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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7, 2016
Contact: Eowyn Langholf, eowyn@wikitree.com

WikiTree Announces Source-a-Thon

Genealogy community donates $3,000+ in prizes to support sourced genealogy

September 7, 2016: WikiTree will be kicking off Family History Month with a three-day sourcing marathon, October 1-3, 2016. Individuals and organizations from around the genealogy community are coming together to support this event by donating door prizes for participants. Over $3,000 in genealogy prizes have already been pledged.

Citing sources is required on WikiTree’s collaborative, free family tree, but inexperienced genealogists don’t always record them. As Mags Gaulden, a WikiTree leader, states, “In a perfect world all genealogies would be well-sourced, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. We have all run across online genealogies that are just repeats, copy-and-pastes, of what someone else had thrown up based on what aunt Mabel told them back in the 70s.”

Second-hand family information deserves to be preserved and shared, but it needs to be verified. Generous genealogists in the WikiTree community help each other every day by confirming the information in unsourced profiles and adding citations. 200,000 profiles on WikiTree’s 12-million person tree are currently identified as needing independent verification. The Source-a-Thon is a major community event to slash that number, draw attention to the importance of sources, and to have fun doing it.

Live chats will be hosted every few hours during the three-day event for participants to cheer each other on. During the chats, random winners will be drawn for valuable prizes including full memberships at MyHeritage, FindMyPast, Ancestry, Fold3, Newspapers.com, and GenealogyBank, DNA tests from Family Tree DNA, conference passes for RootsTech, software, books, gift certificates, t-shirts, research assistance, and much more.

To be eligible for door prizes, participants must register in advance and get a “race number.” See http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Source-a-Thon

Prize donations will be accepted until race day. Contact eowyn@wikitree.com if you would like to support the Source-a-Thon with a donation for participants.

WikiTree: The Free Family Tree has been growing since 2008. Community members privately collaborate with close family members on modern family history and publicly collaborate with other genealogists on deep ancestry. Since all the private and public profiles are connected on the same system this process is helping to grow a single, worldwide family tree that will eventually connect us all and thereby make it free and easy for anyone to discover their roots. See http://www.WikiTree.com.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 3, 2015
Contact: Eowyn Langholf, eowyn@wikitree.com

3 June 2015: This week the WikiTree community reached a major milestone: 10 million profiles on our shared family tree.

Since its founding in 2008, WikiTree has grown steadily but carefully. Although the community’s mission is to connect the entire human family on one tree — ultimately including billions of people — WikiTree prioritizes collaboration and accuracy.

Over 200,000 genealogists have added profiles to WikiTree. Many of them share ancestors. Rather than create duplicate ancestor profiles, they work together on the same profiles. When duplicates are created accidentally, they’re merged.

WikiTree’s most recent enhancements for accuracy center on the integration of DNA testing.

More than 15,000 members have taken DNA tests for genealogy and are using WikiTree’s DNA features to confirm or reject genealogical connections. The ultimate goal is to use DNA to confirm each connection on our shared family tree.

Members are already marking certain family tree connections as “Confirmed with DNA” and DNA-confirmed indicators have started appearing in family trees and in WikiTree’s Relationship Finder, the tool that shows the connection between any two people.

About WikiTree

WikiTreeThe Free Family Tree has been growing since 2008. Community members privately collaborate with close family members on modern family history and publicly collaborate with other genealogists on deep ancestry. Since all the private and public profiles are connected on the same system this process is helping to grow a single, worldwide family tree that will eventually connect us all and thereby make it free and easy for anyone to discover their roots. See http://www.WikiTree.com.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 6, 2014
Contact: Eowyn Langholf, eowyn@wikitree.com

WikiTree Makes Finding Relationships with DNA Matches Easier

6 November 2014: Today WikiTree.com is announcing two important features for genealogists who have taken DNA tests. These features make WikiTree’s Relationship Finder a uniquely powerful tool for genealogists who have taken 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and FTDNA Family Finder tests.

“One of the biggest challenges facing genetic genealogists,” according to Dr. Blaine Bettinger, author of the long-running blog The GeneticGenealogist, “is finding the elusive common ancestor. Finding genetic matches is easy, but finding the common ancestor from whom we inherited a segment DNA is very hard. WikiTree’s new Relationship Finder is a great tool for identifying the ancestors that two or more people share in common.”

All Common Ancestors

Genealogical relationship finders are generally designed to find the first common ancestor between two people. Genetic genealogists need to know about all the common ancestors they share with a match. Everyone’s family tree intertwines in multiple ways. The first shared ancestor may not be the reason for a shared segment of autosomal DNA.

WikiTree’s Relationship Finder now enables you to easily browse all your common ancestors.

Filtering for Multiple Matches

When a genealogist shares a segment of autosomal DNA with two or more other people who also match each other on that segment, it’s a big clue in discovering which ancestor it came from.

WikiTree’s Relationship Finder now enables you to filter the common ancestors shared by two people to only display common ancestors who are also shared by a third, fourth, or fifth person.

The Universal Family Tree

These Relationship Finder features are possible because WikiTree members are collaborating on a single tree for the entire human family.

“The genetic genealogy community absolutely must have a universal family tree,” says leading genetic genealogist Dr. Tim Janzen. “With smaller unlinked trees it’s frequently impossible to see all of the true genealogical connections with the people who share autosomal DNA with us. We are finally getting to the point where this vision is becoming a reality at WikiTree.”

