Greetings fellow WikiTreers! Welcome to the March 2016 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?

Connection Combat: What’s your connection to Alex Haley?

Alex Haley (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

We’re excited to announce that Alex Haley, best known for the book Roots: The Saga of an American Family  and TV mini-series that aired to a record-breaking 130 million viewers, was the winning profile in last month’s Connection Combat.

Haley had a great influence on increasing awareness of African-American history and inspired many to develop interest in genealogy and family history.

Each time there is a new winner they are featured as one of our special Connection Finders.  This means you can check your connection with Alex Haley  here.

You can also still check your connection with the previous month’s winner, Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker).

Special:Adoptions and Special:Unconnected Now Include Birth Locations

The form for browsing orphaned profiles that need a manager to take care of them (Special:Adoptions) and the form for browsing profiles that need someone to help connect them to the “big tree” (Special:Unconnected) now include birth location.

This was requested by many of you since location is very relevant for deciding whether you can help.

Check them out:

New Links on Your Watchlist

We made some changes to the navigation links on Watchlists. (Here is yours.)

There’s now a row of buttons for:

  • Activity
  • Anniversaries
  • Find Matches
  • FS Matches
  • Images
  • Pending Merges
  • Unconnected
  • Unsourced

The last one in particular is new. It takes you to with “limit to Watchlist” pre-selected.

Add Links to Your Comments on Followed Tags and Surnames

When you explain your interest in a surname or tag to other members you can now link a WikiTree profile or external website in your comment. This comment is what appears on the index of members for that topic, and on your profile.

For example, on a surname tag you might link to the profile of your brick wall ancestor. It’s done with the same “wiki markup”-style of links that we use on profiles and other types of comments. See Adding Links and Editing Tips.

Go to Special:Following to add or edit tags and comments on them.

Would You Like to Help People Connect?

Family History Photo of the Week Nominee

While we have some projects that are focused on connecting individuals to the worldwide family tree, we’ve got a great volunteer role to help connect members with other members.

As you have probably noticed, we’ve added tags to members’ profiles where you can now list surnames and topics you are interested in and comment more specifically on what your interests include.  We’re super excited about this new feature. It’s a great step towards getting members to be able to communicate and collaborate better.

However, the ability to coordinate with tags only works if you know which tags to use. New members don’t know which projects are out there. They don’t usually know that there are active and friendly WikiTreers who share their interests.

Do you like helping people connect with other like-minded people? If so, then becoming a Volunteer Coordinator might be the project for you!

A Volunteer Coordinator helps members make connections with other members. They watch our New Volunteer Feed and direct people to other tags they may be interested in, as well as help with tag corrections. They also make personal introductions between project Leaders and members and suggest places to look for others who may have similar interests, like our growing One Name and One Place Studies, and communicating in our G2G forum.

If this sounds like the right fit for you contact Erin Breen or Eowyn Langholf and ask to join!


  • Remember point V of our Honor Code: We respect privacy. We privacy-protect anything we think our family members might not want public. If that’s not enough for someone, we delete their personal information.

Community Accomplishments

Top 10 contributors for last month: WikiTree Club 1000 February 2016

  1. Kirsty Ward (11,540 edits in February)
  2. Esmé van der Westhuizen (10426)
  3. Greg Rose (7876)
  4. Terry Johnson (7503)
  5. Keith McDonald (6348)
  6. Vincent Piazza (5971)
  7. Catherine V (5942)
  8. Steve Selbrede (5451)
  9. Elizabeth Winter (5007)
  10. Guy Constantineau (4904)

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: Alta (Bannink) BekkerSandy Edwards and Dorothy Barry

Project Updates:

There are two new Roots projects that might catch your interest:

Many new surname studies, some focusing on specific areas, others with global ambitions, have recently been started. Check out the One Name Studies category for the current studies in progress to see if your family can add to one.

The Dutch Roots Project is having its very first contest! See details here for the challenge – the winner will get a spiffy badge.

Your auDNA/FamilyFinder DNA Test

by Kitty Smith, DNA Project Leader

Family History Photo of the Week Nominee

Are you making cousin connections from your FamilyFinder or auDNA test? Is your DNA test investment paying off? I have been working to find my cousin connections with my FamilyFinder matches on FTDNA. It is going well. Here is my method, in practical application:

1. I look at the family tree posted by one of my matches on their FTDNA account page. (This is why it is so important to upload your family tree to your FTDNA account!) I look for any familiar surnames and locations. (For example: Smiths in the northern U.S. states, but not in the south. Coopers in the south, but not in the north.)

2. Once I find a familiar surname, I go to and start adding the branch from the earliest listed ancestor on the FTDNA family tree. I proceed up the direct ancestral line as displayed on the FTDNA page with a Source of “Private tree on FTDNA”. When I get to living or recently deceased profiles, I make them Anonymous Surname with a privacy setting of “Private with Public Family Tree”. (I make their birthyear “blank for extra privacy” and deathyear “blank because living”; and I mark the gender.)

3. Once I have their direct line in the WikiTree, I go back to the earliest ancestor and work the other way to try and connect the line to the WikiTree trunk. Sometimes I get lucky and my branch connects nicely with the new twig and I can easily see our common auDNA ancestor.

4. Then I email my match and send them links to the various important WikiTree pages (their Anonymous profile, family tree, and our relationship page) and offer to let them take over their Anonymous profile. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, but they always seem to appreciate my efforts to make the connection and that their FamilyFinder investment is paying off.

Without the WikiTree cousin connections, I would never be able to narrow these relationships. It is the interconnectivity of the family tree branches on FTDNA with the full tree on WikiTree, that enables me to find my common auDNA ancestors that are shared with my matches.

Anyway, it is pretty cool. And several of my connections seem to go back more generations than I expected.

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 March Challenge, which will run through March 31st.  To participate, go to this G2G post. To see the stats from February’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 Daniel Weber, or join in on this week’s efforts with Oliver Roy Christensen from the European Cemeteries project. 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.

Sincerely, The WikiTree Team and Leaders

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  One Response to “News From the Tree: March 2016”

  1. Hello Kitty, That is great information about how to work with Family Finder matches and their ancestral trees. Many thanks!

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