As most of my readers know, I am adding my family onto Wikitree. This is a website trying to connect one big global tree. But you must include sources to prove connections on the tree.
I have 287 profiles that I have added to the tree that relate to my family ancestors and descendants. I am manager of each of these profiles but will willingly hand over managership to a person more closely related than I am. I actually have 549 people connected to me, so nearly 300 profiles have been added by other cousins.
Here is how many steps they are away from me:
24 Jan 2023
I am degree 0, my parents and brother are degree 1 so they are the 3 in the chart. Degree 2 I have 13 people – these are my grandparents and my aunts and uncles. So I have a total of 549 people who are 7 or less steps away from me on the global Wikitree.
During this last week the Society of Australian Genealogists have been running a challenge on Wikitree. We started with 7 Australians that needed their trees built out further.
Oliver was a famous actor who got his start in Angaston, South Australia where he was born and passed away in Los Angeles.
During the week, I added 58 new profiles from the information in the Heggie memoirs. I started in Scotland with birth of James Heggie, father of Oliver. There was a lot of detail in the memoirs but I needed to find a source to add to each new profile – so looking for births in Scotland, then arrival in Australia, marriage in Australia and then birth of all the children including “Otto” in South Australia. I also found articles on Trove proving some of the information in the memoirs that I could then add to the biography of the profile person.
The idea of the challenge was to create at least seven connections going forward (children), backward (parents) or sideways (spouse and siblings)
There were 65 participants in the challenge. These were wikitreers from all around the world but quite a few from Australia. By the end of the challenge I was 16th on the list – I had added 58 profiles and won 10 bounty points for being the first person to connect a new Heggie profile to a profile already on the wikitree. I edited 74 profiles altogether and made 253 total edits.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the challenge and have put my name down to help on the next one which relates to One Place Studies. I am interested in this as I also have a blog about the Sorell Municipality which is counted as a One Place Study (OPS).
Readers: Have you collaborated with other people to improve your family history?
Any links will take you directly to a recommended website.
My playlist is ready and I have now started checking out some sessions, series and keynotes. Some are of interest to me personally and others might be helpful information for those people I help at the local library doing their family history.
UKBMD – again a volunteer based group which shows parishes or counties looking at BMD in their area specifically. Also includes lists of counties with Online Parish Clerk websites (OPC). Also has one place studies and census info – so great site for lots of free information and indexes to use.
Also check out specials and free trials of the big databases. Often family history societies and local libraries have more resources as well.
Help online from rootschat, facebook groups and other social media.
Latest DNA Painter releases by Jonny Perl
I love using some of the tools on DNA Painter especially What are the odds (WATO) and the shared cM page. But I have also tried to paint chromosome maps but have found it very tedious adding in one person at a time. But there are now ways to import more than one persons DNA chromosome segments which I might have to start using.
I also learnt about using phased kits at GEDmatch to import just my mum’s data or just my dad’s data. This makes it easier to work out if segments are maternal or paternal on the chromosome map when importing from GEDmatch cluster groups. (Tier 1)
Another new tool was looking at adding dimensions such as birth/death year on your family tree instead of just names. Also colour coding on family trees as well as on WATO.
Main stage events
Many of these sessions are very early in the morning in Australia so I will have to watch them at another time once the recordings are up on the website. But I did listen to Maysoon Zayid and Matthew Modine talking about their family history and how memories make connections through oral history as well as movies and photos.
I did look at some other sessions but will not be writing about them all.
I am disappointed though that I only have 13 relatives at RootsTech – maybe my relatives are not into family history as much as I am.
Readers: What were your takeaways from day 1 at RootsTech?
Other participants gave us details so we could help solve them
Sharn: I have traced my Campbell ancestors back to Neil Campbell and Christian Buchanan who had children 1761-1773 in Callender Perthshire but I can’t find a marriage or their births
Margaret: It is my father’s family that is so difficult. For his maternal gmother wikitree.com/wiki/McKinnon-…, we know her father is John. We assume her mother is Isabella from Naming Pattern, possibly Jamison. NO PROOF.
