Family history has alway been a fascination, so I’m now trying to build out my ancestry on WikiTree1 (though I’m a pretty amateur genealogist).
Get beyond the basics (names, dates, locations) and into the stories
Flesh out my tree enough to attract (“bait” in the WikiTree parlance) more participation to help with #1 ☝
🇩🇪 side-specific goal: Go back far enough to understand when/how/why the Berenses emigrated from Holland to Germany
🇮🇪 side-specific goal: Establish degrees of separation from James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, and W. B. Yeats
Running list of insights
Life used to be a lot harder. My paternal grandmother was born in Montana because her parents took an enticing homestead offer and relocated from Wisconsin. It turned out they were duped by the government and the railroad: the soil was crap/untillable. Facing possible starvation they escaped back to Wisconsin with the help of the Lutheran Church, which is why, as I understand it, my great-grandparents didn’t take kindly to it when my grandmother later converted to Catholicism (how could you turn your back on the institution that [literally] saved us?). There’s a book called Bad Land which describes the experience of my grandmother’s family and that of many of their unfortunate neighbors, which is listed among my favorites.
WikiTree seems to have their stuff together as far as mission and vision. (I was previously using Geni but it’s a little clunky and the business model / monetization strategy ultimately undermines the desired network effect.) ↩