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 Brad.

Brad Cunningham became a WikiTreer in March of 2019. He participates in several England Project teams and sourcing is one of his favorite activities.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Well, there are so many, but I guess if I had to name a few, I’ve been looking into Clark, Worth, Hussey, Swain lately.  They are all early settlers of Nantucket & Massachusetts Bay.  Then I’m always working on DeBeck & Dow who were early settlers in New Brunswick & Nova Scotia, after the War of 1812 (United Empire Loyalists).  I’ve been spending a lot of time lately researching my maternal side of the family.  My mother’s maiden name was JULEFF.  I’ve just started a One Name Study for Jolliffe/Juleff, so if anyone has any family members with this name please add the Category:Jolliffe One Name Study to their profile.  Or if anyone has some experience with ONS, any help is always appreciated!

What are some of the locations you are researching?

I’m a member of the Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset Teams, so I spend at least 2/3 of my time helping out where I can.  I also have ancestors from Norfolk & Ireland; however Ireland is a lot trickier than the rest.

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

I had an aunt (who recently passed away) who got me started in the maternal side.  I also used to belong to My Heritage & started creating a tree with them until I realized that by connecting through others, I was adding unsourced relatives, but oh did I ever have a huge tree.  

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why? 

My favorite ancestor is the one I newly discover.

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

I have been stuck for over a year on some of my Irish ancestors, but I can’t say that they are brick walls, only today.  Tomorrow is another “kick at the can”.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy? 

Cooking, Hiking, Vintage Trailer Rallies, Fishing, Reading.

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

I have been with WikiTree for just over a year now.  I spend a lot of time on the Dorset, Somerset, & Cornwall teams in the England Project; sourcing is something I enjoy doing.  Of course, I also love taking part in the various challenges; Source a Thon & Clean a Thon. I think I would like to try Connect a Thon next.

What brought you to WikiTree?

I used to use other sites to build my tree, but there is always a huge issue with unsourced profiles being added to your tree. Through research I found WikiTree & realized that there is a better way to do things.  I have learned so much since I have been a part of this “family”.  I can’t wait to learn more.  Everyday a new door opens. 

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

I have to say that I believe one of the best things about WikiTree is the Orphans Trail. I just hope that one day it will be something that everyone who joins WikiTree will take to start their journey.

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

I truly don’t think there is anything that I would want to change at this point, but you never know what I will say in another year. LOL

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

The “family” & community spirit of WikiTree has helped me the most. Whenever I have a problem or a roadblock, someone is always there to lend a hand. I have had members drop what they are doing just to help out. It encourages me to do the same & I do just that as much as I can. I also hope that my sourcing has helped out new people that have uploaded a profile or two without any sources. I hope that by adding one or two sources, it has encouraged them to dig further.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree? 

ORPHANS TRAIL!!  Just do it!


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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 Mason became a WikiTreer in September of 2017.  She’s quite active in many of our projects, particularly as a Connector, Data Doctor and Project Coordinator in the Scotland and Nebraska projects.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Mason, Gore, McGannon, Stewart/Stuart, Peniska, Micklam, Jimerson, Sharp(e), Lynch, Cain, Mosely, Becker, Dietrich

What are some of the locations you are researching?

I am currently the Project Coordinator for the Scotland Project and also for Nebraska, within the United States Project. Research of my family has led me to many places. However, the Mason Name Study has really led me all over the world. I enjoy challenges and learning how to use the internet to research in different places.

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

I have always been interested in my family history, but I didn’t have the time to really work on researching genealogy until fairly recently. While I had a few school assignments, in all levels of my education, that encouraged me to ask questions of my family, I did not seriously start my research until 2017. This is also when I joined WikiTree. This community has taught me nearly everything I know about genealogical research.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Susannah (Burnet) Mosely (Burnet-187) is one of my all time favorite ancestors. I love that she was so unabashedly intelligent and strong willed during the times she lived in. I really want to thank everyone who has collaborated on her WikiTree profile. I would know nothing about her, if not for the awesome researchers here.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

My day job in normal times is usually as a cook. I love gardening, and nature-watching. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Arts with a minor in English (emphasis on literature). But, I almost went into science, taking classes toward a biology degree in a Wildlife Ecology program. I have a lot of interests.

