by Bob Fields

On August 31:

Gaius Caesar Caligula (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Commodus Musei Capitolini (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Richard Gere (Image Credit: Wikipedia)










12 – Caligula*, Roman emperor, son of Germanicus Caesar (d. 41).
161 – Commodus, Roman emperor (d. 192).
1870 – Maria Montessori*, Italian physician and educator (d. 1952) (Montessori School).
1897 – Fredric March*, American actor (d. 1975) (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Best Years of Our Lives).
1924 – Buddy Hackett*, American actor and comedian (d. 2003) (The Love Bug).
1928 – James Coburn*, American actor (d. 2002) (Affliction, The Magnificent Seven, Our Man Flint).
1945 – Van Morrison*, Irish singer-songwriter (“Brown Eyed Girl“, “Domino“).
1945 – Itzhak Perlman*, Israeli-American violinist and conductor.
1949 – Richard Gere*, American actor and producer (American Gigolo, Pretty Woman, Chicago).
1970 – Debbie Gibson*, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress. The youngest artist to write, produce, and perform a No. 1 single.


Henry V (Image Credit: WikiTree)

John Ford (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Princess Diana (Image Credit: Wikipedia)









1056 -Byzantine Empress Theodora* (b. 980) dies childless, thus ending the Macedonian dynasty which ruled for 200 years.
1422 – King Henry V [Lancaster] of England (b. 1387) dies of dysentery in France. His son, Henry VI becomes King of England at the age of 9 months.
1886 – An earthquake kills 100 in Charleston, South Carolina.
1888 – Mary Ann Nichols* (b. 1845), first English victim of Jack the Ripper (b. 1845).
1969 – Rocky Marciano*, American heavyweight boxing champion (b. 1923).
1973 – John Ford*, won four Academy Awards for Best Director (b. 1894) (The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley).
1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales* (b. 1961), her companion Dodi Fayed* and driver Henri Paul* die in a car crash in Paris.
2005 – A stampede on Al-Aaimmah bridge in Baghdad kills 1,199 people.

Other Events:

Lewis and Clark (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

William Tecumseh Sherman (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Thomas Edison (Image Credit: WikiTree)








1795 – War of the First Coalition: The British capture Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) from the Dutch in order to keep it out of French hands.
1803 – Lewis and Clark start their expedition to the west, leaving Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Jonesborough: Union General William T. Sherman launches an assault which leads to the fall of Atlanta, Georgia.
1895 – German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin* (1838-1917) patents his Navigable Balloon (Zeppelin).
1897 – Thomas Edison patents the Kinetoscope, the first movie projector.
1935 – In an attempt to stay out of the growing turmoil in Europe, the US passes the first Neutrality Act.
1994 – Russia officially ends its military presence in the former East Germany and the Baltics after half a century.
2009 – Walt Disney Co. announced it was acquiring comic book giant Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion.

The individuals marked with “*” don’t have a profile on WikiTree yet. Please help grow our tree.

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by Bob Fields

On August 30:

Mary Shelley (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Ernest Rutherford (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Warren Buffett (Image Credit: Wikipedia)









1797 – Mary Shelley*, English author and playwright (d. 1851) (Frankenstein).
1871 – Ernest Rutherford*, New Zealand-English physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate, the father of nuclear physics (d. 1937).
1893 – Huey Long*, American lawyer and politician, the “Kingfish” of Louisiana politics, 40th Governor of Louisiana (d. 1935).
1898 – Shirley Booth*, American singer, stage, screen, radio, and television actress (d. 1992) (Hazel).
1908 – Fred MacMurray*, American actor (d. 1991) (Double Indemnity , My Three Sons).
1912 – Edward Mills Purcell*, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate, discovered Nuclear magnetic resonance (d. 1997).
1913 – Sir Richard Stone*, English economist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1991).
1918 – Ted Williams*, American baseball player and manager, last player in MLB to bat over .400 in a single season (d. 2002).
1928 – Dr. Ruth Westheimer*, sex therapist (“Dr Ruth”).
1930 – Warren Buffett*, American businessman and philanthropist, Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO.
1935 – John Phillips*, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (The Mamas & the Papas) (d. 2001).
1944 – Tug McGraw, American baseball player (d. 2004).
1972 – Cameron Diaz*, American model and actress (There’s Something About Mary, Shrek).


Theodric the Great (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

J. J. Thomson (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Charles Bronson (Image Credit: Wikipedia)









526 – Theoderic the Great*, king of the Germanic Ostrogoths (475-526), ruler of Italy (493-526), dies of dysentery at Ravenna, Italy.
1483 – Louis XI of France [Valois] (b. 1423).
1879 – John Bell Hood*, Confederate American general (b. 1831) (Atlanta, Franklin-Nashville).
1938 – Max Factor*, Sr., Polish-American make-up artist and businessman, founded the Max Factor Company (b. 1877).
1940 – J. J. Thomson*, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate, discovered the electron (b. 1856).
2003 – Charles Bronson*, American actor (b. 1921) (The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, Death Wish)
2006 – Glenn Ford*, Canadian-American actor (b. 1916).

