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 Jeanie.

Jeanie joined our community in May of 2014.  She’s a great asset to our Puritan Great Migration project and is the Project Coordinator for our Native Americans project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Thornton, Rowell, Coote, Bowker. I also do research on Native Americans, specifically those with mythical connections.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

My ancestry is 100% British Isles, so both England and Ireland, and New England. My mother is Irish, as in immigrated from Ireland in the 1950s, so her whole ancestry is Irish. My father’s mother was born in Manchester, England.

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

I was sorting through my parent’s photos and asking who is this, who is that, intrigued by all these family members who I knew little about. I started an Ancestry.com tree to see how they were related to me and never looked back. Before I knew it, I had subscriptions to half a dozen genealogy sites, piles of papers all over the house, scribbled notes, and cryptic messages filled with dates, and a very puzzled husband who just wanted to know if he was going to get dinner.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

I left this question till last. I love them all, I really can’t choose just one. If I was forced to chose, it would likely be a PMG ancestor (Puritan Great Migration). I have to admire their bravery in crossing a very large ocean in a very small boat for a destination for which they knew very little, to create a new life for themselves and their children. That being said, I doubt I would be their favorite descendant.

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

My biggest brickwall was a Thornton ancestor. In 1905 a book was published on the James Thornton Family. I descend from one of his sons who the book identified as one Samuel Thornton. I was never able to find any information on him and none of the published info made sense. Finally after reading about 1,000 pages of unindexed New Hampshire land deeds and probate records, I found what I was looking for. I am descended from William, son of James, not Samuel. The author of the book was wrong.  Happy day!

If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?
Someone really, really rich?  Humm, it would probably be a really strong woman. Maybe Eleanor of Aquitaine. I have always admired her strength in a very, very male world. She stood out at a time when most women were anonymous.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I love writing. In addition to writing two family history blogs, I just finished my first novel. It is currently being edited and I hope to have it published by January. I live in south Texas, so I garden all year long. I love to travel, although I try to sneak in some genealogy on my vacations.

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

I joined WikiTree in 2014. I log on everyday.

Are you involved in projects/challenges?

I am part of the PGM project which I love. I have so many PGM ancestors, which really surprised me when I discovered them. I am also a Coordinator for the Native American Project. I have no Native ancestry, so it’s a bit unusual, but I love the challenge, especially  myth busting. I am  pre-1500 approved, a very difficult profile group to research correctly. Researching people in each of these projects presents its own unique challenge. I guess what I really love about genealogy is that it is hard. I think if it was easy, I wouldn’t love it half as much.

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

I think what got me into WikiTree was the G2G [Genealogist-2-Genealogist Forum]. I was surprised by the responsiveness of other members and their willingness to help. I have taken some genealogy courses on sourcing, which is a big thing for me. I love that WikiTree really pushes for sourcing of genealogical claims. There isn’t much I don’t like about WikTree. Waiting on merges makes me a little crazy!

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Be patient. Create some G2G tags and follow the questions. I made a few mistakes in the beginning, creating duplicates, etc., but found everyone very forgiving of my errors. Stick with it and you will be well rewarded for your efforts.

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

Life is short, live each minute.

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What do you get when you mix Eowyn and Mags with too much pumpkin spice? You get a great hour of Halloween fun, delightfully creepy banter and wicked stories of ghosts in our great big ole shared tree. Join us Halloween night for an hour of Ghosts in the Tree starting at 9pm EDT.

 

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Greetings fellow WikiTreers! Welcome to the October 2017 edition of News from the Tree, our monthly report on new features and changes around the site, notes on community leaders, tips, etc.

What’s New?

Source-a-Thon 2017 was a Huge Success!

Wow, WikiTreers, what a great weekend we had for the Source-a-Thon!  The community really came together with 480 participants on 26 teams sourcing over 53,000 profiles.

