Bio Check App

+58 votes

New App!  Bio Check

Bio Check examines biographies to identify profiles that might be unsourced, that are marked unsourced, or that have style issues. It is intended as an aid in finding profiles that might qualify as Unsourced, and can also be used to find profiles with style issues.

Here is the app:

Here is the help:

If you are impatient, from the "Biographies to check" pulldown, select either WikiTree+ search results or Check Profile, then fill in the rest of the fields. On a laptop/desktop hover over the name of the field for a tip.

Caveat: please ensure that a profile meets the criteria as Unsourced before adding the tag. See Sources FAQ and Pre-1700 Sources.

03 Nov 2020 Update:

  • Corrected a problem where a valid FindAGrave citation was not recognized
  • Changed the default Ancestor generations to 5

04 Nov 2020

See Biography Help which might explain style issues.

Thanks everyone for trying this out. Remember that it is just a tool intended as something that you can use to find Profiles that need improvement. We all have those! Please bear with me as I am working on making the Help easier to understand. I will get back to you -- and this is easier if you Answer this question instead of providing a Comment. Thanks!

Update 07 Nov 2020 V 1.0.2
* added support for space before and after the <nowiki><references /></nowiki> tag
* add profiles with style issues to relative checks when style issues are reported
* recognize inline ref that are after Sources but before the references tag
* recognize inline ref when Research Notes are before Biography Heading
* corrected a problem where a possibly valid source was not recognized
* no longer report 0 in the Misplaced Lines column

WikiTree profile: Space:BioCheckHelp
in The Tree House by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (499k points)
edited by Kay Knight
you show the ''Bio Check App'' in my tree ???

I am totally lost about this thing and how to use it you show ''click  Check Profiles to begin'' and when I do nothing happens ???

I am a Senior with little computer smarts, so, can you explain it to this old dummy??

Kay would be able to be more precise, and has given instructions through this G2G board, but what I have found to work:

  1. Make sure "Biographies to check" shows 'Check profile'.
  2. In 'Profile', enter a Wiki profile code for one of your relatives who is not locked (e.g. when I enter my own code, I get 'Permission denied', but when I enter my grandparents, it works fine.)
  3. You can change 'Ancestor generations' to a number from 0 to 10.  The default is 5 and can be left as is. The number you choose would depend on how many generations exist and how much you want to see/work on.
  4. Click 'Check Profiles'. (I haven't changed any of the other defaults.)
  5. Be sure to check the 'Help' page to understand what the results mean.  I recommend you right-click and 'open in another tab' or 'open in another window' so it is easily available.


The whole idea is to find profiles that might not be sourced.

Melissa is correct. In the future it may also work for you. It might also work if you add your parents -- the Biography must be public for it to work

Also, from Bio Check if you click the Help button, that will open the help in another tab.
Kay thank you for looking over my entries.  I am still a work in progress, bear with me.
Amidon-235 was tagged for not having but it has sources.  Why is it tagged?
Barbara: Amidon-235 looks like it was originally built without sources, and at that time the {{Unsourced}} tag was applied. After sources were added, no one removed that tag. You can now do so.
Not sure if this has been asked yet or not, but is it possible to just put a Wikitree-ID in the Search Text on Wikitree+ box and check for unsourced or marked profiles that may not necesarily be relatives? I ask because I came across an unsourced profile from 1700s and looked up the individual's ID who is attached as the PM and it didn't register him at all. What I was hoping to find was a list of all problematic profiles - such as what Wikitree+ shows. Is that clear as mud? :D
Yeah that's been a common theme I've been seeing in my profiles...Two not three.
@Raewyn - Yes, you can do it. You can use the same string you use in the WikiTree+ Search Text when you pick How to Find Profiles as WikiTree+ search results. The Bio Check Help Tips, Tricks... lists a couple of examples (find for manager, creator or gedcom). Or, after you get the WikiTree+ Search Text results click on the Analyze results in Bio Check near the top of the screen.
the bio check app is great it heps alot

30 Answers

+13 votes
Best answer
Pretty cool. I just fixed some minor goofs in a couple profiles! =D
by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (611k points)
selected by Robin Lee
+23 votes
This is pretty cool and I'm always impressed with new apps that help either to simplify tasks or just provide another way of seeing a task.

