Eowyn

 

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 Jaki.

Jaki Erdoes has been active on WikiTree since 2016. She participates in our Palatine Migration, Hungary and Scotland projects as well as our quarterly marathons and 52 Photos Challenge.

What are some of the surnames you are researching? 

There are so many!  But primarily, on my maternal line, Sternbergh, Dodds, Hazen, Lane, Votey/deVotie/Vauxtie, Van Brunt, Schuyler, Printup, Pierce.

On my father’s side, mostly Elsass, Schrom, Glass, Baumhor.

What are some of the locations you are researching? 

Colonial New York and Vermont, England, Scotland, Germany, Hungary, Austria.

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

My father, Richard Erdoes, was a great story-teller, so I grew up hearing wonderful, funny stories about his Austro-Hungarian family of actors, eccentrics, and opera singers. On the other side of the family, my maternal grandfather was very proud of our colonial heritage, and connections to Revolutionary War officers. When I was a teenager, my grandfather David Sternbergh put together a family genealogy with a few stories, photos, and copies of family bible pages. My mother’s Aunt Constance Votey sent me something similar.

However, it was not until years later, in the late 1990s, that I became aware of our local Family History Library. I began ordering microfilms of Hungarian vital records and going through them manually, taking notes, and researching my Elsass and Glass lines. My father didn’t know much about these ancestors and was pleased to hear what I’d found.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Besides my own parents (of course!) my favorite ancestor is my father’s aunt, actress Leopoldine Sangora. She came from Europe to live with us in New York after her husband died, around the time I was born. I knew her as Tante Poldi. She was a sweet, lovely lady, with a really interesting life on the stage and in films. (I need to work on her profile!)

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through.

One of my mother’s ancestors was a man named William Printup), whose origins were something of a mystery.  I bought a book titled The Printup Family in America, by Stephen Lawton & Robert Printup, Gateway Press, 1989, whose authors were unable to trace back before William’s appearance in New York City in 1695. William settled in the Mohawk Valley, where he was a blacksmith. He became fluent in several Iroquois dialects, and was employed as an interpreter during several treaty negotiations.

Using Family Search, I had my eureka moment when I discovered a birth record for a William Printup born in Meriden, Warwickshire, England in 1676. I can’t be 100% certain that this is the same man, but since it is such an unusual surname, I think it’s probably him. 

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

I guess I’m happy researching my own family.  Very rich history right there. 

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I enjoy crafting, hiking, photography, and traveling. Sadly, travel is on hold until this pandemic is over.

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

I joined WikiTree in 2016. I’m afraid I’m not as focused as I would like to be. I work on various lines of my family as time permits, easily falling down research rabbit holes. I have joined more projects than I really am able to devote myself to, but I contribute when I can.  I have participated in several Clean- or Connect-a-thons, as well as photo challenges.

What brought you to WikiTree?

I honestly can’t remember. But I am glad I found it! 

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

The sense of community and collaboration, and the commitment to a single, well-sourced family tree is important to me. I find the errors and “Gedcom junk” that clutter other genealogy websites really frustrating.

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be? 

Probably the way the search function deals with variant spellings. For example, it does not recognize Elsass and Elsasz as being related names.

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy or how you’ve helped genealogy with WikiTree?

I do like to find duplicates and either merge them or ask the profile managers to do so.  Also, I have connected with several cousins and learned a lot about different lines of our family.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Explore to see what’s already here, and to see how WikiTree is set up, before uploading your own tree.  There is a learning curve, but once you figure out how to use WikiTree, it’s really rewarding. Think of it as sharing, and try not to be too attached to “your” ancestors, as opposed to “ours.”  And don’t be afraid to ask questions!


 

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 Don.

Don Howard became a WikiTreer in April 2019.  He loves finding new cousins and is active as a Sourcerer and in our Germany and Notables projects.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Howard, Dorsey, Goodnight, Loving, Turnbough, Dugger, Lopez, and Ranalli.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Maryland (Colonial times), Deep South, Kentucky, Missouri, Nuevo Leon (Mexico) and Abruzzo, Italy.

