About 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 (27/5/2016) I have added 30,874, I manage 31,101 profiles and have invited 556 people to join my Family Tree which currently stands at 2,599 Family Members and over 24,996 ancestors. I am being followed by 362 followers, while I am currently following 37,737 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.
I believe in adhering to the use of fields as designed by Geni and specifically splitting the names across both fields as Geni intended as I acknowledge that it is probably prudent to adhere to the original intention that Geni designed the fields for as any future enhancements may be based upon the correct usage of the fields.
Wherever possible I encourage Geni users to refer to the following links so as to "get a feel" for protocols and etiquette when accessing the Geni World Family Tree.
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.
3. Apart from a previous passing interest, I started to become involved, riding on the back of my late Father’s research going back into the 1950's.
4. I have added nearly 3,000 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 in pursuit of the Geni "Big Tree" concept..
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. I however am inclined towards the Eastern Cape and former "Border" region of South Africa as my roots lie there.