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 Mel.

Mel Lambert became a WikiTreer in November 2015 and is one of our newest Leaders. She is active in our Military and War, Mentor and DNA projects and also participates in the Sourcerers challenges.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Samples, Ellis, McTheny (Matheny),Boggs, Alford, Ashley, Elswick, Atkinson, Gilbert, Welborn

What are some locations you are researching?

West Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina and wherever the sources lead me.

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

My interest in my family history started at the age 8 or 9, when my grandmother Sophia (Ellis) Samples told me about my great-grandmother. Her name was Nancy Bell McTheny and her husband was David Ellis. I remember thinking how cool the name McTheny was. Now, with the internet and WikiTree at my side I can explore to my heart’s content.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

I do not have a favorite, but I admire the women who came before me. Their life was filled with demanding work and hardship. One example is my great-great-grandmother Mary Jane (Boggs) McTheny. She lost her mother at an early age. She is found in the home of her grandmother in the 1850 Census. She also lost 3 of her children to Scarlet fever within 10 days of each other in September of 1856, yet she continued and raised her family. To me that is a indescribable strength. I know the conditions were hard as they are still hard in the rural areas of West Virginia.

My grandmother Sophia (Ellis) Samples is another. Her heart was so kind and her love was fierce. She worked in her flowerbeds even at age 100. The one story about her, which most in our family do not know, is the gift of the “Ponytail”. In the early 1950’s, (not long after my mother and father married) Mamaw Sophia gave my mom, Janice Bell (Samples) Gilbert her hair, a 3-foot-long ponytail, to sell just in case they needed money for food. Mom cherished this gift and the meaning behind it. She saved the Ponytail, and in the late 1970’s added her own 3-foot ponytail. Mom gave me the Ponytails in the late 80’s and to carry on the tradition I added my 3-foot ponytail in the late 1990’s. To my delight, I just received a photo of Nancy Bell (McTheny) Ellis (Sophia Ellis Samples’ mother) from my cousin. The photo shows Nancy standing with her long hair flowing.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down.

OH, the walls of my family are high and well-fortified. I have been able to find sources and other useful information to help point the way, but have not found that one key to make me yell “YES”. I am rather tickled to have found beneficial source information for the Welborn side and filled in more family.

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

It is impossible for me to choose one, but I don’t have to choose. We are all interconnected, thus making us all one family. So, in the end I am related to both the great and the not so great.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I started GrayMist Creations to express my creative side. I work with wire and gemstones creating Trees of Life and tree sculptures. I love Trees. To me they represent the greatness that can become from the smallest seed. I doodle, trees of courses, mostly on napkins. Oh, I love making my husband, of 37 years, crazy. I have just about gotten him totally white headed. 🙂

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

I joined WikiTree on 18 November 2015. I am a WikiTree enthusiast. I am on line almost daily. I am a Mentor and a new Leader. I love the thrill I get when I start hunting for sources. I never know what or who I am going to find.

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

I love the collaboration, shared knowledge and the friendliness of our WikiTree members. I believe we are all interconnected, which is proven by our DNA. WikiTree makes using DNA so much easier than the other sites out there. Oh, and it is FREE, which appeals to the thrifty side in me. I think the hardest part (I am still learning) is the format coding used inside profiles and writing good Bio’s. I just found the template to change text color. I see colorful profiles in my future. 🙂

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Go slow. Do not upload a large gedcom. it is better to add the profiles one at a time. I took that advice from my greeter/mentor when I started and I am so glad I did. Ask questions. Please add at least two reliable Sources (citing someone’s tree is not a source no matter where it is located) for your profile. The more sources the better.

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

Ask everyone older than you to share their stories. Be sure to WRITE them down and keep them safe. Even if you are like me and have issues with grammar and spelling. If they are on paper and shared, or posted to your computer, they can be handed down. My great grandchildren may be appalled at my usage of the English language but I hope they enjoy the stories such as how my Mom and Dad met and fell in love.

Most important – Remember to say and share your feelings to with other. Life is short, Enjoy every second of it.


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  4 Responses to “Meet our Members: Mel Lambert”

  1. Hi, Mel. Good to see your interview and learn a bit more about my fourth cousin on the Atkinson side. You have been a big help to me with my distant Atkinson relatives. Best of luck in your research and Wikitree work.

  2. I love your ponytail story and photo of relative. It appears we are related by 21 degrees. Pretty cool.

    • Thank you for your kind words I was beyond thrilled to see a photo of my great-grandmother. I am always amazed at how the Connection Finder works. It prove we are all interconnected.

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