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 Ros.

Ros Haywood joined WikiTree in May of 2011. She is very active as a  Project Coordinator for the One Place Studies Project, an Arborist, a Ranger, an Integrator, manages six One Name Studies, a One Place Study,  and finds time to participate in each month’s Bio Builders Challenge and each week’s Sourcing Sprint. She also led a team in the Source-a-Thon, and worked on Pre-1500 errors in the Clean-a-Thon.  Whew!

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Murch, Blagdon, Damerell, Pellyne, Stanton, and Distin – all of which have One Name Studies which I run right here on WikiTree.

What are some of the locations you are researching:

Mainly Devon and Cornwall, England. I have a One Place Study on South Pool, Devon. I am fairly knowledgeable about 19th century English genealogy. I am also the County Sponsor for Devon and Somerset on WikiTree.

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

I started genealogy in 1977, when I was still a teenager. The more I did, the more fascinated I became, as these ancestors provided the large family I never had (I am an only child).

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Undoubtedly my paternal great great grandmother, Johanna (Murch) Haywood, part of a line of lacemakers, silk weavers, a Court dressmaker – and all nonconformists. When I was a teenager, for some reason I felt drawn to her, and I imagined being like her. I thought she lived to a ripe old age, until I researched her thoroughly and found she died when she was only 31. The more I research other ancestors, the more difficult it becomes to pick a favourite!

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

The first brick wall I was confronted with was my great grandfather, John Samuel Edgcombe. Family tales came to me about how he changed his age and ran away to sea, and therefore I might as well give up trying to trace him, because I would never find him (they said). Actually, I work quite well with reverse psychology i.e. if someone says I can’t, my first reaction is to try harder! So I searched and searched – and found him. His birth was only in the previous year, but well-hidden by the spine of the family bible – and he had not run away to sea, but become a coastguard, working in Ireland, England, and Australia.

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

You know something? I’m not bothered! I’m just thrilled to be related to my own ancestors! Even though they were mostly peasants, and serfs, and agricultural labourers – they’re my peasants and serfs and agricultural labourers. I can think of no greater way of honouring your own ancestors than to be satisfied with ‘what you’ve got’. I’m sure I’ll end up being related to William the Conqueror or Edward III – but right now, I’m perfectly happy.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I like to write children’s novels, have published three and there are two at the editing stage. They are for age 10 and above and are mostly about magic, talking animals, quests – and the latest one has the main female character searching for her handsome prince via genealogical records! I also like to study, and last year received my BA degree from the Open University.

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

I have been on WikiTree since 2011 and am very active (I’m on it several times a day for several hours at a time). I am a Project Coordinator for the One Place Studies Project, an Arborist, a Ranger, an Integrator, have six One Name Studies, a One Place Study, participate in each month’s BioBuilders Challenge, each week’s Sourcing Sprint, led a team in the Source-a-Thon, and worked on Pre-1500 errors in the Clean-a-Thon. I love lots of things on WikiTree – and this way there’s always something new to do!

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

I simply LOVE the ‘thank you’ links. That’s the first thing I do when I log in, is see who I can thank today. I have never met another site which does this. I’m sure it is an esteem-bolstering thing for a newbie – well, anyone, really – to see that their work is being appreciated. I’m not quite so keen on how there are no baptism/burial fields, because in English records pre-1837, there are (usually) only baptism/burial dates and hardly any birth/death dates, because these were often not recorded in church records.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Take it slow. Get to know your ancestors one by one, rather than having their names whizz by in a gedcom. You’ll start to feel a connection to them – and to their friends and neighbours – that can only come through methodical, deliberate research. And write down where you found each tidbit of information right from Day One. Trust me: you’ll be so glad you did!

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

DO IT NOW. Talk to your elderly relatives now, before they pass on and YOU are the elderly relative.

(Trust me, it happens.) Don’t think you’re going to remember something; write it down – and write it down NOW.


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  One Response to “Meet our Members: Ros Haywood”

  1. hello boy oh boy such a huge brick wall i know all on my fathers side no one on moms it like she disappeared into thin air…but it ok i just dont know half of me i do know her name was or that i know is judith elizabeth dashe or dahse d.o.b may 31 1935 in salt lake city utah married adam william martin from fort rice north dakota. mother passed feb. 4 1985 would be cool to know her side but i give up my sister knows AND wont tell adam and judith had children kim barbara martin kathyrn renee martin and kevin william matin

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