It's time to get to know another one of our wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is Marion Ceruti.
Marion became a Wiki Genealogist in December of 2018 and is active in helping our Bahamas Project.
When and how did you get interested in genealogy or family history?
I have received the archives, both documents and photos, of several family genealogists and historians. Their meticulous efforts at preservation inspired me to organize their work in such a way as to attract the assistance of others to help explain the missing information, such as the identity of people in photos. I am a problem solver and genealogy offers many problems that need to be solved. Successful solutions can lead to the discovery of cousins. Unsolved problems inspire us to declare them brick walls.
What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?
My degrees are all in chemistry and my career was that of a Navy scientist in San Diego, California. I have always enjoyed water sports, such as swimming, surfing, and sailing. I am a musician, composer, arranger, collector of musical instruments, and producer of music CDs. I am a prolific writer with book manuscripts in progress. Add to the list of interests heraldry, mathematics, mysticism, and sub-atomic particle physics.
What is your genealogical research focus?
My mother's side of the family is well documented, to include Sir Anthony Deane, his descendants Charles Anthony Deane, and Charles' son Robert Deane, my 2x g grandfather. I want profiles of all their descendants but I don't always have to be the one to create them. On my father's side, his family from the Bahamas has proven to be very interesting. Most of my brick walls originate on his side. Many cousins whom I have never met include an engineer who worked in a sister Naval facility in South Carolina, sort of a parallel life story to mine. I would like to know more about my African ancestors, a challenging task.
Has the focus of your research or work changed over the years?
It has broadened from immediate family only to include profiles of scientists, and distant relatives' spouses. I especially like to communicate with cousins who can fill me in on the "rest of the story." Cousins have provided photos of mutual relatives which they posted on profiles.
Are you are interested in certain surnames or locations?
Ceruti, Higgs, Deane, Hildreth, The Bahamas, Kent County England, Wales, Scotland, and France come to mind.
Do you have a favorite genealogical discovery?
Descent from Rhun born in the year 4C.E. Also I am a descendant of the Count of Carcasone, France, which my husband and I visited in 2013. At the time we had no idea.
Do you have a favorite brick wall breakthrough story?
I have managed to identify family members in unlabeled photos using circumstantial evidence and pattern recognition. I have exploded a number of family myths and demonstrated that they are not true. One was that we descended from the famous violin makers in Cremona, Italy. I visited Cremona to gather data. Another myth was that the Stillwell coat of arms granted to John Packenham Stillwell had anything to do with our family. This took a visit to the College of Arms in London UK. I proved that the date of the family photo on my grandparents profiles was early 1906 and not the 1907. Three people were dead by then.
What is your toughest brick wall currently?
With so many brick walls, where to begin? Probably the most intriguing question is the origin of my great grandfather, Theodore Ceruti. The yDNA evidence points strongly to England, not Sardignia, Italy. He may have been an adopted child or the descendant of an adopted child. This is one possible way to explain the data. Another explanation is that he was a pirate in the Caribbean who jumped ship to start a new and much safer life on Ragged Leland, Bahamas. (Even if this isn't the case, his wife, my g grandma descended from Mathew Lowe, a known pirate.) One thing we know is that my grandfather didn't like to talk about his family.
(interview continues in comments)