Can we add Life Events?

+8 votes
I realize I am new, but one thing that seems strangely absent is the ability to add significant life events, Divorce, Naturalization, Creamation, Burial, Military Service, Etc.

I'm not trying to eliminate the need for great Biographies but, the ability to create an active timeline. A timeline where a research can record, date, location, event details, in a non storied format.

I apologize, it just seems lacking that we can't record the location of a divorce, a cemetery, etc, without having to edit the biography. This change would allow for us to enter the data and come back at a later date to generate the Bio to detail.

Thanks for reading.

in WikiTree Tech by Joshua Carnahan G2G6 (7.1k points)
I use headers like Birth, Marriage, Children, career, death.

Within each header I add the vital records and in other divisions add important events of his life, military service, immigration. using a time line keeps all in a manageable sequence of events. Keeps everything neat and readable. Also allows others to add more info w/o messing up a bio tightly woven in one paragraph

Thanks for your reply. Is there a link to someone you've used this format for that I could look at? -Josh

Here is a link to one of David's profiles where you can see this format being used:

I like the way that looks. Would you be able to message me the generic html code for your format? Or point me in the direction. This looks really clean.

Hi Josh. You don't need HTML. For a description of the markup needed for headings and lists, see the Editing Tips help page. For example, headings are done by enclosing in double or triple equal signs, and bullet points with a leading asterisk. The table of contents is generated automatically provided there are enough headings.

Thanks! This helps. At quick glance, it reminded me of html basics. LOL
Also, just look at his edit page and click on 'preview' to easily see what he's done, and how he's done it.
Thanks Stephanie! This is helpful. -Josh

I have a couple I that I did that I really like

Myles-81  and Avery-192. West-3994, Warre-18
Thanks David! I hate to ask a stupid question, but how do I search for the profile? -Josh
Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't see a search function for WikiTree IDs. What you can do instead is construct the URL by hand, by placing in front of the ID, then insert the result into your browser URL field. For example, in the first case you'd get . (That's a very nice page, David!)

I guess had I been smart enough to look at the URL while on my own profile... LOL. Thanks! I shall now remove my long held moniker, MOTO (Master of the Obvious for those in back.) Doh!

At your home profile page at the top right is a help button which is another pull down menu. Towards the bottom is a Style Guide button which takes you to the tutorials for using "code" to do the stuff I use on the profiles I build.

Example using one : gives a small indent :: doubles indent

* creates a bullet w indent. Using # will add number to each line its used on such as for children.

using ===Birth=== creates a header of Birth. Same for any other header you want to create.

Those are easiest to learn and master. Inline sourcing is more complicated. For a book by George Cokayne

I use <ref name="Cokyne">The Complete Peerage. Vol 4. London, 1906. Page 20</ref>

Then if I have it on web I link it using web page address between [ http:// Archive.Org/Cokyne, complete peerage]

Best to check style button to see better explaination than I can do here.

Thanks again David! I've just started looking at the Style Guide. It's going to take some time. I don't think I will add too many more people until I play with my parents and grandparents so more and get comfortable with the bios and sources etc.

Check out my profile and let me know what you think. I used a combination of your input and the format from Jack below. First attempt, but this is why I want to just play with these first several profiles for a while before I start putting in a lot more. Looking forward to feedback


3 Answers

+2 votes
Welcome to WikiTree!

Currently there is no such functionality, however you can list these details in the profile(s)'s biographies (and it is actually recommended that you do).
by Anonymous Dowding G2G6 Mach 3 (32.1k points)
I agree. I realized that this is the way that it is done at the moment. My first impression of the tool is that I like it. I have not imported my gedcom yet as it is going to create a ton of work/rework. I was looking at the fact that this functionality is not complex to add to the existing framework.

Being new to this platform, I think I need to play with it more to see if it is going to grow on me. I truly like it for the community aspect.

Thanks for responding

No problem. The community aspect here is truly incredible. Feel free to ask any questions here related to your genealogy research in addition to WikiTree itself - the number of people here who are kind enough to take the time to do some research to see if they can find any extra information you can't find is amazing here - one of my favourite things about the site.
Can I ask what platform you previously used and if this is your primary platform for keeping your tree information? Part of my concern about migrating is having my information edited by someone else. -Josh
My primary platform is Ancestry, which I started using before I learnt about WikiTree and still use. As much as I like WikiTree I do find building my tree on Ancestry to be a lot quicker for a couple of reasons (mainly being that sources are easier to link to, and also it's less hassle having to do biographies). So Ancestry is the "complete" version of my tree, although I do create quite a number of WT profiles.

