Oct/Nov 2016 Biography Builders: Source-a-Thon and ON

+17 votes

We had 65 Grandparent biographies in September! Thank you everyone.

October/November theme is Source-a-Thon and ON

Wikitreers sourced a lot of profiles during the Source-a-thon – over 20,000. Because we were concentrating on adding sources, I’m certain that only rudimentary biographies got added, and maybe not even those.  This months bio builders challenge is to improve profiles that were sourced during the Source-a-thon. Pick a profile, add more sources and write nice biographies. You don’t have to build on the ones you sourced, there are plenty to choose from, but I recommend that you stay within your genealogical comfort zone, so you will know where to find other sources. The first answer below has a list of Source-a-thon team threads, wherein you will find lists of profiles that were sourced. (I ran into an 8000 character limit here)

See the first month's thread for how to participate, and last month's thread

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.
  • As a general rule, biographies should be in your own words. Paraphrase and rewrite, don't copy/paste.
  • 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.

Places you might look for information: Family Search; Find-a-grave; Gengophers.com; google search for the person and their spouse together; look for a genealogy on the family; check for a town or county history to see if the person is mentioned; from the profile ID drop down menu use "Research"; if you have subscriptions to pay sites check those; check for printed ancient town records in the place where the subject lived. Of course if they are related to you, you may have even better information, like birth, death, probate, land, bible records etc.

Have questions? Post them here as a comment.

This challenge will run until mid November.

WikiTree profile: Space:Biography_Builders
asked in Requests for Project Volunteers by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1m points)
Through participation in the BioBuilders first couple of challenges, I've discovered that I really don't enjoy writing bios. I LOVE sourcing.

I'm slowly going through my Source-A-Thon list, getting as many sources as I can find for the main person, and adding sources to their wives, children, in-laws, etc. They are mainly orphaned profiles so no one complains if they are worked on.

I was on the Southern Sourcers Team Bib #44 if anyone is looking for Source-A-Thon bios to work on. I've finished the primary sourcing the first 7 to my satisfaction.
That's a great idea Debi, the more sources a profile has the better the quality.
I am finding this REALLY difficult.  Definitely a challenge!  Almost all of the profiles I sourced had active PMs, and they were happy enough for me to dive in and put a one-line source on 'their' profile - I even got thanked a couple of times!  But I am very unsure about how they would feel about me diving in and inserting a whole bio (with inline references) when they hadn't asked for it with a special category.  I don't want to tread on any sensitive toes, and some people can be really snippy.
You could pick a couple and leave the manager's a message, asking if they mind. You won't be able to jump right in, but after a couple of days if you don't hear anything go ahead. Even with active managers, if the profile has not been worked on in a year or longer, a nice bio ought to be welcomed.

You don't have to stick to your own either.
Ros, I'm working with those profiles that I received a thank-you for during the source-a-thon. If my sourcing was appreciated then, I'm sure that adding a fuller bio will be equally well received, and not upset anyone.
  1. Plate-3: Started Bio and added sources
  2. Pickeleyer-1: Started Bio and added sources
  3. Plate-4: Started Bio and added sources
  4. Meinking-4: Started Bio and added sources
  5. Rasch-124: Bio and sources completed
  6. Johnson-45511: Bio and sources completed
  7. Johnson-50915: Started bio and added sources

10 Answers

+11 votes

Team Threads from the Source-a-thon

answered by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1m points)
+5 votes
More power to your elbows!

To be honest I've got enough of my one profiles to write up biographies on yet. Maybe when I've finished those?
answered by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (253k points)
Keep watch for other months challenges, there will probably be themes that will easily include family members, like last months grandparents theme.
+6 votes

Glad to participate this month and think adding to the Source-a-thon is a great idea.  I hadn't been numbering my previous entries in Biobuilders so went back and did.  My total bios thus far is 8.--Aw shucks! Hang on I missed one.  Re-calculating--my total was 9.
10.  Henry Piggott.
11. Louis (McGalliard) Smith
12. Albert Shropshire


answered by Connie Graves G2G6 Mach 4 (40.5k points)
edited by Connie Graves
Glad you're back Connie. I'm working on my first for this month since I posted the question earlier.
+4 votes

Great project idea :) Have 15 from previous BB months: July & Aug

  1. James Claxton-11 
  2. Harrington Clay-47
  3. John Bidinotto-1
answered by Patricia Roche G2G6 Pilot (283k points)
edited by Patricia Roche
Look forward to your bios Patricia.
+4 votes
I'll work on some. According to your chart I have done 105 plus 10 for September, so starting on 116.

