Profile Improvement Project (PIP) : What we do and how to join [closed]

+30 votes

Profile Improvement should be part of every wikitreers routine. From the moment you create your first profile every addition/correction is a profile improvement.

It's a learned process.

The first thing you might learn is how to "clean" up your gedcom import

Then where to find sources and how to format them (give them enough information that they can be found again even if the links break).

As you begin writing bios, you'll want to learn how to create inline citations.  Member Greg Shipley created the Bio app to generate a basic bio with spaces for potential citations.

At some point you'll learn how to merge profiles and how to integrate the two biographies afterwards.

If you find that you really enjoy doing any of these, or you discover that you're just automatically improving profiles as you randomly fix the large and small problems on WikiTree profiles, consider joining the Profile Improvement Project. Read the Project Page. Follow the other steps in the "How to Join" section. Then post an answer here requesting the badge. Tell me what you're concentrating on for the moment.

Thank you.

Profile Improvement Project

See new join thread

closed with the note: New join thread as of 28 March 2018
in Requests for Project Volunteers by Debi Hoag G2G6 Pilot (296k points)
closed by Debi Hoag
Thanks Debi.
I just watched the video about how to clean up the gedcom import. It was a great video. But I don't think I could do all those steps and not mess up. Right now the way I clean it is delete everything and start from scratch. Copy and paste census records and birth and death notices. Please check mine and see if they are right.
Certainly for profiles that you created yourself, wiping it clean and starting over is an option. For profiles created by someone else, make sure you look through what's already there, so that you don't throw away good sources and information with the bad.
The thing that got me over the fear of messing up, DJ, was to make it a habit of only fixing one source at a time. Then I save.

That way, when the inevitable happens (like today when I added the 2nd marriage citation to all the first marriage evidence), all I had to do was cancel and start over. If I had saved before I realized it was messed up, I could have gone to the change log and reverted to an earlier version.

With DJ's permission, I am sharing a review I did of her work on the profile of Nicholas Ball, her 3xgreat-grandfather. She started with an orphaned bio full of messy merged gedcom stuff.

What you have kept and the sources you added look really good. I looked at the change log to see what had been there too. There were a few clues which  I would have kept in a Research Notes section:

1. Military Service: War of the Rebellion (Civil War), Company K, 7th Kentucky Infantry/ Kentucky

2. Robert Paul Lewis and Jean Walker, Collected Family Records of the McSpaddens in America, May 27, 2000.
3. Beverly June Speak, Speak Family Records, (Oct 2002), "Electronic."
4. Rick Cowart, Cowart (Rick) Family Records, (Jul2001), "Electronic."

While none of those are primary sources or reliable, they may contain gems which would help flesh out his profile. The names of other researchers, clues for records to look for, etc.

For instance, the Military Service line gave me enough information to find this:

"United States Headstone Applications for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1949," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 17 May 2016), 1925-1941 > Baker, Cain-Barnes, William H > image 1054 of 2726; citing NARA microfilm publication M1916 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

The Speaks Family Records link required some drilling down to Nicholas' profile at but then I found a notation that her information came from the "Speak/e/s Family Bulletin, March 1994, p. 14." I clicked the link to Nicholas' alleged father and found another possible research avenue in a citation to the book "Early Settlers of Lee Co., VA", p. 713. -Also, on p. 950 ... etc."

DJ tells me that she had those sources also and will be adding them to the bio as time permits. The advantage of a collaborative tree is that, with the clues, others might add them for her while she is working on something else.  Thanks, DJ, for letting me share our conversation.

You are welcome Debi.
I really appreciated the collaboration you both shared here, Debi & DJ.  Thank you.

Please add me to the Profile Improvement Project!  I look forward to working with all of you in improving our collaborative tree!
I would like to join this project, very new on wikitree and I am enjoying completing the profiles and sources on my ancestors. I feel that I can contribute to the project.

Many Thanks
Hi Robert, have you read the project page? Is this the project you really want to join? Your watchlist indicates that much of your family is from England and Canada. Puritan Great Migration, really doesn't deal with either place except that England is generally where the settlers came from.
Robert I apologize. I wasn't paying enough attention and thought this was a request to join the Puritan Great Migration Project. I will be happy to award you the Profile Improvement Badge, a very good project to join at the beginning.

22 Answers

+13 votes
I would like to be part of the Profile Improvement Project.