I wouldn't worry about people editing your data. More often than not it's formatting, adding sources or adding entirely new information (which would be sourced), and you'd be able to check their edits and revert them/discuss with them if there is a problem. People shouldn't outright remove any of your data without contacting you to discuss first, and even if they did you can undo the removal and contact them yourself to discuss if needed.
Thanks! This makes me feel much more comfortable. Ancestry is my primary as well (jnckids is my username there). It has its flaws as well, there is no perfect system. I almost think the merger of features between these two would be great! LOL. Did you import you gedcom here or just slowly add profiles? If I do import, I assume from what i've seen if there are existing profiles, it will match them up.
I created most of my profiles from scratch. I did import a GEDCOM when I first joined, but if I remember correctly all that did was show me a list of the people in the GEDCOM and suggest pre-existing WikiTree profiles that may be matches. I don't think the ability to create profiles from a GEDCOM import exists, but don't quote me on that.

Funnily enough, I agree both Ancestry and WikiTree have their ups and downs - it's why I use both, after all.
LOL I just noticed that you responded on the other question. I guess I will try the import and see what it looks like. Worst case, I don't accept the data.
I guess I have too many people in my Gedcom file.. oh well
GEDCom imports are limited in size deliberately, overloads the system to try to add too many at the same time, since the program checks for matches that are already here.  Better to do partial uploads, ie sections of your tree, that way you can fix them up more easily once imported for bio/sources etc.  Otherwise, the task can be quite daunting.  Still dealing with some of mine from my first arrival on WikiTree.

Thanks Danielle! I agree. I'm actually glad that it was too large. I decided to take the slow approach which I think is good.

+4 votes

You can write it in timeline fashion. I prefer a chronological bullet point style. I wish biography was not the default name. For 99.9 +% of profiles, we are never going to know more than a few genealogical data points. There is no story to be told.

Now for historical figures whose lives were extensively documented or if you want to go nuts with anecdata about your Aunt Martha, than great go for your Pulitzer. If you can fit everything you know on a tombstone, it is not a biography.

Per Wikipedia, who to be fair, also traffic heavily in non-bio bios:

"A biography, or simply bio, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death; it portrays a person's experience of these life events. Unlike a profile or curriculum vitae (résumé), a biography presents a subject's life story, highlighting various aspects of his or her life, including intimate details of experience, and may include an analysis of the subject's personality."

In another words. profile is a subset of biography, not the other way around.

by Ron Moore G2G6 Mach 2 (21.5k points)
Thanks Ron! I agree. It could almost be two different sections. Biography and Events or Timeline. There could just be a better way to do it than just one big typed block. -Josh

Here's a discussion on a type of timeline you could add:

Actually, there may be more to know than just basic BMD.  It usually takes a lot of digging in records to come up with them.  I know a couple of people who do their research that way, creating veritable books out of what they find.  They look in newspapers, land registries, court registries......  Everywhere you can possibly think of.  I do some of that myself, although not to the same extent.

I do as well. I don't know that I am prepared to move all of my data here. I'm starting small to feel it out. So far, it is almost the equivelent of writing it all out in notebooks like when I was taking notes while reviewing microfiche. LOL
WikiTree's use of the word Biography is one of the things that makes WikiTree unique;  other online sites simply have notes.  By using the word Biography, WikiTree actually calls you to think about the material and organize it.  We may never achieve the Wikipedia definition, but our results have the potential for being far superior to sites like ancestry or geni, for which a garbled collection of notes from hither and yon is the norm.
Thanks Jack! I do like that. I also like having a timeline. I would like a faster way to store sources so that I didn't have to archive them elsewhere until I had the time to come back and do so properly here. I love the mission, detail and what CAN be done here, however, it doesn't seem setup to allow you to buildout and come back and construct. Then again, I'm still new, exploring, and learning. I absolutely love the community aspect.

A "Research Notes" section is a good holding pen for sources you are not sure how to integrate, bring up questions, concern multiple profiles, etc. A lot of times you may have a birthplace for the parents but no other info or a record that could be for a different person with the same name.

As for bonus resources, you can always just add them in the source section or make a "See Also" section. When you work on families, it is very common to have a horde of sources pop up for profiles you are not working on at the moment as with census reports, obituaries, probate etc. Better to copy and paste the citation to all the relevant locations while it is in front of you than try to remember at a later date. Profiles are permanent 'works in progress', don't feel obligated to finish and polish them before moving on to the next.