Here are the top 10 teams:

  • Team Roses – 11,433
  • Kiwi Crew – 6,062
  • Team Virginia – 4,255
  • Legacy Heirs – 2,975
  • Team GB Gen – 2,789
  • Forget-Me-Nots – 2,784
  • Team Tornadoes – 2,743
  • Team New York – 1,922
  • Flying Dutchmen – 1,710
  • Southern Super Sweepers – 1,597
And the top individuals:
  • Lucy Lavelle – 1,780
  • Morgan Mulligan – 1,495
  • Deb Durham – 1,445
  • NJ J Penny – 1,242
  • Emma MacBeath – 1,177
  • Charlotte Shockey – 1,138
  • Susan McNamee – 1,009
  • Charlene Newport – 816
  • Abby Glann – 770
  • Kirsty Ward – 759

You can see more team and user stats here: http://wikitree.sdms.si/function/WTChallengesScores/Scores.htm?code=SourceaThon2017&Type=0

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!  WikiTreers ROCK!!!

Have you Checked your Weekly Connections in the Connection Finder?

Every week you can find two new connections in our Connection Finder.

Each Tuesday, we showcase a WikiTreer in a Meet our Members feature on our blog and they also get spotlighted in the Connection Finder for that week.

This week it’s Karen Tobo.

Karen Tobo

Karen has been a member for six years and has made 100,000+ contributions. She’s an active Connector who helps make the world a smaller place by growing out family connections for strangers until they meet on our global family tree (77.5% of WikiTree’s 15 million profiles are now connected within 100 degrees). Karen writes: “Making new connections is my favorite thing to do on WikiTree! I enjoy seeing how we all relate.”  Check your connection.

We also highlight what we call an Example Profile of the Week. These profiles are top-notch and meet the styles and standards criteria that the community has agreed upon. The notable whose profile is used as an example is also featured in the Connection Finder for that week.

Spotlighted this week is Queen Isabella I (1451-1504), sponsor of Christopher Columbus’s 1492 voyage, from the European Royals and Aristocrats Project..  See how you are connected.

And of course you can always see your connection to our standard connection anchors, Queen Elizabeth II and Kevin Bacon.

Follow the tag connection_finder for weekly updates on connections.

Eva Ekeblad is Our Newest Leader

A big congratulations to Eva Ekeblad, our newest WikiTree Leader!  She’s been with WikiTree since February 0f 2016 and has been doing genealogy since 2011.  The ancestors of my paternal grandfather back to the 1600s all came from a quite limited area in Västergötland, centered in the southern part of Viste hundred. They were self-owned farmers, or farmers on contract to a manor. The ancestors of my maternal grandparents came from the iron making districts in Bergslagen or from the farming country around lakes Mälaren and Hjälmaren.

She will be helping Lena Svensson lead the Sweden project. Thank you, Eva, for being such a valuable contributor to our community.

Have you tried GEDCOMpare 2.0?

As recently announced we are no longer doing traditional GEDCOM imports.

“Importing your tree” never really made sense here, where we share one tree. Working with the old system was like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. We forced you to compare everyone in your GEDCOM with potential matches on WikiTree, skip everyone who appeared to be a duplicate, and import the rest as new people, all in one painful step. And that was just the first step. If you didn’t go on to edit and improve the profiles that were created through the import you would be leaving messes for others to clean up later.

Now we have something that fits more comfortably with the way collaboration works here. It’s a dynamic process. It still begins with automatically-suggested matches. But as you compare them and explore existing WikiTree profiles, you can update those profiles and add relatives one person at a time using your GEDCOM data and your good judgment as a Wiki Genealogist.

This system is live, but it’s not perfect. Early testers are helping us figure out what needs to be improved.

If you’d like to be among these early testers, upload your GEDCOM.

To be clear, you will be creating and editing live profiles, and things won’t work quite as well now as they will in a few weeks. If you don’t want to be on the “bleeding edge” you should wait. Or feel free to use it, but don’t edit many profiles with it. (GEDCOMpare can still be used just as a search tool.)

Here are known issues: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:GEDCOMpare_Improvements

If you use the new system and have something to report that isn’t described on the GEDCOMpare help page or the GEDCOMpare Improvements page, reply here or post a new message using the tag GEDCOMpare.

