Greetings fellow WikiTreers! Welcome to the June 2017 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?

Have you Checked your Weekly Connections in the Connection Finder?

Every week you can find two new connections in our Connection Finder.

Summer Orman

Each Tuesday, we showcase a WikiTreer in a Meet our Members feature on our blog and they also get spotlighted in the Connection Finder for that week.

This week it’s Summer Orman.

Summer has been a WikiTreer since March of 2016 and is one of our newest Leaders. She leads our Volunteer Coordinators and Tennessee projects, co-Leads the Rangers and Slavic Roots projects and is an Ambassador and Data Doctor. You can learn more about her here and check the Finder to see how you are connected!

We also highlight what we call an Example Profile of the Week.

These profiles are top-notch and meet the styles and standards criteria that the community has agreed upon. The notable whose profile is used as an example is also featured in the Connection Finder for that week.

Spotlighted this week is Sir Winston Churchill, (1874-1965) from the World War II Project and United Kingdom Project.  See how you are connected!

And of course you can always see your connection to our standard connection anchors, Queen Elizabeth II and Kevin Bacon.

Follow the tag connection_finder for weekly updates on connections.

New Improvements to Search and Matching

We just released a round of improvements, mostly to our search and matching functions.

1.) Secondary Sort.

As you may know, you are able to sort search results by first name, last name, birth date, death date, or profile manager.

Now you can also do a secondary sort, i.e. order the sorted results by first name, last name, birth date, death date, or profile manager.

For example, if you search for John Smith and you sort by first name, that will put all the Johns apart from those with John as a middle name. You can then order all the Johns by birth date or whatever you prefer.

Secondary sort has also been added to Watchlists (here’s yours) and surname index pages (e.g. Smith).

Note that on surname index pages you have to break out of the default (cached) view to see all the sort options. Then the sort options are on the right.

This feature was requested in G2G by Bob Keniston.

2.) Matching for “Unknown”.

As some advanced WikiTreers have commented on in G2G in the past, our search engine ignored people with the last name “Unknown”. We were afraid that matching Unknowns with each other and with others would provide too many irrelevant results. Now that most profiles have dates this isn’t as much of a danger.

The way we’ve done it now should be an improvement and help catch duplicates that were being missed before.

3.) Improved Handling of Two-Word First Names.

Finally, we should now be doing a better job matching two-word first names. For example, “Marie A”, “Marie A.”, “Marie Anne”, and “Marie-Anne” should now match with each other over other Maries and Annes.

We’ve also been working on improving the matching of two-word last names and last names with periods, hyphens, spaces, etc. Soon we should do a better job matching St. Laurent with St Laurent, St-Laurent, etc.

New “Ancestors” and “Descendants” Buttons

You can now view family trees and descendant lists without leaving a person’s main profile page.

Look for the “Ancestors” button next to the person parents’ names and the “Descendants” button next to their children’s names, e.g. on

Note that they will only appear if the person has grandparents or grandchildren. For example, Chris Whitten’s profile has an Ancestors button but not a Descendants button because he doesn’t have grandchildren. A descendant list for him wouldn’t show anything that isn’t on the main profile page.

A little extra feature: putting your cursor over a parent’s name will show the grandparents. Mousing-over a child’s name will show grandchildren.

Question of the Week

Have you participated in the Question of the Week yet? Every Monday 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.

We recently asked “What do you do to honor the veterans in your family tree?”

Here are just a few of the answers we received:

  • For those veterans who passed away that are on my watchlist  I try to make sure they have their categories listed on their WikiTree profiles for what branch of service they were in, awards received and for what war they were involved in. For those relatives still living, I try to let them know of Memorial Day remembrance programs going on in their area by email or on Facebook. Like for where I live, we have a program at our veterans park with guest speakers, music and red roses given out to Gold Star mothers. We also have an honor guard posting the appropriate flags, 21 gun salute and taps. I myself as a veteran have done the invocation prayer and served on the honor guard for these events! ~ Dorothy
  • For Veterans Day, my sister and I (both Veterans) go to free lunch and drag our husbands (not Veterans). We sit there for more than an hour and have fun “catching up.” No one tries to rush us out even though its crowded. My workplace places flags on Veteran’s graves for Memorial Day, but I can’t bend over far enough to do that unfortunately. I like the idea of fixing up profiles for Memorial Day and Veterans Day. I may go to the Long Island National Cemetery and take photos after my lovely co-workers have placed the flags. ~ Lucy
  • Here in Canada, my family honours Rememberance Day, November 11th, with moment of silence on the 11th hour & 11th minute, meditation/reflection and/or prayer (for those of us of a faith). We wear poppies for at least a week ahead of this day. Sadly, we have lost track of our families personal contributions and don’t attend services held. Thru the collaborations of research here on wiki tree, I am hoping bring to a stronger light, the service of all our countrymens (past, present and brothers &sisters over the borders) to my children and hopefully extended family. I already feel closer to my great grandfather having explored some of his personal records from WWI. ~ Kim
  • Here in New Zealand we honour our war veterans on ANZAC Day which is commemorated on April 25th each year.  It honours those New Zealand and Australian troops who died during the battle which began the land phase of the Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War, as well as all NZ army, air-force and navy personnel who have been involved in conflicts since. Personally I updated my “Roll of Honour” which is part of my family website in recognition of the sacrifice those family members made. ~ Lesley
  •  I was just starting out in genealogy and was working on my biological lines and adoptive parents lines. I knew I had two older siblings and started searching and posting on websites, both genealogy and adoptive.  A year and a half later  I received an email that said, “I think you’re looking for me, I’m your big sister” Sure enough it was. ~ Shelly

