Meet our Members: Kathie Forbes

+23 votes

Hi everyone!

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

Kathie became a Wiki Genealogist in April of 2015. She participates in the Virginia Project and is also a valuable asset to our Native Americans Project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?  

Parks, Simmons, Youngblood, Robbins; I’d like to take the first three farther back, and there are so many Robbinses in early Connecticut that I just can’t sort them out.

What are some of the locations you are researching?  

Many of my ancestors lived in the mid-Atlantic states – Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. Many of them followed the migration path south and west, so North Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi are all on my list. Another set started in Massachusetts, moved through Connecticut and ended up in western New York.  

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

Both of my parents told stories about their families from the time I was a small child. I met quite a few of their elderly relatives and always wanted to know who they were and how they connected to me. My father had a large leather-bound book called “The History of the Cherokee Indians” by Emmett Starr, which laid out the genealogy for my Cherokee ancestors. Seeing all those names and generations got me started. On mother’s side, her father, her aunt, and a cousin spent years on their genealogy. My mother inherited all their correspondence and paperwork, which has since come down to me. 

Who's your favorite ancestor and why?  

I can’t pick a favorite, but the ones who left their homes to head off to a new country or a new location have always intrigued me.

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

I broke one brick wall through serendipity. I was never sure who my Mississippi grandmother’s grandmother was. She didn’t seem to be in family records, and I even sent away for my great-grandmother’s death certificate which came back "parents unknown." From my research I was pretty sure she was a woman with the unusual name of Hercilla Baldridge. While going through a random box of family photos one day I found a picture of my grandmother on her aunt’s front porch, clearly labelled. Mystery solved and that family now traced back to the early 1700’s. I still can’t pin down that woman’s husband even though I know his name - John Simmons -  and when and where they got married. 

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?  

I am an avid reader, I spend as much time as I can with my children and grandchildren, am active in my Cherokee community, enjoy crafts like needlepoint and beadwork, and love to travel. I was about to leave on my bucket-list Egypt trip just as the pandemic lockdown started.

[Interview continues in comments.]

WikiTree profile: Kathie Forbes
in Requests for Project Volunteers by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)

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

I have been on WikiTree about five years. I spend most of my time documenting and improving profiles of Cherokee people. I am involved with the Native American project and the Virginia project.  With both projects I follow G2G questions in those areas and try to respond, I help find sources and clear up relationships, and keep trying to separate fact from fiction on Native American profiles.

What brought you to WikiTree?

I’m not sure exactly who or what pointed me in this direction, but it was somehow connected to A.J. Jacobs Global Family Reunion.  

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

Originally it was the ability to create a biography for an ancestor and the emphasis on sources. The longer I am here the more I value the friendliness, helpfulness, and incredible body of knowledge of WikiTreers. The idea that a random stranger would spend hours poring over a barely-legible 16th century document to find a baptismal record for me is just astounding.

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

The Wiki markup language is daunting. There are many features I don’t use because it just seems too hard to figure them out.

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy or how you’ve helped genealogy with WikiTree?  

WikiTree has certainly helped me to improve my sourcing and to work harder to find documents to back up all those nice family group sheets my mother’s cousin left me! I like to at least think I’ve helped by unraveling a number of mixed-up families.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree? 

Be patient, start small, and ask lots of questions if you get stuck or confused.  There’s always somebody ready to help you.

Congratulations on WikiTreer if the Week!

You and my wife are 7th cousins. Welcome to the family!


I respect the information and expertise that you share with the Cherokee Facebook Group. WikiTree will be a better, more accurate place for genealogy research with you contributing.

Our genealogical connection goes back to Susannah Emory. Cool fact!


6 Answers

+8 votes
Congratulations on being nominated member of the wee
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
+5 votes
With all of Kathie's ancestors being in about the same areas as mine, I was surprised to see that she was my 16th cousin. I was sure I'd be closer.

Great interview, Kathie!
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
+5 votes

Hi Kathie! Looks like we are 6th cousins. Our common ancestor is John Baldridge

Very nice article about you!

by Lori Zukerman G2G6 Mach 8 (89.7k points)
+5 votes
Kathie, congratulations for being chosen WikiTreer of the Week! I enjoyed reading the interview. I learned that we are 7th cousins. "Old John Hembree" was a sixth great grandfather to both of us. The Hembree/Emory line is so rich in tradition and surprises that I love researching it.
by Betty Norman G2G6 Mach 1 (17.7k points)
+2 votes

I loved reading this one about Kathie smiley  I respect her work so much. We bumped into each other many years ago when I was trying to cleanup Pocahontas and her relatives. I knew nothing about native American genealogy and wow, are we lucky to have Kathie!

by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (999k points)
+1 vote
It’s nice to read more about you, cousin!
by T Stanton G2G6 Pilot (251k points)

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