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 Amy.

Amy Utting became a WikiTreer in May of 2016.  She works diligently to add sources to profiles she manages, and participates in several projects including Irish Roots and the New Zealand Project. Amy recently became one of our newest Mentors.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Until I have access to the family records I need, I’m avoiding the /UTTING/ side of my family for now, as the furthest ancestor I’ve reached is just a complete source of confusion. I’m currently focusing my attention mostly on the /JERMYN/ family from Suffolk.

(Editor’s Note: Amy has a  list of many of the surnames she is researching on her profile as well as links to her extensive lists of  her notable relations and WikiTree cousins!) 

What are some of the locations you are researching?

I have family on both sides of the Irish Sea, so I’m looking equally into both sides. Cork and Dublin are the predominant areas of Ireland I’m researching, while Suffolk and Norfolk both crop up quite a bit in my research also. 

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

Because of my love of history, I was already intrigued by family stories for many years before I actually began actively researching my family tree. My grandfather passed away in 2014, and because my grandmother had been moved to a different care facility to the one he was in, a lot of her belongings had been left with him, so when he passed the family came together to sort through his things and figure out where it was all going to go. I was the one who got to keep a lot of the books, including a copy of the Kilgour Family Book (published by my second cousin, and fellow WikiTree member Kathryn Mooney). I vaguely remember reading through it, cover to cover, in a single afternoon and I was still highly intrigued after I finished. It all set off from there!

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

This will sound ridiculously sappy, but my great-grandfather, Leonard Utting, was probably my favourite. Charlie (a nickname from his middle name, Charles) was born in Norfolk and served in the British Army during World War I before he emigrated to Wellington, New Zealand, and married his first wife. While he served in the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces during World War II, his wife began an affair with the local storeman, which Charlie discovered upon his return. It was after this event (and subsequent divorce) that Charlie met my great-grandmother, Winifred Taylor, and they lived happily in the years following. I think it’s a lovely story, where my grandfather overcame relationship obstacles and two literal wars and still lived to just over eighty.

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

It would be nice to go further back in the /UTTING/ side of the family, especially as it’s my actual surname. At some point soon I’ll be travelling further north from where I live to meet with my great-aunt and hopefully gain access to all of the research that she’s done, so I have hopes that I’ll be able to break through this particular brick wall soon!

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

I first joined WikiTree in May 2016, though I only dabbled for the first few months until I really figured out what I was doing. I currently spend most of my time hunting down further sources for the information I have on WikiTree.

What brought you to WikiTree? (In other words, how did you find us?)

I had made a Prezi powerpoint about one of my ancestors (William Kilgour) for a school project, and as Prezi is public, someone found it and commented that the author of my source (the Kilgour Family Book) was a member of a website called WikiTree, and that the website could possibly help me connect more of my family to me.  

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

The relationship finder, definitely. I have a well-documented love for history, and it’s absolutely fascinating to see which notable people of history I’m related to.

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

I can’t think of anything I’d want to improve! I think it comes down to the fact that, when something runs well, you generally don’t think of things to improve until they either break, or someone improves them first.

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

I’m always thrilled when people point out duplicates of family members or of other profiles I manage, because it’s a lovely feeling when you collaborate with others around you and you’re able to make sure that your information is as correct as it possibly can be.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Try not to grow too confused! It’s honestly pretty easy to get lost when you first start out, especially when it comes to sources, so it’s important to take your time and verify your information, and sort of map it all out in your head before confusing yourself.


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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 Juha.

Juha Soini became a WikiTreer in September of 2017.  He is active in several of our Scandinavian projects and is Project Coordinator for the Finland Project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Hereditary family names did not become common in Finland until late 1800’s and compulsory as late as 1920, with people using patronyms, farm names and soldier names that could change every generation. One of the earliest surnames in my family history is Stålnacke, a widely spread family from the mines in northern Sweden with many intermarriages to early mining families like Servio, Spett (van der Speet) and Thun whom I would love to be able to trace to Wallonia, France/Belgium or maybe The Netherlands as family legend says. There are also some burghers like Grape and Rechardt who are pre-1600 as well as preasts like Bonelius and Curtilius just to mention some pre-1700 family names.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

My family comes mainly from the border area between Sweden and Finland stretching both ways into the northern parts of each country. Sweden and Finland was one country (Sweden) until 1809 when the Swedes ceded Finland to the Russians. There were several parishes that were divided when the new border was drawn, making it hard to find where the records of those parishes were kept. The border area is widely Finnish speaking even today and intermarriages over the border are frequent making it a very interesting area genealogically.

