Can we talk about unknown parents?

+6 votes
Unless I've missed something, our policy is that Unknown Unknowns should simply not exist. Bernard of Italy should simply not have a mother in Wikitree, because we have no idea who his mother was. Does that make sense?

(Corollary point: the only time we should have a profile for someone whose name we don't know is when we know something else about him or her--for example if we didn't know her name, but we did know where she came from or whose granddaughter she was. That happens frequently in medieval genealogy, but it's not the case here.)

(Edit: I just disconnected her and left a note on the bio.)
WikiTree profile: Unknown Unknown
in Genealogy Help by Roger Travis G2G6 Mach 2 (24.1k points)
edited by Roger Travis

Also  Xxxx.   This is just another version of 'Unknown', as far as I can see.  I found Alice Xxxx today, and went to look at the list.  Related surnames Xxx, Xxxxx, XXX etc.  More than you might expect.
Totally agree ! If one even has a shred of information about the parents (or disputes) ,

put it in the biography.

4 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer
I agree 100%.  I will use "unknown unknown" profiles only if there is additional information known about the individual or if the unknown person is a bridge to another known person.  In my own experience this is rare, but does happen from time to time.  Other than those circumstances, I can't think of a good reason to ever have an "unkown unknown" profile.
by Allen Minix G2G6 Mach 1 (17.3k points)
selected by Michelle Hartley
+2 votes
yes, to me it does.  I checked the profile in question and it has her last name listed as "Mistress"   The definition of the name could imply something else.  Instead of "unknown", anonymous would sound more creditable.


by Mary Hammond G2G6 Mach 7 (79k points)
To me it implied that her name was unknown, the mistress is refering to her status or the fact that the child was illegitimate, the father was married to someone else.
Rhian's correct. The point is that we have no information about her. She shouldn't have a profile at all.

I just said that but in a nicer way.  laugh

Oh, OK--I thought you were saying she should have a profile, but be called "Anonymous" rather than "Unknown." :D



maybe I should have made myself clearer.  I was answering Rhian. smiley You are correct though. If the mother is not known and she was "termed" as a mistress, there should NOT have been a profile made for her.

(I will make a note to myself to address people when answering comments)  blush

+2 votes
I was looking at that yesterday, with the number of managers it has there should be more information in the profile but with no names, dates or other vital data any details about her should only be present in the biographies of the child and other parent, until there is enough to make a profile.
by R. G. G2G6 Pilot (213k points)
+1 vote

I agree that Unknown Unknown is garbage but instead of throwing it to the curb shouldn't you merge it out of existance?

by Eugene Quigley G2G6 Mach 7 (75.3k points)
OK, with whom should this one be merged?
Merge it with the partner or a child, I don't think it matters. It is trash so make it disappear. If there is anything in the text box erase it first.

Is there a problem with that?

Another other idea would be to create a trash profile, perhaps by project, and have everyone merge all the trash into the one profile.
Lianne or Chris, I'd love to know the answer to this one.
Well, we're not supposed to merge profiles into different people if there's any information at all that suggests that they're different people. Eg. if you have a profile for John Smith, he can safely be merged into any old John Smith, only if there's no other info at all (including in the history). So cases like this, where there's pretty much no information, period, besides a relationship, it's kind of hard to say...

My gut tells me to just delete it. But of course that has negative effects as well.

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