Other Events:

Vladimir Lenin (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Douglas MacArthur (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Thurgood Marshall (Image Credit: Wikipedia)










1682 – William Penn leaves England to sail to New World.
1776 – American Revolution: US Colonial army evacuates Long Island and falls back to Manhattan, NYC.
1781 – American Revolution: French fleet under Comte de Grasse* (1722-1788) defeats Admiral Thomas Graves* (1725-1802) at battle of Chesapeake Capes, preventing the evacuation of the besieged British forces at Yorktown VA.
1862 – Confederates defeat Union forces at the Second Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, VA.
1914 – World War I: Germans defeat the Russians in the Battle of Tannenberg, the almost complete destruction of the Russian Second Army. Alexander Samsonov*, Russian general, commits suicide.
1918 – Vladimir Lenin*, Bolshevik leader (1870-1924), shot by Fanni Kaplan*. This prompts the decree for Red Terror.
1918 – Czechoslovakia forms independent republic.
1941 – Nazi forces began the siege of Leningrad during World War II that lasted nearly two and a half years.
1942 – Nazi-Germany annexes Luxembourg.
1945 – Hong Kong is liberated from Japan by British Armed Forces.
1946 – Gen. Douglas MacArthur* (1880-1964) arrives in Japan and sets up Allied occupation headquarters.
1963 – The Moscow-Washington hotline between the leaders of the US and the Soviet Union goes into operation.
1967 – Thurgood Marshall* (1908-93) is confirmed as the first African American Justice of the US Supreme Court.
1980 – Striking Polish workers win a sweeping victory in a battle with their Communist rulers for the right to independent trade unions.
1982 – Yasser Arafat*, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leaves his Beirut headquarters after more than a decade.
1999 – East Timor votes for independence from Indonesia in a referendum.
2001 – Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic* (1941-2006) is to be charged with genocide.
2005 – Hurricane Katrina (Category 5) struck the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,700 people and flooding New Orleans after the city’s levees failed.

The individuals marked with “*” don’t have a profile on WikiTree yet. Please help grow our tree.

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Post by Eowyn the Forest Elf

Today’s Pick comes from our U.S. Presidents project  – the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson. He was born on this day, August 27, in 1908 and is one of only four people who served in all four elected federal offices of the United States: Representative, Senator, Vice President, and President.

“The Great Society rests on abundance and liberty for all.’- LBJ

From his profile: “Lyndon  Johnson served on the US Navy from 1941-1942 as a Lieutenant Commander during WWII participating in the Salamaua-Lae campaign. He was awarded a Silver Star.

LBJ’s political career was an exciting one, coming at a time of rapid social and technology change in the US. He steered through to passage the first civil rights bill in 82 years (Civil Rights Act of 1957). As Chairman of the Senate Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee he began hearings on the Space Program. He considered the vitalization of the space program and the passage of the Civil Rights Act to be the highlights of his Senate Career. As Vice President, LBJ was considered the primary influence for President Kennedy’s decision to pursue a voyage to the moon.

LBJ is remembered in the minds of most Americans for stepping into the role of President of the United States on during one of the saddest days in our history, the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

During his inauguration speech, LBJ declared a war on poverty. He is the architect of the Great Society Program. In May of 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced Project Head Start in the White House Rose Garden. He also started the programs Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps and Work Study. In conjunction with the Civil Rights Movement, Johnson overcame southern resistance and convinced congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1965, he achieved passage of a second civil rights bill, the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination in voting, thus allowing millions of southern blacks to vote for the first time. Johnson named Thurgood Marshall, the great-grandson of a slave, to sit on the highest court in the land.  LBJ’s accomplishments were soon overshadowed by his most stubborn challenge.

President Johnson was plagued by the War in Vietnam, convinced that it was crucial that South Vietnam win the war. He escalated the war following the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, increasing American military personnel in Vietnam from 16,000 advisors in non-combat roles in 1963 to 550,000 with many in combat roles in early 1968. Despite sustained bombing, the widespread use of Agent Orange and rising American casualties, no progress was made in that war. Public demonstrations followed. This along with serious rising crime problems at home contributed to a poor showing in New Hampshire’s 1968 Presidential Primary and he ended his bid for re-election.

Lyndon Johnson died at his ranch on January 22, 1973, at age 64 after suffering a massive heart attack. His death came the day before a ceasefire was signed in Vietnam.”

View the full profile of Lyndon B. Johnson.


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Greetings fellow WikiTreers!

Welcome to the August 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?

