Hi WikiTreers,

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

Mel Lambert became a WikiTreer in November 2015 and is one of our newest Leaders. She is active in our Military and War, Mentor and DNA projects and also participates in the Sourcerers challenges.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Samples, Ellis, McTheny (Matheny),Boggs, Alford, Ashley, Elswick, Atkinson, Gilbert, Welborn

What are some locations you are researching?

West Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina and wherever the sources lead me.

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

My interest in my family history started at the age 8 or 9, when my grandmother Sophia (Ellis) Samples told me about my great-grandmother. Her name was Nancy Bell McTheny and her husband was David Ellis. I remember thinking how cool the name McTheny was. Now, with the internet and WikiTree at my side I can explore to my heart’s content.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

I do not have a favorite, but I admire the women who came before me. Their life was filled with demanding work and hardship. One example is my great-great-grandmother Mary Jane (Boggs) McTheny. She lost her mother at an early age. She is found in the home of her grandmother in the 1850 Census. She also lost 3 of her children to Scarlet fever within 10 days of each other in September of 1856, yet she continued and raised her family. To me that is a indescribable strength. I know the conditions were hard as they are still hard in the rural areas of West Virginia.

My grandmother Sophia (Ellis) Samples is another. Her heart was so kind and her love was fierce. She worked in her flowerbeds even at age 100. The one story about her, which most in our family do not know, is the gift of the “Ponytail”. In the early 1950′s, (not long after my mother and father married) Mamaw Sophia gave my mom, Janice Bell (Samples) Gilbert her hair, a 3-foot-long ponytail, to sell just in case they needed money for food. Mom cherished this gift and the meaning behind it. She saved the Ponytail, and in the late 1970′s added her own 3-foot ponytail. Mom gave me the Ponytails in the late 80′s and to carry on the tradition I added my 3-foot ponytail in the late 1990′s. To my delight, I just received a photo of Nancy Bell (McTheny) Ellis (Sophia Ellis Samples’ mother) from my cousin. The photo shows Nancy standing with her long hair flowing.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down.

OH, the walls of my family are high and well-fortified. I have been able to find sources and other useful information to help point the way, but have not found that one key to make me yell “YES”. I am rather tickled to have found beneficial source information for the Welborn side and filled in more family.

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

It is impossible for me to choose one, but I don’t have to choose. We are all interconnected, thus making us all one family. So, in the end I am related to both the great and the not so great.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I started GrayMist Creations to express my creative side. I work with wire and gemstones creating Trees of Life and tree sculptures. I love Trees. To me they represent the greatness that can become from the smallest seed. I doodle, trees of courses, mostly on napkins. Oh, I love making my husband, of 37 years, crazy. I have just about gotten him totally white headed. :)

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

I joined WikiTree on 18 November 2015. I am a WikiTree enthusiast. I am on line almost daily. I am a Mentor and a new Leader. I love the thrill I get when I start hunting for sources. I never know what or who I am going to find.

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

I love the collaboration, shared knowledge and the friendliness of our WikiTree members. I believe we are all interconnected, which is proven by our DNA. WikiTree makes using DNA so much easier than the other sites out there. Oh, and it is FREE, which appeals to the thrifty side in me. I think the hardest part (I am still learning) is the format coding used inside profiles and writing good Bio’s. I just found the template to change text color. I see colorful profiles in my future. :)

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Go slow. Do not upload a large gedcom. it is better to add the profiles one at a time. I took that advice from my greeter/mentor when I started and I am so glad I did. Ask questions. Please add at least two reliable Sources (citing someone’s tree is not a source no matter where it is located) for your profile. The more sources the better.

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

Ask everyone older than you to share their stories. Be sure to WRITE them down and keep them safe. Even if you are like me and have issues with grammar and spelling. If they are on paper and shared, or posted to your computer, they can be handed down. My great grandchildren may be appalled at my usage of the English language but I hope they enjoy the stories such as how my Mom and Dad met and fell in love.

