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 Mark.

Mark Sutherland-Fisher became a WikiTreer in July of 2017.  He is very active as a Project Coordinator in our Scotland Project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Sutherland, Mackenzie, Drummond, Waddell, Fisher and Postlethwaite

What are some of the locations you are researching?

The Scottish Highlands for most of my maternal ancestry and the Counties of Westmorland, Cumberland and Lancashire in England for most of my paternal ancestry plus a sprinkling of locations from London to Aberdeen. All my known ancestry since the 11th century comes from the British Isles.

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

As a child my maternal grandfather related to me the family stories his maternal grandaunt had related to him 50 years earlier. Through him I heard the words of the “Waterloo generation”, the generation of her parents. Her great-grandfather had been on the field of Culloden on 16th April 1746 within the Jacobite army and survived to tell the tale.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

From my “illustrious” ancestors it has to be Margaret Beaufort, Duchess of Suffolk, afterwards Countess of Richmond and mother of Henry VII of England. Her maneuvering during the Wars of the Roses made her the female version of Machiavelli. A mother at 13, had she not been so strong and determined, we would never have had the Tudors and Stewarts on the throne.

Among my less “illustrious” and more recent ancestors it would be another woman, Sophia Fraser a 3x great grandmother. Her only child was illegitimate and his father referred to her in the Kirk Session minutes as though she was the local “easy lay”. As she was the one who came from a “better family” I would love to hear her side of the story.

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

The Scottish naming pattern is both a blessing and a curse. Highland Scottish families tended to stick “religiously” to it. Both my 3x great grandfather Sutherlands were named James and both their fathers were named Alexander. In the Parish of Latheron in Caithness, in the late 18th and early 19th century the Parish Ministers adopted a narrow Calvinistic attitude so only men were relevant because it was a man who determined whether he and a woman were married and it was the father who determined whether his children were legitimate or otherwise. The church “made money” from the small fees levied for registering marriages and baptisms, thereby declaring that couples were not fornicators and their children not illegitimate.

As a result for several generations the Parish Ministers only recorded the name and sometimes rank, occupation or residence of the father on the baptism of his child. Two centuries later that is not much use when there are upwards of ten cousins, all named Alexander Sutherland, fathering children and having them baptised in the same parish at the same time. My brick wall is working out “which” Alexander is “my” Alexander in terms of the wider Sutherland family within the extended Sutherland of Forse and Langwell family! For four decades I have been using snippets of information and the process of elimination to narrow down the “candidates” and now DNA has put another weapon in my armoury! DNA confirms he was a member of the Sutherland family in the direct male line of descent from Freskyn of Moravia (c1100-1166) founder of the family. Similarly DNA has confirmed his wife Margaret was a member of the Mackenzie of Gairloch branch of the Kintail family. 

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

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469-1527) arguably the “father” of modern political philosophy. After genealogy, politics is my greatest passion and over the years many people have accused me of having a mind like Machiavelli. I have taken that as the supreme compliment!

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Politics (though I am no longer actively involved beyond my laptop), Rotary International, gardening and my dogs. I am about to complete my 3rd term as President of the Rotary Club of Tain and Easter Ross in its ten-year existence and 27 years ago on becoming President of the Rotary Club of Dingwall, at 32 I was the youngest president in R.I.B.I. at the time. I am lucky enough to have substantial gardens round my house so spend much of the summer months in them. I have 2 Jack Russell dogs, a father and son who have me twisted round their little paws!  

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

I joined WikiTree on 1st July 2017, one of the best things I have ever done. I look after around 4,000 profiles of members of my extended family. I have the privilege of being a member of the Leadership Team of the new Scotland Project with special responsibility for Scottish Clans and Scottish Nobility. I also lead our Protocol Team (equivalent of Rangers which has a very different meaning in Scotland). I work closely with a fantastic group of dedicated WikiTree members building our new project, hopefully learning from the successes and otherwise from the longer established projects. I therefore spend roughly half my time on WikiTree encouraging and supporting other members, especially those newer to genealogy, and the other half improving profiles.

What brought you to WikiTree?

