Hi WikiTreers!

Did you have a good weekend? Find any cool ancestors? Break any brick walls?  Now that it’s Monday and time to get back to the grind, here’s a few things you might have missed last week to help get you motivated:

But first, sadly, we must note that the genealogy community lost one of its’ shining stars last week with the passing of Pamela Weisberger.  You can read Tammy Hepp’s beautiful tribute to her here.

From WikiTree:

  • This week’s collaborative profile comes from our Quebecois Project.  It’s never to late to jump in and add something! You can find it here.
  • Every weekend our notables Project Leader Bob Fields shares significant events that happened on those days in history.  Catch up with his October 3rd and October 4th posts.
  • It’s never too late to join in our Weekend Chat! This is a great way to get to know other WikiTreers and to share about yourself.
  • We tightened up the home page and added some new links to the drop down menu. Learn more here.

From the Genealogy Community:

Genealogy News:


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Greetings fellow WikiTreers!

Welcome to the September 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?

WikiTree-FamilySearch Connections App

Family History Photo of the Week Winner: Junette Jacobson

We’re excited to announce an important new tool created in collaboration with our friends at FamilySearch and independent software developer Justin York. It’s called the WikiTree-FamilySearch Connections app.

The app searches the FamilySearch Tree for likely matches for the people on your WikiTree Watchlist. You can evaluate each suggested match and if you think it’s the same person, create a link.

The link will be display on the WikiTree profile for the future reference of you and others. There are also promising research possibilities.

Check out FamilySearch Connections for more info.

To give it a try, click to <https://apps.wikitree.com/apps/york1423/fs-match/>.

Easily Share Your Favorite Family Photos

This month we made live a nice little feature. Browse your family photos and share your favorites in G2G with one click.

On the details page of any public photo you will now see a little button that says “Share on G2G” as well as a feature box below it with more detail.  Click the button and a G2G post with your photo is initiated.

This button will only appear on public photos, i.e. photos you don’t need to be on the Trusted List to view. If there’s a red lock icon in the upper-right corner of the photo page, you won’t see the sharing button.

Qualifying shared photos are collected each week to be part of the Family History Photo of the Week Contest.

What’s your connection to Kevin Bacon, AJ Jacobs, and JK Rowling?

The Connection Finder is new and improved. Check it out: <http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Special:Connection>.

Long-time WikiTreers will remember that the Connection Finder was developed to help AJ Jacobs make connections for the Global Family Reunion. AJ is still one of the centers of the Connection Finder, but for fun we’ve added two more: Kevin Bacon and JK Rowling. JK Rowling is featured this month because she was the winner of last month’s Connection Combat game. Next month she’ll be replaced by the new winner.

To promote the Connection Finder and the Relationship Finder there is now a special feature box on the profile of everyone who’s connected to AJ, Bacon, or Rowling within 100 degrees. It shows the number of steps from that person to each of the celebrities.

To see yours, scroll under the images in the left column of your profile.




Who’s New?

Family History Photo of the Week Winner: The Linn Children of Hagerstown

We’re pleased to announce three new WikiTree Leaders:

Andrea Powell:  Andrea has been an enthusiastic WikiTree since November 2014.   She’s mostly English and a little bit Irish.  She’s a Sourcerer, a Generous Genealogist, a Local Research Volunteer and active in many projects including our Categorization Project and or brand new Quakers Project.

Bea Wijma: Bea is from Holland and has been with us since October of 2013.   She has been a marvelous wonder in our Dutch Roots and New Netherlands Projects! Bea is also great at participating in our G2G forum and helpful to many of our members there.

Veronica Williams: An avid WikiTreer since August 2013, Veronica first became interested in genealogy after her Uncle Laurie died and she was given some old family research papers.  She participates as a Greeter, a Ranger, and is active in many projects including Anzacs and Australian Convicts.

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 our new FamilySearch Connections app, to categories.
  • After trying GEDCompare with your large GEDCOM file upload a smaller one for your first GEDCOM import.  The WikiTree process is different than with other websites and a smaller imported file lets you get a feel for the process without getting overwhelmed.
  • Want to see if there are any holes in your work on WikiTree? Get tips on how to do just that from this G2G post.
  • Many ancestors have different ways of spelling their names. When searching for somebody, always try searches with different spelling variations. You can find related surnames by entering a surname in the “Last Name” box at the top of any WikiTree profile page.
  • Do you want to edit a profile and you aren’t sure if you should be bold and press forward with the changes or be polite and communicate with any profile managers? Check out our Communication Before Editing help page.

Community Accomplishments

Top 10 contributors for last month:

WikiTree Club 1000 August 2015

  1. Michael Sheffield (9,546 new edits in August)
  2. Vincent Piazza (7451)
  3. Greg Rose (6893)
  4. Sir William Arbuthnot Bt (5853)
  5. Kathleen Chaffee (5646)
  6. Paul Leonard (5521)
  7. C. Mackinnon (5402)
  8. Robert Cox (4803)
  9. Austin Pérez (4528)
  10. Kirsty Ward (4386)

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: James ApplegateMarty Acks and Ellen Smith!

