Do we want to discuss the meaning of "Historically-Significant Ancestor"?

+18 votes
Since I'm dead-set on EuroAristo beating Categorization in the Tags ranking. . .

My own opinion is that HSA should be used for any ancestor who is part of a significant line. Really, that's a practical judgment on my part more than anything else, since HSA is identical with ID-lock, and locking in the correct LNAB for EuroAristo profiles is my number one priority.

Frankly, I'm not completely satisfied with "Historically-Significant" as a formulation, and would prefer something like "Massively-Common" (no, that's not a real suggestion!) since it's the presence of the ancestor on the trees of many members that makes it important to take special care with his/her profile, but I'm ecstatic about the tool!
in Policy and Style by Roger Travis G2G6 Mach 2 (24.5k points)
Hear, hear!  Though I have no recommendation to offer for the ID-lock (HSA is fine with me), I wholeheartedly embrace Roger's thinking and his lead on this and several other related issues brought up here at G2G today.
Thanks, Keith!

Hi Roger,

I need some clarification to follow what you mean.  I am new at this, so please forgive my ignorance as I try to get up to speed.

What does, "Since I'm dead-set on EuroAristo beating Categorization in the Tags ranking" mean?  I thought tags and categories were the same thing.  I don't have any royalty in my family (a couple of Sirs, but no royalty.), so I don't run into your EuroAristos at all.

What is, "LNAB for EuroAristo"?  Last Name ??

What is ID-lock and what does it do?  Does it prevent a new GedCom from creating a duplicate profile?  I don't want to lock the profiles I manage from editing, but I would like to halt the creation of new duplicates.

Where are the Tools? "I'm ecstatic about the tool!" I have a template for DAR Revo War ancestors, and I am sure there are other tools out there.  How do I find them?  I wish they were all organized under the Help menu (. . . hint to Lianne!)

Thank you for your clarifications.  Kitty Smith


My personal take on this is lock the ancestor when in doubt (on whether they qualify).  I came very close to leaving wikitree a year ago after one too many accidental sabotages of my earliest known ancestor occured.  The reasons wikitree works so well are the easy access to trees, the ability to link up to others, easy citations of sources, and the search capibilities (honestly I could go on but I don't have the time).  But it's biggest flaw in my eyes was after spending countless hours uploading and linking, one mis-informed person could undo it all with only a handful of clicks of the mouse.

To me, the LDS site is a disaster as there's no quality control.  Without locking some of the early ancestor profiles on wikitree we could fall into the same trap.  I think there should always be a handful of people set as admins/profile mgrs to each early ancestor profile (as it is now) and only they should be able to make changes to the profiles.  And these mgrs should not be able to be labeled as "Anonymous S" and have accessible email addresses.  If the manager is as dedicated to preserving the accuracy of the profile they won't mind the availibility.  If they aren't, they can move on.  The bottom line for me is this - why dedicate all those hours of uploading and citing when some yahoo can undo it all in 5 minutes??  How many times do you want to redo it??

Thanks for reading this and thanks to all of you who have given wikitree countless hours of your time and energies in making such a wonderful genealogy tool.

6 Answers

+10 votes
Best answer

Creating a new answer to bring this topic back "up"...

I think it's time that we separate the locking of profiles (so they won't be merged away) from "historically significant". One is a technical solution; the other is a type of categorization. 

In fact, it seems to me that Lianne's new project templates are a much more appropriate way to identify historically significant people but in more specific ways.

In the meantime, we need a way to lock profiles from being merged away, whether or not the person is historically significant or part of a project like Mayflower Famlies or EuroAristos. What would it take to do this?

by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (764k points)
selected by Mary H.

For reference, this discussion moved to: Is it time to separate locking a profile from Historically Significant designation?

Thank you, Jillaine. :-)

+7 votes
I like the ID lock on the lowest number on a set of matching individuals, to control to some extent  the crazy merges that I have seen.
by Becky Syphers G2G6 Mach 3 (35.7k points)
+6 votes
Hi Roger and Kieth, You two are on fire.  Great job.  Keep up the good work.  I'm impressed.

