by Bob Fields

On February 13:

John Hunter (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Bess Trurman (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Chuck Yeager (Image Credit: WikiTree)











1728 - John Hunter, Scottish surgeon and anatomist, an early advocate of careful observation and scientific method in medicine (d. 1793).
1849 – Lord Randolph Churchill, English politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer, father of Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill (d. 1895).
1885 - Bess Truman, American wife of Harry S. Truman, 35th U.S. First Lady (d. 1982).
1910 - William Shockley*, English-American physicist and academic, 1956 Nobel Prize laureate, who commercialized the transistor (d. 1989).
1923 - Chuck Yeager, American Air Force general, the first pilot to exceed the speed of sound in level flight.
1944 - Jerry Springer*, English-American television host, actor, and politician, 56th Mayor of Cincinnati.


Catherine Howard (Image Credit: WikiTree)

King Charles X Gustav (Image Credit: WikiTree)

George Rogers Clark (Image Credit: WikiTree)











1542 - Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII of England, is executed for adultery.
1660 – King Charles X Gustav* dies, and the Swedish government begins to seek peace with Sweden’s enemies in the Second Northern War, something that Charles had refused (b. 1622).
1728 - Cotton Mather, Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritan minister and author, supporter of the Salem witch trials (b. 1663).
1818 - George Rogers Clark, American Revolution general (b. 1752).
1883 - Richard Wagner, German director and composer (b. 1813).
2002 - Waylon Jennings, American country singer-songwriter and guitarist (The Highwaymen) (b. 1937).

Other Events:

Henry III (Image Credit: WikiTree)

William and Mary (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Chernenko (Image Credit: Wikiipedia)











1575 - Henry III of France is crowned at Reims and marries Louise de Lorraine* on the same day.
1633 - Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome for his heresy trial before the Inquisition, for advocating Copernican Theory.
1689 - William [Orange] and Mary [Stuart] are proclaimed co-rulers of England.
1866 - Jesse James holds up his first bank, the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri, the first daylight armed bank robbery in the United States during peacetime.
1880 - Thomas Edison observes the Edison effect, thermionic emission of electrons later used in all vacuum tubes.
1914 - Copyright: In New York City the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is established to protect the musical compositions of its members.
1935 – A jury finds Bruno Hauptmann* guilty of the 1932 kidnapping and murder of the baby son of Charles Lindbergh.
1945 – World War II: The siege of Budapest concludes with the unconditional surrender of German and Hungarian forces to the Red Army.
1945 – World War II: Royal Air Force bombers are dispatched to Dresden, Germany, the first of 4 raids to attack the city with a massive aerial bombardment.
1960 -”Gerboise Bleue“: France becomes the fourth country to possess nuclear weapons.
1984 - Konstantin Chernenko* succeeds the late Yuri Andropov* (15 months in office) as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He lives for another 13 months.

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

Help connect our Oscar Nominee profiles  for the 2016 Academy Awards.

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Greetings fellow WikiTreers!

Welcome to the February 2016 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?

Connection Combat: What’s your connection to Luke Skywalker?

Mark Hamill (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

We’re excited to announce that Mark Hamill, best known for his role as Luke Skywalker, was the winning profile in last month’s Connection Combat.

Each time there is a new winner they are featured as one of our special Connection Finders.  Check your connection with Luke Skywalker here.

You can also still check your connection with the previous month’s winner, Frank Capra.

Helping With Pre-1500 Profiles

We’ve introduced restrictions on who can add and edit profiles of people born before 1500.

Adding restrictions like these has been discussed for years in our community. There will be downsides to limiting who can contribute, but overall we’re confident that we have made the right decision for the future of WikiTree. We’re not just trying to grow a big tree here. We’re trying to grow a genealogically correct tree. (For the most recent background discussion, see ”Should the cut-off date for more-protected profiles be the year 1000? 1200? 1500?“)

To edit early profiles, you will need the “Pre-1500 Certified” badge.

To request it, go to

Pre-1500 badge

Browse All Unconnected People

Last year we created Special:Unconnected to enable you to see the people on your Watchlist who aren’t connected to the “big tree” by blood or marriage. “Unconnected” means a person isn’t connected within 100 degrees of any of the anchor people on

It’s not exactly the same as saying the person doesn’t have a fleshed-out genealogy, but it’s a close approximation to it. There are very few unconnected people with solid family trees.

Making connections for strangers is a true “RAOGK” (Random Act Of Genealogical Kindness — to use the term coined for a classic website of that name).

So, if you’ve got a connector’s spirit, here is your grand rabbit hole:

You can browse all connected people with a given surname, e.g. Smith. Or you can browse by birth date, to work on the earliest first, or to work on the people from a certain time period, e.g. the 1500s or the 1700s.

You can limit to Open profiles and/or orphaned profiles.


  • Photo of the Week Nominee

    Remember point IV of the Honor Code: We know misunderstandings are inevitable. We try to minimize them by being courteous to everyone, even those who don’t act accordingly. This can be hard to do at times and we encourage members to take a step back and not WikiTree while angry.  Because we understanding communicating isn’t always easy, we have a process for when you are having difficulties with another member. See: for guidance.

