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 Bill.

Bill Sims joined WikiTree in December of 2014.  He enjoys adding profiles for his ancestors and participates in our 52 Photos and 52 Ancestors challenges. Last year he got all 52 in 52!

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

My 4 grandparents … Sims, Drake, Allison & Rammel

and a few of special interest are … Omelia, Humphrey, Warren, Vertrees

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Central Illinois, Ireland, England, Colonies (Plymouth) 

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

My grandmother and mother did a lot of searching in the 1950-70 era. Grandmother got too old and mother went blind. Their research was limited to writing many letters to others, including libraries and government agencies … no Internet or computers back then.

After my mother died in 2006 I inherited her several boxes of stuff. They sat in my garage for a couple of years … then one day I opened one … and I got bit by the bug.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why? 

Gosh, there are so many. Since I am somewhat of a history buff and this is the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower it is likely Richard Warren this year. But, there are about 15 who served in the Revolutionary War … and many more.

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

My great grandfather is still the main brick wall.  I have several theories about my Drake linage but am having trouble finding good, reliable sources and there are so many branches of the Drake family.

I have often said that Johnson Radford Drake may have been in the government witness protection program … he seems to have just appeared from no where. 

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

Again there are so many but being a history buff and being from Central Illinois I would have to pick Abe Lincoln. He had such a interesting but very challenging life.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I am 78 … so interests have changed a lot over the years. I enjoy my family time with kids, grandkids and great grandkids. I still play what I call golf. I enjoy fishing, used to do a lot of hunting and enjoy watching almost all sports.

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

I started in 2014. I completed the 52 in 52 Photo and Ancestor Challenges in 2019 am doing the 2020 challenges this year. I have participated and was a winner in the Scan-a-Thon and Connect-a-Thon in 2019.

What brought you to WikiTree?

Although I have never met Austin Sims I connected with him via a DNA match on Ancestry  … he told me about WikiTree. I still have a lot of ancestors and info on Ancestry. Over time I plan to transfer or duplicate to WikiTree.

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

I like the concept of one world tree but most important I like the serious effort to get profiles properly sourced. I find on other sites that people tend to add so many people that they think are their ancestors but they have no good sources and all too often they are really not related. They seem to be quantity and not quality driven.

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

 I realize that it is may not be practical but WikiTree does not support being the depository of a lot of photos and/or documents per profile. I have a lot of stuff and have to maintain a redundant tree somewhere to store it all.  It would be nice to have one tree to store all of the stuff.

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

I guess the main things is that it has kept me interested and focused on doing more research. Also I have identified some ancestors that I may not have found otherwise.

 Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

When I first started participating in the WikiTree project I got a little frustrated as there were so many new or different terms and so many options.  

My advice would be to take advantage of the tutorials, don’t be bashful and ask the experts questions. They are always eager to help.


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  4 Responses to “Meet our Members: Bill Sims”

  1. HI Bill, I’m from Blue Mound and am connected (but not related through your Attebury ancestors/kinfolk. Glad you’re working so diligently to link up the twigs on the big WikiTree. Keep on! Jane

  2. Years past I tried to submit family data with minimal success.

    Today I tried again. NO SUCCESS.

    All I face are road blocks with your weird system

    How about simplifying the system . it is most frustrating.

  3. This request “awaiting moderation”

    Could you kindly explain clearly your methodology in submitting data.

  4. Hello Bill “Cuz”, Would love to know more about your Sims/Symes research.
    I descend from Adam Symes, son of the Symes from the British West Indies.
    Geo, Symes, Geo Symes, John Symes.
    My Sims began with Elizabeth who married Pryor Langford Davis i n Oglethorpe
    Co., GA. My records show she was b. 28 Jun 1814 in Oglethorpe Co. and m.
    5 Apr 1834 Oglethorpe Co. Daugh. of Wiley Henry Sims and Mary Hartsfield.

    James “Jim” Cogswell
    Cogswell-967

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