Help page regarding fictional people needs additional exception added

+12 votes

Currently this help page (


All person profiles on WikiTree must represent real, individual human beings who were born on Earth.

Profiles cannot be created for:

  • unborn children,
  • fictional or mythical people,
  • families or husband-and-wife teams,
  • organizations, businesses, or other groups.

Free-Space Profiles can be created for these purposes.

There are a small group of exceptions used by the WikiTree Team and Leaders for specific WikiTree purposes. These include:

All of these must use the Last Name at Birth and Current Last Name of Example or WikiTree. This keeps them from polluting and confusing surname index pages, search results, etc. Non-person profiles can only be created by the WikiTree Team.

We have profiles of people who had shown up in genealogies that later proved to be fraudulent or just wrong. We end up placing the {{questionable}} template on them when it becomes clear that they probably never existed. 

If we take the above help text literally, then we're not supposed to have such profiles. But to delete them or move them to freespace pages would result in their profiles getting recreated by uploaded, badly researched GEDCOMs.

Examples include:

Can we therefore please add as an exception: profiles of individuals who have appeared in genealogies where subsequent research has proven they did not exist. Or something like that? Thanks.


in Policy and Style by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (918k points)

Hi Jillaine,

It's probably worth clarifying regardless, but the policy says they shouldn't be created. That's not the same as saying that they should be deleted or moved to free-space profiles after they have been created.

Are you saying that we should recommend that profiles be created so that they preempt people from mistakenly creating them? I think that would be a significant policy change, not a clarification.


Good point. But the implication from the help text is that if they do exist that they should be deleted. I had one person approach me about this.

Hi Jillaine.

I added the following as a footnote. Any suggested edits?

  1.  If a profile has been created for a person and it later becomes clear that the person never existed, the profile doesn't necessarily need to be merged-away or removed. It does need to be removed if the supposed person is BC/BCE. Otherwise, it may be helpful to leave the profile with a full explanation, especially if others might try to add the person in the future. See Category:Disputed_Existenceand Template:Questionable.
"Disputed Existence" and "Questionable" are fine for truly disputed personages. But there are numerous profiles around that are generally accepted as mythical or legendary that deserve their own category with somewhat stronger wording: Something along the line of Category:Mythical/Legendary with a complementary template that says something like "Historians and the overwhelming majority of genealogists agree that this person is mythical/legendary." (Maybe with the picture of a fire-breathing dragon on it. ;-))
Not so long ago I was told in this very forum that history begins where the records end.   A lot of stuff seems to be accepted as history in American academic circles which in Europe would be dismissed as tosh.
Chris, that's great; thanks!
I know that we have retained legendary or invented profiles in the past, for fear that if they were merged away or some other such action, then they would be recreated again.  However now we have the pre-1500 badge the chances of some one adding entire fraudulent lines seems more remote.

Do we need to look at changing what we do with those profiles, that as Helmut, says are definitely legendary.  I have at least 2 lines I've adopted of 10 generations or more that are all based on pseudo-histories, with no evidence for any of them (one includes Lancelot and the Lady of the Lake). I can add the questionable template on them all, and explain why they are considered legendary, but is it easier to in some way get rid of them?
John, that's probably worth a separate g2g thread-- in fact there probably is an existing thread in that topic. I just wanted clarity in the help text about a different kind of "fictional" profile-- those of people who were believed at one time to have existed but subsequent research has proven they didn't.

3 Answers

+6 votes
I agree! I adopted one of these profiles. I intend to source it up nicely with everything I found, but it's still all legend!
by Summer Orman G2G6 Mach 9 (95.6k points)
+8 votes
I have been researching many of the Powhatan Project profiles and can find no evidence for their existence. The mythical Indian ancestor seems to be very popular. Despite total lack of documented evidence, people continue to include them in their family trees. A great example is the undocumented child of Pocahontas, no proof has ever been found of her existence and yet people claim her as an ancestor.

I think if we delete these questionable profiles people will just add them again and again.

Could we do something to these profiles to prevent them from having descendants added until there is a documented source? That way the profile is there but no one can change it without bringing some evidence to the table?
by Jeanie Roberts G2G6 Pilot (142k points)

I really admire the work you do. Glad you're here.

You might want to start a separate g2g topic for your question. It deserves its own thread.
+4 votes
I skimmed the myth discussions and the test example multiple times in recent months. trying to get comfortable with how things relate within the prolile within the story.

I am just not digesting the example tools. Not critical. just reporting back. that I have an interest but won't try to tackle without someone giving me more support and clues.

I do have my own myth characters in mind and it would be an entertainment at some point. Keep up the work. I will catch up at some point.
by Marty Ormond G2G6 Mach 5 (57.4k points)
Marty, for the Little Dove profile, we should probably move the point by point debate to a freespace page because it is relevant to more than one profile. I believe there actually IS a freespace page but someone also included the text on the profile. When I get more time I'll work on that.
Sorry, the whole thing was lost on me. I'll stay on the sidelines for all this. total mistake.

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