aunt’s in Alabama, where she would appease my questions of who was who with her own research, over one hundred handwritten pages of names from France, to Canada and finally to the Mississippi Coast. One summer she gave me the pages to take home for my personal perusal. I copied those names by hand and then typed them out on an old manual typewriter before mailing the original back to her. I was one happy 10 year old!

My people were few and far between in Colonial times and had to marry the daughters of the few other settlers along with having children on the side with Choctaw women. Therefore they married their own cousins because of the scarcity of available prospects. Because of this, I am related to nearly every pioneering family on the Gulf Coast. This means I am related to nearly every person I meet, including my own husband, who is my 5th cousin.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Gabrielle Savary, who was a Pelican Girl. She came from France along with twenty other girls to marry and help settle the Gulf Coast. Much like the Filles du Roi, who one of which, was to be her future mother in law, Marguerite Gaillard Duplessis.  Gabrielle was one of the last of the Pelican Girls to be married, she married Jean Baptiste Saucier. She took her time in choosing a husband and didn’t choose a soldier, but one of the few men who came on their own as an adventurer and pioneer. After his untimely death, she moved to New Orleans and there raised her family as a laundress and one of the first vendors of what is now known as the French Market.

She applied to the government for permission to move her family to Haiti where she felt they may have more opportunities. It was turned down because it was said they needed her and her sons in the colony. They instead gave her a stipend to help her which enabled her to send her youngest son to be educated in France.  Her sons went on to create a vast trade route along the Mississippi River helping to found such towns as Kaskaskia, Illinois. One son was a map maker and traveled the unexplored areas making maps for the King of France. Her descendants are spread throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri. I can not imagine coming across the ocean to a land of Indians, swamps, and uninhabited wilderness, surviving three husbands, bearing 7 children, and managing to leave a grand legacy behind.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through.

My maternal grandmother’s family are German and French from New Orleans, having come from Germany and France in the 1850s. She knew who her grandparents were and where they came from but not much beyond that. I obtained the baptismal record for her grandmother whose father was Phillipe Buhr. Using his name I began to search for any newspaper articles with his name. I came across an old newspaper written in German with the birth announcement of a daughter. But just two years after the birth one more article that I could not decipher. I posted on forums asking for a German speaker to interpret it for me. I received an answer back telling me that I may not wish to know what it said. I of course said please tell me no matter how bad it is.

He sent me the transcription saying  that Phillip Buhr was sadly found drowned in a canal in New Orleans. It was felt that he took his own life or was drunk and fell in the canal. His benevolent lodge was holding his funeral as the family were paupers. In it was also listed his birth place, enabling me to trace back to Germany and find his Christening record and the names of his parents. This cleared up the question my grandmother always had as to why her great grandmother remarried and had a huge family.

If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?

Eleanor of Aquitaine. I am drawn to strong women in history.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Traveling to historic places. History is my passion. Also reading, blogging and cooking.

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

I started out with WikiTree in 2012. I spend a lot of time going back through my tree and trying to add to the biographies and  enhance the profiles, as well as making sure I have sources for each. I am a Mentor so I also spend a great deal of time connecting with others who may need help or direction here at WikiTree.

What brought you to WikiTree? (In other words, how did you find us?)

I came across WikiTree in its infancy. I believe it was through one of Thomas MacEntee’s web articles. At the time I was frustrated with other sites and WikiTree was an answer to my prayers.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree, or which feature(s) do you like the most? If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?

It was a relief to me to find a site that allowed collaboration and at the time of my joining they were not as tough on sourcing but it was in the honor code. I really liked that they required sourcing and still do. People don’t realize how important sourcing is. I’m not sure I would change anything about WikiTree at all.

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy or how you’ve helped genealogy with WikiTree?

WikiTree has helped me connect with many distant branches of my tree that I may never have found or been able to collaborate with. Thanks to Allan Thomas for the many times you have helped me out with our mutual family. Through WikiTree I was able to connect with a researcher who helped me find records in France to expand my DeLherbe family, which I had previously spent many years researching to no avail. I have enjoyed working on the many projects, and being a Mentor inspires me everyday to be a better genealogist.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, use G2G. Above all cite sources.


 

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Hi WikiTreers,

Welcome to a new installment of “Meet our Members.” It’s time to get to know another awesome member of our community: Meet Kitty.

Kitty Cooper became a WikiTreer in June of 2013. She is a blogger, genetic genealogist, genealogist, programmer, retired web designer, speaker, mother, grandmother, gardener, dog lover, cat lover, and World Champion Bridge player.  She loves working with our DNA features.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Munson (Monsen), Skjold, Wold (Norway to USA)

Thannhauser, Langermann, Reiner, Wittman (Bavaria to USA)

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Southern Norway – Hordaland, Vest and Oest Agder, Telemark and Buskerud

Bavaria in Germany, Munich, Floss, Eslarn

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

I was always interested in family history and would ask my parents for stories about my ancestors but I did not get serious about it until 1997 when (quote from my blog) “a beloved Aunt died with too many of her stories unrecorded. What happened was that I remet a second cousin who was a genealogist at her funeral. He showed me many charts of our ancestry. I had always loved listening to family stories from the older generation but now I felt that I had to preserve them. So I started a family history web site for my family with the pictures and stories that I collected.”

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Anna Knutsdatter Aamot because I have her eyes …

“About Anne it is told when she moved to Tørjevollen, she had walked all the way from Rollag. Not only that, but she had been walking and knitting” as quoted on her profile.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through.

I could never find the records for my great grandmother Maren Wold back in Norway. She was supposedly from Drammen, a city in the county of Buskerud. I searched through every church record in Buskerud that the LDS library had on film. Then one day I got an email from a Mike Wold who had found my family history site. He said I think my great-great-grandad was your great grandma’s brother. Here is the research and here are pictures of their parents (one of whom is Anna Knutsdatter Aamot). It turned out they had lived just over the border from Buskerud in the town of Skougar, which was in another county, Vestfold. Once I knew that, the records were very findable and I even visited the ruins of their home  in 2015 having made contact with my 4th cousins nearby (found with DNA).

If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?

Leonardo da Vinci, a true Renaissance person.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

My grandchildren, my dog, my husband, DNA blogging, gardening, bridge, crocheting, knitting, web design, programming, technology and I enjoy giving DNA presentations.

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

It looks like my first badge was June of 2013 so about 5 years ago. Mainly I add my extended family lines as I find new ones with DNA.

What brought you to WikiTree? (In other words, how did you find us?)

I was googling for one world collaborative trees I think or maybe someone told me. Anyway I joined three of them and use them all, trying not to play favorites. Each has something I like.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree, or which feature(s) do you like the most?

The DNA features. The link from GEDmatch to WikiTree. The fact that you do not have to log in to see trees.

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?

Improve the navigation, only five top menu items each with far too may drop downs! Yuch.Make another level so each five had just five and they had up to five more.

Make it prettier and more compact responsive design.

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy or how you’ve helped genealogy with WikiTree?

I blog about WikiTree a lot and have popularized it among DNA lovers. I mention it in just about every presentation I give. When I make contact with a new DNA relative, I send them a link to my pretty WikiTree tree (usually either Dad’s or Mom’s since I generally know which side they are on since my dad was tested and they are different ethnicities).

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Don’t add a whole GEDcom, that can be overwhelming. Do just one small family line at a time or use WikiTree-X to copy over a person at a time. Always add sources.

You can read more of Kitty’s excellent DNA blog here:http://blog.kittycooper.com.  


 

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