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

In the early 1990s, genealogy became a special hobby that I shared with my mother. She worked on her side and my father’s side;  I worked on my daughter’s mother’s side. That was in the days of having to go to libraries, and searching through microfilm. And studying paperwork. Living in Nashville, TN, I spent a lot of time in the state museum there.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

My favorite ancestor is Matthew Howard (1609-1659), my 9th great-grandfather. He is my direct male-to-male immigrant ancestor. Matthew and his sons have been written about by the well-known authors, J.D. Warfield, and Harry Newman. In those books, he was said to have been descended from the English Norfolk dukes. That claim has since been refuted, and his parentage is now considered unknown. I do find it interesting that some of his sons used wax seals that portrayed the Royal Norfolk Howard crest.

Regardless of Matthew Howard’s parentage, he and his sons were among the most prominent of the founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland; an interesting family with noted friends and neighbors. I have had my Y-DNA tested to be sure about my lineage, and have been placed in the Matthew group, at FTDNA’s Howard Project.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through.

Finding proof that my 3rd great-grandfather, Henry Howard, was the father of my 4th great-grandfather, John Beale Howard Jr. was difficult, as the son had moved from Kentucky to Missouri. Census reports didn’t give children’s names during the times that I needed. Eventually, I found the son in the father’s will that was indexed with a misspelling, and hard to find. Also, my DNA matches all point to both families.

My most frustrating ongoing brick wall is my wife’s great-grandparents, whose children immigrated to America from Italy. There are few indexed Italian sources for the names that I need. Italian handwritten cursive records are problematic. And her DNA matches stop at 2nd cousins, and start again with 4th cousins or higher.

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

Johann Sebastian Bach, of course! I am a retired touring musician and public school teacher. Currently, I teach piano part-time. On my father’s side, I have quite a bit of German. Goodnight (Gutknecht), Young (Jung), Turnbeaugh, and more.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Just music; classical and jazz. And family (my descendants).

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

I joined WikiTree on April 1, 2019. Just over a year ago. Lately, I spend a lot of my time checking my email activity feed for possible cousins (by using the relationship finder, and checking gedmatch kits). I have a Facebook group, Howard And Allied Families, with over 400 kinfolk from all sides of my tree. Several members have been found on WikiTree. Also, I participate in the Clean-A-Thons.  I enjoy the group activities, and plan to get involved in more of them.

What brought you to WikiTree?

A DNA 9th cousin match (found on Ancestry.com) told me about WikiTree. His name is James Stratman (Stratman-17), a good genealogist. And now, a special friend.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

I like WikiTree because high standards of sourcing is promoted, and there are a lot of group activities.

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?

It would be nice if there was something quick you could do about a profile that is flawed, and the manager is unable to be contacted. Also, something to do about profiles that are orphaned, horribly flawed, unconnected, and abandoned.

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy?

WikiTree has helped me become more disciplined about having proper sources.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Check the Style rules, and study them really good. Don’t be afraid to ask others. Go slow and sure. Don’t leave so many unfinished profiles, that you can’t remember them all.


 

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 Claire.

Claire Nava became a WikiTreer in February of 2015.  She is an enthusiastic Greeter and a sleuthing Data Doctor.

What are some of the surnames you are researching? 

Nava, Chapel (long a, please), McNabb, Van Schoonhoven, Gage.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Currently, I am researching extended family in colonial America – New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont. 

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

My first memory of genealogy was on a trip to my paternal grandmother’s house. This was in the early 1960s, so children were expected to just sit and listen. Grandma would pull out a box of photos. They would study the pictures and Grandma would tell stories. One day, she pulled out this picture and handed it to Dad, saying “Isn’t she scary looking?” (I glanced up at it as it changed hands. They were, indeed, scary-looking). Grandma died and left her records to my father who carried on the research. When Dad died, I inherited their records. I started to sort through the photos and letters and such, and began to meet my ancestors. I was hooked.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

 Can I have two? 

