by Bob Fields

On March 28:

Frederick Pabst (Image Credit: Wikpedia)

August Anhesuer Busch (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Lady Gaga (Image Credit: Wikipedia)










1811 – John Neumann*, Czech-American bishop, canonized the first American male saint in 1977 (d. 1860).
1836 – Frederick Pabst*, German-American brewer, founded the Pabst Brewing Company (d. 1904).
1842 – William Harvey Carney*, African-American sergeant, Medal of Honor recipient, for his gallantry during the Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863 (d. 1908).
1862 – Aristide Briand*, French politician, Prime Minister of France, 1926 Nobel Peace Prize laureate (d. 1932).
1868 – Maxim Gorky*, Russian author (d. 1936) (Gorky Park).
1899 – August Anheuser Busch*, American brewing magnate who built the Anheuser-Busch Companies (d. 1989).
1948 – Dianne Wiest*, American actress (Hannah and Her Sisters, Bullets over Broadway).
1955 – Reba McEntire*, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress.
1986 – Lady Gaga*, American singer-songwriter, dancer, producer, and actress.


Virginia Woolf (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Sergei Rachmaninoff (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Dwight D. Eisenhower (Image Credit: Wikipedia)









193 - Roman Emperor Pertinax* is assassinated by Praetorian Guards, who then sell the throne in an auction to Didius Julianus*.
1584 – Ivan the Terrible, Russian Tsar (b. 1530).
1870 – George Henry Thomas*, American Civil War general, one of the principal commanders in the Western Theater, noted for his stout defense at the Battle of Chickamauga (b. 1816).
1941 – Virginia Woolf, English author and critic, drowns herself near her home in England (b. 1882).
1943 – Sergei Rachmaninoff*, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor (b. 1873).
1953 – Jim Thorpe, American Indian football player and Olympic athlete (b. 1887).
1958 – W. C. Handy*, American trumpet player, “father of the Blues” (b. 1873).
1969 – Dwight D. Eisenhower, American general, 34th US President (b. 1890).
1985 – Marc Chagall, Russian Jewish modernist painter (b. 1887).
1987 – Maria von Trapp, Austrian-American singer (b. 1905) (The Sound of Music).
2004 -Peter Ustinov*, English-Swiss actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1921) (Spartacus, Quo Vadis).

Other Events:

Vikings sack Paris (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Valle de los Caidos (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Three Mile Island (Image Credit: Wikipedia)







845 - Paris is sacked by Viking raiders, probably under Ragnar Lodbrok (or Reginherus), who collects a huge ransom in exchange for leaving.
1774 – The British Parliament enacts the Coercive Acts, known by Americans as the ‘Intolerable Acts’, in response to the Boston Tea party, closing the port of Boston and taking away Massachusetts’ self-government.
1776 – Juan Bautista de Anza* founds San Francisco, California, at the site of the Presidio.
1854 - Crimean War: France and Britain declare war on Russia.
1920 – Douglas Fairbanks marries Mary Pickford. The Hollywood stars are business partners with Charlie Chaplin and founders of United Artists.
1921 – U.S. President Warren Harding names former President William Howard Taft as chief justice of the Supreme Court.
1939 - Generalissimo Francisco Franco* conquers Madrid after a three-year siege, ending the Spanish Civil War.
1946 - Cold War: The U.S. State Department releases the Acheson-Lilienthal Report, outlining a plan for the international control of nuclear power.
1959 - The State Council of the People’s Republic of China dissolves the Government of Tibet.
1979 – A coolant leak at the Three Mile Island reactor outside Harrisburg, PA, the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry, leads to a partial meltdown.

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

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Greetings fellow WikiTreers!

Welcome to the March 2015 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?

Pre-1700 Project Coordination

Family History Photo of the Week Winner: Erca Campbell

Do you work on pre-1700 profiles? In the continuing effort to cut down on duplication, we’ve made a change regarding project coordination. You’re now asked to find out if there’s a related project before creating or editing any person born before 1700, and coordinate your work through the project if there is

Before creating or editing profiles of people born before 1700 you now need to:

  1. Take the Pre-1700 Self-Certification quiz.
  2. See if a project exists where members collaborate on profiles from this time period or location, and if so, work with them.

A Volunteer Coordinator can make this easy. They’ll help you find the right project and introduce you to the project leaders.

