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 Carolyn.

Carolyn Martin became a WikiTreer in February of 2015.  She is active as a Sourcerer and Data Doctor and participates in our Bahamas and Global Cemeteries Projects. She loves joining in our challenges and is often a top winner!

What are some of the surnames you are researching?  

I am researching Atkinson, Daughtry, Freeman, Wilhite, Thompson, Carey, and Stewart mainly.

What are some of the locations you are researching?  

Most of my family appears to have settled in the South – mainly Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Texas.  My maternal grandmother’s family (Carey) came from the Bahamas.

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

I started out in genealogy wanting to trace my maternal grandmother’s family who came from the Bahamas. (I really wanted to know if there were any pirates in the family!)  That was about 35 years ago. It quickly became one of my brick walls that to this day I haven’t had much success in documenting. The family immigrated to the Key West around the mid to late 1870’s.  

I have been able to only go back to my 2nd great grandparents on my grandmother’s father’s (William H Carey) line. Grandma’s mother was also a Carey from the Bahamas – she and William were reportedly cousins. I have her line back few additional generations which included Culmer and Morton lines.

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

Aside from my Carey brick wall mentioned earlier, the other significant one is my Stewart line.  My grandmother, Miriam Mayfield Carey, married George Marion Stewart, in Key West in 1924. George was in the Army and housed in the barracks right across the lane from Miriam’s family home.  He was from Louisiana, and one of 14 children born to Luther Stewart.

Luther is my brick wall.  He was the illegitimate son of Sarah Elizabeth Stewart of Mississippi, who married Joseph Marion Regions when Luther was about 10.  Luther’s biological father is unknown, so he kept Stewart as his surname. I finally hired Ancestry Pro-genealogist, Joseph Shumway, to try to find Luther’s father.  I had located several second cousins who were descendants of Luther’s children. So, I was able to give Shumway the DNA from myself, and two cousins who descended from another son and daughter of Luther’s.  Schumway and his staff researched records and analyzed the DNA over about a four month period. They were unable to find Luther’s father, but were able to state with some certainty that he descended from a Comer or Johnson line from Union County, South Carolina.  I have been concentrating on them lately and hope to one day make the connection.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I have been retired seven years now.  Besides working on WikiTree, I also have an antiques and collectibles business, Alley Cat Lane Antiques and Collectibles, located online on Ruby Lane.com, that keeps me busy. I have been involved in the collectibles business since about 1995 in various venues.

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

I joined WikiTree in February of 2015, and have been addicted ever since.  After I got my family entered, I joined the Cemetery Project and eventually set up free space pages on about seven cemeteries.  I would go take photographs, then research the people and set up profiles on them if they weren’t already on WikiTree.

After a while I got a bit burned out on that, and joined in on various challenges.  I routinely participate in sourcing and data error challenges. I also joined the Sourcerers Project and Data Doctors Project. Sometimes I get bitten by my competitive bug and go for the top spot in a challenge, which I have won numerous times, but most of the time I just enjoy doing the work, putting sources inline, and writing comments to add to the biographies.  I really enjoy connecting the person to other family members, setting up and sourcing profiles for them, and writing biographies.

I also joined the Bahamas Project. I especially enjoy adding profiles for families that immigrated from the Bahamas to Key West, Florida (my hometown).


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

I love the idea of a One World Tree where everyone is added only once and no one “owns” the profile.  I enjoy the collaborative effort. Every now and then, I might get an email from someone who did not appreciate my input on “their” family’s profile, but I try to be diplomatic and gently explain the collaborative nature of WikiTree.  I really love getting the emails from appreciative people who were thrilled at the info I added or corrections that were made.

