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 Mary.

Mary Richardson joined WikiTree in May of 2014.  She is active as a Ranger and Greeter and as Project Coordinator for the Texas, 1776, French and Indian War, World War IIKorean Conflict, and Vietnam War projects.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Richardson, Ralls, McAlpin, Stewart (Paternal) and  Cate and Hodges (Maternal)

BRICK WALL: James J Richardson   — never have been able to find a death date or burial in Texas. He was born in Watkinsville, Georgia, emigrated to South Texas where he worked for Richard King, who owned the King Ranch in South Texas. He married Frances R McAlpin of Greene Alabama, and children were born. I have an 1870 Census placing him in South Texas on the King Ranch. By 1880 there was no James J to be found and his wife was recorded in 1880 census as wife of Thomas Hines Clark  (who had been a neighbor)…  I have researched him for years.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Texas and its 254 counties, Georgia and its 100 counties, South Carolina counties, North Carolina counties, and Colorado counties where I have visited.

History is my interest.  I developed and gathered the profiles that were already written and wrote the remaining for WikiTree for the Defenders of the Alamo. If you click on the page there is a large table with all of the Alamo Defenders listed there.   As a personal project I researched each man, including the land bounties their heirs received, then began working on their families.   <Alas>  some of the families have not connected to WikiTree’s main trunk completely so they are still branches out there waiting to connect!

One man crawled out of a window of the Alamo and ran away.

One man talked his way out of death by saying he had been a prisoner. The other 187 men were killed by General Santa Anna and the Mexican Army. Their ashes are reported to be in a memorial in the San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas.

I have worked with a group of people who first created the US Southern Colonies Project. That is when I created the Defenders of the Alamo. After working for a year on the Defenders of the Alamo, I then worked with the same people on the wars as part of Military and War project. I am Project Coordinator for Texas, 1776, French and Indian War, World War IIKorean Conflict, and Vietnam War. I have  researched and written part of the space pages for those projects as well as the War of 1812. I am not including the names but they are the best at creating informative space pages and projects. I am so grateful they taught me how to do as much as I can. I am also interested in the Civil War.

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

I always liked history during college (a few years ago).  I had a cousin who developed the Cate genealogy 30 years ago but after her death and her daughter’s death, her genealogy work seems to have been lost.  Then I thought perhaps she was doing the work without the internet. Thus after retiring, I began developing both sides of my family genealogy from scratch.

A couple years ago, my husband and I had our DNA tested by Ancestry.com.  I felt it was interesting as the DNA merely confirmed what I had found with research.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Perhaps James J Richardson since he seems to have been an enigma. Also my gr grandfather David Hamilton Cate who had moved with family to Texas.  He joined the Confederacy during the Civil War in Texas.  He was injured at Davis Mills Bridge battle, left behind when the Confederates moved on, was captured by the Union army, then in hospital for the injuries. After this he was in two different prisoner of war camps: in Gratiot Prisoner of War Camp, Missouri, and Alton Prisoner of Camp, Alton, Illinois.  He was exchanged in a year or two for an equal rank soldier, and returned to Texas in 1865. He was one of 100 men to return home out of 1000 men who volunteered in 1862. Then his family survived a tornado which blew away the town they lived in (Worldwide Disasters Project).  He married with children. I have David Cate and other members of my family on the WikiTree Honor Roll.

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

There are many that I hope to bust through but it would be nice to go further back past James J Richardson’s father (Richard RICHARDSON) who was from Virginia.  This is my paternal line.  The DNA did not help me for the paternal line. As this is my paternal line, I have done as much DNA testing as today’s technology provides but there has been nothing.

I accidentally was looking at the McAlpin family. On Rootsweb there was a post for Ann Eliza Carraway. I followed this which led me to my family. It connects back to the Stewarts of Ledcreich and Glenbucky Scotland. It goes a long way back.

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

I joined WikiTree in May, 2014.  By the way I did not upload a Gedcom. I put my family and all of the Alamo men on WikiTree manually.  That method immediately alerted me to a profile with no sources or a need for better sources. I strive NOT to have Ancestry.com trees as sources. I have researched for actual sources (as you may derive, I am opposed to the Gedcoms which leave no sources on the profiles or only a partial part of Ancestry.com source).

Originally all of my time was writing profiles for my family and the Alamo Defenders with their sources.