You wouldn't cook your Thanksgiving dinner one course at a time!

A little side point, everything may be of interest to a family member or researcher whether it fits into a nice little story or not. Things like shipping manifests, school admission records, property taxes, city directories, the California Great Register, etc.A seemingly insignifcant record may well fill in a gap in the puzzle for another researcher..

I love your last comment. I completely agree. I a holding pen for this type of record as well. On ancestry, I save most of this in the gallery.

I guess at the moment I feel as though if I just add my profiles with the primary information, to get the framework there, that I will get "dinged" for not following the guidelines. LOL. Not that I think the community is going to go super strict on me, but, I also don't want to make a "noob" impression right out of the gate when I've been researching for nearly 20 yrs.

I would rather ask these questions up front and work on a my base family for a bit. Figured get my "framework" down. Then I can copy and past my framework and comeback to them and start filling in details.

I'm only a couple of days in, and I'm fire house learning at the moment. I need figure out sourcing. It seems as though there are a lot of people that link ancestry records. I guess this is good and bad. If the reviewer does not have an ancestry account, the record might not be viewable.

I appreciate everyone's input during this learning process.


hi Joshua

While doing basic bio and then leaving it with extra research left in a notes section or similar solution is not bad, I prefer going the other way myself.  Still having to go back through all I initially created, it's very easy to lose track of who needs what.  Now, when I create a new profile, I tend to put everything I can find right in there first time around, so I don't have to come back to it.

Must be my father's profession at the last that's rubbing off on me, he was a time and motion study agent.  ie efficiency expert.  laugh

LOL I could see that. I guess for me, I could look to do that one at a time. I just have nearly 20yrs of research, 4 generations of which is not in this "wikitree." That's a lot of profiles to build from the ground up. I'm sure as I get practice, it will come faster. I really haven't played with linking my data yet. I am going to mess around with that this weekend. I still have hesitations about building a profile and someone someone else making an adjustment that may not be correct. I'm not sure what that looks like yet. I've read other's posts about it. I guess until I see it, I really won't know.

others can only edit open profiles, so the first 2 or 3 generations up from you would likely not be touched before a long time has gone by.  Open profiles can be edited by any member, but the honour code we subscribe to does call for courtesy, and we do need valid sources as evidence for changes we make.
Agreed!  Have you seen anything egregious in your time on here? Most responses I have recieved from the more experieced users is that the most common edits are structural.
Not sure what you mean by egregious in this context, there have been instances of people coming and doing destructive things, but they get ousted fairly quickly (that's part of the Rangers' function), and the program is made in such a way as one can easily recover anything deleted without having to redo the research.
Having not experienced that yet, I'm not familiar with how the recovery works. I haven't searched the help yet to see if there is a section that explains the different "roles" of people on the site such as Rangers. It's good to here that these processes are in place.
+2 votes
I appreciate your concern and my own solution has been to add dates to subheadings, so that your profile might look like the following:  If you do this, then the Table of Contents becomes the timeline.


===1863 Birth===

===1884 Naturalization as US Citizen===

===1886 Marriage to Cynthia Smith===

On April 30th, 1886 at Trinity Episcopal Church, Rev. Smedley Jones united George Davis and Cynthia Smith in marriage <ref> Ajax County Marriage Licenses </ref>

===1923 Death===


(I place the subheading for the list of children and their documented relationships last, because often they're based on the person's will, but most importantly they are the bridge to the next generation.

WikiTree policy for biographical narratives has two required headings ==Biography== and ==Sources== and two optional, ==Research Notes== and ==Acknowledgements==.  Subheadings, marked with 3 hyphens instead of two, are optional.
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (402k points)
Thanks again Jack! Could you share a profile that I could take a look at?

I took a look at your father's profile. Thanks again. It looks great.

Check out my profile and let me know what you think. I used a combination of your format and the input from David above. First attempt, but this is why I want to just play with these first several profiles for a while before I start putting a lot more.

Which profile?  Add an ID code so I know which one?  (Like Smith-1234 or something)
My personal profile, Carnahan-1045
Looks good.  Of course if you have children you can't name them because we do not show the names of living persons to the public (unless they are a WikiTree genealogist like you or me).  You can add other biographical features such as education, occupation, important sports victories, military service, time spent in jail, anything that helps portray who you want to be known as!
Thanks. I was curious whether or not I need to remove my wife and ex's name as well. I didn't put my kids for that reason. Maybe I should delete their names and just leave the relationship info. Could you do me a favor, Let me know if I should censor anything else? Only my mother has passed. This is good for me.


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