This new requirement is just about communication. We want to make sure that members working on the same profiles know about each other, and know about the project’s help pages and style guidelines, if there are any.

Compact Family Tree

We’ve added a great new feature that many of you have asked for – the Compact Family Tree. It shows up to 8 generations on one Web page. It’s especially well-suited to sharing with 23andMe, Family Tree DNA Family Finder, and AncestryDNA test matches. It makes it easy for your matches to scan for shared ancestry. Here’s an example of what it looks like.

You can access this from any profile page.  Just go to the second drop down menu at the top right of the page and select the “Compact Tree” option.

Collaborating During Conflict

Collaboration can be difficult. With that in mind we’ve created a new process to help make it as easy as it can be.

Has someone on WikiTree angered or annoyed you? Is someone causing problems or doing damage to our shared tree?

The new Problems with Members page is meant to be a starting point for all types of problems with other members.

Who’s New?

We’re excited to have two new Leaders come on board this month!

Jacqueline Clark has been a WikiTreer since February of 2014 and is active in many of our projects such as our DNA project, the Black Sheep Project and the U.S. Presidents Project.  She is also super helpful responding to questions in our G2G forum. Since becoming a Leader, she’s heading up one of our new projects focused on those who served in World War I.

With us since May 2014, Shirley Dalton is a delightful addition which makes her perfect to help co-lead our Greeters Project.  She does a wonderful job of helping new guests and members feel welcome to our WikiTree family. She’s active in several of our other projects as well including our Arborists Project and our U.S. Southern Colonies Project.

Mentor Tips

  •  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!
  • Are you looking for ways you can get more involved on WikiTree? Be sure to check the “Request for Volunteers” category in the G2G! That’s where project members post when there are opportunities to jump in and lend a hand.
  • If you have something to contribute to a WikiTree profile but no time to add it yourself, don’t let it slip away. Post your info and source on the profile’s public comment board. The profile managers will be alerted by e-mail and others will see your post in activity feeds like the one below.

Project Updates

The Cymru Welsh Royals and Aristocrats 742-1535 Project has launched!  The goal is to improve the profiles of Welsh royalty, aristocrats and nobility and their descendants.  There is a big task ahead of us, but we are going to start slowly.  After years of using British/European naming standards, we are going to switch these medieval Welsh Royals and Aristocrats to their own naming standard, and we will add well-documented biographies.  We have accumulated many online resources to help with these tasks.  If this project interests you, please read the project page.  This project is currently led by leader Vic Watt and is a sub-project of the UK Wales Project.

Family History Photo of the Week Winner: Gasua Fortenberry

A new project to gather the profiles of those who served in The Great War, also known as World War I, led by Jacqueline Clark is underway. Any ancestors who served can be added; check out the project page.

Have you had a chance to help out in our revamped Collaborative Profile of the Week, or C-PROW? It’s a great way to get a feel for working with other community member while learning new skills and making profiles on WikiTree the best they can be. Check out this week’s nominees:

The May 2015 Cemeterist Challenge is about to launch! Join in on the conversation on what the challenges will be and how you can participate:

Do you have Templeton branches on your tree?  The Templeton Name Study is looking to add every Templeton on WikiTree to the Category:Templeton Name Study. Currently we are working on adding articles to all of the Name Study Pages with information well researched information.  We are also working to connect Templetons on WikiTree, who have unknown DNA, to Templeton’s on WikiTree with known DNA through family migrational patterns.  Have Templeton’s?  Add them!

Community Accomplishments

Top 10 contributors for last month:

WikiTree Club 1000 February 2015

  1. Kirsty Ward (11,301 new edits in February)
  2. Robert Hathaway (10008)
  3. Greg Rose (6631)
  4. Linda Gauvin (5485)
  5. Theresa Bashford (4951)
  6. Susan Tye (4742)
  7. Mrs. Pam Hendrix (4345)
  8. Sandra Scarborough (4331)
  9. Patricia Menton (4324)
  10. Vincent Piazza (4297)

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: Cheryl Hammond, Shirley Dalton, Doug Straiton, Guy Constantineau and Lena Svensson.

