Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Why Join WikiTree?

I recently posted a short piece on my profile at WikiTree, which came out of thoughts I've had over the year as a volunteer Greeter. Here is it copied, below:

A guest at WikiTree has many privileges. Use the Search functions, which include alternate surname spellings; upload a GEDMATCH and find out what profiles in WikiTree match your own database tree; ask a question at our G2G Forum; leave a Comment or send a Private email to anyone on WikiTree - and it is all free.
The best reason to join WikiTree is to participate in building a one world tree that is free to all members. In the process, you will be able to connect your own family into WikiTree, extending your ancestor tree. You will have the opportunity to join Projects, collaborating on your special interests. See the Community Membership page for twenty-five advantages of joining WikiTree.
I noticed one thing missing from that page, and that is the wonderful people I've discovered, and the relationships that have developed while working with them. Working together on a project that is mutually important is a great way to meet interesting people. The satisfaction of building a family tree for future generations is a lasting reward for our work.

My production at WikiTree dropped in November and I fell just short of the 1,000 contributions for the 1K Club, so my badge for November is the 100 Club.

The drop is due to my usual Seasonal Affective Disorder - otherwise known as SAD, which is caused by the loss of sunlight in autumn and winter. The worst part is "carb-loading" (the opposite of the improved Atkins diet) because carbs give a temporary mood lift (which is why so many 'comfort foods' are high in carbohydrates).

Meanwhile, Christmas cometh, ready or not! Here is a pic of Goldiebear's Christmas decorating scheme. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This Gives me Goosebumps

It is nearly Halloween, so you are pardoned if you think I'm referring to something very scary!

Just the opposite - I got goosebumps this morning from reading the

Community Star Badge page at WikiTree - 

and that is just the past two months of badges awarded. The comments with the awards humble me and stir gratitude that I am able to be part of such a warm, diverse, enthusiastic community!

Would you like to have some goosebumps?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On our Amazing, Ordinary Ancestors

This morning I am again caught up in the wonder of our amazing Colonial ancestors.

They were ordinary, in the sense that their lives paralleled lives of people in England in most ways. They raised crops and ate what was in season. (There were no other choices.) They spun wool and wove cloth, or traded with weavers for cloth, but few could afford tailor made clothing. For transportation, they walked. Men usually had a horse, or a horse-powered farm cart, but few could afford a carriage and carriage horses. Boats were popular for transportation on bays and rivers, but again they were powered by oars and human muscle, and larger boats by sails and human muscle.

In these things and countless more, American Colonials and their European counterparts lived congruently, according to the customs and technology of their times. In their thoughts and beliefs, and how they acted on them, the Colonials were amazing.

They were hauled into court, fined, imprisoned, for disagreeing with the state church of England. Their preachers became wanted men, who escaped from England by hiding their identities. Undeterred, they established towns in the New England wilderness where they could practice their religion unhindered by the government. Of course, being only human, they quickly repeated the faults they had fled. Good Puritans - those who rejected the Roman trappings of the Anglican church, were welcome nearly anywhere. But Quakers were hung in Massachusetts, and at the other end of the religious spectrum, Catholics were persecuted too.

As proven by their all too human failings, our Colonial ancestors were ordinary people leading extraordinary lives. For all their similarities to their English counterparts, early Colonials had no luxuries and often lacked for enough food or shelter. Some few returned to England. The majority remained and built what is today America on a foundation of faith, determination and courage, not to mention raw materials of unequaled abundance, and crucial help from indigenous tribes.

My ancestors were amazing, ordinary people.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

On the Amazing Beauty of Ordinary Things

Have you considered lately, the extraordinary loveliness of everyday household things?

This morning I am appreciating a green bottle. It is dark olive green, about 9 1/2 inches high, squarish but tapering at the top. Until recently it held 750 milliliters of extra virgin olive oil.

Now, stripped of its labels front, back and top, the design pressed into the glass stands out. In a fan shaped window topping all four rectangular sides, the tip of a branch bearing three olives and two leaves bears mute testimony to the purpose of the bottle. At the bottom of all four rectangular sides, within a narrow recess wrapped around the bottle, the letters S T A R are pressed onto an arch decorated with a point to each side. Mysterious letters and numbers raised on what, if it were a column, would be the footing, complete the visible raised glass symbols. On one side is "75 cl 3 51m".