About WikiTree

WikiTree: The Free Family Tree has been growing since 2008. Community members privately collaborate with close family members on modern family history and publicly collaborate with other genealogists on deep ancestry. Since all the private and public profiles are connected on the same system this process is helping to grow a single, worldwide family tree that will eventually connect us all and thereby make it free and easy for anyone to discover their roots. See http://www.WikiTree.com.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:September 4, 2014
Contact:Eowyn Langholf, gfrcousincoordinator@gmail.com

GLOBAL FAMILY REUNION SEEKS GENEALOGISTS TO “CONNECT FOR THE CURE”

The Global Family Reunionin June 2015 is expected to be the biggest, most inclusive celebration of family connections in history. It’s also more than that: It’s about fighting Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s about connecting to find a cure!

In honor of World Alzheimer’s Month, September, the Global Family Reunion is “going purple” by announcing a special Connect for the Cure initiative for genealogists.

We invite all genealogy researchers, from beginners to professionals, to help us find as many new connections to reunion organizer A.J. Jacobs and the Global Family as possible.

Thanks to press exposure in the New York Times, NPR and Good Morning America, thousands of people have contacted A.J. saying that they plan to attend to the Global Family Reunion. Many of them have not yet been able to find a connection to A.J. through the global family trees on WikiTree and Geni. It’s these people who need your help!

For every person you can connect, A.J. will donate $1 to fighting Alzheimer’s, up to a total of $10,000. (We have partnered with the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and the Alzheimer’s Association).

Plus, earn five or more points and you are eligible for a prize!

  • 5 points: Global Family Reunion bumper sticker.
  • 10 points: “I Am A Cousin” feature on Global Family Reunion blog.
  • 25 points: Skype/Google+ Chat with A.J. and the GFR team and formal thank-you at the Reunion
  • 50 points: Autographed copy of one of A.J.’s books.
  • 100 points: Personal acknowledgement in A.J.’s next book.
  • 150 points: Global Family Reunion t-shirt.

Finally, there will be one very special surprise for the genealogist who earns the most points..

All connections must be made by May 1. To participate, contact our Chief Cousin Coordinator, Eowyn Langholf, at gfrcousincoordinator@gmail.com.

About the Global Family Reunion
WHAT: The largest, most inclusive, most entertaining family reunion in history. There will be TED-style talks about genealogy, DNA and amazing family tales. There will be music, comedy, games, exhibits, food, booths and the world’s biggest family photo. It will also be the subject of a documentary by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock.
WHEN:June 6, 2015 (all day long)
WHERE: The New York Hall of Science, on the grounds of the historic World’s Fair. Satellite events across the world, and live-streamed access from your computer.
For more details see Global Family Reunion at a Glance.

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For Immediate Release: June 26, 2014

Contact:    Eowyn Langholf, Eowyn@WikiTree.com

WikiTree Announces DNA Ancestor Confirmation Aid

26 June 2014: Fourteen years ago, on 26 June 2000, it was announced that the first draft of the entire human genome had been completed. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair commented that “every so often in the history of human endeavor there comes a breakthrough that takes humankind across a frontier and into a new era. … I believe that today’s announcement is such a breakthrough …”.

The sweeping impact of a map of the human genome is still unfolding in science, medicine, and many other fields. One of these fields is genealogy. DNA testing for genealogy has been advancing rapidly — becoming more reliable, more informative, and less expensive.

Parallel to this, progress on a single family tree for humanity has been advancing rapidly thanks to Internet “crowdsourcing.” Genealogists are pooling their research and collaborating on websites such as WikiTree.com. Until now, this family tree collaboration has been based primarily on research in public records and information handed down through families.

The combination of DNA testing and a collaborative worldwide family tree is enabling something that most genealogists never expected: scientific confirmation of their genealogy.

Today WikiTree is announcing the DNA Ancestor Confirmation Aid, a tool to help genealogists confirm their ancestry. Because of the broad-based collaboration on WikiTree and the fact that the Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA is passed down relatively unchanged for many generations in known inheritance patterns, a DNA test taken by one genealogist can aid the research of many distant cousins. In turn, the research of one genealogist can dramatically expand the utility of other people’s DNA tests.

The DNA Ancestor Confirmation Aid shows step-by-step how to confirm father-son and mother-child relationships in a family tree. It enables genealogists to discover if any other descendants of their ancestors have already taken DNA tests — something becoming more common as the cost of testing goes down and as ancestries become more deeply interconnected. When there’s an opportunity for confirmation by comparing test results, there are direct comparison links. When additional testing needs to be taken for confirmation, it links to potential test-takers.

The DNA Ancestor Confirmation Aid is intended to help genealogists of all levels, including those who are completely new to DNA testing. More experienced genetic genealogists will also find benefits. Roberta Estes of DNAeXplain says, “this is particularly useful for mitochondrial DNA because there is no other ‘connecting’ mechanism. I’m sure that many of my ancestor’s mitochondrial DNA is represented in the thousands of people who have tested — but until now — there was no way to find them, since the surnames may have changed a dozen times since our shared ancestor.”

Nathan J. Bowen, PhD, genome scientist at the Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development at Clark Atlanta University, sees potential long-term benefits we can all share: “The release of the working draft of the human genome 14 years ago was a huge moment, democratizing the use of the sequence for everyone, not just corporations with private databases. Now genealogists at WikiTree are building a public family tree for humanity, confirmed with DNA. Ultimately this may reveal patterns of human migration, inheritance and disease that return significant benefits for science and medicine.”

About WikiTree
Growing since 2008, WikiTree.com is a 100% free shared family tree website. Community members privately collaborate with close family members on modern family history and publicly collaborate with other genealogists on deep ancestry. Since all the private and public profiles are connected on the same system this process is helping to grow a single, worldwide family tree that will eventually connect us all and thereby make it free and easy for anyone to discover their roots. See http://www.WikiTree.com.

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