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 Rubén.

Rubén joined us in April of 2016.  He quickly became active in our G2G forum and is super friendly, welcoming and helpful.  He participates in our Mexico Project, has all three Generous Genealogist badges and has received several Wonderful WikiTreer awards.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Hernández de Espinoza, García de Miranda, Gutiérrez de Hermosillo, Romero de Chávez, Ulibarri y Liñan, de Olachea y Negrete and many more. In the middle of the XVIII century these long last names were truncated and the descendants went by one last name part only. In our time there are Olachea’s and Negrete’s with common ancestors that used the long last name Olachea y Negrete.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Mainly Mexican western and central estates: Michoacán, Jalisco, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes and Nayarit.

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

When I was born my grandfather would have been a centenarian if still alive. Most of my aunts and uncles were born in the XIX century. When I was a child I heard lots of stories about events and people that happened back then … and from people with first hand knowledge!

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

All of them. I think I am made of a small piece of each one of them and their history is part of my history.

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

Once, when I was almost giving up on researching for an ancestor´s ancestors I found a birth certificate of one of his children. The witnesses were listed as his uncle and his brother in law. Most of the time the witnesses on these documents are relatives but the relationship is not listed. These clues made it possible to find who his parents were.

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

I really believe we all are connected in a single family tree. So all of us are somehow related to each and every person in history.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Genealogy leads you to research and learn more about many other subjects that really delight me: History, Geography, Sociology and so on. I also love math and logic puzzles.

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

I first joined WikiTree in April 2016. Since then I can’t stop WikiTreeing almost every day.

I strongly agree with our community’s mission:

Our community’s mission is to grow an accurate single family tree that connects us all and is freely available to us all.”

All the American continent is mainly populated by descendants of European emigrants. I’m sure that Mauricio Macri born in Argentina and Justin Trudeau born in Canada have common ancestors, and we can find them if we dig enough.

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

Many aspects of WikiTree are really unique and outstanding, especially our 9 point Honor Code. I always try to incorporate points III and IV to my everyday life. So WikiTree is much more than all about Genealogy only.

I am always amazed by the continuous improvements: Opening 100/150+ profiles, [half] siblings notation, “Ancestors” and “Descendants” buttons on profiles, just to mention some of the latest.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Endure the learning curve.

The harvest will be plentiful.

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

I am a small piece of what you are made of.  Be a better person to honor me and your descendants will honor you as well.


 

 

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 Ellen.

Ellen has been a WikiTreer since April of 2014.  She’s very active and helpful in our G2G forum,  is Project Coordinator for the New Netherland Settlers Project and is a great asset to the Puritan and Palatine Migration Projects.

What are some surnames you are researching?:

I don’t have a surname focus. At any given time, I might be researching any of the names in my WikiTree Family List, which spans the alphabet from Abbott to Zoeller, or possibly a relative by marriage or a random person unrelated to me.  With about 900 direct ancestors on my WikiTree 10-generation family list (plus about 1000 more if I add generations 11 and 12), I  don’t feel much need to find more ancestors, but  there’s much work to be done in properly curating the ones I have.

What locations you are researching:

My focus is in places where most of my ancestors lived during the last four centuries, particularly Massachusetts, Connecticut (primarily eastern Connecticut), Vermont, New York’s  Hudson Valley, and eastern Pennsylvania.

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

I had plenty of chances to get interested, but it took me a long time to get bitten by the bug.

I grew up aware of my ancestors back to my great-great grandparents, and often farther back.  In some cases I knew where they lived (sometimes the house was still occupied by relatives), my family had furniture and other items  from long-ago ancestors, and I visited several cemeteries where ancestors were buried.  One great grandfather (dead before I was born) had devoted his retirement years to family history; he researched several family lines and  typed out books on mimeograph stencils, and I had read the resulting books.  A college history class assignment asked us to interview living relatives, collect other family history information, and write an account of our families’ histories in the context of historical trends in the United States  since the Civil War.

But I didn’t really get interested until after I tested with 23andMe and started getting queries from “DNA Relatives” seeking to find our relationship. Those requests and other events started my doing Internet research to fill in the blanks in my tree. The Internet resources that became available in recent years made searching so much easier than it used to be, and I discovered that I had “hit the jackpot” in ancestor-hunting, since much of my ancestry is in colonial American populations that have been extensively studied.  I got hooked on the thrill of the hunt and I became intrigued by the histories of the major migration episodes that brought most of my ancestors to America (the Puritan Great Migration, New Netherland settlement, the Palatine migration, and the migration of Ulster Scots beginning in 1718).