Conflict Resolution Procedure

For enjoyable and productive collaboration, it’s imperative for WikiTree members  to communicate respectfully. We want to avoid conflicts whenever possible.

We strongly discourage WikiTreeing while angry!

When a conflict arises:

  1. Stop the conversation.
  2. Drop it until later.
  3. If after you cool down, you still can’t communicate with the other person without getting hot under the collar again, roll it to someone else for help.

Some conflicts are quickly resolved. Some cannot be. This is why we’ve developed a Conflict Resolution Procedure.

The procedure has four stages of escalation, from simply asking for informal help, to formal mediation by a WikiTree Leader, to intervention by the WikiTree Team.

We’re optimistic that this newly-formalized procedure will prevent most conflicts from escalating too quickly.

Pre-1700 Self Certification Quiz

You may have noticed a new badge on profiles:


This is for taking our Pre-1700 Self Certification Quiz.

As every experienced genealogist knows, incorrect family tree information can be found all over the internet. Some mistakes get repeated on WikiTree over and over again, requiring our best members to spend their time fixing these same mistakes over and over again. It’s led many good genealogists to give up on the entire idea of a collaborative single family tree.

We all want to spend more time on higher-level contributions, and we want to have fun doing it as a community. To that end, we’re now requiring ourselves to answer these quick questions before adding and editing widely-shared ancestors from 300+ years ago. The goal is to confirm a basic familiarity with genealogical sources and with the peculiar problems of broad-based collaboration on WikiTree.

It’s designed to be a learning tool, not a test. Every correct and incorrect answer is fully explained. You could select every wrong answer, see why it’s wrong, and proceed until the right answers are selected.

It only takes about 10-15 minutes to complete.

To-Do Lists

You can now create to-do lists!

The innovation here is the “Watchlist Picker.” It enables you to create a custom list of profiles from your Watchlist.

The list that’s created is a Free-Space Profile. This means it can be managed like any other WikiTree profile.

Custom to-do lists is something that WikiTreers have been asking about for some time, so we’re thrilled that it’s now a possibility.  You can learn more about how to create, manage, edit and add lists here.

Who’s New?

New Team Member Erin

We are delighted to welcome long-time WikiTree Leader Erin Breen as a new member of the WikiTree Team!

Erin is now our Volunteer Coordinator. She’s here to help connect people who need genealogy help with helpful genealogists. If you’re looking to contribute your time and abilities but aren’t sure what you can do to help, please drop her a note.

“I’ve always been passively interested in genealogy,” Erin says, “but I took an active interest several years ago after my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She (and many of my cousins) believed that her grandmother was Cree, and I felt compelled to find out before she forgot entirely. Spoiler alert: Great-grandma was not Cree. Just Scottish with a tan and high cheekbones. Sourcing my information didn’t make me popular among family mythologists, but I was hooked. I’m a huge supporter of the Global Family Reunion because of the benefit to Alzheimer’s research.” 

Erin is also co-leader of our Global Family Reunion project.

New Leaders

We’re also pleased to announce that three more awesome members have joined the ranks as Leaders!

GeneJ X: GeneJ has been a member of WikiTree since 2011 and is involved with our Puritan Great Migration project.  GeneJ is known for serious, committed research, as well as thoughtful and helpful comments in our G2G Forum.

Kay Wilson: A member since April 2013, Kay is involved with several of our projects including the Puritan Great Migration, 1776 and the Mayflower Project.  She is a great asset on those profiles of our distant ancestors.

Anne B: Anne has volunteered to lead our Profile Improvement Project.  She is also actively involved in the Puritan Great Migration and Global Family Reunion projects.

Quick Tips

  • When it comes to research, start with what you know and work back to what you do not know. Working back is usually easier than working forward.
  • Prioritize your profile updates. From your Watchlist click the fourth header for “Last Edit” to sort the list so that the first profile listed is the one that’s gone the longest time without being edited. Maybe there’s something you can add or improve!
  • Always add sources to your profiles as soon as you can. The longer you leave it, the easier it is to forget.
  • Considering a GEDCOM import? Be sure to check out our GEDCOM help pages especially “Before Importing a GEDCOM” and “Approving a GEDCOM import”.  WikiTree’s GEDCOM import process is different than most other genealogy sites. Reviewing these pages will help you smoothly navigate the process.
  • Once you’ve imported a GEDCOM you’ll want to go back and clean up any profiles created during import. Our Style Committee put together a wonderful page on what to keep/not keep during such a clean up.

Community Accomplishments

Top 10 contributors for last month:

WikiTree Club 1000 July 2014

  1. Vincent Piazza (8,003 edits in July)
  2. Mr Robert Blais (7292)
  3. Mary Hammond (6020)
  4. Kirsty Ward (5559)
  5. Jacques Pictet (5223)
  6. Abby Glann (4783)
  7. Wayne Burnie (4558)
  8. Tom Greene (4415)
  9. Philip Smith (4328)
  10. Gilly Wood (4151)

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: Anne B, A Fabry, John Atkinson, Michael Stills, Larry Chesebro’ and Vicki Norman!

