Meet our Members: Heather Stevens

+27 votes

Hi everyone!

500px-Meet_our_Members_Photos-50.jpgIt's time to meet another one of our wonderful WikiTreers! This week's member is Heather Stevens.

Heather became a Wiki Genealogist in August of 2019. She is a member of the Australian Convicts Team in the Australia Project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Whipple, Hanks, Salvidge, Broom, Balcombe, Boshell, Tyne, Egan, Loud

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Most of my current research is in colonial New South Wales.

Recently I have been interested in Norfolk Island. Here are a few of the locations "further afield":

Stevens of East Molesley, Surrey, England.

Stephens of Mawgan in Meneage, Cornwall, England.

Palmer of Berrow, Somerset, England.

Griffin of Widworthy, Devon, England.

Blue of colonial New York.

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

Many years ago, my cousin paid a visit to my family and brought along a book about the history of Annangrove and Kenthurst, which used to be orchard growing areas on the outskirts of the greater Sydney area. The book had some of the history of my Stevens family, but what really fascinated me was the revelation that we had convict ancestors. That motivated me to learn more about the history of convict transportation to Australia and to construct my own family tree.

 Who's your favorite ancestor and why?

John Ramsay, first fleeter, who tried so hard to overcome adversity but had some bad luck. He even made an attempt, with two friends, to find a way across the Blue Mountains, which in the early days was an impenetrable barrier to the west of the early colony.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down.

One brick wall was proving my descent from John Ramsay. I knew from indirect evidence that he was probably my ancestor, so I was very happy to find genetic cousins on AncestryDNA.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

Walking, keeping fit, taking photographs for Monument Australia and Find a Grave. All very difficult now that Sydney is in lockdown (July and August 2021). Luckily, I live near beautiful Sydney Harbour, so I can go on harbourside bushwalks.

[interview continues below]

WikiTree profile: Heather Stevens
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)

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

Since joining WikiTree in August 2019, I have added my own tree and I am still adding trees of cousins and friends. I am a member of the Australia Project and the Australian Convicts team. I enjoy researching and writing biographies of convicts and characters of early colonial Sydney.

What brought you to WikiTree?

I joined WikiTree when I enrolled in a hands-on introduction to WikiTree at the Society of Australian Genealogists in Sydney. I owe many thanks to the members of the Australia Project who instructed me in the basics of WikiTree on that day.

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

There are so many positive features of WikiTree: it is free, there is only one profile per person, you collaborate with other researchers, can ask questions, and can share your research without anyone having to use a credit card and a password to access it.

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

I have never uploaded a Gedcom file, but from what I have seen maybe it should be discouraged. Perhaps WikiTree could suggest to the person submitting the tree that they clean up each of the profiles. 

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

Having profiles which are publicly accessible to everyone can bring researchers together. See for example convict Mary Boshell. Mary married convict Stephen Smith who was killed in the Norfolk Island "Cooking-pot Uprising" of 1846. AncestryDNA testing shows an apparent connection between Mary and George Boshell (another convict) who could be her brother. Having their profiles public has generated some interest from descendants of both Mary and George.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Familiarise yourself with WikiTree’s Style and Standards. Sources are so important. Find primary sources as much as possible. 

5 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer
Thanks for such an interesting interview, Heather! Especially thank you for sharing your genealogical expertise with us. We are so lucky to have you :)
by Gillian Thomas G2G6 Pilot (166k points)
selected by Simon Ross
I agree with Gillian! NSW convicts are addictive aren't they? We are 15 degrees apart Heather via our fathers
+13 votes
Congratulations Heather on being nominated for Wonderful WikiTreer of the week.

It is great to read a little bit more about you and your genealogical life and what brought you to WikiTree. It looks like your English ancestors reflect the population of all England as well.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
+10 votes
Superb ! C'est Bon Magnfifique WikiTreer !
by Gerald Baraboo G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
+1 vote
An excellent interview, and your profile for John Ramsey (Ramsey-1539) is outstanding!
by Scott McClain G2G6 Mach 1 (15.4k points)
0 votes
Belated congratulations on your recognition, Heather, and thank you for all you do for our tree. It's great to hear about your research.
by Mark Weinheimer G2G6 Pilot (410k points)

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