Musty Dusty Pre-1500 Spring-Clean-A-Thon 2020 Team chat

+5 votes

imageHello to the Musty Dusty 2020 Clean-a-Thon team. Our main mission is to clean-up the pre-1500 profiles. We have 12 people on the team this year which is about what we normally run. We have some familiar faces and some new folk.    

This post would be a great place to start talking about what profiles or suggestions you want to work on. 

Even though this is not a sourcing project, the Pre-1500 Resource page may be of help. 

Please checkout  Must Dusty Clean-A-Thon page. There are more links to help with the our weekend efforts. Also, feel free to update your interests, time zone and language(s) on the page.

For Pre-150 suggestions, last year we started at 45,729 and shrank the list to 41,500 for a reduction over over 4,200 suggestions. Our team almost 2,500 suggestions last year (some of the other 4,200 were done by other teams who intersect with our interests.. 

This year we are starting with 42,620 suggestions at the beginning of this week. Perhaps this year we can shoot for 3,000 suggestions done by our team with a total reduction of 5,000 (including the efforts of other teams) and get into 37,000s.  

in Requests for Project Volunteers by Marty Acks G2G6 Pilot (118k points)
edited by Marty Acks
I've never been in a thon before. Do we somehow divy up the list of errors to make sure we're not all working on the same profiles? How does this work?
On the team page you can fill in area you want to work on our team page. It would be good to mention it here, too. I am a happy working in area others don't express an interest in. Based on past thons, you will find some overlap as other teams such as Twisted Thistles (Scotland) have many pre-1500 profiles. If two people on our team want to go after the same suggestion that has a larger number of them, one can start at the bottom, one could start at the top and the other at the bottom. Open to other ideas from the team, also.
Marty, is there a way to check on how we're doing so far? I've been at my computer about nine hours now so may take a break until fingers are starting to cramp!

Jen, here is the link: You can sort and group in a large number of different ways. And yes, this can get to be a bit mind numbing. I have been working on corrected some simple Clan Project suggestions while occasionally working on harder changes such as WikiData

Marty: just an f.y.i. since you mentioned the Twisted Thistles... I'm working the 931 errors for the Scotland Project boxes. I don't mind help, but if your group wants to work on those, please have them contact me for the proper changes to be made.

Many thanks for all that your group does!



(Team co-captain TT's & Scotland Project Co-leader)

I was also doing some 931s from the bottom up for pre-1500s only - starting at Z. I actually checked on how you were doing yours. Feel free to check some of my changes out. I am also adding Unsourced to a location at the same time when appropriate. I'm kind of done for now with that list for time being. I also have done some 931s for Boyds as I am cleaning up a WikiData mess today and there are some 931s in the area.

Hi Marty, 

That's fine, and yours look good. I'm working all of one clan name across all date ranges to save time in rewriting the sticker. The only thing I'm doing differently is to use our new tartan images from the new  Clan Tartans page, as they all come from the official Tartan Register and have appropriate attributes, where some of the old ones didn't. I'm just being o.c.d. about it.

If anyone needs a cheat sheet for these errors, it's simply to remove the old {{Scotland Clans|...}} project box, then place the new sticker below the == Bio == header:

{{User Scottish Clan

|tartan =  Scotland_-_Clan_Tartans-12.jpg

|clan = Clan Boyd


replacing the two fields for the image & clan name, obviously. 

And, yes, there are a lot of unsourced categories and stickers going onto these profiles. I'm sure I'll be getting a lot of "fan mail" in the next week. :/ 

16 Answers

+2 votes
I notice other teams have a logo or image do we have any graphic design skill on our team to build one with Musty or Dusty theme to it? We cold it on our post an on our team page.
by Marty Acks G2G6 Pilot (118k points)
I made you one several years ago.  Have you lost it?

Let me dig around. I seemed to recall one, but was not sure if it was a false memory.


Here it is - The 'Musty Dusty' had not been thought of yet.  I can alter it a bit if you would like.

