Meet our Members: Betty Norman

+24 votes

Hi everyone!

Meet_our_Members_Photos-27.jpgIt's time to meet another one of our Wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is Betty Norman.

Betty became a Wiki Genealogist in October of 2019. She's active in our US Southern Colonies Project particularly the Carolinas, Jamestown and Bio-Builders teams.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Skelton Banister Moore Todd Norman Belew Ruhl Arnett Hembree McGougan McCaskill.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Jamestown, the Carolinas, Ninety-Six District.

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

My great-grandfather started it. When he was 91 and I was 12, he told me some of his memories of the War Between the States. He was still a boy when the war ended, but his stories planted a spark of awe inside me that never went away. Only in recent years did I begin researching my family’s history. It was then I discovered the truth was far more amazing than my imagination.

Who's your favorite ancestor and why?

Sarah Hembree Todd Love, my second great-grandmother. She was bold and courageous, a field nurse during the War Between the States. It’s my belief that her pride in her Native American heritage led her to make unconventional life choices.

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

I still have frustrating brick walls at the ends of my Skelton and Banister lines, but I was able to open up the Norman line. The brick wall was in colonial Carolina, where the immigrant patriarch appeared around 1676. None of the pieces of the puzzle fit together from there. Only when I put aside the works of the genealogists I had been following and started using primary sources did I discover there were TWO Norman patriarchs who immigrated around the same time. From there, I penciled in corrections to the works of the genealogists and made real progress!

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

Alfred the Great, or his daughter, Aethelflaed, both strategic rulers who changed the course of history. 

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Trail running/walking, raptors (mainly eagles and hawks), grandchildren, reading, travel, church, puzzles, chocolate. (I used to run ultramarathons, but have cut down on my mileage in recent years.)

[Interview continues below.]

WikiTree profile: Betty Norman
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 first signed up on WikiTree in January 2019, but I didn’t become active until October 2019. Once I moved in this direction, there was no turning back. I spent the first few months working on my own family tree, then decided to “give back.” Last June, I signed up on U.S. Southern Colonies Project as a member of Mary Richardson’s Carolinas Team. Now I’m also a member of Bio-Builders Team and Jamestown Team. Mary calls my activities “Quality Assurance.” I’m not ready yet to raise my hand for a leadership role; still too busy learning!

What brought you to WikiTree?

Like most newbie genealogists, I got started with a major “” I noticed that, whenever I researched for an ancestor online, I would frequently find the ancestor’s WikiTree profile. (What the heck is that?) So I researched WikiTree.

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree, or which feature(s) do you like the most?

Biographies. WikiTree features a platform for telling a person’s story, every bit as important as the vital information and accuracy of the pedigree. I really enjoy showing what a person was like, what he/she accomplished, and what motivated lifestyle changes. 

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

A “Search” feature, in addition to the Help Index and G2G, which usually help if you know what you’re looking for. The “Search WikiTree’s help pages” that appears on the Help Index page is disappointing, because it does a Google search, not a WikiTree search.

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

WikiTree, plus some top-notch WikiTree mentors, have taught me a great deal about sourcing: What are the trustworthy sources?  Where do you find them? Which ones should be avoided, and why? A biography is nothing more than fiction if it is not backed up by good sources.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Start with your own family tree. Do not import a gedcom; just do it yourself. Ask for help on G2G if you need it. WikiTree is filled with kind, helpful, knowledgeable people who can give you a hand.

5 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer
Fantastic story Betty; I enjoyed it a lot.  Like you, I love running/walking (more walking lately), raptors of all types (I volunteer with OWL, a rehabilitation center), Grandkiddo's, etc.  We have a lot in common!  Turns out we're 15th cousins 2X removed.
by Brad Cunningham G2G6 Mach 2 (23.1k points)
selected by Betty Norman
Wow! Glad to meet you, Cuz! I guess some things just keep on running in the family.... Thanks so much for your feedback!
+7 votes
Thanks for introducing yourself Betty; an interesting interview.
You are a great asset to WikiTree, especially your work on six different projects makes you a WikiTree Super Star.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G6 Pilot (478k points)
Thanks, Dieter! I appreciate your comments!
+7 votes
Hey Betty,

I’m very new as I just joined the other day, but thank you for contributing of course. Don’t stop looking for that Albert the Great connection! Perhaps you’re descended.

God bless!
by Aaron Moore G2G5 (5.4k points)
Hi Aaron. I have Moores on both sides of my family, so we may be cousins down the line somewhere. Thanks for your input, and welcome to WikiTree!
+2 votes
Hi, Betty, enjoyed "meeting" you thru this interview!  It caught my eye because of the ARNETT tag.  My great grandmother was an Arnett from Randolph County, Alabama.  We have traced her line back to Anson County, North Carolina.  Let me know if you'd like to compare notes!
by William Morgan G2G1 (1.4k points)
We definitely should compare notes! Dr. George Washington Arnett (1823-1873) (Arnett-1429) is one of my brick walls! His profile leaves me wanting to know more. He married Mary Rebecca Cavett, relative of the infamous Cavetts of "Massacre at Cavett Station." I'm not at all sure the facts in his profile are right, and I'd like to get to the bottom of it! Thanks for reaching out.
Betty, hi and how did you find the "Massacre at Cavett Station"? I assume because of your finding first Dr George and his wife, a Cavett. But that's too simple an answer. What are the twists and turns that any of us could find in our known family members' histories? How would we recognize when we had happened upon one of "those threads" that could reveal things we didn't know we were looking for??
Roberta, I can't take credit for finding the Cavett connection. There's another family member who has spent many hours and days traveling across the country researching this part of our family. Now we compare notes and I hope I have been able to help her with research too. My husband's great grandparents were James Cavett Arnett and Tennessee Ellen Belew, a pioneer couple. She was part Cherokee-Indian. But James' parents divorced and both remarried and moved in different directions, so it took some digging to stay on the right track. Family legend told us Grandma Tennie came from Pilot Point, Texas. And there we found the grave of the next generation: Mary Rebecca Cavett Herron. So the Cavett name was really the key that eventually led us back in history to the "Massacre at Cavett's Station" by Charles H. Faulkner. (We were disappointed to find only scant reference in the book of the couple who were absent on the day of the massacre. Family legend also tells us these survivors were our ancestors.) Other WikiTree researchers had already developed profiles in the Cavett line, and we were able to connect to the main tree after developing the profile of Mary Rebecca Cavett Herron's father.
All of the supposed connections are probably true in spirit and some in fact. Your details above are interesting. My mom was born in Texas, but I didn't know that while she was living. I have seen the place on a map only. I do wish I remembered things better, Betty. So much for being 80 with two sons who seem uninterested, sigh.
Roberta, I wish for you something that happened to me about three years ago. My grown son called me & said, "Hey Mom, we're planning a trip to Europe next year, and I'd like to see if I can find some of my roots. Do you know where any of our ancestors came from?" That was not the end.... It was the beginning. *wish*
0 votes
Wonderful interview with a wonderful WikiTree member!
by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (424k points)
Thank you, Liz. Thank you for your encouragement, for your gentle hints and clues and "how-to's". Thank you for your awesome leadership.

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