Free-Space issues: how to create a permanent source, not a wiki?

+2 votes
I have much new genetic research, which thoroughly proves connections and establishes new branches that were unknown.  The genetic evidence requires diagrams to be understood and judged.  Someone suggested making a Free-Space page.  (a) Is there a size limit for a Free-Space page? (b) Can I embed images into the text?  (c) When I die wouldn't the FS become an "orphan" for a new manager to edit?  The work itself should not a wiki; it must be a source, to be cited or discussed but not altered.  (d) The research could be put into a single pdf document, but then stored where for referencing?
in The Tree House by John Yates G2G2 (2.5k points)

3 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer

If you are worried about the permanency of something you put on Wikitree, you can always save the page you created at For example, the page for Schwind-320 that I created is now preserved at I don't know about the English wikipedia, but the German wikipedia quite commonly puts links to the version of a hyperlink when it wants to refer to an internet source.

by Living Geschwind G2G6 Mach 8 (83.9k points)
selected by John Yates
Thanks.  Great idea on the archive.  Beautiful work on Schwind-320, btw.  As to the permanent archive, I suppose you can't edit it now.  If you learn something more, I suppose you only add another version?

Thank you. Yes, if you later modify your page, you can always add another version to The nice thing is that, when you input the page link into the "wayback machine", it will give you the various versions it has saved (for example,*/ has only one version now, but this random Wikipedia page has 38 versions saved).

That sounds great.  Thinking this through...  (1) Suppose  you archived an updated version of your article, and someone clicked a link that you had left for the original version.  Would they be directed to the original, or to the most recent version?  The Way-Back bar at the top of the page might indicate all versions, but I doubt people would notice this at first.

(2) The archive might confuse some people by looking just like the WikiTree page, with links a place for comments, links to contact the manger and such, except that they don't work.

(3) Another quirk:  links that you added for citations also don't work if clicked.  But if a link is pasted into a new window, then it works.  

These are manageable issues.  Your thoughts?
Hi John:

Yes, there are definitely quirks. This thing is not like Google - the spider that automatically adds pages to the archive is much more restricted in scope than Google's spider, so on a page like mine you have to manually add any links to the archive (at there is a box in the lower right corner where you can ask it to archive any given page).

And yes, for right now it might just look like the real Wikitree page. But what I find this invaluable for is when I read old Rootsweb threads or other genealogy forums from 15 or 20 years ago that have links to personal websites with lots of excellent documentation - those links are long broken (Geocities, anyone?), but through the Wayback Machine I can at least in some cases recover that content. Twenty years from now who knows what Wikitree will look like? But at least my content (if not all of the functionality) is now recoverable if someone has the original URL.

One example - the late lamented Norwegian genealogist/historian Tore Vigerust did some amazing work indexing sources (including tax lists that have not been digitized) for urban populations in Norway in the early 1700s. Around 2000 he put it on "", which has been deactivated since 2016. But through I was able to access this content, which helped me immensely in sorting out a bunch of Norwegian ancestors I was working on.

Interesting-- how did you find that, the archived thing formerly at Rootsweb?  When next I find that a link to Rootsweb doesn't work, should I, or how might I, search archives?

Search is an issue.  I searched for Johann Jost Schwind, and couldn't find your archived page.  DuckDuckGo found only a few sites, including the project page at WikiTree and, interestingly, your G2G post alerting people to his Y-DNA match.  Google turned up 10 pages of mostly nonsense, so I used quotes and then found the 3 different WikiTree profiles for the men with that name, but not the WikiTree pages that DuckDuckGo found.  Unfortunately, neither search engine found the archived page.

Yes, search is an issue. itself is not indexed in any of the search engines. Instead, it is a site for recovering broken links (I go to Rootsweb or, say, the Norwegian genealogical forum, I find a discussion with a link to further information I would like to see, I find the link is broken, I then go to and input the broken URL in the Wayback Machine to see if a version of it was archived).

And this is apparently how the German Wikipedia works - it has a bot that, whenever it finds a broken link in the references or sources in a Wikipedia page, it then goes to the Wayback Machine, checks whether a version there was saved, and if so then places the link from on the Wikipedia page (for an example, if you don't mind German, see footnote 2 in this German Wikipedia article).

So yes, there is a trade-off between permanence and discoverability here. In order to make a page that has been archived discoverable, you have to discuss it elsewhere. For example, Tore Vigerust's work these days can't be found directly on Google anymore, it can be found only because other people discussed it both on Rootsweb and the Norwegian genealogy forum and probably elsewhere as well and provided links there. But because links to it were spread liberally across the internet, his work can now be recovered even after his website disappeared when his estate ceased paying for it.

So, if you want something with reasonable assurance of permanence on the net (at least as long as the internet itself exists), one way of doing it is to create an archived version and then making sure that links to it are liberally spread around. There are probably other ways  of getting permanence as well.

I much appreciate you answers.  This is very good to know.
+4 votes
You could add something like this to your profile , which a number of WikiTreers have done

'''My WikiTree Directive

To aid WikiTree in the administration of my account should I be incapacitated, or in the event of my death, I hereby give permission for all private and public profiles I'm presently managing to be transferred community members on my trusted list or to the Leadership Team to be farmed out to any interested party or parties.

by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+5 votes

a) If there is a size limit for a free-space page, I haven't found it yet. There is a size limit for images (10MB) which might affect the quality of the the image for viewing depending on what file type you use (for example, jpg vs. png, Hopefully someone else will give you better guidance on which file type is best for documents. I think jpg would be, but I am not at all an expert in that department.)

b) Yes, you can embed images into the text. Basic instructions are Here If you search the help index you can probably find directions on how to align the image on the page. (I know there are others who are better at explaining that than I would be.)

c) As Marion suggested, you might have a "directive" in which you bequeath your page to someone you trust to keep your work intact. In the meantime, you can control the privacy level of your FreeSpace page so only you can edit it and if there is someone you trust to maintain it as you want it after your demise you could add them as a profile manager which would further reinforce your directive.

d) A pdf could be loaded to a Free-Space page just as any other image is. The problem is that pdfs do not automatically display, one has to click on it to open it, so, if you can get them to work well within the size limits I think using jpg or png images would be best.

by Nelda Spires G2G6 Pilot (464k points)
Thank you.  All three answers were "best."

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