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 David.

David Douglass became a WikiTreer in May of 2015.  He participates in several projects but especially enjoys being Project Coordinator of the Magna Carta Project and working on profiles for the Southern Pioneers project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Aldridge, Chisholm, Clay, Douglas, Johnson Johnston, Jordan, Mowbray, Randolph,Worden

What are some of the locations you are researching?

England, Scotland (UK), Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina,Tennessee, Texas

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

Among my family members growing up, family history was something no one seemed particularly interested in except for a great aunt who would on the infrequent occasions I saw her would remind me she could be a DAR member, if only she really wanted to.  That did sound important! The only other family member that showed an interest in family history was my dad’s father. And so what was to become a lifelong interest in family history and genealogy was sparked early on by weekend visits and chats with my grandfather Douglas. We would sometimes speculate about where our family came from and he would often talk about his childhood growing up in a rural town in North Texas, a conversation that was often spiced with colorful “Texas Sayings” and grammar you had to be a “native” Texan to fully appreciate or understand.

But it was only when my first daughter, Savannah. was born that I began to seriously think about tracing and documenting our family roots, Then my second daughter Abigail came along in 1989 and I jumped into genealogy headlong. I started research with my father’s line, the Douglases. It was fun and I enjoyed the research but being new to genealogy I wasn’t making a great deal of progress, Then, I  got lucky one day and I found a book in my public library titled Historic Sumner County, Tennessee, written by a Nashville lawyer named J Guy Cisco, in 1909. There, in that  little volume I found my family tree beginning with my earliest known (at that time) Douglas ancestor, Col Edward Douglas, a Scottish immigrant.  After more than 20 years of research, he is still my brick wall.  But I keep on digging and one of these days I will find his parents and make the connection to his Scottish ancestry.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Col Edward Douglas (1713 – 1795) is my favorite ancestor.  He is my 6th great grandfather and the progenitor of my Douglas line.  He is also my brick wall and both a challenge and inspiration to me to keep digging for answers.

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

I haven’t broken through that brick wall as yet but I am getting closer.  Through YDNA matching I have discovered another Douglas line that is genetically closely connected that may prove to be the key to discovering Col Edward Douglases’ Scottish ancestors.

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

Sir Winston Churchill, the son of an English politician and an American socialite whose unbreakable spirit, courage and resolve as Prime Minister, led Britain to victory during WWII.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Music, my father was a musician and vocalist, I play guitar but feel more at home behind a mixing console. And film making, I’m an independent film maker. My latest project is a documentary on a Texas classical concert pianist that has been battling Parkinson’s disease since 1999.

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

I’ve been a WikiTree member since May 2015.  I used to spend most of my time researching my own family lines and helping others where I could. Now days, I’m involved in the Magna Carta Project, Rangers, Integrators, DNA Project, Scottish Clans, Southern Colonies, Southern Pioneers, and European Aristocrats.  I have to admit though that Magna Carta takes the majority of my WikiTree time.  I am a Project Administrator in the Magna Carta Project working with Membership and Recruiting.  If you know of any hard workers with an interest in Magna Carta connections send them my way.  Pre-1700 certification is required but a desire to get into some serious research is equally  important.  My other favorite project is Southern Pioneers where I help develop and improve the profiles of our pioneering southern ancestors.  I really enjoy researching those Southern Pioneer lines.  I also give time weekly to the Rangers Project.

What brought you to WikiTree? (In other words, how did you find us?)

I had been a member of another genealogical community that just didn’t seem to put much emphasis on accuracy and doing quality work.  So when I found WikiTree online with its collaborative, one profile for each ancestor approach to genealogy I joined.  In my opinion WikiTree’s collaborative tree and G2G forum are big factors in what makes WikiTree the best online genealogy community.  The fact that it is free to members was a drawing point for me as well.  I know some of the other communities have trial subscriptions but how can you beat free?

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

I love the profile layout, it allows a lot of information to be displayed in an attractive, easy to read and edit form. And Wiki markup language is very user friendly and easy to learn even for beginners.

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

Perhaps add more video tutorials to YouTube on important aspects of WikiTree use, such as Wiki markup language tips, finding sources and DNA user tips or help topics.

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

Honestly, WikiTree has made me a better genealogist. When I first started as a new member I made all kind of mistakes including the worst of all, creating lots of profiles without sources and creating duplicate profiles.  A very knowledgeable leader/mentor gently turned me around and once I started doing things the WikiTree way I found that my profiles looked better, were more accurate and my research skills improved because a mentor cared enough to help me.  I can not say enough good about WikiTree mentors.  It’s a difficult job, but one of the most important jobs in WikiTree.  They are there to help you do your best!

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Don’t be shy. Get help if you need it.  There are so many helpful, knowledgeable members that are as close as a quick post in the G2G forum or you can contact a mentor. It’s two of your best resources on WikiTree.


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