Just a thought in the spirit of the Great Migration a First Emigrant Ancestor Catagory could cover all countries and would be less broad.  That ancestor could also be HSA for highly significant for contributions at the Colony/Country level-not just that he immigrated and helped Establish or Found a Town and was active in their affairs.
by A B G2G6 Mach 4 (41.1k points)
Thanks, Alan!
+10 votes

For context, here are the current requirements for being marked historically-significant:

  • The person must fit within the bounds of a current or soon-to-be-created ancestor user group or project.
  • The person must fit Wikipedia's guidelines for notability if they are under 200 years old.
  • The profile should have the final WikiTree ID, ie. the lowest-numbered ID for the person with the appropriate LNAB.
by Lianne Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (423k points)
+11 votes
More great discussion!

I was unsure at first when to use the HSA tag. I was working on the chiefs of the clans Maclean and Macdonald and I decided they were historically significant regardless of whether or not they are considered aristocracy so I used the tag.

I think maybe there needs to be a HSA hierarchy of several classes for example:

Royalty could be HSA1

Other Hereditary titles (aristocracy) HSA2

Government/Politicians, HSA3

Other famous people like, explorers, inventors, thinkers, celebrities, etc HSA4

First families (Immigrants and pioneers), HSA5

This is just off the top of my head
by Eugene Quigley G2G6 Mach 7 (75.6k points)
I like the idea of differentiation, but if this were to be considered, I'd like to make sure there would also be a category for members of old families who are common ancestors for so many of us, so that we could take special care of their Profile-ID's. Merges are the one irreversible thing on Wikitree--I've found this out to my sorrow, through my own fault, over and over, and having that lock on the profile, even if it's just the younger son who happens to have the same same as his nephew, makes a huge difference.
Eugene, when you suggest this hierarchy, what use of these classes are you picturing?

Right now, marking a profile as an HSA is pretty much just a practical thing, locking the ID, and displaying a badge to show that a user group/project is managing the profile.
Hi Lianne,

I guess I'm just considering the fact that there are a lot of duplicate profiles out there that do not fall under the principles you stated above for being marked historically-significant. Roger's respone gives a great example "for members of old families who are common ancestors for so many of us" and they may not fall under the domain of a particular group or project.

 I guess hierarchy is the wrong word - it would be more like a classification of HSAs tha would quickly identify the reason the person was tagged.
I see what you're saying. I guess my thinking is that if people don't currently fit the criteria, it's probably because there's a project that should exist and just doesn't yet. :)
Oh, that last thing you said just got me thinking. I get a lot of people asking me why a certain profile is marked as an HSA. Maybe it should be a requirement that all HSA profiles be put in a category that makes it clear what user group/project is managing it. Eg. Euro Aristo profiles are usually put in a category for the house they're members of, Acadian profiles go in Category:Acadians, Mayflower passengers go in Category:Mayflower Passengers, etc.
I haven't got my head around the categorization project yet.

I went to the pages and I understand the how but I'm not so sure about the why in some cases. For example I understand a category like Artist or Musician or member of some group or a branch of the military or ethnic group or immigrant.

Then I go to regions and follow on through to Nova Scotia and I see about 25 place names - some of them pretty obscure - this I know because I've been to most of them. This is where I don't get it. I thought if I clicked on a place name I would find out something about the place but instead I get a list of people. Tangier lists one person: Mary O Lorman and I'm just not sure what that tells me other than she is associated with Tangier. For a city like Boston there should be thousands of people associated with it so I go check and it isn't there at all?

Sorry, of HSA topic!

That's interesting, Eugene, because the regional categories are the one place I feel sure of the purpose! :)

I'm doing a one-place study, so that's what makes the regional categories so appealing to me. And anyone who comes along to WikiTree and wants to do a one-place study can find the relevant category and instantly see a list of the profiles that already exist for their study (more so when categories are more widely used).

Ideally, every category page would have a short description of the place, and potentially a link to a Space page with more details. I also see this being a helpful guide to changing borders and place names. Eg. see

Oh, and Boston totally does have a category! :) Since you couldn't find it, I'm curious, what path did you take to try? That might suggest something that needs to be made clearer.