Most important – Remember to say and share your feelings to with other. Life is short, Enjoy every second of it.


 

 

Hi WikiTreers,

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

Debi Hoag became a WikiTreer in October 2015 and is one of our newest Leaders. She leads our Messengers Project, is active as a Greeter, Ranger, and Connector, and participates in our Sourcerers Challenge.

Surnames and locations you are researching?

  • McGee in 1860 South Carolina > 1940 North Carolina
  • Helms and Baucom in North Carolina pre-1850 to present
  • Driggers and Brown in Florida pre-1850 to present
  • Campbell in South Carolina pre-1860 and Madison, Hillsborough, Polk, and Pinellas Counties of Florida to present
  • Meares in the Bahamas pre-1850,  Key West 1838-1860, and  Pinellas Counties of Florida to present
  • Fore in Mississippi pre-1900, Florida post-1900
  • Harding, Cundiff, and Carroll in Virginia
  • Hogg in Canada in pre 1890  New York,  New Jersey (named changed to Hoag c 1920-1930),  Scotland,  Canada, US migration pattern
  • Coop, Hess, and Lloyd in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, England, Wales, Germany,  US migration pattern

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

The Civil War Oath of Allegiance and Release of Prisoner of War document of my maternal grandmother showed me around 1982. It was for my 2x great-grandfather, Alvis Baucom.  I dabbled about with pen and paper research but couldn’t settle on a good way to relate to what I was finding. In the late 1980s when computers started being widely available for home use and the internet was becoming a “thing”, things really clicked. The first piece of software I bought was a genealogy program; the first website I visited was the AOL genealogy section. I was hooked.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

I honestly don’t have a favorite. There are some that I am more curious about but I love looking for little details on each and every one.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down.

I’ve never reached a wall yet, either through being inordinately lucky or from knowing that I’ve not finished the research yet. I have furthest back ancestors, of course, but not because I know there aren’t records. Those are sitting there waiting for me to have time for further research.

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

I’m already related to all of them by virtue of being human. That’s enough for me.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I love to travel and really enjoy photography, both landscape and street scenes.

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

I started at WikiTree in October 2015 and have been on most days since. I’m a member of several functional projects (Greeters, Messengers, and Rangers) and like to participate in the Sourcerers challenges as well as a few others. I usually concentrate on orphaned profiles when working challenges. My thought is that if we can at least prove they existed and belong with the people they are linked to, someone else might discover and adopt them.

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

I really like being part of a community where we can discuss things in a civil manner and agree to disagree when we need to.

I love that there’s a way for us to work together to record all our findings, both accurate and inaccurate, so that the most complete depiction of a person can be developed.

I don’t love the Find A Person search, finding it often either too broad or too narrow. Being able to narrow by place would be incredibly helpful. I can see the potential for that feature increasing as we work to standardize place names. I’m really looking forward to the possibility.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Start slow and source as you go because it’s so much more fun to be able to move to new research once you’ve got your people in. Don’t be shy about asking questions in G2G or in the comments page of other profiles. Remember that asking a question in a comment on your own page won’t get seen unless someone visits your profile. Have patience, with yourself and others, as we all work together to create this one big shared tree. Remember, we’re all cousins and we love our family!

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

I don’t have descendants, that’s why my research is all coming to WikiTree. I have no idea who will want it but I hope that someday someone will find it and know that I wanted them to know their family.


 

 

Hi WikiTreers,

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

Summer has been a WikiTreer since March of 2016 and is one of our newest Leaders. She leads our Volunteer Coordinators and Tennessee projects, co-Leads the Rangers and Slavic Roots projects and is an Ambassador and Data Doctor.

Surnames you are researchingSpann, Hudson, Stover, Locke, Eley, Rainey, Carter, Harrell, Shotwell, Gilson, Hullett, Towns, Bell, Bradley, Lunn, Lonas, Mills, Vanderbilt.

