Biography Builders June 2016

+39 votes

It is easy to get in a groove creating profiles, tracing ancestries, adding sources, and making connections on WikiTree, and in that groove, forget to build a profile to its fullest. Many profiles on WikiTree, even from our best members, have sources but no substance-what do those sources tell us? What has your research revealed? Who was this person? That's what the biography section is for and this Biography Builders challenge is a personal growth challenge to encourage members to create biographies for the profiles they work on, not just find connections and sources.

500px-Biography_Builders-1.jpgEach month, we'll set a theme to the challenge, asking participants to create biographies for different people in their family tree or from certain projects and categories.

Those who participate can challenge themselves to do a little more on each profile by working through our checklist of what makes a profile "complete." We know no person will ever be completely researched, and so no profile will ever be completely done, but there are certain points in building a profile where you hit logical stopping points and can "call it" at least for awhile. Each time you do this, you can share that profile in that month's thread as an example for the community as well as have a chance to get thoughtful feedback on other things that might make nice additions.

Each time you hit a milestone in your participation you'll get a template for your profile to show others you've been making WikiTree a better place to share family history. The first template is placed when you've completed 10 profiles for Bio-Builder challenges. The numbers are cumulative, so it could be the first month you participate that you hit that mark, or it could be 5 months later. It's up to you. Just number your profiles as you go and put them in the Builders thread.

Here's our ideas for what to put on your profile:

Data Section:

birth date/place

names of parents

marriage date/place and spouse name

death date/place

Biography Section:

  • Written sentences stating the facts above, adding inline sources to each fact.
  • Baptism, burial, military, and other life events with inline sources.
  • Something to "humanize" the person, such as career or avocation with sources.
  • List of children with at least one pertinent fact.
  • Explanatory remarks, if needed (i.e. Disputed persons sections, Research Notes, Disambiguation, whatever needs extra explaining).
  • Photos or pictures, background. Not a must, but nice (If you own the copyright or if they are in the public domain).
  • Categories/Project templates.
  • Connection to the Global Tree.
  • Links to persons and events, perhaps from Wikipedia.
  • Historical context as related to the person's life.
  • Sources, Sources, Sources, cited inline!

This month the theme will be broad to get us started; we'll be more specific in the future. The theme is profiles born during the 1800s. Look at your watchlist and find some of your profiles that fit that criteria and start going through the list to see what you can do to build them up. Share your "finished" profiles here. 


Post any questions here as a comment.

in Requests for Project Volunteers by Abby Glann G2G6 Pilot (772k points)
edited by Abby Glann
Just from our watchlist this month?
Yeah, I think so. It gives us room to grow :-)
I've been waiting for something like this.  I've probably got some profiles which are mostly finished per the criteria.  This gives me an excuse to finish some off.  BTW I assume it's one pertinent fact for each child?
Inhope this project reminds people of the Biographies style guide... :-)

Biographies help page

Not to dampen enthusiasm, but I thought the point was to create new or improve old biographies, during the month. Not offer up the bios that we finished in previous months.

Re: my previous comment - Dave you're idea is correct. Take some of the "almost done" or the not so done at all and make them more done.
Yes, new bios. I need to pull Ben off my post; he was a place holder while I was working on Bethany so there was some sort of example.
I love this, Abby! I can't wait 'til I can dive in!!
What a great idea for a project!  I've actually been working on the bios of my own ancestors this month (while I'm not doing other WikiTree things, hehe :) ).  Already I see some wonderful profiles posted here, and there's giving me some good ideas!
Great idea. Once DB errors winds down some......
I also think this is a great idea, unfortunately I'm away from home for the next 10 days and Won't get much done this month, but am a definite for July.
Will there be a separate thread for a July Challenge? Has the theme been chosen? Inquiring minds and all that ...
Next bio builder's Challenge will start in the middle of July, and will be a separate thread, so you can still work on the people living in 1800. I added a couple yesterday. No a theme has not been chosen. I'm going to go start a thread.

14 Answers

+12 votes

1. Bethany Morse

2. Amos Morse

3. the author of a main source for this step-grandmother of mine just wrote with an update and it proved a good time to finally  dress up and add proper citations, as well as a ton of new sources, to good ol' Virgin Em's profile: Emma Eastman

by Abby Glann G2G6 Pilot (772k points)
edited by Abby Glann
Nice examples of well done straightforward bios.
Where are you getting your background images? has tons of public domain images.
Loved your bio of Emma.  She rivaled my grand aunt Addie (Freeman-6440) who had 8 husbands as well.  Wish I knew as much about Addie as you do about Emma.
Thanks, Carolyn! I just got lucky with there being so much in newspapers and folks finding her writings. I came across the site dedicated her and the historian a few years back but had never done anything with the info. She was quite the character!
+11 votes
  1. John Crockett Hudson , my favorite ancestor in that era, hands down.  Read his quote from when he was a POW at Camp Morton.
by Summer Orman G2G6 Mach 9 (96.8k points)
Great job, Summer!  That's a beautiful profile.
Thank you Vicky, I'm quite proud.  I show him off whenever I get the chance.  :D
Summer, Where did you get the Civil War Flag images?

