Press Release July 8, 2021: In January of this year, WikiTree launched its biggest community event ever: The WikiTree Challenge. Each week, a team of volunteers attempts to expand and improve the family tree of a special guest star. Our guests have been leaders in the genealogy industry and top professional genealogists.
Can amateur genealogy collaboration improve on a leading genealogist’s own genealogy? The answer is a resounding “Yes”! We have now broken through over 500 “brick walls” for our guest stars!
The 500th brick wall was broken this week during our challenge for Sephardic Jewish specialist Jarrett Ross. Our volunteers made new discoveries for him on five separate family lines.
The brick wall count only includes the first person in a line that is new to our guest. Two thousand ancestors beyond the brick walls have also been discovered, and 5,500 nuclear relatives of ancestors. Each relative now has a carefully-sourced profile on WikiTree.
Our teams have made discoveries for best-selling author AJ Jacobs (seven brick walls broken), leading genetic genealogist CeCe Moore (23 brick walls), and the host of PBS TV’s “Finding Your Roots,” Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (nine new ancestors!).
“Establishing where you are in the uncertainty of being, the uncertainty of life, somehow gives you a foundation. I am very moved by what you’ve done.” --Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
The most successful week so far has been for genealogy novelist Nathan Goodwin: 61 brick walls broken. For “Genealogy TV’ host Connie Knox and software entrepreneur Dallan Quass there were 43 and 42 respectively. Close behind were the weeks for Melissa Barker (34), Ellen Thompson-Jennings (34), Katherine Willson (34), Scott Fisher (32), Gena Philbert-Ortega (31) and Rob Warthen (27).
We broke 20 brick walls for Pat “Dear Myrtle” Richley-Erickson (“Wow! It’s just astonishing!”), 18 for Jen Baldwin, 16 for Thomas MacEntee, 14 for Devon Noel Lee, 12 for Tim Janzen, eight for Jonny Perl, five for Cheri Passey and four for Yvette Hoitink. We were even able to surprise “Legal Genealogist” Judy Russell by breaking one of her brick walls.
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