Suggestion start with bot created FAG citations [closed]

+9 votes

As FindAGrave users can start delete graves see G2G 513247 how should WikiTree do to get less loss of information?

  1. Status in WikiTree
    1. I feel too many profiles just have a FAG link


        is in WIkiTree used on about 790 000 memorials
    2. Instead of having a transcription / copy of the meta data that is useful e.g.
      1. John Glenn
        BIRTH 18 Jul 1921 Cambridge, Guernsey County, Ohio, USA

        DEATH 8 Dec 2016 Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, USA

        BURIAL Arlington National Cemetery Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA

        PLOT Section 35 Grave 1543

        GPS map
        Latitude: 38.87528,
        Longitude: -77.07371

        MEMORIAL ID 173642966

Suggestion use a BOT to create citations

Approx. number of WikiTree profiles with potential problems = +700 000

What to do  

  1. Agree on a format how to transcribe FindAGrave
  2. Ask dear Aleš if his bot not just could compare Wikitree and FindAgrave but also update WIkiTree profiles with the better transcription format you agree using
  3. Find a way what graves should be updated?!?!?
    1. E.g. all profile managers graves that have template {{FAGImprove}} on there own WikiTree profile..... is updated once....

Genealogy 2017 is getting more and more crazy....

WikiTree profile: EditBot WikiTree
closed with the note: Conclusion FindAGrave adds no value ==> losing information is no big deal... ==> no request for action
asked in WikiTree Tech by C S G2G6 Pilot (268k points)
closed by C S
Nice idea.  But are private user profiles in the dump now?

@RJ Horace

No they are not really part of the party is my understanding.... but as its data and on Chris server.... I think if Chris, The community etc... thinks its a good idea its no major problem.... webscrape also those....

I feel the WikiTree community needs to step up and agree on a lowest genealogy common denominator 

  1. Agree on better citations
  2. Always use Templates for external links  

Things are changing fast and WikiTree with +14 000 000 is getting a "beast" with no clear goal of genealogy quality plus I feel it has some basic "inherited" quality problems that needs to be adressed...

  • when I checked yesterday see G2G 517163#c517163 I found the same profile on 5 more places and WikiTree Melton-938 was the only one full with garbage and impossible to read because of bad GEDCOM import.... feels not good...

    having a potential of +700 000 non working FindAGrave links feels like a no winner and this just because of not telling WIkiTree users how do to it correct
    • or use tools like Aleš can create to do it easy for the user

@RJ Horace nerd thing..... Google now streams about AI tools see link

I don't like for the memorial number to display.  It's not needed.  It displays when you hover your cursor over the link.  When internal links to Wikitree profiles are used, the Wikitree-ID is not displayed and I don't see why Find A Grave should be different!  For the data, I find the where and which grave location useful but the birth and death data questionable (when there isn't a headstone - and even then it's not necessarily true).


agree the number is just a technical piece adding no genealogy value.....

  • Lesson learned from Wikidata
    • They use unique Q numbers for every record
    • Its sometimes a naming conflict that you have more  Vincent Piazza 
      • one Piazza-75 that is you
      • But we also have 
      • Lesson learned an unique ID makes administration and discussion easier....  as we in WIkiTree merge things etc.... this can be more than confusing also for humans....
        • with no unique numbers telling
          • that 9205649 was merged with 19190248 and looks to be the same as 156000998 needs some unique human readable ID.....
There's a point of view that a citation should be usable from a printout.  But that's probably old-fashioned.

@RJ Horace

Dont we see a new bomb developed that will destroy all electronics in North Korea.... feels like North Korea are also good developing nasty things and are trigger happy so maybe that will make us prefer ID;s in text on paper very soon.......

6 Answers

+13 votes
I would not want a transcript of the data on the FAG memorial, much less a bot editing profiles with such info. That data is user-contributed and hence no better than an online family tree.  And it’s my understanding that FAG *discourages* sourcing! So I vote no on this suggestion.

The most important information on a FAG profile is the photo of the headstone. And even headstones can have errors.
answered by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (636k points)

You have different scenarios and this is a solution if we think number 5  is a problem....

If you just have  and it dosnt work how should you find the gravestone that adds information? Good transcription helps....


  1. Can we trust a community sourced site
    1. Answer No
  2. Do we like genealogy sites that don't have proper citations and quality checks for every facts?
    1. No we h###te them ;-)
  3. Do we have references to them
    1. Answer Yes +700 000
  4. Is this site we reference +700 000 stable and will be there forever
    1. Answer: hmmmm no looks like people start delete things
  5. If it is deleted is it ok to have a non working URL or do you want something more?
    1. Answer: ??
  6. but I just trust whats on the grave stone or in the administrative records
    1. Ok but how do you visit the gravestone  with just a non working URL and no transcription? 