New Member Comments

Family History Photo of the Week Winner: Lizzie Cannons

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:

  • “I’ve been researching my family tree since I was a kid in Denver a lot of years ago. The Genealogy section there was an escape for me, and I loved being given access to the materials behind the locked doors. The internet has opened up a great new world in research, and I’ve been thrilled to discover more information about my ancestors. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned, correct any errors I’ve made, and help others with their own research. Glad there is a free forum for those of us who are interested in this fascinating topic!  -Janet
  • “I have a vision of a single(ish), documented world family tree. There must be an app for that… Ah! here it is! I’m not terribly interested in keeping knowledge and information to myself. If I have made a connection, why should someone else have to start from scratch? Checking proofs is something else, but let’s not duplicate energy needlessly. Let’s do this!” -Ben
  • “This is a highly-addictive pasttime, and it is so rewarding when family branches start falling into line.” -Beverly
  • “I’m Dana and this is soooooo interesting to me……it’s the closest I will ever come to being a detective :) ” -Dana

Anyone can view these 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.

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

The WikiTree Team and Leaders

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Hi WikiTreers,

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

Surnames you are researching: Jacobs, Kheel, Flug, Sunstein, Kingsbacher and Szuch to name a few.

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

My dad worked on a family tree when I was a kid, and I was intrigued. But I really dove in about two years ago when I got an email from a man who said, “You don’t know me, but I’ve read your books and I’m your 12th cousin.” Naturally, I thought that it was a scam and that he was going to ask me to wire $10,000 to a Nigerian bank. But it turned out he was a passionate genealogist who had been working on a tree for 30 years. I was fascinated. I was blown away by this idea that I could be cousins with someone halfway around the world that I’d never heard of. I wanted to know more. I wanted to hear his stories.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

There’s an 18th century Jewish scholar named the Vilna Gaon. He was a fascinating man. Legend has it that he only slept four hours a day, in shifts of two hours apiece. So I’m jealous of him for that. But also, he was known for encouraging Jewish scholars to learn about non-religious topics as well as the Talmud, including astronomy and biology. I love his belief that wide-ranging curiosity makes you a better person.

Tell us about the brick wall you most want to tear down.

My great-grandparents in my father’s father’s line!  We have his name, Max Jacobowitz, and when and where he was born but we just can’t get past him.  And we don’t have even have a last name for my lovely great-grandmother.  We just know her as Clara.

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

It’d have to be Ben Franklin. What a mind! Like the Vilna Gaon, he seemed interested in every topic under the sun. Oh, and thanks to WikiTree, I know he IS related to me. At least by marriage. He’s a mere 17 degrees away from me!

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I love reading (biographies and history are two of my favorites). I’m a Netflix streamer. When I was a kid, I collected air sickness bags from every major airline. I later donated my collection to an online air sickness bag museum.

How long have you been on WikiTree and how active are you?

I’ve been a member for more than a year. I’m active – but I’d like to be even MORE active than I am. Once I finish planning the Global Family Reunion, I’ll have a little more time to be active.

What are some of the features/aspects of WikiTree that you love/don’t love as much?

Well, of course I love the “100 Degrees of AJ” feature. How could I not? But it’s allowed me to connect with some amazing cousins who I’d never know.

Also, I love the WikiTree community, and the G2G chats, especially the Treehouse.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Ask for help if you need it! These WikiTree-ers are amazing and generous in the amount of guidance and advice they give.

If you could leave one message for your descendants, what would it be?

We’re all one big family here on earth, so we should probably try our best to be kind to each other and get along.

In case you haven’t heard yet, AJ is putting on a day-long festival on June 6 that will unite cousins from all over the globe.  It’s called the Global Family Reunion and he and the Global Family Reunion team are hoping to make it the most fun and educational day of 2015. It’s already gotten great coverage on NPR, CNN and the New York Times, among others.

WikiTree is an enthusiastic partner!

The main event takes place in New York City, but there will be satellite parties all over the globe. The early-bird tickets are on sale for a limited time at just $25. All proceeds go to battling Alzheimer’s.