New Member Comments

Family History Photo of the Week Winner: Young Emmett Scott

When a Guest or Family Member volunteers to become a full contributing Wiki Genealogist we ask them to leave a comment telling a little about how and/or why they’d like to volunteer to grow our shared tree. We get some really great responses.  Comments such as:

  • “I have enjoyed following my families history through the years. I am amazed at the connections I am able to make with the help of others who post their histories. My love for genealogy began about 10 years ago when I was asking my father about his parents, whom I never met, and where they came from. I was shocked that my father could not given me any info. So I began my search.” – Kimberly
  • “I was researching my ancestry and thought, “Why don’t we just make one giant family tree? Then everyone will simply HAVE that information instead of needing to research it over and over each generation and even for each household.” And lo and behold, there exists an organization desiring to do just that, without any strings attached!” – Kenton
  • “I’ve been working on my family tree for over 40 years. As with most, I started out ‘doing it wrong’ – gobbling up information for later processing and not worrying about documentation. In the 1980’s I started working with a now defunct genealogical computer program. Now it’s back to starting over again, but trying to ‘do it right’ this time. I’m hoping that by joining WikiTree, I can get information processed and disseminated in a way that I won’t have to worry about losing it all and starting over again a third time. Collaboration is a major plus, and it fits my genealogical motto – a quote by Sir Isaac Newton: ‘If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.’ It’s ironic that his famous quote was crafted from the words of his intellectual forbears.” – Gilbert

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!

Sourcerer’s Challenge:   Far too many profiles on WikiTree don’t have any sources. This challenge is about correcting that with census data, BMD records/index references, family bible references, military documents, land documents, wills, etc.

Each month we’ll post in G2G to start up the month’s challenge. You come and post the profile you’ve added source(s) to (at least the profile number/name, if not a link to it) as well as what sources you added. At the end of the month we tally for a winner.

We are now actively in our September Challenge, which will run through September 30.  To participate, go to this G2G post.

To see the stats from August’s contest, go here.

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 Monday a profile is selected. It’s usually a profile from one of our current projects that is in desperate need of some TLC.

Interested members can then chip in to help make the profile as great as it can be.

Check out last week’s wonderful results on the Eureka Rebellion, or join in on this week’s efforts with Ann (Isacke) Farnes.

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

Weekend Chat:  Each Friday we start a Weekend Chat  post in G2G. 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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by Nae

Tis the Season:  Weddings! Graduations! GIFTS! and the option of:

A Gift of Treasure

The season for graduations and weddings is fast approaching, and soon the invitations will start rolling in if they haven’t already!  Have you ever wondered what could be better than that gift card or cash that will be gone in a second with no lasting memory?  Why not create a gift that will be treasured for generations to come? What’s that, you ask?

I’ve got the answer!  Create an “album” that is personalized to their ancestors!  I have yet to meet someone that did not sit up and say “WOW” when you show them their great grandparent’s wedding certificate or their grandmother’s birth certificate!  Or a document that their ancestor actual wrote or signed. How about making an album with images of marriage certificates or records going back as far as you can search for the new couple?    Or for the graduate, an album with their family tree and associated documents?  Or for the new homeowner, an album with property deeds of their ancestors?  It doesn’t even have to be a physical “album” but one that is digitized on a CD or many of the other options available online so that the record is accessible for infinity!

I am not an “electronic or digital” person.  Get one of your kids or grandkids to help with that, but if you want to actually create a “hold in your hand and flip the pages” album, a good place to start is right here on WikiTree.  So settle down for an evening, and go through your family tree on WikiTree or your recipient’s family tree.  IF it’s not there, get busy, and put it up.  If you need help, post a question in our Genealogist to Genealogist (G2G) forum or ask a Mentor.  And, also, ask your intended recipient’s family for information at least through their grandparents so you are able to locate the information and documents you need.  The great thing about WikiTree is we all work together (we are very fond of the term ‘Collaborate’) and you will reap the rewards for asking!  Once your information is on WikiTree, you can move onto the next step of creating the treasure.

If you are going to “create” a hand held album from scratch, you first will need to go to the store and pick up some paper that is “antique” or to your liking.  Next, make sure you have ink for your printer and if you don’t want to mess with that, get one of those little things that plug into the side of your computer (ask the kids) and save your documents of choice to it.  Then take that little thing to the printer place and they can do the rest of the printing/formatting to your specifications.

Okay, now you have all the prints.  If you are creating a “hold in your hand” album, go to a local craft store and select an album for photos, etc. along with the background paper and the details you like to create a treasure.  There are some great websites which can help you with what is called “Scrapping” that is basically a fancy name for creating an album which documents events.  Visit a few websites before you go shopping for some ideas of what you might need.  Sit down and be creative.  Now, if you want to also do a CD or online record, complete with music, comments, etc…get the kids… They know how to do that!