Over Three Million WikiTree Profiles Have DNA Test Connections!

We are now calculating and displaying a new statistic on the home page: The number of profiles on WikiTree with DNA test connections.

Today that number is 3, 147,339.

This is awesome! It’s a number that really says something impressive about our commitment and progress toward growing an accurate shared family tree — a tree with relationships that can be confirmed with DNA.

What exactly is a DNA test connection? It’s where we post a notice on a WikiTree profile that says there is a DNA test that might be useful for confirming or rejecting relationships to that person. For Y-chromosome tests it means the test-taker is on the same paternal line. For mitochondrial tests it means the test-taker is on the same maternal line. For autosomal tests (the most popular these days, e.g. AncestryDNAFamily Tree DNA Family Finder, 23andMe) it means that the test-taker is within eight degrees and is therefore likely to share significant segments of DNA.

The bottom line: A DNA test connection is an opportunity to try to scientifically prove what’s been established through traditional genealogy.

Question of the Week

Have you participated in the Question of the Week yet? Every Friday a genealogy-related question is posed to community members in our G2G Forum. You can join in the fun and share a little about yourself and learn about your fellow WikiTreers! Follow the tag “question_of_the_week” to get the new question each week.

We recently asked “Who were you named after?”

Here are just a few of the answers we received:

  • I had conflicting stories from my parents. Mom said I was named after I nun she knew, but dad said I was named for Natalie Wood. I have always gone with dad’s pick. ;-) . ~ Natalie
  • I was named after a character in a theatre production!  My father was an usher and my mother came to see Oklahoma! so often she grew fond of the main character …They were breaking with tradition. In my family we have lots of name patterns. I found seven Joshua Pitman Trefry so far, and several other Joshua P. It makes for some interesting family tree puzzles. ~ Laurie
  • My brother was 5 years old when I was born, and Roy Rogers was a big deal in this young life.  He got to give me my middle name, so I was named Kitty Dale Cooper after Dale Evans.  I am lucky he didn’t go for Trigger or Bullet.  :-) ~ Kitty
  • My first name, Lena, isn’t really from anybody, even if my mom’s cousin has the same name. My second and third however are from my grandmothers, Maria from my father’s mother and Viola after my mother’s mother. Those names were not their first names either. Viola is kind of special to me since my mom, sister and daughter also have that name, so therefore I have tattooed five violets from my neck to my left upper arm. ~ Lena
  • I was named after Queen Victoria and Robert E. Lee.  My father had an affinity for both of those folks.  In an odd coincidence, “Lee” turns out to be a common middle name in my extended family: my 3x-great-grandfather’s half-brother William Lee Smith and at least three of his children.  We suspect that it may possibly have been my 4x-great-grandmother Elizabeth‘s maiden name. ~ Vicky

Meet Our Members

Family History Photo of the Week Nominee

Every week we post an interview with one of our members so you can get to know them a little better.  In case you missed it, here are our August features!

Tree-Tips

  • Remember point VI of our Honor Code: We respect copyrights. We don’t knowingly copy information that’s owned by someone else. If we ourselves want to preserve a copyright, we’re clear about what’s copyrighted so others don’t accidentally copy it.
  • When creating a profile, you will have noticed the box for entering a source. Sources are required on WikiTree. Try adding an additional source for one of the profiles you created. If you don’t have one handy, select “Research” from the pull-down menu in the upper-right corner of the profile that starts with the profile’s WikiTree ID, e.g. Franklin-1. Login to the RootsSearch tool and use it to search FamilySearch.org or a dozen other sites.
  • In the upper-right corner of every WikiTree page you will see pull-down menus with links for navigating the site. Spend some time exploring these menus. Just about everything on WikiTree can be accessed through them.
  • G2G, our Genealogist-to-Genealogist Forum, is the heart of our community. Take a trip there now to see what people are talking about, and if you’re ready to meet people, post a note to introduce yourself.
  • Venture out of your own branches! See the Volunteers Needed page for a list of ways that your energy and expertise (no matter the level) are needed right now. There is never a shortage of things to do on WikiTree.

