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 Abby.

Abby joined WikiTree in July of 2011. In 2014 she became a WikiTree Team Member.  Abby’s role on the team is to help track bugs and improvements that come up, test new updates to the site and help with e-mail issues, among many other things.

What are some surnames you are researching?

StevensGlannMcWilliamsKleinhamplZeithamlMcQuistonCarperBrooks/BrockPapke, Heskett

What are some locations you are researching?

Myto, Bohemia; Izard County, Arkansas; Northeastern Iowa/Southwestern Wisconsin; Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia

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

I have always been interested, and had chatted with my Great Uncle Bus as he was the family historian at the time. I inherited his research, but it was full of holes and the typical family lore that needed proven or disprove. Things really took off when I signed up for a introductory genealogy class while attending Simpson College, my freshman year. One of my closest friends was attending with me and together we visited cemeteries, the state historical library, and surfed the net as we tracked down ancestors. We were excited to find we are 14th cousins, through our link to the Canfield/Camfield family of Colonial America. From there, I was hooked. I have definitely grown and am now far better at researching and documenting my work. I wish I had done a better at documenting back in those early days. I look at some of that work and ask myself where in the world I came up with that!

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

I feel so connected to all of them, especially now that I am really starting to focus on their story more than their facts. I recently broke down a brick wall for my third great grandparents after some old family photos gave me a clue. I guess my favorites rotate. My Grandma Pat (Brown) loved her Great Grandpa Michael Brock/Brooks, and I recently have found some new clues to help push is line of the family back further, including figuring out his wife’s parents, my third great grandmother, Louisa Papke. The photos from that part of my family are so neat-they did everything together and had these huge family gatherings regularly, were outdoors types, much like the things I do with my children. I feel like I have a connection with my Brooks grandparents and their children in a special way that is different than other ancestors, though, seriously, I love them all.

Tell us about the brick wall you most want to tear down.

Recently I was able to prove a theory on my maternal grandmother’s side which had been a brick wall for ages, using DNA. It was so exciting and I gained a new batch of cousins from it. My primary brick wall is my third great grandparents on my dad’s paternal line. Benjamin George Brown, from Yorkshire, England, is proving difficult, not surprisingly :-) I know that George married his wife, Anna Stevens (also part of that brick wall) in St. Mary’s, Lambeth, Surrey, and they names of their fathers, but not much else. Both of their fathers were mariners, interestingly. I am hoping DNA helps here, too, but haven’t used a YDNA test yet, just autosomal which hasn’t helped much. I am hoping to pursue the YDNA later this year with my brother, though.

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

I am pretty happy with my ancestors! Checking out the Example Profile of the Week each week, I found out I was related to Winston Churchill, which was a surprise. It’s hard to choose. There are a lot of people I admire. Maybe CS Lewis or JRR Tolkien. Both are favorite authors of mine, and both led lives and had beliefs that I admire.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I have four kids, so I keep pretty busy. I also am a voracious reader, I love to garden, and cook. My family spends as much time camping, hiking, fishing, and foraging as we possibly can in the warmer months. Trout fishing in Northern Iowa is what made my husband fall in love with me :) I also enjoy knitting or crocheting most nights. I spin yarn, too, but don’t have as much time for that as I used to.

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

I have been here since August 2011. I started out fast, then had to back off for a bit as my internet didn’t cooperate, then later I worked fundraising for my best friend’s son’s kidney transplant. Now, I am on every single day, and spend most of my time on Team responsibilities, though I try to fit in working on my tree, improving profiles, and adding to friends’ trees when I can. I also manage DNA tests for a lot of friends and family so a lot of time is spent there, adding lines to cousins or sorting out how someone is related to someone else.

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

I love collaboration. It is the reason I sought out WikiTree. When I joined, there weren’t too many options for uploading a gedcom that you could connect to others. I had published my own website for awhile with the tree, but I really do believe in one tree, that everyone is connected, and that is what WikiTree is all about, so it was a perfect match. The longer I have been on WikiTree, the more I appreciate the format and tools available. There really isn’t anywhere else I would want to keep a tree, though I do have some on Ancestry to help with DNA testing there.

As far as don’t love so much, there are days when the collaboration takes more patience, and those days are just learning days, making me become a better person. I also think I would enjoy something like facebook, where you could have an update regularly on your page, like “oy, my sheep are out so if I don’t finish that merge request right away, sorry!” or “yeah, rockin’ the 1880 US Census tonight.” I like to talk.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Take it one step at a time-though it is a fairly easy site to work with, it takes time to learn it all and really find all the different awesome aspects. Get involved in a project, which is what I did (I was asked to join the European Aristocracy project when they saw I had uploaded profiles that fell into their area of expertise) and you will get to see some of the different uses of the site, like categories and templates, and you will be working side by side with others of similar interests, so you can make friends who can help show the ropes. Most important, if you don’t know something, ask! Whether it is just another WikiTreer, or G2G, no question is unimportant, and can make your journey on WikiTree a little easier.

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

Family is important, both the living and gone. Keep them a priority and enjoy the time you have them, as well as remembering those who have gone. You are who you are because of who they were.


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  8 Responses to “Meet our Members:Abby Glann”

  1. Loved learning more about you Abby! And if I can put in a plug for her yarn-work! I’ve got an awesome headwrap I bought on her website.

  2. I am so glad to see your profile. It has given me new enthusiasm around trying to figure out WikiTree. You sound so delightful and your gifts and energy come through to make me feel connected, something I believe in very much. Thank you for all you do to collaborate and bring us all together.

  3. Hi Abby
    So nice to get to know you better.
    Thanks for all you do. You are an inspiration to all at WikiTree
    Have an awesome week

  4. Hey cousin Abby! I too would wish to be related to a famous author and love to talk a lot. We must be related 😉
    I think your fiber farm is awesome!

  5. What a varied and interesting profile. By the way, it seems you and I have two points of convergence, outboard motors (Evinrude) and the surname Brown (my mother’s maiden name). Thanks for all the work you do for WikiTree.

  6. Fun to read about you and see we are only 19 degrees separated!

  7. so glad you posted your info. Thank you for all you have done for me, I am still going to post all of my over 1,500 antique post cards on this site. I am still working on it slowly.

  8. Abby is awesome!

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