Clockwise around the next side are two large dots in a column, an s under a small dot followed by two small dots in a column, followed by a diamond with a dot at the apex, followed by a high dot, a low dot, and 18. Is this braille? But we are not finished with the raised design. Tip the bottle over and examine the bottom - squarish with a slightly concave center. Raised bars, 3/8 inches long and all tilted left, thirteen to a row, march around the four squarish sides of the bottle. Are they to keep the bottle from slipping should you spill the oil?

Perhaps the 52 tilted bars have a practical purpose, but slide your thumb around them. Does the sensation linger after you stop? Study the bottle from the bottom, and see it is not really a square, but an octagon, with four long sides and four (the corners) short sides.

Lastly, the top - a small, green metal cap, with "FRESH PRESSED SINCE 1898" stamped in gold around it. But consider the sum of the parts - the entire bottle, so green, fitting so well into the hand. It is made simply to hold olive oil, be emptied, and be discarded.

No, it deserves a second life, this work of everyday art which countless designers and fabricators have designed, engineered and produced. It may be the perfect vase for the late blooming gladiolas on our deck. They are budding, and will bloom just before the cold shuts them down. Meanwhile, the olive green bottle sits on my desk, reminding me of the complexity, beauty, utility and value of ordinary things and ordinary people.

Monday, October 6, 2014

What a difference a Year makes!

Wednesday marks my first year anniversary at WikiTree.

I have the September 1,000 Club badge now. It joins nine other 1,000 Club badges (the first two months I was doing tutorials and learning how things went, so they were 100 Club badges). A total of 16,034 points for the year marks the difference I have made at WikiTree - and I am surprised at how many points I have accumulated. Here is the September CK Badge:
So many ancestors, so little time.

The profile for Kustaa Heikkila, my grandfather,was completed yesterday.  The plan is to complete Hilda Nayha's profile and polish their trees for a little book of our ancestors. Then there is my father's ancestors, and Goldibear's ancestors.

We have had remarkably sunny weather recently, but the autumn rains are approaching. Pandas do not like rain. Snow - yes! Sunshine - fine. Rain? Not so much. sigh. whimper.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Nick Hanauer and Pavlina Tcherneva Explain it All

If you have not yet watched billionaire Nick Hanauer's TED Talk on why the pitchforks are coming, you can view it here, or read the transcript here.

If the twenty minute talk is too long for you, see Pavlina Tcherneva's charts showing income gains during economic expansion. It's the picture that is worth a thousand words.

I have often felt that essays on economic matters explained mechanics without illuminating the dynamics. The two items above provided the 'ah-ha' moments that had been lacking.

Without a vision, the people perish. Hanauer and Tcherneva are eyewash: you'll exit with clear vision.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Another club 1000 badge

August was a month for helping Kathy Gunter Sullivan, certified genealogist, improve the Dellinger profiles on WikiTree.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Westward Ho! Project

A new project starting up at WikiTree, Westward Ho! It serves a central directory of all that is going on in the Sub-projects. is a "top level" project that encompasses all sub-projects west of the Mississippi River from 1800 - 1925.

This means it is the place for an Oregon Trails sub-project, which may be starting up soon. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Catching up on news

What's new for August is a garden. After three years in our new house we have bulbs started on the deck and a raised bed of vegetables started in the yard. We'll have a few lilies and gladiolas before summer is gone. The vegetables are for a winter garden - cabbage, kale, broccoli, onions, turnips. We also have a compost heap in the yard, and it is already turning into rich, dark, earth. All the remains of my smoothies go into it - avocado and banana and pear and apple peelings, orange rinds, etc.

Another new item is our daily walks in the new section going in nearby. Leo walks and I drive my electric mobility scooter. The views are fabulous - we are high over the valley, and see the hills and trees on the other side. Sunshine and fresh air flow over and through us as we watch the view.

We found some a new series to watch on Roku. "Landgirls" is a series from Britain about the army of women who kept the farms going and the nation fed while the men fought Hitler. Just like the regular army, they could be drafted to serve. We have only the last one to view. Next up will be Blenchley Circle, about code breakers during the war, another British series.