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

My cousin invited me to join MyHeritage in August 2017 and as a (undiagnosed) asperger I dove right into the fascinating world of ancestors. I soon became discouraged by the obvious errors in the MH system and found WikiTree late September 2017. Here I started adding my ancestors one by one until I got swept away by Data Doctoring that led to work on an early Finnish family that originated from Sweden. The lovely leaders of project Sweden then helped me start project Finland and helping people sort out their Finnish family brick walls led to me finding mentoring as another rewarding way of helping people. Needless to say I haven’t done much on my own family lately.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

My great grandfather left his wife and my unborn paternal grandmother to find work in northern Norway and was never heard of again. I was able to trace him as far as US immigration in Ellis Island. The uncertain path then leads to salmon fishing in Alaska and the death as a possibly homeless person in Seattle. I have always loved a good mystery and would like to find confirmation or corrections to my research. 

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

I would love to see extensions to the German, Dutch and Belgian ancestors I have.

What brought you to WikiTree? (In other words, how did you find us?)

In my early search for sources to MyHeritage I got more and more hits in WikiTree and seeing the quality of those profiles decided this would be my genealogical home.  

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

Collaboration. Definitely all the helpful members.

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

A multilingual interface. There are lots of good genealogists who don’t speak or understand enough English.

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

All the pages with genealogical resources pointing to where to look next. I have added to the resource pages with Finnish online resources.  

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Start with your own family adding profiles manually to get a feel of how WikiTree works. Make sure to check if your ancestor is on WT already and don’t forget to check out all the great how to and help pages.


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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 William.

William Foster became a WikiTreer in September of 2015.  He is the Project Coordinator for our Virginia Project and actively uses our DNA tools to further his connections to our tree.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Foster, Hodges, Munday, Brown, Harris, Trigg, Bennett, Thorp, Kovačič, and Gregorčič.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Because so many of my ancestors came to America through Virginia, it is a location where I’ve been doing a lot of research and recently have taken up the role as the Virginia project coordinator.  I’m also doing a lot of research in Slovenian locations as my mother’s father immigrated from Austria-Hungary (present day Slovenia) in 1803. It is his ancestors where I have the least number of generations going back and thus I spend a lot of time researching this area.

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

I’ve had a minor interest in genealogy since I was a child because my Aunt Katherine was a member of the DAR.  In 2010, my interest grew substantially as I was introduced to Ancestry.com and began actual research. In February 2015, I ordered my first DNA test and since then I’ve ordered dozens of tests covering autosomal, yDNA, and mtDNA.  In December 2017, I visited the church archives in Ljubljana to find documents related to my Slovenian ancestors.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

I generally don’t have a favorite, but if forced to select one, I think it would be Thomas Tharp, b. 1631, since he is the most distant relation that I have DNA confirmation for, although my connection to Thomas has a brick wall for the parents of Joseph Pleasant Thorp, b. 1800.

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

My Foster line was stuck on the parents of George Bismark Foster for many years, but a breakthrough came a few years ago when I located a will that included his wife as Arabella Samples.  At first I thought Samples was a placeholder for an unknown surname, but after further investigation I found it was the actual name and with that I ended up opening up the parents for George.

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

I signed up in March 2015, I spend most of my time trying to extend my tree with both paper trail sources and DNA confirmation.  In support of this, I work on connecting DNA matching relatives into my portion of the tree.

What brought you to WikiTree? (In other words, how did you find us?)

I was looking for a free alternative to Ancestry.com that was open. Having had a bunch of Wikipedia experience, I was attracted to WikiTree as another wiki and the DNA features have made it even more valuable to me.  Whenever I find DNA connections, one of the first things I do is try to get them to create a profile on WikiTree and help them connect it up to the rest of the tree along the path to our shared ancestor.

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

The DNA integration with GEDmatch.

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

Eclipse DNA tests from appearing or nest them at a higher indentation level when another test of the same type is closer along the path to the profile where the DNA is appearing.  This way when there are dozens of DNA tests on a profile, I can quickly find the ones I most care about and ignore others like children of test takers.

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

My relating of my ancestors with profiles already built on WikiTree. I can more readily reach many more ancestors and further back in time than if I were working alone.  I also appreciate how my efforts are easily available for others to benefit from, making my research have greater value by its being shared. The DNA confirmation mechanism also allows me to keep track of much data on DNA connections and understand where my tree is most sound with both paper trail and DNA confirmation.  

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Find a mentor that is willing to help you along.  Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by using G2G to ask questions when confused.  Add your ancestors one at a time and document them well as you go along.  Because we are working together, quality profiles beat our quantity of profiles.


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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 Pip.

