What is the policy on Descendant of... categories?

+11 votes


Is this something we want to encourage? discourage?

Seems like it could get out of hand...
in Policy and Style by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (822k points)

Why not?

In Sweden we have Facebook group for people related to Hans Stockhaus - Stockhaus-3 a Blacksmith that come to Sweden in abt. 1550

What purpose does it serve?

I dont say its the best idea.... 

But in the Hans Stockhaus case as people doing genealogy in Sweden know if they are related to Hans Stockhaus (it is easy to research blacksmiths) then it make fun to see how you are related to a specific person and also if you find a person that they have a connection.... as its 10 generations away its too far away to use standard functionality

We can do that now with the connection/relationship finders without the need to place a category on the profile of every descendant, though, right?

No... and is it a problem...

How do you see on the profile or find out that the following people are related to Stockhaus-3 or have a common ancestor

Aldrin-1 Buzz Aldrin

It just seems to me that we could end up with a lot of such categories on MANY profiles if more and more people decide they want to track descendants of any given person.

And is that a problem?

Feels the problem inside WikiTree are all people not following WikiTree Honour code and upload unsourced profiles that are not well researched and that do nothing more than add confusion...

If you have some 1000 "odd" categories that makes people to research more I feel it adds value...

See my analyze of a merge. About 5900 gedcom uploaded profiles with nearly no sources and claiming that they have relations to people in 1560 in Norway.... that is a problem and violates  WikiTree Honour code and will be the end of WikiTree if WikiTree doesn't focus doing good genealogy and and focus on sourcing profiles...  

Unless wikitree moves where it currently displays categories, a long list of categories could take up an entire screen of the profile narrative-- maybe more. I'm also just not sure why we need to know that a 19th century ancestor was a descendant of Robert Harrington or Charlemagne.

>> I'm also just not sure why we need to know that a 19th century ancestor was a descendant of Robert Harrington or Charlemagne.

Maybe ask the category creator....

>> a long list of categories could take up an entire screen of the profile narrative

Wikpedia have the categories displayed at the bottom of an article it must be 2 lines of WikiTree programming code to change if that is a problem... 

Today the only too long profiles I have found are garbage profiles another more urgent problem I feel that people just upload and do nothing 

Here you have an odd family tree with long profiles something that makes me a little bit more sad about....


Oh dear goodness. Just looking through that long profiles list, I found what could be an urgent error. Someone posting contents of entire books to profiles. Sent off an urgent message to info at wikitree.

So yes, there is also something more urgent to work on. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't address things that are less urgent, but also important.
EDIT: re: Dan Olson gedcom: this is clearly a gedcom upload problem. I've alerted Eowyn.

>> Gedcom error
I have posted in the Ranger group... about this,...

Regarding too many categories and the screen is full. Check Project database Error new search G2G Aleš Trtnik has added expand/collapse in the left bar ==> we could have the same with categories etc.....  to hide complexity

See Video

If someone is interested we could try to do the same with Templates.... what we need is some lines server based javascript... common.js


3 Answers

+2 votes

I'm a descendant of Robert Harrington-100, and a bunch of Open profiles in my ancestry/family were added to that category (it was created quite some time ago), but I'm not aware that there has ever been any discussion of that category, nor am I aware of any reason for a special focus on this particular man. This is not a paternal-line one-name study -- most of the people in the category are descendants with names other than Harrington. I suppose the contributor who created this category is working on a genealogy of the descendants of Robert Harrington.

I agree that this could get out of hand, but at least a category has much less potential to harm the shared tree than some users' practice of adding asterisks or other labels in name fields to identify their ancestors. In the long term, do you suppose users could be given the ability to maintain private categories, visible only to a select few?

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Hi, Ellen.  The benefit of that category is that I share it, and just checked and you and I are 8th cousins once removed.  Which doesn't mean I'll get invited to Thanksgiving dinner, but it's a fun connection, nevertheless.