Locations you are researching:

I’ve not really focused on location very much, but I have a few of interest that I would like to delve deeper into one day.  Leading the Tennessee project for the last year has really caused me to develop more of an interest in Tennessee history, particularly in my hometown of Nashville.  I’ve also recently developed an interest in Panna Maria, Texas, which was the first permanent Polish settlement in the United States. It is about an hour from my current town and I had the privilege to visit last year.  I took lots of pictures for the Polish Roots project, which you can view here.

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

Genealogy and family history have interested me for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t get very serious about it until about three years ago. I had an elderly cousin who was always the family historian and had written several things over the years. I asked her for a copy of what she had and she wouldn’t give it to me.  So, I decided to start my own research. It took one google search and about four minutes before I realized I was absolutely hooked. I haven’t looked back since.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

My favorite ancestor is my 3rd great-grandfather, John Crockett Hudson, who also happens to be my biggest brick wall.  He was a Civil War veteran and was featured in an article titled “Why the Rebels Wore Ragged Clothes,” in the Nashville magazine “The Confederate Veteran” in 1893, about a remark he made during his time as a POW in Camp Morton.  His remark is just hysterical to me because it sounds exactly like something my father would say. The confederate prisoners were brought out to parade in front of the Governor and his entourage. One of the well-to-do women asked why they were dressed so poorly.  His answer was “Gentlemen of the South have two suits-one that they wear among nice people and one that they wear when killing hogs, and that is the one in which we are dressed to-day.” (1)

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down:

I don’t really have any I’ve broken. I’d like to change this to  Tell us about a brick wall you have been unable to break down:  My biggest brick wall is a 3rd great grandfather, John Crockett Hudson. I’ve been searching for several years but I cannot find his parents, nor can I find any information on him before 1850. I suspect he was adopted and/or changed his name when he was a child. I’ll probably never know the true answer.  My other major brick wall is another 3rd great grandfather Andrew Carter. I cannot find a marriage record, birth record, census record, or anything concrete at all that will confirm his identity.  There are lots of possibilities but nothing to put him with his wife and children. He is a complete blank.

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

I would absolutely love to be related to Harriet Tubman. I admire her courage and tenacity, and her will to stand up for what was right.  There are not many people willing to risk their own life to save strangers. She is truly a person to be admired and celebrated.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

First and foremost, I love to spend time with my family. I have the most amazing 3 children and husband. I really like anything artsy.  I am frequently found painting, sculpting, sewing, crocheting, writing, or reading. All of those are my passion and I can never find enough hours in a day to do as much as I’d like.

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

I joined in March of 2016 and I’m usually very active. I am Leader for the Tennessee Project, the Slavic Roots Project (and subprojects for Poland and Russia), and the Volunteer Coordinator Project. I participate in many projects other than these, my favorites being the Quakers project and the US Presidents project. I also have quite a few name studies.

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

I love it that WikiTree is actually managed by people! There are a lot of people who work very hard to keep WikiTree accurate, sourced, and helpful. There are always going to be problems but there are processes in place to deal with them. I love that people are so dedicated to doing something that will not just benefit themselves, but others today and for generations to come. Honestly, there isn’t really that much I don’t love about WikiTree.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Take advantage of all of the help pages, tutorials, and other areas set up to help the newcomers. WikiTree can be very overwhelming and confusing when you first begin.  Ask questions if you don’t understand something!  We’re all here with one common purpose, working toward the same goal.

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

The most important thing is not to ever take your loved ones for granted. Don’t hold grudges or give someone the silent treatment; you never know what day will be the last day you get to see or speak to them. Doing genealogy brings a lot of things into perspective. When you can sit and put a person’s entire life on one piece of paper, it makes us seem very small in the grand scheme of things.  Be bigger than that.  Make your mark on life.

