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 Cindy.

Cindy Lesure has been a member of our community since December of 2014.  She is remarkably friendly and cheerful which serves her well since she participates as a Greeter, Data Doctor and Messenger.

Surnames you are researching?

Lesure, Maust, Nieman, Talkington, Whitecotton, Williams.

Locations you are researching?

Pennsylvania, West Virginia for now.

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

I have been interested for the past 20 years, but never really did anything until AFTER my Mother died and I got this massive amount of paper records from her maternal line of Nieman.  My Aunt Helen had worked with various people through her church, browsing the newspapers & going to all the family reunions and gathering information from folks to create a document that contained about 3500 names.  On New Years Eve 2014 I started entering the information on WikiTree and the rest, they say, is history!  Been an addict to WikiTree ever since.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Wow that is hard, but I believe it would be my paternal grandmother Jennie Whitecotton Williams who died from childbirth complications in 1916.  The records for her are extremely sketchy and the actual information I have on her profile I am not remotely sure of because there is so little information and there were never any photographs taken of her during her lifetime that I can find.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down.

The brick wall that was broken down for me by going to G2G Forum and asking the question about my Dad’s brother, Willard ‘Bill’ Williams who went to Pearl Harbor in 1942 for the clean up and never came back.  His siblings all believed he died there because they never heard from him.  Doug Lockwood, WikiTreer hero of mine, found out that Uncle Bill not only did not die way back then, but thrived in Hawaii (who wouldn’t?) and did not die until 1999, seven years after my Dad died.  My Dad never got to know that his brother was alive & enjoying the Hawaiian breezes!  Uncle Bill actually married a Japanese lady and that is all I know…so far.

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

Amelia Earhart and I am not really sure why except she was always a hero of mine growing up.  I always thought it was eerie how she disappeared.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Hmm, is there life outside genealogy?  Actually, I love gardening, photography, my two cats & my dear husband, but not in that order!  This is sort of outside genealogy, but every day I go to the WikiTree Family News email and post on Facebook who was born that day & share their tree.  My cousins love it!

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

As I said, I started in 2014 and I must go to the website at least once a day!  I do volunteer as a Greeter and Messenger & am a Data Doctor.  It is something I absolutely love!

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

I do love the new tutorial for brand new people and actively encourage new folks to go through it because it is a wonderful tool to get them started!  I also love the new FamilySearch Matches—I used it for the first time last weekend & found 3 cousins I never knew existed and am corresponding with them now!  The only thing I do not like is profile managers who are inactive & seem to feel they ‘own’ the profiles they created & do not want to share.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Biggest tip is go slow (not like I did) and go through the tutorial.  Ask questions & become involved in the G2G Forum.  When I first started I was afraid to ask questions & truly suffered because of it.  The biggest thing about WikiTreers is their willingness to help!

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

Take notes, record the stories your ‘elders’ tell you and be open to all those cousins out there!


 

 

Hi WikiTreers,

Photo drawn by Emma's son

Welcome to a new installment of “Meet our Members.” It’s time to get to know another awesome member of our community: Meet Emma.

Emma MacBeath has been a member of our community since September of 2016.  She is very active as a Greeter, an Adoption Angel and our DNA Project co-leader.

Surnames you are researching: McBeth/MacBeath, Moon, Davis, Starr/Starika—Danielson, West/Adams, French, Durand—Sexton, Lambert, Jeffs, Heskett, Anderson, Marr, Kump and Bowman just to name the first couple of generations

Locations you are researching: Scotland, England, California (Gold Country especially), Norway, French Canada, Slovenia, Gottschee Austria

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

My mother, her sister and my paternal grandparents have researched our family for as long as I can remember. I caught the bug at the age of 12. It was like being a detective for me —looking for clues and solving mysteries. I still find it to be like reading the best mystery novel of all time!

Last year, I also caught the DNA bug and began adding it to my research. I then chose to go professional. It was the biggest “aha” moment of all time when I realized this was the profession I was meant to have. I have been working for clients over the past year and am currently working towards becoming a BCG certified genealogist with an emphasis on DNA.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

My favorite ancestors are the strong women who stood tall and made drastic changes in their lives even though it was not accepted at the time: Maria Emaline who refused to live with her Mormon husband when he took additional wives because she felt multiple wives was not an acceptable practice; Elizabeth Ann who divorced her abusive husband and started a new life with her children; Etta Mae who stayed strong through incredible adversity and lived to an old age. I love reading the stories of the women who faced hardships and won.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down.

