How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?
I joined WikiTree in 2018.
I’ve been involved with the Unknowns Project for quite a while, and they recently asked me to focus on the profiles (incorrectly?) using variations of “unknown” – unsure, not known, maiden name unknown, etc. I love trying to solve the puzzles; I work on orphans or (try to) coordinate with PMs to reduce the volume of these often-neglected profiles and get them sourced and connected. Most of these profiles are for women; I find that many researchers don’t follow their maternal lines with the same diligence as they do their paternal lines. Records are sometimes scarce, but it breaks my heart that a woman could marry, not even be listed by name on the marriage license or the children’s birth records, and then be buried as Mrs. [insert husband’s name here]. I want to learn who she was, who her family was, and try to re-connect her to her family and her roots.
I also help Adoption Angels as a mentor to new applicants. I’m better at greeting new applicants and getting their data ready for our very-talented Angels than I am at figuring out birth families using DNA tests, but I love being a part of that process. I want adoptees – and other beginners -- to know about their roots if it’s in any way possible!
What brought you to WikiTree?
Google search, I think. It was free, profiles had to be sourced and after working on another site where people sometimes just seem to make up connections, it was refreshing to be connected to researchers who source and especially, who COLLABORATE!! That’s my favorite part of WikiTree!
If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?
Two ideas: 1) Limit to three or four generations or 25 names or something similar on a GEDcom (with no “unknowns”). I spend a lot of time cleaning up old GEDcom uploads.
2) I’d like profiles to be opened more recently… once a person is deceased, I wish the profile would open – at least to see, if not to make changes… there are so many private profiles for people born in the 20th century and so many of these could be merged to help other beginners. If you can find a profile and some information about your grandma, you just might get a lot more excited about the rest of your family tree!
Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?
Don’t upload a giant GEDcom. Put in your parents and grandparents one at a time, learn how to find sources, and then see how interested you are and how much more work you are willing to do….and then begin to look for connections.