I found a different flavor:


I am fine with this one. It is great! It communicates the age of our profiles - at least in a euro-centric way.
That's exactly what I was thinking when I created it! Glad you're happy with it.
+3 votes

I am considering the following areas to focus on: Scotland, FindAGrave, WIkidata relationship (except dates) and my direct ancestors. I am going to try to use WikiTree+ with WikiTree ID of my name, with the Ancestor option for relatives and start from the bottom. That will place me in Pre-1500s as many of my later suggestions have been dealt with already. Lets see how that works.  

by Marty Acks G2G6 Pilot (118k points)
+4 votes
I've nominated suggestions 133 or 134 (no dates) but could also work on difficult pre-1500 profiles I've adopted over the years.

Start time is 10pm here on east coast of Australia so probably won't see me till following morning my time.
by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (481k points)
+3 votes

What the heck? I've come across a whole bunch of profiles like this one (,_H._Grzymala-48 generating an error because of a period in the name. It appears to be two names rather than one. Is this some kind of weird Eastern European custom? Or just really screwed up? Should I delete the second name or just pretend I never saw any of these? Need advice!

by Jen Hutton G2G6 Mach 3 (30.4k points)
Simple and not what you are after I know Jen, but I would just delete the period to clear them quickly and score!

That's a combination of a Polish surname and clan name Zaborowski herb Grzymała

For some people, the clan name was part of the person's name. 

The way it is currently recorded in Wikitree in your example does not seem right. One option would be to put the clan name in the "Other Last Name" field and explain it all in the bio.

But this might be worth a separate G2G question, to draw the attention of the Poland Project and others with interest/expertise in Polish genealogy.

My competitive self would rather take Chris's advice, but my Better Self  insists that Nic's idea about asking in G2G is the way to go. Sigh.
It can always wait until after the Clean-A-Thon!
Looks like we will probably have problems getting the Last name at birth changed (LNAB) as the profile manager for this and many of the others in this group has been inactive for four years.
Marty, that is a really good point. I may have to put this on my to-do list and come back to it next week. I did post a question in G2G so if there are any responses by then I'll try contacting the PM.
Reaching out to non-responsive profile managers is kind of a heavy lift, particularly during a thon. I tend to only on this profiles I really care about..
+3 votes
So I have a new team goal - not to get beat by the "nothing" team. These are people fixing suggestions as just part of normal WikiTree work that did not join Clean-A-Thon team. Right now we are ahead 591 to 486. But they came on strong and beat us last year.
by Marty Acks G2G6 Pilot (118k points)
edited by Marty Acks
Nothing will not get past us. (I just hope my old grammar teacher never sees that sentence)
LOL. My wife was an English teacher. I live this all the time.
I am going to try something different tomorrow (past 1am here) as must have spent 2+ hours sorting out templates and done very few - so not helping the score!
We typically don't get the big scores like some teams as we just don't have that many easy suggestions. I have also done some off my personal list that were not pre-1500. They still count. I am a bigger fan of quality over quantity.I am look at WIkidata suggestions, which are taking a long time. I am still on my first one.
I have been reprimanded for removing what was listed as an out-of use template of {{FMG}} as a source even though I was replacing it with same text it gave or referencing actual source page. So will do no more of those now!
I am half-way expecting to get more than one agitated email from PMs next week because of reformatting done on their profiles (in order to remove data errors). But I'm thinking of it as taking one for the Team! I'm counting on our noble team captain to have our backs :) If anyone gets hostile we can always shoot dust balls at them.
I tend to doing lots of tweaking of profiles, but most tend to be in the rather unattended/ignore/lonely profile variety. I also try to make fewer changes to profiles that are being actively worked on are already well built, even if I would have done things different. I also will tend to do other changes at the same time that no one will argue with (I think) and profile links in the Biography section and unsourced template with region. I also do more changes like more changes following WT or just standard wiki guidelines like use * and # on lists of items, purge boilerplate Acknowledgements section once a profile is well sourced, eliminate excess white space in profiles, expand source lists to be closer to EE guidelines, flip sources to use inline links, reduce excess formatting. I try to leave a profile with readable text like an encyclopedia article and well explained conclusions if I spend a lot of time on it. I also largely stay away from profiles that are not written in English. Oh and finally - stickers go inside the Biography section and Project and Succession templates go above the Biography section. I'll stop for now.

