If you haven’t heard about the WikiTree Challenge, let me tell you a little bit about it. But first, we should start with “What is WikiTree?”.
Wikipedia says that WikiTree is a free, shared social-networking genealogy website, allows users individually to research and to contribute to their own personal family trees while building and collaborating on a singular worldwide family tree within the same system.
I first heard about WikiTree from a friend I met several years ago, Mag Galden, from Grandma’s Genes. She is very involved with WikiTree, and she kept encouraging me to participate. Honestly, it has been on my radar ever since as “something I want to do,” but sometimes, there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.
But I have been involved with WikiTree by helping out with prizes from my store; Shop the Hound for their Source-a-Thons. You see, the WikiTree is sourced, and that’s what sets it apart from most online trees. I mean, we all do our best to source our information, but you know…..
Last year I did start a twig of a tree at WikiTree, but that’s as far as I got. Then I was asked if I’d like to be one of the guests for the WikiTree Challenge, and I jumped at the chance. So I’ll be the guest for Week #13, 31 March – 6 April. I’m hoping that it means that it’s my lucky week.
I have been following WikiTree’s YouTube Channel on Wednesdays as they introduce and follow-ups each week on the guests they have worked on so far. I’m in great company because, in previous weeks, they have worked on CeCe Moore (Finding Your Roots and DNA Detectives), Dr. Louis Gates (Finding Your Roots), Judy Russell (The Legal Genealogist), Thomas MacEntee, and Dear Myrtle just to name a few. You can watch live each week by going to WikiTree on YouTube or their Facebook page on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. Mtn as both are streamed live.
When I was first asked, one of my concerns was how do we prevent adding the wrong bits attached to other trees such as FamilySearch? Don’t get me wrong, I love FamilySearch, but it can be frustrating when you have someone add info, and it’s not correct.
You see, I have several mysteries in my tree, and people always want to add incorrect information. Here are some examples of how that can happen. Don’t worry, I do understand why it happens because there are records that show information that would make you come to that conclusion; but I’ve done the DNA ? and I’ve been working on these problems for a long time. So let me tell you a bit about the issues;
- William Beaton (my great-grandfather on my maternal line) was raised in the Beaton family in Kingston, but he was not related to the people in the household. If you check my previous posts, you know that William (Willie) was living with the Beaton family in 1881, but after DNA testing some of the other descendants of the Beaton family, I realized that he wasn’t related. The people I tested were related to each other. I was the odd person out.
- When William died, it was mentioned in his obituary that he had a sister who ended up being Annie Batten. She was the adopted daughter of George and Isabella Batten. I have DNA tested a descendant of Annie, and she was a match to my mother and her siblings. I’ve done quite a bit of research; in fact, I spent a month in Kingston, Ontario, trying to find clues as to how the children ended up in each of the households… Were they British Home Children? Were they local orphans?
- On my dad’s side of the family, my grandfather, Harold, was illegitimate. He did have a delayed registration of his birth, and on the advice of a lawyer, his name was listed as Harold Alfred Thompson. Later I found a registration of his birth that perhaps he wasn’t aware of, where it listed his mother as Lily Shannon and his father as Godfrey Myrtle. So my grandfather actually has two birth registrations.
- To this date, I don’t know who Godfrey Myrtle was because no surname like that comes up in my father’s DNA matches. I wonder if it could be Martel, as my father has a lot of French Canadian DNA matches. But I can’t find Martel’s in the DNA either.
So what do I hope to gain from this experience? Of course, I’d love it if we could discover who my grandfather and great grandfather’s parent or parents were. But I’m also interested in learning more about the other sides of my family.
My great-great-grandparents, the Kottmann’s, immigrated to Deep River, Renfrew, Ontario, Canada from Germany, and I’d love to learn more about them but haven’t spent a lot of time as I’m not fluent in German.
My great-great-grandfather, John Henry Middlebrough, lived with his grandparents even though his parents were alive, so it would be interesting to find out why and there was always talk of a brewery. There is a Middlebrough Brewery, but I can’t find a connection to that line of Middlebrough’s, and John Henry was a joiner, so I’m not sure any of that makes sense. However, his son, Francis (my great grandfather), would speak about going to the brewery to work. I’m wondering if it was more to do with John Henry’s father-in-law, John Johnson, who was a brewer. You know how family stories get mixed up. Maybe, Francis went to work with his grandfather from his mother’s side of the family.
Then there is the question about John Henry’s second wife, Emily Louisa Wilson. I lose sight of her after my great-great-grandfather died in 1942.
So many mysteries.. so little time. So that’s why I’m so excited about the WikiTree Challenge and I know Week 13 is going to be lucky for me.