An English naturalist and geologist, Charles Robert Darwin, is best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory.  He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors and introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process he called natural selection.

Born February 12, 1809, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England,  Charles was the fifth of six children.  Despite difference in their points of view, Darwin married Emma Wedgewood, his charming, intelligent, and cultured cousin. In 1882 he was diagnosed with coronary thrombosis and disease of the heart.  He died at Down House on 19 April 1882. His last words were to his family, telling Emma “I am not the least afraid of death – Remember what a good wife you have been to me – Tell all my children to remember how good they have been to me”, then while she rested, he repeatedly told Henrietta and Francis “It’s almost worth while to be sick to be nursed by you”. Charles Darwin became internationally famous, and his pre-eminence as a scientist was honored by burial in Westminster Abbey near Sir Isaac Newton.  Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” ~ Charles Darwin

View the full WikiTree profile of Charles Darwin. Can you add to it?

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

Born January 17, 1706,  Benjamin Franklin, was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and often referred to as “the First American”.Famous for many things, Benjamin was a leading author, politician, scientist, statesman, diplomat, political theorist, printer, postmaster and inventor.

Franklin played a major role in the American Enlightenment and the also the evolution of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity.  Benjamin is also known for inventing the lightning rod, bifocals and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. Franklin died April 17, 1790.

Benjamin Franklin is quoted often ~ here are a few of his sayings:

  • “I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.”
  • “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
  • Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”
  • “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.”

View Benjamin Franklin’s complete profile.

You might also be interested in this Franklin genealogy and family history page.

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Wilbur Wright (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912), and his brother Orville were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who were credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane and making the first controlled and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903.

Wilbur and his brother Orville were very interested by a toy their father brought home to them as boys. It was a flying top. They also liked watching birds to figure out how they managed to fly. They dabbled in the printing business and in bicycles before moving on to kites and gliders.

Inspired by many people, including Leonardo Da Vinci, the brothers began designing kites and gliders to test. They moved their testing to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, which was more remote and had a better atmosphere.

After lots of testing, and failures and successes, they decided to try powered flight. The first flight was Orville’s, it lasted mere seconds, but did last.

Interestingly, neither brother ever married.  Wilbur’s life was cut short before he reached the age of 50, due to typhoid.   Milton Wright described him this way: “A short life, full of consequences. An unfailing intellect, imperturbable temper, great self-reliance and as great modesty, seeing the right clearly, pursuing it steadfastly, he lived and died.”

View Wilbur’s full WikiTree profile.

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Greetings fellow WikiTreers!

Welcome to the April 2014 edition of News from the Tree, our monthly report on new features and changes around the site, notes on community leaders, tips, etc.

What’s New?

Merging Improvement for Marriages

This month we released a long-overdue improvement to the merging process. You now see marriage information on the merge confirmation screen. If there is duplicate marriage info — the two people being merged are both married to the same spouse — you’re able to select the marriage dates and location you want to keep. This is also more properly tracked in the Changes.

Easy Welcoming of New Volunteers

You can now view the latest new members who have volunteered to help the WikiTree mission. It can be a lot of fun browsing what new members have to say. If you like their comment and appreciate that they’re joining our project, you can thank them with one click. This is a great way to make them feel especially welcome. Browsing new volunteers is also a great way to find new people who are researching the same surnames as you or who have similar interests.  Check out the Volunteer Feed

Help Index

Our Help Committee worked hard to put together a new Help Index. With this new tool, you can easily find answers to questions you might have.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, let us know! It’s probably something we want to add.

Top 10 Surnames Added in March
  1. SMITH (1,450 new Smiths in March)
  2. LIEBENBERG (1284)
  3. FORTIER (965)
  4. BROWN (738)
  5. WILLIAMS (683)
  6. JOHNSON (664)
  7. JONES (564)
  8. THOMPSON (555)
  9. WILSON (543)
  10. ANDERSON (464)

 Who’s New?

We are pleased to welcome a new LeaderDarlene Athey Hill!  Darlene has been with us since January and is very active in many of our projects including the European Aristocrats, Irish Roots and the Magna Carta Project. She is becoming well-known around the site for writing beautiful biography sections. (Check out her work on Robert De Vere.)

For the past several years, Darlene’s research focus has been on medieval genealogy. She has spent an average of 60+ hours/week researching to learn more than just “dates” about her ancestors and their families from medieval times. It’s been a good history lesson and given her a new passion.

Quick Tips

  • Want to know more about the features and benefits of WikiTree for genealogists who have taken DNA tests? Read all about it on our DNA Features page!
  • When you are on a profile page there is a menu entry, top right, with the ID of the profile. This menu drop down gives shortcuts for all sorts of specific places connected with the profile, experiment with them and find interesting new views.
  • If you are skipping individuals while reviewing your GEDmatches report because the people are already on WikiTree, make a note of the ID of the matches. It makes it a lot easier to find them after the import so you can add them as parent, child or spouse to someone you did import.

Community Accomplishments

Top 10 contributors for March 2014:
WikiTree Club 1000 March 2014

  1. Kirsty Ward (10,632 edits in March)
  2. Bob Tonsmeire (10619)
  3. Grant Glover (8826)
  4. Vincent Piazza (6910)
  5. Mary Hammond (6280)
  6. Ann Johnson (5422)
  7. Jacques Pictet (5275)
  8. Kairen Brooke-Anderson (5101)
  9. Erin Breen (5071)
  10. Michelle Brooks (5054)

Super Star recipients (recognized by a Leader for extraordinary contributions that go far beyond what is normally seen on WikiTree):

Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication ~ Ron Norman, Darlene KerrAustin PérezMG PittsVincent Piazza and Kyle Dane!

Join in the Fun!

Several new projects have started up recently  ~ perhaps there is one that catches your interest! If so, contact the project leader and get join in the fun!

  • Descendants of Pocahontas – The purpose of this project is to trace Pocahontas’ descendants, and try to untangle the myths surrounding her family.
  • Magna Carta – The goal of this project is to categorize and improve profiles of the 25 barons who were surety for Magna Carta, and the “illustrious men” named in the preamble, and their immediate families and descendants.
  • U.S Civil War: War Between the States – The purpose of this project is to focus on participants in this conflict 1861-1865.
  • Ambassadors – WikiTree Ambassadors are volunteers who are active in social media and/or blogging and who are dedicated to helping share the WikiTree love!

You can also view the list of all our current projects.

You’re Fantastic

We passed 7,000,000 profiles! We couldn’t do what we do and be what we are without the wonderful and amazing dedication of you, our volunteers.  Thank you for making WikiTree such a fantastic genealogy site and community!

The WikiTree Team and Leaders

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