New tool: Who is unconnected in your Watchlist?

+66 votes

Hi WikiTreers,

We have a brand new tool!

It was suggested here in G2G by Regis Giampersa.

This tool will show you the people in your Watchlist who are not connected to the global family tree, i.e. their relationships, even through marriage, do not connect them in any way to the vast majority of other people on WikiTree.

About 3/4 of the people on WikiTree can be connected to each other within 100 degrees of separation. (Our Connection Finder counts and displays the connections using three "anchor" people, currently Kevin Bacon, AJ Jacobs, and JK Rowling.)

About 1/4 of the people on WikiTree are unconnected. Most of them have very small family trees. Just a little genealogy TLC might be able to connect them.

Who is on your Watchlist and needs connecting? One click will show you.

Onward and upward, for the single family tree,


P.S. If you have questions, spot any bugs, or have suggestions for future improvements to this tool, post them here. Some early beta testers reported seeing a couple random people who aren't on their Watchlist, or aren't unconnected. On the latter, note that it takes 24 hours to update connection status.

in The Tree House by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
They update overnight, in somebody's time zone.  It's a big job.

But so far as I can see, there's been an update since you connected Horatio Gates Pope-2965 to his father.

I can only think that the computation was already in progress and you missed out by minutes.

Worry if it's not sorted tomorrow.

What I don't understand is that I sill take someone from my Unconnected list and then start walking back through time following that name with out any breaks I get to a person who IS connected.  I thought everybody in that line would be connected?  I have Armistead-430, On my list with others,  now go to his father his father etc. you eventually get to someone who IS connected.

Did some more work:

Robert Augustine Armistead-226

Robert is 22 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 20 degrees from Alex Haley, 23 degrees from Mark Hamill, 22 degrees from AJ Jacobs and 20 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II of the Commonwealth Realms on our single family tree. Check your connections or find your genealogical relationship with Robert.

His Sons:

George Wesley Armistead-441

Un connected?????

Overnight was a nice idea, but it is still showing as not conected.  I put in a line back to an existing profile for Thomas Pope (  I can see that he is connected because I see the widget at the bottom.  I can trace all the way to my profile.  If trace from Thomas to me, the first one that is not showing the connection widget is one of my pofiles ( so it is likely something I have done, or not done that I should.

Any ideas?  I echo the frustration comment above.
All the Armisteads done before 10 pm in NY are connected, Louise was the last.

Looks like the cut-off is earlier than I expected.

I figure today's cut-off is due 25 minutes from now.

Then we'll find out how long it takes to do the job.
None the wiser on how long the job takes - somewhere between 1 and 8 hours - but the ones that were still unconnected 8 hours ago are all connected now.

Incidentally, milestone passed - 8 million now connected.

But of course the Unconnected total is growing as well.
Not sue if it was just the job taking days instead of hours, but my unconnected watch list just got a lot shorter (maybe I was part of hitting 8 M :)  So that is good news. And this seems not be an issue now.
Looks like things are fixed, My unconnected list just went form over 200 to less than 100, I can work with that.

Big thanks..
What I think we learn is that "overnight" can mean two nights if you live out West (of Cape Cod).  Allow up to 30 hours.
Oh, you're right, RJ. I just realized what this is: the time it takes to rebuild the database. We start a new build every 24 hours, but it takes many hours to complete.
I was just glad to hear it was b/c it was slow.  I thought I was doing something wrong.  :)

18 Answers

+18 votes
Thanks! Already working on my unconnected people!
by Regis Giampersa G2G6 Mach 1 (14.7k points)
+16 votes
I have been working on this list for just 30 minutes and have adopted a matching profile and proposed a merge.

Thank you, this inspires me to reach out to those lonely unconnected folks!
by Kristina Adams G2G6 Pilot (211k points)
+17 votes
No way can I cope with this!  I just checked and have nearly 1300 on my watchlist that are not connected.  My entire watchlist is 1554.

I think the best thing I can do is to continue to plod along, systematically (working by family units) finding sources and writing bios for all the ones that don't have anything at all (other than gedcom garbage in the case of the approximately 1200 of these that are in the abandoned gedcom I adopted).  I am planning to orphan all of these as soon as I have done the best I can for each of them.  After that, I'll be left with my own family and then - maybe - I'll be able to do this for them.
by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (874k points)
When I saw this a few days ago, I thought of you immediately Gaile. Yours is a special circumstance, because a lot of them aren't even connected to each other, just random groups of holocaust victims and their families. There are lots of dead ends and no way of finding the information. Keep doing what you're doing - a good job and a good deed.
Second that.
I second what Anne says, Gaile ! Your dedication to these profiles reminds me that I need to be helping you more with them.
third, fourth and fifth that! you're doing a hero's job, Gaile!

