Meet our Members: Andrew Turvey

+23 votes
476 views

Hi everyone!

Meet_our_Members_Photos-88.jpgIt's time to meet another one of our wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is Andrew Turvey.

Andrew became a Wiki Genealogist in May of 2016 and is Team Leader for the Norfolk Team in our England Project. He also leads the Turvey Name Study.

When and how did you get interested in family history?

I first did my "family tree" when I was 8 years old - so I've been doing it for a while! I was born in southern Africa, but my family is of British descent and I was keen to know where I was "from". I started by speaking with my great aunts and uncles - learning their stories and learning about their families.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I work full time in the finance industry, have two young boys and we do a lot of running as a family. If that doesn't keep me busy enough, I'm working through a 'bucket list' of 40 things I want to do in my 40s.

What is your genealogical research focus?

My traditional focus has been on trying to get as far back as possible on as many lines as possible. More recently I've started to "fill out" the details trying to uncover the stories behind my ancestors.

When I started nearly 30 years ago, I could only identify a few hundred relatives - based on word of mouth, some family bibles, and census records at a local registry office. When I picked it up again 10 years ago the power of Internet research expanded this to a few thousand, getting back to the 1500s via parish records. I then discovered a link to Scottish royalty which unlocks connections back into dark age myths!

Are you are interested in certain surnames or locations?

In recent years, I've expanded my own Turvey Name Study, combining Y DNA genetic analysis with big data to understand more about our surname history. This has thrown up some interesting mysteries which I'm hoping more widespread testing will help answer!

Through WikiTree I've also expanded into single place research - in my case Norfolk and Suffolk where many of my ancestors are from. It's a perfect platform to find and collect specialist local resources and work together on a common local tree.

Do you have a brick wall breakthrough story?

For many years I struggled to find the origins of my great grandfather, John Lowe. I had his death certificate,  which showed he was born in Northampton and when but he didn't appear on any census returns. It was a real mystery!

A post on g2g helped me break through. Turns out his birth name was John Lowe Denny. He moved to Canada with his wife and daughter. It then took a dark turn, as it seems he abandoned them there, changed his name to John Lowe, married my great grandmother, and moved to Scotland.

His whole life was quite a roller coaster story; he grew up in a poor shoemakers family in Northampton; moved to London where he married a divorcee and ran a coffee shop; then moved to Canada (where he left his wife and daughter), worked as a "phrenologist" - like a fortune teller - in Scotland before tragically killing himself leaving behind two young children - my grandmother and great uncle.

What is your toughest brick wall currently?

I have a few lines that lead back to 1800s London and I can't trace them further back. Seems the population was just too big and too mobile to trace back in the parish records. Any tips gratefully received! 

(interview continues in comments)

WikiTree profile: Andrew Turvey
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.9m points)

What brought you to WikiTree?

I've always been interested in open data being a long-time Wikipedia editor, so an open wiki Pando tree always made intuitive sense to me. I started on WeRelate, switching to WikiTree in 2016 when that site started to decline.

I'm also a trustee of FreeUKGenealogy, the UK charity that supports the FreeREG, FreeBMD, and FreeCEN projects.

What do you spend the most time doing on WikiTree?

Besides researching my own tree and my One Name Studies, I enjoy sourcing, particularly in Norfolk. It's a clear way to improve our collective tree because without sources we can't be sure the profile details are correct and can't resolve any discrepancies. 

Which project are you most involved in?

I'm most involved in the Norfolk Team within the England Project, where I help with sourcing.

How can others help the Norfolk Team?

Like other counties in England, we have lots of unsourced profiles where sources are easy to find on sites like FamilySearch and FreeREG. I'm happy to talk it through with anyone who has some spare time and wants to help out!

What inspires you to contribute so much of yourself to WikiTree's mission?

It's really important to me that all of my research is available to others to use and benefit from in decades to come - rather than ending up as scribbles on scraps of paper in the loft.

What is your favorite feature or function on WikiTree?

There are loads of great functions - the Relationship Finder I use a lot when connecting with relatives.

What feature or function would you most like to see added or improved?

WikiTree X used to work well, then stopped. I think a semi-automated profile importer, e.g. from FamilySearch or FreeREG, would have huge potential, if it could be done in a high quality and sustainable way.