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

I joined in September of 2017. I am definitely involved in a lot of projects. Recently, I’ve been focused on the Scottish Clans transition into a team of teams in the Scotland Project. I am the Scotland Project PC, as well as Membership Coordinator for the Scottish Clans Team, Team Leader for Scotland Connectors, and a member of various other Scotland teams. I am also the Project Coordinator for the Nebraska subproject of the United States Project. In One Name Studies, I coordinate the WikiTree studies for Mason, Gore, and McGannon. I also participate a bit in a few others. I do a lot of Profile Improvement in the course of my WikiTreeing also. I try to source at least one unsourced profile a month. I am an active Connector, and also Data Doctor.  For a more complete list of all the projects I am involved in, visit my profile page.

What brought you to WikiTree?

Once I decided I wanted to work on my genealogy, I looked at a lot of different sites. I read articles. It didn’t take me long to find WikiTree.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

I really love the whole concept of the single shared global tree.

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

I think it would be wonderful to see more “Orphan Trail” type teams for the projects. I believe a lot of people are here to learn and orphan trails are so incredibly helpful to learning how to research in a particular area.

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

All of my genealogical knowledge of my family past my great grandparents is due to my collaboration with the WikiTree community.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Be patient with yourself. The learning curve is real. Find that Help page that tells you what you need to know. Ask the questions you will inevitably have. There are a lot of wonderfully helpful people here. If you run into someone who is less than helpful, just keep looking and you will find the helpful ones quickly enough.


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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 Mark.

Mark Sutherland-Fisher became a WikiTreer in July of 2017.  He is very active as a Project Coordinator in our Scotland Project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Sutherland, Mackenzie, Drummond, Waddell, Fisher and Postlethwaite

What are some of the locations you are researching?

The Scottish Highlands for most of my maternal ancestry and the Counties of Westmorland, Cumberland and Lancashire in England for most of my paternal ancestry plus a sprinkling of locations from London to Aberdeen. All my known ancestry since the 11th century comes from the British Isles.

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

As a child my maternal grandfather related to me the family stories his maternal grandaunt had related to him 50 years earlier. Through him I heard the words of the “Waterloo generation”, the generation of her parents. Her great-grandfather had been on the field of Culloden on 16th April 1746 within the Jacobite army and survived to tell the tale.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

From my “illustrious” ancestors it has to be Margaret Beaufort, Duchess of Suffolk, afterwards Countess of Richmond and mother of Henry VII of England. Her maneuvering during the Wars of the Roses made her the female version of Machiavelli. A mother at 13, had she not been so strong and determined, we would never have had the Tudors and Stewarts on the throne.

Among my less “illustrious” and more recent ancestors it would be another woman, Sophia Fraser a 3x great grandmother. Her only child was illegitimate and his father referred to her in the Kirk Session minutes as though she was the local “easy lay”. As she was the one who came from a “better family” I would love to hear her side of the story.

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

The Scottish naming pattern is both a blessing and a curse. Highland Scottish families tended to stick “religiously” to it. Both my 3x great grandfather Sutherlands were named James and both their fathers were named Alexander. In the Parish of Latheron in Caithness, in the late 18th and early 19th century the Parish Ministers adopted a narrow Calvinistic attitude so only men were relevant because it was a man who determined whether he and a woman were married and it was the father who determined whether his children were legitimate or otherwise. The church “made money” from the small fees levied for registering marriages and baptisms, thereby declaring that couples were not fornicators and their children not illegitimate.

As a result for several generations the Parish Ministers only recorded the name and sometimes rank, occupation or residence of the father on the baptism of his child. Two centuries later that is not much use when there are upwards of ten cousins, all named Alexander Sutherland, fathering children and having them baptised in the same parish at the same time. My brick wall is working out “which” Alexander is “my” Alexander in terms of the wider Sutherland family within the extended Sutherland of Forse and Langwell family! For four decades I have been using snippets of information and the process of elimination to narrow down the “candidates” and now DNA has put another weapon in my armoury! DNA confirms he was a member of the Sutherland family in the direct male line of descent from Freskyn of Moravia (c1100-1166) founder of the family. Similarly DNA has confirmed his wife Margaret was a member of the Mackenzie of Gairloch branch of the Kintail family. 