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

My family’s favorite ancestor used to be Susannah Martin, who was hanged as a witch in Salem in 1692. But I discovered that she’s not our ancestor. Unbeknownst to my family, our supposed connection had been disproven in an article published in The American Genealogist in 1980 — but it took us 35 years to find that out.

Maybe my new favorite is my great grandmother Ella (Stubblebine) Wingard. Her skill and hard work as a dressmaker helped enable her two daughters to attend four years of college around the time of World War I — in a time and place where many children of both sexes left school in their early teens to work in factories or mines .

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

The first ancestor I found completely on my own (with no hints from family lore, published genealogy, or online family trees) was the father of  my 3-greats grandmother Elizabeth Carpenter. I searched free internet sources for men named Carpenter living in or near Rensselaer County, New York who could have had a daughter her age. Walter Carpenter was the only candidate who turned up.  His name was a promising clue, since the name Walter had entered the family starting with Elizabeth’s son Walter.  An abstract of Walter’s will listed an unmarried adult daughter named Elizabeth, which was consistent with my ancestor’s date of marriage. So I added Walter Carpenter to my family tree – but I felt tentative about doing that, because I wondered why the various people who had researched the families hadn’t made this connection. If I had been active on WikiTree, I probably would have posted a request for advice in the G2G forum here.  After acquiring  other records, I’m now confident that Walter is the right man, and I’ve become more confident of my genealogical judgment, but I still relish the thrill of finding Walter, and recall my initial uncertainties about the find.

And Walter turned out be an interesting ancestor. During the American Revolution he was imprisoned on suspicions of disloyalty (to the American side), but he made amends and even established a claim to being a “patriot.” And he was a slaveowner (as were several other New York ancestors)  –  an embarrassing bit of  history that had been edited out of my family’s lore.

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

I can’t fix on one person I would want to related to, but a famous person who I’m particularly pleased to be related to is U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt — a champion of government as an agent for the public good and  a conservationist whose actions protected a sizeable chunk of the United States’ national parks and national forests. My conservative Republican great-grandfather likely would have enjoyed knowing that he and T.R. were 5th cousins – the same relationship that Franklin D. Roosevelt had with T.R.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Well, I spend way too much time on genealogy.  My professional background is in science, which is both a career and a passion for many of us; I’m intensely engaged in local civic affairs; and I enjoy travel – seldom to the same place twice.

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

I joined in April 2014. Initially, my initial motivation was to fix some errors and omissions I saw when WikiTree profiles came up in my search results. I was here for more than a month before I added one of my parents to the tree, and I’m still focused more on long-ago family than on the recent generations that I’ve “always” known about.  I am on WikiTree pretty much every day — in the G2G forum, doing various tasks in support of the New Netherland Settlers, Puritan Great Migration, and Palatine Migration projects, and occasionally working on my own family.

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

It’s been wonderful to experience how collaborative genealogy in WikiTree makes all of us better genealogists. Collaboration on our shared ancestors encourages us to share information and to hold each other to high standards. I’ve learned an enormous amount from other WikiTreers.  My biggest negative is my concern about whether WikiTree ‘s technological and organizational structure will keep up with growth and adapt to  changing needs and expectations.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

1. Look at other people’s families around WikiTree to see how they’ve documented their ancestors within the WikiTree framework (“featured profiles” are one good place to look for examples) and identify some examples that you want to emulate, then look at the “edit” version of those profiles to see how they entered their content.

2.  Participate in the G2G forum. You can learn a lot there, and get help when you need it – and it’s a great place to discuss difficult genealogical problems.

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

Studying the lives of our ancestors, I am constantly reminded of how profoundly life can change in a relatively short time. Our ancestors could not possibly have imagined today’s world, and you will inhabit a future that I cannot possibly imagine. I wish that the world we leave for you was in better condition, and I hope you will manage it better than my generation has done.


 

 

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 Laura.

