Can you help connect a computer pioneer?

+17 votes

For this connection challenge, I have chosen computer pioneers: those people who helped, in various ways, to get the world to a place where a site like WikiTree is even possible. (Along with archivists, of course.)  

The goal is to connect each of the people listed below to the main tree:

in The Tree House by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (545k points)
edited by Greg Slade

If you haven't worked on connecting before, there are some Hints and Tips on the Connectors Chat page.

If you can add sources, photos, or biographies, build out the family trees, or improve these profiles in any other ways, so much the better!

P.S. I'm not a WikiTree Leader, and have no authority to assign points, credit, or anything like that. My intent with these challenges is for them to be a fun little break from whatever you're doing regularly. There's no time limit, there are no prizes, and if you have fun finding and adding relatives, then you win. (And WikiTree wins in any case, because the more connected profiles we have, the better the tree is for everybody.)

That said, if you manage to connect any of the profiles listed here to the main tree, there's no reason that you can't count that connection towards the Connectors Challenge, if you're taking part in that. (Or, you could count it towards the Sourcerers Challenge if you run across an unsourced profile which is already on WikiTree and add one or more sources to it.)

P.P.S. If this challenge intrigues you, and you think you might like to try your hand at connecting other unconnected branches, you can find more threads like this on the Places to find unconnected profiles page. (Or, if you want the Reader's Digest version, check out the State of the "can you help connect" address thread.)

Fixed broken link to David Dawon Kahng.

i think Tom Flowers link is linked to wrong person

Quite right. Fixed now. (That's what I get for trying to hurry.)

This challenge is now in 18th place in terms of percent complete, at 14.3%. In terms of people still to connect, it's in a three-way tie for 17th place, at 12.

Thank you to S Stevenson for connecting Ed Roberts (and giving him a great-grandmother). That moves this challenge up to 16th place in terms of percent complete, at 21.4%, and tied for 16th place in terms of people still to connect, at 11.

Bravo Judi for adding this challenge!

This challenge is now in sixth place in terms of percent complete, at 64.3%, and tied for sixth place in terms of people still to connect, at 5.

Steve Jobs has been linked

Thank you, Donna! This challenge is now in fifth place in terms of percent complete, at 71.4%, and in a three-way tie for fifth place in terms of people still to connect, at 4.

13 Answers

+13 votes
Some others ...

Charles Babbage, an English mechanical engineer and polymath, originated the concept of a programmable computer. Considered the "father of the computer", he conceptualized and invented the first mechanical computer in the early 19th century. Charles Babbage was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University from 1828 to 1839 (a post formerly held by Isaac Newton).

Alan Turing was a pioneering mathematician widely considered to be the father of modern computer science. His revolutionary idea was to create a machine that would turn thought processes into numbers. A Turing machine is the original idealized model of a computer, invented by Alan Turing in 1936.

Konrad Zuse created the Z1 in his parents' living room in Germany between 1936 and 1938. It is considered to be the first electromechanical binary programmable computer and the first functional modern computer.

The first substantial computer was the giant ENIAC machine by John W. Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert at the University of Pennsylvania. It used a word of 10 decimal digits instead of binary ones like previous automated calculators/computers. ENIAC (Electrical Numerical Integrator and Calculator)

Generation in computer terminology is a change in technology a computer is/was being used ...
1st generation (1940-1956)
2nd generation (1956-1963)
3rd generation (1964-1971)
4th generation (1972-2010)
5th generation (2010 to present)
by N Gauthier G2G6 Pilot (228k points)

Charles Babbage is already connected, although he has no great-grandparents listed on WikiTree, so I'm planning to include him when I put out a Quest for Great-Grandparents for computer pioneers.

Alan Turing is also already connected, and has six great-grandparents listed.

John Mauchly is also already connected, and has one great-grandparent listed.

John Warner Backus, American computer scientist, leading development of the FORTRAN programming language, inventor of the Backus-Naur Form (BNF).

Not on WT yet afaik.

Yes. I was pleased at how many computer pioneers already had WikiTree profiles. It made this challenge much easier to put together. But there are quite a few who don't have profiles yet.

+16 votes
Atanasoff is now connected through his second wife's grandfather.  His father was a Bulgarian immigrant . . . good luck adding his grandparents.
by Kathy Rabenstein G2G6 Pilot (295k points)

Thank you for making that connection, Kathy!

(And, actually, yes, I do hope that eventually we will see people's grandparents and great-grandparents on WikiTree. Even the ones who lived in Bulgaria. It's all a matter of paying enough attention to under-represented countries that people from those countries will see WikiTree as a place for them, too.)

