Confusing help pages on non-traditional families

+13 votes

On page it says "It is possible on WikiTree for a child to have two fathers or two mothers"

On page it says "WikiTree only allows a person to have one mother and one father."

I think this may need to be worded differently.

in Policy and Style by Kirsty Ward G2G6 Mach 3 (37.4k points)
edited by Chris Whitten
I think it's trying to say that nothing stops you putting males in both parent slots, or females in both parent slots.

Presumably if one dad is the biological father, you put him in the father slot, and then put the other dad in the mother slot and mark him non-biological.
But the next line says -

"........a choice needs to be made." (Adoptions and Multiple Parents)

If a WikiTreer needs this section, it is not unclear.  I had only been on WikiTree for 4 days when I put this into practice.  I did follow up with a post in G2G asking for further advice because using the 'birth' name freaked me out.  So I went back to mom's adopted surname but explained everything in the biography.  This also helped when I added her sibling (whose family wants no connection to the birth parents).

5 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer
Hi Kirsty,

I changed the "two fathers or two mothers" line on the non-traditional families help page to say "two male parents or two female parents."

by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
selected by Sandi Wiggins
+7 votes
The first link you list works ok, but the second one has a problem, probably because of the "it" at the end which shouldn't be part of the link.

As for the content, personally I think the father and mother entry boxes should always be reserved for the genetic parent and anything else should be entered into the biography.  Maybe someday when chimeric children can be produced it will be necessary to switch to multiple fathers or mothers, but now it's just confusing and unnecessary. One can. of course, enter the assumed father and later have to change him for genetic (DNA) reasons, but doing it on purpose is basically just selfishness. (except for protecting young children from emotional termoil)
by Living Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (450k points)

Agree feels like we are asking for problems trying to track non biological relations. I understand this is sensitive but are we not making it too complex? 

Soon we have a tree with just people we feel related to all non biological.... isn't that what we use Facebook for.... ;-)

I also feel the text son of indicates a biological relationship or?

Carl Magnus Sälgö

Born November 3, 1960 in Gävle, Sweden

Son of Carl-Eric Sälgö and Eva Mona Lisa (Sjöstrand) Sälgö

+7 votes
I can only have one mother and one father. I have 2 fathers. one bio and one step. My step father adopted me when I was small, I have had no interaction with bio father since. I have my "step" listed as my father because he is, maybe not by blood but his family is my family. In my profile I have a link to my bio father stating that he is my biological father, which makes it easy to click and work on that portion of my tree.

I hope my ramble kind of cleared up what you're asking.
by Jim Tareco G2G6 Mach 3 (37.5k points)

Thanks for explaining.

As you have privacy set on your profile I can't read the profile I can just see the family tree but not your parents..... 

So the question is what do I see and how should someone accessing this public tree understand what he/she sees maybe you should have some other privacy....

Jim, I have a similar relationship

Magnus, this profile might help you see an example

My mother was adopted.  She is the first born of fraternal twins.  My family wants to know all the information we can about the adoptive family because they are our culture and where the love stems; but we also want to know about the birth side because we love a good puzzle with research.

On the other hand, my uncle's family has no interest in the birth family and does not want any connection. This means that I have different information on two siblings out of respect for living family members.  But the information can be found by following links if you are so inclined.


My parents (all 3 of them) are still alive, which is why you can't see them.
+3 votes
Kristy, I agree that the help pages are confusing and may, in my opinion, be the biggest problem with new members learning and staying with this site. There have been many efforts to fix this problem but again in my opinion they have failed in part mostly due to the fact that instead of just making things more clear and orderly too much effort has been put into changing the recommended way of doing things first. By doing that the real problem is ignored and that problem is you have to jump around trying to find the actual location that fits the problem you have. Organize what is there and then take the time to change the recommended way to do the finer points.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)

The root cause to the confusion is a bad database model. 

Define what's in the field father as the biological father and don't define in help files that something else that change over time....

If social links should be possible add new fields for that e.g. adopted, step-father, xxxxx see blog of todays solution

plus make it transparent in the user interface what kind of a relationship that is displayed on descendant view etc....

+5 votes

Lesson learned the help text is not the only place that is confusing....

My mother was adopted and I changed her profile to use the adopted father.

See the result on my blog and the profile I "tested" on Sjöstrand-29

My suggestion
Wikitree seems not built for redefining the meaning of fields ==> you get a lot of bugs and an user interface where you can't understand if its social links between people in a descendant view or biological....  

Maybe not a big issue but mixing DNA research with people adding social links just add confusions bigger than using wiki templates ever can do ;-) 

If social links should be supported add new fields. I assume a person can have more than one social link to more people they relate to as the father....

See blog for the tests I did and potential bugs

by Living Sälgö G2G6 Pilot (305k points)
edited by Living Sälgö

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