Member Spotlight

Get to Know our Members – Joann Stoll

Pictured are Joann’s grandmother Ann (Silensky) Moskel, great-grandmother Nancy Duawitaka, Joann Stoll (baby), and her mother Sophie (Moskel) Gmerek

Name/Location and any other credentials/background that you would like to provide: 

My name is Joann Stoll.  I was born in Lockport and lived here my whole life with the exception of a few months downstate in the late 1980’s. 

How long have you been researching your family tree? 

Since 1988 when I was taking an anthropology course at NCCC and was asked to build a tree of my ancestors occupations and became hooked. 

Who is your favorite ancestor? 

I don’t have one favorite, it is usually the one I am currently researching. I enjoy feeling like I get a peek into what their lives may have been like – especially when reading old newspaper articles from their hometown. As a nurse I can say HIPAA was definitely not around back then. I enjoy reading what was considered ‘news’ then – such as who was visiting, coming to town or leaving on vacation. 

Describe one of your brick walls. 

My maternal ancestors prior to arriving in America.

What are some of the surnames in your family tree that lived in our Western New York area? 

Gmerek – my parents moved here from Pennsylvania. I have recently began my husband’s side of the family so will have a LOT more names that I can research locally – Stoll, Qualiana (Quagliano), Runfola, Chaplin. I am looking forward to having resources to search these names locally as they have been in the area for years. 

What was something surprising that you discovered while researching your family tree? 

My paternal great grandmother would go with the local doctor to deliver babies because she was able to speak and understand different languages especially the various the Slovak dialects. The family her mother worked for had allowed her to obtain an education with their daughter. Also, how ‘easy’ it was to change your name or the spelling of your name. 

What are some of your favorite online resources? and

What are some of your favorite local resources? 

Niagara County Genealogical Society Library of course. 

What are some of your favorite ways to educate yourself to become a better genealogist? 

YouTube videos – especially Jeanette’s!

Have you had you DNA tested?


If yes, which websites? 

Ancestry (but uploaded to the other sites).

What is some advice that you would share with a beginning genealogist? 

Source your data! I was eager to click leaves and add things to my tree when starting, hard to go back and verify information later.

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