July 2016 Biography Builders:

+23 votes

Great first month of building biographies, WikiTreers :-) I will make sure to check and see who has earned a template for their profile gets a private message with it soon. I think we'll categorize these, too, so there's a fantastic pool of biographies to point people to. You all have done great research to make these happen!

This month, let's keep things light: build biographies and improve profiles of folks with "J"  given names. It's July and J is just jolly :-) These can be from anywhere across WikiTree, not just your own watchlist. Offer some random kindness and deck out a profile for someone. Or improve an orphan somewhere. If they're a Josie, Jorge, Jax, or Janice, they're game.

See last month's thread for how to participate.

Here are the details:

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.
  • Search and initiate/complete merges with duplicates
  • Links to persons and events, perhaps from Wikipedia.
  • Historical context as related to the person's life.
  • Sources, Sources, Sources, cited inline.

Post any questions here as a comment.

WikiTree profile: Space:Biography_Builders
in Requests for Project Volunteers by Abby Glann G2G6 Pilot (575k points)
edited by Abby Glann
Question:  When writing a biography for (example)  John Finger, would I need to include a link to data that will appear on his parents' or childrens' pages?  If I put a statement that mentions his parents, I can almost understand linking to them, even though there are probably already links to them on his page. But linking to a say, marriage record of theirs, to substantiate a birth date..  It's just so easy for anyone looking to click on his parents and check them out.  Thanks
It's up to you. The list of "complete" biographies is more of a list of suggestions, though some are definitely vital to a nicely done bio. I don't think you have to link to everything, but important stuff, definitely. Use your best judgement.

11 Answers

+11 votes
Best answer

2. Josiah Baucom - said to be my 4xgreatgrandfather. It's a start. The GEDCOM import is cleaned up; the locations are now time period accurate with explanations in the narrative; there are complete sentences for what we know and inline citations to the proof. Provenance for the unsourced data was established and the (un)certainty indicators set.

3. John Baucom Jr - Brother of Josiah. The same kind of changes made to Josiah were made to John's. In addition, with John I learned to do inline images. I think I'm pleased with that ... the jury's still out.

Work was done to all of Josiah's siblings including Jemima. I'm not counting her as there is almost nothing in the bio at this point.


by Debi Hoag G2G6 Pilot (348k points)
selected by Pat Credit

4. John A Campbell I'm trying a new format on this bio. I arranged the imported gedcom chronologically, got good sources for every fact, and put them inline with reference names. I then wrote a short bio using the ref names so the citations are inline there too. I didn't use all the details from every fact, so I drew a line below the bio and research notes and left all the facts.

This format works for a fairly short life. I'm not sure how it would look on a very long life. I considered moving the facts to a personal category but that would have meant putting the sources in both places. Still pondering this.

That actually seems to work well for this type of bio.
Like the way you did the inline sourcing. So much better than the way I've been doing them. Wished you would have shown me this sooner then I wouldn't have to change so many profiles! :)

Thanks, Pat. I'm still pondering this method. I've been working on Benjamin F Campbell this week and I have so much detail. I'm not sure that kind of sourcing is going to work for his profile.

Not every method will work all the time. That's a good thing  otherwise, it might get boring. If the profile seems to get a bit long maybe you can hide some of the details so you can only see them when editing!

I like this method because it seems flexible.

Sort the GEDCOM data between the Data and Source Sections tying them together with ref names.

Then add better links/sources.

Start the narrative in the Biography section.

I've got a few profiles with lots of sources and I'm going to hide some of the details.
How's your project going! You are an inspiration to me. You have to see what I did on [[ Peck-744 | Johann Jacob Peck]]. If you hide the <references /> at the very bottom, then you don't get the useless footnotes.  Also, my idea about hiding the notes worked okay.. Thanks for the inspiration!
But Pat the <references /> shouldn't be useless. They should contain information, a source citation or an identifier and a page number. Look at any of the profiles that I've done (see above)
Thanks, Pat. It's looking good. There's a couple of changes I'd make but didn't want to do anything without talking with you first. The <ref name...> won't work if there's a space between the equal sign and the name. That's why you're getting the [1] before the FindAGrave link. If you'd like, I can make the adjustments I'd recommend and you can see them in the changes tab. Just let me know.

