Hi WikiTreers,

I’d like to start using this blog to post some community news updates. Many of us communicate with each other one-on-one and on G2G and various social networks — such a cacophony of communication media these days! — but we don’t have anything like a newsletter.

As experienced WikiTreers know, there’s always lots going on behind the scenes. Our small team is constantly working with community members to figure out what they need in order to make our shared mission to grow a worldwide family tree a success.

GEDMatches

GEDMatches is the big news around here.

We released it for beta testing right before Christmas. Brian and I scurried around for a few weeks. First we had to squash some bugs. Then the system got overloaded last weekend and we had to expand capacity. But we’re at a good point now and ready to take things to the next level.

As I’ve said to some of you, I see GEDMatches as one of the single most important improvements we’ve ever made at WikiTree.

From the perspective of Wiki Genealogists, the main benefit of GEDMatches is that it will dramatically reduce the number of new duplicates that need to be merged.

But it won’t just decrease the level of junk that gets added to WikiTree. The flip side is that it will increase the amount of quality content that gets added.

Genealogists don’t need to be afraid to upload a GEDCOM anymore. They can register as a guest member, upload their file, and within about 10 minutes get a GEDMatches report that tells them if any of their ancestors are already on WikiTree. If they’re not the sharing type or they’re just too busy to participate, there’s no obligation to go further. They can let their guest membership and GEDCOM upload expire.

Whether or not the genealogist ends up becoming a member of our community, it’s great for us. From GEDMatches they can send private messages to their cousins using WikiTree or post comments on the matched profiles, adding whatever little bits they’re willing to share. Every piece of info helps solves our puzzles.

Do you have any ideas for getting the word out about GEDMatches? How do we let genealogists know it’s available?

If you have ideas or things to share, come post in this G2G discussion.

Greeters Needed

GEDMatches is going to generate lots of new guest members, and many of them will volunteer to become Wiki Genealogists.

We need more Greeters! Greeters monitor the Guest Activity Feed, welcome new members, and confirm volunteers so that they can start contributing.

One disadvantage of greeting: Your thank-you feed will get ridiculously crowded. For example, see Mike Gabbard‘s and Erin Breen‘s. Erin has over 1,500 thank-yous!

If you’d like to become a Greeter e-mail me or post in G2G.

BrowseMatches

BrowseMatches” went live late last week.

If you’re a serious WikiTreer you’re going to love this. Many of you specifically asked for it. A couple practically demanded it. 😉

BrowseMatches enables you to:

  • Browse pending merges, i.e. merges that were proposed but haven’t been completed.
  • Browse Unmerged Matches to see if they’re ready to be merged.
  • Browse Rejected Matches to make sure they’re correct.

Part of the impetus for getting this done was Ed Burke and his rapidly growing group of awesome “Arborists.” Their self-appointed mission: improve the overall health of our tree by encouraging and facilitating merges.

Unfortunately, the feature that would make it most useful for Arborists isn’t ready. If you’re just looking at matches in your Watchlist you can limit by surname, but you can’t do this site-wide. For example, you can see all the Smiths on your Watchlist with pending merges, but not all the Smiths on WikiTree with pending merges. We’ll work on adding that for Arborists who want to clean up one surname at a time.

You can find BrowseMatches on your pull-down menu under “Find > Pending Merges”.

Three New Supervisors

Last but not least, we added three new Supervisors this week: Vic Watt, Liz Shifflett, and Jillaine Smith.

All three are super-smart and well-deserving of this level of trust and responsibility.

Onward and upward,

Chris Whitten
WikiTreer-in-Chief

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