Community Accomplishments

Top 10 contributors for last month: WikiTree Club 1000 July 2017

  1. K Bloom (9,436 new edits in September)
  2. Esmé van der Westhuizen (8414)
  3. Ronnie Halford (7956)
  4. Gregory Rose (7935)
  5. Kaye Mansfield (7797)
  6. NJ Penny (7498)
  7. Carrie Quackenbush (6871)
  8. Elizabeth Winter (6817)
  9. Paula Cullen (6345)
  10. Lilia Zwerewa Hordyczuk (5947)

Super Star recipients (recognized by a Leader for extraordinary contributions that go far beyond what is normally seen on WikiTree): 

Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication: Barry AshfieldLinda BarnettTess (Mapley) Cameron and Lynette Jester!

Project Updates

Project Spotlight: The Acadians Project

pgm.gifThe Acadians Project goal is to grow and source one family tree of French immigrants who settled in Acadia in the 1600s. Their descendants are concentrated in today’s Canadian Maritime Provinces, New England, and Louisiana (Cajuns).  They strive to have all Acadian descendants linked to their growing list of Acadian First Families.

If you would like to participate, click here to join.

Project News

Don’t Miss These!

Challenges/Contests

SOURCERERS CHALLENGE:  Far too many profiles on WikiTree don’t have any sources. This challenge is about correcting that with census data, BMD records/index references, family bible references, military documents, land documents, wills, etc. Each month we’ll post in G2G to start up the month’s challenge. To participate, go to this G2G post.

SURNAME SPOTLIGHT CHALLENGEOur Surname Spotlights focus on 4 surnames each month. Pick one surname to work on during the month. In addition we have a theme for the month, sourcing, connection, error correction, or biography building. To join in the Oktoberfest Challenge, go here.

You might also want to check out our Weekend ChatSaturday Sourcing SprintsBiography Builders Challenge, Data Doctors Challenge and the Surname Spotlight Challenge.

WikiTree Calendar

Stay up to date with all the latest challenges, contests,  and upcoming events via our Calendar.

Thanks for all you do, WikiTreers. You’re the best.

Sincerely, The WikiTree Team and Leaders

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Greetings fellow WikiTreers! Welcome to the September 2017 edition of News from the Tree, our monthly report on new features and changes around the site, notes on community leaders, tips, etc.

What’s New?

Have you Registered for the 2017 Source-a-Thon?

Registration is open for the Source-a-Thon!

It will be going for 72 hours straight, September 30 – October 2, to kick off Family History Month. We’re including Monday so that those who are busy on the weekend can still participate.

Last year we had 616 participants and sourced over 22,000 profiles! Can you help us beat that this year?

If you can participate by sourcing Unsourced Profiles during any of those hours, tell us in an answer in this G2G post and we’ll get you registered. (Participation instructions will come when the Source-a-Thon begins. It’s something any Wiki Genealogist can do.)

After you post, a WikiTree Leader will give you the Source-a-Thon badge and a “race number”. A number is required in order to be eligible for the $4,600+ in door prizes being donated from around the genealogy community.

Have you Checked your Weekly Connections in the Connection Finder?

Every week you can find two new connections in our Connection Finder.

Each Tuesday, we showcase a WikiTreer in a Meet our Members feature on our blog and they also get spotlighted in the Connection Finder for that week.

This week it’s Philip Smith.

Sam Houston

Philip became a WikiTreer in April of 2013.  At one time he was one of our wonderful Leaders but stepped away from his leadership role to have more time to work on his own profiles. He is active with the Arborists, and in the Categorization and Louisiana projects.  Philip has almost 200,000 contributions! Check your connection.

We also highlight what we call an Example Profile of the Week. These profiles are top-notch and meet the styles and standards criteria that the community has agreed upon. The notable whose profile is used as an example is also featured in the Connection Finder for that week.

