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 Sarah.

Sarah Rojas became a  WikiTreer in May of 2014 and is our newest Leader.  She is co-leading our Arborist project and helps in the G2G as an Integrator/Moderator.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

My focus is on Callis and Gamalero (both of these I have a name study for), but I am researching my other family names as well, like Lewis, Reider, Powell, etc.

What are some of the locations you are researching:

I don’t specifically focus myself on locations, more so on people/surnames, but places where I seem to have a lot of people are Mathews, Virginia and Berks County, Pennsylvania.

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

My paternal grandmother was really into genealogy and she had many books and research that she helped with. She would give me some of the books to look at which really sparked my interest. She passed away a few years ago and I’ve been slowly going through the rest of her genealogical things (she didn’t throw anything out, not even cash/balance sheets from 50-60 years ago!)

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

One of my favorite ancestors, because of the stories about him, is Benjamin Hutchison Lewis. He was a Captain of the Confederate Company F 15th Alabama Regiment, the “Brundidge Guards.” Benjamin was mentioned in the book by Colonel William C Oates, “The War Between the Union and the Confederacy…”, an actual account of the war and his opinion on the lost opportunities by the 15th Alabama regiment. Colonel Oates describes my ancestor as “brave as Caesar” and commented that “battalion drill completely bewildered him.” He was also very unlucky. His infant daughter died while at war and this combined with him contracting the measles, made him crazy (but he was cured). About 20 years after his resignation from the war, he was shot to death. An interesting story to say the least.

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

My biggest brick wall right now is the Gamalero family, my mother’s maiden name. One ancestor migrated from Italy to the United States (traveled back and forth between the US and Guatemala), but I have only been able to find mentions of his parents in his death certificate, nothing else regarding his family or ancestors. One day when I have enough money I’ll travel there myself, or pay someone to look into the records over there if they aren’t online at that time.

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

Maybe Leonardo Da Vinci. A Renaissance man, he was artistic, smart and one of my favorites in history (because of his art). Since I’m not able to track down my ancestors in Italy yet, it could be a (wild) possibility!

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

You can say I am somewhat of a Renaissance lady myself in the fact that I dabble in many things; I majored in Art at University (with minors in Art History and Religion), I play the piano, I practice yoga, and above all I love learning new things! But one of my biggest, but most unproductive, hobbies is watching TV!

How long have you been on WikiTree and how active are you?  Are there any projects/challenges are you involved in? What do you enjoy doing?

I have been on WikiTree for about three years, and I say I am pretty active, but I do have my moments of inactivity. I just became a leader and I am really excited about taking on a bigger role on WikiTree because I love helping people and figuring out problems.

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

I love the community aspect of WikiTree and how helpful everyone is! One thing that I don’t like as much is if you don’t know where something is (like a certain page for a project or something), it is a bit difficult to find, BUT the search bar for the Help Pages is a step in the right direction!

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

The biggest tip is patience, don’t try to take on too much, or try to understand everything at once because you’ll stress and overwhelm yourself and won’t enjoy WikiTree like you should!


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