Here you go Michael.....Civil War Flags

+8 votes
I have one quibble with the detail you are suggesting.

With the children, if there is a separate profile for the child, there doesn't seem to be any point in the pertinent facts, since they will appear in the other profile.

Otherwise a great idea.
by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (287k points)
I see you're point, if you've also created profiles for all the children.

But frequently persons are entered without all the children also being entered. I want the next person who comes along to know that the William Smith who's a child of John Smith is the one born in 1748 or married to Sally Jones. This should help prevent attachments to the wrong parents.
I like seeing the list of children with initial info. Paints a verbal picture of that nuclear family.
+11 votes
1. Cynthia (Trask) Allen.  Hot off the press. It's a little "Dick and Jane," she had a very short life, but going through the checklist, things like something to humanize, made it a little richer and fuller. And I remembered to put links to the family members mentioned in the bio.

2. Rolla Parker Bishop - a great, great Uncle

3. Harriet (Hollister) Bishop, wife of Rolla.

4. Frank Brown, husband of Sarah Bishop

5. Sarah Francis Bishop
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
edited by Anne B
Nice profile, Anne.
Just to prove that profiles are never really done. I put Frank and Sarah on the list yesterday, and noticed oopsees needing correction this morning.
+11 votes
Jane (Johnson) Millington born in Cheshire in 1853,

If anyone can add anything that would be great - unsure about two of her children.
by A. C. Raper G2G6 Mach 5 (53.7k points)
Jane's daughter Jessie gets married to John Evans, and they relocate to Kent. They are all living together in Frindsbury, Kent in 1911, where Jane is entered on the census as Jane Johnson. I think her death is registered as Jane Millington in the Strood district of Kent in the March quarter of 1923. If you open Jane's profile then I'd be happy to add these details for you (including full sources of course!)
It's open now. Thank you for that, I only have access to free stuff. Jane certainly moved about a lot
OK, have added the 1911 census and death details for Jane, added the census to Jessie's profile and created her husband John Evans, so that I could add their marriage details. Please feel free to rework their bios to your own style.
+9 votes

Well here's my first entry for the Biography Builders, Abel Keeling is my husband's 2xgt grandfather, and was born in 1834 in Lincolnshire, England. Would welcome comments as I know I still have plenty to learn about genealogy and wikitree.

So to even things up, I've now done the bio for my great grandmother Fanny Butt, who was born in Chelsea, London in 1843.

by Carol Keeling G2G6 Mach 8 (85.3k points)
edited by Carol Keeling
Very nice, Carol!
Ditto what Abby said.
+6 votes
Beulah Hosmer-318 Beulah doesn't count in the challenge because she isn't from the 1800's and she isn't in my watchlist. She was in the Database Errors, and got sourced by a Sourcerer. Putting 2 different projects together, and fleshing out the information yielded a fairly complete bio.
by Bob Keniston G2G6 Pilot (272k points)
Short and to the point bio.
+6 votes
Thanks for the list of things that makes a bio interesting/worthwhile/complete. It helps to know what should be included. I'm sure it's somewhere on the site, but your very clear list makes it easier.

I don't always create profiles for all the children when I create the parents bios, so I include the children's names and birthdates. Since many children do not survive very long, it seems unrealistic to add profiles for them. However, I do list them in the bio's with birth and death date if known.
by Colleen Morrison G2G3 (3.6k points)
I feel a bit differently, Colleen. I add profiles for all children including unnamed and those who were stillbirths or only lived a day or two. I think they all deserve to be recognized.
+8 votes

1. Nancy Jane Culp 

I still have some hard work to do on two of her children and her husband.  But, this is as far as I can get for now.  Let me know if this is heading in the right direction.  The inline citations are of the experimental style we played with quite awhile back.  I may change them however.

by Michael Stills G2G6 Pilot (537k points)
Nicely done.
Michael, I noticed you're getting the row of numbers at the top of the sources section. I've seen some people complain about those and I don't get them so I was going to compare Nancy's profile to one of mine to see what I do differently. Couldn't though because of her privacy level.