Thus far, i haven't seen any big issues. Thanks for your time with creating this tool for the WikiTree Community! :-)

~Brian Kerr
by Living Kerr G2G6 Pilot (313k points)
+12 votes
Thanks Kay!!
by Traci Thiessen G2G6 Pilot (274k points)
+7 votes

hmm, now what do we enter in the box Search text on WikiTree+ ?  It doesn't say clearly on the help page.  Won't run without something in there.

Best to give detailed simple instructions on the help page first, otherwise won't get used much.  Does look like it may be interesting tool, but not all of us are up on all the techno-stuff.

by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (515k points)

Thanks for the feedback. I would really appreciate any input that you might have to help clarify the Help.

Would it Help if the help that says

Search text on WikiTree+: enter WikiTree+ Search/Text (same as you would enter for WikiTree+) also had the link to the WikiTree+ Help? here

Maybe something like.. enter WikiTree+ Search/Text (the Help for WikiTree+ Search/Text is here)

(There is already a link to WikiTree+ from the buttons).

I would copy the list from WikiTree+ of what key words can be used.  Always annoying having to go elsewhere to find out what to use.

Meanwhile, tried it with my own profile ID Liard-1 and the word sources in the other box we fill in, gives me 100 profiles which have absolutely nothing to do with me.  Huh?

Danielle -

There are lots of things to search by. See

I just tried WikiTree+ Search for Liard-1 and got 4107 profiles.. guessing that is your watchlist?

The search fields combine. If you search Quebec there are more than 50000 profiles. If you change this to Quebec orphan there are still nearly 35000. If you again change to Quebec orphan neveredited there are still over 12000 profiles. Okay using "quebec orphan neveredited 1870s" is more manageable at 3336 profiles that mention Quebec are orphaned profiles that have never been edited and were living in the 1870s.

ok, tried without entering my ID in the Profile box and instead put it in the wikitree+ search box

that gives me proper results.

One thing that needs fixing is on bios that use another language as header, ie ==Biographie== rather than ==Biography==.  It is listing these as missing that header.  Need to find a solution, English isn't the only language on the planet.  wink

What does ''misplaced lines'' mean?  I know what your help page says, but what is the number of lines wanted?  Never seen anything on the subject.

Truly, instructions on how to use this need to be very simple and explicit, ie no techno-speak, not everybody reads that stuff.laugh

But doing it how I have just done gives me very good results.


You are making me laugh. I can't even write English help that can be understood and now go into other languages.

Seriously, I agree. The first is to get the Help cleaned up. It might also help to have check by Profile as the default instead of WikiTree+ search.

I also agree on an enhancement to better handle non-English. This would not only be the equivalent for Biography and Sources but also for some things that do not qualify as sources, such as FindAGrave by itself or a family tree on a Pre-1700 profile.

"Misplaced lines" is my attempt to put "per the style guide there should not be any lines between the Sources heading and the references tag" so it fits into the table header. Even "lines between Sources and references tag" is too long.
Hello, and thanks for this app! Based on the above, I want to be very sure I understand. Do you mean that blank lines, even ones between sources are considered “bad”? If so, just about any substantive biography I’ve written is probably going to have some, as I use blank lines to help make my markup language more human readable. Can I turn this off, or modify the maximum allowable number of consecutive blank lines? Thank you again. This does look like a great tool to help with a final check before finalizing a new biography, updating one, or looking for issues in older biographies I’m responsible for!
Deborah, it only applies to the space between ==Sources== and <references /> which should follow each other in order without extra lines between them.  Nothing else.  So your bio text is not affected by this at all.
Thanks! I am glad to hear this! I’ll be using this often!
+10 votes
This is such an awesome app and I can't wait to see all the clean up that results from it! I ran this on my own family--managed by me or not--and found quite a few unsourced profiles that are now either tagged or cleaned up.

I would recommend the help page have more step by step instructions. I wasn't sure what to put in the fields, so I just added a random number. I wasn't sure the difference between WikiTree+ and Check Profile.
by Emma MacBeath G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
Yes, fixing the help is my first priority.
+6 votes
Ignores everything not in ref tags? Inline citations aren't required? Should bulleted lists after Sources header be included as a criterion for Sourced?
by Jonathan Crawford G2G6 Pilot (228k points)
Anything inside a ref tag pair is considered a possible source.

