Meet our Members: Bartley McRorie

+36 votes

Hi everyone!

Meet_our_Members_Photos-122.jpgIt's time to get to know another one of our wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is Bartley McRorie

Bartley became a Wiki Genealogist in May 2019. He is active in our US Black Heritage project and coordinates the Maupin Name Study.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy?

My mother and her brother both were very interested in tracking down their ancestors, partly because their grandfather had never talked about his family.  When he finally did share a few tidbits, there were just enough clues for them to figure out his ancestry.  I was always interested, but it was "their thing."  After Mom died, I picked up her paperwork, started in, and got hooked. Retirement now allows the time that genealogy demands!

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I love to fish, and Alaska, where I live, provides some of the best!  And I enjoy cooking (my fish).

How long have you been on WikiTree?

I stumbled across WikiTree while researching family in 2019, and quickly realized that this was where I wanted to keep the treasures I was finding.  The free aspect was appealing, but the focus on a single tree, with sources, arrived at by collaboration were really the main reasons I chose to concentrate my work here.  And I felt that my work done here would survive me and be available for my descendants to access, and hopefully build on!

What is your genealogical research focus?

I think the number of open tabs on my computer tells you I have no focus!  My aim at first, like everybody, was to figure out my direct ancestors.  But I've grown to recognize that we really need all of the siblings at every generation to really understand a family.  So, not just deep, but wide!

But, I'm now all over the place!  Here are some of my various activities:  I'm a descendant of two Maupin 3g grandfathers, and Mom had a Maupin book that was a great (but not perfect) resource.  So, I started the Maupin Project, or One Name Study.  Now every time someone adds a Maupin spouse to WikiTree, I feel a duty to find and add their Maupin parents!  I noticed a lot of Maupin cousin marriages, and decided to start a page just to track it.  It now has 40 couples including two sets of "double cousins" and is still growing!  I love that WikiTree has the flexibility to do whimsical things like that!  I've inherited an antique photo album that belonged to my 3g grandmother, Rhoda (Holt) Maupin, which dates back to the 19th century, and I've created a space page that will preserve it forever, and provide links to profiles of the people pictured, when known.  Having that connection to her through her photo album probably makes her my favorite ancestor.  But in reality, my real favorite is whoever I am researching currently!

My wife is Black, and while working on her genealogy, which is challenging, I started to see the importance of adding as many Black Americans as possible to the WikiTree database.  So it was a no-brainer to join the U.S. Black Heritage project and participate in the U.S.B.H. Connecting Challenge!  Many of the Maupins were slave owners, and the U.S.B.H. Project has given me the tools to properly document and connect the enslaved to slave owners, with the goal of helping people find their ancestors!  So those two projects tie together in that way.

My father is a 1952 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and we attended his 70th class reunion this year!  So another side project is to add members of the USNA Class of '52 to WikiTree. They are an impressive group!

(interview continues in comments)

WikiTree profile: Bartley McRorie
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)

Are you interested in certain locations?

My mother's family is from Missouri, so in any 'thon I'm on Team Missouri, aka Missouri Cousins.  Another location of interest in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where the 100 Voices Project is located.  It's a long term goal to get a WikiTree profile for each of the 100.

Do you have a favorite genealogical discovery?

Yes, finding the identity of my wife's great-grandmother.  The family had only a name, and it was sorta wrong.  The great-grandfather had left her early in their marriage and no one living today ever actually knew her.  I was able to identify her with her parents and her maternal grandparents, and find cousins my wife never knew were related!

What is your toughest brick wall currently?

My toughest and closest brick wall is the mother of my great grandfather George M. Schmidt.  She lived in Germany, and George went back to Germany in 1922 to visit her (and get a wife.)  I'd think a 20th century person should be findable!  But, no one seems to know either her given name or her maiden name.  And asking for a Frau Schmidt in Germany does not narrow it down much.  In fact, she might not even have been a Schmidt when George visited her, if she had remarried!  So much unknown!  Regarding the number of Schmidts in Germany, my Uncle Lenny Schmidt said that "at one time, all of the Germans were named Schmidt, but if they did something wrong, they had to change their name!"