Pip Sheppard just joined WikiTree in April of this year and has made a big splash in our community.  You may have seen him in our G2G forum.  He’s involved with our 1776 and US Civil War projects and is thinking of hosting a regional WikiTree gathering in his area!

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

“Whoo Law!” as my grandmother would say! Shepherd (the original spelling of my surname), Underwood, Galloway, Neal, Patterson, Butler, Lawing, Beaty, Dalton, Kerr, Owen, Bowling, Moore, Waddell (Waddle), Rodden, and Smith (of course), these through my gg-grandparents. I also work on my wife’s genealogy, so here are some of their names: Patterson, Farmer, Taylor, Talbott, Teeter, Carey (Mayflower line), Lovelace, Sorrell, Claunch, Burton, Lester, Semonis, Baker, Corn, and Vermillion. She also has a Magna Carta line through Col. George Reade. I’d better stop here or this list will become like the Energizer Bunny.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Most of my Catawba River families came in through Philadelphia. Most of my mountain families came from Virginia and South Carolina. I’ve not really worked too hard on locations before immigration, but more than half of my family has Scottish roots through the Ulster Plantation or directly from Scotland.

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

Growing up across the pasture from my maternal grandparents meant I had early access to old stories and the many cemeteries where their ancestors had been buried from the 1700s. At age 11, I found, among other papers of my grandmother, her sister’s DAR application, and that is what got me recording information.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Aside from my grandfather, I would have to say my favorite ancestor would be his father, Jacob Sidney Underwood, Pvt., Co. C. 10th North Carolina Artillery, CSA, wounded at Spotsylvania Counthouse, and present at Appomattox. My grandfather told me so many of his father’s war stories. This ancestor, among five others available, was the one through whom I chose to enter the Sons of Confederate Veterans. A close second would be my grandmother’s grandfather, Pvt. George Alexander Neal, Co. E. 11th North Carolina Infantry, CSA, wounded on the first day of Gettysburg and captured four days later. I have items that both these men owned.

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

Well, the breakthrough on my Underwood line came from research of a cousin. On this one, oral history had led me down several rabbit holes. The research he did got my line back to Alexander the Quaker of Pennsylvania and beyond.

I have several hard nuts to crack, and two of them involve early Tennessee families. One brick wall is the parents of Elizabeth Finley (ca. 1817-aft. 1870). Another is the parents of Old Jesse Kerr (1790-1872) of Blount County, Tennessee. Both these families lived relatively near each other and connect with my Patterson line that originally ran through the same location.

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

My account was confirmed on 19 Apr 2018. I spend lots of time sourcing my own tree. Before I joined WikiTree, I was slack on sources in my database. I thought, “Well, my descendants are just going to have to take my word for it.” Now, I realize that that attitude isn’t good enough, especially when I am responsible to all the other WikiTreers who are working so hard to get things right, all the more if they are going to connect with my families.

What brought you to WikiTree? (In other words, how did you find us?)

I found WikiTree by quitting other genealogy sites and doing Google searches for my brick walls. However, I didn’t join right away, because I was thinking that this was just another site for entering information. It was when I started seeing source material that I knew I was wrong. That’s when I went to the homepage and read all about WikiTree, and I knew I had found a home for my research.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

My favorite thing about WikiTree has to be the way folks one has never met will leave their own research aside for a while to help out others who are struggling. I also have found a place where folks respond to frustrated questioners with courtesy, kindness and insight. This is a big draw for an airhead like me.

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

I believe that it would be great if WikiTree could publically identify false trees (tag them, somehow) so others would not be led astray. One other thing I think would be most beneficial to newcomers would be a required lesson on sourcing before they were allowed to begin entering data. I know that newcomers learn from the get-go that we really desire all profiles to have quality sources, but this would have confronted me on my slack research. I’d have started better.

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

WikiTree has been a great benefit when it came to helping me systemize my research by looking for multiple sources (where they could be found) to confirm my data.

G2G is the best! When I read some of the answers there, I am struck by how I’m out of my depth compared to others’ knowledge and research abilities. Yet, folks are patient and courteous with me, especially when I ask something that has been beat to death in earlier questions or in an area where I’m completely ignorant. It’s in G2G that I hope to help others as I have been helped. And, I want to participate better in the projects.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Ask, Ask, Ask! You’ll get more help than you’d ever have believed!


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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 Edie.

