Monday, November 21, 2011

Cleaning up WikiTree profiles

Since my posts here have been a bit less frequent in the last few weeks, I thought I'd talk a bit about what I've been doing lately. I guess the reason there have been less posts is that I haven't been focusing a lot on actual research. I've still been busy, though! I've done quite a bit of scanning (the last Scanfest was really productive for me!), and I've been adding more sources to various individuals in my family tree, mostly by searching through lots and lots of census records.

Another thing I've been spending some time on is specific to WikiTree. In case you're not familiar with it, WikiTree is an online, collaborative family tree project. I wrote more about it in a previous post. One difficulty in such a design is that when a bunch of people create their family trees, especially through GEDCOM imports, you end up with a bunch of profiles describing the same person.

I noticed that there's a group of people on WikiTree trying to clean up the duplicate profiles of European aristocracy, and decided to take on a similar effort myself. So lately I've been making lists of profiles of my Acadian ancestors, and planning out where merges should be made.

So far, I haven't really done any actual merging at all. The trouble is, I'm not the one in charge of all these profiles, and the people who are aren't very active on WikiTree, apparently, so it's been tough to coordinate things. I'm planning to request supervisor status, which will allow me to merge open profiles (which most of these profiles are, thankfully) without being on their trusted lists. So here's hoping that works out!

On a related note, I now have over 600 people in my family tree! I can't believe how much it's been growing lately! I've been adding a lot of descendents of my ancestors lately, and every time I do I hope that it will connect me to someone else who's working on their family tree and is my distant cousin. It's so exciting!


  1. Great post, Lianne! You're awesome.

    Did Tami invite you to this Google Group yet?

    Even though the specific profiles might not interest you, the conversation is more generally about WikiTree style recommendations. How do you best handle these ancestors with thousands of descendants? Who should manage them? What name conventions should be use?

    Any input from you (or any of your readers) would be welcome. It's an open group.

    By the way, I noticed your note about being a WikiTree Supervisor. You've definitely earned that level of trust. This will enable you to edit all the general wiki pages and categories. But ... it won't enable you to merge Open profiles. At least not yet. That possibility is mentioned on but I'm not sure whether we'll do it. After Geni's merging debacle, I'm not sure we will.

    Let's keep in touch about it. Maybe we can discuss it on Facebook, or in that Google Group.


  2. Oh, I meant to mention this:

    If the Profile Managers for those Acadian ancestors aren't being responsive, let me know.

  3. Hi Chris, thanks for your comments! I got the invite for that Google Group. I'd seen it before, but assumed it was pretty specific to European aristocracy profiles. I'll definitely join the discussion. Name discussions are occasionally an issue with the Acadians too, because of names like "Michel Richard dit Sansoucy", plus lots of different spellings.

    Bummer about the no merging open profiles, though I can understand how that could cause problems.

    I was planning on letting you know about one or two unresponsive profile managers. I'd feel bad, though, if that resulted in all their private data being deleted like it says on that page, unless that policy has since changed. There's one in particular who uploaded his GEDCOM a year ago and hasn't made an edit since, so I'd certainly like to take over a few of his profiles.

    It's so awesome that you're always so on top of people's concerns! Thank you! :)