Greetings fellow WikiTreers!

Welcome to the May 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?

GEDMatches is Now GEDCompare

This is a small change but one you might have noticed if you’ve uploaded a GEDCOM recently.  We’re changing the name of our GEDCOM matching tool from GEDMatches to GEDCompare.

When we created it three years ago we didn’t know about Now that so many genetic genealogists are using WikiTree, and many of them are using for comparing DNA, it seems unnecessarily confusing to keep the name GEDMatches for our GEDCOM search and matching tool.

So, we’ve renamed our tool GEDCompare.

Family History Photo of the Week Winner: Emily at her spinning wheel

Select Any WikiTree Image as a Profile Background

You might appreciate this improvement if you like using background images (aka wallpaper) on profiles.

You can select any image from any profile (assuming it’s public) and set that as the background for any other profile.

In the past, in order to use the same image as the background of multiple profiles, you’d have to tag the image for all the profiles where you wanted to use it, or worse, upload it multiple times. Many members would do this for things like coats of arms and Scottish tartans.

Now, if you want to use a Scottish tartan, you can go to the helpful Space:Clan_Tartans and select one of them. You just need to find the image name — look on the image details page under “Set as Background Image” — and then paste it into the Background Image section of your profile’s edit page.

Help Protect the Tree

There’s a group of members who operate behind the scenes. Many WikiTreers don’t even know they’re there, but they do important work that helps us all.

They’re the WikiTree Rangers.

Rangers help protect the tree that we’re all growing. They do it by watching for “forest fires” started by:

  • Vandals intentionally causing damage.
  • New members accidentally doing harm.
  • Unexpected technical problems.

The system is simple. Rangers coordinate and each take one hour-long shift per week. This way we have around-the-clock coverage. To be a Ranger you need to have been on WikiTree for three or more months and participate in another project. If you have an hour per week on a fairly regular schedule, please e-mail Eowyn at

Hangout With Us During the Global Family Reunion

The Global Family Reunion is coming up fast – it’s less than 2 weeks away!  Several WikiTree team members and leaders will be there proudly sporting our orange shirts to spread some WikiTree love to cousins who are attending from around the world.  We’ll be hosting a Google+ Hangout on Air live from the Reunion, June 6th,  from 2pm-3pm EDT.  You can join in and watch via Google+ or YouTube.

If you tune in, be sure to post your connection to AJ if you know it, so you can be counted  as an official cousin for the event!

Who’s New?

We’re very pleased to welcome Robert Hathaway as our newest Leader! Some of you might know him as Keith. He answers to both names.  Besides being a martial arts master, he recently became the Leader of our Integrators Project.  If you have ever visited our G2G forum, chances are excellent that you’ve seen a post from him there.  He’s dedicated to making members and guests feel as welcome as possible and is immensely helpful in answering questions and providing direction.  He is also active as a Mentor and a Ranger.

Check out  The Hathaways of Hathaway Point , a freespace page that records the genealogy of his family that have lived on the property called “Hathaway Point”.  Stay tuned for a “Meet our Members” segment featuring Robert very soon!

Mentor Tips

  • Spend some time learning the menus at the top right of your page. These drop down menus give you shortcuts to everything from help, to the relationship finder, to categories.

Project Updates

Family History Photo of the Week Winner: Gramma Downard

The Categorization Project is doing major housecleaning. Now is a great time to join the project and learn many of the basics of using categories as they go through and discuss the best way to set them up, use sub-categories, and coordinate with projects of all sorts.

The Global Family Reunion Project has a big challenge going to help connect as many attendees to A.J. Jacobs and the Global Family Tree as possible! Ticket buyers who don’t know how they’re connected to AJ yet have been sending in information, and volunteer researchers have been building out trees for them, which then get uploaded to WikiTree. Some of those trees connect right away, but others still need to be connected so those cousins count towards our hopes of breaking the record for the biggest family reunion. That’s where we need you!

We have a prize package for the person who connects the most cousins from our Unconnected GEDCOM category before June 6th. The prize is a copy of our Global Family Reunion Cookbook, a ticket to the Reunion, and a copy of AJ’s book once it’s published, and to put some icing on top, the books will be signed by AJ. To learn more on how to participate check out this G2G post.

The Roll of Honor Project is starting work on an War of 1812 sub-project. Contact Terri Rick if you’re interested in working with them!

Community Accomplishments

Top 10 contributors for last month:

WikiTree Club 1000 April 2015

  1. Vincent Piazza (11,440 contributions in April)
  2. Kirsty Ward (10445)
  3. Greg Rose (10220)
  4. Patricia Menton (8726)
  5. Paul Leonard (6924)
  6. Beryl Jacobs (6334)
  7. Carrie Quackenbush (6080)
  8. Carolyn Martin (5496)
  9. Erin Breen (5395)
  10. Linda Gauvin (4711)

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: Sheri HavensEsmé van der WesthuizenBeverly HenryBea Wijma and Helmut Jungschaffer.

New Member Comments

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 began genealogy this year in honor of my deceased mother whose birth records are sealed due to her adoption–She died at the young age of 56. It has been a dream for us both to accurately discover her true roots and preserve her true family line. My paternal grandmother also expressed the desire to know her own roots. My goal is to accurately, and faithfully track these lines of our family so that we all can experience the “who, where and why” of the people our family is built on. My father and uncle are currently tracing their father’s family and I have gleaned from them the importance of accuracy and documentation.  –Dina
  • I’ve recently inherited some photos of my mothers family from turn of the 20th century and did not know what to do with the photos. Did not want to trash these photos, so I began the genealogical trip. It is fun to do and connects me a little better to my family. –Danny
  • I strongly support the idea of a free and open world-family-tree since it helps to realize – whatever our differences as humans – our very common roots and interconnectedness. On some level we’re all family – a realization that might help elevate spirits in situations where collaboration is needed. –Stefan
  • Another step humanity has taken to understand who we are, what we are, and how we can learn from the mistakes we’ve made as homo sapiens. Genealogy is incredibly useful these days. Now we can use DNA to determine what diseases we are susceptible to, and even find family members we didn’t know we had. –Brendan

Anyone can view the latest 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.

Don’t Miss These!

Family History Photo of the Week Winner: John Ira Thayer

Family History Photo of the Week:   Every Wednesday, two fun things happen in our Family History Photo of the Week project. You get to vote on the photos that were nominated during the previous week and you can nominate photos to be voted on the next week!  Follow the tag “photo_of_the_week” in the G2G so you don’t miss out on the Time to Nominate and Time to Vote posts.

Collaborative Profile of the Week:  WikiTree is all about collaboration and every week many members come together to work on the Collaborative Profile of the Week. Every week a profile is nominated, usually a profile from one of our current projects, that is in desperate need of some TLC.

Each Monday a new collaborative profile is posted and interested members can then chip in to help make the profile as excellent as possible.  Check out last week’s wonderful results on Benjamin Botwell’s profile or join in on this week’s efforts with  Jeanne d’Artois.

You can follow the tag “profile_of_the_week” in the G2G if you don’t want to miss these.

Weekend Chat:  Each Friday we start a Weekend Chat  post in our G2G forum. All members are invited and encouraged to come and post, whether it’s to introduce themselves, share what they’ve been working on, talk about the weather or post tips and suggestions.  This is a great way to get to know some of the awesome members of our community!  Follow the tag “weekend_chat” if you don’t want to miss out on the fun.

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

The WikiTree Team and Leaders

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