Empty/Discarded unknown profiles

+6 votes
For a while I have been minding my own business building up the interlinked chaos which is my family tree but decided to make a crack at the tally which is the unconnected profiles.

My question is this: You (by that I mean on WikiTree) have a number of profiles which are Unknown and have very little or no biographical information. There are a number of profiles which have been marked for deletion.(Linked profile as one) Would it be better to recycle them and use those to connect other individuals who have clear information backed by sources?

I have identified 11 right at this very instance - but out of courtesy - asking before I initiate action
WikiTree profile: Fred Remus
in The Tree House by Richard Shelley G2G6 Pilot (142k points)
edited by Richard Shelley
Perhaps they could be used as slot-blockers, where unwanted parents have been disconnected, to discourage people from reconnecting them.

7 Answers

+12 votes

From the Style Guide section of Recycled Profiles:

Recycling a WikiTree ID means using it for a person other than the person for whom it was created. This is almost never appropriate.

see this link for more info:  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Recycling_WikiTree_IDs

by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (577k points)

Thanks Laura.

My intentions are summed up as: "Sometimes members want to do it to help clean up WikiTree. A lot of junk profiles have been created over the years, but we have rules against deleting them."

Unknowns with little to no biographical info are the primary exception to rules against recycling. There is a project dedicated to finding and recycling these profiles.
These profiles were created for some reason. Can we not try to connect them or merge them? I know I' m the new guy to the group, but I've picked up a few orphans so far and have been able to linked them. Maybe it's beginners luck.
If, in looking at the changes history, you can find any information-detached family, spouses, removed dates or names, it is best to NOT recycle them, but try to restore who they were. Often a merge into a profile they match is a better solution. The one given as an example originally had no connections or identifying data and would be suitable for recycling.
I can't up vote or star your answer, Abby, but very well said and I agree.
+5 votes

I've done a bit of poking around, and if you want to contact the person who created your example profile (GEDCOM upload, 2011), she is still active on Wikitree.  You might post a public message on her profile, or send her a private message.  She is Linda Peterson.

by Fred Remus G2G6 Mach 3 (39.8k points)
Should add that the few profiles of hers I looked at have dates, places, and family connections.  She may or may not know who that profile was intended to represent.  GEDCOMs sometimes produce strange results.  Whether it's in the creation of the GEDCOM from its source program, or in the upload process, I don't know.
+1 vote
Living Unknown is a cat for people where the person is not listed for security reasons. These should not be recycled. Listing your family who are living, but not on Wikitree is not unusual. We have to respect their privacy.
by Jon Czarowitz G2G6 Mach 3 (39.2k points)
Why not enter their info and keep the profile private? There's very little that can be seen on a private profile...No parents, siblings, children, dates, etc are shown. That information is only seen by those that the profile manager says it's ok by adding them to the trusted list. Profiles of living people are kept as private as default anyway.
- this is the son of the above - take a look -

= https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Ennis-87  =
Hi John,

No, the profile you linked was someone born 1861.  Both parents are shown as "Living UNKNOWN,", but both are different profiles than the one the OP linked (UNKNOWN-42642 & 42643, rather than 42646).  And, for Jon, obviously, people with a child b. 1861 are not living.

 - thanks Fred for comment - I see you have merged him - -

I was trying to find examples why 'recycling' is not on, so in looking at Linda's gedcoms, she had about 3 V. large 2011 ones, with too many Unknowns - pre-1910, "NOT Living" - I feel these 'hollow' parents should be merged into their children, by their PM's, until 'research' can establish a solid parent Profile - - It would seem old gedcoms stuffed another generation into their trees just to puff them up -  - - and with no sources - -

A number of Linda's "Living-UNKNOWN"s also are green spots - where as they should be open padlocks -  - There are now About 238729 UNKNOWNs. in wiki, with over 315,000 created !. [? can they be reduced ?] - - cheers - ja

+3 votes

As it happens, that particular profile looks like a candidate for the Lost and Found Project, which attempts to identify, source, and reconnect profiles from GEDCOM uploads which somehow got disconnected.

by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (303k points)
There are a number of profiles like this. Great project by the way Greg!
+1 vote

 - hi Richard - -

 - it would pay you to look at this profile = https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Study-57  = before you make a rash decision  -

-  In 28 Mar 2011  20:28: Linda Peterson imported the data for Living UNKNOWN from study.ged [Thank Linda for this] 20:28: Linda Peterson imported the data for Infant Son Study from study.ged    =

- this is a rather large Study family 'ged' imported in the early days - - and has a number 'Living UNKNOWN' in it - - Linda has again become more active in the last couple of months = https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Special:Badges&u=1288729  =

- cheers - john.a


by John Andrewartha G2G6 Mach 5 (53.1k points)

- also - have a look at this Link = https://www.wikitree.com/genealogy/Study-Family-Tree-36  =

Leonard Study
06 May 1829 - 08 Jan 1916
Richland County, Ohio
Brother of Living UNKNOWN, Living UNKNOWN, Living UNKNOWN, Living UNKNOWN, Catherine Study descendants, Elizabeth Study descendants, David Study descendants and Mary Ann Study  = cheers - ja

Hi John

I was aware that Linda had created the profile (and several others like it) years ago.
I hadn't looked to see whether or not she was active and continued on my way
+1 vote
If you look at the changes page,, you will see Linda herself has written a note: "delete - empty" on this profile a couple of weeks ago so it looks like it can be merged away.
by Gillian Causier G2G6 Pilot (213k points)
+2 votes

OK All, I have merged this empty profile away (UNKNOWN-42646), as requested by the creator.  I merged it into my own profile, then just deleted everything in the bio section, which was only meaningless GEDCOM junk entries, anyway.

by Fred Remus G2G6 Mach 3 (39.8k points)

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