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 Greg.

Greg became a WikiTreer in May of 2015.  He participates in the British Columbia, Canadian History, Categorization, Connectors, Notables, and One Name Studies projects and joins in the Connectors and Sourcerers Challenges.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Allen, Cutlip, Kelso, McMillan, Nickel, Rucks, Slade, Welch, West, Woods

What are some of the locations you are researching?

British Columbia, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Ohio, England, Scotland

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

When I was a kid, all the descendants of my great-grandparents (or at least all those who could make it) used to get together for a family reunion on New Year’s Day (because no sane person schedules an event on New Year’s Day, and none of us care about football, so nobody was double-booked). My dad traced out all the cousins he could find on his side. Then, a few years ago, I saw A.J.’s TED talk about the Global Family Reunion, and that motivated me to get out my dad’s notes and do something with them.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

He’s not a direct ancestor, but I do have a great granduncle name Horatio Goodes. There aren’t enough relatives in the world named Horatio, and I’m glad that I have one. (I’m a huge fan of C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower books.)

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

I don’t really have any hope that I’ll ever get through it, because my ancestors all seem to have been poor and obscure, and therefore it seems unlikely that there are any records to find, but the brick wall I’d most like to break through is the one behind my third great grandfather William Slade.

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

Thomas Helwys, who co-founded the first Baptist Church, and was the first person known to argue for religious liberty in English. Anybody who is part of a religious minority and isn’t being persecuted for it has him and his followers to thank for it.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I’m into boats, books (especially history, science, science fiction, and theology), computers, food, music, and travel.

How long have you been on WikiTree and how active are you? Are you involved in projects/challenges? Which ones? What do you enjoy about them/what are you working on?

I joined WikiTree in April 2015. I’m far too overextended for the time I have available, dabbling in the British Columbia, Canadian History, Categorization, Connectors, Notables, and One Name Studies projects. I take part in the Connectors and Sourcerers Challenges most months, and I put up a page to help people categorise immigrant/emigrant ships. Since I’m curious about everything, there isn’t much on WikiTree that I haven’t poked my nose into, at least a little. But I am fighting the temptation to join still more projects, since I’m not really doing justice to those I’ve already joined. I also hang out in G2G and stick my oar in any time something occurs to me. You might call me a dilettante. One thing that I find myself doing in multiple places is taking material which is scattered or haphazard and organising and arranging it. Something in me seems to take pleasure in imposing order on chaos. (Not that you could tell that by looking at my office.)

What are some of the features/aspects of WikiTree that you love/don’t love as much?

I am always shaking my head at the number of times I encounter people who don’t see the value in a given feature or piece of information, and want to get rid of it. To me, if WikiTree is going to be a place that has something for everyone, then pretty much by definition it has to have things that appeal to some people and not others, since we don’t all share the same tastes.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Read through as much of the documentation as you can find. Ask questions in G2G, because it’s worse to continue not knowing something because you were afraid to ask than it is to ask, even at the risk of sounding like a “newbie”. (We were all newbies once, and there’s nothing wrong with not knowing stuff you haven’t been told.) Go ahead and put things up on the profiles you manage. If you do it “wrong” (however that’s defined), you can always go back and fix it later. An imperfect profile is better than no profile at all. And if somebody criticises you for doing things “wrong”, there are probably a dozen WikiTreers who are positive and encouraging (even while pointing out better ways to do things) for every crank who can’t seem to be happy unless they’re dumping on somebody else. Pay attention to the encouragers, avoid the cranks, and remember that this is supposed to be fun.

If you could leave one message for your descendants, what would it be?

“Your call is important to us, but all agents are currently busy. Please leave a message at the beep, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.”

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