I keep on working on the family tree at WikiTree, and have been able to complete and download some of the branches. My two recent badges:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Badge for May

What does it mean to earn over a thousand points in a month at WikiTree?

It means editing, adding sources, footnotes, text, and images.

It means greeting hundreds of guests visiting WikiTree, and confirming over a hundred of them a month, as new members (it is easy - just volunteer:)

Also it means categorizing Colonial Ancestors, linking up profiles in families, and learning interesting bits and pieces about the history of our country.

Most of all it means family - cousins, great-great-great-great- etc. to times 8 or 10 or more grandparents, all connected.

It means another pretty badge:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Question for Memorial Day

How do we Honor our Ancestors who Fought for Freedom?

With flags and flowers on their graves on Memorial Day? Certainly. What about the other 364 days of the year?

Three of my ancestors fought at Kings Mountain, a turning point in the Revolutionary War. 
Joshua Sherrill
Capt. William Sherrill
Burt Moore

My grandfather fought in WWI.
Gust Heikkila 

My father fought in WWII.
Kenneth Dellinger

I am descended from three of the twenty-five barons who led the fight for Magna Carta in 1215.
John de Lacy
William de Lanvallei
Saher de Quincy

How best to honor those ancestors and their courage? By working against tyranny and fighting for justice and freedom. 

They were ready to spend their blood in defense of freedom and liberty.

Become an informed and active participant in the future of freedom.  Join a group and work for Liberty and Equality:

Earthjustice - "...the right of citizens to go to court to enforce environmental laws when the government couldn’t or wouldn’t.”

Oceana - largest international organization devoted solely to ocean conservation.

Save the Internet - dedicated to the freedom of the virtual press 
The Future of Internet Freedom -  The NY Times explains the subtle ways our access is being eroded and why

The Water Project - "The Water Project is currently focused on work in communities throughout Burkina Faso, Kenya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Uganda. We have also previously funded projects in Cameroon, Haiti, and India." Five Stars on GuideStar and on GreatNonProfits

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Follow the template Trail and find your Magna Carta Surety Baron Ancestor

John Schmeeckle has completed the first template trail to a surety baron at WikiTree.

Beginning with Colonial ancestor Agnes Harris (Edwards, Spencer) up to Surety Baron William Malet, any descendant of Agnes can trace the generations from her to William with the Magna Carta Template on each succeeding ancestor.

Just look for the Magna Carta template as seen below.

Sandy Culver has started the template trail from Rev. Charles Chauncy to Magna Carta sureties Roger and Hugh Bigod. 

I'm working on the trail from Olive Ingoldsby (James) to Saher de Quincy, Magna Carta Surety.

See our Gateway Ancestors page for more Colonial immigrants who are descended from the surety barons of Magna Carta.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Are You Descended from one of the Gateway Ancestors?

Over 200 Colonial immigrants in the 1600s have been identified and their lineage documented in Magna Carta Ancestry by Douglas Richardson.

These are the ones we call "Gateway Ancestors" - because if you complete your tree to connect to them, the rest of your lineage is to be found in Magna Carta Ancestry by Douglas Richardson.

We have listed these Gateway Ancestors as part of the Magna Carta Project, and we have linked their names to their WikiTree profiles. Each of the profiles has been categorized, and sources added.

We have over eighty of the profiles linked after just one month since the Magna Carta Project started.

If you already know which Magna Carta Surety Barons are in your tree, their profiles and the profiles of the Illustrious Men listed in the Preamble of Magna Carta are linked to their names listed on our Magna Carta Project page.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Minute Man and Revolutionary War Soldier

Orringh Stoddard served in Col. John Patterson's Minute Men and fought at the Battle of Monmouth.

His profile is featured on the WikiTree blog.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Categoriztion - What and Why

Categorization is a project at WikiTree that began last year and has grown to affect nearly every profile on the tree.  It is a great help to researchers to be able to find all the profiles buried in the same cemetery as their ancestor, or all the profiles who settled an early Colonial town. Among those names will be children, spouses, parents, in-laws, and others who are related to the person they are seeking to document.

For an example, if your Puritan ancestor came to America on the Arbella, and their profile is labelled "Category:Arbella, Winthrop Fleet", then the link will take you to a page listing everyone who came on the Arbella, with their names linked to their profiles.  It is likely that people related to your ancestor will be among those other profiles.