Anything after Sources or the reference tag (either could be missing) and before Acknowledgments (or the end of the biography, which ever is first) is considered as a possible source.

Anything after Research Notes and before the next heading is ignored.

Just plain ole text in the Biography section (before the next section heading) that is not inside a ref tag pair is not looked at as a source.

Technobabble...testing for the absence of something. Any possible found source is tested against things that are not valid sources, based on the dates on the profile. Nothing left after tossing those it might be unsourced - won't detect bio prose that has enough to find, for example, a specific census.
Thanks Kay, i missed the context of that only applying above the sources header
+8 votes
Ok, this has been useful in finding mistakes I made as a newbie, eg. deleting <references /> because I had no idea what it meant, as well as alerting me to things I didn't even know were a thing, eg number of lines between the sources heading and the references tag!
by Wendy Scott G2G6 Mach 2 (24.5k points)
+7 votes
I had the pleasure of having Kay test out her app a while back on some profiles in a couple of parishes in Louisiana where I do cemetery work and where a very high percentage of profiles can to connected to my family tree in some way.  I picked up a number of places where I could add sources and also connect in more of my previous research that I'm slowly adding to WikiTree.  I see this as a wonderful tool for those looking to identify profiles in a particular area of WikiTree that they are interested in improving.
by Mary Jensen G2G6 Pilot (111k points)
+5 votes

I have 3 profiles flagged:

Heard-1293:  1 Misplaced line; which one?

King-1470: 2x References tags.  Needs a clean-up.

Pye-570:  "Maybe Unsourced."  Better sources can be provided.

by Doug Laidlaw G2G6 Mach 3 (31.9k points)
Heard. The references tag should be the line immediately following the Sources heading.

King. Yeah, an older GEDCOM import

Pye. Probably could be marked Unsourced.
Heard: Fixed.

I will add proper sources for all 3 in the next day or so.
+6 votes
Nice app; one issue I have noticed in my results. Two profiles got flagged in the references tag column as "Missing, ref Following." I'm not sure how a 'ref' tag could be found to be following the 'references' tag if the 'references' tag was missing in the first place. In both cases, these were false indicators.
by Tom Gillespie G2G1 (1.6k points)

Thanks. Please do not change these. I want to look into what is happening here. I will get back to you.

Smith-157141 Innocent of any wrongdoing as listed in these 9 of 100 examined by your app 

Examined 36 profiles: Found 6 profiles with 6 style issues

> Not the PM on Sarah Sally (Carnes) Huffman (abt.1771-1848) | WikiTree FREE Family Tree

> Not the PM on Elias Chaffin (1763-1837) | WikiTree FREE Family Tree

> Not the PM on Michael E. Huffman (1765-1848) | WikiTree FREE Family Tree

> Not the PM On Elizabeth (Jordan) Wooten (abt.1760-abt.1826) | WikiTree FREE Family Tree

> Not the PM on Charles Medlock - WikiTree Profile

> Not the PM on Harriet Mary (Medlock) Smith - WikiTree Profile

Good app and easy to use.  My question is the same as Tom's re the "Missing, ref Following".   Bridgland-90,  Middleton-4717

Donna. I don't see why these were reported, and am investigating. Beautiful profiles by the way.
Thank you, Kay!  Both are direct ancestors.
Tom and Donna.

Found it. Very subtle...

On the line with < references / > (without spaces after the < and before the >)

It was the space before <

and the space after >
Interesting!! Thanks for figuring that out Kay.  I'll take care of it.
Is there a way for your app to ignore whitespace errors like that? I fixed those two profiles but I'd think you would be swamped by people asking the same question as more people use this tool.
Yes Tom, will be fixed in the next release.
+4 votes
I tried to look at this but it is way to complicated for me. I hope it works for others but this is something I just plan on ignoring.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
+5 votes
My 3 ones that you marked as unscorsed are in my family
by Elizabeth Alderdice G2G6 Mach 2 (23.9k points)
I'll send you a private message. It might take a while for me to get to this.
+5 votes
I like it, but I wish it would also have a column listing the profile manager.  Wish I could run it by watchlist also.  Thanks.
by Deb Williams G2G6 Mach 1 (12.7k points)
I'm not sure how difficult it would be to add the profile manager. I can investigate. The report is already so large it might make sense to just include this column in an exported CSV.