Anna Clarinda Havens (My 3rd great grandmother) was a brick wall for me. I was unable to find out more than her approximate birth and death dates until I met a DNA cousin. This cousin had done extensive research in the New York archives on the Havens family and not only has the line fleshed out, but the sources to back it up. I might not have broken this wall if she hadn’t been a DNA match on Ancestry and if I hadn’t contacted her.

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

Jane Austen. She was an incredible and accomplished woman of her time and we are both authors. I am related to an Elizabeth Bennett though!

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy? Is there life outside of genealogy?

I write novels for children and young adults (have 2 published and working on another right now), love spending time with my family and friends, reading, gardening, and encouraging others in their pursuits.

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

I started in September 2016 and have become increasingly active since then. I became a greeter within 30 days after joining and was hooked. I can’t get enough of Wiki Tree and I can often spend an entire day working on various projects on the Tree.

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

I love the collaboration and meeting like minded genealogists, the fact that we are all trying to connect to one big tree, the many projects meant to help us grow our trees, the fact that all profiles should be accurately sourced and most of all THE SPIFFY BADGES! / I wish more people would teach themselves what correct sources are and then put them throughout their trees. I see dozens of profiles daily with other people’s Ancestry trees listed as the only source.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Look at everything, click on every link and simply play around. Then start adding your tree a few profiles at a time. If you have questions, don’t be shy and ask in G2G. Once you are familiar with WikiTree, volunteer for one of the projects. You will be glad you did.

If you could leave one message for your descendants, what would it be? Keep the family tree research going!


 

 

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 Robert (Bob).

Robert Keniston has been a member of our community since August 2013.  He is quite active in projects such as U.S. History, Database Errors and the Rangers. He has also written over 50 biographies in our Bio Builders challenges and has been a winner in our Sourcerers and Connections challenges.

Surnames you are researching?

Keniston and all the variants, Harrington, Marine.

Locations you are researching?

Massachusetts, and County Galway, Ireland.

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

The genealogy bug bit me in 1977, with the mini series “Roots”. It’s all Alex Haley’s fault.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

My favorite ancestor is my 2nd great-grandfather, Isaac Kennaston. He is the earliest of my ancestors that I have a picture of. It is a family picture taken in 1895. It’s interesting to see similar features in the faces that are the same as current family members.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down.

I’ve only had one real brick wall, my 3rd great-grandfather, Daniel Kinnaston. He is still a brick wall, but I’ve put a few cracks in it. He was born in Vermont, about 1795. Vermont records are really scarce, unless your family was memorialized in a published genealogy.

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

Actually I’m already related to a noted person in history, Nathan Hale. He was willing to give his life for a principle, and the freedom of future generations.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I enjoy woodworking, reading, computers, and walks with my wife, Susie. The woodworking keeps me out of trouble, and the walks are great exercise.

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

I joined WikiTree August 22, 2013. I’ve been pretty active right from the beginning. The day after I joined WikiTree, I joined the Profile Improvement Project (PIP).  I’m really involved in it. I’m currently involved in all three challenges that fall within the boundaries of PIP: Sourcerers, Biographers, and Connectors. I’m also a Ranger, Data Doctor, Coordinator for Massachusetts in the US History Project, and I do a little Mentoring.

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

I enjoy the collaboration and assistance that you get when you join WikiTree. I can’t say there is anything I don’t like, but I wish we had more sort options on lists.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

When in doubt or confused, ask for help. It’s out there for everyone. Remember, the only stupid question is one that is not asked.

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

Get records of everything.

To get to know Bob even better, catch him in this Saturday’s (1 April) LiveCast at 3pm EDT.


 

 

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 David.

David Selman has been a member of our community since February 2016.  He is quite active in our Greeters, Mentors, Volunteer Coordinators and Rangers projects.

Surnames you are researching?

SelmanCampbell, Chase, GreggStrimple just to name a few, not counting the profiles I have adopted.

Locations you are researching?

United Kingdom, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas are the main locations for now.