  1. Corp. Joshua Gage. He was a short man of 5’ 4” or so, who fought at the battle of Breed’s Hill. His commander was Lieut. Samuel Brocklebank (Brocklebank-55), over six feet tall and heavy. Brocklebank was wounded by the British and lay bleeding. Gage saw that the British were bound to charge, but he would not leave his Lieutenant. He half-dragged Brocklebank to a nearby haystack, made a hole and helped Brocklebank in. He crawled in after him and covered both of them with hay. The British did charge, but somehow they did not find Gage and Brocklebank. Brocklebank recovered from his wounds, and they must have remained close friends because over twenty years later, Joshua’s son, John, married Samuel’s daughter, Lydia. It was in a flowery tribute printed in a local paper and re-told by my great-grandmother.
  2. Edith Orilla (Bonney) Gage. Her husband, Benjamin Franklin Gage, was a grandson of the American Revolutionary War hero, Joshua Gage, so of course the grandson volunteered for the Civil War. He came back broken physically. I don’t have the details, but the best work he could find was as a leather tanner; a nasty, dirty job working with dead animals and old urine. Most tanners lived in poverty, but Edith Orilla was an excellent artist. Not only did she care for her poor, battered husband, but she also raised their daughter, was a devout member of their church, managed the household, and helped support the family financially. When her daughter or husband needed something extra, Edith would pull out her oil paints and create charming, original landscapes and still lifes. Even though she was also frequently ill, she earned enough money to send her one precious daughter to college in the late 1800s Michigan.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through.

Margaret (Mitchell) McNabb. When I was little, my mother said that I was related to Bonaparte (nope), Billy the Kid (also nope), and we had a genuine Lady in the family (unproven so far). The best story was about Margaret Mitchell. She was an Irish heiress, daughter of a baronet. The story goes, she fled with her sweetheart, John McNabb, and they emigrated to the colonies around the time of the American Revolution. Fully expecting to see this story shot down, too, I put it into a G2G question a couple of months ago. Guess what? It was true! G2G members gave me sources for her birth, their marriage records, their children … And an extra little fillip – apparently, she ran away with one sweetheart, met John McNabb on the boat to America, and married her new sweetie when they landed. I was shocked and delighted to have the story confirmed. 

Thanks to the G2G crew, I learned new research techniques and was able to add new life to an old story.

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

I’d have to say, Richard III of England. His name and character were blackened by the Tudors and by Shakespeare’s play, but it wasn’t true. He was an excellent and well-balanced king. Yes, he probably did cause some people to die. He was a general; it happens, but contemporary evidence does not support a hysterical neurotic or cold-blooded murderer who went around killing his own brothers, women, and children.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I love my church family (Lutheran LCMS). I’m the current president of the LWML, our women’s group, which supports missionary work, feeding the homeless, services for the deaf and the unborn, etc. I love to read mysteries, fiction, history, and medieval lit. I also enjoy old time radio shows. I drive quite a bit, so I listen to Dragnet or Sam Spade or Lux Radio Theatre as I travel. I work with a group called OTRR (Old Time Radio Researchers) to improve the quality of the recordings.

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

I’ve been on WikiTree for just over five years. I have gone as far back as I can with most of my direct ancestors, so now I’m volunteering with the Greatest Greeters (Hi all, you’re the best). I can’t take a regular shift since my schedule’s tricky, but I love working on the Merge Feed – when people merge profiles – to make sure that everyone has been properly greeted and knows how to get started.

My new current favorite is being a Data Doctor. I was an English teacher for a number of years, so it’s nice to use my detective and proofreading skills to help people strengthen their profiles. Sometimes, it’s just a quick sneak attack – a suggestion will say that someone was born in Massachusetts, USA in 1700. Whoops! No USA in 1700. I’ll just pop in and change “Massachusetts, USA” to “Massachusetts Bay,” leave a note to record my visit, and then I’m off. I do enjoy unraveling convoluted profiles, but they do take a ton of time.