116.  http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pitre-1290
117. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pitre-1170
118. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Unknown-554
119. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pitre-1161
120. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pitre-1213
121. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pitre-1062
122. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pitre-1158
123. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pitre-1289
124. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pitre-325
125. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pitre-1220
126. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Nalley-147
127. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Fisher-9482
128. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Lewallen-98
129. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Lewallen-97
130. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Norman-1572
131. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Sutherland-1065
132. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Honrud-32
133. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Honrud-31
134, http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Honrud-16
135. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Ingebretson-1
136. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Honrud-33
137. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Honrud-21
138. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Honrud-35
139. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Oakley-1087
140. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Edwards-2773 (added profiles for his 7 children also)
141. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Heglar-85
142. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wineland-107
143. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wolfe-3047
144. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wolfe-3081
answered by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (130k points)
edited by Carolyn Martin
Thank you Carolyn, for building bios this month. I'm looking forward to a new month.
+5 votes

Sounds like fun Count me in! I've done a total of 10 to date. I'll start on the ones I sourced during Source-A-Thon:

1. William Lathrop. (Started bio, added research notes and more sources.)

2. Mable (Unknown) Lathrop. (Maine Vital Records, 1670-1921 Added and bio started)

3.  Arthur Lathrop Added sources, data section and started bio

4. Florance Lathrop. (Added biography & sources)

5. Laura (Lathrop) Snow. (Biography improvement)

6. Velma Lathrop. (Biography improvement)

7. Sherman Lathrop. Added more sources, reference notes and biography

8. Sarah Stepp Cleaned up GEDCOM, added sources, biography, data and research notes.

9.  Lyle Lathrop. (profile improvement) added 5 more sources and a bio

10. Eliza Colson. (Updated bio) and added 2 more sources and her daughter's profile.

11. Solomon Smith. (Find A Grave Memorial) plus another source and reference note

12. Charles Lathrop. (Biography improvement) Added 5 more sources, data section and bio.

13. Lucretia (Lathrop) Wurts. (profile improvement) added bio/data/research notes

14. William Wurts. (profile improvement) added bio/data/research notes.

15. Helen (Blanchard) Foster. (profile improvement) added sources. data and bio.

16. Mercia Lathrop. (profile improvement)

17. Rufus Lathrop. profile improvement

18. Elijah Lathrop. (Biography improvement)

19. Mary (Lathrop) Welch. Added 3 more sources, biography and data section

20. John Welch. (Biography improvement) Added 3 more sources, biography and data section.

21. Charity (Lathrop) Gates. (Find A Grave Memorial# 166257086) Added 10 more sources, biography, data section updated research notes and changed LNAB: Charity (Perkins) Gates

22. Samuel Reed  Added 3 more sources, data and biography improvement

23. Harriet Welch. Added 8 more records; started data section; added research note; and updated bio


answered by Pat Credit G2G6 Mach 6 (61.5k points)
edited by Pat Credit
+4 votes
1. Rebecca Garfield-137 (now Garfield-135 due to merge) Bio and sources
2. Josiah Walker-9202 Bio and added source
3. Hannah Laughton-202 Bio and source
4. Simon Gates-136 Bio and sources
5. James Burrell-304 Bio and sources
6. John Browne-1060 Bio and source
7. Elizabeth Russell-1925 Bio and sources
answered by Bob Keniston G2G6 Pilot (173k points)
edited by Bob Keniston
+4 votes


1.   Henry Batten

answered by Ros Haywood G2G6 Pilot (577k points)
Henry and I have something in common. I love watching trains too. Thanks Ros for the bio.
+4 votes
  1. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Brewster-141
  2. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wilcox-4680 Rev. Jairus Wilcox.
  3. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Collins-116
  4. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Unknown-254434
  5. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Unknown-329857 Mary wife of Ephraim Pennington (1)
  6. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pennington-751 Ephraim Pennington (1)
  7. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pennington-729 Mary dtr of Ephraim (1)
  8. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Brockett-54 Mary wife of Ephraim (2). She has a lot of misplaced children that I’m sorting through
  9. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pennington-706 Ephraim (2)
  10. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Loomis-913
  11. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Loomis-297
  12. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Loomis-945
  13. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Loomis-296
  14. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Churchill-1156  Funny thing happened on the way to this bio. I wrote the bio and then discovered I was writing about a different Mary Churchill. (Bang head on Desk) so I had to create a new Mary Churchill https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Churchell-2 and then go back and re-research and rewrite the original Mary ARGH!
answered by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1m points)
edited by Anne B
+4 votes
My first time with this project.  I find it challenging to find enough information on some people to write a decent bio, but at least I am sourcing!  Team New York Tri-State.

1. [https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Schermerhorn-91/ Jannetje Schermerhorn]
answered by Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz G2G6 Pilot (296k points)
I agree that sometimes the information isn't there to find. We do what we can. Thank you.

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