Meet our Members: Trevor Pickup

+25 votes

Hi everyone!

500px-Meet_our_Members_Photos-95.jpgIt's time to get to know another one of our wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is Trevor Pickup.

Trevor became a Wiki Genealogist in March of 2018. He is currently a Team Leader in our England Project. 

When and how did you get interested in genealogy?

I first got interested over 30 years ago, and visited a number of County Record Offices in the south of England to consult documents. I then got bored and handed over my files to my Dad, who did a lot more work. He then passed it back and I began again, and joined WikiTree as the best way of storing and sharing my research. My Dad has now also joined WikiTree and we are both hooked.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I work full time for a housing charity, I am involved in my local church and my wife and I grow a lot of our own vegetables.  

What is your research focus?

I started off by researching all I could about my ancestors, building the tree in every direction, but then wanted to learn more about who these people were and what their lives were like. I subscribe to the British Newspaper Archive, which gives access to millions of pages from local newspapers. I learnt that my G-Grandfather ran a greengrocer’s shop in Chelmsford which was disrupted when a horse escaped in the town and ended up in the shop. I also found stories of real poverty, with ancestors living in Deptford and Greenwich, with children dying young of malnutrition, adults in court for theft and violence and one relative who became homeless and who was arrested in over 20 different towns over a 10 year period for begging and being drunk.

I then started on my maternal grandfather, who was an Elder in the Sandemanian Church in London, a very small strict Calvinist church. Quite a few profiles had already been added by other WikiTreers, but many needed sources, so I adopted them and started building on them. The family had always had a few questions about the  Sandemanians, and so I began to research further. According to Wikipedia, the church was known for the high number of members who married within the Church. I therefore started a Free Space page to record these marriages and have found over 70 so far. I then tracked down the membership lists from the archives, transcribed them and created further free space pages, with links to all the profiles. I began to get emails from other researchers who were also descended from the Sandemanians, and who shared what they had learnt. 

The London church began in 1760, when a number of ministers left their previous churches and began meeting together. There were many who opposed the Sandemanians, and churches and families were divided. Records from a number of churches exist from this time and I am trying to write a detailed history of who all these people were.  

Are you are interested in certain surnames or locations?

I am now trying to research other nonconformist churches in London, to understand their histories. I started a free space page on the History of Nonconformists in London, England and surrounding Counties which has been adopted as a topic by the England Team. I am researching churches, schools and academies, religious societies and publications and missionary societies. I am trying to build sense of the nonconformist community and how it functioned.  As I get familiar with more and more families, I can start to draw links together. For example, many sermons got printed in this period and some have lists of subscribers who help pay for the printing. These lists include friends and relatives of the author and are sometimes names I am familiar with.

Do you have a favourite ancestor?

If I can have two – 

The famous scientist Michael Faraday was a member of the Sandemanians.  There is a famous picture of him giving a Christmas lecture with the Prince of Wales in the audience.  What is less well known is that the original image was a lithograph, was produced by Alexander Blaikley, a printer and fellow Sandemanian from church.  They were also family, with Faraday’s sister being Alexander’s mother-in-law.

And ...

John Boosey grew up in Essex but moved to London and set up a lending library and publishing business. He joined the Sandemanian Church and both his wives came from church families. In 1773 he was granted the Freedom of the City of London, Membership of the Clockmaker’s Company, and to reimburse him the expense of providing Coats, Caps, and Breaches for the City's watermen on the last Lord Mayors Day.  The watermen worked on the River Thames and took part in the annual event to honour the Lord Mayor of London.

(interview continues in comments)

WikiTree profile: Trevor Pickup
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.2m points)

How long have you been on WikiTree and what brought you here?

I have been a WikiTree member for 4 years. I joined because it was a free site to allow me to get my research on the web. I also liked the idea of working collaboratively with others.

Which project are you most involved in?

I have been a member of the England Project for several years and a few weeks ago I was asked to be the Team leader for Greater London and Middlesex. This means I lead a small team trying to improve the profiles from London, although with over 240,000 profiles, it needs to be a team effort. There are about 800 additional profiles being created each week, so there is lots to do.

