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 Doug.

Doug McCallum became a WikiTreer in May of 2012.  He’s involved in several projects, particularly as Project Coordinator for the Canada Project‘s Managed Profiles Team and the Categorization Project‘s Category Doctors.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

My primary research names are McCallum, Robertson, Caplette, Perkins, Strang, Price, Harding and LaFlash.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

This is an easy one. New England, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec with a bit going into New York. I’ve spent most of my research time researching the Maritime Provinces.

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

I had taken a trip to Scotland about 1985 and became interested in its history. With a surname of McCallum, there was a definite personal tie. After returning home, my Dad told me to talk to my aunt who had been researching the family for quite some time. She sent me everything she had found and taught me the basics of genealogical research. Having just finished working on completing a Master’s degree and abandoning a PhD, I was well acquainted with doing general research so genealogy wasn’t a stretch. Once I started, I was hooked.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

My favorite ancestor is Charlotte Taylor. She was born about 1755, probably in London. The first we know of her is when she marries her second husband sometime between 1774 and 1782. What makes her interesting is that she arrived in New Brunswick without a husband but with child. Charlotte ultimately married two more times (a total of four) and outlived them all. She is the stuff of legends with lots of stories about her having been passed down through the years. Northern New Brunswick was not an easy place. One of my “cousins” has written an historical fiction novel about her where she said she picked the most romantic path through the legends. The legend that Sally Armstrong chose to use was that Charlotte ran away from home with her father’s black butler. It is believed that he died somewhere in the Caribbean. I like that legend since I descend from his child who was born shortly after her arrival in New Brunswick.

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

My favorite brick wall was sorting out who my Great Grandfather, Albert Henry Perkins was. For years I felt that he must have been thrown off the saucer on its way to Roswell. No one with his name had been born in Vermont where he claimed to be from. There were Perkins families but no Waldo/Walter Perkins married to a Lorraine. Those names appeared in his three marriage records. His death record was even less accurate than his marriage records. Long story short, he was using his mother’s maiden name and was remembering an uncle who lived in the same household after Lorraine left her husband. Albert never knew who his father was. This was solved by finding his brother and researching him to find clues to their father and then following his mother forward in time.

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

This is a tough one. Should it be da Vinci (combining love of science/engineering with art) or Charles Rennie Mackintosh (art and functional design) or Maria Sybylla Merien whose fascination with insect metamorphosis lead her to study insects in Suriname on her own. Art and science are a theme.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Outside of genealogy, I’m quite passionate about botanical art. I have a certificate in Botanical Illustration from the School of Botanical Art and Illustration at the Denver Botanic Gardens. I also like gardening and we have a large garden. With the garden, beans are a passion and we raise more than a dozen varieties. Finally, travel. We take several trips each year and most of them are genealogy related. Sometimes to research in places our ancestors lived and other times to take advanced courses in genealogy research.

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing? If you’re  involved in a project(s), tell us about how you participate in it.

I originally joined WikiTree in 2012 but never did anything until I rediscovered it last December. Since then I’ve become more involved. I’m involved in several projects with more or less activity in each. I’m active in the Canadian project with a lot of work going on with Prince Edward Island Locations and helping do the same for New Brunswick. I’ve also just become Project Coordinator for their Managed Profiles team. In the Military and War Project, I’m working on a personal project to document the World War I soldiers of New Brunswick. Finally, I’ve become quite active in the Categorization Project where I’m becoming a Coordinator for the Category Doctors.

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

I had been searching for a better way to make my genealogy public. The large number of fictional trees on Ancestry that had no sources and lots of bad research made me want a single world tree. FamilySearch was a bit better but wasn’t what I wanted. WikiTree comes the closest. I can’t say how I found it but was just looking for what options existed.

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

What I like the most is the intent to have a single, well documented tree.

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

If I could improve one thing, it would be usability. I would work toward W3C WCAG 2.1 compliance. WikiTree is quite difficult to use for those with vision problems.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

  • Take your time and get to understand WikiTree before uploading your large GEDCOM file. It will save you time and headaches in the future.
  • Spend some time learning about sources and how to properly cite them. Good source citations not only help those who come along later, they will also help you.
  • Use WikiTree as your opportunity to become a genealogist and not just do genealogy.

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  8 Responses to “Meet our Members: Doug McCallum”

  1. My grandmother was flora mcdonald McCallum from Rothesay on the Ile of Bute. She came to Australia and lived in Nsw on a farm and later, Sydney. Her two sisters Colina and Isabel and two brothers Duncan and Neil all settled in Canada.

    • Thank you for the note, Isabelle. We aren’t entirely sure where our first Canadian McCallum originated. It seems likely he went to Canada from Northern Ireland (my Y-DNA shows strong ties to O’Neill). When did yours go to Canada?

  2. “. For years I felt that he must have been thrown off the saucer on its way to Roswell.” HAHAHA. Glad he wasn’t!
    Congrats on being MOW, Doug.

    • Thanks, Nat. My sisters thought the saucer bit explained a lot about my mother but my mother took great offense at the thought he might have been thrown out. He got out where he wanted. 🙂

  3. It’s says we’re related. I’ll have to look and see if it is by marriage or blood. So very interesting. Anyway! Great work!

  4. Thank you for the article…of course I checked to see our connection and found that we are 13th cousins through John White and Elizabeth Bawle. 🙂

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