From our WikiTreer-in-Chief, Chris Whitten:

Happy New Year, WikiTreers!

This year is special for us. This year we turn 10. (Don’t ask me for an exact birthday. It’s complicated.)

If you’re reading this, you are probably part of our community and have contributed to WikiTree. Some of you have put as much time, energy, and love into this project as I have.

I hope that you are proud of what we have done together. I am. I believe that we are growing something of real value here.

There are objective measures of our success. The size of our tree. The number of members. Traffic to our pages. By all these measures, WikiTree is doing well. 2017 has been an especially good year for us. The number of people who view our ancestor profiles is about 50% higher than a year ago. It’s over a million people a month.

But the true value of our tree can’t be easily measured.

Our true value is in the stories of our ancestors that we record and preserve. It’s in the branches of our shared tree that grow stronger and more accurate every year. It’s in the families we connect.

WikiTree is unique. Although there are a couple other good, single family trees, they don’t have communities like ours. How we work together is special. Our tree doesn’t just get bigger every year. It gets better every year.

If that’s too abstract, think about some of the profiles you have contributed to. Have you helped to preserve family history that might otherwise have been lost? Have you shared it with family members who might otherwise have not seen it? Most of you have. Many have even met relatives you might otherwise have not met.

We are writing pages in the great book of world history that wouldn’t have been written without us.

And these are not just virtual pages that will disappear when our website is gone. Well, I mean, yes, they are 🙂 … but the content won’t disappear. I believe that the shared and open information we are growing here will be around as long as there are people who care about where they come from. In 2017 we took some extra steps to make sure of it.

So, here’s to us. Here’s to WikiTree and here’s to you. Thank you for working with me these past 10 years.

Onward and upward into our second decade,

Chris

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by Eowyn Langholf

Each week we 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.

This week, we are featuring Charles Dickens, author of A Christmas Carol, and part of our England Project.   We thought it would be fun to put the Connection Finder to work and see how Mr. Dickens is related to some of the actors who have played the infamous role of Ebenezer Scrooge in various productions of A Christmas Carol.

So read on and know them better, man!

Christopher Plummer

The most recent Scrooge, Christopher Plummer, who portrays the cold-hearted miser in the newly released film, The Man Who Invented Christmas, is 24 degrees from the author, our shortest connection path.   This particular connection goes through Lt. Col. John Butler, a United Empire Loyalist. He raised Butler’s Rangers, a  British provincial military unit of the American Revolutionary War.

Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise, otherwise known as Sir Patrick Stewart, portrayed surly money-lender Ebenezer in the 1999 version of A Christmas Carol and is a fan favorite.   The two are a mere 38 steps apart.

George Scott

Actor George Scott portrayed Scrooge in the 1984 version of the novel, a movie that some call the definitive version.   Scott is also known for his portrayal of General George S. Patton in Patton.  The two are 28 steps apart and connect through John Howland Jr, the son of another John Howland Sr, who was a signer of the Mayflower Compact.

Michael Caine

Sir Michael Caine, my favorite Ebenezer Scrooge, portrayed him in my favorite Christmas movie, A Muppet Christmas Carol.  (Seriously, he pulled off being a total grouch whilst surrounded by adorable muppets!)  The farthest connection we are looking at, Sir Michael and Mr. Dickens are 40 steps apart.

Kelsey Grammer

Kelsey Grammer was cast to play Ebenezer in 2004’s A Christmas Carol:The Musical.  The singing Scrooge is 28 steps from our beloved author.  It’s worth noting that Kelsey and Michael Caine both connect to Charles Dickens through Anne Thomas.

Bill Murray

Last, but certainly not least, Bill Murray, who should be quite familiar with ghosts, played Ebenezer in a 1988 modernized adaptation of the book,  Scrooged.  Bill and Charles are 35 degrees apart. Fun side note: Bill Murray was awarded the nation’s highest award for comedy, the Mark Twain Prize, in October 2016.  Mark Twain and Charles Dickens are only 19 degrees apart!

Happy Holidays, WikiTreers!

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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 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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