1.  Womack, J.K. ”’Why the Rebels Wore Ragged Clothes.”’ Confederate Veteran (Nashville, Tennessee), 1893, V. 21 ed., Page 50 sec; Accessed 5/25/2016; https://archive.org/details/confederateveter21conf


 

 

Hi WikiTreers,

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

Liz Shifflett has been a member of our community since May of 2012 and is one of our wonderful Leaders.  She is very active in leading and co-leading several projects including our Louisiana Categories ProjectLouisiana Families ProjectMatchBot Monitors Project and Virginia Project. She oversees our weekly Saturday Sourcing Sprints and helps keep our Calendar up to date.

Surnames you are researching?

Tons! Genealogy and AADD is an exciting combination :D

I’ve worked on a lot of interesting Virginia names, such as Byrd, Lightfoot, Epes, & Stith, because seeing “Buckner Stith” in a vital record is too good to not go see if he has a profile where I can share what I found (only to find that Buckner Stith is not as unusual a name as I thought it would be, sucking me down a rabbit hole into a warren of Drurys, Stiths, Buckners and more).

The first trail I worked on for the Magna Carta project was for Maj. Robert Peyton, who I got involved with because I was trying to identify which Valentine Peyton was the father of my ancestor Robert Peyton, since all indications were it was Capt. Valentine Peyton d. 1751 but the Peyton Society of Virginia said it wasn’t (still working on that issue, but I’m finding exciting information in the Stafford County Order Book that was returned a few years ago to the Library of Virginia from New Jersey, where it wound up after “the Late Unpleasantness” as my grandmother called the War Between the States). But I digress. Back to surnames…

I work on my brick walls. (There’s always another one behind the one that comes down!) I have them collected under a personal category: My Brick Wall (Noland-165). Most recently the surnames McDonald/McDaniel (maternal) & Kilian (paternal).

I work on the early Virginia Harris families repeatedly, trying to straighten them out enough to figure out which is “my” Thomas from among the four (at least) contemporary Thomas Harrises in the same area. “My” in quotes because even though I’m looking for my lineal ancestor Thomas Harris, I know he’s not just mine. I will say that great things start happening when you post all you know about your brick wall, including any siblings & families of their wives and their siblings’ wives. And if profiles for them exist, check them out for new sources & also work on making connections. I’ve been working on early Virginia families for so long that I’m beginning to see the interlocking weave of marriages among families that made the cloth of Virginia colonial society. It also resulted in special challenges like two marriages between Robert Bolling and Ann Stith – 100+ years apart, the one Robert a descendant of the other. (That took a while to sort out, let me tell you! And it still isn’t fully resolved.) And adjacent families with children whose names are reverse of each other (although the habit of using the mother’s maiden name as a given name can help identify family lines… except they all do it and intermarry and every generation names their children after their siblings too). There I go digressing again. Where was I?

Oh – I was getting to a point! By working on your extended family lines, you exponentially increase the chance that cousins may find you with information about shared lineal ancestors you’d never had known about otherwise. I’ve had amazing breakthroughs via WikiTree’s private message and bulletin board system from both cousins & completely unrelated strangers offering information (and pictures!!). Working with fellow WikiTree members & new-found cousins on developing profiles, finding sources, and being good stewards for our ancestors’ profiles is incredibly rewarding. “WikiTree Love” is a real thing!!

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

I was totally addicted the moment I found WikiTree in May 2012, which was a month after my mom died, so it was a balm to immerse myself in my family tree, scrawny as it was (think Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree). How active. Hmmm…. too active? Put it this way, my New Year’s resolutions since 2013 have included “cut back on time spent in WikiTree”! Haven’t been successful with that one yet. And not that long ago I realized I was forgetting to check on some of my projects, so I created a “my projects table”. Check it out at the bottom of my profile page (there’s a link to it at the top.) And below the table are other tags I’d like to follow in addition to the 20 I do follow. Go ahead and look around. I’ll wait <grin>.

<Jeapardy! music>

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Be nice, be careful, be open-minded, be happy & have fun!


 

 

Hi WikiTreers,

Bea and her family

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

Bea Wijma has been a member of our community since October of 2013 and is one of our wonderful Leaders.   She is very active leading several projects including Dutch Roots, Cape of Good Hope, New Netherland and South African Roots. She participates in the Dutch Roots Challenge and has been instrumental in the development of the Nederlands Portaal.