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

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (1469-1527) arguably the “father” of modern political philosophy. After genealogy, politics is my greatest passion and over the years many people have accused me of having a mind like Machiavelli. I have taken that as the supreme compliment!

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Politics (though I am no longer actively involved beyond my laptop), Rotary International, gardening and my dogs. I am about to complete my 3rd term as President of the Rotary Club of Tain and Easter Ross in its ten-year existence and 27 years ago on becoming President of the Rotary Club of Dingwall, at 32 I was the youngest president in R.I.B.I. at the time. I am lucky enough to have substantial gardens round my house so spend much of the summer months in them. I have 2 Jack Russell dogs, a father and son who have me twisted round their little paws!  

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

I joined WikiTree on 1st July 2017, one of the best things I have ever done. I look after around 4,000 profiles of members of my extended family. I have the privilege of being a member of the Leadership Team of the new Scotland Project with special responsibility for Scottish Clans and Scottish Nobility. I also lead our Protocol Team (equivalent of Rangers which has a very different meaning in Scotland). I work closely with a fantastic group of dedicated WikiTree members building our new project, hopefully learning from the successes and otherwise from the longer established projects. I therefore spend roughly half my time on WikiTree encouraging and supporting other members, especially those newer to genealogy, and the other half improving profiles.

What brought you to WikiTree?

It was my kinsman Sir William Arbuthnot of Kittybrewster, who first introduced me to WikiTree when he sought my opinion on an existing profile on the site. As soon as I looked at the profile, I was hooked.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

I like the emphasis we place on providing good sources for information on profiles. It makes WikiTree stand apart from many other internet-based genealogy sites. My favourite feature is Connection Finder and the weekly connections. I have found some hitherto unknown cousins that way. {Editor’s note: Check the Connection Finder this week to see how you are connected to Mark!}

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

I would love to see a new name field especially for titles and territorial designations which would show up in the person search. It is a Europe-wide problem as most European countries have ranks of nobility which are complex and lead to the creation of thousands of unnecessary duplicate profiles which then have to be merged. It would also be useful in the USA where it could be used to include e.g. “23rd President of the United States of America” as an additional searchable name box in addition to “Benjamin Harrison”.

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

WikiTree regularly points me to family relationships I was unaware of. It also enables me to help others when I recognise a profile and can add several earlier generations to it. Nowadays when I come across a newly discovered cousin, I automatically refer him or her to my WikiTree profile because it is the easiest way for him or her to explore the extended family without having to share login and password details for other online programmes Like Ancestry.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Walk before you try to run! Spend a week or so getting to know WikiTree. Never be slow in asking a more experienced WikiTree member for help or advice. Use G-2-G. Always be courteous to fellow members of WikiTree and remember none of us “own” our ancestors. We share them with many many others. If you wish to constructively criticise a fellow member of the community send him or her a private message. Publicly humiliating someone says more about you than him or her!

If you have any questions about Scottish Clans or the Scottish Nobility, send me a private message and I will try to help you.


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Hi WikiTreers!

Wow, what a wonderful WikiTree-ing weekend! Another successful marathon has come and gone. Thank you to everyone who participated in our 2020 Spring Clean-a-Thon.  It’s one of our favorite things when the community comes together and works hard on bettering our tree!

This year we cleared 158,784 suggestions in 72 hours! Quite an accomplishment. We beat last year’s total of 132,554 and the all-time record of 152, 253 set in 2018.  That makes this our most productive Clean-a-Thon yet.

Here are some highlights from the event:

Top 5 Teams by Total

  • Tree Nuts – 18,642
  • Team Roses – 17,685
  • Team Virginia – 15,730
  • Sandringham Strollers – 11,803
  • Windsor Warriors – 11,513

Top 5 by Team Average (number of team contributions divided by team members):

  • Team Roses – 982
  • Team Virginia – 874
  • South African Springboks – 825
  • Windsor Warriors – 822
  • Tree Nuts – 583

Top 5 Participants:

  • Porter Marsh – 4,532
  • Susie MacLeod – 4,007
  • Morgan Mulligan – 3,637
  • Maddy Hardman – 3,539
  • Emma MacBeath – 3,242

