Trusted List access too often denied inappropriately.

+32 votes
It has been gradually coming to my attention that there are still many members of WikiTree that do not wish to grant Trusted List access to relatives of profiles they manage. Why is this happening?

My mother's parents were born in 1900 and 1905. They had five children and (I think) 18 grandchildren. I honestly have no idea how many great or great great grandchildren there are. I myself have four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Should I deny access to my grandparents' profiles to any of these descendants if they choose to join WikiTree? Of course not. My grandparents are their ancestors, too. And that does not include the descendants of their siblings who have the moral right to have access to their relatives.

Is there something we are not doing which leads to this mistrust of others and the unwillingness of some members to share their work? Our Honor Code specifies collaboration. Maybe we should be reminding people more often of what they agreed to when they joined WikiTree.

Hope you don't mind my venting, but I needed to say this.
in The Tree House by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (476k points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway
up-voted... well vented Shirley.
Another up vote.Well vented indeed, Shirley.

Without naming names, I have noticed that some folks (who shall remain anonymous) seem to suggest that they have addressed the request by placing it as completed. But, tah-duh, the request to be trusted has not been granted anyhow.

Come to think of it, if I were one of my relatives, Im not so sure I would trust *me* given the family propensity to use phone-tree gossip.

Oh well.
I wish there was a way to "follow" a profile without being on the trusted list. Some people (myself included) want to keep informed about their ancestor profile changes, but not necessarily have "responsibilities" for the profile. The option to follow 20 surnames doesn't really address this need to keep informed because there can be SO many of a name which aren't necessarily the one(s) I am interested in.

I think we need another option than being a PM or being on the trusted list.
Thanks Keith and Dorothy for your support.

I, too, wish there was a way to "follow" a profile without being on the trusted list. I find the same problems with the surnames list. Too many of them simply are not of direct interest to me. Don't know if there is a feasible alternative, but wish someone could check it out.
A very appropriate vent Shirley!  Mags

3 Answers

+11 votes
Best answer

Poor you Shirley, it is frustrating for sure - I really struggled initially with Wikitree's collaborative, sharing approach and kept my profiles tightly clutched under my own privacy controls, looking at any who asked to be on the trusted list with misgivings and mistrust, not that a single soul here on Wikitree deserved that sort of judgement.

It wasn't until another (more mistrusting than I obviously) completely denied my access to my own GG Grandfather and also denied the family link I was attempting to complete despite fullproof evidence of Birth, Death, newspaper clippings etc, this person was also so terribly rude in the end I was almost hoping we weren't related.  I eventually won her over with the sheer volume of evidence, with this I also learnt and rethought on my own behaviours here on Wikitree... 

Some people arriving here have been for years and years doing their research in complete solitude (like me) and the friendly Wikitree bunch can be overwhelming with their eagerness to contribute, build and connect, jumping into what I saw as MY Profiles and putting in weird coded stuff that I didn't understand, my years of work was being questioned and critiqued from others.. What the??  LOL, I do it to others now, always to help.. but the recipient may not see it that way until they eventually become 'WikiTreeIfied'.. I try to remember always how I felt when first arriving here, it keeps me patient.

When you first arrive here at Wikitree, you really don't have an understanding what is done here, I pretty much ok'd everything just to get my gedcom loaded (errk did I say that outloud?).. it is all a learning curve. but perhaps refresh of checking off the agreement again at the 3 month 6 month mark of a newbie's time here... or even a flash up of parts of the Honor code over time as a gentle reminder.