Alex: I had a go at crafting a more focused research question this afternoon. Here it is. Where and when did Robert Forfar die. He married Lucy Swait on 30 Jan 1842 at St James Westminster London UK and had a son George born 23 Oct 1848 and baptised Bannockburn? Lucy Forfar nee Swait died a widow in 1866. I surmise that Robert died some time between 1861 and 1866 as he was paying for George to go to school in Ealing in 1861. Did he die in England? Did he die in Scotland? Did he die somewhere else entirely? Robert was described as a mason on George’s marriage certificate. His family were weavers in Scotland. Forfar as a name presents a whole bunch of problems – spelling and that it is a place name as well. I need to keep rigorous records of my searches.
Kerri-Anne: I’m grateful for how much I know but I’d like to find out more information on my convicts in England Scotland Ireland – Thomas Power Jean MacDonald James Bradley Sarah Barnes Mary Parker Charles Watson Waters Ann Daley Richard Hicks Margaret Howe
Sharn: My g g g grandmother was Mary Williams said to be born in Singleton NSW c 1840 to parents named as Joseph Williams and Mary Kelly. I can’t find this couple or Mary’s birth
Sharn: Would really love to know what became of my g g g uncle Lawrence Frayne, convict who left a wonderful diary from his time on Norfolk Island after he received a Cert of Freedom in 1846
Margaret: I found most of the family for my 2xggfather William Dickson – again DNA matches and lots of research. Now I have to find his parents’ siblings – and his wife – and their missing children.
Hilary: I partially broke a brickwall when I discovered who my 3xgt grandmother married then found a DNA match with her descendants from that marriage My ancestor was illegitimate so I need to confirm the father with another DNA match
KerrieAnne: I am trying to find the origins of my direct maternal line ancestry from Ann MacLean to Robertson and further back – mt dna suggests Viking origins which is no surprise as she was from the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides
Tara: I think of them as learning opportunities and, as 3/4 of my ancestry is Irish, I’ve multiple 19C brick walls. The other 1/4 are English/Welsh origins and I can take most lines back quite far although my Welsh 3GGM is a challenge of her own
Jennifer: My 2x great grandparents John Taylor & Martha Lloyd are my brickwall. They arrived in Aust betw September 1841 and October 1842. They don’t appear on any passenger list. I’ve searched Taylor, Tailor, Tyler
KerrieAnne: Brickwalls – my husband’s direct paternal line challenge – finding Edward Tiearney & Catherine Colligan in Ireland before their emigration to US. Done ydna & got a good match but no real progress to go further back in Connacht Ireland, probably around Carracastle
Claire: my brickwall is probably not solvable. Can’t find marriage of 2x g-grandparents who had 2 kids in 1880s Dublin. No death of man recorded but dead by 1901. I’ve checked every marriage of right names countrywide church/civil & every death in Dublin from year before last kid born to 1901. Not helped by names involved: Reilly/Murphy
Sharn: I would love to know more about the family of my two convict brothers Michael and Lawrence Frayne both born in Dublin c 1809 and 1821 with children between
Suggestions of where to look for information
Prison hulks for convicts
Scottish kirk session on Scottish Indexes
Colonial Secretary letters
Occupation records such as Masons
National library of Ireland parish registers
Newspaper and archives for British and Irish
Try more than one site for your records – GRO, FreeBMD, ScotlandsPeople. With a missing name, I look for another person – then you find the name is mistranscribed, and that’s why it hasn’t come up on the index.
I really think spelling is key. My New Year’s resolution is to write up lists of spelling variations for each surname I am researching and make sure my searches cover all and any more I find.
A tip for breaking down brick walls is to re-examine any certificates or other documents you have. You never know what you might have missed in the past
look at the names of witnesses as sometimes their surnames might be a clue to a real surname after a name change