Nota BENE: Lesson learned from transcribing 1500 records at one cemetery in Stockholm, Sweden is that the name used in the administrative records is really important as spelling can be a big problem finding back to the record

I'm currently working through my own suggestions list on which numerous FAG suggestions have appeared since I last cleared the list. So far I have changed one entry in wikitree after examination of the headstone, and reluctantly added one unsourced birthdate from FAG (agreed with the year, but the actual date of birth? - it's unsourced, user contributed and may be right or may be a figment of their imagination, but I couldn't find another way of getting rid of the error).

All the others have been a case of sending a correction request to FAG - and their past record on those has been pretty poor.

On that track record I do not think a bot to add unsourced opinions into wikitree adds value. Let humans do it, it may be slower, but I'd rather have it right than quick.


I'm not saying don't link to FAG memorial pages. I'm not saying don't fix broken links to FAG memorial pages.

I'm against a bot adding what's transcribed on FAG memorials to Wikitree profiles.

I've seen too many examples of text on FAG memorial pages that do not match at all what is on the photographed gravestone. And because the text on those memorial pages do not typically include sources, I definitely do not want that text auto-copied to Wikitree profiles.

Hope that makes my point more clearly.

Hi Magnus,

I agree with Jillaine, in this instance. Please do NOT have a Bot do this. I think it would clutter up existing profiles. Many of that information is already on a profile anyway, like birth date, death date, many times the locations of each. And Burial info should be in a category also. Plot and GPS info is arguably useful to have.

Because of recent issues we've been having with some EditBots, I think it best to slow down on automating some of this.

@Eric Weddington 

In the first post I suggested for profile managers that have added
a template {{FAGImprove}} on there own profile page i.e. Weddington-53

  • For Profile Manager who hasnt added this dont do anything
    • Nothing happens if you are not active saying please help me
    • Bad thing is for passive Profile Managers no active decision is taken.... 

WikiTree is full of people just adding an URL because of lack of understanding or dont care.... they are the target group.... 


Clutter up

add it as a <ref></ref> then it will be at the end...

Best if we could "hide" all research related info like research plan, sources checked but with n success in an research tab....

See G2G 231790


Is not telling that FindAgrave is correct is just to have some information if its lost ..... In the example above FindAgrave has the coordinates of the grave. That I think the WikiTree profile doesnt..... it has just an URL.... and no grave plot info

+7 votes
In my experience FAG has very little in the way of sources so the loss of the memorials should not be a big concern. The dead links should be removed but transcribing unsourced data is just making it easier for myths to make their way into WikiTree. A better suggestion would be to remove all FAG "sources".
answered by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)

FindAGrave  have coordinates that is often needed when visiting a cemetery you dont know,.......  

I feel documenting graves with coordinates is something most people do today...


+6 votes
No. The data on a FindAGrave memorial is very much like that on a WikiTree profile; some is very questionable and unsourced while some leads to source records about an individual or family. Dates, even engraved on headstones, might not be correct. Since FindAGrave is a source (albeit secondary and derived), please let us continue to cite the source. Forcing use of dates, however, would be like forcing use of dates from a census.

My preference for citing FindAGrave is to use the text from the source citation button, then add the template. This provides the who, what, when and where for the citation. Perhaps we should all send a suggestion to FindAGrave that the source citation be included directly on the page.

After looking at many profiles, there probably are lots of opportunities for editbot contributions. What if there was an Incomplete_Source template? That could apply to any number of sources which consist solely of the string “FindAGrave” or “FamilySearch” or “” or “1xxx census”. There are many others. Any estimate of how many unsourced profiles are tagged? Maybe 50%?
answered by Kay Sands G2G6 Pilot (168k points)
FAG citation with WikiTree FAG Template replacing the generic link is the way to go. If the FAG memorial goes away, the basic info it had is still there.
+4 votes

Do not have anything useful, just wanted to be sure I was following this G2G feed.

It seems with the recent Ancestry acquisition this could present a lot of future problems, etc  (I just am not a fan of Ancestry)  Maybe the "template" is an answer, but I would like to see something like a "box" at the end of the profile under a "See Also" section that says something like:(disclaimer)


Find a Grave is not a definitive source unless there is clear documentation for the dates, or a picture of a headstone (which could be incorrect)  FAG provided as a convenience and as Reference Purpose Only

Link inserted for FAG (or if possible a better choice FamilySearch index link (cite) if there is an easy way to do this.


answered by Sandy Edwards G2G6 Mach 6 (68.8k points)

I think this disclamer approach is what is needed in WikiTree.... 

Today you get a link or a citation but no information about a source quality ...