It was my kinsman Sir William Arbuthnot of Kittybrewster, who first introduced me to WikiTree when he sought my opinion on an existing profile on the site. As soon as I looked at the profile, I was hooked.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

I like the emphasis we place on providing good sources for information on profiles. It makes WikiTree stand apart from many other internet-based genealogy sites. My favourite feature is Connection Finder and the weekly connections. I have found some hitherto unknown cousins that way. {Editor’s note: Check the Connection Finder this week to see how you are connected to Mark!}

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

I would love to see a new name field especially for titles and territorial designations which would show up in the person search. It is a Europe-wide problem as most European countries have ranks of nobility which are complex and lead to the creation of thousands of unnecessary duplicate profiles which then have to be merged. It would also be useful in the USA where it could be used to include e.g. “23rd President of the United States of America” as an additional searchable name box in addition to “Benjamin Harrison”.

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

WikiTree regularly points me to family relationships I was unaware of. It also enables me to help others when I recognise a profile and can add several earlier generations to it. Nowadays when I come across a newly discovered cousin, I automatically refer him or her to my WikiTree profile because it is the easiest way for him or her to explore the extended family without having to share login and password details for other online programmes Like Ancestry.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Walk before you try to run! Spend a week or so getting to know WikiTree. Never be slow in asking a more experienced WikiTree member for help or advice. Use G-2-G. Always be courteous to fellow members of WikiTree and remember none of us “own” our ancestors. We share them with many many others. If you wish to constructively criticise a fellow member of the community send him or her a private message. Publicly humiliating someone says more about you than him or her!

If you have any questions about Scottish Clans or the Scottish Nobility, send me a private message and I will try to help you.


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  6 Responses to “Meet our Members: Mark Sutherland-Fisher”

  1. Congratulations Mark on being named member of the week. Thanks for helping me to connect to the European side of the family. I have made some progress in identifying my Jamaican side and now know the place where they settled – and since then have discovered a lot of cousins – living in various parts of the world.

  2. Hi Mark

    Fantastic write up I also am a great fan of Machiavelli.

    Stay Safe

    Jackie

  3. Hi!
    Nice to meet you I am no 41 on your list I discoverd today!
    Greetings from a locked down Switzerland
    Christiane Anique Thissen

  4. Good day Mr. Sutherland-Fisher

    Nice to see that we are distand related,

    https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Special:Connection&action=connect&person1Name=Sutherland-Fisher-1&person2Name=Kruize-15

    Your ancestor is Ida de Rooij, sister of my ancestor Anna de Rooij.

    Both ladies are direct descendants of the Duke John I of Brabant, as well, through a different line descendants of Duke John II of Brabant. And that means that they also have Scottish ancestors. This is the family tree.

    The first connection:

    Anna Barbara van Hoof – de Roij (de Rooij) 
    (IDA DE ROOIJ’S SISTER)

    Cornelia Laurens van Beurden 
    her and Ida’s mother

    Anna Peter van Eeten 
    her mother

    Maria Goijaert Jan Mutsaerts 
    her mother

    Cornelia Theodorus van den Bruèhl 
    her mother

    Maria Gerit Jan de Rooij 
    her mother

    Magdalena Jan Laureijs Colen 
    her mother

    Jan Laureijs Denis ‘den Bruijnen’ Colen, sr 
    her father

    Laureijs Denis Laureijs Colen 
    his father
    ….see this blog nu Yvette Hoitink, professional genealogist, see continuation in the second connection.

    -https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/was-eleanore-of-aquitaine-my-ancestor-generation-14-laureijs-denis-colen/

    Barbara Peter Goyaert Pulskens 
    his mother

    Niklaske Peter Niclaes Spapen 
    her mother

    Barbara Willems Willem Pijlijser van Valkenvoorde 
    her mother

    Willem Jan Jan Jan Pijlijser, van Valkenvoorde, Knight
    her father

    Jan Jan Pijlijser, Knight
    his father

    Jan Jan Jan Pijlijser, Knight
    his father

    Jan I de Meeuwe de Brabant, Lord of Koeckelberghe and Huldebergen, Knight
    his father

    Jan I de Overwinnaar, hertog van Brabant en Limburg 
    his father

    Hendrik III, hertog van Brabant 
    his father

    Hendrik II, hertog van Brabant 
    his father

    Mathilde van Boulogne, hertogin van Brabant 
    his mother

    Marie I, countess of Boulogne 
    her mother

    Mathilde de Boulogne, Comtesse de Boulogne 
    her mother

    Mary of Scotland 
    Her mother

    Malcolm III, ‘Canmore’, King of Scots 
    her father

    The second connection:

