Welcome to a new installment of “Meet our Members.” It’s time to get to know another awesome member of our community: Meet David.
David Selman has been a member of our community since February 2016. He is quite active in our Greeters, Mentors, Volunteer Coordinators and Rangers projects.
Surnames you are researching?
Selman, Campbell, Chase, Gregg, Strimple just to name a few, not counting the profiles I have adopted.
Locations you are researching?
United Kingdom, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas are the main locations for now.
When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?
Our parents never discussed or told us about our family and ancestors outside of the immediate family. And of course when we where young and raising a family it never entered our minds to ask for information on our family and ancestors except for the few close family members we knew as we grew up. Now it is too late since both our parents are deceased and no distant relatives that are still living. I was trying to find my mother’s family such as her father, mother, grandparents and this led me into the never ending search for information and this turned into my interest in genealogy. This started about 16 years ago and the search goes on.
Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?
I have several but I would say my Great Grand Father Dr. John Thurmond Selman, born 6 Feb 1830 in Georgia, died 20 Mar 1894 in Rural Shade in Navarro County,Texas. He served as a surgeon in the CSA during the US Civil War. He moved to Texas after the war and was a country doctor, farmer/rancher in Navarro County, Texas. He was a large man of 7 feet 6 inches tall and 350 pounds. He used a buggy and horse to make his rounds to see his patients. I am still finding more about him as time goes on.
I might mention one other ancestor that was my favorite uncle and always stayed in touch with me and was kind and helpful when my brother and I buried our father. His name is Uncle Pete (James Charles (Pete) Selman).
Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down.
I finally found my maternal grand father and grand mother, great grand father and great grand mother but this just led me to more brick walls / road blocks. But as you can guess I will continue the search.
If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?
Theodore Roosevelt Jr., an American statesman, author, explorer, soldier, naturalist, an exuberant personality, vast range of interests. Roosevelt established the United States Forest Service, signed into law the creation of five national parks, and signed the 1906 Antiquities Act, under which he proclaimed 18 new U.S. national monuments. He also established the first 51 bird reserves, four game preserves, and 150 national forests, including Shoshone National Forest, the nation’s first. The area of the United States that he placed under public protection totals approximately 230,000,000 acres.
What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?
So many and so little time! Reading books of all kinds, computers, website design and publishing, Bass Fishing, camping and hunting in my younger days. Working on anything mechanical such as four wheel drive (my specialty is Jeeps and Chevrolet trucks). But before any is spending time with our family, grown children, grand children and great grand children.
How long have you been on WikiTree and how active are you?
I found WikiTree or it found me a little over a year ago (12 Feb. 2016). You can find me on Wiki every day and most weeks I spend 4 plus hours or more a day, seven days a week working on Wiki researching family and working on one of the projects I am a member of, such as the Texas Cemetery project of which I am one of the two coordinators. The Texas project, a sub-project of the United States project. I am also a Greeter, Volunteer Coordinator and Mentor and spend a considerable amount of time greeting new guests and mentoring those who ask for help.
What are some of the features/aspects of WikiTree that you love/don’t love as much?
I especially like the friends I have made here at Wiki, the help and collaboration along the way. Being able to ask for help with anything and always getting an answer. I will say I tried a well known genealogy website, of course it cost and no one was of help, so after a very short time I went looking for a new genealogy site and have now found a home. I guess the only draw back I have found is that for most new guests it is hard to come from a paid genealogy website to a totally free one and then have to learn how to do it all for themselves, such as understand tags, find and add sources to a profile, learn how to watch for and merge duplicate profiles.
Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?
I know from experience that everyone wants to just press the computer’s on button and start adding family and ancestors. But I highly suggest that a new member slow down, take time to learn WikiTree, explore the help files and read the How to use WikiTree page. Ask for help in the G2G Forum or ask a Mentor when you first start out for help when you run into a problem. Just like the first time you used a computer, WikiTree does take some time to learn so be patient, go slow and have fun.
If you could leave one message for your descendants, what would it be?
Look to the future but never forget the past. God, country and family above all else.