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

Our parents never discussed or told us about our family and ancestors outside of the immediate family. And of course when we where young and raising a family it never entered our minds to ask for information on our family and ancestors except for the few close family members we knew as we grew up. Now it is too late since both our parents are deceased and no distant relatives that are still living. I was trying to find my mother’s family such as her father, mother, grandparents and this led me into the never ending search for information and this turned into my interest in genealogy. This started about 16 years ago and the search goes on.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

I have several but I would say my Great Grand Father Dr. John Thurmond Selman, born 6 Feb 1830 in Georgia, died 20 Mar 1894 in Rural Shade in Navarro County,Texas. He served as a surgeon in the CSA during the US Civil War. He moved to Texas after the war and was a country doctor, farmer/rancher in Navarro County, Texas. He was a large man of 7 feet 6 inches tall and 350 pounds. He used a buggy and horse to make his rounds to see his patients. I am still finding more about him as time goes on.

I might mention one other ancestor that was my favorite uncle and always stayed in touch with me and was kind and helpful when my brother and I buried our father. His name is Uncle Pete (James Charles (Pete) Selman).

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down.

I finally found my maternal grand father and grand mother, great grand father and great grand mother but this just led me to more brick walls / road blocks. But as you can guess I will continue the search.

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

Theodore Roosevelt Jr., an American statesman, author, explorer, soldier, naturalist, an exuberant personality, vast range of interests. Roosevelt established the United States Forest Service, signed into law the creation of five national parks, and signed the 1906 Antiquities Act, under which he proclaimed 18 new U.S. national monuments. He also established the first 51 bird reserves, four game preserves, and 150 national forests, including Shoshone National Forest, the nation’s first. The area of the United States that he placed under public protection totals approximately 230,000,000 acres.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

So many and so little time! Reading books of all kinds, computers, website design and publishing, Bass Fishing, camping and hunting in my younger days. Working on anything mechanical such as four wheel drive (my specialty is Jeeps and Chevrolet trucks). But before any is spending time with our family, grown children, grand children and great grand children.

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

I found WikiTree or it found me a little over a year ago (12 Feb. 2016). You can find me on Wiki every day and most weeks I spend 4 plus hours or more a day, seven days a week working on Wiki researching family and working on one of the projects I am a member of, such as the Texas Cemetery project of which I am one of the two coordinators. The Texas project, a sub-project of the United States project. I am also a Greeter, Volunteer Coordinator and Mentor and spend a considerable amount of time greeting new guests and mentoring those who ask for help.

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

I especially like the friends I have made here at Wiki, the help and collaboration along the way. Being able to ask for help with anything and always getting an answer. I will say I tried a well known genealogy website, of course it cost and no one was of help, so after a very short time I went looking for a new genealogy site and have now found a home. I guess the only draw back I have found is that for most new guests it is hard to come from a paid genealogy website to a totally free one and then have to learn how to do it all for themselves, such as understand tags, find and add sources to a profile, learn how to watch for and merge duplicate profiles.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

I know from experience that everyone wants to just press the computer’s on button and start adding family and ancestors. But I highly suggest that a new member slow down, take time to learn WikiTree, explore the help files and read the How to use WikiTree page. Ask for help in the G2G Forum or ask a Mentor when you first start out for help when you run into a problem. Just like the first time you used a computer, WikiTree does take some time to learn so be patient, go slow and have fun.

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

Look to the future but never forget the past. God, country and family above all else.

 

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 Dorothy.

Dorothy (Cook) Coakley has been a member of our community since June of 2015 and is one of our outstanding volunteers. Dorothy is involved in our Arborist and Mentors projects and participates in the Connectors Challenges.

Surnames you are researching?

Cook, Coakley, Bailey, Eberhardt, Menger, Thornton.

Locations you are researching?

Missouri, Kansas, Virginia, and all points north, east and south. Just love American history, but am expanding my “known” world as my seventy decade looms in the rear view mirror.