Plans for the day include:

–More than 30 great speakers: Henry Louis Gates, Morgan Spurlock, Joshua Taylor from PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow and many more).
–Thousands of cousins from around the world for you to meet and exchange info with.
–Music: Sister Sledge is singing ‘We Are Family.’ Lisa Loeb will also be playing)
–Meet WikiTree staff and leaders, including Chris Whitten and Eowyn Langholf.
–Genealogy exhibitor booths and tutorials.
–Hilarious and touching family stories from Andy Borowitz, comedian Nick Kroll, Dr. Oz and many others.
–Family trivia contest (written by Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings).
–Food from around the globe.
–Scavenger hunts, contests, games
–Help us break records! Including the World’s Largest Family Photo.

We want to help AJ and his team spread the word about how we’re all related. And how wonderful genealogy is (especially collaborative genealogy). AND we want to help raise money for Alzheimer’s. AJ’s grandfather had Alzheimer’s, and it’s a brutal disease. And one that hits genealogy particularly hard, since it erases family memories.

Please come, and tell your cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, grandparents, pets and anyone else. It’s going to be a blast – and it’s for a good cause.

Here’s the link to the tickets.

And here’s a link to the tickets plus other exclusive rewards.

See also: 100 Degrees of AJ and Global Family Reunion Chat.


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by Bob Fields

On March 22:

Maximilian I (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Louis L'Amour (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Andrew Lloyd Webber (Image Credit: Wikipedia)









1366 – Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk, English politician, depicted in the opening scene of Shakespeare‘s Richard II (d. 1399).
1459 – Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, who expanded the influence of the House of Habsburg (d. 1519).
1599 – Anthony van Dyck*, Flemish painter (d. 1641).
1817 – Braxton Bragg, American Confederate general, who commanded the Army of Tennessee, leading to several defeats and the loss of most of the state (d. 1876).
1868 – Robert Andrews Millikan*, American physicist, 1923 Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1953) (the photoelectric effect).
1887 – Chico Marx*, American actor and singer (d. 1961) (Marx Brothers).
1908 – Louis L’Amour, American western author (d. 1988).
1912 – Karl Malden*, American actor (d. 2009) A Streetcar Named Desire).
1930 – Stephen Sondheim*, American composer and songwriter (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, West Side Story).
1931 – William Shatner, Canadian-American actor, author, director, and producer (Star Trek).
1947 – James Patterson*, American author (Alex Cross , Women’s Murder Club).
1948 – Andrew Lloyd Webber*, English musical theatre composer (The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats).


Thomas of Lancaster (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Stephen Decatur (Image Credit: WikiTree)

William Hanna (Image Credit: WikiTree)









1421 – Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence, English politician, brother of Henry V, killed at the Battle of Baugé in the Hundred Years’ War (b. 1388).
1820 – Stephen Decatur, American Commodore in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812, in a duel with Commodore James Barron (b. 1779).
2001 – William Hanna*, American animator, director, producer, and voice actor, co-founded Hanna-Barbera (b. 1910)
2010 – James Black*, Scottish biologist and pharmacologist, 1988 Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1924) (beta blockers).

Other Events:

Amerigo Vespucci (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Anne Hutchinson (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Jimmy Stewart (Image Credit: WikiTree)









1508 – Ferdinand II of Aragon commissions Amerigo Vespucci chief navigator of the Spanish Empire.
1621 – The Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony sign a peace treaty with Wampanoag chief Massasoit*. Peace lasted until King Philip’s War in 1676 (Massasoit’s son).
1622 – Jamestown massacre: Algonquian Indians kill 347 English settlers, a third of Jamestown‘s population, during the Second Anglo-Powhatan War.
1638 – Anne Hutchinson is expelled from Massachusetts Bay Colony for religious dissent.
1765 – The British Parliament passes the Stamp Act that introduces a tax to be levied directly on its American colonies, who raised the issue of taxation without representation, and formed societies  to rally against the British government. It was repealed a year later.
1894 – The first playoff game for the Stanley Cup starts.
1933 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill legalizing the sale and possession of beer and wine containing up to 3.2% alcohol.
1941 - Jimmy Stewart is inducted into the Army, the first major American movie star to wear a military uniform in World War II. He finished as a Brigadier General in the Air Force, with 20 combat sorties.
1945 – The Arab League is founded when a charter is adopted in Cairo, Egypt.
1972 – The United States Congress sends the Equal Rights Amendment to the states for ratification. It received 35 of the necessary 38 state ratifications.
1997 – Tara Lipinski*, age 14 years and 10 months, becomes the youngest champion women’s World Figure Skating Champion.

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

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