It'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.]