Can anyone point me to an open profile that has the numbers so I can look?
Debi, the numbers are a result of the way they are created.  This was the experimental part I was talking about.  I opened the profile.
Thanks, Michael. Now I remember the whole discussion and not just the part where I decided I didn't like the way it looked and ignored it *grin*

Thanks for letting me look.

Very nice, Michael. I meant to reply again after you asked about backgrounds-I was on my phone. My collection is open to use here on WikiTree. I house it here in my toolbox.

I'm always fascinated by the unwed mother, who ends up married to the minister. I've run into several now.
Interesting Anne, do you have any you can share?
I remember the circumstance, because it was notable, but not necessarily who it was. It may come to me.
If you do find them, share them.  I would be interested. Have you drawn inclusions or have any thoughts on the situation?
+5 votes

I've been working on cleaning up my gedcom import of the Meares family this month. I've  done quite a few but this is the first that I've finished since the Biography Builders challenge started.

  1. Sarah (Hammock) Meares
by Debi Hoag G2G6 Pilot (412k points)
I want to add more about her adult years but need to take a break from her for a bit. In the course of working her up, I improved sources in her mother-in-law, husband, and one son; added the documentation to connect her to her parents; and created a whole new profile with research for the judge who issued her marriage license.

So far this month, I've upset one profile manager, passed on research to two others, reconnected with two more researcher of the same family,  and created 2xgreatgrandfather of one of them. Looks like I'm on a roll.
Very nice profile, Debi. Upsets happen, as do those rabbit holes in improving surrounding profiles. One reason we though Bio Builders would be fun. It forces us to focus on one profile for as long as we can stand it :-)
Your Sarah and her husband certainly gave their children unique names. Nice profile Debi
+4 votes
Here's one I just completed while doing the sourcerer's challenge:
by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (292k points)
Nice, Carolyn. Thanks for joining in!
+5 votes

Keep getting sidetracked on pre 1800 profiles,

Here are the ones for 1800s I have added bio and source to. Granville Stone-464, Added US Census 1830 to bio and source. Dudley Stone-1189, Added bio per family stories and Find A Grave. Lewis D Eades-237, Added bio and source for Application for Pension War of 1812

Still researching, but when I find something needing immediate attention, I wonder toward it and get sent off in another direction.  :)

by Cheryl Caudill G2G6 Mach 1 (15.4k points)
I wonder what else you can find for some of those. Inserting what you might be able to glean from the census data and such into a written narrative would be great, too. It's amazing how much can be said about some of those older census where there aren't family lists, but there are counts of folks and property descriptions or who people are living by that can be useful and interesting.
+3 votes Jane Lawry ... my great great grandmother :) I've pretty much finished this profile for now. I'm just waiting on permission for one more pic of the old Ferry Bridge near Springston to add into her bio.

by Living Blacklock G2G6 Mach 3 (30.5k points)
reshown by Living Blacklock

Nicely done, Nicky. I love seeing her signature on the suffragette petition.

I noticed a small typo "February 1897 Jane's heath, described as "very delicate", "

Excellent bio, Nicky.
Excellent, Nicky! Looks and reads well. What an interesting and strong woman :-)
+6 votes
1.    Uriah Wilson (1805-1891)

His life spanned the 19th century and while just a plain old farmer his life did take a few twists and turns.
by Connie Graves G2G6 Mach 6 (60.3k points)
Fantastic profile, Connie. Uriah must have had a lawyer for a best buddy, ay? ;-)
Yes a lawyer in the family would have come in handy.  Now that you mention it I see some of the court cases had a motion for change of venue to a different county where a Judge who was a cousin resided.  Very perceptive of you.  That is another avenue to investigate.  Thanks so much for your comments.

That is such a great profile Connie! :)
Thanks Nicky.  Appreciate your positive feed back.
Since working on the profile for Uriah Wilson some new facts about the family have turned up.  This is what I love about Wikitree, one thing  leads to another and wha la you have another great family story.  While going over Uriah's children I found out a whole lot more on his son-in-law James D. Dalzell who was quite a Romeo.  We already knew he had one illegitimate child but on Wikitree I found two unmanaged profiles for another illegitimate child and her mother. Of course, I had to adopt those profiles and that led to more searches. Then I found a profile for one of his legitimate children and have requested the profile manager to add me to the trusted list so I can include it with the rest of the children.  You can see quite a bit of finessing was needed to bring the story together. Well, the result is this profile for James D. Dalzell that I had to add to Biography Builders so you would have "the rest of the story."  James D. Dalzell,

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