If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?
Hmm. I subscribe to the “we’re all related” school of thought—albeit with the caveat that most often we don’t know what the connections are and the realization that it’s unlikely we’ll ever be able to find all of those connections—so I feel a connection to everyone in history.
So, for me, the better question is with whom would I like to sit down at the dinner table? Plato, Socrates, Apuleius, Boccaccio, Einstein, Giovan Francesco Straparola, Giambattista Basile, Madame d’Aulnoy, Mademoiselle l’Heritier, George Macdonald, Oscar Wilde, Dian Fossey, Jimmy Carter, Eleanor Roosevelt, Charles Dickens, Henry David Thoreau, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Maria Curie and her husband and daughter, Jack Zipes, Marina Warner, most science fiction and fantasy authors … any of my friends …. You get the message. I love meeting interesting people with whom I can enjoy interesting conversations, and I want to be aware of our relatedness.
What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?
I’ve been a reader all my life, so that’s a big one. I read (and write) fantasy and science fiction. I also enjoy historical fiction and the occasional murder mystery, biography, or classic.
I am a tremendous fan of fairy tales and would someday like to have the equivalent of a Ph.D. education with regard to the ways in which fairy tales are part of our culture. These stories, many of them traceable to ancient Babylonian roots, pass into the literature and back into the oral culture, becoming richer and more meaningful with time.
Related to my interests in reading and writing, I enjoy attending science fiction conventions. Being able to hang out with fascinating people with similar and divergent interests is wonderful, although the economics of attending are not.
I’m an environmentalist in the sense that I am very aware that if we don’t take care of our home, it will eventually (next decade or next century doesn’t really matter, I’ll still have family around, after all) stop being a habitable place for humans. I also feel related to the other creatures on Earth, and it saddens me to think of how badly we treat our nonhuman cousins when we make our planet less hospitable for them, as well.
Science and education are also huge interests for me. As a teen, back in the 70s, my dream job was to someday live on a space station, where I would work half time as a research scientist and half time as a teacher for children who lived there. What happened to that? Now, after many years spent in IT, I tutor at my local community college, where I specialize in working with writing and ESL students.
How long have you been on WikiTree and how active are you?
I’ve been a member since 25 May 2013. I’m not nearly as active as many other people on WikiTree, primarily because I’m so busy in so many different areas of my life and on so many different genealogy sites, but I’m trying expand the work I do there.
I also spend a lot of time on Ancestry and FamilySearch, because these are places where I’ve been successful at finding sources for my genealogy work. I was part of Geni’s beta group, and I loved it then, but without a paid membership (and I simply can’t afford another) I find it less useful. Even so, my presence on there, like my presence on WikiTree, has helped me to connect with second cousins I never knew I had.
What are some of the features/aspects of WikiTree that you love/don’t love as much?
I’m still new here. I like WikiTree’s interface better than that on other genealogy wikis, but I have to admit that I’m a bit spoiled by all the bells and whistles on commercial sites and FamilySearch, with their deep pockets for creating fancy interfaces.
I would really love to see a better way to cite our sources. The freeform entry method may be flexible, but it leaves me all too aware that I lack one of those incredibly expensive books on genealogy citation.
I’d love the see the help topics expanded and improved. But, that’s pretty true of just about any help system I’ve ever encountered. Anywhere.
On a related note, I’d love to see more videos about WikiTree, not just of the tutorial variety, but also on related topics.
Maybe a group vlog!
Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?
Don’t give up. It’s not fancy, but the company’s good. The longer you hang out here, the better the experience gets.
Plus, it’s great cousin bait.
If you could leave one message for your descendants, what would it be?
I love you!