by Bob Fields

On May 27:

Cornelius Vanderbilt (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Wild Bill Hickok (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Henry Kissinger (Image Credit: WikiTree)










1626William II, Prince of Orange and the Netherlands, father of William III of England (d. 1650).
1794 - Cornelius Vanderbilt, American businessman and philanthropist (d. 1877).
1819 - Julia Ward Howe, American poet, abolitionist, and songwriter (d. 1910) (“The Battle Hymn of the Republic“).
1836 - Jay Gould, American businessman and financier, robber baron (d. 1892).
1837 - Wild Bill Hickok, American West police officer and gambler (d. 1876).
1894 - Dashiell Hammett, American detective novelist and screenwriter (d. 1961) (The Maltese FalconThe Thin Man).
1907 - Rachel Carson, American biologist, environmentalist, and author (d. 1964) (Silent Spring).
1911 - Hubert Humphrey, American journalist and politician, 38th US Vice President (d. 1978).
1911 - Vincent Price, American actor and horror voice (d. 1993) (House of Wax).
1922 - Christopher Lee, English actor (d. 2015) (The Lord of the Rings).
1923 - Henry Kissinger, German-American political scientist and politician, 56th US Secretary of StateNobel Prize laureate.
1936 - Louis Gossett, Jr.*, American actor (An Officer and a GentlemanRoots).


John Calvin (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Robert Ripley (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Jawaharlal Nehru (Image Credit: WikiTree)











1564 - John Calvin, French pastor and theologian (b. 1509) (Calvinism).
1831 - Jedediah Smith, American hunter, explorer, and author; killed by Comanche (b. 1799).
1910 - Robert Koch, German physician and microbiologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1843) (bacteriology).
1949 - Robert Ripley, American cartoonist, publisher, and businessman, founded Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (b. 1890).
1964 - Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian lawyer and politician, 1st Prime Minister of India (b. 1889).

Other Events:

King John (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Tsushima (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Bismarck (Image Credit: Wikipedia)








1199 - John, who signed the Magna Carta, is crowned King of England.
1647 - Alse Young, the first person executed as a witch in America, is hanged in Hartford, Conn.
1703 – Tsar Peter the Great founds the city of Saint Petersburg.
1905 - Russo-Japanese War: The decisive Battle of Tsushima begins, where two-thirds of the Russian fleet was destroyed after traveling over 18,000 miles to reach the Far East.
1937 – The Golden Gate Bridge opens a vital link between San Francisco and Marin County, California.
1941 – World War II: The German battleship Bismarck is sunk in the North Atlantic killing almost 2,100 men.

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

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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 Cindy.

Cindy Lesure has been a member of our community since December of 2014.  She is remarkably friendly and cheerful which serves her well since she participates as a Greeter, Data Doctor and Messenger.

Surnames you are researching?

Lesure, Maust, Nieman, Talkington, Whitecotton, Williams.

Locations you are researching?

Pennsylvania, West Virginia for now.

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

I have been interested for the past 20 years, but never really did anything until AFTER my Mother died and I got this massive amount of paper records from her maternal line of Nieman.  My Aunt Helen had worked with various people through her church, browsing the newspapers & going to all the family reunions and gathering information from folks to create a document that contained about 3500 names.  On New Years Eve 2014 I started entering the information on WikiTree and the rest, they say, is history!  Been an addict to WikiTree ever since.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Wow that is hard, but I believe it would be my paternal grandmother Jennie Whitecotton Williams who died from childbirth complications in 1916.  The records for her are extremely sketchy and the actual information I have on her profile I am not remotely sure of because there is so little information and there were never any photographs taken of her during her lifetime that I can find.

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

The brick wall that was broken down for me by going to G2G Forum and asking the question about my Dad’s brother, Willard ‘Bill’ Williams who went to Pearl Harbor in 1942 for the clean up and never came back.  His siblings all believed he died there because they never heard from him.  Doug Lockwood, WikiTreer hero of mine, found out that Uncle Bill not only did not die way back then, but thrived in Hawaii (who wouldn’t?) and did not die until 1999, seven years after my Dad died.  My Dad never got to know that his brother was alive & enjoying the Hawaiian breezes!  Uncle Bill actually married a Japanese lady and that is all I know…so far.

