Newby confused by source requirements... they're in GEDCOM . Why so much work

+4 votes
I've uploaded  GEDCOM of over 1000 entries contained NO matches .... Since there are at least 3 Dutton Lanes I'm sure there OUGHT to be matches.  I'm Norma's younger sister trying to get Norma's lifetime genealogy work on-line.  There's another 1400 entry GEDCOM of our mother's BRACKIN-Miller line. We have dna matches up to 8th cousins on Wetherall & Butler lines.  Norma is not so computer literate but has records from courthouses from a lifetime of hunting.... Weve been to Switzerland hunting GEHRINGS etc. As her younger sister I'm trying to get as much digital as possible but can't even find how to do sources.  This WIKI Tree is a great idea but you're requiring the people with info to share   learn too much sheer mechanical stuff.  At least have a place where people are shown how to extrapolate from GEDCOM files.  I won't have time to do that much but would at least like to have certain things up.  No wonder so many people have a family tree of 1..... They intended to put more up but couldn't understand .... or saw how much WORK WIKI is requiring.

Janet writing for sister Norma
in WikiTree Help by Norma Gehring G2G Crew (870 points)
I can understand how it might be daunting, but it's made slightly difficult on purpose. Your sister appears to be a careful researcher, but many people are not. On Ancestry for instance I've seen people add all the children of two different couples in a census as if they were one couple, or they have linked their ancestor Lars Anderson to the first Lars Anderson they found in Norway with the same birth year, not realizing how common a name that is.

Without requiring sources future generations looking at the information on this page would not know whether your sister was a careful or careless researcher, and if they suspected some of the information of being wrong they wouldn't know what source to check and might remove correct information.

That said, it's possible your GEDCOM does contain source information, and if so it is more important that the sources are there, than that they are formatted perfectly according to standards.
Thanks, there are definitely many horror stories on Ancestry of adding willi-nilli...  but do I really have to post each person, date of birth, date of death & everything that is already on the GEDCOM?

I did notice someone just has pasted something from Ancestry so I did that to get some sort of SOURCE.

If I don't use the GEDCOM (& I still doesn't see how I can, will it just be throw away in 60 days.  I can't imagine I'll have time to do more than get a few direct grandparents done.  I already see some distant cousins on here where i KNOW they've missed a generation (the Indiana Gehrings) but this system seems too complicated.

If I only have non sourced personal info (which seems the fastest way to get several names up.) will this all get thrown out eventually or will perhaps a distant relative fix it in the future?

Thank you all for trying to help..... it appears to be a question if I will ever have the time for this.
To B.Turftin: on the LARS Anderson comment.  I do understand that. There were more than 200 Jacob Gehrings born in the same little village in Switzerland.....  they have a GEHRING FACTORY there!  15 of those Jacob Gehrings came to the USA in the 1800s...

And on the Scots/Irish side....The first son had the same name as the grandfather..... so after a few generations you have several cousins with the exact same name.  When there are 2 Joseph Butler s born in the same town & same year you HAVE to know much more about them to go claiming the first one that matches some DNA!
I've only been a WikiTree-user myself for a few months and have barely made inroads so far to my own several thousand profile GEDCOM. Luckily for me I have the sources recorded in the program on my PC in a way that follows with the GEDCOM, so although the profiles aren't the perfect format, they do get most of the source information attached. I plan on doing a few at a time, and at least one within every 60 days to keep the GEDCOM from being deleted before I'm done.

I don't think your profiles will be thrown out for not having sources, so potentially they could get tidied up by some future cousin.

You might also think about uploading it to some other cite that is free, lets the tree be readable to others, and requires less work on your side. I'm not entirely sure if fills those requirements, but at first glance it looks like a way to get your sisters data up online immediately and (hopefully) permanently. You import a GEDCOM without any manual work, and trees can be set to public.

I agree with Bjornar. 

I started adding ancestors that I was sure of two years ago. After some false starts, I figured out to add the {{unsourced}} tag on every bio and now each time I work on the tree I start with one person that has that tag and work backward. Sometimes, it's just one person, sometimes it is five. But it has been a real success for me to know how each person is related to me whether the proof is from a certificate, bible or census. 

My advice to you, Norma and Janet, it to take your time and enjoy filling in the stories as you can. Making things public means that the rest of us can (and will!) help as your information crosses our path - whether it is because of family connection or a wikitree cleanup event like today's sourcing sprint. I use these Saturday events to tackle challenges in my own trees and when I get frustrated, I tackle someone else's. 


Thank You SO MUCH!  I've already uploaded both a Gehring Clark GEDCOM to another sisters DNA file on FamilyTree DNA and a Brackin/Butler GEDCOM to Norma's DNA from FamilyTREE...  I had uploaded the dna from Ancestry for FREE to that webside FOR FREE & get access to matches that click right away.

and I appreciate your idea to at least do a few in any 60 day period so the GEDCOM isn't lost.

I still don't quite know how to source here but guess I don't have too. takes along time to learn, I should probably just work on that until some younger relative takes an interest in this.

2 Answers

+6 votes
Someone recently made this page, maybe it will help:
by Jamie Nelson G2G6 Pilot (321k points)
+8 votes

There is really not so much to learn.  What you need to do is learn it layer upon layer.

Start off like this: EVERY profile needs to have the following three headings, and this is how you write them on the Edit tab:
where you write the person's life story

where you put the sources that back up the dates, places etc

where you list things/people which have been useful, but aren't sources

You list the sources under the ==Sources== heading (with <references/> immediately underneath), using bullet points (there are other ways, but just stick with bullet points for now):
* Here is a source
* Here is another source
* Here is yet another source

And that's it!  When you have these under your belt, you can start learning about internal links, inline sourcing, adding images and so on.

How to write sources: I recommend you get them from, who have actually got a little section 'Citing this Source' and it's all written out for you.  If you already have them (and it sounds like you have), just write them down, preferably so someone else could find them if they wanted to.  If there's a link, use it.  If there isn't, don't.  Here are some made-up examples:

* UK birth registration: Stow, Volume 5b, Page 33, March quarter 1844, mother's maiden name PHILLIPS

* 1878 Land Grant to Fred Doe, Courthouse, Gorham, Maine, USA, viewed online at [link], hardcopy in possession of Norma Gehring

* 1898 Last Will and Testament of Fred Doe held in possession of Norma Gehring, National Archives ref DD1/1234 WT/2

Hope that's helpful.



by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

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