I think 

  1. Start using temlates for external source
  2. Have a standard format of every "source"
    1. You get a ink to the record
    2. You get a link to a page were you can read more about the source
      1. quality
      2. problems
        1. how to avoid problems
      3. alternative possibilities....


I started something like a page about some "sources"

  1. Space:FindAGrave
  2. Space:Wikidata
    1. And had a template Wikidata that also added a about link

Exempel how the template also adds a text About wikidata

This WikiTree profile is referenced from WikiData: Q83229 Wikidata InformationReasonator enwiki Ancestors (about wikidata)

+3 votes

I am a big proponent of using templates to link to external websites like Findagrave. I refer mainly to sites that, like WikiTree itself, have individual profiles. For me, using a template to link to a profile-based website which, in turn, has source documents (for repository sites like FamilySearch and Ancestry), photos, and/or other reliable resources makes perfect sense.

I do not, however, believe that we should use a bot to add transcriptions of the data or information contained on the other sites' profiles. Transcriptions should come only from actual source documents. For a site like Findagrave, we don't know where or even if the information was sourced.

When I link to Findagrave, it is as a resource, not a source (still updating my watchlist to this policy!). I have added the template (using the expanded paramters: sameas=yes) to my personal pre-formatted citation so it will always be included whenever I edit a profile that references Findagrave.

As for what actions we should take specifically regarding Findagrave, I feel we need to wait to see what tact that site takes now that it is under Ancestry's control.

I wonder if they plan eventually to allow Findagrave profiles to be linked to the source documents in their repository. Alternately, will they want to merge the Findagrave profiles to family trees?

answered by Lindy Jones G2G6 Pilot (145k points)

>> I wonder if they plan eventually to allow Findagrave profiles to be linked to the source documents in their repository. Alternately, will they want to merge the Findagrave profiles to family trees?

I asked the administrator of FindAgrave and he said maybe.... see G2G 443233#c443233

My feeling reading most of the answers above is most people dont think outside the "old" WikiTree box or dont see other possibilities 

  • I guess Aleš already has a lot of FIndAgrave information down in Slovenia on his machine for every WikiTree profile with a link ==> Aleš knows more about the FindAGrave memorial than we show/know in WikiTree.... 
    • And why should a transcription be stored on the WikiTree profile?...... I guess Aleš database is rather big today.....

Link rot is a problem addressed by e.g.

That sites get bought by someone and change policy is a rather new problem that I guess we will see coming... also WIkiTree has an last day

>> Transcriptions should come only from actual source documents.

I think its a way not to lose information... 

Odd that everyone complains so much on FindAgrave and still it feels like the most linked site inside WikiTree and on many profiles its just the only link.......  

+2 votes
Although I agree many items should not be done by a bot, I see no harm in having a bot change valid FAG links into a FAG template instead. This would be fairly easy but time consuming for people. It would also just be a straight forward grab the numbers and plug it in.

As far as trashing FAG because it is "user contributed" data, need I remind you what Wikitree is? I contribute data, you contribute data, if we are lucky sources that can be verified are found. If all data that was not professionally sourced was suddenly removed from wikitree there would be no more wikitree.

We have "uncertain" buttons for a reason. Even if it is not an approved source, enough accumulated evidence can point you to the discovery of one. Heck, in a perfect world we could go to Amazon, pay $59.95 and download "The complete genealogical guide from Adam until the 1900". Then all we would need to know is our own great grandparents.

Of course All genealogy sites would then cease to exist. No hunting for elusive links or great profiles telling little known details, etc. Personally, This is an AWESOME site for being free even if it does have errors. Half the fun is fixing those.

So, yeah, Bots converting links to templates, good. Bots transcribing everything over? Not so much.
answered by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (155k points)

>> As far as trashing FAG because it is "user contributed" data, need I remind you what Wikitree is? 

Not trashing but the information can't be trusted without checking sources its more like you get breadcrumbs... 

The main problem I see with WikiTree is that we have no genealogy quality process.....

4 eyes can see more than 2. Today Aleš bot is the one saying what should be checked ==> people spend so much time on really bad researched profiles... or fixing GEDCOM errors on profiles noone cares about.....

Better would be if we get quality check profiles ==> profiles more people have checked and said this is good research done and it looks ok... 


  1. We will learn more from each others
  2. WikiTree will get better overall quality
  3. As a reader I can see that a profile has been checked ==> I can trust it more.... or read the comments and learn what maybe is a problem...

I think WikiTree has proved that most people are not active they just upload a GEDCOM and disappear..... we need to add trust and quality to the process and also find out if an user adds value. As an reader you don't want to spend time reading information you cant trust..... 

New interested concept from one of the founders of WIkipedia. Combining a Wiki and Blockchain to create Tradeable IQ;-) see


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