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

Amelia Earhart and I am not really sure why except she was always a hero of mine growing up.  I always thought it was eerie how she disappeared.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Hmm, is there life outside genealogy?  Actually, I love gardening, photography, my two cats & my dear husband, but not in that order!  This is sort of outside genealogy, but every day I go to the WikiTree Family News email and post on Facebook who was born that day & share their tree.  My cousins love it!

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

As I said, I started in 2014 and I must go to the website at least once a day!  I do volunteer as a Greeter and Messenger & am a Data Doctor.  It is something I absolutely love!

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

I do love the new tutorial for brand new people and actively encourage new folks to go through it because it is a wonderful tool to get them started!  I also love the new FamilySearch Matches—I used it for the first time last weekend & found 3 cousins I never knew existed and am corresponding with them now!  The only thing I do not like is profile managers who are inactive & seem to feel they ‘own’ the profiles they created & do not want to share.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Biggest tip is go slow (not like I did) and go through the tutorial.  Ask questions & become involved in the G2G Forum.  When I first started I was afraid to ask questions & truly suffered because of it.  The biggest thing about WikiTreers is their willingness to help!

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

Take notes, record the stories your ‘elders’ tell you and be open to all those cousins out there!


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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!


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by Bob Fields

On May 13:

Maria Theresa (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Joe Louis (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Stevie Wonder (Image Credit: WikiTree)










1221 - Alexander Nevsky, Russian prince and saint (d. 1263).
1717 - Maria Theresa, Austrian wife of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor (d. 1780).
1792 - Pope Pius IX, the longest-reigning elected pope (31 years) (d. 1878).
1842 - Arthur Sullivan, English composer (d. 1900) (Gilbert and SullivanThe Pirates of PenzanceThe Mikado).
1857 – Sir Ronald Ross, Indian-English bacteriologist and mathematician, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1932)
1883 - Georgios Papanikolaou*, Greek-American pathologist, invented the pap smear (d. 1962).
1907 - Daphne du Maurier, English novelist and playwright (d. 1989) (RebeccaJamaica Inn).
1914 - Joe Louis*, American boxer, wrestler, and actor; heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949 (d. 1981).
1922 - Bea Arthur, American actress and singer (d. 2009) (MaudeThe Golden Girls).
1931 - Jim Jones*, American cult leader, founder of the Peoples Temple, who killed 918 followers in Guyana (d. 1978).
1939 - Harvey Keitel, American actor (The PianoReservoir Dogs).
1950 - Stevie Wonder, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and producer (“Superstition“, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life“).


Joseph Henry (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Cyrus McCormick (Image Credit: WikiTree)

Gary Cooper (Image Credit: WikiTree)











1832 - Georges Cuvier, French zoologist and academic; the “father of paleontology” (b. 1769).
1878 - Joseph Henry*, American physicist, academic, and inventor (b. 1797) (self-inductance).
1884 - Cyrus McCormick, American businessman, co-founded the International Harvester Company (b. 1809).
1885 - Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle*, German physician, pathologist, and anatomist (b. 1809) (germ theory of disease).
1961 - Gary Cooper, American actor (b. 1901) (Sergeant YorkThe Pride of the YankeesHigh Noon).
2013 – Dr. Joyce Brothers, American psychologist, author, and actress (b. 1927).

Other Events:

Mexican-American War (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

German invasion of France (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

Pope assassination attempt (Image Credit: Wikipedia)









1846 - Mexican-American War: The United States declares war on Mexico.
1865 – American Civil War: Battle of Palmito Ranch: In far south Texas, the last land battle of the Civil War ends with a Confederate victory.
1912 – The Royal Flying Corps, the forerunner of the Royal Air Force, is established in the United Kingdom.
1917 – Three children report the first apparition of Our Lady of Fátima in Fátima, Portugal.
1940 – World War II: The German army crosses the Meuse, beginning the conquest of France. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands flees her country to Great Britain. Winston Churchill makes his “blood, toil, tears, and sweat” speech to the House of Commons.
1981 – Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Ağcaattempts to assassinate Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. The Pope undergoes emergency surgery and survives.
1985 – Police release a bomb on MOVE headquarters in Philadelphia to end a stand-off, killing 11 MOVE members and destroying the homes of 250 city residents.
1992 – The Falun Gong movement had its beginning as the sect’s founder, Li Hongzhi* gives the first public lecture in Changchun, People’s Republic of China.

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

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