It's time to get to know another one of our wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is Rob Pavey.
Rob became a Wiki Genealogist in June of 2020. He is a member of our England Project. He also created the AGC browser extension that helps reformat a profile that was created by GEDCOM upload and the WikiTree Sourcer extension that helps a user search for sources and cite them.
What are some of the surnames you are researching?
I have researched most branches of my family but some names I have dived into more than others: Pavey (originating in East Devon), Smeed (Kent), Dickens (river pilots in Pill) and Brain (Warwickshire/Staffordshire).
What are some of the locations you are researching?
Yarcombe, Devon and the surrounding area of the Blackdown Hills. This is where my paternal Pavey line comes from. I have visited the area and found the gravestone of my 4th great-grandparents. If I did a OPS it would probably for Yarcombe. Also Pill in Somerset which has a fascinating history - my ancestors were river pilots guiding ships up the Avon to Bristol.
When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?
My cousin John Partington was into it for a long time and wrote some family history booklets. I started seriously on Ancestry in 2016 when I broke my ankle and was sitting on the sofa a lot! I enjoy the puzzle solving part and get little dopamine hits each time I find a new source or connection.
Who's your favorite ancestor and why?
William Henry Pavey my 2nd great grandfather. He was born in the Plymouth area and his whole family upped sticks and moved to London in the 1850s. I wrote a blog post about him and that was what got me into writing detailed biographies with maps. He tried his hand at a lot of trades and he and his wife raised 12 children to adulthood with no childhood deaths. Having done a y-DNA test as well as Ancestry DNA I am beginning the suspect that his father of record was not his biological father. So there could be future mysteries to investigate.
Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down.
Elizabeth Ann Smeed my 2nd great-grandmother. She was one of my early challenges on Ancestry. Most trees had the wrong parents for her. It turned out that her mother Mary Ann Smeed was not married but when Elizabeth got married she listed her father as William Smeed - which confused everyone. Of course I haven’t been able to persuade other people on Ancestry to correct their trees. I wrote a blog post about this research here: https://ancestorsandcousins.home.blog/2019/03/27/elizabeth-ann-smeed-1817-1906/
If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?
A difficult question - there are so many to choose from! I think I would like to be related to a famous scientist like Charles Darwin.
What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?
I like to be outdoors and enjoy birding. I recently started volunteering at a wetlands restoration project. I am a software engineer and have started apply my knowledge of that to genealogy by writing browser extensions to use with WikiTree.
(interview continues in comments)