Laura Bozzay became a WikiTree member just this year but she is active in our German Roots and Scottish Clans projects, helpful in our G2G forum and is a Data Doctor.   It was Laura’s idea that led to our Spring Clean-a-Thon.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?  What are some of the locations you are researching?  

I combined the two answers:

Generation 1

1. Laura J “BOZ” (Pennie) Bozzay: Born St Louis, MO, USA.

Generation 2: Parents

2. Richard Walter Pennie: Born Saint Louis, Missouri 13 Oct 1926. Died Saint Louis, Missouri 04 Sep 2015.

3. Shirley Ann Hempen: Born Saint Louis, Missouri 01 Jan 1928. Died Saint Louis, Missouri 16 Nov 2015.

Generation 3: Grandparents

4. Richard Diecy Penny: Born London, Ontario, Canada 06 Nov 1893. Died aft 1935. Note spelling of last name changed to Pennie after his birth in Canada.

5. Dorothy Nellie Walter: Born Saint Louis, Missouri 02 Aug 1900. Died Saint Louis, Missouri 1980.

6. Joseph Heinrich Hempen: Born Saint Louis, Missouri 18 Aug 1894. Died Saint Louis, Missouri 07 Jun 1988.

7. Viola D Woerner: Born St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA 25 Dec 1899. Died St. Louis, Missouri, USA 1985.

Generation 4: Great-Grandparents

8. Charles Trail Penny: Born Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 06 Dec 1866. Died London, Ontario, Canada 15 Mar 1944.

9. Catherine Kerr: Born Lonmay, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 10 Nov 1869. Died London, Ontario, Canada 15 Sep 1937.

10. Joseph C Walter: Born Saint Louis, Missouri 25 Apr 1861. Died Saint Louis, Missouri 08 Mar 1916.

11. Dorothy Gebhardt: Born Sep 1865. Died 1927.

12. John T Schniederalbers: Born Saint Louis, Missouri Jul 1857. Died Saint Louis, Missouri 22 Oct 1908.

13. Helen Eufinger: Born Saint Louis, Missouri 27 Dec 1859. Died Saint Louis, Missouri Apr 1926.

14. Martin Woerner: Born Appenweir, Urloffen, Ortenaukreis, Freiburg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany 09 Nov 1851. Died St. Louis, Missouri, USA 15 Sep 1912. .

15. Elizabeth Reiss: Born Bavaria, Germany 28 Aug 1860. Died St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA 02 Aug 1940.

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

I was working on a complex spreadsheet one evening for work.  I needed a mental break and started putting in family surnames for fun to see what was out on the web.  Little did I know that this would lead to decades of amazing discoveries and finding relatives and friends all over the world.  It has become a passion.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

I actually have 2 from the same family line.  First is my 4x great grandfather, Jean Georges Walter.  He wrote a chronicle in the 1700s that detailed the glass maker line back to the 1500s.  He is my genealogical hero.   Second, is his 2x Great Grandmother, Anna (Stenger) Walter.

She lived during the 30 years War.  Georges writes about her:

“At that time in history, there was a famine in the region and the villages were all uninhabited. All the inhabitants had fled France during the terrible Thirty Year War against Sweden with the exception of a few who were hidden in the forest. There was neither bread nor livestock in all the region (the potato did not exist yet on our continent), and also, we totally lacked food. The people lived from hunting and fishing, because the wild game and the fishes were in abundance in the wooded regions. That was the reason the infants could not eat this type of food as the adults could, therefore, the majority of the children and infants died from lack of bread and milk. Our elders have told me that the wife of Pierre WALTER (Anna STENGER), our great-grandmother, went to Strasbourg to buy bread. She took with her, her youngest infant, Adam WALTER, who had not yet been weaned, leaving the four others at Soucht.

“When she returned with the bread, her servant had left for Munzthal with the four children to see their father, who was making glass there. The mother went on ahead to Munzthal to take the bread to her children. When she arrived on the lower side of the forest that separated Soucht from Munzthal, she saw her servant arrive with her children. The mother asked: ‘Where is little Ann?’ The servant was crying and told her that the infant was dead, lying below a tree on the high side. One can imagine how hard the pain was for that mother in learning that news. After that first infant died, the three others died also. Only the youngest survived, Adam WALTER, from whom all the Walters of the region descend.”

She is my female heroine who risked travelling about 80 miles through a war torn landscape to try to get food for her children all of whom died except for the son who had not yet been weaned.  Her fearlessness, determination, and love for her family conquered any fear she had.  I am inspired by her.

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

Just this month using the new Wiki connection found in GedMatch I was able to find a cousin who lives in Germany and we are now extending the Woerner and Koenig lines way back.  I was stopped on this line until this breakthrough that was made possible by this new WikiTree tool!  Thank you so much!

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

Wow, I kind of believe we truly are all related and should act that way.  We are all cousins to some extent and I think the DNA is beginning to show how interconnected we all really are.  So I kind of feel like I am related to everyone in history in some way.  From a religious vs historical perspective I have always found Mary, the Mother of Jesus to be an amazing woman with a tragic yet inspirational story.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Cooking (I own a spice company so if anyone ever has a spice question they can send me an email).  Reading history, biographies, and science fiction.  My most favorite past time is playing with my two beautiful granddaughters.  One is adopted and the other is biological and both are so very loved and so very important to our family.  This past weekend the 4, and she will tell you ¾ year old,  and the 11 week old were together and the interaction of the baby to her elder cousin was so magical!  It just melted my heart.

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

I joined late Dec 2016 early Jan 2017.  I am active almost daily.  I love the collaboration and the fact that you require sources.  That is such a step in the right direction!   I belong to several projects including Data Doctors, DNA, Scotland / Clans, German Roots and have both pre-1700 and pre-1500 certification.  I love researching and helping others.  And being helped by others!  Lots of really great people on this site.

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

Love the collaboration. Love the new DNA Wiki tools.  Love that I can print out a variety of tree views.  Absolutely love the emphasis on sources and doing good genealogy.  Love the spirited debates.  Even if we don’t all agree all the time it is important that everyone gets heard.  Things that I think need some improvement are making the site a bit more user friendly for the non-technical group.  Recent research on the demographics of who is doing genealogy shows a high percentage of seniors who are not all computer literate at all.  So making some easier to use tools would I think bring back some folks who left WikiTree because they found it too hard to navigate.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Take the tutorial.  Ask questions.  G2G is a fabulous resource.  You have experts in several fields on this site. You have people who want to help you!   Participate.  It is the best way to learn and the fastest way to make connections.  Become a volunteer.  Everyone has something to contribute.

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

Figure out who you want to be and become that person.  Work hard but have fun.  Love yourself and love your neighbors the same way.  That way you can look at yourself in the mirror and not cringe.  If you want acceptance you have to first accept yourself and others.  So that is why I say figure out who you want to be and then work on becoming that person.  Then you can leave the footprint you want for your descendants.


 

 

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 Campbell.

Campbell Braddock became a WikiTreer in March of 2015.  He is active in several projects including Notables, Profile Improvement and New Zealand and he heads up the Braddock One Name Study.

What surnames you are researching?

I am researching the Braddock surname. I created the Braddock Name Study (BNS) in mid 2015. First the study was called “Connecting All Braddocks” but was later renamed as the “Braddock Name Study”. I was 16 at the time; my goal was to connect all Braddocks and still is. This sounds impossible but I did connect many families together and group them in clans.

At the start of 2017, I created a detailed WikiTree Braddock List on Google Sheets to keep track of all profiles. This is like a big tick sheet and shows if profiles have been Braddock Name Study approved, if there are birth and death locations/dates, if location categories have been added, if they are sourced or not, who the profile managers are, dates profiles were created and so on. This list gives the true number of Braddock profiles on WikiTree with 404-errors and merges taken away.

What locations you are researching?

I am mainly researching in English speaking countries, however, I do have Dutch ancestors.

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

I first created a family tree on paper in June 2011. I was 13 years old when I created this family tree with the help of my father and auntie. Some relationships were incorrect and there were many mistakes. I assure you that they have now been corrected.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

My favorite ancestor is my great-grandfather Jonas Archibald Braddock II, known as Toffee and Archie. He was born on 13 May 1868 in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England and married three times (divorce, widowed then his death). Jonas’ occupation was as confectioner and farmer. He traveled the world and migrated with his family to New Zealand in 1930. Once there,  he bought a farm and held annual sports days. Jonas died aged 91. He is my favorite ancestor because he was a conscientiousness man with the will power to get things done.