Just recently I learned several important ways to improve profiles and sources and have been working on my Watch List.

Often when I answer G2G questions I look at the mentioned profiles and itch to improve them (often I try to). So I think I am ready to really apply myself to helping out with this project.
by Kristina Adams G2G6 Pilot (188k points)
Thanks for joining us, Kristina, and a special thanks from me for the change comments you leave.
+10 votes
It is a great project - I am already a member.

Each time I think I have a well sourced biography, I seem to find additional details, sources and formats that I should add/use. Only today I learned something new about listing from Anne B.

 And I find it useful to go back to the original documents as I sometimes see details that I forgot to note, or in the case of Old Parish Registers, additional baptisms of interest on the same page.


by I O G2G6 Pilot (224k points)
I find the same to be true, Iain. Every time I look at a profile, I see one more little thing that can be done.
+10 votes
I'd love to join you! I'm mostly working on my GEDCOM imports and family line as I touch them, but I try to improve any profile I visit. How much improvement I do really depends on its current state and how much time I think I have. I'll sometimes find a census document and update every family member with at least that source addition, as well as delete the old imported source it replaced, and preferably rewrite the bio of the person(s) of primary interest (say the parents and the child who is my ancestor) if necessary.
by Eric Hoffman G2G6 Mach 1 (18.4k points)
Welcome to the project, Eric. I've awarded your badge.
+8 votes
Hi Everyone,

I am really excited to join the Profile Improvement Project, especially as this is something I seem to naturally be doing on my own already. I'm an art historian by training, and having well-sourced biographies really does speak to me. (After all, I couldn't imagine an essay without footnotes!)

I am trying to improve many of the profiles in my own tree since I am a relative newcomers to the site, but I also try to fix things as I come across them. I'm especially interested in improving profiles in the Polish Roots project.

Thank you! Looking forward to participating!
by Christina Spiker G2G1 (1.8k points)
Hi Christina, I'm really glad to have you join the PIP. Sorry about the late welcome. I awarded the badge yesterday from my tablet but, for the life of me, I could not get a comment to post here.
No worries Debi - thanks for adding me to the project! I'm totally looking forward to being a contributing member and hopefully participating in the next Bio Builders challenge too.
Hmm, I just checked my profile and instead of the PIP badge, I seem to have been given the sourcing spring winner badge? Just FYI!
Oh good grief LOL OK, it's fixed now. Thank goodness the video card is fixed and I have real monitors back now.
+7 votes
Hi there

Since i am working within Dutch Roots and Data Doctors and I like to clean up profiles and make them nicer it seems only logical to also be a participant in the Profile Improvement Project. I come across a lot of strange and clotted profiles which can definately use some TLC.

Kind regards

by Sanne Van Zijl-Oldenborg G2G6 (9.4k points)
Welcome to the project, Sanne. I've awarded the badge and look forward to seeing your results.
Thanks Debi

Looking forward to contribute!
+6 votes
I would like to join this project!

Recently, I have been sourcing "Unsourced Profiles" and am planning to begin working on naming "Unknowns".

There are many items on your project page that I find interesting and would like to help.
by JoAnn Brown G2G3 (3.7k points)
Thanks for joining us JoAnn. I'm sure Shirley and Kelly will be glad for the help with the Unknowns. I've awarded you the Profile Improvement Project badge. Let me know if I can offer any advice on formatting, etc.
+6 votes
I would like to join the PIP team.  I have been modifying family and other profiles, especially the ones with the often messy GEDCOM imports and those profiles which point to nothing more than family tree references.
by Elida Tirey G2G2 (2.2k points)
I've awarded the badge, Elida. Thanks for joining us. I'm working on GEDCOM imports too and it's nice to have some company! Let me know if I can offer any advice.
+6 votes
I would love to become part of the Profile Improvement Project. I have been diligently working on uploading the massive amount of information I have for my own "project", but I am also working on improving the profiles as I go as well as others I may come across.

