Hi WikiTreers!

Here are a few things happening around the community this week:

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Did you see the new one-to-one GEDmatch DNA test comparison links?  Here’s what our WikiTreer-in-Chief, Chris Whitten, has to say about them:

Hi WikiTreers,

I’m very excited to announce the following. It’s something I’ve been wanting every time I see a distant cousin’s DNA test connected to one of my ancestor’s profiles (which is becoming more and more common — 3.3 million of our profiles have them).

You will now see “[compare]” links next to GEDmatch kit IDs on profiles and DNA Ancestor Confirmation Aid pages such as Roberts-7085/899.

For your own Ancestor Confirmation Aid page, click here and then select the “DNA Confirmation” button.

If you select or enter two GEDmatch IDs you can go directly to a one-to-one comparison on GEDmatch with one click. (This also works for Ysearch and Mitosearch IDs. This capability isn’t new, but we integrated the user interface for it.)

For more info, see Help:DNA_Comparison.

This is another step forward in our growing relationship with GEDmatch. And there’s more on the way. John Olson, John Hayward, and Curtis Rogers are constantly improving GEDmatch’s capabilities and we’re working together to utilize their advanced genetic genealogy tools for our mission to grow an accurate single family tree.

In particular, GEDmatch is in the process of restructuring and improving their Multi-Kit analysis. And they’re working on integrating the new Genesis kit IDs into their main database. When these changes are done, GEDmatch will enable WikiTree members to select more than just two kits at a time for comparison. This will be a major advance for triangulation, and for genetic genealogy in general, I’d say.

Onward and upward,


P.S. As with many of our DNA features, this would not have happened without Peter Roberts. It’s to his credit, from start to finish. The last pieces fell into place at the FTDNA conference down in Houston. Peter, Mags Gaulden, and a whole contingent of other WikiTreers were evangelizing for the importance of the single family tree in genetic genealogy. Face-to-face interactions in the small community of advanced genetic genealogists really make a difference. Peter’s discussions with John Olson there got the last pieces into place for these comparison links.

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Have you participated in the Question of the Week yet? Every Friday a genealogy-related question is posed to community members in our G2G Forum. You can join in the fun and share a little about yourself and learn about your fellow WikiTreers! Follow the tag “question_of_the_week” to get the new question each week.

Last week we asked “What medal or honor was awarded to one of your ancestors?”

Here are just a few of the answers we received:

  • My Great-Uncle Jimmie McCarthy was one of only two men killed on November 9, 1942, when their Liberty Ship, Edgar Allen Poe, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine off the cost of New Claedonia, Noumea, New Zealand.  His body was never recovered.  He was  posthumously awarded the Mariner’s Merit Medal. - Loretta
  • SGM Augustus Barry who served in the American Civil War in the 16th U.S. Infantry for the Union Army. He received the Medal of Honor on February 28, 1870 for his actions in Tennessee and Georgia during the war. - Dorothy
  • My father’s unit, the 320th Bomb Group, USAAF, flew with the 12th Air Force in the Mediterranean theater. They got a unit citation for the Croix de Guerre, with palm, for action in preparation for and in support of Allied offensive operations in central Italy, April through June 1944. My Dad used to have a copy. They also had a couple of Distinguished Unit Citations for operations in northern Italy and ins support of the invasion of southern France. - Ross
  • My grandfather, Dean Patrick, served in World War 2 with the Marines, and again in the Korean War with the Army.  He received a Purple Heart after getting shot during the Battle of Tarawa.  In his words, “I also earned the American Defense Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal with 5 Battle stars, Meritorious Unit ribbon with 2 stars, Korean Ribbon, U.N Service Medal for service in Korea, the Occupation Medal for service in Germany. Was in 5 Major battles in the Pacific, took part in the liberation of the Philippines, was machine gunner in 2nd Div., 40 M.M. anti aircraft gunner on the USS Idaho.” - Dave

If you have an ancestor who received a medal or honor, it’s not to late to chime in here!  You can also join in this week’s question: Do you have any Mayflower Ancestors?  Not sure? Use our Mayflower Passenger Quick Links to check.


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Hi WikiTreers,

Welcome to a new installment of “Meet our Members.” It’s time to get to know another awesome member of our community: Meet Jeanie.

