Meet our Members: Sondra Marshall

+18 votes

Hi everyone!

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

Sondra became a Wiki Genealogist in December of 2015. She is actively involved in our Global Cemeteries and Military and War projects, among others.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

The ones I research most frequently are Marshall, Hirschmiller, Kandler, Loibl, and Peden. I am also actively working on three surnames that have no relationship to me: Maryott, Milner, and Newcomb.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

My research is primarily centered in the state of Nebraska in general but I also research in Barren County, Kentucky, Carroll County, Illinois, Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Madison County, Iowa, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, California, Oregon and England.

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

It really started with an 8th Grade Social Studies project. We all had to prepare a family tree to the best of our ability, mine was kind of pathetic because at the time there was no one acting as a family historian on either my mom or dad’s side. Most of my classmates had these awesome trees that had been handed down through their families, or their Moms were members of the local genealogy society. I did not seriously catch the genealogy bug until after my Grandpa died in 2000. Grandpa always wanted to have his family tree done, I had just gotten my first computer with the old dial up internet, and I decided I was going to try to fulfill his dream of doing that. Once I got started I couldn’t stop.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Wow. Not sure I have a favorite ancestor. They are all unique and have their own stories to tell. I suppose if I had to pick, it would be one of my Ralston cousins. Marshal Charles A. Ralston was killed in the line of duty in 1908 following a group of men believed to be jewelry thieves. His son Orville Ralston is known as Nebraska’s Forgotten Ace. Orville was the only World War I Flying Ace from Nebraska. Unfortunately, he was killed in a B-17 plane crash in Musselshell, Montana after he reenlisted with the U.S. Army Air Corps at the start of World War II.

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

I am still trying to trace my Theurer, Hirschmiller, Kandler and Nicklaus lines back to Europe, most likely Switzerland or Germany. I have been trying to break through substantial brickwalls in those lines for years. Probably the most satisfying breakthroughs have been in my Marshall family, particularly with my great great great great grandmother Isabella (Staveley) Marshall. My gut told me for a long time that she was not the Isabella that was born in York, England, despite the fact that most trees around Ancestry and other sites showed her parents as William and Henrietta Staveley. A little collaboration with a very distant cousin in New Zealand and he found a record that stated Isabella’s father’s name. Thomas Staveley! It was a really exciting breakthrough for both of us.

[Interview continues below.]

WikiTree profile: Sondra Marshall
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)

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

I had to think about this one. I think I would have to go with Leonardo Da Vinci. He was an incredibly intelligent, creative, and talented man and I think he contributed a lot of positives to mankind in the areas of art and science. He is one of those individuals that I would absolutely love to have an actual conversation with if it was actually possible.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I like to read and write. I recently was accepted to a graduate degree program for Public History, so I will be getting an excess of both of those activities in starting in January. When I can find the time, I also do some knitting and crocheting.

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

I joined in December 2015. I am a member of the Global Cemeteries Project and have slowly been working on various historic cemeteries in West Central Nebraska. I am also a member of the Military and War Project and Westward Ho!, where two of my larger pet projects concerns the Vietnam War, Indian War Army Scouts and documenting some of the lesser known skirmishes and massacres. I also work with profiles of American Indian War Veterans, Buffalo Soldiers, and Civil War Veterans who took up Homesteads after the War in Nebraska. I more recently completed the England Project’s phase one of the Orphan Trail and am looking forward to working on the existing English profiles here at WikiTree, and am hoping to get some American immigrants linked back to their families in England. So many stories that need to be told and so little time!

What brought you to WikiTree?

I was working on my Schmeeckle tree and a cousin, who was a member at the time, recommended I give WikiTree a try.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

I love that I can indulge my historical interests at WikiTree. I get to work not just on my own tree but on historically significant family lines too. I love using Free-Space pages too.

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

I think the one thing I have always found a little frustrating is navigating all the Help Pages and Categories. I have tons of pages bookmarked because I am always afraid I will not able to find that one Help Page or Category again.

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

The collaborative environment has been the biggest help. I used to have to really dig and research to find a live person to exchange information or compare notes with. I have probably learned more about successful genealogy research and sourcing at WikiTree than I have anywhere else. People share freebies in G2G often too and I try to take advantage of free courses and seminars when I notice someone post them.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

First, do not let the complexity of WikiTree intimidate you. The second would be to start out with good sourcing habits. WikiTree has some of the greatest members volunteering their time available to help new members. Search G2G, ask a question in G2G, contact a Greeter or Mentor. There are lots of great people here to help.

Congratulations, Sondra. You sure peeked my interest in the projects your working. There are 2 areas that are of particular interest to me. Do you have a copy of the Buffalo Soldiers Brave and the Brass by Frank N. Schubert. It is an historical account of the Buffalo Soldiers at Ft. Robinson, Nebraska dating from 1873-1948. My father's family migrated from Maine about the timeframe of the Civil War. My great grandfather homesteaded in what is now Ainsworth, NE. When the railroad came through, they needed part of it, so he sold it moved west to Crawford and became one of their early pioneers there as well. Dad was a federal land bank manager during his day. His territory included the Sandhills. In the summer, instead of a baby sitter, I would travel with him into the sand hills where he would appraise the ranches. The point is, I'd like it if you would email me and tell me more about your projects with these interests in mind. Thanks.. And again, congrats.

3 Answers

+5 votes
Congratulations Sondra! :) You're a gem to the WikiTree community! We are so glad you're a WikiTreer!
by Greta Moody G2G6 Pilot (184k points)
+4 votes
Congratulations Sondra! Great interview, nice to see you around WikiTree.
by Laura DeSpain G2G6 Pilot (405k points)
+3 votes
Thanks for sharing with us!    You are certainly an impressive WikiTreer!
by Peggy McReynolds G2G6 Pilot (450k points)

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