Apparently categories bring out the chattiness in me... :P

Thanks Lianne!

I've heard of one-name study but never one-place study - cool idea!

I guess I didn't look far enough. When I went to Nova Scotia the 25 or so communities were under Nova Scotia - a few counties were listed but not all. When I went to Massachusetts it is further divided, something I didn't realize this morning, by county and a few other categories. Once i realized this (after several coffee),  I did find Boston however I had to first know what county it was in.

It seems like the "Browsing Categiries" listed on is nowhere near what is actually available. Looks like a huge job to update that page unless it can be automated.

If you know how the categories are named, you can also go straight there with the URL.

Yeah, the Browsing Categories list just shows the general structure we use. It could never fit all the categories.
Anything happen with the HSA hierarchy thing? :-)
That never really went anymore, largely (I think) because there didn't seem to be a reason for it that wasn't already covered by categories.
Question from a relatively new person.  I realize this discussion is a year old, but what does  "lockingl" mean, does that mean no one with a poor ancestor cannot connnect to it.?   If it is locked,and the profile manager dies, heaven forbid, then what happens.??

And If locked how do others even view it.

2 Does anyone ever update the WikiTree help index.?  I read of this and that new category or template etc, but can never find them in the Help index. I am sure the leaders can find them, but what about the other people?  Am I the only one that has trouble finding things?   So far I copy the items I read about, and paste them on my Nav page Scratch Pad, it is getting full.



And...  what is the difference of category and tag?


Hi Mary! "Locking" an ID refers to making a profile a Project Protected Profile. All that means is that the profile can't be merged into another profile (though other profiles can be merged into it). The purpose of locking the ID is to keep the last name at birth (LNAB) and therefore the profile ID correct.

So, project-protecting a profile does not stop anyone from linking it, or from editing it, or anything like that.

As for your second question, the help index and help category are updated, but categories and templates are not typically listed there. Templates can all be found in Category:Templates. Categories can all be found through the category hierarchy, which starts with Category:Categories.

+4 votes

Why is there such a big hurry in a new categorization of a Historically Significant Profile? For example I was on the trusted list for Sarah Lewis (Lewis-249) a profile that has no documentation or sources.  Yet, Lindsay Coleman leaves a post on the profile "This profile is a work-in-progress. Under the developing rules on historically-significant ancestors over 300-years-old supervisors are doing expedited merges. We need one manager to take primary responsibility for each profile. Management rights and/or trusted status may be terminated per policy. Please see for more details."

If you don't want the managers to do their job, why don't you just say so?  I mean what is the big hurry? This profile was already under Protection.  How could it be merged away?


by Mary H. G2G6 Mach 7 (78.7k points)
Mary, there are lots of profiles out there with that was done over 2 years ago when there weren't all the projects we have now.
Then what is the reason if only for categorization and technical reasons?  When you say locked out,,,does that mean the private button would no longer be open for persons over 200-300 years old?  Isn't that going against policy?   If you want to recatigorize a profile, add the category and let the profile managers know.  Why make it more difficult?
Hi Mary,

Robin is right, that message is a couple years old. It went up when we, the Leaders (then Supervisors) were in a constant battle with new duplicates of profiles coming in with every gedcom upload. The duplicates were getting out of control, so there was an initiative to get all those merged into one, final profile-the same goal we have now, but with the gedcoms being of far better quality because our procedure has changed, it isn't as necessary. The usual path of requesting a merge works just fine. You can actually delete that message, if you would like.

That message was simply there to let profile managers know a Leader was going through all the merges at a rapid pace because there were so many (at the time) or the family lines were messy. I don't think it made things any more difficult, but it did bypass the usual system at the time. It is less common now, though does happen in very popular family lines, like those of the Mayflower families, or in the European Aristocracy Project.  It doesn't affect your ability to do anything with the profile. Just talking about merging.

I am sorry, there is no way to delete the message on the profile.  I was told any posts were to be left on the profile page.  Thanks for the advice.

I deleted the message.
thank you.

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