What brought you to WikiTree?

I started with Ancestry, but I came to see that not all of their sources are reputable (AGBI or International Marriage Records, for instance) and it bothered me that Ancestry has such a stranglehold on public resources. Next, I tried FamilySearch. The research capabilities are excellent, but their profiles can be hard to manage. Finally, I tried WikiTree. I loved the idea of one big family tree instead of all those duplicated family trees on Ancestry, but I was worried. Why was WikiTree free? I kept waiting for something to go wrong. Were they going to sell my data? Was I suddenly going to get a bill? Was I safe from deranged genealogists or soulless hackers? Where was the catch? Finally, I began to relax and enjoy myself. Five years later, I have never been hacked or heckled, but I’ve met generous and friendly people of good will and learned about myself and my family.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree, or which feature(s) do you like the most?

The range and flexibility and depth of the system. If you’re a newbie, it’s easy enough to join in. If you like helping others, there are ways to do that. If you are like me and like to unravel complicated puzzles, that’s available too. And there are always people with similar interests to chat with, which is a real blessing.

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?

I can’t think of a thing that hasn’t been covered. Basic rules and advanced techniques are covered by videos and webpages. Volunteers help expedite and keep things flowing. Leadership listens and addresses any problems quickly.

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy?

Definitely finding Margaret (Mitchell) McNabb. She went from a dubious fairy tale to a real woman with strength, fire, and a stubborn-streak a mile wide.

I enjoy my time on WikiTree. I like solving puzzles, helping people, connecting with like-minded people, and learning more about history and my own ancestors. 

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Please take advantage of all the great webpages and videos supplied by our leaders, and listen to the WikiTree volunteers who post on your profiles (especially the Greatest Greeters) – they are kind people with a world of experience and patience.


 

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 Brad.

Brad Cunningham became a WikiTreer in March of 2019. He participates in several England Project teams and sourcing is one of his favorite activities.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Well, there are so many, but I guess if I had to name a few, I’ve been looking into Clark, Worth, Hussey, Swain lately.  They are all early settlers of Nantucket & Massachusetts Bay.  Then I’m always working on DeBeck & Dow who were early settlers in New Brunswick & Nova Scotia, after the War of 1812 (United Empire Loyalists).  I’ve been spending a lot of time lately researching my maternal side of the family.  My mother’s maiden name was JULEFF.  I’ve just started a One Name Study for Jolliffe/Juleff, so if anyone has any family members with this name please add the Category:Jolliffe One Name Study to their profile.  Or if anyone has some experience with ONS, any help is always appreciated!

What are some of the locations you are researching?

I’m a member of the Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset Teams, so I spend at least 2/3 of my time helping out where I can.  I also have ancestors from Norfolk & Ireland; however Ireland is a lot trickier than the rest.

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

I had an aunt (who recently passed away) who got me started in the maternal side.  I also used to belong to My Heritage & started creating a tree with them until I realized that by connecting through others, I was adding unsourced relatives, but oh did I ever have a huge tree.  

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why? 

My favorite ancestor is the one I newly discover.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through. 

I have been stuck for over a year on some of my Irish ancestors, but I can’t say that they are brick walls, only today.  Tomorrow is another “kick at the can”.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy? 

Cooking, Hiking, Vintage Trailer Rallies, Fishing, Reading.

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

I have been with WikiTree for just over a year now.  I spend a lot of time on the Dorset, Somerset, & Cornwall teams in the England Project; sourcing is something I enjoy doing.  Of course, I also love taking part in the various challenges; Source a Thon & Clean a Thon. I think I would like to try Connect a Thon next.

What brought you to WikiTree?

