It'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 Frank, Mahatma 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]