Curator: Gene Daniell
On August 8, 2008 I joined Geni. I was very fortunate to have substantial amount of family information gathered by my aunt (Ruth H. Ashworth (Stevens) in the 1940’s and 50’s the old fashion way by mail. Some of my Great Great Aunts and Grandfather were still alive at that time. These boxes of information were then assembled and complied into a 150 page bound book in 1990 by my cousins brother in law, Richard Lee Handwerk (now deceased). This book was invaluable in building my Aunt’s tree and mine on Geni. I spent the next two years researching and searching the web for additional ancestors and blood relatives in America. It was wonderful experience being a detective finding out that President John Adams was a first cousin, President Rutherford B. Hayes a sixth cousin, Major Hodijah Baylies (my 5th Great Uncle) was an Aid de Camp for General George Washington for the last year and half of the Revolution, then lived at Mount Vernon for year establishing records of who served in the military for pension purposes, and many, many more distinguished relatives. Many of which helped to build this country. I had built my tree, adding 3894 profiles back to the Mayflower, John Alden and Thomas Rodgers being my 9th Great Grandfathers. Spending over two years of research and hard work, and driving my wife crazy. I never knew about the “big tree”.
Then in September of 2010… BAM, Congratulations! Your tree was merged with another tree. You are now connected to 55,000,000 people on Geni. I was merged into the “big tree”. I was now part of 55 million profiles. It was like my tree was hit by A GIANT force 5 tornado. I was beside myself. Everything seemed to be lost. I could not get past my Great Grand Father. Geni was no help. The big tree destroyed my little sapling.
Somehow I was very fortunate to find Gene the Curator (turned out to be a 9th cousin). At that time I had NO idea that these people were not paid by Geni. Remember I was just merged into the Big Tree and was very upset; over two years of work appeared to be gone. At times I got a little edgy with him, but he was patient. Once I found out that he was doing this out of the goodness of his heart I made a 180-degree attitude adjustment and could not thank him enough. I explained what happened. The lucky part was that I had added thousands of historical photos to the profiles I had added (to date 2,676, which are historically connected to the profiles). By doing this, it enabled me to give the location of my ancestors and blood relatives on the tree to Gene who was gracious enough to spend a lot time helping me put my tree back together and reconnecting me. He also explained that since I have so many historically popular relatives, many of them were added earlier reducing my profiles added, now down to less than 2000.
While he was active he always took the time out to give me a straight answer to my questions. If it were not for Gene the Volunteer Curator, I would have given up and not be part of Geni today. His generosity and energy will always be remembered and appreciated. He worked miracles. He saved my hard work, and reconnected me to my incredible heritage, now dating back thousands of years.
I would also like to thank Volunteer Curators Erica Isabel Howton, 8th cousin twice removed, Tamara Ann Swingle (Tucker), 10th cousin once removed, and Yoda, Bjørn P. Brox my 23rd cousin for there continued and unselfish help.
Submitted by: Walter G. Ashworth