Do you have a story about how you were helped through the work of others on WikiTree?

All the time! I regularly work with cousins on common ancestors and my One Name Studies rely heavily on other people researching my surnames of interest.

Do you have any tips for someone who wants to get more involved in our community?

Find your niche that you enjoy and keep doing it!

What could we do to inspire more people to participate in our mission?

Many online communities get to a stage of maturity where people are established in their roles and processes and routines get solidified. The risk is that it becomes more and more difficult for 'newbies' to get involved, particularly if they don't particularly want to do things the established way.

WikiTree seems to be getting to that stage. I think it's important to monitor what is happening there - are we still attracting new users, new project members, new leaders, etc. Are we still growing? If not, why not and what can be done to rejuvenate the community?

Thank You Eowyn for another great interview! Getting to think of our members as more than member IDs is one of the things that makes our site appealing and unique.

10 Answers

+12 votes
Congratulations, Andrew, and thank you for all you do for our tree.  Your transition to WikiTree from Wikipedia is interesting, and your involvement in FreeUKGenealogy is inspiring.  Thank you for a thoughtful and enjoyable interview.  Thank you, Eowyn, for bringing us another fascinating member of the week.
by Mark Weinheimer G2G6 Pilot (763k points)
Thank you - glad you enjoyed it!
+11 votes
Thank You for the great perspectives on genealogy Andrew. I appreciate your willingness to share with us. I agree with the downfalls of not growing. I will say that WikiTree does a much better job of reaching out, and innovating then any of the other sites I've been to.
by Marty Franke G2G6 Pilot (266k points)
+12 votes
Congratulations on being nominated as member of the week, Andrew.

At is interesting to learn a little bit more about you. I wish you good luck with your researches.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)
Thank you!
+12 votes
Hello Andrew and thank you for a very interesting interview. We are distant cousins, 24/1xr through MRCA Aveline (Clare) de Mandeville. Distant, yet connected through Aveline and through WikiTree! Please know that your contributions are very much appreciated. And thank you, cousin Eowyn!
by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (635k points)
A pleasure to meet you cousin Carol! And I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the interview.
+10 votes
Andrew, thank you for sharing your story.  I appreciate your dedication as you have worked on your family story for many years and on several sites.  And I thank you for sharing your perspective on a range of issues related to growth.  Thanks!
by Robert Clark G2G6 Pilot (467k points)
+6 votes
Great interview, Andrew!  I found that we are related through our common ancestor https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Murray-350. Thank you for all the great work that you are doing on the wikitree!
by Beth Stephenson G2G6 Mach 3 (36.1k points)
edited by Beth Stephenson
Thanks Beth!
+2 votes

Nice to "meet" you Andrew!  We are both descended from Medieval Scotland: Malcolm Drummond (1416-abt.1470).

I liked your comment about "connections back into dark age myths!"

by Bartley McRorie G2G6 Mach 9 (90.1k points)
Another Drummond! Great to meet you Bartley
+4 votes

Congratulations, and thank you for all the contributions to the tree, and especially for your edit a couple of weeks ago which connected my family to the global tree via my great grandfather's uncle, Joseph Turvey!

On a side note, I know there are several Turveys buried in my local cemetery which I was planning to visit soon, so I'll be sure to take some notes to see if I can add any extra information to profiles, such as dates.

by Andrew Beard G2G Crew (620 points)
Thank you Andrew - that would be excellent! Always keen to hear more about other Turveys, even if I haven't connected our branches together (yet!)
+4 votes
Excellent read Andrew and finally great to "meet" a fellow Norfolk team member.  Thanks for all the work you do for Team Norfolk and also with freeREG and freeCEN; I still use them a lot.

Like you my goal is in the sourcing.  I have often said "If it isn't sourced, it's just a rumour".

I also love the Relationship Finder and thought that we would be closer related given our ancestry in Norfolk and Suffolk, but alas, no.
by Brad Cunningham G2G6 Mach 9 (98.2k points)
+4 votes
Congratulations Andrew,

FYI...I am your 23rd cousin twice removed...glad to meet you!
by Randi Zurcher G2G6 Mach 1 (13.7k points)
Glad to meet you Randi!

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