WikiTree Team

Categories: WikiTree Help | WikiTree Team

Contact the WikiTree team at info@wikitree.com or use this Private Message form.

Please note that this is not for "customer service." As a free, volunteer-based website, we don't have a customer service team to answer questions. If you have a question ask it in our community's genealogist-to-genealogist (G2G) forum. For more personal one-on-one assistance, a volunteer mentor may be able to help you.

Contents

Elyse-and-Chris.jpg
The WikiTree Team

The success of WikiTree is based on its community of dedicated genealogists but there is a small team that supports the community.


Tami.jpg
Tami Osmer Mize, Community Assistant

Tami reads and replies to most WikiTree e-mail. If you've ever seen an unassuming "t" at the bottom of a message, you've met Tami and experienced a little of what makes her special. She's friendly, patient, and all-around super-awesome.

WikiTree isn't her only gig. Tami is a lecturer, researcher, and author specializing in the use of computers and the Internet for genealogical research (and she rushes to add: "following industry-accepted standards and principles!"). She is the creator of the free Relatively Curious genealogy toolbar, blogs about Internet research tips at Relatively Curious about Genealogy, and shares interesting stories she finds along the way at Finding Family Stories. As her avatar "Genie Weezles" she was the charter president of the Second Life virtual chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

When you e-mail her, remember that she is only one person. We had our doubts at first but this was later confirmed. And remember that you are not the only person she's e-mailing with today, even if she treats you like you are.

If you ever get a message from her that seems less than friendly and completely patient (she says this happens) know that she probably just finished a dozen messages to users who didn't realize that most common questions can be answered through our Help Index and nearly all other questions can be asked in our Q&A forum.

If you have an issue about your account that needs to be kept private, don't hesitate to e-mail Tami.


Paul.jpg
Paul Bech, Project Assistant

Long before becoming a team member, Paul Bech was one of our earliest active volunteers. He helped pioneer the usage of free-space profiles and categories, created the Genealogy Help section, leads the Australian Convicts and First Settlers project, and took it upon himself to create this video introduction to using WikiTree.

If you're dealing with an Unresponsive Profile Manager or a 200-year-old profile that isn't being openly shared, Paul is the man to contact.

Paul has been tracing his genealogy for over 40 years. He focuses on his Oxley and Standen lines (both from Kent, England; came to Australia in 1839 and 1841), and his Hayes, Wall, and Bech families (from Korsor, Denmark).

His wide range of other interests include photography, astronomy, "bushwalking" (that's Aussie-speak for hiking), cycling, bowling, and science fiction.


Abby.jpg
Abby Glann, Leader Liaison

Lead·er: A member of the core group of volunteers on WikiTree who lead projects and have special powers and responsibilities.

Li·ai·son: A person who helps organizations or groups to work together and provide information to each other.[1]

Communication and coordination are constant challenges in a rapidly-growing, decentralized community. Abby Glann's role on WikiTree is entirely about helping WikiTree Leaders coordinate with the team and each other.

When not herding cats, Abby herds sheep, goats, chicken and children. (Abby and her husband operate a small family farm and homeschool.)

She's such a sci-fi/fantasy fan that she gives the farm animals names like Chewbacca, Thorn, and Princess Pi, and came close to naming her daughter Eowyn, for the Lord of the Rings character. Can you imagine a poor girl growing up with that name?!


Erin.jpg
Erin Breen, Volunteer Coordinator

Erin is our new Volunteer Coordinator. She's here to help connect people who need genealogy help with helpful genealogists. If you're looking to contribute your time and abilities but aren't sure what you can do to help, please drop her a note.

"I've always been passively interested in genealogy," Erin says, "but I took an active interest several years ago after my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She (and many of my cousins) believed that her grandmother was Cree, and I felt compelled to find out before she forgot entirely. Spoiler alert: Great-grandma was not Cree. Just Scottish with a tan and high cheekbones. Sourcing my information didn't make me popular among family mythologists, but I was hooked. I'm a huge supporter of the Global Family Reunion because of the benefit to Alzheimer's research."

Erin describes herself as "a big ol' nerd of all trades. You're just as likely to find me at Maker Faire, as a tagalong to a hacker con, or at a film festival as you would a genealogical conference. People who know me describe me as 'indoorsy', but just because I'm not scaling a mountain doesn't mean I'm not outside. (I use a lot of sunscreen walking to places of obscure historical value!)"


Eowyn.jpg
Eowyn Langholf, Forest Elf

Eowyn Langholf, whose parents named her for the Lord of the Rings character, is our "Forest Elf."[2]

The greatest risk to the WikiTree mission is that the website could become just another dark and confusing forest of often-copied, poorly-sourced family trees. The easiest way for that to happen: indiscriminate GEDCOM tree imports.

