|Location:||Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa|
|Birthplace:||East London, EC, South Africa|
|Occupation:||Retired Human Resources Consultant|
About Richard John Sparkman
Richard John Sparkman - known as John
Since commencing the Family Tree on 7 January 2011, I have collaborated with a variety of Geni.com Pro members as well as Curators across 4 Continents.
My interest did not initially lie with research but rather preserving my late Father’s 40 years of research which encompassed branches of the Family stretching to England, Canada, Germany, Holland and Rhodesia and the subsequent emigration of members to England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and the USA.
Geni.com was stumbled upon by chance as a medium for capturing the reams of data I had inherited from my Parents - an orderly collection of manuscripts, put together by an enthusiastic amateur, and shortly afterwards, I was so taken with its ease of use, that I signed up as a Pro member in February 2011.
To date (19/3/2013) I have added 6305, I manage 5,275 profiles and have invited 315 people to join my Family Tree which currently stands at 1,239 Family Members and 12,030 ancestors. I am being followed by 195 followers, while I am currently following 6,448 other profiles.
My interest is not specifically in research as a main thrust, but in assisting various Family and Non-Family to overcome hurdles being experienced in understanding the workings of Geni.com with a view to linking into the “Big Tree”.
I have a cynical view that “collecting” famous relatives is a no-no unless there is a logical link and purpose to claiming a connection. Far better to preserve and link the “common folk” (for want of a better expression) as it is they that founded the families across the world and opened up the various continents.
I have been actively striving to merge profiles in which I have a vested interest, but have willingly and pro-actively gone out to assist with other Merges, especially those of collaborators.
I have an interest in projects such as “Germans in Kaffraria”, “1820 Settlers”, “Early English Settlers”.
I am not a Genealogy purist, and believe in the need to keep Family Trees usable, easy to follow and not a burden to those wishing to add a family member.
I subscribe to the need to actively use “About” to capture interesting anecdotes and snippets of news about the person featured in the profile, rather than laboriously adhere to rigid protocols – I leave that aspect to the purists.
I particularly believe that the “Last Name” field must hold exactly that while “Birth Surname” is for the person’s maiden name. This makes the “flow” of the family tree more evident than if there is a strict adherence to maiden name in the profiles.
For ease of searching too, the First Name field should contain all first names as this makes searching much easier when all names are revealed in the First Name field. I am prepared to stand my ground on this issue within my own Family Tree sphere of influence
Here are thoughts.
1. I spend up to 3 hours or more a day on Geni as I am retired, and I never log out so am able to respond rapidly to requests for help.
2. As mentioned I commenced using Geni on 7 January 2011 and have recently renewed my Pro membership for another year.
3. Apart from a passing interest, I started to become involved a year ago, riding on the back of my late Father’s research going back 40 years.
4. I have added well over 1,000 photos on behalf of Family Members as well as those sourced from my Father’s albums and also internet searches.
5. My participation in discussions is limited and I am more a reader and discussion follower than an initiator of discussions.
6. I am not primarily into research so am not readily able to add new discussions. I will however fiercely defend Geni and often spring to their defence when faced with some unwarranted and spurious criticism by an uninformed bigot. Where someone has a query, I have gladly assisted them, publically as well as privately.
7. My aim is to collect data and research done by various family groups (e.g. Robertson, Caldwell, Kannemeyer, Vercueil, Ballantine, Sparkman, Hamilton, Miller and many more) and integrate them into Geni and in the process link up fragmented small family groups into an integrated whole.
I am not particular as to what geographical area I operate in, but would rather follow a lineage regardless of geography, than to focus only on a country.
8. In due course, once I have caught up with the current activities, I plan to initiate a project styled “South African Railways – Past employees and their experiences”, but that is somewhat down the track.