My current project concerns the nonconformist ministers who were trained at the Homerton Academy in London from about 1750-1812.  Working with my Dad, profiles have been created but I now need to construct their families and build up their biographies.

Can others help that project?

I would be delighted to work with others.

The  London and Middlesex team has a huge challenge to improve the profiles, write biographies and work on suggestions.

For the Nonconformists in London topic, I have collected a number of documents which have details which need to be added to build up the story on the nonconformist community. There is some exciting history to be researched in this area.

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

Most historians look down on Genealogy as merely a hobby undertaken by amateurs.  However, there is some groundbreaking historical research going on in the pages of Wikitree. The opportunity to create free space pages gives the opportunity for high quality historical research to be compiled and presented to the world.  For example, all the letters of Michael Faraday were published a few years ago, but many of the people named were not identified.  These people have now been identified as church members or family, and have good Wikitree profiles, adding to our knowledge of history.

I see myself as an amateur historian, who uses WikiTree to gather and publish research, which can be read by anyone.

What is your favourite feature on WikiTree? 

My favourite part of WikiTree is its visibility on the web, which means people can find you through a Google search and make contact. I have had numerous people make contact and share information with me. Some find my research useful too. 

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

The limit of 5000 profiles on my watch list is a constant challenge. I have several thousand names in my own family and my previous research has taken me over 5000.  As I create families for another 300 ministers, I have to orphan them, which makes it harder for people to make contact and collaborate with me.

Do you have a story about how someone was helped through your participation on WikiTree?

A few years ago I ordered a copy of the Sandemanian Church membership list from Dundee University, which contained loads of information not on the internet. I have transcribed these and linked as many names as possible to the profiles. Several people have recognised their ancestors in the lists and this has helped them add a couple more generations to their ancestors.

Thanks to Trevor and his work I have found out more about my family tree and have also found out that he is a distant cousin, both sharing the ancestors Edward Barnard and Mary Gastineau.  There are lots of things I still haven't got to grips with, but I feel that I'm almost getting to know those predecessors of mine and have been astonished to find some are quite famous.  I know about several forebears I have not put into my WikiTree tree, as yet.

5 Answers

+14 votes
Great interview! Thanks for being part of our community, Trevor.

I appreciate that you called out two of the most important and fundamental purposes of WikiTree: 1.) To enable anyone to contribute to history, and 2.) to enable everyone to access it.
by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
Thank you for your comments, glad we share these thoughts.
+7 votes

Really enjoyed reading this interview!

Regarding the watch list limit of 5000 profiles inhibiting people from being able to contact you and collaborate:  Perhaps adding a line at the bottom of each profile that you "orphan" like:

"Profile created by Trevor Pickup.  Please visit my profile and click on [send private message] to contact me and/or collaborate on this profile!"

A better solution would be if we could figure out how to trigger the [send private message] function from that profile without the need to visit your profile.  It may be possible, but I don't know how to code it.

by Bartley McRorie G2G6 Pilot (146k points)

I've played with the same basic idea, and added a "profile created by ..." text at the bottom of the biography, below the sources. The problem with that is that the text will be regarded as belonging to the "Sources" section, which it definitely doesn't.

The correct way to do it, is to add the Level 2 "Acknowledgements" header and put your "Created by ..." text there. I think this is awkward, and for now I've abandoned the idea. But I would very much like to see a "Created by ..." caption outside of the Biography. This could be done automatically by adding a few lines of code to the page generator.

+6 votes

What a fascinating interview! The caliber of Trevor and his father's research will surely be appreciated  smiley Good genealogy research intertwined with historical studies will bring WikiTree to the forefront. 

by Maggie N. G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+5 votes
I have to give a special thanks to Micheal as he has found some links ancestors, or at least I think. Still a bit sketchy on the Tibble pre 1853 but it’s been interesting to find someone with a bit more Knowledge of Essex ancestors  than me.    Still a newby.   

Best wishes

by Dawn Tibble G2G1 (1.7k points)
+1 vote
Very interesting Interview Trevor. Thank you for sharing with us. It sounds like WikiTree has got you pretty busy. I'm still trying to figure out how you have time for a garden in addition to everything else you are doing.
by Marty Franke G2G6 Pilot (582k points)

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