What inspires you to contribute so much of yourself to WikiTree's mission?

My "inspiration" to contribute to WikiTree is just that I find it fun and interesting.  I love solving puzzles, and genealogy puzzles are some of the best! I definitely consider my work on WikiTree to be part of the legacy I leave not only to my heirs, but also other unrelated people who come across something I've done.  With that in mind, I try to make each profile the best it can be.  I've been influenced there by the Profile Improvement Project's Voyage learning path. I would recommend everyone take the Voyage!  I think ultimately, WikiTree will be seen as The place to go for genealogy information!  But that will only happen with solid, clean, well documented/sourced profiles.  I also recommend the U.S. Black Heritage Projects's PATH, which was also a great learning experience!  (Shout out to mentor: Gene Ellison!)

What is your favorite feature or function on WikiTree?

I like the flexibility that the space pages allow for special information or projects.  I like being able to link to anyone or anything from the text of a profile, because it takes full advantage of the computer.  And I like the "My Connections" button to see my relationship to anybody on any category page!  That's just fun!  But one of the best features is the collaboration.  Whether though G2G, Discord, or E-mail channels, that's what helps make our tree great!

What feature or function would you most like to see added or improved?

The tiniest suggestion:  Could we have an edit button on top of the "Scratch Pad" that is found on the Navigation Home page, and not just on the bottom?  It would save a ton of scrolling!  A bigger deal (I know is already being worked on) is the sometimes very long list of potential matches we must read through before adding a profile to WikiTree.  A way to pare that down to better relevance would be great!

Do you have a story about how someone was helped through your participation on WikiTree?

I don't have a specific big story, but I frequently get a "Thank you" (another WikiTree feature I love) after connecting a profile, adding a source, or fixing an error, and those thanks make me feel like I am helping others.

Do you have a story about how you were helped through the work of others on WikiTree?

Yes, I have been helped so much by people who've corrected errors, taught me things, answered questions, and shared tips.  But the biggest help of all may just be the existence of the WikiTree Community.  So often, I work to connect someone to the tree, and only have to add one or two generations.  The work of those who have already added profiles helps me immensely.  So, one of the great features of WikiTree is that I don't have to do all of the work.

Do you have any tips for someone who wants to get more involved in our community? 

Join a project. Just jump in!  Ask questions. WikiTree people are friendly and willing to help. 

What could we do to inspire more people to participate in our mission?

That is a million dollar question, and I only have a 20 cent answer:  Make every profile the best it can be, so that when people stumble across WikiTree in a search, they will be impressed.  That means no junk in the profile, good sources, and something of a story about the person's life.  We all have a lot of work to do!

Great interview… thanks for sharing.
Thank you! Such a great interview. I think I need to say that I have no known cousin connection to you, and yet you have (just now) helped me tremendously. The many links in this interview to projects and to help pages are just the type of thing I've been searching for, as I try to figure out how to learn about improving my bios and sources. Thank you so very much!

12 Answers

+15 votes
Best answer

"I think the number of open tabs on my computer tells you I have no focus! "

You're a man after my own heart, Bartley! laughIt was great reading more about you. I have appreciated your consistency with the USBH Connecting Challenge. You have participated every single month since its inception in Feb 2021 and have created a total of 847 profiles! If everyone had your kind of consistency our growth would be explosive. Thank you for your work and your always upbeat attitude.

by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (973k points)
selected by Valorie Zimmerman
Cousin Emma: Thanks for the kind words.  You are a fantastic leader of USBH project, and your productivity is inspirational - actually: legendary!
+12 votes
Congratulations, Bartley, and thank you for all you do for our tree.  I enjoyed reading your interview and particularly enjoyed browsing through your Maupin photo album.  What a treasure for your family!  How fortunate to have the photos identified.  I have one from the old family farm, but none of the photos are labeled.  Thank you, Eowyn, for  introducing us to Bartley and his work.
by Mark Weinheimer G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
Thank you for your words cousin Mark!  I would recommend that you digitize your photos, even without labels, and include whatever info you do have, location, approximate date, whose farm it was.  Maybe someday you can get some names attached, if any other relatives see them or have photos where people are identified.   Good luck!
+10 votes
Hi, Bartley. I enjoyed your interview and can relate on a number of levels.  It's good to have you as a part of the US Black Heritage Team. Keep up the good work and enthusiasm.
by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (234k points)
Thank you cousin Carolyn for your kind words, and for your many contributions to our US Black Heritage Team!

