Meet our Members: Ben Molesworth

+18 votes

Hi everyone!

500px-Meet_our_Members_Photos-23.jpgIt's time to meet another one of our Wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is Ben Molesworth

Ben became a Wiki Genealogist in September of 2017. He's in our Australia Project and very helpful at improving our Australian profiles.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

I have spent a good deal of time putting as many sourced profiles in as I can for Molesworths, including all who were born, or married, or died in Australia and New Zealand. I have also made sure that all Molesworths listed in the Peerages have been added. My aim is to bring as many Molesworths as possible back to one tree. 

I also like to follow other surnames in my tree, that seem rare, and likely descend from one location, such as Widdicombe, Cottier and Penaluna, in the hopes of bringing a single origin tree together for those names.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

I spend most of my time building profiles for people in Victoria Australia, and often in other Australian states, as profiles lead me. I am interested in working more in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Isle of Man, but I always seem to find more work to do in Australia.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy?

I originally was introduced to family genealogy, through my Dad and Grandad researching our family name, before internet became a thing. They did their research by looking through telephone books from around the world, and sending letters to everyone they could find with the same surname. Then they followed this up, by travelling to locations, that were significant to the Molesworth name.

While my Dad and Grandad were busy with family research, as a teenager reading genealogies in the Bible, whereas others would probably fall asleep, I went through, constructing them into one tree that I could present.

More recently, I was looking at some history, and it sparked my interest to research all of my family lines, instead of relying only on the research done on our own surname. I have enjoyed finding lots of details about all the people who have contributed to who I am. I have found just upward of 50 ancestors, who mostly came to Australia it seems, in search of a new life, and in search of gold in Victoria. I've only found three or four ancestors who came to Australia as convicts.

Who's your favorite ancestor and why?

I guess my favorite ancestor would have to be Judge Sir Robert Molesworth, who was appointed one of the first five judges, for the Supreme Court in Victoria Australia.

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

I was thrilled a couple of weeks ago, to have broken through a really difficult brickwall, who only died in the 1990's. It turns out that he had completely changed his name, and disassociated himself from his family, in order to avoid fighting in World War II, and in order to avoid the punishment for being AWOL. This brickwall was busted, because one of his sons took a DNA test, and a cousin, who remembered our run away, was able to help identify his original name, with photos being exchanged as clear proof.

However, a brickwall that I would love to have busted, is that of Reginald Thomas Morris (Keane), whom we have determined, was born in Victoria, after his mother fell pregnant in South Australia, to persons unknown.

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

If I were to pick one person to be related to in history, I would probably like to see connections to various Biblical characters, which unfortunately are a little early for the kind of research we do on WikiTree. But it would be interesting to make that kind of connection, that takes you back to the beginning of recorded time.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Outside of genealogy, those things which are more important, such as my family, my church family, and my work, are the things that occupy most of my time. If I had limitless time, I would spend more time travelling, exploring different places and taking photos. I would also spend time enjoying model railroading with my ten children.

[Interview continues below.]

WikiTree profile: Ben Molesworth
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
edited by Eowyn Walker

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

I have been on WikiTree for a little over four years, and spend most of my time sourcing and building biographies for people either connected to me, or family trees for friends. I am pretty happy with the presentation I have given to all my family up to four generations back, including other side branches and descendants and will start pushing back to working on profiles five generations back soon. I keep track of where I am up to, with lists of profiles that I am planning on working on next, on my own profile page.

I check daily for G2G posts about Australia, and try and keep up with the standard that we are trying to achieve for Australian profiles. I also eagerly search for activity on surnames I am following, and will make contact with new people researching the same names, or will check their work, to see if I can help find connections for them. If they are working in Australia, I will often source an unsourced profile for them, and create a basic biography, to help demonstrate how our profiles can appear better.

What brought you to WikiTree?

I actually started my genealogy journey a couple of months before starting on WikiTree, by starting on a couple of other family tree sites. When I would search Google for this or that ancestor, I often found listings for WikiTree, and liked not only that I could find someone else's work, but that often the profiles were connected to trees that I could view too. After this happened several times, I decided to join WikiTree for myself. The active community involvement on WikiTree, mostly trying to correct me at the start, was the thing drew me in, to making my home at WikiTree. That and getting sick of other sites constantly asking for money.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

My favorite things about WikiTree, firstly is the contact that it has given me with cousins whom I'd never known. Whereas I have maintained accounts on other sites, and have only been contacted by one or two people in the last four years, I probably average a new contact every month on WikiTree, and maybe three out of four people contacting me, aren't even on WikiTree themselves, but appreciate the work I have put into profiles, and are wanting to give me more details to add.