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

Actual interest began during three specific periods of time. The first, as a young mom, the second (with the internet) as a midlle-aged librarian when no patrons were around, and the third, when my cousin’s adult son in the mid-west introduced me to WikiTree. But then again, we’ve had a continual interest in graveyards because they contain so much history. My son and I spent an afternoon in the cemetery at Piedmont (Alameda County, California) to celebrate my 62nd birthday. Both of us share an interest in old graveyards and the many names, dates and types of gravestones these places contain. His interest is pictorial, he’s a photographer. My interest is because of being a librarian…we just like a lot of dates, names, and information. One of the high spots of my life was seeing Paul Revere’s resting place in Boston; that and a winter walk around Thoreau’s Walden Pond.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

My grandfather, Lewis Thornton Cook has to be at the top although both sides of the family are special to me. Grandpa had a long life (as did his wife, who lived to be 102) and was terribly unassuming. It wasn’t until WikiTree earned my interest that the realization struck me, this gentle man was defended from three prominent lines that had played such importance in American history, the Lewis clan, the Thorntons ( who really were English gentlemen) and the Cooks who almost everyone seems to have been related to through Francis Cooke. My desk has his original diploma above it, 1914, when each teacher signed it from the University of Wyoming. Electrical Engineering, though rumor has it that he wanted to join the emerging field of psychiatry- but his family thought there was no future in that field! I also have a precious diploma announcing that he and his sisters had perfect attendance at a local Congregational church in Wyoming. As an adult, he raised earthworms in basement flats (for fishing) and taught me (ever the California kid) to play games in the dark during Midwestern thunderstorms.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down.

Thanks to WikiTree, several brick walls have begun to crumble. After many, many, questions, and unknown “cousin” sent me copies of photographs that her mother had given her. Among them was a photo of Paschal Hickman Cook (born 1811 in Kentucky.) I’d never seen what he looked like although we share the same last name at birth. You can imagine how thrilling it was to gaze at last on a fellow who looked like my imagined image of the frontiersman, Davy Crockett! Cute as a bug’s pajamas, I, too, would have fallen in love with him as did my great-great-great grandmother-and apparently several other wives, for he was married a number (4?) of times.

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

Well, rumor has it I’m related to George Washington and also Dick Cheney, the politician. At 19 degrees, the current British Queen, Elizabeth also counts as an ancestor. As does my ex-boss who is a Hildreth. (Do not tell her, I doubt that she’d find the news exciting!) But the person I’d like to be related to is also the least likely. Nelson Mandela or Desmond Tutu. They’ve broken down quite a few walls of their own, and lived to see South Africa united, although it must have seemed unlikely at the time. This speaks to my lifetime goal, One World Family should mean just that… everyone should presume that they are a cousin. Which, of course, they are… they just haven’t met yet!

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

For twenty years, I had three Chinese Crested powder puff dogs, and one Wannabe who thanks to genetic testing turned out to be a 15 pound dachshund-dalmatian-rottweiler named Samantha. She wandered into the library-branch where I was working in the 90s and basically took up occupancy in our hearts and minds from that date, as dogs or cats often will. In case you are a newbie to genetic testing, Chinese Crested dogs have a unique trait… they are either hairless, or covered with long, soft fur. Both types occur in the same litter, but the hairless ones are preferred. So naturally, whenever a “puff” was born, we got a call from one of our friends. Did we want it? Of course we did… ultimately three outrageously spoiled long-haired dogs joined our family- and our grooming bills skyrocketed! For twenty years, I did frequent runs to UC Davis to enroll them in various non-invasive studies. They all passed away the same year, of totally natural means, so once again after 18 years, we are dogless. Kinda is a nice break… but then again, there is always next year.

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

In 2015, the son of a maternal cousin sent me some materials. He had gotten our mutual relatives sorted out and had photos of them all posted. My father’s tree looked totally bare, so I went to work providing photos and documenting dates. I (as mentioned) am a librarian and I can’t bear to leave any stone unturned. It became an obsession will a thousand stories uncovered. Librarians just love that sort of thing! Along the way, I’ve met some wonderful people, met relatives from distant states, and never knew they existed… and of course, received more badges than I ever did as a Scout! The irony is that in some ways, similarities exist… one gets to know so many different people, and yet they seem to be linked into the same pursuits. I met (online) an adult descended from a man who married my great-grandfather’sister and the ancestor of the sister who cared for my great-grandfather when his mother abruptly died. So many stories… so little time to write them all down!

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Ask. Ask a mentor. In fact, ask anyone. And, as we say at the library, “each one reach one.” That way, we will keep filling in the blanks, and growing.

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

As Chris would say, “Onward and Upward!”


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