Your 200,000+ contributions to WikiTree are nothing short of amazing!
Thank you!  Just noticed we are 7th cousins once removed a few days ago.
+10 votes
Hello Cousin Bartley! (Your 3g Rhoda Holt is sister to my 3g Henry Holt.)  This is a great interview and we get to know you a little more. I am always happy to see your name on profiles as I work on mid-Missouri genealogy. Thanks for all you have done on the big tree!
by Michelle Enke G2G6 Pilot (336k points)
Thank you Cousin Michelle!  I also enjoy running across your work on WikiTree!  You are my closest cousin who is actively working on our One Tree!
+8 votes
Hello 9th cousin (common ancestor - Joshua Wynne),

Thanks for all your work and support of WT.
by Stuart Awbrey G2G6 Mach 4 (40.2k points)
Thank you cousin Stuart!  I appreciate you saying Hi!
+8 votes
I too, have regularly suggested for several years, to have an edit button at the top of the Scratch Pad, instead of just the bottom, to reduce the amount of scrolling that I have to do. So far, no luck in having that changed. Yet.
by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (383k points)

I've just learned from Ian Beacall that the WikiTree BEE extension has added that button!  Hopefully, it will get over to the WikiTree Browser Extension too!

Thanks cousin Eric, for your over 100,000 contributions to WikiTree!

Yeah, but I don't want to have to have it in an extension. I've asked WikiTree to make the change on the standard page.

Still, I'm glad that someone is listening.
+8 votes
What a great interview, Bartley. It is so nice to get to know more about you! I love the enthusiasm that you bring to WikiTree and the US Black Heritage Project. As Emma has pointed out... your quiet consistency really shows!
by Gina Jarvi G2G6 Mach 4 (42.1k points)
Thank you cousin Gina, for your kind words!
+7 votes
I really enjoyed your interview and am so happy that you found WikiTree! Your work here is phenomenal and we all appreciate all you have done and still do. By the way, you and I are 8c 2xR through Matthias Blankenbuler. Like you, I love the "Connection to me" ability!
by Virginia Fields G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
Thank you cousin Virginia, for your kind words!  We are all connected, so it's fun to see it.
+7 votes
Congratulations Bartley! Wonderful interview, great to read.  You're so right, the help of the community here makes such a difference. Thank you for being a part of it and all you are doing in USBH and across Wikitree!
by Denise E G2G6 Mach 3 (37.2k points)
Denise, thank you for your kind words!
+7 votes
Hello Bartley! We are distant cousins (13th/3xr through MRCA Adriana Alids (Wyden) Rogers). thank you for all that you do on WikiTree adding to our family, particularly the USBH project. It has been great to get to know you better.
by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (724k points)
Thank you cousin Carol for your kind words!
+6 votes


Yes, Gene Ellison is a class act.

We are 17th cousins once removed through Isabel (Pert) Conyers.

Your interview was remarkable! I am married to a European American guy and he and his family were fascinated by my heritage. I help my father in law with his tree.

Thank you for helping out with the USBH project and connecting slaves to slaveowners!

And...yes, we need a scratch pad.

by Eileen Robinson G2G6 Pilot (116k points)
edited by Eileen Robinson
Thank you cousin Eileen for your kind words!  Your phrase "fascinated by my heritage" also applies to me: I am fascinated by my wife's heritage!
+4 votes
Great to read this interview. I clicked on some of the links and learned a few things! Thanks!
by Anne Burnham G2G5 (6.0k points)
The teacher in me (from a past job) loved to hear you learned a few things!  You are very welcome!

Thanks for leaving the note!

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