Vent away, we all need that sometimes... but please keep doing what you are doing Shirley, leading the way with your generosity and kindness, these people will hopefully 'come around' and become excited to join in and become connected 



by Trace Allison G2G6 (9.7k points)
selected by Shirley Dalton
Trace, I came to WikiTree from a totally different perspective. For about 15 years I have maintained a website where my genealogy database is housed. Over the about 40 years I have been doing research, hundreds of people have helped me. They shared their family information, their research, copies of documents, photographs, links to sources. Without them I could not have accumulated the almost 27,000 individuals in my database. Putting my family tree on a website like or Geni was never an option. I wanted my research to be available to anyone who needed help. That was my way of paying back the help I had received. As I got older I knew that website was eventually going to be shut down. So when I found WikiTree I was elated. Here, if you will, was my "spiritual" genealogy home. Here I could store my research and it would not be lost and would always be available for future family historians. Which maybe is why I get so frustrated with people who still maintain the "this is MINE" attitude and lose sight of the tremendous goal of Chris Whitten and the other people who work to make WikiTree a success.
Amen, Shirley. Amen.

Thankyou Shirley for taking the time to explain your experience and perspective, very enlightening for sure...  Shows how the travel is to arrive here at WikiTree differs for people. I do have a strong passion in that all of our research should be shared, free and belongs to future historians, to enable them to build on what has already been created

WOW Shirley.. a very inspiring 27,000 and 40 years experience.. breathtaking!  I have always happily forwarded my information in a PDF to anyone that queried - it was rarely reciprocated in anyway.. after much teeth gnashing frustration at this 'grab and run' mentality, decided to keep sharing anyway and continue to hope to find 'likeminded' historians. 16,000 Individuals for me, all in separate trees some my line, other trees for friends and anyone that needed research... I was hunting for somewhere to put all the information together for all to use, and found your "spiritual" genealogy home, yay, no more pdf's.. simply a link to Wikitree and also the best outcome of all.. "Likeminded historians" Woooo Hooo :) 

I LOVE this...."Over the about 40 years I have been doing research, hundreds of people have helped me. They shared their family information, their research, copies of documents, photographs, links to sources. Without them I could not have accumulated the almost 27,000 individuals in my database". A statement such as this for the new arrivals to Wikitree is fantastic, it shows what to share and what the outcome could possibly be, encouraging and inspiring all to share, I'm sure something like this would've helped me 'come around' to the Wikitree way of behaviour quicker.  On the Wikitree homepage there is a lovely blurb from — Gail Cox, perhaps more testimonies with statements such as yours above should be there as well?  

Liking the 'Follow' idea .. has my No. 1 Vote.


+9 votes
Shirley, I agree with you 110%.  I have been working thru a large number of profiles that were uploaded  in 2010 and then abandoned.  Most of them are distant relatives of mine but I have uncovered some things that make a lot of the "Blood" relationships suspect.  Because of that I have made most of the one's that I can in the Green privacy level while I try to sort out about 1000 profiles. I do add others to the trusted list of these profiles when asked by relatives, but I had a recent case where one member wanted to add information on the death of the profiled person.  The big problem was the source he wanted to add had the person die in the US one year before he was born in Canada.  In that case I felt it was best that this other member not be on the trusted list until he started checking his sources before he just added them.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
edited by Dale Byers
Dale, I totally understand your position. You do sometimes have to be careful before granting Trusted List access. Fortunately, I have as yet not found a reason to refuse access when it was requested. But you do so much for WikiTree, that it makes it difficult for the rest of us to keep up :)
It helps that I am retired. :)
+4 votes

I believe I've granted trust list rights to everyone that has thus far requested the privilege, and in fact have personally decided to elevate a few such request to profile manager status. Although I had no prior relationship with the individuals, I had confidence in their integrity based on their attitude and behavior on the WikiTree. I vetted the individuals, and to date, none have been found lacking. However, had I discovered evidence on the WikiTree that a request was from someone lacking genealogical integrity, I feel I should have instead sent an explanation of why I was declining their request at that time.

Trust in relationships, to me, is the equivalent of co-signing a financial transaction. Don't do it unless you have confidence the other party will live up to the agreement.
by George Blanchard G2G6 Mach 9 (91.1k points)
I agree with you, George. But not quite. With the exception of my sainted spouse, I don't plan to co-sign financial agreements with anyone. And one false slip by the saintly Peter, and even he would be off of my financial "trust" list. Pronto! (Hasn't ever happened between either of us.)

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