Meet our Members: Ian Speed

+29 votes
773 views

Hi everyone!

imageIt's time to meet another one of our Wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is Ian Speed.

Ian became a Wiki Genealogist in January of 2017. He is very involved with the England Project and recently helped start the Accessibility Angels Project!

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Speed (from all over England); Tanner, Seymour and Nation (from Somerset); Glover (from Derbyshire); Fudge (from Kent and South Australia); Hyde (from Hampshire); Stephen (from Aberdeenshire); Govan and Cameron (from Lanarkshire) and Lempriere (from the Channel Islands). 

What are some of the locations you are researching?

I am Australian and mostly of UK ancestry (according to AncestryDNA, 62% from England & Wales, 25% from Ireland & Scotland, 13% from Scandinavia & Germanic Europe).

My main research focus is England, especially Somerset, Derbyshire, Greater Bristol and Greater London.

I also research the Australian states of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, and dabble in Scottish research, mostly around Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Jersey in the Channel Islands is another location that interests me.

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

My grandmother sowed the seeds of my interest more than 30 years ago when I was a teenager. She was born in 1905 and I spent many a Saturday afternoon sitting in the back room of her humble suburban home as she regaled us with stories about bygone days and her not so distant cousins Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, Virginia Woolf and others.

My interest in genealogy grew from there. Looking back now, I’m grateful I had the chance to talk about our family history with my grandmother and other relatives who are no longer alive.

Who's your favorite ancestor and why?

I don’t really have a favorite. I like them all. I enjoy challenging research, so I’ve always been intrigued by some of the more shadowy or shady figures in my family tree. My mercurial 3rd great-grandfather Colonel Speed is a good example. He was a British Army officer who slid into debt, disgrace and eventually prison. At age 48, he was convicted of bigamy and loaded onto a convict ship to begin a new life in Australia. With four wives and about 20 children, he’s been a fascinating ancestor to research—in both a genealogical and biographical sense.

Of my ancestors, the person who did the most to make the world a better place, was anti-slavery campaigner James Stephen, my 4th great-grandfather. He was a close ally and brother-in-law of William Wilberforce. As the principal lawyer of the abolitionist movement of the early 1800s, he designed the 1807 law that abolished the slave trade in the British Empire. He was portrayed by British actor Stephen Campbell Moore in the 2006 film Amazing Grace.

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

Too many to choose from … Martin Luther King Jr, Anne FrankMahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Eddie Mabo and more … I couldn’t pick just one!

I also wouldn’t mind being related to Emil Zatopek. Not just because he was a four-time Olympic champion and one of the greatest distance runners of all time, or because he spoke out against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and suffered harsh penalties for doing so—but because then I could connect his profile to the single family tree. Can you help me?

[interview continues in comments]

WikiTree profile: I. Speed
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I am a runner. I train most days, sometimes twice a day, rain or shine. I’ve been running for many years and represented Australia at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China. And, no, I didn’t win a medal. I came 9th overall in the 800 metres. My best result at an international level is 5th place in the 1500 metres at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France.

Nowadays, I’m a tad older, a tad slower, and running the marathon. 42.195 km is a long way, but as Czech Olympic champion Emil Zatopek once said, “If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”

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

I joined WikiTree in 2017. Like most people, I focused on my own family at first. I then progressed to adding other families with the same surnames. Then, last year, I signed-up for the England Project and discovered a whole new world of WikiTree collaboration!

I spend more than half my WikiTree time working on other people’s families and contributing to projects.

I am coordinator and co-founder of the Accessibility Angels Project, a new project to help people with disabilities be successful WikiTreers. Our aim is to make WikiTree accessible to as many people as possible, and for them to join us in growing the single family tree. You can read more about what we do here.

I also help coordinate the England Project, which focuses on improving the WikiTree profiles of people who lived in England. I work with our new project members and help them to learn about English sources and editing English profiles as part of our Orphan Trail Team. I also lead our county team for Somerset, help organise our project challenges, and am a member of our Managed Profiles Team.

What brought you to WikiTree?

Google. I was looking for a good way to share my research and found WikiTree. I compared it with the alternatives and made my choice. And here I am.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

I like WikiTree’s commitment to accuracy and reliable sources; the flexibility of what we can do on profile pages; that the content is freely available to everyone—and, of course, the people. WikiTree has a great collaborative community of genealogists!

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

If I could wave a magic wand, I would make every page on WikiTree 100% accessible to people with disabilities. It’s not as simple as that, but it’s something that interests us at the Accessibility Angels Project. Accessibility also benefits other users, including older people with changing abilities due to aging.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Take your time and explore WikiTree. You’ll find heaps of great examples to learn from. And don’t be surprised when someone else starts contributing to the profiles you manage. WikiTree is all about collaboration and working together to grow our single, shared family tree!

It's nice to have a bio to go with the name.
Thanks Dave! And thanks for everything you do for the England Project :)

Nice to see a picture Ian. You've been a great help with reading a couple of my biography's and sorting them out. Glad to be on the Somerset team with you as a leader. smileyWendy

Thank you Wendy! It's great to have you in the England Project and on the Somerset Team :)

7 Answers

+16 votes
Nice to meet you Ian.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (421k points)
Thanks Doug. Nice to meet you too :)
+15 votes
Bravo Ian.  Wonderful interview!  Thanks for all you do to make Wikitree a better place for everyone!
by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
Thanks SJ. Glad you liked it!
+10 votes
I agree with the others, Ian! It's great to put a face with your name. I've enjoyed getting to know you better through the Accessibility Angels project. Your commitment to excellence and your compassion for others is inspiring. :-)
by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (387k points)

Thank you Julie! I really appreciate all of your and SJ's support with the Accessibility Angels Project. smiley

+9 votes
Great to 'meet' you, Ian! Great interview and thanks for all your hard work!
by Azure Robinson G2G6 Pilot (198k points)
Thank you Azure! And thank you for everything you do too :-)
+6 votes

Ian, thanks so much for letting us get to know you and for coordinating the Accessibility Angels project. smiley 

 

by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (870k points)
Thank you Maggie. It's nice to hear from you :)
+5 votes
Hi Ian,

It is really great to meet you! I love that you have started an Accessibility Angels Project! I have a severely disabled grandson, who is blind and partially deaf. Perhaps in future, we will have a WT that is 'space age' to allow for all special needs.

Although I live in Tucson, AZ, I have ancestors from England and really enjoy working with the England Team. Thanks so much for your great Meet our Members post.
by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (482k points)
Thank you Carol and thanks for everything you do for the England Project :)
+5 votes
Very nice interview Ian, it's great to "meet" you! Being an avid track & field fan (though in practice I do nothing more athletic than country walking) I was very interested to read about this part of your life and hope there will be an opportunity to meet again in a future WikiTree sports challenge :-)
by Isabelle Martin G2G6 Pilot (447k points)
Thank you Isabelle! It’s nice to hear from you. And thank you for all your work in adding and categorising Olympic athletes on WikiTree :)

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