New Member Comments

When a guest volunteers to become a full member we ask them to leave a comment telling a little about how and/or why they’d like to volunteer with WikiTree.  We get some really great responses!  Comments such as:

  • “Ooops! I contributed before volunteering. I guess that’s how I am, a volunteer at heart. I will strive to abide by the rules, they seem so easy.” – Robert
  • “I would love to volunteer to contribute to the shared family tree and also agree with your mission and nine rules in the Honor Code. Ever since I was a child I have been curious about our family’s history and how our family might be connected to others around the world. I have always dreamed about traveling to distant places to possibly meet my long lost relatives.  Knowing where you came from is essential in understanding who you are, your place in this world, and where you’re going. I don’t think there is anything more humanistic and/or primal than feeling connected to others. That connectedness is unquestionably paramount in breaking down the barriers that divide our society. I would also love to volunteer to assist others in their family search. Thank you!” – Kimberly
  • “Hi there! I’ve just discovered this world and I’m truly amazed… So here I am!” – Elena
  • “I have been watching a show on tv about genealogy (you know which one) and had no clue where my family was from except for WI….. with several hours of research I found out my family, down a grandmothers line, is from Cornwall, England. How exciting to search this out for myself. Could spend hours looking this up” – Cassandra

Anyone can view these comments. If you have a few minutes to spare they are fun to read through and a great way to find people with interests similar to your own or researching the same surnames/locations. You can also click a link to thank them or even leave a comment to make them feel welcome to WikiTree!


WikiTreers, we’re about to hit the 8,000,000 profiles mark!  As of today, there are 7,952,630 and almost 200,000 members.  Thank you so much for all the time and work you put in to growing our worldwide tree.

Best. Members. Ever.

The WikiTree Team and Leaders

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by Eowyn the Forest Elf

Today’s Pick , Salamon Lerma, comes from our Profile of the Week project, as one of last week’s nominated profiles.

From his WikiTree profile: ” In the American National cemetery at Romange, France, lies the body of Solomon Lerma, a Mexican boy, a native of the state of Zacatecas, a derelict from the Villista army, which attacked Matamoros, a hero who risked his life to save that of an American friend, and who died in February, 1918, in a hospital in France after being twice wounded and gassed. He was 15 years of age at the time of his death….

One afternoon, while driving through the brush county with his old Ford Model T, five bandits attacked Sam Robertson. He took refuge in a clump of ebony bushes, and held his attackers at bay with his pistol and rifle fire. Little Salamon, herding goats nearby, heard the gun fire and crawled thru the jungle to investigate. He saw his friend’s “vieja”, Sam’s old Ford, and took in the situation at a glance realizing Mr. Sammy’s greatest need would be water and bullets. Crawling out of the brush, little Salamon went to his employer’s “jacal”, got a canteen of water and forty to fifty cartridges, and gliding like a snake thru the jungle, returned to his friend. With plenty of water and cartridges they were able to hold out until dark.

Mr. Sammy was headed from San Benito to Buena Vista Ranch near the Laguna Madre and after Sam was overdue and nothing heard from him, an investigation ensued. On the telephone line that Sam had run between the bay and town they had a phone at the Buena Vista Ranch house, and soon Harold Jeffords (Jefferds?), the ranch foreman, and U.S. Deputy Mars and six cow hands started a search along the trail. About the same time Captian Lincoln Kilbourne, E Company, 26th U.S. Infantry, started by auto from San Benito with a small detachment of soldiers and three or four civilian guides. Both were rescued.

Concerned for Little Salamon’s well being, and fearing retribution from his old nemesis, Villanista General de la Rosa and his bandits, Mr. Sammy and wife Adele adopted little Salamon Lerma and moved the lad into town.

The soldiers of E Company were so pleased with little Salamon’s qualities, as a soldier, and resourcefulness, that they adopted him as their mascot. Little Salamon made himself useful around the camp. He stayed with the E Company, the 26th, Colonel Bullard’s famous regiment, until they went to France with the First Division in 1917, at which time Salamon was 15 years old.

“Twice during the fight in which E Company engaged, Solomon Lerma, was wounded, and later was badly gassed. After his recovery Captain Kilbourn, who had also been injured, placed the boy in charge of the mess sergeant of the company, Joe Hoeflin, now jailor at the Cameron county jail. The boy never fully recovered from the effects of the gassing, and contracted pneumonia, dying in a hospital in the Arrencourt sector. Colonel Robertson was building a railroad in that sector at the time, and learning of the death of his old “compadre” prepared the headboard which marked his grave.”[3]“

View the full profile of Salamon Lerma.


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