Fairly close approximation to watchlist is a WikiTree+ search for manager or creator. I plan to add examples for these to the help. If you are adventurous, go to WikiTree+ text search (and see the help there), run the search and click the Bio Check link there.
+5 votes
I have a note concerning Shaw-19551, I don't get a any help by using the application.  Please advise.
by John Shaw G2G Crew (350 points)
It is looking at your ancestors. Once you add your grandparents and their parents there should be more.
+3 votes
I had only two suggestions, and they were extremely simple to correct (problems I had not fixed in adopted profiles).
by Living Kelts G2G6 Pilot (517k points)
+6 votes
Thanks! Fixed what was there as missing, but will add as I can.
by K Thatcher G2G Crew (380 points)
+5 votes
Seems like a great app. How would I use it to check profiles I am the owner of?  Is there a WT+ trick?  I want to quality control my work.
by Matthew Evans G2G6 Mach 4 (47.7k points)
Thanks. I will add examples to help. Try a WT+ text search for manager or creator. Ales added a link to WT+ so you can start BioCheck from there.
+5 votes
Most of mine are 'no reference tags'. As I don't use this system do I still need to have that in the profile?
by Judith Robinson G2G6 Mach 1 (17.1k points)


I would say yes, based on this

I think the intent is that consistency helps us with shared answers.

Nice bio for Marion. It makes me wonder if she had been caring for her cousin's children before her marriage.

Thx. I've actually been taking them out! But I'll stop that now.   I'm not sure about your 'cousin's children' comment. Marion's cousin's were all of an age with herself. Thanks for the complement about her bio. I've been looking at photos and reading letters and diaries the past 5 years or so, and this one profile is the one I've been able to do justice to based on all I've learned (so far!).  Funny how one learns about the grandparents life AFTER they're gone, lol.
+4 votes
Seems really good, thank you. However, one thing did come to mind. Instead of stepping it back one ancestor at a time, could you step it back one connection at a time? This way, when it goes back a generation, it also looks at sibling, uncles/aunts, cousins, other marriages etc.

I understand that we generally look at our tree as our ancestors from us up, but most of us when we build back, also research down to cousins, and branch out that way too.

If you could get it to search all of a persons connections, you would need to get it to then exclude the previous connections. Soif you look at 1st level connections, you would include both parents, all spouses and in children in first level search. In 2nd level search, you would go to all of the connections of all of your connections. The problem is, all of those connections would have a connection back to you. Also, each of the sibling would then connect to each other, which would be redundant, because they were found in the first level search. So the app would need to ignore all names previously found on the first level of connections, while producing second level. Likewise, third level of connections would have to ignore connections previously made on first and second level.

Hopefully that made sense, and provides a further idea.
by Ben Molesworth G2G6 Pilot (147k points)
Ben. You can put use profile Id for an ancestor check or anything you find with a WikiTree+ search for a check.

For anything you check, you can also check relatives. Right now relatives are only checked for profiles that are unsourced or maybe. Would it make sense to also check for profiles with style issues if you have selected to include those in the report? That should be pretty easy.

If you could check relatives for every profile it could expand exponentially to a very large list. My concern is how long this might take.

Yes I am all too aware of not double checking. From a technical perspective this all runs asynchronously.
Haven't got my head around Wikitree+ yet, though I have had some brief encounters with it. Yes, doing connections instead of ancestors would produce an exponetially larger result, but would still be constructive.
Next release Bio Check option to check relatives will apply to anything you report, including sourced profiles with style issues.
Thank you. I'll enjoy trying that. Actually, I often put children and siblings of people in, but don't work as hard on them, because they aren't ancestors. It will be great.
+4 votes

Note that the App does not deal with non-English biographies, see

by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (267k points)

Related questions

+12 votes
4 answers
221 views asked Jan 21, 2021 in The Tree House by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (499k points)
+37 votes
9 answers
+29 votes
8 answers
2.0k views asked Dec 11, 2020 in The Tree House by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (499k points)
+9 votes
1 answer
+6 votes
2 answers
+8 votes
1 answer
+2 votes
1 answer
134 views asked Dec 18, 2020 in WikiTree Help by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (622k points)
+11 votes
2 answers
207 views asked Nov 15, 2020 in The Tree House by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (499k points)
+14 votes
1 answer
122 views asked Jan 20 in The Tree House by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (499k points)

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright