It all started a couple days before the RootsTech Conference officially kicked off. Julie Ricketts, Michael Stills and I all arrived the Tuesday before the conference began and hit it off as old friends, even though we hadn’t seen each other in a year, since the previous RootsTech took place. While we talked about many things, the conversation inevitably circled back to WikiTree, as it usually does when you get more than a couple WikiTreers together.
Michael mentioned to Julie and I that he thought it would be cool if, using the Relationship Finder on WikiTree, we could figure out a common ancestor for every person that would be a part of the RootsTech team this year. Of course Julie and I agreed it would be awesome and sure enough, the next day, Michael sat down to see if he could find the patriarch of our RootTech family.
Here’s Michael explaining how he found our common ancestor:
During one of our many discussions about WikiTree at RootsTech, it dawned on me that we might be able to find a common ancestor for everyone working the WikiTree booth. WikiTree’s relationship tool has made it easy to check for cousin connections with others on WikiTree. In fact, many of us have started documenting the relationships we have with our collaborators on our WikiTree profile page. But I remembered that the Relationship Finder allows you to add three more profiles to the calculation. This ability is a result of Peter Roberts’ work on comparing DNA relationships.
Since there were nine of us, it seemed like this was going to be a daunting task, however the complete opposite was true. I first ran the relationship tool against Julie Ricketts, and then added 3 more team members by inserting their WikiTree ID in the Advanced Filter box for a total of five members. I ran two iterations of the Relationship tool, each with five of the team members, since there are nine of us, that meant I would have an over lap of one person if I ran five each time.
After the first iteration, I looked at the top 10 results and tried to remember them as I ran the second iteration, then I looked for a common ancestor. First up was John Savage II, which we initially thought was correct, but after double checking comparisons, we realized that Peter Roberts, ironically, was only a cousin line and not a direct descendant.
Then I checked a Strange surname line and again some of us were only cousins. So rather than trying to remember, I wrote down the five top common ancestors in a grid comparing Team member to common ancestors. Next I ran a different combination of the first iteration and I once again compared the results to a new combination of the second iteration, making sure I included all team members after running the two iterations.
It was then that I discovered we all descended from Sir Robert Corbet.
From that moment on we decided that RootsTech 2017 would hereafter be referred to as the Corbet-40 Family Reunion.
At our team dinner, Thursday night, Michael clinked his glass, as one would when one has an important announcement to make, and proceeded to fill in the other members of our team on what we’d discovered.
Esteemed colleagues, honored guests, dear friends and family. Listen close, for the story I am about to tell you is of special interest to you all.
Imagine if you will, a Patriarch of two children, one boy and one girl. As life is want to do, these children gave forth more children. And is the habit of life this continuted for 800 years until nine descendants found each other in common cause to unite all of humanity in a single family tree.
Improbable you say, but I say it is true, for all you present tonight are direct descendants of this Patriarch, Sir Robert Corbet the Sherrif of Shropshire, born about 1234 in England.
Welcome to the Corbet-40 Family Reunion.
Now, while the facts of WikiTree may be disproven, the Truth of WikiTree remains, that we nine are family is true.
So a toast my cousins.
Of course we couldn’t have a family reunion without a coat of arms and a motto. The obvious choice for motto? “Onward and Upward.”
Julie and I had way too much fun creating a coat of arms.
The values of the coat of arms are Collaboration, Free, Respect and Accuracy.
T-shirts for everyone next year?
To see if you are related to our common ancestor, you can try Corbet-40 in the Relationship Finder. Sir Robert is also featured in our Connection Finder this week so if you don’t have a direct relationship to him you can check to see how you are connected to him!