New to WikiTree but not to genealogy

+17 votes

This is by way of introducing myself to the community. I'm a retired public librarian from a very large system where I was for many years the History Specialist and then the Head Archivist, with active involvement in the Genealogy Collection (which was and is one of the largest of any public library in the country). I started doing this stuff in college in the early '60s, when my grandmother died and left me all her research from the 1920s through the '50s. I've also taught adult ed genealogy courses for years, have served on a state society board, and spent a decade as editor of a statewide genealogical journal.

I became involved with WeRelate about seven years ago and I'm a volunteer admin there. I've created 25,000+ pages at that site -- partly on my own very extended family but also on a number of projects of historical interest to me. Since profile management is handled rather differently here, I won't be creating anything like that many pages at WikiTree!

I'm here mostly out of curiosity, to experiment and to broaden my research presence online. I'll start out small and see what happens.


in The Tree House by Michael Smith G2G6 (6.5k points)
There were several named Shubal or Shubel Smith in early MA.

Shubel Smith married Abigail Skiff 12/03/1684

They had a son, Shubal Smith in 1702 or 1703

What was the name of the library where you were the Head Archivist?
I was at the Dallas Public Library for 30+ years but I moved to Louisiana after retirement. All my Smiths, by the way, are Upper South & Midwest -- Virginia to Missouri to Iowa. I have very, very few New England genes.

3 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer


Welcome. I'm a former WR volunteer admin myself. I left WR years ago, though. (I don't even remember why... I just wandered over here one day and never left...)

The advantages of wikitree:

  • amazing online community. Over at WR, I think it's a much smaller (but perhaps tighter?) and diminishing? community of active folks. 
  • active (or at least more active) sysop/founder -- Chris Whitten. As you know, Dallas has moved on, and I fear there's not much future left in WR. 
  • Active engagement of the community here through g2g.
  • An amazing number and variety of volunteer projects, highly coordinated and supported. 
  • Related: Pretty extensive volunteer admin community, broken down by various focus areas, including a welcoming committee, mentors for folks who need/want help, and "rangers" who keep an eye out for troublemakers.
  • Allows profiles for living people that can be privatized.

Disadvantages of wikitree (i.e., things you may struggle getting used to):

  • less sophisticated technology platform; shows up problematically in the next few bullets:
  • limited number of fields on profiles. 
  • Bulk of gedcom data is dumped into the profile narrative. There have been some recent improvements to how this is done, but you'll see a lot of older profiles where the GEDCOM upload/conversion process resulted in really ugly profiles. We're cleaning them up.
  • Citations are not attached to data fields. Only show up in narrative. (And how they're converted from gedcoms is still pretty ugly.)
  • No Source namespace. After witnessing the painful cleanup of WR's Source namespace, I tried repeatedly to encourage Chris to import/copy the content of WR's source name space-- Dallan even agreed-- but answer is 'no'. :-( There's been discussion here about recreating their own Source namespace. God help 'em. I certainly won't. ;-)
  • No Talk pages associated with Profiles; they use g2g instead, which I generally think works, but takes some getting used to.
  • over-use of married names for women. (This was the biggest issue that almost sent me running in the beginning.) It's slightly better now, as they've modified some of the display options

As you see, despite the disadvantages I listed, I'm still here.

There are probably more pros/cons, but these are the first that come to my mind. Happy to be of service as you familiarize yourself with wikitree.
Oh and you'll notice some things are the same: really opinionated people. ;-)
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (918k points)
selected by Rosemary Jones
Another thing to get used to: the notion of "profile managers". At least when I was still at WR, we didn't have that concept. You simply had watchlists (which wikitree calls Trusted Lists-- and they act a bit differently).

Read the help files.
Yeah, I think I kind of like the idea of "managers" who have a certain amount of control over what happens to the pages they may have spent a lot of time on. I believe the same thing can be done in projects with "PPP." (Yes, I've been reading.) At the same time, I'm not about to try to import all the pages I've done on Red River County, for instance, or on various high-profile Southern & Western families because I don't have 100 hours a week to devote to managing them.
+3 votes
Welcome aboard. I look forward to your posts.
by Yvonne Butler G2G3 (3.8k points)
+6 votes
Michael, Welcome to WikiTree.  Take your time.  There is a lot to take in at WikiTree.  The more you learn, the better it gets.  G2G is a great place to get your questions answered.  With your background, I am sure you will be making great contributions in no time.
by Michael Stills G2G6 Pilot (531k points)

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