We’re proud to announce that we just released a major round of improvements to our system for merging person profiles.

The next time you merge you’ll notice some big differences. (If you want to see them now, you could see if there is a pending merge you can help complete.)

Those of you who are familiar with our tools for merging-in data from external websites — WikiTree X and GEDCOMpare — will recognize most of the changes. We adapted the innovations made while developing those new systems into our original merge code.

Here are some of the changes:

  • You’re not limited to selecting data from the merged-away profile or keeping data from the merged-into profile. You can enter completely new data during the merge.
  • You can view, set, and modify the certainty status of data fields and parental relationships during the merge.
  • If you enter or edit the birth or death location, the standardized place name suggestions from FamilySearch will appear. You can hide these suggestions if they’re annoying.
  • You can now edit the text section during the merge. Previously, the entire text section from the merged-away profile was appended to the bottom of the text section for the merged-into profile. You then had to edit this after the merge. Now we append biography to the biography and the sources to the sources, and you can do the final edits right there on the merge form.
  • You can preview the text section before completing the merge.
  • When you complete the merge the data is scanned for likely errors. It’s the same data validation system that we have for editing profiles.

WikiTreer-in-Chief, Chris Whitten, feels very good about these changes.  As he says, synthesizing conflicting information into one coherent profile — figuring out what the sources really tell us and communicating it on the page — is high-level genealogy collaboration. It is the essence of what we do on WikiTree.

Merging can never be easy. But we can make it easier to do better merges, and hopefully that’s what we’ve done here. In the long run this should relieve some of the burden that’s been placed on the generous, experienced WikiTreers who have to clean up messy merges done by less experienced members.

Please post here if you notice problems, or if you have suggestions for further improvements, or improvements to the explanations on the Merging Help page.

Onward and upward!

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Hi WikiTreers!

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

And in other news:

  • In case you missed it, Cindy Lesure was invited and accepted a Leadership role this month. Along with Carole Partridge, Debi Hoag, and Project Coordinator Vicky Majewsky, Cindy is part of what we’ve been calling the “Fantastic Four” who are currently managing the various moving parts of our “new member” process, i.e., Greeters and Messengers. They’re doing a great job of staying on top of everything that needs to happen to welcome our guests and new members and make sure their questions and concerns are answered.

  • The Switzerland Project has now become a full-fledged project with Keith Hathaway and Paula Johnson leading with Mark Geesey acting as Project Coordinator.

  • Leader Jackie Girouard is working on the Louisiana Project and doing a bit of reorganizing with administrative support from Liz Shifflett. Jackie’s goal is to make the Louisiana Project structure look a bit more like the structure of other state projects.

  • Guy Constantineau and Isabelle Rassinot are working together to translate key portions of WikiTree to French, and they are presenting it in a new portal: Portail Francophone.

Onward and upward!


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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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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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