    The links lead you to the blog of Yvette Hoitink, a Dutch professional genealogist, she is looking for the link with Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of England and France

    Anna Barbara van Hoof – de Roij (de Rooij) 
    SISTER OF IDA DE ROOIJ

    Cornelia Laurens van Beurden 
    their mother

    Anna Peter van Eeten 
    her mother

    Maria Goijaert Jan Mutsaerts 
    her mother

    Cornelia Theodorus van den Bruèhl 
    her mother

    Maria Gerit Jan de Rooij 
    her mother

    Magdalena Jan Laureijs Colen 
    her mother

    Jan Laureijs Denis ‘den Bruijnen’ Colen, sr 
    her father

    Laureijs Denis Laureijs Colen 
    his father

    https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/was-eleanore-of-aquitaine-my-ancestor-generation-14-laureijs-denis-colen/


    Barbara Peter Goyaert Pulskens 
    his mother

    https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/was-eleanor-of-aquitaine-my-ancestor-generation-15-barbara-peter-goijaert-pulskens/


    Niklaske Peter Niclaes Spapen
    her mother

    https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/was-eleanor-of-aquitaine-my-ancestor-generation-16-claesken-peters-die-paep/


    Barbara Willems Willem Pijlijser van Valkenvoorde 
    her mother

    https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/was-eleanor-of-aquitaine-my-ancestor-generation-17-barbara-willems-pijlijzer/


    Lady Joanna van Wijtfliet (her huisband is Willem Jan Jan Jan Pijlijser, Lord of Valkenvoorde, Knight)
    her mother

    https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/was-eleanor-of-aquitaine-my-ancestor-generation-18-johanna-van-wijfliet/


    Willem Jan van Wijtfliet 
    her father

    https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/was-eleanor-of-aquitaine-my-ancestor-generation-19-willem-van-wijfliet/


    Jan van Wijtvliet Jans Bac van Tilborch, Knight
    his father

    https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/was-eleanor-of-aquitaine-my-ancestor-generation-20-jan-van-wijfliet/


    Lijsbeth van Mieren 
    his mother

    https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/was-eleanor⁸-of-aquitaine-my-ancestor-generation-21-lijsbeth-van-mieren/


    Jan van Wijtvliet, out of wedlock son of John II of Brabant, Lord of Blaasveld and Cuijk, Viscount of Heusden 
    her father

    https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/was-eleanor-of-aquitaine-my-ancestor-generation-22-jan-van-wijfliet/

    https://pin.it/6TBEyiO

    Jan II van Brabant, Duke of Brabant and Limburg.
    his Father

    https://www.dutchgenealogy.nl/was-eleanor-of-aquitaine-my-ancestor-generation-23-john-ii-of-brabant/

    https://pin.it/5ljM28m


    Jan I de Overwinnaar, hertog van Brabant en Limburg 
    his father

    Hendrik III, hertog van Brabant 
    his father

    Hendrik II, hertog van Brabant 
    his father

    Mathilde van Boulogne, hertogin van Brabant 
    his mother

    Marie I, countess of Boulogne 
    her mother

    Mathilde de Boulogne, Comtesse de Boulogne 
    her mother

    Mary of Scotland 
    Her mother

    Malcolm III, ‘Canmore’, King of Scots 
    her father

    Yours sincerely, Angelique Nota-Kruize

  5. I am interested in finding out more about Rachel Sutherland, who was married to my third great grandfather,Elisha Cornell(1773-1808) and when he died she marriedJames Hickox. I have her parents as Samuel Sutherland and Rachel Purdy married on 10 April 1767.Can you tell me more about her family?

  6. Hello Mark,
    I believe we may be distant cousins. I have been exploring my father’s lineage. I ended up on a wikitree page that notated you and my cousin Captain Micajah Gleason of the American Revolution are cousins. I forget how many removed. I have genealogical pedigree paper to prove my ancestry. I am a Daughter of the American Revolution. I am hoping to trace back further. My journey began in 2018. I need to figure out GED com. I have done DNA tests with ancestry and 23 and me. I work full time and go to college. Just know that I am greatful for your time and am not contacting you lightly. Thank you Sir.
    Sincerely,
    Jennifer Lewis

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