Chris, I took a look at some of your FMG changes and did no see any glaring issue. I tend to expose the URL rather than make a link with text and make it into a more EE or Chicago style, but what you did seemed legit. Here is one other way longer way to do it:

Charles Cawley, "Maso - Alsace", Foundation for Medieval Genealogy,, accessed 25 April 2020. 

Curious if they raised a specific point about the changes?

I'm with Marty, in thinking quality is more important than quantity, and I firmly believe that very few suggestions are actually 'easy' particularly with pre-1500 profiles.  Most require a good deal of thought and knowledge, if not actual research.

Sorry to be a bit negative, but I also think that the section of the Honor Code about Accuracy still applies this weekend, and if we are removing a suggestion, but leaving behind a mistake of some sort, then we haven't achieved much.
I spent most of day on Boyds of Kilmarnock as Wikidata pointed to many errors due to past duplicated tree section and mis assigned generations on some families. Rewarding work not just from a counting perspective this week. I also M fixing some Scottish clan template issues to help with the Thon numbers.
Ack. Sorry, looks like Nothing is trouncing us. But there are 149 of them! The odds are a little skewed in their favor.
So that goal was a bit lofty, but if we take out the top person that is over 1200 changes we are still beating them. I'm claiming we are still in the lead by about 400.
I like the way you think!
Plus Robin's totals are going to the Nothings and she should be one of the Dusties!
We will get her next time. THere were not supposed to be any late arrivals anyway.
+3 votes
While I thought I would be busy with other call to action made me realize.....I should be helping out....already added myself to the roster.
by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (711k points)
Welcome back to the fold!
Welcome Robin! Especially happy to have another Musty Dusty working in  my own time zone!!! Now it won't feel so lonely out here :)
+2 votes
Good morning everyone! Your Musty Dusty team mate in the Pacific Northwest is signing in for duty, with huge thank yous to everyone who has been busy on their computers while I've been sleeping. Wow! It looks like Marty is on fire! I'm going to have to up my game today. Thanks for posting the link to the stats page....currently trying to pretend I didn't see how humungous some of the teams are. We need an inspirational slogan. How about Musty but Mighty? Or Dusty but Determined??  The little town where I live has an amazing Kinetic Skulpture Race every year and the top  (coveted) prize handed out is the "Mediocrity Award." Seriously! The thon needs something like that :)
by Jen Hutton G2G6 Mach 3 (30.4k points)
+3 votes
Hmmm. First four profiles I've looked at today belong to a Project Leader Who Shall Remain Nameless generating a "citations almost empty" error message. Source lists are fine, but in-line citations are usually just one word and don't link to the source list. I'm not kidding. Day is starting out with a bang.
by Jen Hutton G2G6 Mach 3 (30.4k points)
And don't you love it when a profile from the 1200s lists its source as 'personal knowledge'?!
Ha. I have on one hand kind of gotten over all the bad old profiles from the early years as much of this was boilerplate stuff inserted by WIkiTree not the user - though there still lots out there. The unlimited size and dates for gedcoms from the early years are also to blame. When I longer see "This person was created through the import of Acrossthepond.ged" from nine years ago, I will feel we have done a large part of our job in the pre-1500 area of WikiTree - at least for old European profile. P. S. Google search says the are still over 4000 which probably an underestimate.  P. P. S. For Source-A-Thon in the fall perhaps we try to source these profiles and drive down the number of these references.
+3 votes
