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 L. Ray.

L. Ray Sears became a WikiTree in December of 2018. He has started the Sears One Name project and is the primary contributor on two cemetery projects: The Ancient Sears Cemetery and Quivet Neck Cemetery . He is also actively involved in our Puritan Great Migration Project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

My primary search is for Sears. My 7th great-grandfather Richard Sears shows up in Plymouth Colony in 1633. I am also very interested in Howes, Eldredge and Crowell, all Cape Cod families.

What are some of the locations you are researching? 

Cape Cod is my favorite. There are so many town and church records and the deeds are online.  The history has been done many times but there is always something new to discover. I also enjoy locations where the Cape Codders migrated like Brewster, NY (the Connecticut Oblong).

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

My Mom piqued an interest in Genealogy when we lived in Washington DC in the 60s and she was searching for a DAR ancestor. Then when my grandmother gave me the copy of the Sears Genealogy from 1890 I was hooked. My grandfather wasn’t in the book since he wasn’t born until 1892 so I started a quest to bring the book up to date and finally published that update in 1992.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Capt Edmund Sears (1712-1796), my 4th great-grandfather is my favorite. He was born in a little village called Quivet Neck in the East Precinct of Yarmouth on Cape Cod, Massachusetts Bay Colony. As captain of his ship he was in Boston harbor on 16 Dec 1773 and participated in the Boston Tea Party. Upon his return to the Cape soon after, though he had been long absent from home, on entering the house he went straight to the “bowfat,” and without saying a word to any one, seized the teapot and caddy, and threw them into the garden with a crash. His astonished wife whispered to the children, “your poor father has come home crazy.”

He then proclaimed that from that time henceforth none of his family were to drink tea, or wear upon their persons any articles of British manufacture.

His four sons were in the Revolutionary Army, but nevertheless, when a landing was threatened on the Cape, he mounted his horse and galloped to the spot to offer his services. He set up the first chaise, and owned the first ingrain carpet in the town.

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

I hope to some day discover who the parents of Richard Sears (1595-1676) of Plymouth colony were. With the advent of YDNA maybe someday we will find a Sears man in East Anglia area of England who could confirm rumors that Richard is from there.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Besides genealogy I love to row sculls. I have rowed over 5,000 miles on the Oklahoma River in the last ten years and won numerous racing medals with my teammates at rowing regattas.

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 started on WikiTree in Dec 2018. I spend most of my time creating profiles for the descendants of Richard Sears. Someday when I am done I will have added nearly 30,000 of Richard’s grandkids from my database to WikiTree. I started the Sears One Name project to advance the study of this name. I also work on the Puritan Great Migration Project as a contributor.  I am the primary contributor on two cemetery projects: The Ancient Sears Cemetery and Quivet Neck Cemetery and would love to have more help.

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

I was looking for a free genealogy site where people could learn and collaborate. I have been on Ancestry for many years but it is expensive and the collaboration is nowhere near as comprehensive. My sister told me about WikiTree.

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

I like the collaboration and cooperation among members of WikiTree to make one comprehensive, accurate family tree.  The “Compact Tree” feature really helps to visualize my ancestors. 

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

Make sources easier to format and tag to events. Similar to the category tool, the user need only type in some fields to create a source instead of a freeform entry.  Once a source is entered, make it easier to reference the source, like a category, and update only the page number. I have to keep a document with my commonly used sources and keep pasting the same information into WikiTree, over and over.

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

The abundance of source info has definitely helped me refine the genealogies of my ancestors. I wish GEDCOM imports required more source info. I don’t import GEDCOMs, it is more important to add each profile step by step and get the sources in place than to import hundreds of unsourced profiles.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Ask lots of questions in G2G.  Many people are willing to help and give you examples of how to create good profiles.

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  6 Responses to “Meet our Members: L. Ray Sears”

  1. Thank you for your contributions in WikiTree. I’m new to all of the process of merging, projects and awarding badges. I appreciate any help so if I miss thanking someone, it is not intentional, just haven’t clicked the right thing to convey my message.

  2. Greetings, Don’t know if I can be of assistance but my late mother’s maiden name is Crowell. I have traced it back to Yarmouth, Barnstable Mass. I was surprised to see that my 4th great grandfather’s sister, Margaret Lyday Bell goes back to Lady Jane Grey as well. I’m an amateur at family history but find it fascinating!

  3. Ray, I have done some research on a whim on familysearch.org. Found William Richard Sears b. 1565 in Holland, North Brabant,Netherlands d.1676 Massachusetts Hope this helps. His IS on that website is L2HF-79H. Lynn

  4. Hello Cousin!
    My name is Colleen (Runne) Gray. We are related through, Sears, Eldredge, Walker, Small, Smalley, Hall, Hayden, Whitmore, Runne lines. This is the first time I’ve delved into reading a connection and am thrilled to find new relations!
    I just wanted to say hi and thank you for all the hard work you have put into WikiTree.

    Colleen (Runne) Gray

  5. Hello cousin Ray. We seem to connect through our common BEACH ancestors. Wonderful to connect with you.

    Scroll down to find her:

    I39185: Sarah “Sally” BEACH (ABT 1770 – AFT 1823)…

    This is not my site, but we have been working on here with our line for many years. We did the COBB YDNA Surname test before 2005.

    Dolores Cobb Phifer

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