Top 5 Suggestions:

  • Location Too Early in Birth Location: 14, 334
  • USA Too Early in Birth Location: 11,455
  • ProjectBox Without Project Account: 10,866
  • GEDCOM Junk: 8,453
  • Empty Profile: 8,122

Top Participant Per Suggestion Group:

  • Biographies: Susie MacLeod with 2,329
  • Locations: Porter Marsh with 3,162
  • FindAGrave: Lydia Holland with 2,240
  • Privacy: Linda Peterson with 1,831
  • Unique Names: Isabelle Martin with 2,066
  • Names: Porter Marsh with 1,175
  • References: Desiree Schekierka with 991
  • Dates: Morgan Mulligan with 1,410
  • Gender: Pip Sheppard with 908
  • Templates: Susie MacLeod with 1,610
  • Relations: Sandy Patak with 1,331
  • Categories: Natalie Trott with 586
  • WikiData: Porter Marsh with 160

23 Teams participated and 20 of them broke 1000! 585 members participated – 46 of them broke 1000!

Thanks so much to everyone who joined in the clean-up and contributed to another fun, successful marathon and improved the health of our tree!

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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 Jackie.

Jackie Prentice became a WikiTreer in May of 2019. She is a Cemeterist and a Project Coordinator for our Scotland Project.  She also participates in the Military and War and England projects.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

I am researching from Liverpool, Lancashire, England: Campbell, Cowley, McCoys (no Hatfields) McGarry and Ruddock. From Scotland: Prentice, Hogg and Hiddlestone.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

I am mainly focused on my One Place Study of Kirkby, Lancashire England.  I have started with the 1841 census and I am slowly (very, very slowly) working my way through and following each person through the following census’ until they either have died or left the town. 

As well as the areas that my profiles touch.

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

I got interested in genealogy around the time of the celebrations and commemorations here in the UK for World War 2. I realised that my family had very little documentary evidence of family as a great deal of our history was destroyed in the bombing raids on Liverpool.

I had to wait for my mother to agree to talk about it all as even now she finds the whole period upsetting and I wasn’t prepared to do the research until she was on board.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

I don’t really have a favourite but the one I admire the most is my maternal grandmother Irene Cowley. In the space of 14 months from 1940-1941 she lost her mother to a bomb in Liverpool, her father-in-law, mother-in-law, a niece and nephew in a house fire in Liverpool which also claimed the life of a young policeman who was trying to save the family and within a month of that was widowed when her husband was killed at the Evacuation of Crete in 1941. She still got up every day putting one foot in front of the other and just dealt with it. I would have just pulled the covers over my head and blocked out the world. But they were a different breed.

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

I found most of the family on my side easy to find but my husband is awkward (pun intended).  I am struggling to find the parents of Jame Prentice born about 1806.

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

Neil Armstrong. I have always wanted to go into space.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Actually my interests are very domestic, I love cooking, and crafting, mainly knitting , crochet and sewing.

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

I have been with WikiTree since May 2019, although it seems that it has been in my life for much longer and apart from my One Place Study, I am part of the Cemeteries Project where I concentrate on military graves within the Moray area of Scotland.  This led to me joining the Military and War Project. I am a member of the England Project focusing on Lancashire and have recently begun to learn Connecting with the help of the wonderful Carol Keeling. But my main focus at the moment which I spend most time on it being the Project Membership Coordinator for the Scotland Project.

What brought you to WikiTree?

I found WikiTree by accident. I was doing a general search of the internet for a family member I had been researching through a paid site and it came up in the search engine so I clicked on it and it started from there.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

Apart from the collaboration with other like minded people, I love RootSearch and WikiTree+.

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

Data Doctor jargon. I don’t understand half of what I find in my suggestions list.

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

The England Project’s Orphan Trail was the most helpful thing that I did when first starting out.  I didn’t do it right away and I am still trying to fix profiles that I now know are very sparse, source wise, that I had inputted before I took the trail. 

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

One profile at a time, don’t be tempted to upload gedcoms unless you have time to fix them. Don’t Wikitree while you are angry, it is hard to get use to other people “meddling” with your profiles but it is usually done in good faith. Finally join a project, the help they give new people is invaluable.


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