I've run into my favorite Pet Peeve,, when checking the "dateless" profiles. An entire family with no DOB or DOD, and very cryptic one word places (I did the research to pinpoint the locals), then I realize that the profiles have a green/locked privacy level; so I leave a note on the profile & go to contact the PM, who hasn't been active for over 9 years.  Almost always I get the message that they no longer have a valid email address, but this one seemed to have gone through.  Regardless, these profiles will NOT be worked on for this challenge.  I can't help but wonder how many, before me ran into this exact situation.
by Debra Allison G2G6 Mach 2 (22.5k points)
+2 votes
The Musty Dusties have passed the 1000 corrections mark! Go, us!!! [Oops. I looked at the chart wrong. But we don't have far to go to reach 1000.]
by Jen Hutton G2G6 Mach 3 (30.4k points)
edited by Jen Hutton
Jen, You have management potential ;-)
+2 votes
Stopping for the day. I think the "died before they were married" category drained all the energy out of me. People coming back from the dead to marry someone fifty years their junior and having four children together, people marrying one of their parents who was long dead (they must perform marriage services in heaven?), people doing all kinds of amazing things and with NO SOURCES, ever. It was overwhelming just figuring out where to start. I never knew so many profiles like this existed. Off now to have a glass of wine, and maybe choose a different category tomorrow. Hope you are all also taking care of yourselves.
by Jen Hutton G2G6 Mach 3 (30.4k points)
I went through the rude awakening a while back. Now, enjoy matching the puzzle pieces, now that - understand and know good sources for area I work in - mainly Scotland. I do crossword puzzles take a break from WikiTree.
+3 votes
I have been investigating semi-automated ways of tackling the more mechanical suggestions. I was thinking of attempting to see if I can make any progress today on '869 Duplicated named Inline citations' - that is if that won't conflict with anybody else's plans?
by Nigel Parker G2G3 (3.4k points)
How dim am I?  Suddenly found I had a load of errors on my own profiles that can be corrected far quicker than the ones I have been working!  So doing the pre-1500 ones as a priority.  Should have read suggestions...
I am also working on some of my old ones. It's a bit harder as Ales but some generation filter limits on WikiTree+ this weekend due to the exact load on the server. I just started at an earlier generation that is the main source of my pre-1500 ancestors.
Well, I feel cheated. I don't have any suggested errors on my watchlist. I guess I haven't been a WikiTreer long enough to collect a few. I'm focusing on 831 errors right now (multiple duplicate lines) which mostly seem to be gedcom junk involving broken links to ancestry trees. Cleaning them up is boring but I guess someone has to do it. Once those are gone the profile usually has to be marked as unsourced so I am creating a whole lot of unsourced profiles. I figure the purpose of the thon is to eliminate error messages (rather than redo an entire profile). At least these profiles will be marked so sourcerers will know they need work.
The nice thing with fixing 831 you can take a nearly unreadable profile and make it much more readable.
+2 votes
The closest thing to "low hanging fruit" is "unique xxx name"  It is relatively easy to check if it is a correct name. So that is what I am currently working on.
by Janet Gunn G2G6 Pilot (102k points)
Everything is fair game!
+1 vote
We are only 33 away from hitting the 2000 mark! Go Musty Dusties, go go GO!!!!!
by Jen Hutton G2G6 Mach 3 (30.4k points)
We actually kicked over 2500!
+2 votes

Congrats on all your contributions to the 2020 Clean-a-thon. Nor'Easters wish you the best on the next "THON"

by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (299k points)
+2 votes
Thanks to everyone for their hard work and dedication to quality changes. Our team cleared 2524 suggestions. Nice job everyone. This is a few more than last years 2474 with the same number on the team. This drives the overall numbers for pre-1500 profiles under down under 40K and with the help of other teams,  that number should drop even more. I will have more when the weekly calculations are done in a couple of days.
by Marty Acks G2G6 Pilot (118k points)

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