Anne, I don't think Pat's intentionally getting rid of the <references />. I think it was a side affect of trying to straighten out the problem caused by the named reference. What she is hiding on purpose, and I really like, is all the extra data that doesn't need to be seen because it actually applies to other people. Stuff you don't want to lose track of but don't want to be seen all the time.
Ah yes, Pat's got an extra slash in the ref name containing the citation.  Should be <ref name=FAG> not <ref name= FAG />. That's why her references section was empty except the #
Thanks! I learn better by doing than watching. The space won't matter as long as there's the same number of spaces each time. Try proofing that one late at night! C&P is my friend. :)

I have to rethink it AGAIN! I solved one problem but created another one.... So I tried it another way. Take another look at it:
It's way past my bedtime. CYL maybe a day or two!
Oh, I like where that's heading. I'm glad I didn't let my "let me just tweak that" personality take over LOL. Please forgive anything that comes below, you're getting my critique before the coffee puts the brain filters in place.

Do you plan to leave the Data section first and then the Biography or will you reverse the two? Arrival and burial are the two items that aren't being repeated from the vital section. On the other hand, the vitals section doesn't have citations linked. I can see reasons to go both ways.

I don't know if you've discovered it yet but figured I'd pass it on in case ... the table of contents only appears after you add the fourth heading indicator (the equal signs). If you don't want a table of contents, try three single quotes before and after Notes to see if just bold, without the size increase, does what you want.

I really like the way the <br/> puts the footnote numbers on a separate line from the source citation.

The notation in the source section about which Research Note to review in the edit screen is going to need a little tweak because of the # numbering not working while you're in edit. You'll need to decide whether it's going to be Notes or Research Notes and make it consistent. Otherwise, you run the risk of people like me looking for one that isn't there (yes, I already did, that's why I know LOL).

OK, I'm stopping now, I need coffee!
I made some adjustments from your suggestions before the coffee locates my brain filters. LOL

1. Data (not happy with Marker yet) > Biography > Research Notes > Acknowledgments (not in yet) > Sources

2.Vital aka data does have citations linked on the header line for each item.

3. Thank you! Never liked that part but never took time to research how to get rid of that table of contents. Something to change on all my profiles! THANKS, I think. LOL  I'll put that one on my list for the month I try for the Club 1000 Badge. I can double my contributions in one month.

4. Yes, that makes them look a bit better. Number 2 on that list I'm making.

5. Sorry for the inconvenience. The word "Research" must have gotten deleted by mistake. I added a hidden note at the beginning of each note with an "RN#" To make them easier to maintain, I added a hidden note (having the RN notes identified) at the top after my "Get rid of that table of contents" Data line.

Hope I got everything done while I finished my coffee.

OK, Pat, your turn. This can't count towards the challenge because ... well Benjamin F Campbell has no J except that one in the middle of his given name. But he was who I needed to work on to progress with my gedcom cleanup project.

Anyway, old Ben has all the tweaks you and I have been playing with. Take a look at both the bio and the edit and let me know what you think.

PS. I don't think my contribution merits it Best Answer but thanks for the vote of confidence.

Nice looking profile:

1. About “Information regarding the movement of the 11th Florida Infantry” seems like your introducing a blockquote but it's either a summary or an unmarked quotation. Might be better if you just use a footnote.

2. Great idea to list the family data from the Census adding the nuggets from the documents that are not indexed.

3. Got done to the Reference Notes and have to save the rest for later...
+9 votes

Here is my first attempt at this Challenge:

1. Johanna Yates (Murch) Haywood, who was the ancestor who got me interested in genealogy all those years ago.

2. John Henry Blagdon, one of my great-grandfathers.  This biography is different from the usual in that I have included all the inventions/discoveries during his lifetime.  I was absolutely blown away at how much there was!  Is this an acceptable bio?