Spotlighted this week is the namesake of Houston, Texas, Sam Houston(1793-1863) from the Texas Project.  See how you are connected.

And of course you can always see your connection to our standard connection anchors, Queen Elizabeth II and Kevin Bacon.

Follow the tag connection_finder for weekly updates on connections.

GEDCOM Upload Process Transition

As some of you know, we have been working on a completely new system for handling GEDCOMs. We’re excited to announce that it’s finally ready to release.

Under the new system you won’t create a bunch of new profiles all at once through a traditional GEDCOM import. Instead you’ll be able to create and edit individual profiles in a dynamic process using your GEDCOM data.

Those of you who are familiar with WikiTree X will recognize the basic framework. WikiTree X, created by Justin York, enables you to create new profiles and edit existing ones using data from other genealogy websites such as FamilySearch, Ancestry, Find-A-Grave, etc. Once you’re comfortable with it, WikiTree X is a really powerful tool. It’s much easier than manually entering or copy-and-pasting information from those other sites.

Aleš Trtnik had the idea to do this with GEDCOMs, i.e. treat a GEDCOM like data on an external site. That’s what the new system does. Your GEDCOM file will be like a resource for you to use as you contribute to WikiTree, if and where the file has valuable information and sources that aren’t already on WikiTree.

Today, Wednesday, September 6, we’ll stop processing files under the old system and tomorrow we start up the new system.

WikiTree Error Reports are Now “Suggestions”

The “Error Report” links in the pull-down menus now say “Suggestions” instead.

The reports aren’t different than they were yesterday. But thanks to Aleš‘s brilliance, hard work, and the way he collaborates with the community to improve his WikiTree+ reports, they’re very different than they were last year. They have evolved quite a bit.

Originally, they mostly reported straightforward errors. Death date before birth date, a parent’s death date before a child’s birth date, etc. Now there is so much more, e.g. the comparisons with Find-A-Grave and WikiData profiles. A lot of what’s in these reports now aren’t errors. They’re suggestions for things a Wiki Genealogist should look at.

Have you Seen the New Gallery of Members?

Family History Photo of the Week Nominee

Have you seen the new Member Gallery?

It’s a compilation of our Members of the Week, i.e. the feature where Eowyn does a blog interview, then the member is an anchor person in the Connection Finder and gets highlighted on the home page alongside the Profile of the Week.

We like the idea of doing more to spotlight individual WikiTreers. Prospective members and Newts should know that we’re a community of people like them. Real genealogists who are friendly and collaborative.

If you think you might like to be interviewed and appear in the Connection Finder, you can e-mail her (eowyn@).

Question of the Week

Have you participated in the Question of the Week yet? Every Friday a genealogy-related question is posed to community members in our G2G Forum. You can join in the fun and share a little about yourself and learn about your fellow WikiTreers! Follow the tag “question_of_the_week” to get the new question each week.

We recently asked “Have any of your ancsestors been victims of natural or man-made distasters?”

Family History Photo of the Week Nominee

Here are just a few of the answers we received:

