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 Kay.

Kay Wilson joined us in April of 2013.  She is very active co-leading our DNA project as well as participating as one of our Rangers.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Smith, Waugh, Wible, Southwick, Stone.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

I’m mostly researching in New England, but my son-in-law has many ancestors in the South, so I have some new areas to learn.

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

When I was in college an LDS friend showed me a pedigree chart and family group sheets, and I was hooked! I love to gather data! I asked everyone, grandparents, aunts, uncles, to fill out what they knew about the family. I still have what they gave me, and am still finding useful clues in them. It was slow going, writing to people and waiting to hear back, and paper records were really cumbersome, so I didn’t make a lot of progress. Then when I found out about genealogy software I got started again.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

One of my favorite ancestors is my grandmother, Grace Murdoch Johnson, who encouraged me at the start and advised me to find out as much as I could about the stories for each of my ancestors, not just dates and places. Another is my mother’s grandfather, Caleb Alfred Smith, who was born in 1805. He was 72 years old when her father was born! After a long childless marriage his first wife died, he remarried at the age of 66 and had 4 children. I’ve never been able to find a picture of him, although he lived until 1883.

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

I’m hoping to solve some brick walls with yDNA for Smith, Wilson, and Stone. We were able to trace our Smith ancestry on paper back to New Haven, Connecticut in the 1600s. With my maternal uncle’s yDNA we used his matches and non-matches to eliminate one potential local Smith candidate for the father of our ancestor Thomas Smith-15895 (1634-1724). I’m hoping that someday we’ll be able to use yDNA to find Thomas Smith’s father and where he came from.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I like to read, hike, and cross-country ski. During income tax season I’m a volunteer tax preparer with AARP TaxAide.

How long have you been on WikiTree and how active are you?

Kitty Smith suggested WikiTree to me in 2013 so I could share research with a yDNA Smith cousin as we looked for other male Smith descendants of our common ancestors. Now I spend several hours most days on WikiTree, looking for ancestors and helping other people learning to use WikiTree.

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

I love the collaboration with distant cousins who are working on the same ancestors. I love the wonderful DNA tools available to us on WikiTree.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

I recommend that you add your family members manually (no gedcom), always adding sources, dates and locations as you go, so others can understand why you believe the relationships you’ve added are accurate. When you’re ready to use DNA on WikiTree, please read the instructions first and ask questions on G2G if you don’t understand: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:How_to_Get_Started_with_DNA

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

Have fun with genealogy. I hope you are able to break down all the brick walls that we weren’t able to.


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  2 Responses to “Meet our Members: Kay Wilson”

  1. Hi Kay,

    I am glad you encouraged everyone to ask questions about DNA. I am preparing to ordering tests for my 89 mother in law and her 87 year old brother last name Cox. I flooded the Tree with tons of questions about where to have the tests done, what tests to do and so many more questions. Members were so forthcoming with a wealth of information it was wonderful. I know this information will not only benefit me, but many other members as well.

    I see your name and face everywhere Kay and it is very nice to me you.


  2. Hi Kay, it looks like we are connected with the Hitchings name, see: https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Special:Connection&action=connect&person1Name=Johnson-18438&person2Name=Woolridge-210

    She was a sister to my great grand mother, Jane Hitchings, on my father’s line. I have my DNA on here but not good at looking info up on it. I need more time to spend on here! I would love to hear from you back if you are interested. Happy Hunting, blessings, Rose Ann Woolridge Mangini

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