3. Jane (Norman) Ley, a 3 x great grandmother of mine who has connections with Devon, Cornwall, Sussex, Ireland, New Zealand, and Canada - in the 1850s and beyond!

4. James Distin: this month's representative of the Distin Name Study.

5. Joyce (Morris) Ley: another lady well-travelled because of her husband's job (he was a coastguard).

6. Jessie (Patchcott) Nightingale: a lady of mysteries: her parents, her birth, her marriage...and I wonder what she died of in 1918?

7. Joseph John Harwood: the farm labourer who went to sea and became a Master Mariner.

8. Jacob Ball: the first ancestor I found whose birth year began '17' - I was so excited!

9. Julius Pope: FMP have transcribed his middle name as 'Carter', but I have seen the original, and I think it is 'Caesar'...

10. Judith (Norman) Trelease: a 3 x great great aunt who was born in Devon and moved to Cornwall.

by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
edited by Ros Haywood
Excellent work, Ros!
Very nice, Ros.  Thank you for sharing!
+9 votes


I know this isn't a "J" name, but it is someone that I have been working on today as part of my Wilkes County, Georgia project.  Before I started working on the profile, it had no biography and only two links to Find a Grave and his Wikipedia article.  I added 4 additional categories to his profile and notated his service in the American Revolution. 


by Kristin Merritt G2G6 Mach 2 (22.0k points)
This is a fine profile Kristin. I adjusted your sources using <ref name=xxxxx> and <ref name=xxxxx />. It saves space in the sources section etc. Take a look at the changes tab to see how I did it. Here's the help page http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Sources#Repeated_use_of_the_same_source_in_the_same_profile
+7 votes

1. John Apleyard http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Apleyard-6

I've also fixed up his siblings' profiles who do not have J names, and checked his father's profile, Jonathan but I wrote his biography a week or two back http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Appelyard-2

2. John Apleyard, brother of the above http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Apleyard-7

And I've also fixed up all of his children's profiles

3. John Appleyard, son of the above


4. James Appleyard, son of the above


5. James Hutchinson, not very much on him though


by A. C. Raper G2G6 Mach 4 (47.6k points)
edited by A. C. Raper
Um...it says "this page does not exist" when I try to click through?  Ah, further searching reveals that he is Apleyard-7...
7 is his brother who I have't finished yet, I checked again and he is listed as 6 in the URL and Wikitree ID

Edit: I just figured it out the bracket and comma are being added to the url which is why it doesn't show up
Thanks for investigating this.  It 'clicks through' fine now.
+7 votes

"J"  great incentive to tidy up my Jackson ancestors.[http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Jackson-8526] Belle Jackson -  She is spiffed up the best I can with what data I have so far.

eta: Oops - just noticed that is is Given name not surname. Have some of those also - will work another :/

1.OK J (given name) - updated and improved upon profile for John Iver Hoiseth :) http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Hoiseth-3

2.. . .and his wife Jenni Hoiseth http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Skillingstad-7 Biography has been redone

3.Another J - http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Sandbakken-14 - Joseph Thomasen Skillingstad

4.. Johan - http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Dahl-308

5. . .and Jincey.  http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Owens-4429  Not much found to help write and interesting bio, but like the name.  Learned to use multiple (three) references to same source :)

6. John Johansen Julset -  http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Julset-4

7. . .and a new J profile added  - http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Bascom-238  - Joel Bascom

8.   Joel Sachett -  http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Sackett-720

9.   John Nicholas Gibbs -  http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Gibbs-370 

10. John McAdoo  -  http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/McAdoo-10  

11. John D Payne  -  http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Payne-6311

by Patricia Roche G2G6 Pilot (597k points)
edited by Patricia Roche
+7 votes
1-5 last month

6. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/West-7940 Joseph West. Just to prove that profiles are never done. I added this profile, then started to add a category for the cemetery and in trying to determine whether find a grave has it in the right town (I don't think they do), I found a great bunch of stuff on Halsey Valley and Joseph's life there.
7. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Yale-26 John Yale the father
8. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Yale-303 John Yale the son
9. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Moody-334 John Moody Hartford Founder
10. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Tenny-1 John Tenny
N/A http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Tenny-24 Elizabeth (Tenny) Judson
11. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Ward-9165 Jonathan Ward
12. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Bishop-7141 James D Bishop (Infant)
13. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Baker-349 Joseph Baker s
14. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Driggs-33 John Driggs.
15. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Ince-7 Jonathan Ince
16. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Ince-192 Jonathan Ince
17. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Vincent-95 John Vincent infant
18. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Vincent-94 John Vincent founder New Haven, also his wife http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Unknown-42370 Rebecca Unknown who doesn't count.
19. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Sabler-1 John Sabler Fndr of Hartford
20. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Unknown-237455 Jane Unknown her sons William are awaiting merge approval (prob. default)

21. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Punderson-12 John Punderson founder of New Haven.
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
edited by Anne B
Oops gosh, Elizabeth Tenny Judson doesn't count, Its given names not any names. Back to the drawing board.
+6 votes
Here's one on my great grandfather (James "Jasper" Oliver Boswell Atkinson) I reworked and to which I added numerous more sources. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Atkinson-3471
by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (237k points)
edited by Carolyn Martin
Enjoyed this Carol.  I live in northwest Florida not far from Panama City and Bay County.  Know the site of the old airport very well.  Always interesting to learn about some of the early families in this area.  You had me shaking my head and saying well how about that?
Glad you enjoyed my great grandfather's bio. He did seem like an interesting man. Wish I had known him.
+6 votes


There's a profile that I've been working on, Jonas Archibald Braddock my great grandfather, It's looking great❕

by Campbell Braddock G2G6 Mach 6 (69.9k points)
I agree, it's looking great.
+8 votes
Here are my entries for July.  John Woodall Jr .

2. http://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Woodall-167&public=1

and his wife Judith

3. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Sampson-1404

I just have to say how much I enjoyed reading the  June entries. Sooo interesting and lots of history.  Writing the biographies really tells the family history and adds so much to the dusty old facts.

by Connie Graves G2G6 Mach 5 (51.9k points)
edited by Connie Graves
Two for one J names. Nice job. I love the photo of the creek
+6 votes
1. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Weaver-5080

Here is my first attempt for this challenge: Jacob M. Weaver, my great grandfather, who did not know the identity of his in-laws or his mother.

2. John Day (1701-1780)


to be merged into:

3. John Day (1701-1780)


4. A recently merged profile for Jacob Delay (1781-1845):


5. This is almost a"J" profile- at some point someone must have called him Junior! :)
Daniel Walker Jr.

by Pat Credit G2G6 Pilot (162k points)
edited by Pat Credit
Sorry, Pat I must have gotten waylaid and never put the category on these profiles. It's on there now. I suspect when I counted, that I counted them as four, since one was a merge, but I've changed the number on the chart anyway. However 5 + 5 makes 10 not 19. I'll send Abby a note to give you the 10 profile "thing"
Actually, unlike other the other challenges on WikiTree, I don't think merging a profile into another makes two profiles with built biographies. The bio was really only built on one, though making sure there are no outstanding merges is part of a more "complete" profile. I think the number is still at 9 for now, but one is an easy number to achieve to make it to ten for the month of September! Sorry about the any misunderstanding.
+3 votes

Is the Bio Builders Challenge active?  On the page For this month, challenge is J... and after clicking on the link, it took me this page which is 2016.  

by Paula Reinke G2G6 Mach 9 (91.3k points)

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