How to handle un-sourced info as Profile Manager

+9 votes

I am fairly new to WikiTree, but have done extensive genealogy studies for many years. I am profile manager for this profile.. 

How should I handle the most recent "source" addition? Regarding the alleged Cherokee Ancestry of this subject? Much of what is stated can be readily disproven. My understanding of WikiTree is that the goal is to include only verifiable, documented information in these profiles?

WikiTree profile: Nancy Capps
in Policy and Style by Mel Cooksey G2G Crew (430 points)
retagged by Jillaine Smith
(added the "native_americans" tag to keep this on the project's radar.)

6 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer
As the PM, if you find that changes were made that are disproven/unsourced, you can always locate & revert the changes.

The following WikiTree Help link explains this part to you...

... The following is just a little helper (in my own words that is not verbatim in the above link).

If you select the Changes tab (at the top of that profile page), it'll take you to the following location...

... and then you can see who, what & when the changes were made allowing you to locate the before & after regarding each change.

For example, after going to the above link, scroll down to one of the listed changes and then select the link that states "edited the Biography". This will show you what was changed and where it was changed (aka the "before and after").

Long story short, you can restore the profile to the exact state it was in as of before the changes shown on any of the changes listed in the above change page.

For each of the "edited the Biography" options, you'll find a "RESTORE" button that will restore the profile back to where it was before that specific change was made.  

The following WikiTree Help link provides PM clarity.

Lastly, before you think about reporting the individual(s) (if you feel that it's come to that point), you should try to make a "good faith" inquiry by reach out to the individual(s) who made the changes and inquire about the reason(s) for those unsourced changes. It's an opportunity for the individual(s) to explain and, possibly, provide you with a source you may not be aware of.

As a last resort, If that individual is Unresponsive/Unreasonable and/or even keeps making changes that are unsourced, you could then report this individual to WikiTree via email at for assistance & guidance with this.

I hope I had explained this okay via text and I do hope that your able to clear this up to everyone's satisfaction.

I wish you the best of luck! :-)

~Brian Kerr
by Living Kerr G2G6 Pilot (312k points)
selected by Living Kerr
+3 votes
The writer clearly states that the evidence appears to be circumstantial, and presents the evidence and arguments to support the theories.

If it can be readily disproven, then you should state your case and present the evidence to the contrary.

Its not necessary to delete dissenting theories, opinions and discussions. Allow others to read both sides of the discussion and make up their own minds -- until it can be proven one way or another.

Add a "Research" or "Controversy" section for the various notes and discussion, until a consensus can be reached.
by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (540k points)
Thanks for the comment, but no, the submitter actually does not state that the info SHE is supplying is circumstantial. She states that "circumstantial" evidence surrounds Nancy being from the Andrew Cooksey family. This is not true, as that evidence is substantiated and documented. I have no issue with family stories and family legends being presented in the profiles, if WikiTree permits such. My discomfort would only involve information which is at odds with fact.
+6 votes
This profile is quite messed-up.

You might consider moving a lot of the unsourced information to a "personal memories" section, or whatever it's being called these days, and tag it with the name of the person who posted it, which is appropriate when people use "I" statments in biographies - readers need to know who "I" is.
by Lois Tilton G2G6 Pilot (152k points)
Lois, where would I find the  "personal memories" section, or whatever it is named?
It was called "Memories" and it was right above Comments, but it seems to have been removed.

So I guess the Free Space page would be the best option
I think the memories box seems to be time limited, as in - it doesn't appear on older profiles.  (There is one on my great-great-grand-uncle's profile, but not one on my 4-greats-grandmother's, or on my 3-great's grandfather's profile.  Great-great-grandfather has a memory box.)
That must be it.
+9 votes
I would move the family story to a free-space page, revert the  biography to the documented information, and add at the top a "Disputed Origins"  statement which says something like "Numerous unsourced claims have been made that Nancy is the daughter of xxx.  She cannot be because (whatever the reasons are).  Information about these claims can be found at [free-space page link].
by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (624k points)

What is a "free space" page? Where do I find that?


Mel, it is something you create, just as you create a person profile.  (Try not to use spaces, and don't use punctuation, in the name --  it tends to mess up the url.)

This is one of my space pages --

(Although, that doesn't show how to create it, just that it is one example of a space page.)

Click on "add" at the top right of the page and then scroll down to "New Thing" and you'll be there.  Just call it something like "Copy of Nancy Cooksey Bio" and then copy and paste as much or as little of the existing bio as you like.  Then you can edit the actual bio to include just facts and sources and put the "Disputed Origins" message at the top and say something like  "A previous version of this profile (copy at [link to free space page] claimed without evidence that Nancy was a Cherokee Indian."
I recommend this approach as well. You might consider organizing the text around a genealogical research question:

Who was the wife of William Clapp, Jr?

1. Some people say she was a Cooksey and daughter of Andrew. Supporting this identity is... Working against this theory is...

2. Others say she was a woman of Cherokee descent. Supporting this theory is... Working against this theory is...
+4 votes

I feel bad for you that you have to deal with this as a new member.  These situations are difficult for even experienced Wikitree members.  The supposed Native American ancestries tend to be held on to the most tenaciously.  One of the people who greeted you was Cindy (Williams) Lesure, a Wikitree mentor.  If you reach out to her, she can help coach you through this out of the public eye.  

by Kerry Larson G2G6 Pilot (192k points)
My apology.  It looks like Cindy greeted you two years ago before you became a full member.  She still might be able to put you in touch with an active mentor.
+6 votes
Hi Mel,

WikiTree has a number of projects that are focused on improving the accuracy of subsets of profiles, based on era, geography, name, etc... One of those projects is the Native Americans project of which I am co-leader. We have a team of people who work on profiles often associated with Native Americans due to oral or other family tradition (or outright internet fantasies).   I'll have our team take a look at this one.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (821k points)
I hesitate to go in and edit a profile you've just created, but if you want me to, I will edit the profile to align with other profiles of this type. If you'd like to do it yourself, here are some examples you might follow as a model:

* - a nonexistent Cherokee

* - the actual person the above link is supposed to represent -- i.e., a white woman who was not Cherokee

* - how we recently attempted to reflect oral tradition for which there is no documentary proof

* - the likely fictional person claimed by many to be the paramour of the above linked person

Many many more can be found here:

[some are better written than others]

Thanks very much for your reply. I would be pleased and grateful for you to go into this profile and make modifications. That would be quite helpful, since your work is highly specialized along this line, and I am quite new with Wikipedia.  I have now"cleaned" the profile up a bit, adding my comments.


Mel Cooksey

I see that you have now edit the profile with father/mother status, and some typo corrections. Are you also going to address the Cherokee connection?



My work schedule is quite full these days. I don't currently have time to work on this. But I think I've given you some good examples for how to do it.

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