A great place to start this process is right here on WikiTree!  If you haven’t tried to search for family records, or organize them from the note cards or scribbles you have, scan them, upload them and create a family tree for all to share forever.  Don’t have the time to make an “album”?  Get the new couple’s email address and send them a request to join WikiTree that they will share with their family and contribute to their family tree.

A gift to treasure.

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by Eowyn

What’s one of the most overlooked and underutilized resources available for genealogy research?

Your living family members.  Bug them! They’re one of the best resources you have. Start with your parents or grandparents. Talk to them and then branch out – include your cousins, aunts, uncles. Try to steer away from yes/no questions and ask open-ended ones so you can collect not just names and dates but stories as well. Not only can this help you in researching your ancestors from the past but you’ll be able to compile stories about your family in the present.

Here are 50 questions to get you started.  Just remember, the more you ask, the more you’ll know and you’ll be better able to personalize your interviews.

1.  What’s your full name? Do you know why your parents gave you that name?

2. When and where were you born?

3. What was your first home like? What other places have you lived?

4. Do you attend a church? What church did your parents/grandparents attend?

5. What are the full names of your brothers and sisters?

6. What were your favorite toys?

7. Where did you attend grade school/high school? What were your schools like?

8. What were your favorite/least favorite subjects in school and why?

9. What activities/sports did you participate in?

10. What was your first job?

11. How did you decide on a career?

12. If you served in the military, when and where did you serve? What was your rank? Did you have to go to war?

13.  How old were you when you started dating?  Do you remember your first date?

14. How did you meet your spouse(s)?

15. How long did you know them before you get married? Describe the proposal.

16. Describe your wedding ceremony.  Who was there?  Who were the best man/maid of honor?

17. Did you have a honeymoon? Where did you go?

18. How long have you been/were you married? How would you describe your spouse?

19.  What advice would you give to your child/grandchild that is about to get married?

20. How many children did you have all together? What are their names, dates and birth places?

21. Why did you pick the names that you did?

22. What did you find the most difficult aspect of being a parent?

23. What would you describe as the best reward of being a parent?

24. Where did your spouse’s parents live?

25. When and where did your parents die? What do you remember about it? Where are they buried?

26. What do you remember hearing your grandparents describe about their lives?

27. Do you remember anything about your great-grandparents? If so, what?

28. Did you have any childhood diseases?

29. Has anyone in the family been the victim of a crime or convicted of one? If so, can you share the story?

30. Have you ever had surgery? For what?

31. How is the world different now then from when you were growing up?

32. How would you describe yourself politically? Liberal? Conservative? Why?

33. Have you ever been mentioned in a newspaper?

34. What wars have been fought during your lifetime? How did they affect you?

35. How would you describe your sense of humor?

36. What are some of your favorite hobbies? How did you get involved with them?

37. What organizations or groups have you belonged to?

38. What’s the most memorable moment of your life?

39.What’s something you always wanted to try but haven’t yet?

40.What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited and why?

41. Who are some of your heroes?

42. What did you do with your first paycheck?

43. What’s your favorite holiday and why? What traditions do you have?

44. What would you say have been some of the best inventions/advances you’ve seen in your lifetime?

45. Have you had pets in your life? What were they like? Favorites?

46. Who have been your closest friends through the years?

47. What makes your family unique?

48. What do you fear most in regards to future generations?

49. Do you have a life philosophy to pass on to your descendants?

50. What haven’t we talked about that you’d like to share?

Bonus for fun:

What or who is your favorite:

  • Animal?
  • Author?
  • Book?
  • Candy?
  • Car?
  • Color?
  • Dessert?
  • Flower?
  • Fruit?
  • Game?
  • Holiday?
  • Meal?
  • Movie?
  • Season?
  • Song?
  • Sport?
  • Vegetable?
  • Word?
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by Abby Glann

Last week’s tip was the best one for any family history novice-talk to your family and take lots of notes! This week we’re going to do something with all those notes. Right now things can seem like a jumble but genealogists have some great charts they use to try to keep things straight. You can either sketch these out or print them off, but using a pedigree chart is great to visualize your tree, which can help when you are ready to move on to sharing your work with others. There are couple different styles:
This one is probably the most common used by researchers, a single sided chart. You put yourself in that first box (or whoever your beginning ancestor you’re researching is) and then the top line is always the father and the bottom is the mother. Once you reach the end of the page, you take that last person and start a new chart with them as the first person, then their parents, their parents’ parents,and and so on.
And a double sided chart. Same idea, but you put yourself in the very middle, and one parent on either side:
There are a lot of places to download these, but here are a couple to get your started:
Got aunts’ and uncles’ and cousins’ information, too? Hold onto it-we’ve got a chart for that! We’ll wait to talk about it until next week. This week’s homework-put your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents into those charts we can work with them later!
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