Categorization is not only used on WikiTree, the concept has been around for ages.  Here is a Wikipedia article about it. On WikiTree, categorization may be used to add data once which may then be applied to all the profiles included in the category. For example, if your ancestor was in the Indian/Colonial conflict known as King Philip's War, you would add the category to their profile. It would connect to a page with the details of King Philip's War, and a list of people involved, linked to their profiles. I have been adding the categories of Puritan Great Migration, 1776, King Philip's war, Magna Carta, and others for months.

Today I realized I need to work at understanding how to create categories so I joined the Categorization Project. As a bonus, I have a new badge:

February and March were both productive months, as you can see by my Club 1,000 badges.

Coming soon: a badge for Magna Carta Project. As a leader of the project, one of my duties is to award the project badge to new members - a very happy duty indeed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Project close to my Heart

England is having a very big party - and we are all invited.  June 15, 2015 is the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta, and the party has already started.

We are celebrating it at WikiTree with a new project which I am privileged to co-lead with John Schmmeckle, who is also a Magna Carta enthusiast.

Here is the project page for Magna Carta Project, with links to the Surety Barons. This week we are adding a list of Gateway Ancestors - that is, Colonial Americans whose ancestry goes back to the Magna Carta Surety barons.

Are you a descendant of one of the great barons of Medieval times? If your family tree goes to any of the Gateway Ancestors, you are.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Advantages of Genealogy as a Community Project

Tonight I tried to count all the ways that working on my family tree at WikiTree is creating an advantage I could not find or even purchase elsewhere. I only got as far as Templates, but there are many more.

Let me be clear: I would not have thought of templates on my own. Even if I did, I wouldn't know how to create one.

The template  below with the two flags may be used on any emigrant from one country to another - in this case, for my grandfather, who came from Finland to America in 1912.

Other templates I use frequently include a ship template, for gathering all the people who came on a ship together on one page, from the many various profiles, so that their history can be understood as a group.  What is the point of that, you ask?  Cousins often migrated together, extended family groups on the same ship with the same destinations. Family groups from villages kept their associations, language, religion and culture intact as much as was possible when they came to America. Being able to examine who was on the ship together can lead to breakthroughs in finding the maiden names of wives, for instance. Added to other clues, recreating the ship lists with categories may show our ancestors associations and give us clues to to extend our family tree.

The EuroAristo Source template, which provides an explanation and a link for documentation found at Medieval Lands, is not one I can reproduce here. See the profile of Robert de Vere for an example of how it is used.

Not all the examples I'd like to use will work on this page, as they are programmed especially for WikiTree. The point of templates is to have a compact bit that is quick to paste that collects or facilitates a great deal of information.The Template below is on my grandparents profiles who were both born in Finland, immigrated 1912.

Flag of Finland This person migrated from Finland to America in 1912. Flag of America in 1912

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Nineteen Days Following My own Advice

I had it all planned out.

Import my whole family tree - one chunk at a time, into WikiTree. Connect all branches to existing people as I go. Cleanup the gedcom computer generated irrelevant stuff and add pictures and some new sources.


Follow my passion, join the European Aristocrats project, and


Except that,

I didn't follow my plan. I couldn't wait any longer, to go to work on the surety barons of Magna Carta 1215, or William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, or - well, you get the idea.

So, I'm still working on my Oregon Trail ancestors and other recent relatives. In between adding Medieval Lands to the sources section of Bigod, Clare, Percy, Vere, and so on. I uploaded pictures of Chepstow Castle and Pembroke Castle to William Marshal Jr. yesterday.

 Is it possible to consider these amazing monuments and not fall into a reverie on the lives of their builders?

Pembroke Castle on the Pembroke River, Wikimedia Commons, image in public domain.

Chepstow Castle, Monmouthshire, Wales, Wikimedia Commons copyright Dennis Turner, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

Friday, February 7, 2014

What are your passions?

The uniform advice for a happy life in popular psychology and self-help books is: follow your passion. 

If you have a passion for cooking, enjoy it to the last bite. However you express it: friends over for dinner; chef in a restaurant; assembling a cookbook; your own catering business: which ever way you find to express your passion for cooking, do your thing, enjoy what you love.

