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 😀

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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  One Response to “Meet our Members: Liz Shifflett”

  1. Congratulations Liz!! Hope they let this through


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