We've designed lots of technical systems to help make sure that GEDCOM imports don't overwhelm the community. But the most important part is the human element. An experienced wiki genealogist needs to look at all GEDCOMs before any WikiTree profiles are created from them. Namely, Eowyn.

She has many years of genealogy experience, starting at a young age when she was tagging along with her mother who was volunteering at a family history library, and including three years as a professional genealogist.

Eowyn is incredibly cheery and positive, which comes in darn handy when dealing with an irate new member demanding to know why their 50,000-person family tree that stretches back to Adam and Eve can't be imported.

GEDCOMs aren't all Eowyn does. That's really just the start of it. Using some sort of elven magic, she somehow finds time to edit and write for our blog ... host our Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other social networking pages ... greet and mentor new members ... act as an Arborist and G2G integrator ... initiate and lead a bunch of projects ....

We've stopped trying to track everything she does. It's a fool's errand for a mortal.


Lianne.jpg
Lianne Lavoie, Project Assistant

Project members are the leaders of our community. They bravely tackle the ugliest, messiest problems of genealogical collaboration. They push the envelope of what's possible on WikiTree.

Lianne is here to give the highest-level contributors what they need to keep doing the stuff they do. She helps them use advanced features, helps formulate new style rules as they emerge from discussions, and makes sure that the rest of the WikiTree team knows what new tools power users need.

Lianne is a graduate of the University of Manitoba where she studied computer science and philosophy. She blogs about her genealogy research at Stories of a Canadian Family.


Chris.jpg
Chris Whitten, WikiTreer-in-Chief

Chris has been creating online communities since 1994. The first was a non-profit organization for connecting libertarians. In 2002 he started the collaborative Q&A site FAQ Farm, aka WikiAnswers, which later became Answers.com.

In 2008 Chris dedicated himself to the ideal of a single, collaborative family tree — something that will ultimately connect us all and make genealogy free and accessible for everyone. This isn't just puffy fluffy rhetoric. Chris has pledged to keep WikiTree free and works hard alongside all the WikiTreers who share the mission.

Chris's own ancestors are from New England, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland (before that, all around Northwestern Europe). He grew up in central Massachusetts and has lived in New York, Chicago, and London. He now lives with his wife Megan in the far northern suburbs of New York City.

Chris is open and communicative with as many WikiTreers as possible. Improving WikiTree requires intimately knowing users and understanding what they need.

Feel free to send comments, suggestions, and ideas to Chris. Criticisms too. Of course, WikiTree is Chris's baby and he'll be sensitive about perceived insults. Any serious criticism is best preceded by flattery.


Brian.jpg
Brian Casey, Chief Technical Guy

Brian is our system administrator. Our lead programmer. Our hacker-in-chief. There isn't a line of code around here that doesn't have his fingerprints on it.

Brian's programming experience goes way back to his Commodore 64. He can proudly boast that programs he wrote for that system were published in COMPUTE!'s Gazette. Literally, published. This 1980s print magazine published programs in their machine-readable form.

If you only read human languages you're probably more familiar with Brian's other published works, such as "The Spectroscopic Orbit and Subsynchronous Rotation of the Herbig Ae/Be Star TY CrA." Not human-readable enough? Then you've certainly seen his bestselling novel, Eclipsing Spectroscopic Binary Systems in Love.

Brian has a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin. Lest you think this genius never gets outside, he's also an avid soccer player. And he enjoys time with his family researching their Irish roots.


Gil.jpg
Gil Reich, Search Strategy Guru

"Cousin bait" is an essential part of what makes WikiTree work. Our ancestor profiles need to be well indexed in Google so that distant cousins can find them. This is easier said than done. "Search Engine Optimization" (SEO) is a science. Gil is our SEO guru.

Chris and Gil know each other from their work together at Answers.com. In addition to now working with Chris on WikiTree, Gil splits his time between Managing Greatness, collaborating with his wife Rena on The Pet Wiki, and helping friends sell their naïve art.


E-Mailing the Team

Contact the WikiTree team at info@wikitree.com.

For personal messages you can also use chris@, abby@, eowyn@, lianne@, paul@, or tami@. Please do not send the same message to more than one of us. If your message isn't for one person in particular, use info@.

If your message doesn't have to be private, use G2G.



  1. Definition credit goes to Merriam-Webster. And to Leader Maggie for pointing it out, and thereby subtly correcting Chris's spelling of liaison.
  2. Calling Eowyn our Forest Elf, we realize, is too cute by half. The half being the fact that Eowyn in Lord of the Rings is a human, not an elf. This was pointed out to Chris not by Eowyn, or Abby, but by Lianne. Not only are our team members genealogy geeks, most of them are sci-fi/fantasy geeks.

This page was last modified 13:40, 20 August 2014. This page has been accessed 1,692 times.