This advice is not as easy to follow as it sounds. Take genealogy, for instance (well, of course). There are nearly as many ways to follow your genealogy passion as their are genealogists. You could:

volunteer at the local genealogy society

make a family tree scrapbook for your grandchildren

organize a family reunion

collect old family photographs and curate them

travel around the country interviewing cousins and grandparents for a 'Who's Who in the Smith Family"

watch episodes of "Who Do You Think You Are?"

take genealogy courses

create your family tree on a website and share it with relatives

Any or all of the above would express a passion for genealogy.

The question is: what particular activities do you enjoy most or are best at doing (frequently the same thing). After four months exploring WikiTree, I have discovered some things I enjoy most, and other things I am not so very good at doing. Fortunately, there are others who have different tastes and different talents, so it all gets covered.

Specifically, I have found I most like the focused, quiet, scholarly activities which go into creating a well-documented biography of an ancestor. The first project I joined at WikiTree, Profile of the Week, still fits me the best. It only took me four months to figure it out. In the process, I discovered what a complete and caring community is WikiTree. 

Shh-sh. Don't tell anybody. It's our secret.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Club 1,000 and other pretty things

For January 2014, starting the year off right with a Club 1,000 badge. I think it is very pretty.

A Club 1,000 badge means one thousand contributions that month to WikiTree. If contributions are over 1,000, there is not a Club 2,000 badge. How much over 1,000 did I go in January? That is my secret and I'm not telling:) There are people at WikiTree who contribute far more than myself, and it is not a competition. It is an acknowledgement that helps us see at a glance if a member is active. When a person works and takes care of family, a Club 100 badge each month is a large accomplishment, carved from precious personal time. In the end, it all goes to polish our mutual family tree, and we all reap the benefits. It is the best "club" where I ever belonged.

The other pretty things? I received a thank you for rejoining World Wildlife Federation this week - four shopping bags printed with images of rare animals. My next trip for groceries, the young lady behind me in line saw the panda picture on a bag, and exclaimed, "Oh, pandas! I love pandas!" "Me too!", I replied. We smiled at each other. Another 'panda' friend.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What will our grandchildren write about us? Beyond the basics of the family tree

Can you fill in the basic data for your four grandparents?

Name: surname at birth, married surname
Born: date and location
Married: date and location
Children: name and date born
Died: date and location
Buried: date and location

Beyond the basic data we document on a family tree, where else may we find out who our grandparents were?

Emigrated: (I have my grandfather's 1912 passport printed in Russian (in 1912 Russia ruled Finland)
Immigrated: (My Finnish grandparents came through Ellis Island in 1912 - their records are online)
Naturalization records: records for my Finnish grandfather are online
Moved: changed residence?
Census: residence on state or national census
Education: school, apprenticeship, etc.
Taxed: valuated on tax records
Military: what branch? served in war?
Profession: date, location
Religion: Christened, Baptized, Ordained, etc.
Elected Office:

A basic family tree entry for a President and a felon looks the same in the data. They were born, may have married, may have had children, they died. It is in the records generated beyond birth, marriage and death that we understand who they were. One lived in the White House, the other in the Big House.

The short list given here for other records is just the start for where to discover the lives of our ancestors. Other records may include newspaper articles; obituary; fraternities, court records; personal journals, letters, ethnic societies (my grandparents belonged to the Finnish Brotherhood); draft cards (cards for both of my grandfathers are online); and much more.

Like the pointillist style of painting, genealogists fill in one little piece at a time, until suddenly - voila! a picture emerges that is startling in the colorful details it reveals.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How is a family tree like an elephant?

I can think of two ways that a family tree is like an elephant.

They are both very big.

They appear to be different things to different people, depending on their view. A family tree is like the old story about blind men examining an elephant: the one holding the tail said it was a rope, the one holding the trunk said it was big snake, the one holding a leg said it was a tree.

Today I worked on the profile for Mehitable Johnson, born in 1644 in Massachusetts Bay Colony.

For the descendant who entered her data as sister to their Johnson ancestor, she was Mehitable Johnson. A different descendant whose ancestor was Mehitable's first husband described her as Mehitable Hinsdale. Another researcher who was filling data on their Root ancestors logged her as Mehitable Root. A descendant of John Coleman noted her as Mehitable Coleman.