Gaile, you might want to read Paper Love: Searching for the Girl my Grandfather Left Behind, by Sarah Wildman.

I thought you would be way more connected, but it sounds like your profiles are not the typically drill back as far as possible kind.
+14 votes
Thank you, Chris! This will be very helpful.

I am finding over 1500 unconnected people, some who are connected to each other in smaller trees. That is out of almost 4800 profiles. My numbers may be higher than some because I add people with the same surname from the same area in many cases. I am doing several One Place Studies and One Name Studies, many I need to yet identify.

What do you suggest for small family groups of the correct surname or location that we can not connect to someone on the global tree?



Sharon Troy Centanne

aka Troy-204
by Anonymous Troy G2G6 Pilot (155k points)
Thanks for doing ONS and OPS work, Sharon. That's great.

We'll be collecting tips for connecting the unconnected here:
Thank you, Chris! I tend to specialize in obscure rural people from Europe because that is the type of ancestors we have in my family. Sometimes I have to put together several generations of smaller trees to understand what connections are possible. My husband is descended from at least 20 families from rural Sicily, so I add anyone from those families and eventually we find connections. Many small European communities have a small gene pool because the same families intermarried for generations and even centuries. So it makes sense to enter them all. We are going to need alphabetical indexes for some of these village categories as they grow beyond 300 or 400 people, tho. Please see [[Category: Alia, Sicilia]]

Thanks again!

+12 votes
Nice trick.  I'll clean up my list soon.  Thankfully I only have four.  Maybe the result of early entries when I didn't know as much about what I was doing. . . .
by Foster Ockerman G2G6 Mach 3 (34.5k points)
+16 votes
will you be adding "Unconnected" to the "Find" drop down menu so we don't have to track down this post to get the link?  Or is it elsewhere?

by Foster Ockerman G2G6 Mach 3 (34.5k points)
Good idea, Foster.
+17 votes
This is a great tool, Chris!  I thought I had connected everyone on my Watchlist, so I was surprised to see anyone on my list.  Now I know what to focus on for this month.
by Star Kline G2G6 Pilot (542k points)
+9 votes


Great tool

George H. Moseman Jr. is listed but is not and has not been on my watch list for a very long time. At the bottom of the page is this message - George is 27 degrees from Kevin Bacon, So he is connected.

This one has been this way for a number of days so the usual updates don't fix it.

by Philip Smith G2G6 Pilot (281k points)

I've also found one on my "unconnected" list that doesn't belong there. Pre-6 was merged into Du_Pre-17 back in January.

+10 votes
Cool tool.

With the decision to prefer biological relationships, an adoptee in my line will remain unconnected. His adoptive parents are listed in the biography, but I have no idea how to find biological parents from 120 years ago, nor do I particularly have any desire to. Similarly, I have added the foster father of one of my ancestors, also linked through the biography, but again I don't really have the time, resources or inclination to research his line. So both of these profiles on my list will remain unconnected for now.

There are two other unconnecteds on my list that bewilder me. I don't even know why they are there. I will investigate.
by Ellen Curnes G2G6 Mach 6 (69.4k points)
405 UNCONNECTED out of 1626.
About 10 are profiles that I orphaned awhile ago (?)
About 350 are my One Name Study folks.
So I have work to do .......Thanks. This is great.
+8 votes
Before clicking on this tool, I thought I wouldn't have a lot. I actually have over 300!

I had forgotten that I create profiles for everyone buried in a cemetery, for random people I find on the censuses in my One Place Study, for a whole bunch of men named John Jackson and their wives (for my very specific One Name Study), and for an assortment of Canadian notables.

I guess I have some connecting to do!

Side note: Sometimes even fairly well-developed family trees can be unconnected, against all odds. My mom's side of the family is still only connected through my dad's side of the family!
by Lianne Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (423k points)
+8 votes
Question about strategy...

Most of my disconnected folks are the immigrants (in this case, mid 1800s), who I have up the line to Germany, but not yet down the line towards 1940.

I'm thinking that as I fill out the profiles of the immigrants' children, including who they married and THEIR children, that I'm more likely to connect to The Tree, than going further back up the line into the past because this set of folks came from a rural town in Germany.

Does that sound like the right strategy to you?

by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (775k points)
The strategy that works best for me is to identify the first generation of marriages in North America, and work backward into the spouse's families. For example if immigrant Johan Schmidt married Sarah Jones who was born in North America, I'd check to see when Sarah's parents arrived or if they were born in North America. If Sarah's parents were born in North America or married there, I'd check their siblings to see if any of them married into families that had been in North America another generation back. If you keep "stair stepping" like this, you're likely to connect to an existing profile or recognize a prominent surname and be able to plug in the missing links there.
If you're in the Big Tree, you only have to connect them to yourself somehow
On the other hand, if you have a list of marriages in that rural town in Germany, you could find you can connect a lot of families at that end.  Then one connection to the Big Tree connects most of the town.