G2G is also wonderful. The ability to be able to reach out for help, with anything, from research to understanding how to operate the site, to fun conversations about topics that are sometimes irrelevant but fun. The fact that people are always there, and willing to try and give a hand, or talk things through, is a massive positive attribute on WikiTree.

I also love that I get daily updates on my Tags, and love the Weekly updates, including all the topics highlighted, but especially the connection and relationship finder, which for me is probably one of the key things which makes genealogy fun. I also love all the many other features available from the menus at the top of my page.

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

I think one of the most difficult things about WikiTree though, is the massive learning curve needed to use it, which I feel probably causes a lot of new users to quit. One of the things that I love about another family tree site, is that I have the App downloaded on my phone, and any time you wish to add something, you just press on the drop down tab to find what you are wanting to enter, and then you just put the details in. Of course, I think the downside of that other site is, that they have ended up with a lot of inaccurate work. So, as they say KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid!! Now, I can already see that this is already recognised, and WikiTree is already doing things to try and overcome this, which is good.

I think the other thing that annoyed me, was that living profiles could no longer be displayed, which is fair enough for private individuals, but seemed silly for extremely public figures, particularly those who still have profiles on Wikipedia, but are now unable to be presented on WikiTree.

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

I think WikiTree has helped me to take sourcing seriously, having seen now how errors so easily creep in, because of sloppy work. I now don't consider it good enough to have just found a birth, death or marriage record, but want to see collaborating evidence from newspaper records or other records. I hope that I have helped genealogy, by providing a clear record for other researchers to be able to verify for themselves. I also hope that I have helped WikiTree, in that I now sing the praises of WikiTree to anyone who contacts me, because they have found a profile that I have built, which they are related to.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

For people starting out on WikiTree, go slow. Just build something nice for your parents. Then add to it your grandparents. Then continue to add to it, while checking what others have done. WikiTree has lots of great resources to help, so try everything in the menus, and see what you find. Create a post on G2G, stating the area you are working in, and asking What is the best way to find records in this state or shire.

For the last year, I have enjoyed, sometimes struggled, presenting an ancestor every week in the Ancestor challenge, but it was worth it. It was also great reading so many other stories. In this new year, I am hoping to dive in immediately to the Profile Improvement Project (PIP), to embark on the Voyage challenge, to see how I can yet improve my profiles more. I'm quite looking forward to it.

Thank you Eowyn for asking me to share, and giving me this opportunity. It has made for an interesting and welcome week, answering a couple of people's questions on different Molesworth families. Thank you once again.


1 Answer

+3 votes

Hi Ben,

Really Nice Interview! Thank you for sharing and Congrats on being member of the week yes

Looks like we’re possibly 16th cousins! laugh through shared ancestor William Waldegrave (abt. 1465 - 1527)

God Bless smiley

by Andrew Simpier G2G6 Pilot (138k points)
edited by Andrew Simpier
Thank you for commenting Andrew. 16th cousins isn't too far apart, compared to some of the weekly connections, that often aren't closer than 25 or so steps away.

How fantastic you were named Wikitreer of the Week!. I love our collaboration with the Keane side of the family and so glad that we found each other as distant cousins. One day we might bust that query on our Great great great grandfather. If more do DNA, we might break the wall. Cheers Keryn. smiley

Thank you Keryn. I tell you what. The Keane side of our tree would be nothing without all the great research you have done. I wouldn't have had access to many of those sources, and without your imput, we wouldn't have pushed back as far as we have. We are a great example of how Wikitree works. With your skill at digging for those facts, and my having worked out how to get the facts presented.

I guess I have just come to their attention a little now, because I started participating in challenges, and watching the updates, and now starting on the Profile Improvement Project Voyage challenge. They keep seeing me, and wondered who I was. That's why I've been playing around with Henry's profile at the moment. Wikitree is critiquing how I've finished off the profile, and are giving me great suggestions to help me improve it again. But once again, I couldn't have done it, without you also stepping in, to find more sources for Henry. It would have looked bare without your work.
Looked up my link to William Waldegrave and l am 22 degrees away via the Mundays and the Prideauxs

Love this research

Ann Tippett  (UK)
You should be connected to me then. Try connecting to Molesworth-137. It eliminates six generations, because he is my gggg x grandfather. I'm really enjoy genealogy sometimes. Sometimes I lose patience with brickwalls. But who doesn't.
Ben, it's a great collaboration. Zoe Nunn has now entered our world of genealogy. She is from when Bessie Mongan-Keane married into Cody line -> Jenkin -> Nunn. A young genealogist just starting out. She has been building her tree on Ancestry (I am a contributor) and has also joined Wikitree.  We'll bust those brick walls soon enough!. Keryn

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