Indeed, like the elephant, she was all of the above. She was born to Humphrey Johnson and Elenor Cheney; her first husband, Samuel Hinsdale, was killed by Indians, her second husband, John Root suffered the same fate, and her last husband, John Coleman, died before she did. She was widowed three times, and with her birth name, her record appears under four different names.

This is why WikiTree invented merges. Building one tree for everyone and their ancestors is a large ambition. It takes time, patience and special software. One of the best tools is the merge function. Because Mehitable is one person, not four people, I used the merge tool and captured the data from all four profiles into a single profile. Mehitable now shows up as the courageous, tenacious, wife and mother that she was, living on the frontier, raising her seven children, resilient and strong. She died at about forty-five years of age, August 4, 1689 at Hatfield, Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Now, all her names: Johnson; Hinsdale; Root; Coleman are together on her profile. If you were a descendant and searching WikiTree for Mehitable under any of her names - you would find her.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Smokey says "only you can prevent prevent forest fires"

I always admired the Forest Rangers in our National Parks. They have complex jobs: they protect the animals and the people and the environment; they educate and guide visitors; they coordinate search and rescue missions if someone gets lost. 

Now I may put that admiration to good use - I am a Ranger in our great WikiTree. The similarities are striking: we protect the profiles and the members; we help to educate and guide visitors; if someone gets off on the wrong track, we help them find their way back. Our main mission is to protect our great WikiTree and keep it safe, while explaining the amazing features to newly arrived members.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Can You Name all eight of your Great-Grandparents?

Twenty-five years ago I could not even name my four grandparents with confidence. Today I can show a pedigree tree with generations back to the Emperor Charlemagne. Here are the first four generations. My great-grandparents were mainly farmers, good, hard-working people. Do you know what your ancestors were doing 160 years ago?

embeddable family tree updated live from WikiTree

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Do you remember Snoopy? and "Happiness Is..."?

Snoopy thought happiness is a warm blanket, happiness is a friend who cares.

I agree on the warm blanket, and the friend, but I would add:

Happiness is a new Badge.

Every place needs Greeters. Churches have Greeters - they call them ushers.  County courthouses have Greeters - they call them Security Guards.  Walmart even has Greeters - and they call them - Greeters!

It turns out that WikiTree has Greeters too, and being a very straightforward and friendly place, call them Greeters. So meet one of WikiTree's newly minted Greeters - Yours Truly.

When I first began exploring WikiTree, I felt anxious that I didn't know how Wikis work, and was concerned I would goof up. The Greeter who made me feel at home was Terry Wright, and she was accompanied by others who checked on me to be sure I was accomplishing my goals, and comfortable at WikiTree.  It never occurred to me at the time that in three months I would be one of those friendly Greeters who made me feel so welcome. I've come full circle, and this is going to be fun.

Friday, January 3, 2014

More missing links Found - thanks to WikiTree

Prudden, Mitchell and Crow branches of my tree go WAY back now - thanks to WikiTree. It is wonderful to no longer be working alone on our family tree. These ancestors lived in the 1600's and later - our tenth great grandparents - so they are also the ancestors of millions of other people, and some of them have uploaded what they know to WikiTree. I am in the process of doing the same. Our combined information is more powerful - more accurate, more extensive, more complete - than anything I could do on my own.

Here is my latest badge: Club 1000. (or CK as it shows on the badge background). My goal is to finish uploading my tree, part by part until completed. Then I'll be able to download my whole tree to a DVD. This is the culmination of twenty-four years of doing research on my ancestors and on Leo's ancestors. It has given me an entirely different outlook on the history of our country, and of Finland, and England and Wales.  It has also given me a much different perspective on democracy, religion and freedom, and how much blood has been shed over them, how much those ideals drove the people who settled America.

It is possible to do a family tree with just name, birth, death, marriage, children and location - but I think that would bore me exceedingly. I want to know the context of my ancestor's lives, what they experienced, what motivated them, what they accomplished. That can only be accomplished by doing the research and adding to their profile, one ancestor at time. Except at WikiTree. AT WikiTree others members of the community are doing the same thing to their ancestors, who are also sometimes my ancestors. You see how it works. Everyone gets back more than they put in. Now that is a real win-win.