This all needs a different kind of thinking from normal genealogy.
That is the way I work, RJ Horace. We tend to be related to a dozens of people from several small European towns because our ancestors came to America late. So if records are available, we can go back three or four generations in Europe and find most of the relatives and descendants of people on our tree. The way folks kept marrying into nearby families, it is a small gene pool and worth finding everyone in town over the course of a couple centuries.
+10 votes
This might not be a glitch, but a possible improvement. Compared my watchlist to FamilySearch. Noticed my WT women where current last name is married name, only married name shows. Many FS matches showed maiden name. Can the app be adjusted to show WT LNAB for married women? A problem I see is some men had multiple wives with the same first name.
by Bob Keniston G2G6 Pilot (207k points)
+8 votes

I wasn't surprised to see a bunch in my list:

I had built out a cluster around Sir John Slade, hoping to trace forward and find a connection, since I was pretty much stumped in tracing backwards from my great great great grandfather. I have just finished going over the report for a GEDCOM that I received from my source for Sir John's family, and it looks like there are a number of matches to existing profiles (not just the ones I had entered already), so hopefully at least one of those connections will pan out into a connection to the mainland.

I had also put up Sir Thomas Slade, and managed to find several generations descended from his sister, but that thread came to a stop after her descendants stopped being famous. (I had never thought of Wikipedia as a genealogy source, but it did give several names there.)

I was also reminded that I had adopted Frederick Banting as part of an effort to make sure that at least the top ten candidates from the CBC's Greatest Canadian series were listed in WikiTree. I built out from him as far as I could, but didn't end up connecting to the mainland. Maybe I should release that profile, since I'm pretty busy just trying to track my own family.


by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (434k points)
Sir John's sister married an Alexander Cobham.  Probably descended from a younger son of the medieval aristos of that name, but the line might not be traceable.

However, Burke's Landed Gentry has an Alexander Cobham of the same address, who is presumably the grandson of the other one.  His son married the sister of a baronet, etc etc.
Hey Greg, if you set the profiles of deceased people in Banting's line to Open, I bet we can get some people from the Canadian History Project to work on connecting him. Thanks!
+5 votes
I looked at it. I will probably not bother with it because like Gaile I have been adopting profiles that have not been worked with since before I was even a member here and the "unconnected" names are either from that list or from family members who do not want all of their information on here. With that in mind I still feel the best way for me to work on these profiles is to take the oldest edit dates on my watchlist and work forward.  That way I am improving the profiles that need improvement first and making connections when the data will allow.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
+7 votes

When I first saw my "Unconnected" list (which was actually rather short), I was embarrassed, because I recognized that it contained some people who I had uploaded in gedcoms, but had overlooked --- and they hadn't been connected to their family members in the same gedcoms. These were children who died young, collateral relatives of distant cousins, and similar people I don't often think about. Now that I've connected those profiles (and some others), I'm a lot less embarrassed about what's left on my list. In my list, I perceive a few more categories of unconnected profiles that we shouldn't be embarrassed about:

Notables and relatives of notables who are not yet linked to the tree.  After seeing my list, I did manage to connect some additional notables to the tree.

Profiles created (with sources) in order to create rejected matches. When I find records for someone who looks like one of my relatives, but clearly isn't, I often create a profile for that person and tag it as a rejected match.

People who may never be linked to the tree. I've created a few profiles for people whose biographies are reasonably well-documented (for example, they are profiled in Anderson's The Great Migration Begins), but parents and other origins are unknown, and there is no record of any spouses or children. 

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+8 votes
Wow! This is a great tool!  It does need to be added to the drop down list, however, as it took me about ten minutes to find this post again after closing it out this morning..

I found 600 people unconnected!  Most are from my cemetery work, I am sure.  The really fun part for me is finding the connections, so looks like I'll be having a blast for the next year or too. LOL!
by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (184k points)
+11 votes
Thank you!!

Here is the real power of the tool...I sorted by "oldest" profile, I worked like crazy on it...turns out it was one of the families with multiple spellings of the name and once I got two merges completed and started connecting the different spellings....I reduced the number of unconnected people in my watchlist by over 30 profiles!
by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (693k points)
That's awesome, Robin!
+5 votes

Hooray! Thanks to this feature, I was able to connect Eartha Kitt. She is six degrees from Angelique Godfroy, an ancestor of her former husband Bill McDonald. I love how the list sorts by creation date, so I can revisit some of my older, neglected profiles. The other sort and filter features are really handy - thanks!

Is it too early for a rendition of "Santa Baby"?

by Karen Lowe G2G6 Pilot (139k points)

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