Surnames you are researching:  

Timmerman, Scholte, Wijma, Tabak, Hunnersen, Schievink, Nicolai, Eilander, Brands, Hiller, Elzinga, Huisman, van Wijngaarden, Aalders, van der Giezen, Pomper and loads of others + a lot of patronymics of course.

Locations you are researching:

Depending on what we’re working on, I think almost all countries across the world. ;)

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

My uncle, when his wife passed away, started with genealogy and had done a lot of research.  He  remarried and in 2012 he was thinking of an easy and not too expensive way to print a family book so we all could have one. I told him perhaps it was easier if  he created a family website or something and put it all there – this way we all could have access and it would never be lost. My uncle, who was not so familiar with the internet and computers, knew I loved the family stories and history, and he asked if perhaps I could take over everything and this  ’hobby’ and make sure it would be available online for all of us and our descendants. So that’s how it all started.

We started at My Heritage, but after awhile I noticed everyone was working on what looked to be so many of almost the same family trees and wished we all could just combine forces and create just one Tree by working together. One day I bumped into WikiTree and there it was – my wish came true. Here it was – working together with people from all over the world and just one profile for every person that ever lived and one World wide family Tree, so I immediately joined and never left !

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Hard to pick one and don’t really have one, but if I had to choose, I’d pick my grandfather, Marten Scholte.  He managed to stay positive and raise a wonderful loving family, which for sure wasn’t always easy …

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down.

After many years finally and thanks to WikiTree (!) our family brick wall came down. It’s hard to imagine looking back but this was a brick wall for all genealogists researching the Scholte family for many many years. It finally was resolved and we got reconnected with a whole – and for many years ‘lost’ (emigrated to the USA) –  branch of our family. We all had two different profiles for what we thought were two different people, one who emigrated to the USA and no one knew if or who he married and one who married in the Netherlands. His wife died young and there was no trace of him or the child after her death. It turned out  it was in fact pretty easy. These men were one and the same and he just married his cousin.  She died very young, and after a few years, he remarried and emigrated with the children (there were two children of the first marriage, we all only knew one) to the United States.  It was really awesome to get to know and solve this brick wall with my cousin Ronald from the USA. We probably never would have met without WikiTree !

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

Wessel Schenck. He was one of the largest share-holders in the East India Company and I would love to know all about this family and if perhaps they were related to the Schenck families that went to New Netherland.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

My family, of course, and we have a summerhouse in the woods where we spend a lot of time.  I love the outdoors and to hike, bike, swim, draw, paint, gardening and work puzzles.

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

On 18 October 2013 I joined WikiTree and have been hooked ever since. I’m a WikiTree addict so pretty active. ‘Wicked Tree ‘ is how my family members sometimes (joking) name it, so that says it all eh.

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

+ One Worldwide Tree – just one profile for every person who ever lived, the Honor code, working together with so many wonderful people from all over the world, the projects, relationship and connection finders, dynamic tree, G2G, challenges, most things I really love.

-  Not a big fan of Gedcoms – my own was not much fun and of course because of the duplicates that, no matter how hard we try, are just not always are recognized as duplicates because standardized names are corrected.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

*WikiTree is very different from other genealogy sites, so first take some time to learn how everything works around here. Read everything there is to read and learn How to use WikiTree or try one of our language portals or pages, if you are having trouble reading  or understanding English, like the Nederlands Portaal] (for Dutch members) or the South African Roots Help page (in Afrikaans).

*Only add profiles if you have sources for them and if you’re certain there is no profile for this person or this family yet. Join or contact (or both ;) ) projects because they can also show you if and where profiles for families you are interested in are present .

* Add profiles manually and sources immediately, to make sure they all are accurate and looking good right from the start. (this will prevent you will feel like you’re running around in circles for years ;) )

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

Life is short, time is fast, no replay, no rewind , so enjoy every moment as it comes ..


 

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