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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