Meet our Members: I. Caruso

+30 votes

Hi everyone!

500px-Meet_our_Members_Photos-74.jpgIt's time to meet another one of our wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is I. Caruso.

She became a Wiki Genealogist in August of 2018. She is active in our Germany Project and is also a Team Leader in our Italy Project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

I'm researching the surnames Caruso and D'Alessandro from Larino, Italy and Jörg, Freiburghaus, Wyss and Keller from Canton Berne in Switzerland.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

For many years I could only do research directly in Larino by reading the church books. I started to note all people with names of interest and maybe I overdid a little bit. So now I have quite a collection of people who lived in Larino.

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

It started in 5th grade at age of 11 years, when we had to draw a family tree in history class. We should only add ancestors up to the grandparents. I was wondering, if this would be all? There must also exist great-grandparents! So I asked my parents and added the great-grandparents as well.

Some years later in 2002, I started to ask my relatives for more names and dates and drew the first family tree with cousins, aunts and uncles, going back to my great-great-grandparents. My maternal grandmother knew so many names!

Who's your favorite ancestor and why?

If I could just pick one, this would be my great-great-grandfather Karl Friedrich Wyss. He came from a farmer's family with nine siblings. His wife died two weeks after the birth of their fourth child. I don't have any records yet of his path the next few years, but sometime after he migrated to Germany. Swiss farmers were popular at that time, as German farmers wanted to learn from them. In 1892 he married his second wife in Creuzburg, today's Germany, and my great-grandmother was born. They had additional four children in the area of Creuzburg, before they migrated to Berlin and their last child was born. Sadly, his second wife also died young, in 1913. In Berlin, he was a dairy owner. Karl Friedrich died in 1937, so he must have witnessed early developments before World War 2 in Berlin.

I find the story of Karl Friedrich Wyss very fascinating. He must have worked hard and in total, he migrated over 1000 km. While I would like to find more details on his life, his family and his descendants, his family is already the most well documented in my family archive. The family in Berlin kept very much contact with the family in Switzerland (some of his children migrated back) over the years, so that many photographs, letters and other documents were handed down to me. This is what makes genealogy interesting.

(interview continues in comments)

WikiTree profile: I. Caruso
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)

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

When starting with genealogy, my Italian grandmother told me that a sister and a brother of her father, Antonio D'Alessandro, migrated to Canada. I found this interesting and soon started to search for them. But I didn't find them. Once in a while I searched again, unsuccessfully. Last year I printed two family trees for my grandmother's 90th birthday, to show her what got me distracted every holiday. But those Canadian relatives were still missing! I wrote to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and they easily found some very helpful records, that allowed me to proceed on my own. I found the husband of my great-grandaunt and all nine children of my great-granduncle. I was lucky and found a recent obituary with photograph, that allowed me to find and contact descendants on Social Media. This was such a nice experience and my grandmother was so happy to see photographs of her aunt and uncle for the first time!

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

My other big hobby is Live Action Role-Playing, for which I'm sewing fantasy and historical clothes. I sew clothes and made accessory for Vikings, Late Middle Ages, Landsknechts in early Renaissance, and I even sewed a Belle Epoque dress after a photograph of my great-great-grandmother Dorothea Luise Lautensack from about 1895.

I also love baking and I'm collecting books and film replicas, especially of the Harry Potter films.

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

I registered in 2018 and got active in 2019. I spend the most time adding profiles from my research or working for the projects. I also enjoy the annual Challenges such as Clean-a-Thon, where I help to improve Italian profiles.

For the Germany Project, I proof read all translated German help pages. We are nearly finished to translate them all. Hopefully this will help to get more German genealogists to participate on WikiTree.

I'm the new Team Leader of the Italy Location Categories, which is part of the Italy Project. My vision of the future is to have categories for all towns of Italy and to have added geographical categories to all existing Italian profiles. We will be looking for volunteers.

What brought you to WikiTree? 

I was looking for a free, non-commercial project, where I could share my research. WikiTree seemed to be more accurate than other projects and I very much liked the idea of one big single tree without duplicates. This was exactly what I was looking for!

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

The community is awesome, it is so great to work together with others, to help others and get help if needed. And I found many relatives on and through WikiTree: two new relatives with whom I had a lot of lovely and interesting exchange and even a cousin of my father whom I previously unsuccessfully tried to contact on Social Media. The cousin bait really works!

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

It would be great to have more European genealogists on WikiTree, without losing the important collaboration.

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

I'm still adding my researched relatives to WikiTree. This also helps my own research, as I use the opportunity to do a little more research on married-in women for which I often didn't research their birth and death records yet - Clean up problems, merge duplicates in my own database and solve questions.

When uploading a Gedcom of my Swiss relatives, I unexpectedly got a match. Turned out, there were two families in my distant tree who migrated to Kansas around 1892. For one family this was noted in Switzerland, but the other just disappeared. I was lucky and these families are well documented on Find A Grave, which led to 400 more relatives in my database in just three weeks! Of course I will yet need to source them and add them to WikiTree, but this raised my awareness that relatives who just disappear from record, could turn up overseas.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

WikiTree has quite a learning curve, so don't worry and take your time to explore the features and find out how it works best for you. WikiTree has lots of great help pages on nearly every topic, not only in English but also in some other languages.

Isabelle is a WONDERFUL WikiTreer and is an important member of the Germany Project. We are grateful for the time she spends with us! I'm glad she got the recognition she deserves.

5 Answers

+10 votes
Congratulations on being nominated as Wonderful WikiTreer of the week, Isabelle.

Thank you for all your work as proof reader of the German Translation Team. You are great.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
+9 votes
Nice to meet you, Isabelle. That is a wonderful story about your search for your Grandmother's relative.
by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (889k points)
+4 votes
What a wonderful interview, Isabelle. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. I know that you have been invaluable help during the WikiTree Challenge, and I really enjoy working with you!
by Mindy Silva G2G6 Pilot (646k points)
+3 votes
Congratulations, Isabelle!
by Cristina Corbellani G2G6 Mach 1 (18.4k points)
+1 vote
Nice outfit, Isabelle!
ago by Eileen Robinson G2G6 Mach 2 (20.7k points)

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