2015, 2016 : I worked on the war space pages and research with the images.

2017: Revamped the Alamo Defenders  20 hr/week, Texas counties history 20 hr/week.

2018: Working on US history projects, Rangers 3 hr/week, Greeters 10 hr/week.

I spend the most time working on projects. Pre-1700’s take me about 9 hours/week.

Weekly there is a question usually about one of The Alamo Defenders.  People both from WikiTree and the internet are always asking about one man or another to try to connect to one of those men.

The other things I do are Pre-1700’s project recommendation messages as part of Greeters 3 X Week, and Worldwide Disasters Project.  The wars have been completed except occasional new disaster tweaks.

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

I came from Ancestry.com looking for a source, and found WikiTree on the internet.  I knew one person, Gordon Ralls, who had put his tree from Genealogy.com onto WikiTree.

My family married one of the the Ralls family. At this time it was easy to join WikiTree. I joined and immediately was able to start adding my family one by one…(with sources and locations).

Now WikiTree has (1) free, (2) wiki, (3) one shared tree with controls to manage malfeasance and misfeasance, (4) and collaboration features. I would say WikiTree provides those and more (such as DNA hooks and synchronizing with other sites).

However we still need to work on ensuring all people add sources and locations.

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

I like all of WikiTree. I like the common ancestors, the feeling of “belonging” and the relationship finder.  I like the extra work we all do to make the place perfect.

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

If I could improve one thing I would make it a requirement to add researched sources (complete with the full URL), not just the words “biography handed down to me” or Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org.  All sources need the complete URL.

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

WikiTree has helped me connect to the distant members of my family known as the Stewarts. WikiTree has also given me the interest and stimulus to work with all groups of people rather than just on my own. I learned from the leaders I worked with. Now I try to share what I know with others.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Do your research. Come on in, roll up your sleeves, and be prepared to work hard. We do not have a pretty leaf to catch your eye! Be interested in genealogy. We strive not to create duplicates! We connect!


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  7 Responses to “Meet our Members: Mary Richardson”

  1. Hi, Mary,

    You mentioned that you are interested in the Vietnam War. I’m a Vietnam Era War Veteran. I was stationed with the 328th Combat Support Group, Itazuke Air Base, Japan. I was in from 1966-1968.My two step-brothers were also in the Air Force then. My younger brother ended up on Okinawa at the end of the war. My other brother was stationed 80 miles from home for the duration.

    My dad, my mother, and my dad’s sister were all in the Army during WWII. My dad was in the Army Air Corps and put propellers on planes that flew the Burma Hump. My mother was a clerk. My aunt was an Army nurse.

    Going the other way, my older son served in Germany, Kosovo, and Iraq; and my step-granddaughter was on board the John C. Stennis in the Persian Gulf.

    I have ancestors in other wars as well. It seems that, up until WWII, I had relatives on both sides of every war you can imagine.

  2. Greetings again, Mary!
    I love this Intro to you and your family. Our families were trekking around Texas around the same period of time. Who knows how their paths might have crossed. Your photos have inspired me to get some on my family profiles. Thank you for your dedication to WikiTree.

  3. Loved reading this about you, Mary!

  4. Mary, please help me. My name is Laura Louise Bertha Fisher now Clark. My father was J. W. Fisher born 1933 in Arkansas. His profile shows he was born 019 something. This is wrong. But now, Wiki Tree won’t let me edit this birthdate because it’s pre 1500. Please help me fix this problem.

    Laura Clark
    lauralclark@hotmail.com
    541-571-0785

  5. Interesting. I am a Grimes. There was a Grimes that died in the Alamo I believe. I am looking for my gr grandmother who left home when her daughter Janus or James Alice Jones was about 7. She was married to James M Jones who was born in Iuka, Tishimingo Co Mississippi.

    I have ancestor Qualls. Noticed that they were related to you, so many degrees away I believe.

    I would like to put my DNA in Wikitree. I did My Heritage and Ancestry and have put the info into GedMatch. Is anybody here to help me. I have names Austin, McPherson, Hollingsworth, Lamb, Hayes in addition to the ones listed above.

  6. Re: French/Indian War,what is a goodwebsite to locate units in Virginia. My ancestor, James Jeffries believed to have served in Capt. Edmonds Unit(mainly men of Fauq- uier Co. Va.

  7. Getting somewhere now

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