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

My mother left for Australia when I was 9 years old. I had no contact with that Smith family for many years. My Uncle Smith gave me the phone numbers of my grandparents in November 2016 (first time I have spoken to them), both divorced. Grandfather Smith didn’t want to talk to me but my grandmother helped me break down a brick wall. Grandma has lost some of her memory but she did remember her parents’ nicknames and her grandmother’s maiden name – Newland. I was very lucky to find my grandmother’s cousin on WikiTree. I have now lost contact with my grandmother.

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

Joseph Mallord William Turner, (1775-1851), is one of my favorite artists and it would be great if we were related. The Fishermen at Sea (1796) is my favorite oil painting. It was hard to pick someone for this question, however, Joseph’s paintings are detailed with the emotions that make each painting unique. He’s not the most famous person, but Joseph is going to be on the next Bank of England £20 notes.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I am an artist and like being creative with designing furniture, posters and websites. I made a large LED Braddock sign and love creating model buildings.

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

I joined WikiTree on 21st March 2015 (over 2 years and loving it).  If I’m not sleeping, eating, working or painting a picture, I am on WikiTree. I average about 13 hours a week if I’m not busy. I have contributed over 12,000 contributions and received 1,000 thank yous.

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

Collaboration is the best, but it wouldn’t work if there wasn’t the Honor Code.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Start out slow, protect your private information and don’t create a profile without a source. Geni is not a source.

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

Keep my research alive, and remember the ones who created you.


 

 

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 Lucy.

Lucy Lavelle has been a member of our community since July of 2013.  She is active in several projects as a Connector, Data Doctor and Sourcerer and she was the winner of both our Source-a-Thon and Clean-a-Thon!

Surnames you are researching?

Kelleher, Lawrence, Cryer, Lavelle, Harington, Markham

Locations you are researching?

A bit of everywhere! Most of my ancestors are from Wales, England and Ireland.

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

In early 2013 I moved from my hometown of Cardiff, Wales to live in Oxfordshire, England. It was the first time I had lived far away from my family and I was terribly homesick so it was a good way to feel closer to them (and a great excuse for phoning my parents every day!). Slightly later I also read a news article about how Prince William and Kate Middleton were 11th cousins, which led to me wondering how related I was to my husband. That thought brought me into the world of collaborative genealogy, and I never looked back. I never did find out how my husband and I were related though!

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Each ancestor I find becomes a temporary obsession until the next one, but the ancestor that I always seem to go back to is my 12th Great Grandfather John Harington. He invented the first flushing toilet, though only two were ever made. He kept one for himself and had the other installed as a gift to his Godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, though she refused to use it as she said it was too loud! He was temporarily banished from the royal court for showing a piece of saucy Italian poetry that he had translated to respectable young ladies. He was told not to return until he had translated the entire 38736 line poem as a punishment, which he eventually accomplished and presented to the Queen. I feel like he would fit right in with my family!

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

I recently discovered a distant aunt that was believed to have died young without marrying had actually married, had several children and lived to be around 80 years old. It was a really lucky find as I stumbled on a document suggesting that she inherited a small manor from her mother, which would not normally have interested me, except it happened to be just 7 miles from where I now live in Oxfordshire. A quick Google found evidence of her ownership of the manor, which then passed to her husband, before passing back to her after his death.

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

I don’t think I can pick just one person, I’m just going to carry on connecting people to the big tree until I’m connected to everybody in history so that I don’t have to decide!

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I love to read. A few years ago I decided I wanted to read 1000 books before I reached my 30th birthday, I’m now 28 and reading my 959th book, so I’m on track to make it! I also love video games, which is great since my husband is a video game designer and my daughter is obsessed with MineCraft!

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

I’ve been on WikiTree since 2013, and I’m pretty active. It’s rare that I don’t visit WikiTree at some point in my day, it’s one of my favourite places to be!

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

I love WikiTree’s collaborative nature, and I love the amount of emails I get from cousins who have found me via WikiTree. I also love how friendly and helpful the WikiTree community is – almost every conversation I have with WikiTreers feels like a warm hug!

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Don’t be scared! Start with what you know and work out from there.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, we’re all family after all!

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

Don’t give your children common names. It’s really hard to find them in Census records….

I’m kidding, I’d tell them to have adventures, make happy memories and always be kind.


 

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