Here is an example of a profile I did for one of the individuals in my project:

Not all of my profiles look like that, yet, and this one is still a work-in-progress, but I am slowly working on them.
by Leigh Taffe G2G4 (4.7k points)
Thanks for joining the Profile Improvments Project, Leigh. Let me know if I can answer any questions about Wikitree. I look forward to seeing you around the branched.
Thank you, Debi. I appreciate the welcome.
+6 votes
Please add me to the project. I'm always improving profiles anyway! (Gedcom cleanups are now one of my specialties.)
by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (755k points)
Welcome to the Project, Natalie. It is about time you made it official *grin*
Thanks, Debi!
+5 votes
I would like to be part of this project.  I really enjoy cleaning up and improving profiles.  I like to write bio's and love it when I can find images (public domain) to make the profile more attractive.
by Caryl Ruckert G2G6 Pilot (190k points)
I'm pleased that you've joined us, Caryl. I've awarded the badge. Let me know if you have any questions.
+3 votes
I would like to be a part of this Project. I think it is the goal of the DRP anyway and working on that as much as we can and trying to point new people (like I was once and learned lots and still do) how to improve.

Let us make WikiTree even better than it already is!!!


Thank you for starting this Project!

Very kind regards from The Netherlands,

by Astrid Spaargaren G2G6 Pilot (218k points)

Welcome to the project, Astrid. I've added your badge and look forward to see your work with the Dutch Roots Project.

+4 votes

I would like to be part of the Profile Improvement Project.

by April Dickenson G2G Crew (720 points)
Welcome to the Profile Improvements Project, April. I have awarded your badge and noted that you plan to do some of the BioBuilders challenges. Let me know if you have any questions as you get started.
+4 votes
Hi Debi, I'd love to join the Profile Improvers please. For the moment I'd like to concentrate on writing bios with inline sourcing for Australian and English profiles. I can draw from the England Project Maintenance categories for the English profiles.
by Gillian Thomas G2G6 Pilot (150k points)
Welcome aboard, Gillian. I've awarded the badge and look forward to seeing you in the branches. Thanks for working the English & Australian profiles.
Wow Debi! That was so quick. Thank you so much. Looking forward to the new challenge now that I've committed myself!
LOL You made my work easy. You planned contributions let me know exactly what you planned to work on and they are well within scope of the project.
Gillian, Welcome to the Profile Improvement Project.
+4 votes
I recently discovered that video that shows us how to clean up profiles with all the GEDCOM cruft, and it was enlightening! I'd previously found that work very intimidating. Now that I understand what needs to be done, I would like to do more of it -- anything to help the profiles be more readable and enjoyable for everyone. Count me in!
by Sara Thibault G2G4 (4.3k points)
Great to have you with us, Sara. Let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing you in the branches.
Thanks Sara. Lot's of "cruft" on wikitree. Have fun.
+4 votes
I would like to join this project and learn how to improve profiles on Wikitree, starting with my own family line. Thank you.
by A O'Brien G2G6 Mach 1 (13.6k points)
Glad to have you, A. I've awarded your badge. Let me know if how we can help.
Thank you Debi :)
+4 votes

I’ve been cleaning up lots of profiles as I come across them and been involved in the sourcerers project for a few months now, so it’s time I registered for this Profile Improvement Project. In my working life I did a lot of metadata cleaning so I thought my expertise in this area might help the aim of a quality tree for all.  I’ve already created a to do list for my own profiles which is where I have started.

by Deborah Talbot G2G6 Mach 5 (50.8k points)
edited by Deborah Talbot
Thanks for joining the project, D. Your to do list looks good. Let us know if you need any help with WikiTree's version of the WikiMarkup code or finding info on creating categories.
+4 votes
I would enjoy being a part of this project. I know to merge profiles and integrate biographical information already.
by Anonymous Rankin G2G6 Mach 3 (35.6k points)
Welcome to the Project, Howard. I've awarded your badge and look forward to seeing the improvements you make.
+4 votes
I would like to join this project also :)
by Stephanie Stults G2G6 Mach 3 (37.0k points)
Welcome to the Project, Stephanie. The sample profiles you provided look really good. I look forward to seeing you in the branches.
+4 votes
I'd like to join. :)
by Jessica Burgoyne G2G1 (1.7k points)
And now you have, Welcome! I've awarded your badge. Let us know if you have any questions.
+4 votes
I would like to join the Profile Improvement Project. Rather than simply slapping data into a profile, as a writer, I'd like to bring the person to life.
by Victoria English G2G6 Mach 3 (31.7k points)

Great to have you join us, Victoria. I've awarded your badge. If you get bored, there's always plenty to choose from on the Biography Needed maintenance category *grin*

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