  • Our G2G (genealogist-to-genealogist) forum is outstanding for members seeking help and offering help. Inquire about a technical issue, post an offer, ask for help with a brick wall, or just say hello in the Tree House. Check out the G2G About page to learn about tagging and other information about using this forum.  It’s all about communication!

WikiTree @ RootsTech 2016

RootsTech is a global family history event where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology. It is held in Salt Lake City, Utah and this year took place from 3 Feb – 6 Feb.

We were fortunate to have several team members and leaders come together, some even getting to meet for the first time including Chris Whitten,  Eowyn Langholf,  Kitty Smith,  Karen Tobo,  Peter Roberts,  Michael Stills,  Mags Gaulden,  Lisa Franklin,  Julie Ricketts and Michelle Hartley.

Many wonderful people who stopped by our booth (they couldn’t resist the orange!) and we had a lot of fun chatting with them about the benefits of WikiTree.

Chris, our WikiTreer-in-Chief, had a great interview with Kirsty Gray, chair of The Surname Society.  Links to watch it are available here.

You can check out all the photos in our WikiTree @ RootsTech 2016 Facebook album but here are a few of our favorites:

Karen and Visitor

Michael and Peter

Elf and Bear

Mags and Julie

Mags, Karen, Kitty, Peter, Michael, Lisa, Chris, Michelle, Eowyn, Julie

Community Accomplishments

Top 10 contributors for last month:

WikiTree Club 1000 January 2016

  1. Greg Rose (11,917 edits in January)
  2. Keith McDonald (11005)
  3. Esmé van der Westhuizen (10925)
  4. Catherine V (9023)
  5. Kirsty Ward (6517)
  6. Mr Grant Garber (6504)
  7. Terry Johnson (5896)
  8. Debra Downs (5474)
  9. Carrie Quackenbush (5006)
  10. Anon X (4848)

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: Cathryn (Hallett) HondrosJack DayKenneth SheltonBetty (Morgan) FoxJulia (Balzarano) RyanCarol (Winton) KeelingKeith McDonaldRoland BakerJayme (Mullins) ArringtonJoop van BelzenDeborah (Réaume) Collier  and Gilly Wood.

Project Updates

Photo of the Week Nominee

We have several new projects that recently started up:

You can also join our Notables project in their contest to see how many of this year’s Academy Award nominees they can get connected and write biographies for before the ceremony on February 28. Join the fun here!

If you love a mystery, be sure to join in the Unknowns Project February Challenge.  The goal is to identify and source at least one profile that has Unknown (or a variant) as the Last Name at Birth. Too many invisible people are wandering around the WikiTree family tree. They live in a kind of limbo; we don’t know who they are or where they came from. Can you help us remember these forgotten people?

New Member Comments

When a Guest or Family Member volunteers to become a full contributing Wiki Genealogist we ask them to leave a comment telling a little about how and/or why they’d like to volunteer to grow our shared tree. We get some really great responses.  Comments such as:

  • “I became interested in family trees listening to the Sunday dinner conversations around my grandmother’s table. Counting me, there were four (4) generations in regular attendance. I learned so much, especially to expect great change during my lifetime, as I listened to men and women born within a decade of the end of the Civil War.” –  Kent
  • “Mr. Alex Haley, wrote a Novel in 1976 called Roots: ” The Saga Of An American Family” That was made into a film that aired on TV in 1977. I can still remember sitting in front of my small 19″ black and white portable TV set. Watching this film and found myself wanting to know more about my own family’s genealogy. This was primarily the beginning of a love for knowledge of wanting to know ” Who am I, and Where did my family come from? ” - Linda
  • “Eager to sift beyond all the myths, inconsistencies, and half-truths perpetuated generation after generation via oral histories on both sides of my family – I want facts! I want to know exactly who “my” people were, and I’m interested to see how I am connected to the world community at large. I’m very excited to begin this quest and look forward to collaborate with others to assemble the fragmented picture of my family.. ” - Jess
  • “I am a novice at this, although through some of my research, I have found some very difficult to follow branches on my tree that I think my ancestors didn’t want anyone know about. Of course, finding this out made me more inquisitive than ever. Anyway, I learned that no one is perfect, but it all is interesting, funny, entertaining and I may even say ADDICTING!!” - Naomi

Anyone can view the latest comments on the Volunteer Feed.

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. When you see a comment that resonates for you, click the thank-you link or post a comment to make them feel welcome to WikiTree.

Don’t Miss These!

Sourcerer’s Challenge:   Far too many profiles on WikiTree don’t have any sources. This challenge is about correcting that with census data, BMD records/index references, family bible references, military documents, land documents, wills, etc.

Each month we’ll post in G2G to start up the month’s challenge. You come and post the profile you’ve added source(s) to (at least the profile number/name, if not a link to it) as well as what sources you added. At the end of the month we tally for a winner.

