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 Pip.

Pip Sheppard just joined WikiTree in April of this year and has made a big splash in our community.  You may have seen him in our G2G forum.  He’s involved with our 1776 and US Civil War projects and is thinking of hosting a regional WikiTree gathering in his area!

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

“Whoo Law!” as my grandmother would say! Shepherd (the original spelling of my surname), Underwood, Galloway, Neal, Patterson, Butler, Lawing, Beaty, Dalton, Kerr, Owen, Bowling, Moore, Waddell (Waddle), Rodden, and Smith (of course), these through my gg-grandparents. I also work on my wife’s genealogy, so here are some of their names: Patterson, Farmer, Taylor, Talbott, Teeter, Carey (Mayflower line), Lovelace, Sorrell, Claunch, Burton, Lester, Semonis, Baker, Corn, and Vermillion. She also has a Magna Carta line through Col. George Reade. I’d better stop here or this list will become like the Energizer Bunny.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Most of my Catawba River families came in through Philadelphia. Most of my mountain families came from Virginia and South Carolina. I’ve not really worked too hard on locations before immigration, but more than half of my family has Scottish roots through the Ulster Plantation or directly from Scotland.

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

Growing up across the pasture from my maternal grandparents meant I had early access to old stories and the many cemeteries where their ancestors had been buried from the 1700s. At age 11, I found, among other papers of my grandmother, her sister’s DAR application, and that is what got me recording information.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Aside from my grandfather, I would have to say my favorite ancestor would be his father, Jacob Sidney Underwood, Pvt., Co. C. 10th North Carolina Artillery, CSA, wounded at Spotsylvania Counthouse, and present at Appomattox. My grandfather told me so many of his father’s war stories. This ancestor, among five others available, was the one through whom I chose to enter the Sons of Confederate Veterans. A close second would be my grandmother’s grandfather, Pvt. George Alexander Neal, Co. E. 11th North Carolina Infantry, CSA, wounded on the first day of Gettysburg and captured four days later. I have items that both these men owned.

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

Well, the breakthrough on my Underwood line came from research of a cousin. On this one, oral history had led me down several rabbit holes. The research he did got my line back to Alexander the Quaker of Pennsylvania and beyond.

I have several hard nuts to crack, and two of them involve early Tennessee families. One brick wall is the parents of Elizabeth Finley (ca. 1817-aft. 1870). Another is the parents of Old Jesse Kerr (1790-1872) of Blount County, Tennessee. Both these families lived relatively near each other and connect with my Patterson line that originally ran through the same location.

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

My account was confirmed on 19 Apr 2018. I spend lots of time sourcing my own tree. Before I joined WikiTree, I was slack on sources in my database. I thought, “Well, my descendants are just going to have to take my word for it.” Now, I realize that that attitude isn’t good enough, especially when I am responsible to all the other WikiTreers who are working so hard to get things right, all the more if they are going to connect with my families.

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

I found WikiTree by quitting other genealogy sites and doing Google searches for my brick walls. However, I didn’t join right away, because I was thinking that this was just another site for entering information. It was when I started seeing source material that I knew I was wrong. That’s when I went to the homepage and read all about WikiTree, and I knew I had found a home for my research.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

My favorite thing about WikiTree has to be the way folks one has never met will leave their own research aside for a while to help out others who are struggling. I also have found a place where folks respond to frustrated questioners with courtesy, kindness and insight. This is a big draw for an airhead like me.

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

I believe that it would be great if WikiTree could publically identify false trees (tag them, somehow) so others would not be led astray. One other thing I think would be most beneficial to newcomers would be a required lesson on sourcing before they were allowed to begin entering data. I know that newcomers learn from the get-go that we really desire all profiles to have quality sources, but this would have confronted me on my slack research. I’d have started better.

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

WikiTree has been a great benefit when it came to helping me systemize my research by looking for multiple sources (where they could be found) to confirm my data.

G2G is the best! When I read some of the answers there, I am struck by how I’m out of my depth compared to others’ knowledge and research abilities. Yet, folks are patient and courteous with me, especially when I ask something that has been beat to death in earlier questions or in an area where I’m completely ignorant. It’s in G2G that I hope to help others as I have been helped. And, I want to participate better in the projects.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Ask, Ask, Ask! You’ll get more help than you’d ever have believed!

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