  • The saddest story I’ve encountered while researching my local cemetery may be that of Rosa Mall.  She first married Christ Bruegger, who was killed in the Vulcan Mine Explosion of 1896 in New Castle, Colorado (one of the explosions which caused the coal seam to burn to this day).  She was left with one son, Chris.  She married Patrick Fahey, who died of a heart attack in 1912, leaving her with five small children.  I figured out last month that one of her daughters married a cousin of mine.  While pursuing that lead, I discovered that her son Chris died in 1934 in a car crash.  I figure that by the time I track down why she came to the US from Switzerland and what happened to each of her children, I’ll have encountered enough tragedy to write a book. Here is more about the Vulcan Mine explosion that killed Christ Bruegger. ~ J. 
  • My parents; my brother and myself as children!!  Remembering the Flood of 1955 that destroyed parts of Farmington, Putnam, Norwalk, Waterbury, and Winsted, Connecticut. An estimated 14 inches of rain fell during a 36-hour period beginning Aug. 18. On Aug. 19, 1955; and again in Oct 15, 1955 when the rivers crested and overflowed into the streets of Georgetown, Wilton and Norwalk, Connecticut which was my hometown. ~ Dorothy
  • My 3rd great grandfather Thomas Moulton and his wife Sarah Denton were part of the Willie Handcart Company which came across the plains to Utah in 1856. They were the only family which did not lose a member in that tragic trek. They brought their eight children ranging in age from 19 to under 1 year, the youngest having been born aboard the ship Thornton on the Irish Sea. Many lost their lives on the journey; however, none of those who arrived in Salt Lake City ever regretted having made the trip. ~ Eugene
  • I had several relatives who were affected by flooding in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania caused by Hurricane Agnes in June 1972.  My grandparents were rescued from their home before the water rose to 4-1/2 feet on the first floor of their home.  More than 2,700 graves were washed away in nearby Forty Fort Cemetery, including my 2nd cousin Linda Thomas and my 1st cousin once removed John Smith. ~ Star

Meet Our Members

Every week we post an interview with one of our members so you can get to know them a little better.  In case you missed it, here are our August features!

  • Sarah Rojas became a  WikiTreer in May of 2014 and is our newest Leader.  She is co-leading our Arborist project and helps in the G2G as an Integrator/Moderator. Learn about who her favorite ancestor is here.

Tree-Tips

  • Family History Photo of the Week Nominee

    Remember point V of our Honor Code: We respect privacy. We privacy-protect anything we think our family members might not want public. If that’s not enough for someone, we delete their personal information.

  • The “Find Matches” tool will compare the profiles in your Watchlist to the rest of WikiTree in order to search for potential duplicates. Remember that our goal at WikiTree is to have one profile per person. It’s important to identify and merge duplicates. See the Matching and Merging FAQ for more about this important topic.
  • “Unconnected” means that a person is not connected to the “big tree.” See Unconnected for more about what this means, and about some of the fun activities on WikiTree where we work together to connect people. Viewing the unconnected profiles on your Watchlist can be a way to prioritize profiles you might want to work on. Everyone will connect eventually.
  • Your followed tags will help keep you informed about new members and what’s going around WikiTree that’s related to your particular interests. You might want to add a couple tags that keep you in touch with the community as a whole. ANNOUNCEMENTS will alert you to new features and changes on WikiTree. We use WIKITREE_LOVE to share good things.

Community Accomplishments

Top 10 contributors for last month: WikiTree Club 1000 July 2017

Super Star recipients (recognized by a Leader for extraordinary contributions that go far beyond what is normally seen on WikiTree): 

Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication: Robynne Lozier!

Project Updates

Project Spotlight: Black Sheep

pgm.gifThe Black Sheep Project is a top level project that includes 7 sub-projects:

Their mission is to highlight the profiles of notable people on WikiTree who would be considered “black sheep”, and support those that have family members they wish to be included in the project. They describe Black Sheep as those that were outcasts, outlaws or just plain outlandish!

If you would like to participate, click here to join.

Project News

Don’t Miss These!

Challenges/Contests

sourcerer.gifSOURCERERS CHALLENGE:  Far too many profiles on WikiTree don’t have any sources. This challenge is about correcting that with census data, BMD records/index references, family bible references, military documents, land documents, wills, etc. Each month we’ll post in G2G to start up the month’s challenge. To participate, go to this G2G post.

connectors.gifCONNECTORS CHALLENGEThe goal of the Connectors Challenge is to see how many individuals you can connect to our global family tree.  To join in the September Challenge, go here.

You might also want to check out our Weekend ChatSaturday Sourcing SprintsBiography Builders Challenge and the new Surname Spotlight Challenge.

WikiTree Calendar

Stay up to date with all the latest challenges, contests, LiveCasts and upcoming events via our Calendar.

Thanks for all you do, WikiTreers. You’re the best.

Sincerely, The WikiTree Team and Leaders

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