I thinking where such categories are useful and where not, it would seem like (1) showing descent from very very distant ancestors is not useful.  Like Charlemagne, whose genes surely flow through 95% of the living members of Wikitree.  Similarly, (2) placing the category on intermediate ancestors is not terribly useful.  My great-grandmother is the ancestor of a hundred descendants and the descendant of thousands more -- why categorize all the people she's descended from or ancestor of?  

Where it does seem to have some value is as a category placed on the profiles of LIVING members of WikiTree.  Because if I'm in the descendant category, I can go to the category page and see what other living members of WikiTree are also descendants.  Now THAT's interesting and potentially useful, although it probably won't get me any turkey.  

Now, while I'm a descendant of millions of ancestors, there may be just a few that are particularly interesting, possibly Revolutionary War soldiers or Gateway ancestors, so I'd create a category for that person's descendants.  I think that was probably the motivation behind creation of Harrington-100's Descendants.
Jack, what you write makes sense to me. I could see living folks wanting to add to their own profiles a descent from a notable person of some sort. But the way the Harrington example is using it, there's a category on almost EVERYONE down the line from Harrington-100 to the present day. That makes no sense to me.
+7 votes
Jillaine asked me to give my thoughts.

I believe that years ago we came to the conclusion that "ancestor of" categories were wrong. We didn't want to encourage categorizing your ancestors because distant ancestors could then have hundreds or thousands of categories.

I don't think it's a problem for living and modern family members to categorize their own profiles in just about any way they like, including with a "descendants of" category like this.

If you're categorizing distant ancestors as descendants of an even more distant ancestor, I think that could be a problem. The same problem as with "ancestor of" categorization. They could run out of control.

Is there any reason why a "descendants" category couldn't just include modern people and ends of the lines?
by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
Thanks Chris, for commenting. As I point out above, the example in my initial inquiry has categorized pretty much everyone down the line from Robert Harrington. That makes no sense to me.
I think this really is the sort of thing where it's relatively harmless if one person does it but would be a disaster if everyone wanted to do it.  I can picture, with Harrington-100, that if all the descendants got the category, then, voila, you've got a category page that lists all the descendants of Harrington-100.  A nice, fun list to have.  But even then you don't need the list to live forever, and you've got these categories on a couple hundred pages.  And if everyone did it with their own favorite ancestor, you would have category clutter run amuck.

Chris, since you're in the conversation, now, you can already get a list of the first 5 generations of Harrington-100's descendants.  Would it not be relatively simple to modify an option that would give you a printable version of ALL the descendants of Harrington-100 -- and anybody else? I can do that with my Family Tree Maker 2005.   Then the person who wanted that list could create it anytime they wanted, but they wouldn't have to put categories on every person's page!
+3 votes
Jillaine asked me to join this discussion because I created the category (I'm a descendant of Robert's). At the time, my idea was to make it easier for someone to find more than one cousin at a time. The category has grown quite large. In fact, it has been some time since I added any profiles to it. If the concensus is that the category is to large, I'll start pulling profiles out so the category can be eliminated.

Regarding some of the discussion so far, I agree with Jack that if we had a option to list descendants more than 4 generations out, finding cousins would be simpler. Chris would be the one to addres that suggestion.
by Bob Keniston G2G6 Pilot (227k points)

Take a look at One Name Studies' structure... Instead of pulling people out, you could clump them by location. That would preserve your intent of helping cousins find each other easily, and you could be a test case for Chris's suggestion of modern folks & "ends of line" (not sure, but I think that means Robert Harrington-100 in your case).

So, following the suggested pattern on http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:One_Name_Studies_FAQ_Page -

[[Category: Descendants of Robert Harrington-100]]
 . [[Category:United States, Descendants of Robert Harrington-100]]
 . . [[Category:Pennsylvania, Descendants of Robert Harrington-100]]
 . [[Category: France, Descendants of Robert Harrington-100]]
 . [[Category:United Kingdom, Descendants of Robert Harrington-100]]
 . . [[Category:England, Descendants of Robert Harrington-100]] 

And speaking of One Name Studies... shouldn't Category:Descendants of Robert Harrington-100 but included under Harington Name Study?

Liz: Descendants of Robert Harrington is not a One-Name Study. The vast majority of profiles in the category aren't named Harrington.

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