We are now actively in our February Challenge, which will run through February 29th.  To participate, go to this G2G post.

To see the stats from January’s contest, go here.

Simón Bolívar (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Collaborative Profile of the Week:  WikiTree is all about collaboration and every week many members come together to work on the Collaborative Profile of the Week. Every Monday a profile is selected. It’s usually a profile from one of our current projects that is in desperate need of some TLC.

Interested members can then chip in to help make the profile as great as it can be.

Check out last week’s wonderful results on the Mahatma Gandhi, or join in on this week’s efforts with Simón Bolívar from the Latin American Roots project.

Follow the tag ”profile_of_the_week” in G2G if you don’t want to miss these.

Weekend Chat:  Each Friday we start a Weekend Chat  post in G2G. All members are invited  and encouraged to come and post, whether it’s to introduce themselves, share what they’ve been working on, talk about the weather or post tips and suggestions.  This is a great way to get to know some of the awesome members of our community!

Follow the tag ”weekend_chat” if you don’t want to miss out on the fun.

Thanks for all you do WikiTreers. You’re the best.

The WikiTree Team and Leaders

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The Latin American Roots Project and Collaborative Profile of the Week Present
Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco (1783 – 1830)

 Simón Bolívar was a Venezuelan military and political leader.

  1. He was from a “creole” family. What does that mean?
  2. Sources (besides Wikipedia) can be added
  3. Who were his parents and siblings?
  4. Did he marry, have children?
  5. What were his accomplishments in life?
  6. There’s lot’s of available public domain art. See Wikimedia Commons.
  7. Are there categories that can be added?

Would you like to contribute to this week’s profile? Please post an answer here first (saying what you plan to work on). This prevents duplication of effort and it keeps the question on the front page of G2G.

Latin American Roots Project

The Latin American Roots project was created as a home for all country-specific projects and sub-projects related to any of the 20 Latin American nations. Its members post to WikiTree the profiles of their Latin American ancestors and collaborate with one another in editing and improving those profiles and adding source citations, photographs, etc. This project has so far led to the development of separate projects for Mexico, Puerto Rico and Chile. Project membership is open to anyone with an interest in Latin American genealogy or history.

Thank You.

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by Bob Fields

On February 7:

Thomas More (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Charles Dickens (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Laura Ingalls Wilder (Image Credit: WikiTree)











1478 – Sir Thomas More, English lawyer and politician and Saint, Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom and councilor to King Henry VIII, opposed the Protestant Reformation (d. 1535).
1804 - John Deere, American agriculture businessman, founded Deere & Company (d. 1886).
1812 - Charles Dickens, English author (d. 1870) (A Christmas CarolOliver TwistGreat ExpectationsA Tale of Two Cities).
1837 - Sir James Augustus Henry Murray*, Scottish lexicographer and philologist, primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary (d. 1915).
1867 - Laura Ingalls Wilder, American author (d. 1957) (Little House on the Prairie books).
1885 - Sinclair Lewis, American author and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1951) (ArrowsmithElmer Gantry).
1887 - Eubie Blake*, American pianist and composer (d. 1983) (“I’m Just Wild About Harry“).
1908 - Buster Crabbe*, American Olympic swimmer and actor (d. 1983) (Flash GordonBuck Rogers).
1962 - Garth Brooks*, American singer-songwriter and guitarist.
1965 - Chris Rock, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter.
1978 - Ashton Kutcher, American model, actor, and producer (That ’70s Show)


Harvey Firestone (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Josef Mengele (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

King Hussein (Image Credit: WikiTree)











1938 - Harvey Firestone, American businessman, founded the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company (b. 1868).
1979 - Josef Mengele*, German SS officer and physician at Auschwitz (b. 1911).
1999 - King Hussein of Jordan (b. 1935).
2001 - Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American author and pilot (b. 1906).
2001 - Dale Evans*, American singer-songwriter and actress, wife of cowboy Roy Rogers* (b. 1912).

Other Events: 

Charlie Chaplin (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Monopoly (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

The Beatles (Image Credit: Wikipedia)











1812 – An 8.8 magnitude earthquake strikes New Madrid, Missouri, causing the Mississippi River to flow backwards for several hours.
1898 - Dreyfus affairÉmile Zola is brought to trial for libel for publishing J’Accuse.
1914 - Charlie Chaplin debuts “The Tramp” in “Kid Auto Races at Venice”.
1935 – The classic board game Monopoly is published, based on streets in Atlantic City, NJ.
1962 – The United States bans all Cuban imports and exports.
1964 - The Beatles first arrive in the United States. Their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show two days later would mark the beginning of the British Invasion.
1984 – Astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart* make the first untethered space walk.
1990 - Dissolution of the Soviet Union: The Soviet Communist Party agrees to give up its monopoly on power.
1991 - Jean-Bertrand Aristide*, Haiti’s first democratically-elected president, is sworn in.
1992 – The Maastricht Treaty is signed, leading to the creation of the European Union and the Euro.

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

Help connect our Oscar Nominee profiles  for the 2015 Academy Awards.

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