My wife is Bulgarian, I would like to figure out how to do some genealogy there, but it is certainly not easy. They don't have a standard practice of inheriting the last name, for starters. I haven't found any centralized records, although I haven't looked very far. If we do find those, then reading Church Slavonic is not for the faint of heart!
+14 votes
David Packard is connected via his paternal line.
by Mark Burch G2G6 Pilot (176k points)

Thank you for that, David! And he also has a great-grandfather listed now, so that gives him a head start when the time comes for the "Quest for Great-Grandparents" challenge. 

+16 votes
Hey, if you're going to add Charles Babbage, then you must add Ada Lovelace. He would have been nothing, really, without her. She's one of the leading pioneers in early computing and gaming!
by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (754k points)

Oh ye of little faith! Ada Lovelace is already connected, and has seven great-grandparents listed. If that last great-grandmother isn't found by the time I launch the "Quest for Great-Grandparents" challenge, she will, of course, be on it. But she will be on the computer pioneers list on the Relationship Finder Quick Links page in any case.

I was just going to suggest her but you beat me to it.
Oh, Greg, of giving faith! Thank you! I am so very tired of women being overlooked or not being added or going the distance to find women to add wherever and whenever possible. It would be nice to have at least one woman per challenge. about doing wives of presidents?

Anyway, thanks much for your response! Carol

PS Ada is a 14 cousin through MRCA Peter Dutton on her father's side. I have a vested family interest in highlighting this woman. I'm able to use a computer to write publications based on her early contributions to the computer!

Actually, I have been trying to find women for these challenges, but it's kind of frustrating. Granted, computer geekery has been largely dominated by guys, so it wasn't, perhaps, the best choice for a challenge. (But, being a geek, it was something I wanted to do.) Even those women who have had a major impact on the field are under-represented on Wikipedia (where I do my research for these challenges, not because I consider it unerringly accurate, but because it's quick). And then, not all the women who do have Wikipedia entries have WikiTree profiles, so there's layer upon layer of neglect here. Out of the 27 geeks I turned up*, only two were women: Ada Lovelace, and Grace Murray Hopper, and they're both already connected. (Actually, I didn't even need to look Hopper up. My brother is a big fan of hers.) But at least being connected puts them ahead of everybody in this challenge.

(I also try to spread these challenges around in terms of countries, to try to give a boost to countries that are under-represented on WikiTree. But the problem there is that most people don't even attempt to work on people from outside the US, Western Europe, Australia, or New Zealand, which is why there are so many incomplete challenges piled up.)

I should also say that I have (mostly) given up my former practice of adding profiles for people in order to make up a new challenge. That just leads to lots of unconnected notables in assorted fields, which annoys my fellow Connectors. So now I just look for people who already have profiles on WikiTree, but are unconnected. But when I was searching for unconnected science fiction writers, I was really frustrated. There are lots of women science fiction writers. Granted, most of them are still alive (and long may they stay that way), but even restricting myself to the dead ones, I was really disappointed at how few of them with Wikipedia entries have WikiTree profiles. 

(Okay, Ada and Grace are ahead of almost everybody in this challenge. Thanks to Kathy and Mark for connecting the first two.)

Hi Greg,

There was a book that came out a couple of years ago called 'The Innovators.' It traced computers from Ada on up to the usual suspects...Jobs, Packard, etc. It was the first time I was introduced to Alan Turing. Shortly after the book, the movie came out about him with Benedict Cumberbatch. Anyway, it did list several women between the 1950s and 1960s. about

Mary Allen Wilkes - software pioneer

You do have Grace Hopper

Fran Allen - Fortran

Dorothy Vaughn!!! - Head programmer for Computation Division at Langley!
Judith Lamb is the final gg parent for Ada Lovelace.

Thank you, Mark!

Carol, I'll probably be running second (or third, or fourth) rounds for any of the challenges, so if you find (or create) WikiTree profiles for women who belong in this challenge (or any of the challenges that I launched listed on the "Places to find unconnected profiles" or the "How to increase a country's presence on WikiTree" pages), please send me a private message, and I will add them to the lists I'm working on. (I would say to post them here, but people keep connecting profiles before I get a challenge launched.)

Or, for that matter, feel free to launch a challenge yourself. I didn't come up with the idea, and I'm not WikiTree's official challenge maker, or anything like that. Anybody can post a challenge any time. All you need to do is put together a list of people who have something in common. (And if you want to do a list of women who have something in common, nobody should complain. There have been plenty of challenges that were only men, so having all-female challenges would only be fair.)

How about Raye Montague? when it comes to great-grandparents?  It would be good if her biography was filled out, too.
+14 votes
I connected Jack Kilby (Kilby-420). His 2x great grandmother was a Marrs which there is a family branch from Scotland.

As the inventor of the silicon microchip and handheld calculator, this man was reviled in our household by my dad who was a machinist who had to deal with the floating point error in calculations making parts for NASA.

