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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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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Hi WikiTreers,

Photo drawn by Emma's son

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

Emma MacBeath has been a member of our community since September of 2016.  She is very active as a Greeter, an Adoption Angel and our DNA Project co-leader.

Surnames you are researching: McBeth/MacBeath, Moon, Davis, Starr/Starika—Danielson, West/Adams, French, Durand—Sexton, Lambert, Jeffs, Heskett, Anderson, Marr, Kump and Bowman just to name the first couple of generations

Locations you are researching: Scotland, England, California (Gold Country especially), Norway, French Canada, Slovenia, Gottschee Austria

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

My mother, her sister and my paternal grandparents have researched our family for as long as I can remember. I caught the bug at the age of 12. It was like being a detective for me —looking for clues and solving mysteries. I still find it to be like reading the best mystery novel of all time!

Last year, I also caught the DNA bug and began adding it to my research. I then chose to go professional. It was the biggest “aha” moment of all time when I realized this was the profession I was meant to have. I have been working for clients over the past year and am currently working towards becoming a BCG certified genealogist with an emphasis on DNA.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

My favorite ancestors are the strong women who stood tall and made drastic changes in their lives even though it was not accepted at the time: Maria Emaline who refused to live with her Mormon husband when he took additional wives because she felt multiple wives was not an acceptable practice; Elizabeth Ann who divorced her abusive husband and started a new life with her children; Etta Mae who stayed strong through incredible adversity and lived to an old age. I love reading the stories of the women who faced hardships and won.

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

Anna Clarinda Havens (My 3rd great grandmother) was a brick wall for me. I was unable to find out more than her approximate birth and death dates until I met a DNA cousin. This cousin had done extensive research in the New York archives on the Havens family and not only has the line fleshed out, but the sources to back it up. I might not have broken this wall if she hadn’t been a DNA match on Ancestry and if I hadn’t contacted her.

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

Jane Austen. She was an incredible and accomplished woman of her time and we are both authors. I am related to an Elizabeth Bennett though!

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy? Is there life outside of genealogy?

I write novels for children and young adults (have 2 published and working on another right now), love spending time with my family and friends, reading, gardening, and encouraging others in their pursuits.

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

I started in September 2016 and have become increasingly active since then. I became a greeter within 30 days after joining and was hooked. I can’t get enough of Wiki Tree and I can often spend an entire day working on various projects on the Tree.

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

I love the collaboration and meeting like minded genealogists, the fact that we are all trying to connect to one big tree, the many projects meant to help us grow our trees, the fact that all profiles should be accurately sourced and most of all THE SPIFFY BADGES! / I wish more people would teach themselves what correct sources are and then put them throughout their trees. I see dozens of profiles daily with other people’s Ancestry trees listed as the only source.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Look at everything, click on every link and simply play around. Then start adding your tree a few profiles at a time. If you have questions, don’t be shy and ask in G2G. Once you are familiar with WikiTree, volunteer for one of the projects. You will be glad you did.

If you could leave one message for your descendants, what would it be? Keep the family tree research going!


 

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Hi WikiTreers,

Carole's family at Coba in 2013

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

Carole Partridge has been a member of our community since September of 2013 and is one of our Leaders.  She co-leads our Greeters Project is quite active in many other projects such as MentoringDatabase Errors and the Arborists. She is also involved in our Sourcerers challenges.

Surnames you are researching?

Bedell, Brainerd, Crews, Crone, Glazier, Gregory, Hakes, Hughson, Partridge, Sanders, Savell.

Locations you are researching?

Dutchess, Rensselaer, Washington, Broome, and Suffolk Counties in New York; The Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts; Smith and Tyler Counties in Texas.

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

I think my interest in genealogy came from a love of solving puzzles combined with an appreciation of good stories.

Vague family lore was always a part of my life growing up, but aside from the story of “Bull” Smith on Long Island, I never knew who the stories referred to. I heard tales about an Irish furniture-maker who stowed away on a ship to come to America, and also heard about a Confederate soldier in a POW camp during the Civil War, where conditions were so bad that he only survived by eating insects like grasshoppers. (I can now guess who those men may have been.)

As an adult, I dabbled in genealogy off and on, and even got “semi-serious” for a while in 2005 and 2006. But when I reached the point where I needed to begin traveling and/or sending off for information, I didn’t have the time or the money. I finally got serious in 2013, when my kids were almost through college, and my job demands had lessened. Now I’ve thrown myself into it, attempting to make up for lost time.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

That’s a very difficult question! I’ll say my paternal grandmother, because she was quite an unusual person for her time, and I was lucky enough to get to know her. She started college at Vassar around 1910, but had to withdraw when her father died; her uncle said that women “were like cattle”, and didn’t need to be educated. She then worked her way through Columbia University, became a teacher, and didn’t marry until she was 34. She and my grandfather had three children, and had been married almost 60 years when he died. She was very proud that she had met Eleanor Roosevelt.

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

I don’t know that I’ve broken any down yet. Last year, my deceased great-grandmother actually erected a new one for me in an audiotape from 1963. She blew away all the traditional genealogies for her father, by saying that his maternal grandmother was a completely different person than we thought.

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

Anyone who already has a complete, well-sourced genealogy. I’d love to have at least one family line proven!

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Reading, knitting, gardening, hiking, travel, visiting friends and family.

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

3 1/2 years. I’m very active as co-leader of the Greeters Project, and not active enough in adding my branches to the Big Tree. I’m also a Mentor, Arborist, and Puritan Great Migration project member.

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

Love: The Honor Code. It’s the reason I joined. I dream of one giant tree that will eventually incorporate the latest research on every ancestor we know of.

Don’t love: Spending time cleaning up GEDCOM imports rather than researching and documenting ancestors and their families.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

1. Learn how to format source citations as soon as possible. (Don’t wait three months to learn how to use a ref tag, like I did!) Otherwise, take it slow to begin with. You’ll want to run all over the place, but it’s better to be methodical.

2. Not specific to WikiTree: Do whatever you can to interview older relatives, preferably with a digital recorder. David Rencher says that living memory is the greatest existing repository of genealogical information.

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

Don’t throw away all those papers!

 You can see more of Carole in the Greeters Project LiveCast.


 

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