Jeanie joined our community in May of 2014.  She’s a great asset to our Puritan Great Migration project and is the Project Coordinator for our Native Americans project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Thornton, Rowell, Coote, Bowker. I also do research on Native Americans, specifically those with mythical connections.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

My ancestry is 100% British Isles, so both England and Ireland, and New England. My mother is Irish, as in immigrated from Ireland in the 1950s, so her whole ancestry is Irish. My father’s mother was born in Manchester, England.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

I was sorting through my parent’s photos and asking who is this, who is that, intrigued by all these family members who I knew little about. I started an Ancestry.com tree to see how they were related to me and never looked back. Before I knew it, I had subscriptions to half a dozen genealogy sites, piles of papers all over the house, scribbled notes, and cryptic messages filled with dates, and a very puzzled husband who just wanted to know if he was going to get dinner.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

I left this question till last. I love them all, I really can’t choose just one. If I was forced to chose, it would likely be a PMG ancestor (Puritan Great Migration). I have to admire their bravery in crossing a very large ocean in a very small boat for a destination for which they knew very little, to create a new life for themselves and their children. That being said, I doubt I would be their favorite descendant.

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through.

My biggest brickwall was a Thornton ancestor. In 1905 a book was published on the James Thornton Family. I descend from one of his sons who the book identified as one Samuel Thornton. I was never able to find any information on him and none of the published info made sense. Finally after reading about 1,000 pages of unindexed New Hampshire land deeds and probate records, I found what I was looking for. I am descended from William, son of James, not Samuel. The author of the book was wrong.  Happy day!

If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?
Someone really, really rich?  Humm, it would probably be a really strong woman. Maybe Eleanor of Aquitaine. I have always admired her strength in a very, very male world. She stood out at a time when most women were anonymous.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I love writing. In addition to writing two family history blogs, I just finished my first novel. It is currently being edited and I hope to have it published by January. I live in south Texas, so I garden all year long. I love to travel, although I try to sneak in some genealogy on my vacations.

How long have you been on WikiTree and how active are you?

I joined WikiTree in 2014. I log on everyday.

Are you involved in projects/challenges?

I am part of the PGM project which I love. I have so many PGM ancestors, which really surprised me when I discovered them. I am also a Coordinator for the Native American Project. I have no Native ancestry, so it’s a bit unusual, but I love the challenge, especially  myth busting. I am  pre-1500 approved, a very difficult profile group to research correctly. Researching people in each of these projects presents its own unique challenge. I guess what I really love about genealogy is that it is hard. I think if it was easy, I wouldn’t love it half as much.

What are some of the features/aspects of WikiTree that you love/don’t love as much?

I think what got me into WikiTree was the G2G [Genealogist-2-Genealogist Forum]. I was surprised by the responsiveness of other members and their willingness to help. I have taken some genealogy courses on sourcing, which is a big thing for me. I love that WikiTree really pushes for sourcing of genealogical claims. There isn’t much I don’t like about WikTree. Waiting on merges makes me a little crazy!

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Be patient. Create some G2G tags and follow the questions. I made a few mistakes in the beginning, creating duplicates, etc., but found everyone very forgiving of my errors. Stick with it and you will be well rewarded for your efforts.

If you could leave one message for your descendants, what would it be?

Life is short, live each minute.

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Hi WikiTreers,

We just released some improvements to our “data validation” systems, i.e. the checks for conflicting or questionable data that we do when creating or editing a profile.

(We actually tried to release the changes earlier today but K Bloom and some other members spotted problems so we pulled back and made some quick changes. Thank you to those who reported the bugs.)

For those who are interested, here’s the current list of checks: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Data_Validation

The most significant change today is that the error messages are much more informative.

For example, prior to this you might see error messages such as, “A birth date should not be more than 60 years before or after a sibling’s birth date” or “A child’s birth date should not be before a parent is six years old.”

With these messages, you would have no idea which date for which sibling was causing the problem, or with parent-child problems, even whether the profile you were editing was the parent or the child in the relationship. This could be very frustrating.

Now the error messages will say something like, “A birth date (Whitten-964 born 1900) should not be more than 60 years before or after a sibling’s birth date (Whitten-1 born 15 Sep 1971)” or “A child’s birth date (Whitten-964 born 1900) should not be before a parent is six years old (Jones-1 born 17 Nov 1947).”

In addition to the error message improvements, we added a lot of checks regarding conflicting indicators on whether or not the person is living. These are very important because they affect our privacy controls. These checks should help prevent profiles from being locked-up unnecessarily.

Please post here if you spot any problems. It’s certainly possible that there are more bugs. Thanks!

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