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 Thom.

Thom participates in many projects and is an especially great asset to our WikiTree Apps and DNA projects.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

I have decidedly shied away from researching brick walls – for now.  Obviously, one can get a headache quickly when one hits their head against a wall.  I will return to those challenges eventually but as I am still fairly new at this (17 months), there are lots of easier targets.  The Pulman family for West Yorkshire is one. The Brown family from Culpeper, Virginia is another, and I will soon be looking more into the Doggett family from Suffolk, England.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

It happens to be St. Patrick’s day today and I did have a pair of great-grandparents from County Kerry, Ireland – specifically the Kerry Head area.  I have done a lot of research here and will stop by the area this June as I am scheduled to get on a boat in Dublin headed to the Arctic at that time.  This area has turned out to be more historically fascinating than I would have imagined. I am also researching the Yorkshire, West Riding area in conjunction with the Pulman line mentioned earlier and helping with the town categorization

The next location will be Süd Tyrol and I will likely need to do much of the work on location as on-line records are quite limited and transcribed and indexed records even more limited.

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

I had some level of interest since childhood and took my first steps 25 years ago but as there was little interest in the rest of the family and I had little time to spare doing on-line lookups and/or mailing requests, I put it on the back burner.  A couple years ago, my step-son did a DNA test and my wife and I decided to do so as well and we got our results back a couple of months later. This spurred an interest but we were sailing around the world at the time and it was many months before we would be home to get started on genealogy, but when we did return, I delved into it almost immediately.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

I like to say my 64th great-grandfather whose 5th wife was a woman named Cleopatra but people always think I am joking and BCE folks, including Mark Antony, are no longer on WikiTree, so I will have to say my 3rd great-grandfather, Thomas Pulman, who had three wives (in series not simultaneously), fourteen children, packed everything up and moved to America ending up in Alexandria, Virginia with a farm next to Lord Fairfax’s farm.  The problem was the War of Northern Aggression (better known by the misnomer of the “Civil War”) started with troops crossing the Potomac and building a fort on his property. Lincoln came to his farm in 1863 after an explosion at the fort and a year later. The next year, a cannon ball from the fort killed two of Thomas’s grandchildren at his son’s farm a mile away.  Yet, through all the adversities in England, in migration, and in America, he was able to persevere.

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 in the Anderson line but the family was from one of the burned counties of Virginia so the records were probably used to light someone’s cigar during the War there.  As this is my paternal line, I have done as much DNA testing as today’s technology provides but there has been nothing.

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

I signed up in April of 2016 but did little until October of that year.  Lately, I have been spending most of my time building an application to diagram how the trees of multiple descendants intersect.  This will be most useful for DNA triangulation.

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

I was looking for several elements: (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).

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

The relationship finder.

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

Add DNA information to the API.

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

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that someone had added a court case to one ancestor and that case had tons of information about many of the family members.  I would never have come across this document on my own.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

If you see a pretty leaf and it won’t stick to the tree, sweep it into the fire pit and burn it.


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  4 Responses to “Meet our Members: Thom Anderson”

  1. Can’t wait for this.

  2. Hope your diagram is useful when you finish DNA at this time is too closed for security reason to be useful for tracking family from prior generations. The Langford DNA project only has to links back to Rufus Wiley Langford and even those contacts are frozen so that we cannot compare links.

    Donald Langford – great great grandson of Rufus Wiley Langford, Overton Co TN

  3. I found my 5th great grandfather through wikitree last year. His name was John Marshall and he was born in Scotland and not the United States.
    I am looking for a John and Hannah Stodt of Austria and a John Ralston/Rolston Stamper of England.

  4. Congrats on the well deserved recognition!

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