Meet our Members: Joelle Colville-Hanson

+25 votes

Hi everyone!

500px-Meet_our_Members_Photos-26.jpgIt's time to meet another of our Wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is Joelle Colville-Hanson.

Joelle became a Wiki Genealogist in May of 2017.  She is the team leader for the Illinois Project as well as the Argyll team for the Scotland Project. She's also one of our Cemeterists.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Colville, Breckenridge.

Most of my mother’s family (Crawford) was already on WikiTree when I joined. I’ve filled in the gaps but there’s really not much more to do there. Now I mostly work on my father's side. 

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Argyll, Scotland: The area of Kintrye was very insulated and there was a lot of intermarriage so nearly everyone from there is connected to my tree in some way.

Winnebago County: My great grandfather Robert Colville immigrated from Campbeltown, Scotland to Ohio in 1837. He ended up at the Scotch Settlement in Argyle, Illinois.  I have a free-space page about the settlement.

Washington County, Ohio. This is where my family first settled as well as many others from Argyll.

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

My Uncle Fred Crawford was an amateur genealogist before the days of the internet. He traveled to Scotland and copied records directly from the churches there. It’s a big family and I’m fairly sure much of what we know about those Crawfords is a result of his work. 

His widow gave me his notes when I was a teenager but it got put away safely and I didn’t really take a real interest again until a few years ago. 

Tell us about a brick wall you hope to bust through.

I can’t seem to get past my second great grandfather. I’m not even certain the father he is connected to is correct. It’s very difficult because everyone in Kintrye has the same names. I have a family tree from relatives that goes farther but so far have not been able to connect sources with it. 

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I enjoy history, gardening and cooking. 

[Interview continues below.]

WikiTree profile: Joelle Colville-Hanson
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)

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

I joined WikiTree and made a profile in 2014 but I found it very confusing. I pretty much left it alone until 2018 when I discovered more about my father's family. I became frustrated with the false leads on Ancestry and decided to to figure how to use WikiTree and source correctly. Once I got the hang of it there was no going back. 

Projects: I’m the team leader for Illinois. I’m on the Global Cemeteries Project and have free-spaces for several cemeteries in Winnebago County. I live about 3 hours away from Rockford and before the pandemic would make road trips to take photos and check out the history section in the library. I’m also the Argyll team leader for the Scotland Project

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

I like a lot about WikiTree but probably my favorite is the goal of one tree and the ability to work together to get a fuller and more accurate picture. 

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

It could probably be a little more user friendly but I appreciate the improvements that have been made to make it simpler than when I started.

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

WikiTree had really helped me expand my tree by learning how to use sources. I feel like I’ve nearly single handedly populated Campbeltown and Southend in Scotland. There aren’t a lot of people with Argyll ancestors on WikiTree right now but I hope someday the work I’ve done will be helpful. 

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Look at what other people do. Go to the project pages. There’s lots of how tos.

Wonderful interview !

And some great tips for someone just starting out on Wikitree 

We’re 21st cousins laugh

Thank you for all you do to improve our Wikitree family 

Yea!  We are 5th cousins 3x removed.  :)  Hello Cuz.

6 Answers

+12 votes
Glad we get to learn more about you Joelle.

A very interesting interview.

Good luck with your further researches.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G6 Pilot (486k points)
+5 votes
It's so nice to learn more about you Joelle!  Lovely interview!
by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+6 votes


do you still remember how you were wondering what one of your relatives did on Madeira? Well, the transcript of the records I found searching for him made it (at least partly) on a Free-Space-Page here. Yeah, it's quite a time since I worked on that page, but the people mentioned in the document can find their way to WikiTree. 

by Jelena Eckstädt G2G6 Pilot (619k points)
I do remember that!  What a great resource you made!
+3 votes

That's our fearless leader for Illinois!!!!smiley

by Nan Starjak G2G6 Pilot (255k points)
+3 votes
Hey Joelle,

I have just discovered that you and my mother are 5th cousins - descended from the same Breckenridge family in Argyll - Common ancestors are - John Breckenridge and Janet Pickan.

You just said that there were not many people with an Argyll connection. Well now you can add me!!

I have quite a few details and documents, if you need any help with the Breckenridge family!!


by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (877k points)
PS - We both show up with DNA connections to John and Janet along with my sister Trisha and 2 other people.
If you are related to one person in Kintrye you are likely to be related in some way to them all!
+2 votes
So nice to  meet you, Joelle! YOU ARE A GREAT WIKITREER!  I have been reading your profile, and your almost 86,000 contributions are AWESOME!  We have so much in common: Winnebago County, Rockford History, Love of Freddy, Callie, and Cats, Argyle, Scotland, and Scots ancestors. And you being a Doctor of Ministry and pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is another AWESOME! I joined my husband's Lutheran faith 2000 (hymns are so historic!) he grew up outside Galena, IL. And you married Madison, Wisconsin, when I taught school just south in Rockford, IL, for a career. I'm looking forward to researching all your projects on Wikitree. THANKS for all your SUPERB work on Wikitree!
by Juliet Wills G2G3 (3.7k points)
Thanks for your enthusiastic and kind words Juliet. We do have a lot in common!

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