How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?
I joined in April of 2018.
Religion - Jehovah’s Witnesses sub-project: Recently connected two of the Notable religious leaders, Joseph Franklin “Judge” “JF” Rutherford and Nathan Homer Knorr. Since the Witnesses had a location in Brooklyn, New York starting in 1908/9, I’ve created to-do lists for each of the 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940 US Census. We are also working on adding Jehovah’s Witnesses that were victims during the holocaust, starting with the United States Holocaust Museum ID Cards.
Cemeteries - Last year started working on a cemetery a few miles from my home. It has almost 7,000 graves. There is a book that has a listing for persons buried there before 2007. So, I created a spreadsheet to cross-reference the WikiTree Profile, FindAGrave Memorial, and the entry in the book. I’ve been posting to a Facebook group about it and have gotten some great responses. Also, as photo requests are submitted on FindAGrave, I let the user know that I hope to have a photo soon, that it’s a work in progress and give them the link to the cemetery free-space page so they can see where I’m at. If I’ve already taken photos of that section I get the profile created (with the photo) and get the photo uploaded to FindAGrave with the WikiTree profile in the photo title.
In February, started greeting! Meeting new ones as they come to the site and learn about all WikiTree has to offer in addition to the wonderfully generous collaborative community has been invigorating.
In June, started working as a Ranger. Helping to keep the tree safe from “forest fires”. It’s been interesting to see what’s happening on the site. Just rangering a few days of the week for now.
In July, started on another functional project, Mentors. Being able to help new members with something they are struggling with has been rewarding.
Also in July, I started leading the Ambassadors Project! It’s been a lot of fun getting to know more of the members and to try and get the word out about WikiTree.
Even though there are different teams (Bloggers, Forums Link Builders, Media, On the Ground, Presenters and Social Media) members can be on more than one team. In fact, some of them go hand in hand, like Blogging and Social Media. Most bloggers have their blogs posting to their Twitter account for instance.
Members can contribute as much or as little as they like.
For instance, if you are on Facebook, can you take a few minutes and click Like or make a comment on the Question, Profile, and Photo of the Week posts by WikiTree? If you are a Cemeterist, uploading photos of your headstones to FindAGrave, can you add the WikiTree profile id to the photo so that it points people to WikiTree? Sometimes the information on FindAGrave is incorrect, if you make suggested edits, can you take another minute and click the link to “Suggest other corrections” and point them to the source documentation on the deceased’s WikiTree profile? This will have some memorial managers adding the profile id to the memorial page.
What brought you to WikiTree?
I came across a profile of my 2nd great grandfather William Nelson Jones when I did a google search.
What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?
That’s a hard one because there is so much to WikiTree.
*The collaborative community is what I love about it. For instance, there have been so many great apps created by members to enrich the experience here, the developers work with the users to work out bugs and make enhancements. The members are so generous and upbuilding, there was a lot of encouragement and support for getting pre-1500 certified and becoming a Project Leader. Thank you - Mindy Silva and Michael Cayley.
*The fact that the Honor Code specifically says, "We assume that mistakes are unintentional”. What a great attitude to have.
If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?
For the Cemeteries project it would be nice to have the GPS info show on the image information: ”Original digital image”.
What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy?
WikiTree has helped with my research by providing the collaborative community, the tools, and more sources. Learning from other members about their struggles and solutions, seeing my ancestry in a different way with the widgets and especially finding the Source Library!
Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?
Check out the New Member How-To and the videos, take time to learn about the different features and tools of WikiTree, chat with other members and check out some example profiles before you start adding your family! Most of all, as others have said, take your time and have fun!
[Original interview posted 6 May 2019; updated 16 August 2020.]