Who’s New

We’re pleased to announce three new WikiTree Leaders:

Family History Photo of the Week Nominee

Summer Orman has been with us since May 2016.  She says about her interests and hobbies “Spending time with my family is #1. I also love genealogy, DNA studies, history, music, writing, reading, making polymer clay jewelry, painting, sewing, crocheting, knitting, playing violin and piano, and last but most definitely not least… being on WikiTree!”

Mel  Lambert has been WikiTreeing since November of 2015.  Here’s what she loves about WikiTree: “I love the collaboration, shared knowledge and the friendliness of our WikiTree members. I believe we are all interconnected, which is proven by our DNA. WikiTree makes using DNA so much easier than the other sites out there. Oh, and it is FREE, which appeals to the thrifty side in me.”

Debi Hoag joined our site, just before Mel, in October 2015. Her advice for new members is “Start slow and source as you go because it’s so much more fun to be able to move to new research once you’ve got your people in. Have patience, with yourself and others as we all work together to create this one big shared tree. Remember, we’re all cousins and we love our family!”


  • Have you explored your Anniversaries page yet? There you can find birthdays, wedding dates, and death date anniversaries from your Watchlist. For non-living ancestors, some members like to honor a special day by sharing the person’s profile or photo on Facebook or another social network. For living family members’, some like to send an e-card.
  • Are you interested in ways to get more involved in the community? We need you!  Look at our Volunteers Needed page to see what opportunities are out there.

Community Accomplishments

Top 10 contributors for last month: WikiTree Club 1000 April 2017

  1. Tanya Jacobberger (12,974 edits in May)
  2. Keith McDonald (8812)
  3. Elizabeth Winter (8478)
  4. Gregory Rose (8464)
  5. NJ Penny (8237)
  6. Stephanie Ahles (8190)
  7. Esmé van der Westhuizen (7020)
  8. Catherine V (6906)
  9. Cindy Lesure (6612)
  10. Michael Sheffield (6541)

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: Russ GuntherB. W. J. Molier and Isabelle Rassinot!

Project Updates

Project Spotlight: The Rangers

pgm.gifOne of the essential groups in our community is the WikiTree Rangers. These are the members who take responsibility for protecting our free, shared tree in one or more hour-long shifts per week.

Rangers serve and protect the community in a vital way simply by being on duty and staying alert. We watch for metaphorical “forest fires” started by:

  1. Vandals intentionally causing damage.
  2. New members accidentally doing harm.
  3. Unexpected technical problems.

Rangering is easy!  You simply check some key activity feeds every 10 minutes or so. If you spot a “forest fire,” you report it.

We need a Ranger on duty 24-7! Would you like to help?

If you would like to participate, click  here to join.

If you have an interest in Croatia, you might want to check out the newly created Croatian Roots Project.

Don’t Miss These!


sourcerer.gifSOURCERERS 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. To participate, go to this G2G post.

connectors.gifCONNECTORS CHALLENGEThe goal of the Connectors Challenge is to see how many individuals you can connect to our global family tree.  To join in the June Challenge, go here.

photo_of_week.gifFAMILY HISTORY PHOTO OF THE WEEKIf you love old photos or if you have photos in your own family collection that you love, you can share them in our Family History Photo of the Week Facebook group so they are nominated for our Family History Photo of the Week Contest!  See also Criteria for Selection and DisqualificationSee previous winners here.

You might also want to check out our Saturday Sourcing Sprints, Biography Builders Challenge and the new Military Challenge.

WikiTree Calendar

Stay up to date with all the latest challenges, contests, LiveCasts and upcoming events via our Calendar.

Thanks for all you do, WikiTreers. You’re the best.

Sincerely, The WikiTree Team and Leaders

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