Dr Bill is a busy boy. He is an active contributor to social networking sites including the new Google+ as well as a regular blogger.
I am chuffed that he made time to respond to my GeniMates questions, Thanks Bill.
Date: 9 Sep 2011
Name: Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith
Born and raised in Coon Rapids, Iowa (prior to college); lived all over the United States; currently reside in Hollister, near Branson, MO.
Hobbyist vs. Profession Genealogist ( I do not do genealogy work for others for pay)
I have been 'chasing my ancestors' - casually since mid-1970s; seriously since 1995.
My wife and I each had 'family tree' materials passed along to us in the 1970s from others (her mother, my aunt and parents). At the time, we developed interest but 'life' got in the way - three daughters and work prevented committing time or other resources to it. By 1995, we had more control of our time and resources, and made a personal commitment to begin "filling in the gaps" and to begin to "solve the mysteries" as well as travel to sites around the U.S. where our ancestors had lived.
Since June 2009 I am officially retired as Professor Emeritus from my University. I now read, write and research where my interests take me. I have published two novels with a third and fourth well underway. Besides my (several) blogs I write on two (weekly) topics for Examiner.com: Springfield Genealogy Examiner and Ozarks Cultural Heritage Examiner. (Ozarks is the mountainous region we live in consisting in parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma).
What are the lands of my ancestors?
My maternal grandmother was born in Denmark. I just learned who her grandparents were (all four), so I completed identification of my 'round of 16!' My paternal grandfather (Smith/Schmidt/Schmitt) was born in Alsace-Lorraine (France/Germany). His wife was born in Sweden. One third-great-grandfather was born in Ireland. All the rest of my lines go back to U.K., including Wales. Several lines are very long in the USA.
What Family Names are you Researching?
KINNICK is the surname I've done the most with. I have a KINNICK Surname Blog. I've published, in 2003, an online 900+ page update of a 1953 KINNICK family history.
From page two of my Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories blog, these are my family names, thru 3rd GGparents, plus a few:
Butler, Carle, Christensen*, Duncan, Fad, Kinnick/Kennick, Krag, Miller, Mortensdatter, Nielsen*, Preston, Rolen/Rolin, Simmons, Smith/Schmitt, Soderstrom, Sorensen, Williams
*Same line - Danish naming convention explains difference.
Additional lines researched, further back:
Firestone, Jones, Kimmerling, Kirk, Lee, Schwyhart, Vesterstrom
Who is your favorite ancestor? Why?
Cannot do one - I'll hold to three, briefly:
1) James P. Preston - paternal grandmother's father - my aunt said, "We don't know much about my grandfather." NOT. She knew, but didn't want to share. He 'abandoned' his four children - in her viewpoint. My wife and I have very much enjoyed learning his story: California gold fields, Montana rancher, wealthy and poor… interesting stories.
2) John Butler - my Irish 3rd GGfather - fought in Rev War - many gaps in his history in early frontier days - at Hull's surrender of Detroit in 1803, etc.
3) William Kinnick - Sergeant Major in Revolutionary War - I'm working on a non-fiction book on him and his times.
What is your favorite resource for genealogy?
The one that has the record I'm looking for!! I use every resource I can locate.
I keep a lot of paper files, but, I primarily use Reunion software on my Mac for my family database. I've used several PC and Mac softwares over the years.
I've historically published my database on Rootsweb; I've recently begun participating on WikiTree - that will continue.
I use Facebook, Google+, and Twitter (for outbound only).
My primary blog is Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories [http://
Wife, three adult daughters, two sons-in-law, two grandchildren (boy 7 - girl 4) - reading and writing - photography.
I encourage others to record and share the family history information they discover; and, be sure to examine and understand the social history of the time and place your ancestors lived.