I used to use other sites to build my tree, but there is always a huge issue with unsourced profiles being added to your tree. Through research I found WikiTree & realized that there is a better way to do things.  I have learned so much since I have been a part of this “family”.  I can’t wait to learn more.  Everyday a new door opens. 

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

I have to say that I believe one of the best things about WikiTree is the Orphans Trail. I just hope that one day it will be something that everyone who joins WikiTree will take to start their journey.

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?

I truly don’t think there is anything that I would want to change at this point, but you never know what I will say in another year. LOL

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy or how you’ve helped genealogy with WikiTree?

The “family” & community spirit of WikiTree has helped me the most. Whenever I have a problem or a roadblock, someone is always there to lend a hand. I have had members drop what they are doing just to help out. It encourages me to do the same & I do just that as much as I can. I also hope that my sourcing has helped out new people that have uploaded a profile or two without any sources. I hope that by adding one or two sources, it has encouraged them to dig further.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree? 

ORPHANS TRAIL!!  Just do 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 Sarah.

Sarah Mason became a WikiTreer in September of 2017.  She’s quite active in many of our projects, particularly as a Connector, Data Doctor and Project Coordinator in the Scotland and Nebraska projects.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Mason, Gore, McGannon, Stewart/Stuart, Peniska, Micklam, Jimerson, Sharp(e), Lynch, Cain, Mosely, Becker, Dietrich

What are some of the locations you are researching?

I am currently the Project Coordinator for the Scotland Project and also for Nebraska, within the United States Project. Research of my family has led me to many places. However, the Mason Name Study has really led me all over the world. I enjoy challenges and learning how to use the internet to research in different places.

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

I have always been interested in my family history, but I didn’t have the time to really work on researching genealogy until fairly recently. While I had a few school assignments, in all levels of my education, that encouraged me to ask questions of my family, I did not seriously start my research until 2017. This is also when I joined WikiTree. This community has taught me nearly everything I know about genealogical research.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Susannah (Burnet) Mosely (Burnet-187) is one of my all time favorite ancestors. I love that she was so unabashedly intelligent and strong willed during the times she lived in. I really want to thank everyone who has collaborated on her WikiTree profile. I would know nothing about her, if not for the awesome researchers here.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

My day job in normal times is usually as a cook. I love gardening, and nature-watching. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Arts with a minor in English (emphasis on literature). But, I almost went into science, taking classes toward a biology degree in a Wildlife Ecology program. I have a lot of interests.

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

I joined in September of 2017. I am definitely involved in a lot of projects. Recently, I’ve been focused on the Scottish Clans transition into a team of teams in the Scotland Project. I am the Scotland Project PC, as well as Membership Coordinator for the Scottish Clans Team, Team Leader for Scotland Connectors, and a member of various other Scotland teams. I am also the Project Coordinator for the Nebraska subproject of the United States Project. In One Name Studies, I coordinate the WikiTree studies for Mason, Gore, and McGannon. I also participate a bit in a few others. I do a lot of Profile Improvement in the course of my WikiTreeing also. I try to source at least one unsourced profile a month. I am an active Connector, and also Data Doctor.  For a more complete list of all the projects I am involved in, visit my profile page.

What brought you to WikiTree?

Once I decided I wanted to work on my genealogy, I looked at a lot of different sites. I read articles. It didn’t take me long to find WikiTree.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

I really love the whole concept of the single shared global tree.

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?

I think it would be wonderful to see more “Orphan Trail” type teams for the projects. I believe a lot of people are here to learn and orphan trails are so incredibly helpful to learning how to research in a particular area.

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy or how you’ve helped genealogy with WikiTree?

All of my genealogical knowledge of my family past my great grandparents is due to my collaboration with the WikiTree community.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Be patient with yourself. The learning curve is real. Find that Help page that tells you what you need to know. Ask the questions you will inevitably have. There are a lot of wonderfully helpful people here. If you run into someone who is less than helpful, just keep looking and you will find the helpful ones quickly enough.


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