If you've ever owned a TI calculator, thank Jack Kilby.
by Judi Stutz G2G6 Pilot (167k points)
edited by Judi Stutz

Thank you, Judi! That moves this challenge up to being tied for 10th place in terms of percent complete, at 28.6%, and tied for 15th place in terms of people still to connect, at 10.

+14 votes
I connected Dennis Ritchie (Ritchie-3629). His 2x great grandmother was a Shirk and her grandfather was a rifleman in the American Revolutionary War.
by Judi Stutz G2G6 Pilot (167k points)

Thank you, Judi! I think I must have miscounted last time, because this challenge is now in 11th place in terms of percent complete, at 35.7%, and tied for 14th place in terms of people still to connect, at 9.

+14 votes
I connected John Bardeen (Bardeen-27). My grandfather's older brother Samuel also worked at Western Electric Company in Chicago.
by Judi Stutz G2G6 Pilot (167k points)

You are just rocking this challenge, Judi! It is now tied for 8th place in terms of percent complete, at 42.9%, and in a three-way tied for 12th place in terms of people still to connect, at 8.

This list resonated with me, but especially when I did John Bardeen. That hit very close to home.  Thanks for continuing to create focused challenges like these.

Thank you for your enthusiasm in working on this challenge! To be honest, my enthusiasm was starting to flag, because there are so many challenges that are stalled partway through. The more of these people get connected, the more hope I have that the whole challenge will eventually be completed, and the challenge list can be a little bit shorter.

+13 votes
I connected J.Presper Eckert (Eckert-1022) with his wife's family line (Hallowell) that goes back to England.
by Judi Stutz G2G6 Pilot (167k points)
edited by Judi Stutz

Thank you, Judi! This challenge is now in seventh place in terms of percent complete, at 50%, and in a three-way tied for 10th place in terms of people still to connect, at 7.

+13 votes
I connected John G. Kemeny (Kemeny-60) to the WikiTree using his mother-in-law's Bliss line.
by Judi Stutz G2G6 Pilot (167k points)

Now he was one of those whom I feared might take quite some time to connect, because he was born in Hungary, and we don't seem to have many WikiTreers from Hungary yet. (I also understand that Hungarian is quite different from most European languages.) So this was a pleasant surprise. Now this challenge is in seventh place in terms of percent complete, at 57.1%, and in a four-way tie for seventh place in terms of people still to connect, at 6.

+11 votes

Greg, is the maiden name of the private spouse of Seymour Papert, Rohrbach? if yes, could you add her father Rohrbach-403. 

it will not connect them but gives us more to work with.


by S Stevenson G2G6 Pilot (166k points)


seymour is now connected

Thank you, S!

+10 votes
I started to work on Jack Tramiel, but both him and his wife were Polish immigrants so I got stuck. I added one of his sons and his wife to see if I could connect through the wife. I found some newspaper articles on her when she was in high school, but no marriage announcements. So I'm still stuck. If anyone wants to attempt to make the connection, let me know and I will add you as a profile manager.
by Judi Stutz G2G6 Pilot (167k points)
+9 votes
I am working on Tommy Flowers got his parents and maternal grandparents to add no connection that I can see yet.
by Hilary Gadsby G2G6 Pilot (263k points)
+10 votes
I found the baptism record of Konrad Zuse. He was baptised in the Auenkirche, Deutsch-Wilmersdorf 21 Aug 1910.

I attached a copy of the source to his profile, changed the location of birth, because he was born in Deutsch-Wilmersdorf, Province Brandenburg, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire.

Today Wilmersdorf is a district of Berlin, but 1910 it was a city in Brandenburg. From the 19th century until 1912 the city was called Deutsch-Wilmersorf; from 1912-1920 the city was called Berlin-Wilmersdorf. On 1 Oct 1920 the city became a part of Greater Berlin (Groß-Berlin).

I also added a small part in the biography.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (2.6m points)
Added the marriage of his parents Ernst Wilhelm Albert Zuse and Maria Wilhelmine Alwine Crohn on 14 Mar 1907 to the profile and added a link from ancestry record to the profiles.

Added Death Location in Berlin-Kreuzberg and a link to the death certificate on ancestry.

Added birth/baptism 26 Apr 1873 in Pribbernow to the bio and concerning link to ancestry record to the profile.
Added death of grandfather August Friedrich Ferdinand Zuse in Berlin 1909 and a link to ancestry record

His parents are Michael Zuse and Wilhelmine nee Hartwig (mentioned in the death record)

Added death and location of marriage on 5 Jan 1871 in Cammin, Pomerania and a link the the record on ancestry.
More I could not find; I will try to find the connection the next days.
I will add all family members I can find with reliable sources.

Then I will orphan them.

Maybe I can one of them connect to the tree.

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