Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Meet: Dave Weller, author of "Standing Stones"

The thirty third in a series

featuring a member of

The Graveyard Rabbit Association


I've been studying and documenting my family history for over ten years. My dad first got me interested. He had been corresponding with a cousin about our Voiland family. You see, our family name use to be "Voiland". The Voiland family emigrated from Essert, France and arrived at Castle Garden in 1857. They eventually made their way to Wisconsin and settled in Waupaca County. As the story goes, the family name changed to "Weller" when their children started school. Their German schoolteacher couldn't pronounce the French name "Voiland", and so it was changed to reflect the German pronunciation "Weller".

My dad was receiving a lot of information and really had no way of organizing it. I was interested in what he was doing and was given a copy of Family Tree Maker from my father-in-law, who was researching his family. This certainly made documenting a lot easier, and I was on my way!

I never visited cemeteries when I was younger. My grandparents all lived into their 80's and 90's, and we didn't live close to Wisconsin. In 2001, I was able to visit the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Manawa, WI. There, I saw the graves of my 2nd great grandparents, Joseph Voiland and his wife, Felicitée Marie (Sadie) Romond. They were the young newly married couple that had come from France in 1857. I think that's when it really hit me. I felt connected to them and began to realize that genealogy was much more than just collecting names and dates. The more I learned about their lives, and those of my other ancestors, the more I wanted to know.

Things have progressed a lot over the last year. I was laid off from my job in July of 2008. I've wondered if my passion for genealogy could eventually turn into a career. I also decided to join Facebook. The first thing I did was become "friends" with people also interested in genealogy. It's been fun following their genealogy-related activities and reading blogs about their ancestry.

I had been writing a non-genealogy blog and thought that blogging would be another great way to share my family history with others. So, this has led to my creation of two blogs, one of which is devoted to graveyards and tombstones related to my family. I'm currently trying to locate and photograph the graves of my direct ancestors, going back as far as possible. I feel it's very important to know were they all are. I've become involved with RAOGK and Find A Grave. I've greatly appreciated the help that many people, whom I've never met, have given me. It also feels wonderful to help others in their searches.

My wife and I live in Troy, Michigan with our three children. Our oldest daughter is will be a senior in college this fall. Our second daughter will be a college freshman, and our son is finishing up his freshman year in high school. I think what I enjoy the most about researching my ancestry is never knowing what surprises tomorrow will bring!

My family website:

StandingStones - my Graveyard Rabbit blog:

Tree Rings - my genealogy blog:

My Twitter name is "philbrick"


Laura S said...

Wow! Awesome, Dave!

Sheri Fenley said...

Well done Dave, thanks for participating and most of all for being a great Rabbit!