Greetings fellow WikiTreers!

Welcome to the February 2015 edition of News from the Tree, our monthly report on new features and changes around the site, notes on community leaders, tips, etc.

What’s New?

Tree-N-Tools Pages

Our Family Tree pages have been expanded into Family Tree and Genealogy Tools pages. For short, our WikiTreer-in-Chief dubbed these the TNT pages, for Tree ‘n Tools. And because we’d like to think they’re dynamite. (Ba-dum-ching.)

The Tree and Tools page is intended to be a comprehensive, easy-to-follow introduction to the variety of tree views, widgets, features, and tools here on WikiTree. It’s customized to the person being viewed, and the person viewing the page.

You can access the TNT pages from your My WikiTree drop-down menu.  Scroll below the tree and you will see an extensive list of links and explanations.

WikiTree @ RootsTech 2015

RootsTech is a global family history event where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology. It is held in Salt Lake City, Utah and this year took place from 11 Feb – 14 Feb.

It was a special year since RootsTech teamed up with the Federation of Genealogical Societies to hold two conferences in one place. Over 22,000 people attended!

We were fortunate to have several team members and supervisors come together, some even getting to meet for the first time including Chris WhittenEowyn Langholf, Tami GlatzKitty Smith, Karen Tobo, Abby Glann, Peter Roberts, Michael Stills, Mags Gaulden and Michelle Hartley.

Michelle and Abby

Peter, Mags and Michael

Chris and Kitty


We were able to make some great connections, present two live demos of WikiTree and chat with many, many wonderful people who stopped by our booth.

You can check out all the photos in our WikiTree @ RootsTech 2015 Facebook album.

Who’s New?

We’re delighted to announce four new WikiTree Leaders! Here’s a little about each of them:

Family History Photo of the Week Winner: Jack Leonard Long

Patrick Barnum has been a WikiTreer since May 2014 and is the Project Leader of our brand new Latin American Roots Project.  He’s also started a Barnum One Name Study.  He is the webmaster of the website “Barnum Family Genealogy” and the compiler and editor of Barnum Genealogy: 650 Years of Family History  and Barnum Genealogy, 2nd Edition.

Patrick also served in the United States Army from 1964 to 1998.  Thanks for your service, Patrick!

Cheryl Hammond has been with us since July of 2013 and is active in our Puritan Great Migration, Magna Carta and DNA projects.  She’s a proud native fourth-generation Seattleite.  In her words, “I’m a software developer, so I tend to think analytically. Sifting through mountains of complex, conflicting data is my idea of a fun weekend. No surprise I’ve been researching family histories as a hobby since the mid-1990s.”

Myrtis Jane Bishop, a WikiTreer since July 2014, is the State Coordinator for the Mississippi Cemeteries sub-project. She recently came in second place in the January 2015 Free For All Challenge and was recognized for creating more profiles than anyone else in the challenge!

Myrtis served in the United States Navy from 1971 to 1997.  Thank you for your service, Myrtis!

Lisa Franklin has been WikiTree-ing since 2012 and is fast approaching 30,000 contributions!  She has started a Franklin One Name Study and is active in many of our projects including Westward Ho and Magna Carta.  Lisa is also one of our generous genealogists and offers help to anyone seeking local assistance with Texas Research.  She’s had many genealogy-related books published with strong focus on Alabama research.

Mentor Tips

  • Want a good way to get your cousins interested in WikiTree?  Up there in your “My WikiTree” drop down menu (top right of your profile page) scroll down to “Anniversaries” and click on it.  This page lists special days of everyone in your Watchlist, by month and date.  Look around for an interesting or special ancestor and send out a happy birthday note to your family members with your ancestor’s WikiTree profile link! You can also send out WikiTree e-cards.
  • If your research includes anyone that might be historically-significant, check carefully to see if there is a project that might include them. There’s a chance that a profile has already been started and your help is needed in improving it. For example, the European Aristocracy Project has almost all kings and queens of Europe and their families. All US presidents and Mayflower passengers are already here. Please check with the relevant project for naming conventions and other information.  For a full list of projects, click here.

Project Updates

We just launched a new Latin American Roots Project, with sub-projects planned for the countries of Central and South America.  The purpose of this project is to collaborate in posting to WikiTree the profiles of individuals and families directly associated with one or more of the 20 Latin American nations. The project is open to anyone who has an interest in the history or genealogy of Latin America.

The Black Sheep Project is coming along nicely, under the leadership of Sally Stovall, with help from Terry Wright and Paula J.  If you’ve got outcasts, outlaws, or outlandish folks in your family tree, this might be the project for you!

The Magna Carta Project continues to furiously update familial lines, knock out mythological ancestries, and create great profiles for those ancestors who trace back to Magna Carta Surety Barons. They have a great work space here.

Our One Name Studies Project continues to expand.  There are currently 178 surnames in the project!  See the full surname list here.  If you don’t see the surname you are looking for, maybe you’ll consider initiating the study.

Community Accomplishments

Top 10 contributors for last month:

WikiTree Club 1000 January 2015

  1. Myrtis Jane Bishop (11,503 edits in January)
  2. Kirsty Ward (11436)
  3. Robert Hathaway (9311)
  4. Michael Sheffield (7976)
  5. Antonia Anonymous (6630)
  6. Greg Rose (5630)
  7. Susan Tye (5569)
  8. Patricia Menton (5383)
  9. Sally Stovall (5214)
  10. Linda Gauvin (5194)

Super Star recipients (recognized by a Leader for extraordinary contributions that go far beyond what is normally seen on WikiTree):

Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication: Myrtis Jane Bishop, Patrick Barnum, and Robert Hathaway!

 New Member Comments

Family History Photo of the Week Winner: George Woods

When a guest volunteers to become a full member we ask them to leave a comment telling a little about how and/or why they’d like to volunteer with WikiTree.  We get some really great responses.  Comments such as:

  • “I started my family history research in 2000. I recently inherited thousands of photos from my grandmother which I feel belong to history, not just to me. I’ve been working to scan and upload those photos as often as I have time. It’s really opened my eyes to so much family history and inspired me to work on research again.” – Tonya
  • “I have reached WikiTree through Cyndi’s List and I am very interested to join in the collaboration described on this site. I have been researching my family history for many years using a subset of the mission “… to connect all of my namesakes on a single family tree accessible to anyone researching my ancestors.” I am intrigued by the broader notion of One Family Tree and would like to volunteer as a contributor to your mission.” – George
  • “I want to contribute with a lot of data I got from my father, Claus Rathje, after his death. He has spent many years exploring and setting up the family trees in private records, but it’s time to share to the benefit of more people.” – Lars
  • “I found out about this site by visiting your booth at RootsTech 2015. I am home now and couldn’t wait to contribute my family information and explore all that WikiTree has to offer. I love the idea of an honor code and can’t wait to be helpful! ” – Amanda

Anyone can view these comments on the Volunteer Feed.

If you have a few minutes to spare they are fun to read through and a great way to find people with interests similar to your own or researching the same surnames/locations. When you see a comment that resonates for you, click the thank-you link or post a comment to make them feel welcome to WikiTree.

Thanks for all you do WikiTreers. You’re the best.

The WikiTree Team and Leaders

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