Already frustration with a notable

+17 votes
I know I'm a wikitree rookie, but I am already frustrated by famous people issues, just like on findagrave. I adopted a profile and the person is related to a notable (author Erle Stanley Gardner.) I found this out after the adoption of the profile, so I was not seeking out some link to a notable. Anyway, I go to the notable page and there are sources, BUt NONE ARE GENEALOGICAL. I thought wikitree was about the genealogy. Sources are all to his book info, wikipedia, etc. This wiki tree member seems quite regarded for contributions and I get that, but shouldn't there be census, birth, and death records attached? Did I MISS something on the point of wikitree? Can I nudge this member to add some actual genealogy sources or should I just forget about it and move on?
WikiTree profile: Eugene Drake
in The Tree House by Natalie Trott G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Oh the notable has an OPEN profile. I can add the genealogy. Thank goodness. Still, I don't get the purpose of creating notable bios with no genealogical information.
Some notables are difficult to source genealogical info for, as some don't use their real names (or they make stuff up about their origins).
Good point. In this case, there are records, though. It'd be great if the profile creator noted such things in research notes or something.
I am the offending profile manager in this case. Criticism taken and noted, but I thought I would say a word in my defense also. Sometimes I find notable (and other) profiles in need of adoption. I adopt them, flesh them out and improve them as well as I can and with the time available, and move on. Wikitree is collaborative and I appreciate the contributions of others, who have more to add on the profile. Sometimes family members of the profile will send me a message and let me know they are related. I always ask if they would like to be added to the trusted list.

Sometimes I create (instead of adoption) profiles for notable people when I notice they don't yet have a Wikitree page. My intent is to honor them. I add the family members I can glean from available sources and hope they will be improved upon and connected to the global family tree.

Is this wrong?
I think a combination of the two is ok with more weight towards the genealogical side for obvious reasons.

Thanks for responding, J.Salsbery I noticed that you were not the "offender," since someone else had created the profile. Thanks for adopting it and improving it. I will continue to add if I find more, and I agree with Iain about a combination of the two sets of information. Still this is a genealogical tree, so more of the genealogy should be presented. (simply my opinion, not a demand.) Thanks for understanding my frustration. 


3 Answers

+17 votes
Best answer
I agree with you 100% Wikitree should be about the genealogy, birth and death certificates etc. I was expecting to open the profile and find nothing there. There is a biography (digested from Wikipedia) but a bio.

Reality is there are a lot of profiles on wikitree, and only a certain number of man hours to research and then build good biographies.

The profile is open, there is nothing to stop you from finding some genealogical sources to add to the profile. It would be much improved by having some of those facts verified by genealogical sources.
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
selected by Sandi Wiggins
Thanks. Doing that right now!
Nice Job Natalie. Thank you.
+9 votes

Different people work different ways. I think that's a positive feature of WikiTree, not a problem. A feature not a bug. Besides there's many profiles in worse shape than the one you refer to. I blame the GEDCOMs, an example of something many users employ, but which I won't have anything to do with. Because we all work in different ways. My focus is as a connector, which means I don't usually write much biography, just offer up notes if there's military service, names of parents with no dates, quirky bits of bio like the lady who went on "Queen for a Day" on TV and won. Personally, I think it's a waste of time and space to write the basic data already in the profile fields in the bio. But others do it, and I wouldn't try to stop them.

In particular, when it comes to Notables, these are people who are famous. They're covered in newspapers and other media. In recent months, I have added or connected the following notorious Notables: Terry Nichols, Cliven Bundy and Warren Jeffs. All three are incarcerated at present, and I've included newspaper links in the bios. If they're musicians, of which I've added/connected quite a few, I typically include links to videos. For some of these people such as blues pioneer Robert Johnson, there's not a whole lot of records, no one's ever found a birth certificate, despite plenty of looking. Even his LNAB is shrouded in mystery. In Johnson's case, there was a court decision declaring someone his son, which became an issue long after the bluesman died, because there are present day royalties to be claimed. I linked a clipping about that as source for the parentage.

I guess I'd recommend not getting too wound up about how other people work. You won't be able to mold them to your wishes anyhow, so I don't think it's worth the bother. We have pretty wide latitude here, and the work will never be finished. I'm content to know I'm contributing items of use, and leave it at that. Knowing that others contribute in their own ways, different than mine.

That said, my pet peeve with Notables is when someone is marked Notable but there is no indication of any kind as to why they are notable.

by Living Winter G2G6 Mach 7 (76.6k points)
edited by Living Winter
Amen and thank you Elizabeth Winter!
+5 votes
As a Notable Project Member, the way we do the notable profiles are exactly about genealogy. Part of the study of genealogy is not just only about the line in which they descend from but also about the person as well. We are allowed to use the sources and information on Wikipedia to complete that information since they are notables. This is how we get the clues of where to search for such records as birth, death, census, etc. But you also have to remember that with a living notable, it is difficult to publish that information when it comes to privacy. Also, census records of 1950 and on are not available and won't be for awhile. So there may be those records but no one has access to them.

Part of the notable project is to list why they were notables. The person you mentioned was an author, so naturally the person that created the profile or adopted and improved the profile, would want to include that information in there. Those are achievements to be proud of. Being related to several notable characters, I'm very proud of those that I am related to through ancestors and could only hope to one day have the same said about me by my descendants or 30 times removed cousins who might do this very same thing years down the road.

They way I look at it, at least those that might do this then, have a pretty good head start and don't have to ask those questions of "well we know when they were born, died, etc... what did they do with their lives?"

Genealogy tells a story. So read the story.
by Living Bartlett G2G6 Mach 2 (26.7k points)

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