Edie Kohutek became a WikiTreer in July of 2015.  She’s active in our G2G forum, enjoys participating in our ‘thons’ and is working on a Frazier One Name Study.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Some of the surnames I am researching are Frazier, Hussey, and Cox.  The other major lines in my ancestry have been relatively well-researched and so I am ignoring them for now.  Frazier is my mother’s maiden name and is a major brick wall. Hussey and Cox are relatively well-known Quaker names.  I am trying to clarify some of the conflated and duplicated lines in this family by studying the Monthly Meeting Minutes.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Haywood County, Tennessee is the main connection I have with the origins of Martin Gaines Frazier.  He reportedly was born in North or South Carolina and his parents supposedly came from Scotland, so I spend a lot of time searching records in the Carolinas and looking at Fraziers who came over from Scotland.  I have made one trip to South Carolina and hope to make more. With the Hussey/Cox Quaker line, I am looking at Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina, mainly at the various Quaker Monthly Meeting houses in those States.

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

My mother began researching our ancestors in the late 1960’s.  She was distressed about my brother being in Vietnam and it was her way of getting out of herself and into another time and place.  As a young teen, my parents and my younger sister and I spent our vacations traveling all over the States visiting libraries, cemeteries, and courthouses.  It is a good thing I liked to read or I would not have survived. Although that sounds dreadful, I loved libraries and the smell of courthouses. I think that experience may be a factor in why I chose law as a career.  My mother spent almost 40 years researching her family and was instrumental in causing my father to research his, so I was raised with stories about family and genealogy. When my mother could no longer read or research because she was legally blind, I picked up the baton and continued her search.  What she spent hours to discover painstakingly through travel, letters, and records, I can discover in minutes online.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

My favorite ancestor is Henry Gonzalvo Woods, known as Gon.  He is my great-great grandfather. He was born in 1816 in Troy, Missouri and died in 1869 in DeWitt County, Texas.  His father, Zadock Woods, was one of the Old Three Hundred of Stephen F. Austin. The Woods family came to Texas in 1827.  They built a second Woods Fort (the first was near Troy, Missouri) and began to settle there. Although Gon did not fight at the Battle of San Jacinto, he briefly became a Texas Ranger from Fayette County afterwards.  In 1845, he, his father Zadock and his brother, Norman, went with Captain Dawson to fight against Mexican troops in the Battle of Salado Creek (also known as the Dawson Massacre.) Old man Zadock was killed in the battle, Norman was taken captive, but Gon escaped reportedly by grabbing a lance that a Mexican solider attempted to kill him with and turning it on the soldier.

The story is he escaped on that soldier’s horse.  The lance is stored at the Alamo. Norman wrote from Perote Prison and asked his brother to look after his wife, the beautiful Jane Boyd Wells. Gon took that literally and after receiving word that his brother had died, he married Jane and had several children with her, also raising five of her children as his own. He eventually moved to DeWitt County and remarried after his wife Jane died. He became embroiled in the Sutton-Taylor Feud after the Civil War and was deputized as part of a posse looking for John Kerlick.  While standing on a front porch, he lit a pipe and John Kerlick shot and killed him. He had such a colorful life, he is definitely an ancestor I think of as my favorite.

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

My mother’s great-grandfather, Martin Gaines Frazier, came to Texas by way of Tennessee in about 1835.  His wife died after childbirth in Texas and he eventually placed his children with various families and left for California during the gold rush.  The Frazier descendants know what happened to him in California, but we do not know much beyond possible names for his mother and father. I am using DNA and the Frazier Name Study to discover his roots.  There are many who are descended from Martin Gaines Frazier who are trying to find their way back.

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

I have been on WikiTree since July 2015.  I split my time among several activities. I enjoy catching up with g2g every day, participating in ‘thons’, working on the Frazier Name Study, and then working on the family lines I am pursuing.

What brought you to WikiTree? (In other words, how did you find us?)

I accidentally ran across WikiTree in my online searches.  I already had accounts with MyHeritage and FTDNA at the time.  My brother was working on the family tree with Ancestry.com, and after I took a DNA test, I entered mine and my mother’s results on GEDmatch.com.  So I was sort of all over the place. I started working more seriously on WikiTree in 2016 and became hooked once I figured out more about g2g and the Sourcerers.

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

I think g2g is my favorite thing because it is where the WikiTree community comes together to discuss issues and resolve problems.  It is what sets this genealogy site apart from all others. I enjoy the collaboration and trying to help newbies get on their feet in WikiTree.

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

Alphabetize the tags…my pet peeve.

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

I try to spread the word about WikiTree to family members and others who are doing research.  I don’t think they understand what a great resource it is and what fun it is to participate in putting together One Family Tree.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Go through the Tutorials or Help Index from the links on the How_to_Use_WikiTree page before going through far.  The helps answer so many questions about how WikiTree works and keep newbies from making blunders that need to be cleaned up later.


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