Greetings fellow WikiTreers!

Welcome to the June 2014 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?

“100 Degrees of AJ” Google+ Video Hangout

Our Google+ Hangout with author A.J. Jacobs is tonight! 24 June 2014 at 7pm EST.

You can tune in and watch it live on Google+ or live on YouTube. If you miss it live, you can view it any time after it takes place through those same links.  For more details about AJ and our Hangout you can read our invitation post.

Have you discovered how you are related to AJ yet? More than two thirds of WikiTree profiles are connected to him, by marriage if not blood. There’s a good chance you’re connected.

We also just released an added feature to the “100 Degrees of AJ” Connection Finder: a visualization of the generational path. For example, see this connection to Albert Einstein and then click the button that says “more: show generational path.”

You can always access your own connection by clicking the menu in the upper-right from your profile, the one that starts with your WikiTree ID. From there select “Connection to AJ”.

Global Cemeteries Project

This month we launched our Global Cemeteries Project.

In genealogical terms, the Global Cemeteries Project is a direct descendant of the thousands of cemeteries and millions of deceased ancestors already categorized on WikiTree. Back in March of 2014, Paul Bech initiated a series of projects relating to his home country of Australia, one being the Australian Cemeteries Project.

Paul’s project followed the original intent of cemetery categorizations, which is to: 1) document their locations; and, 2) place the profiles of our deceased ancestors with known burial information into the properly categorized cemeteries in which they were interred. However, he immediately realized that this work could be expanded to fulfill another purpose.

WikiTree is filled with profiles for people with unknown or unconfirmed birth and death dates, and our cemeteries are filled with people who have that exact information neatly engraved on their tombstones! Put the two together and you’ve got the makings for an ace project!

As more people have begun to show interest in this area, particularly within the United States and Canada, we now seek to expand Paul’s original idea to an international level, but the purposes of this project will remain true to its roots. More so than any other resource, cemeteries are the one true “common ground” for genealogical researchers all over the world.

Advantages of Working with a One World Tree

One of our wonderful WikiTreers, Kitty (Munson) Cooper, wrote an excellent blog post recently about the advantages of working with a one world tree.  In it, she discusses WikiTree, Family Search and Geni.  She includes a handy side-by-side chart that compares the important features of each.  She also offers some advantages and disadvantages of a one world tree.  What do you think? View Kitty’s full post here.

 Who’s New?

We were delighted to welcome three new WikiTree Leaders this month!

Chet Snow: Chet joined WikiTree in December 2013 and is currently active in our New Netherlands and Mayflower Projects.  Late last year he was “bitten by the genealogical bug” and discovered WikiTree where our accessibility and community ethics appealed to him. He is bilingual in French and is happy to assist WikiTreers seeking short translations from that language too.

Paula Johnson: Paula is one of our wonderful, patient Mentors.  She joined WikiTree in July 2013 and is very active in several projects, including the Magna Carta and Early Pennsylvania Settlers projects.  She is also an Integrator and an Arborist. Paula has also been a big help with our LDS Pioneers project when it comes to sorting out polygamist families. Not an easy task!

Tom Shaw: Tom’s been with WikiTree since May 2012, but only recently began seriously sharing his time and information here. He looks forward to maintaining a high level of activity and interaction with other WikiTree members. Tom has also been an integral part of creating WikiTree’s Global Cemeteries Project!

New Member Comments

When a guest volunteers to become a full member we ask them to leave a comment telling a little about how and/or why they’d like to volunteer with WikiTree.  We get some really great responses!  Comments such as:

  • “It’s important to know where we all came from. We are living lives against great odds. Let’s honor how we got here.”
  • “I have no idea what to do. I am very new at this. I just want to learn more about my family and where I come from. I have this drive to find out more. It is hard to explain. It is like I need my past family to complete my current family.”
  • “Retired U.S. Air Force officer. Interested in memorializing veterans of all U.S. wars, but my special interest is remembering our Civil War veterans and telling their forgotten stories.”
  • “I am the keeper of my family history and wish to be able to provide this information for others in my family without them having them to pay a commercial rate for this information.”
  • “After spending my childhood summers being dragged around Nova Scotia taking pictures of grave stones, interviewing ( on cassette tape) family elders, and spending hours exploring the public archives, I am completely addicted to genealogy and history.”
  • “Hey! I am a family man. A pastor. A fairly normal fellow.”
  • “I believe we all need to know how we are connected as this helps make us feel valuable to ourselves, and others. Being able to do this in a respectful, honest and helpful way builds our self-worth and increases the joy we find from belonging.”

Anyone can view these comments. 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. You can also click a link to thank them or even leave a comment to make them feel welcome to WikiTree!

Community Accomplishments

Top 10 contributors for May 2014:

WikiTree Club 1000 May 2014

  1. Vincent Piazza (14,456 edits in May)
  2. Michelle Brooks (9604)
  3. Bob Tonsmeire (7393)
  4. Susan Tye (5673)
  5. Paula Ruehling (5310)
  6. Kirsty Ward (4746)
  7. Brian Ward (4596)
  8. Mary Pitcher (4510)
  9. Terry Wright (4192)
  10. C V (4160)

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 ~ Matt Pryber, Steven Mix, Sally Stovall, Cynthia Billups, Michelle Brooks, Michelle McQueen, Carroll Woods and Lana H.

You Rock!

We just passed 7,500,000 profiles – 8,000,000 here we come! We have to say thank you to all of our fantastic members for all the hard work and dedication you put in contributing to growing our worldwide family tree. You rock!

Sincerely,
The WikiTree Team and Leaders

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