How can I begin to center my work using WikiTree as my starting point instead of Ancestry?

+9 votes
in The Tree House by Marshall Smith G2G Crew (800 points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
Welcome to G2G.  What does it mean to center your work?

I typically do my searching using Ancestry records databases and then (if I remember) update my WikiTree profiles. In fact, my Ancestry database is much more accurate than my WikiTree database. I suspect I need to reverse this approach, but don’t yet know how to plan my work flow.

Moved to answer.

2 Answers

+18 votes
Best answer
Thanks for clarifying, Marshall.  I came from Ancestry, too.  I like to think of my Ancestry entries as rough drafts.  The biggest problem for me is that Ancestry sources don't translate well to WT as citations.  Also, many WTers do not subscribe to Ancestry and can't see the cited records.  So, the key is to use FamilySearch, which is free and has most of the same databases as Ancestry.  It also has a convenient citation feature that you can copy/paste into a WT profile.

These days if I start a new profile from scratch, I go directly to FamilySearch for records.  Sometimes if I need more I'll look through Ancestry to check the additional records they have.  When I port data from Ancestry to WT, I look at them side by side, and get the citations for the WT profile from FamilySearch.  The Ancestry page tells me where to look for the records I know to exist.

Hope that helps.
by Living Tardy G2G6 Pilot (733k points)
selected by Pip Sheppard
Thanks, Herbert. This is very helpful. Now, to change my research habits...

I copy/paste from Ancestry, but in a 3-step process.  I put the original data first, then the Ancestry information.  That way anyone who reads it can see the original source and look for that.  The Ancestry portion is just giving credit where credit is due since they did provide me access to the record.  The citation looks something like this:

Tornabene, Hugh. City of Palermo Marriage Records, 1820-1895, Harwood, Maryland: 2009; database, "Palermo, Italy, Marriages, 1820-1895," Operations, Inc., 2010 ( : accessed 11 June 2018); Volume 413, Number 146.

Name: Emanuele Marchese

Spouse: G Guercio

Marriage Date: 4 giu 1861 (4 Jun 1861)

Marriage Place: Sant Agata, Palermo

Father Name: Vincenzo Marchese

Mother Name: Anna Pipito

Volume: 413

Number: 146


I also have an Excel database with frequently used sources already formatted - such as census records.  I just copy the entry from my database, paste it, then add the specifics like enumeration number, etc.

Emanuel, thank you so much! This is extremely helpful. I think there needs to be a video or Help FAQ to assist Ancestry users to make the transition to WT. Perhaps I will compile all of the comments I am getting and either make that video myself or encourage someone more knowledgeable to do it. Interested?

Thanks for the star, Pip!
+12 votes

I've recently began the same effort, although I'm coming from being centered on FamilySearch. I find WikiTree to be more work - but the work is better.

Others will have more and better advice than I can offer, but here's my two cents:

I have found the process of beginning to write properly sourced biographies on my ancestors to be most helpful (and time-consuming). Don't be in a rush to get rid of the unsourced template. Really take your time to fully flesh-out each biography, constantly asking yourself - how do I know this fact? How do I know this person is the person I think it is? For example, is this John Smith really my John Smith, or another John Smith?

by Thomas Fuller G2G6 Mach 8 (86.4k points)

Interesting illustration you use: “John Smith”. It is EXACTLY the kind of problem I have in my direct ancestral line: I am descended from a string of four John Smiths!

Thanks for your tip about focusing on creating solid biographies on individuals. I assume you are meaning concentrating on my direct ancestors at first and leave extended family go for the time being.

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