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

I hate the profiles that have been uploaded from Gedcoms!  They leave such a mess and the manager often doesn’t go back to clean them up. While it may turn some people away, I wish WikiTree would require manual submissions.  I initially tried to do a Gedcom myself but it was too big, so I decided to just enter my family manually. It was great because I got to review my information, make sure the documentation was there, and make any corrections as I went.  It actually didn’t take all that long because after a couple of generations I often found the next person was already on WikiTree and all I had to do was attach to them.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

When I first joined WikiTree, I was a bit overwhelmed.  The site took a little getting used to as it doesn’t function like most other sites.  Once I got the hang of it, there was no stopping me!

To any new members I would suggest you manually add your family profiles one at a time. It will really turn out better than doing a Gedcom and won’t take nearly the time that you might think.  

Also, be patient.  Ask questions when you get lost or don’t know how to deal with something. The G2G forum is awesome!  There is always someone out there checking the forum that will answer your questions.

Once you have acclimated to the site, look under Projects to find one or more you might be interested in participating in.  It’s really a satisfying feeling (as well as fun) to know you are contributing to the site and the One World Tree.

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  5 Responses to “Meet our Members: Carolyn Martin”

  1. Carolyn,

    Global Connections indicates that you and I have only 12 degrees of separation by blood and marriage, through my great-grandfather Capt. Samuel Lowe’s sister Amanda Lowe Saunders. We are probably related by blood in several other ways through various members of the Curry family on Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas. Family Tree DNA shows my ethnic makeup is 83% British Isles, 5% Iberia (Spanish, Portuguese), 9% Southeast Europe (Italian, Greek, Balkans) and 2% East African. My Y-DNA haplogroup is J-M267.
    I’m Lowe-7174. My grandfather Victor Lowe was the city clerk of Key West and president of the Florida municipal employees association. My closest relative who took DNA tests is Ben Roberts, contributor to “Wild Key West”, with 397 shared centimorgans. Many of my distant cousins graduated from FSU. Carla Cleare Bedgood was a math major like me. My double 5th cousin Donald Scott Lowe was a NASA scientist, father of Google Earth. You and I are probably distantly related to William Joseph Curry, first millionaire in Key West. He built the Curry Mansion,first renovated by my great-aunt’s husband Thomas Milton Curry.

    • I welcome the moderator to edit my comment for content and suitability. If Eowyn is a moderator, I particularly have faith in her good judgment. I joined WikiTree in June 2017, and defer to the more experienced genealogists. I may rely too much on family lore and my Family Tree DNA list of predicted 2nd to 4th cousins. My grandfather Victor Lowe, city clerk of KW, bequeathed to us the idea that we were related to everybody in Key West. We were more prosperous than most of the cousins. I have a full family tree which appears to closely match my DNA tests. My Y-DNA haplogroup J-M267 is Middle Eastern, probably Sephardic Jewish. I’m a male line descendant of Gideon Low, born 1630. I’m a blue blood. Nobody in my family was ever working class. We are descendants of slaveholders and privateers.

      • Hi, Victor. I sent you an email with a photo of the Masonic Dade lodge of key West to see if your grandfather is in the photo.

    • I have two Carey lines from the Bahamas. William and Elizabeth were cousins (possibly 2nd) who married each other. I haven’t been able to go back very far on William Carey’s line, but Elizabeth’s line includes Morton and Culmer. I don’t know of any blood relations I have with the Curry’s or Lowe’s, at least thus far.

      • Carolyn,

        Thanks for the photo of the Masonic Dade Lodge, Key West.
        My mother confirmed that my grandfather is the 4th from left in the back row. Your father and grandfather are in the photo, too.
        My other grandfather was also a Mason.
        I’m sorry to hear that you and I are not related by blood. I do not have any connection to the Carey family that I know of. I always want to claim a connection to respected people. You are probably better off not being related to our pirate family. I used to work at Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom many years ago. The guests never suspected that I’m a real life descendant of Gideon Lowe, Jr., privateer, proven by my Y-DNA test.
        Old Gideon got a Crown land grant for services to the King for his efforts. After that, the family got out of the pirate business, as far as I know.

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