Mentors Tips - WikiTree, almost a degree in genealogy?

+30 votes

Hello WikiTreers!

I have been thinking about my over two years on WikiTree. I often tell people that in 18 years of doing Genealogy, I met a handful of cousins through that work - none of them really wanted to collaborate. Then I stumbled into WikiTree and I can't even count the number of cousins who have found me!

I also started thinking about my knowledge base in Genealogy. I have a BA degree, but certainly not in Genealogy. The time I spent working in my College's library may suffice as one of the corner stones in my Genealogical education for sure, but the time on WikiTree in the last two years has expanded my Genealogical knowledge base exponentially.

You will expand yours as well, here are some tips to forward your education:

  • Check in on new questions in G2G once a day
  • Answer simple help questions in G2G daily
  • Read through more involved G2G questions daily
  • Participate in the more involved discussion on G2G
  • Join a project
  • Work on Categories for your profiles
  • Become a Mentor
  • Collaborate...

Have anything you would like to add to the list?

Mags Gaulden, BA, WikiTree MA


in The Tree House by Mags Gaulden G2G6 Pilot (658k points)

Thank you for all the wonderful advice for the "WikiTreers"  I joined Wiki last July so am new to Genealogy.  I answered my first question today and was so proud of myself!  I just became a Cemeterist! and totally love it.  Became a Black Sheep my husbands great grandmother researched many years ago and determined they were related to Henry Morgan the Pirate.  I just never new how exciting and fulfilling this was going to be.

Now down to my question for you said that we should work on categories for our profiles.  Do you mean categories such as hobbies, traveling, military service, interesting things they did to earn money?


This is why I am trying very hard to learn Wikitree-ing - because they are strong on doing it right!  I've been at it a long time in an OJT situation but a few years ago googled the Genealogical Board of Certified Genealogists and reviewed wht it takes to be a "real" one.  TONs of work but they give you som excellent ways to "evaluate" all those wild and crazy varying pieces of evidence.  I've used it since and feel it truly strengthens my conclusion when there is no BIRTH CERTIFICATE in 1737.  Also I ordered one of the Eliabeth Shown Mills books and it supporting what I've been doing.  An undergrad wanting to be a grad!  I use images of documents whenever possible, saves on explanations!

Thanks for brining this up!
Thanks for the thanks Barb. Mags
Thanks to both of you!  I am trying to learn the proper way to do things myself which is why I am so glad that Wikitree is so insistent about doing things properly.  Anyone can learn to do things sloppy or improperly documented, but I am a perfectionist and I want to learn the fine art of this being a genealogist.

Thanks again to both of you.

Taylor, it just takes the willingness to put in the time rather than copy/pasting indexes or gedcoms thinking that covers it.  Find those docs, the real things if at all possible - through LDS family history centers if necessary. They can be a Godsend but it doesn't happen over night. My cousin said that "our ancestors want us to find them."  I've had lightning strikes hit me so many times I believe it. Happy Trails
Barb, I agree with your cousin "that our ancestors want us to find them"

thanks for the feedback.


Forgot to ask you. What are the LDS Family History Centers?  I am going to buy one of the Eliabeth Shown Mills books.  I went to my library yesturday and was totally disappointed.  I looked in the History/non-fiction section and they had nothing on the Salem Witch Trials etc and nothing on the Mayflower.  I live in a small town. I was actually looking for a book by George T Clark published in 1866 The abbreviated title is ...In His Genealogies of The Older Families. It's not available to read online.

Thanks Taylor

Taylor, I bought an older Mills book and find it very informative and less expensive it is Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian, just a comment. Also check the chart here which gives  the basis for documentation and analysis of sources. You don't have to read tons of literature to learn.

FHCs  If you live in a small rural area it may take more time for you to utilize Fam. History Ctrs.  They have one in about every Mormon Temple/Church anywhere, it is an open to the public free research area inside the temple with microfilm readers and access (by renting films from Salt Lake City) anything they have at that library. They have many index films to find the specific films you want to order (cheap, keep two weeks and go there to use). also has lists of films they have and you could probably find them there and order it through your chosen FHC without going there first to find it from their index film. (Clear as mud?)  The internet abounds with wonderful information getting better all the time BUT no way does it have the "full Monty".  My mentor who researched over 50 years always said "Read it for yourself? Look at the real document, not someone's abstract even a book if you want to find the real value of a document.  You can miss nuances in deeds and wills, etc by reading abstracts or indexes. 

Know your ancestor's stomping grounds and start there, learning about their neighbors then finding their documents it all opens up into a huge new world of family knowledge. The downside: it takes time and not a little money sometimes so learn enough to know what is important for you to spend $$ to get the real thing.

You have probably seen this (if its what you're looking for)  but your book is available at half a dozen libraries, albeit spread across the US.  Folks have been known to go to SLC on vacation to research the library there.  Depends what you think this book would offer you.  You can also contact the specific library and ask for assistance/copies of specific pages, indices with names and they are likely to do it if minor help that might guide you to another better source.. I always offer to pay for their service, they often don't ask.  Many libraries will do this, I've found them very helpful on line.

I hope this is not a lot of hot air . . . it is not an instant gratitude hobby! LOL!





Thank you so much for all the information.  I will buy the Book Evidence by Elizabeth Shown Mills you spoke of as my library sure doesn't have it.  Thanks for sharing the link to the Genealogical Board of Certified Genealogists they do provide some excellent points for evaluating evidence.

Thank you again


4 Answers

+11 votes
Excellent Post, thank you.
by Sally Stovall G2G6 Pilot (132k points)
+9 votes
Good list, Mags!

I'd add to it, to review "showcase" profiles to get some ideas to help you learn what kinds of information you may want to seek out - as well as generate ideas for places to look. I have found some info for profiles through very circuitous routes, much to my delight. It isn't that every profile should be a showcase, but it can illustrate what is possible, and possibly open your creative explorations in ways you had not previously considered.
by S Willson G2G6 Pilot (228k points)
+9 votes
Just one thing comes to mind ... sharing sources. A quick note in G2G for an interesting source or how to access that source may be enough. Adding the source to a relevant category even better.

by Rosemary Jones G2G6 Pilot (268k points)
+11 votes
When I joined, I was completely clueless about how to find out anything about anyone - especially my family, when the farthest back I knew about was 2 grandmothers' names.

Since all my grandparents were immigrants, I started by selecting a couple of Unsourced United States profiles to work on in order to start with simpler ones.  I ended up gradually getting into immigrants when I went back in the family of the ones I started with and that made it almost natural for me to expand my learning because, by the time I got that far back, I had learned a lot of the basic stuff.

So ... I would add a suggestion to start by adopting a profile already here that needs work - either from the Unsourced or the Needs Bio/Narrative category.  You can select one that looks like it will require a low level of expertise, get help by asking G2G, and then work your way up to the more challenging ones from there.  In the process, you'll be making valuable contributions to the global tree - truly a win-win situation!.
by Gaile Connolly G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

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