People doing clean up when it isn't needed, adding sources already there?

+15 votes
I have noticed a very few times things happen,strange things.   People drive by profiles and reformat sources, or add sources that are already referenced.

When you check their activity, it seems it was done in some kind of spurt of cleaning.

I am not going into details or naming any names, I just wonder about this.

I keep my profiles off the Suggestions list, so ????

I know nothing at all about data doctors or source a thons or any of the other challenges.

I have plenty of profiles that need help, so not going to complain, just curious = )
in WikiTree Help by Wendy Fromme G2G6 Mach 2 (24.6k points)
edited by Wendy Fromme

5 Answers

+33 votes
Sometimes we end up at a profile simply by working in a family line or in a specific place, unrelated to the Data Doctor or Profile Improvment projects.

Some of the reformatting of sources is done by people who are attempting to make a Gedcom-created profile more readable. The sources created by a gedcom can be quite repetitive and are weighed down by information that lives on a person's computer that none of the rest of us have access to. So, we delete such things. Some people stumble upon a profile with a source such as "1880 Census" and add information to expand that source.

Data Doctors work from lists that have been created by a member of the WikiTree team. It's a daunting job, with millions of profiles in need of a corrections. The challenges/thons help us bring those numbers down. As you point out, there are downsides to this, including hurried "corrections" that are inaccurate or incorrect. Personally, I am not out to win any badges, but I strive for accuracy, not speed.

My current spurts of cleaning are in the categorization area, so you would not see that as much, unless a category you created was incorrect and it disappeared from your profiles! :-)

Anyway, whether it's during a challenge, a thon, or simply through a personal project of cleanup, we're out to improve WikiTree.

Have a good day!

EDITED TO ADD: And thank you for the question, Wendy, and you're not the only person who wonders such things. It's a good reminder that WE COLLABORATE!
by Natalie Trott G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
I agree that Ancestry's citations are crap. It takes a bit of effort to put them in a recognizable format. The ideal is called out in the Help section ( but anything is better than nothing.
Some of familysearch citations are pretty bad as well. For instance 1860 and 1870 census records.
Jeanne, what's bad about the 1860 and 1870 census citations from familysearch?
I had to go look after Jeanne's comment. If you take the citation from the index page, it leaves out information. If you go to the image, which people should be doing anyway, it gives a more complete citation. The latter has an acceptable amount of detail.

I usually cite the index record on the profiles. There is a modified version thst I have used that has all the information, but it takes more time to cite them. If it is not my family line as in my hidden unknowns identifications then I usually just cite the index at family search because the image is usually available from the census record listings there.

The following references are pertaining to this individual who is a work in progress:

For example 1860:

- the index citation at FamilySearch: "United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch( : 13 December 2017), Benj Robinson, 1860.

- the actual image citation: "United States Census, 1860," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 March 2017), Ohio > Washington > Barlow Township > image 21 of 30; from "1860 U.S. Federal Census - Population," database, ( : n.d.); citing NARA microfilm publication M653 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

- Modified Evidence Explained model: 1860 U.S. census, Washington County, Ohio, population schedule, Barlow Township, [ p. 273 A (stamped), p. 23 (penned)], dwelling 198, family 159, Benj Robinson; database with images, <i>FamilySearch</i> ( : 22 July 2018); citing National Archives microfilm publication M653, roll 1049; Family History Library microfilm 805,049.

As you can see both the index and the image citation do not give all the needed information for the evidence explained model for 1860. 

Now for 1870 (Same household)

- Index: "United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch( : 12 April 2016), Benjiman Robinson, Ohio, United States; citing p. 18, family 120, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 552,670.

Image: "United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 22 May 2014), Ohio > Athens > Ames > image 18 of 27; citing NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Modified Evidence Explained: 1870 U.S. census, Athens County, Ohio, population schedule, Amesville, Ames Township, [ p. 29 B (stamped), p. 18 (penned)], dwelling 143, family 120, Benjiman Robinson; database with images, <i>FamilySearch</i> ( : accessed 22 July 2018); citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 1171; Family History Library microfilm 552,670.

Which version of Evidence Explained? Version 3, Revised would keep the waypoints used in the FamilySearch citation along with the extra that you added. In any case, the FamilySearch citation is far better than what most people use but I do prefer the full EE citation.
I only have the 2nd edition book. I have not bought the 3rd edition yet as I do not have it in my budget until I can pay off my car loan. I know there is a digital version, but I find it easier to look at the hard copy in anything I need to actually use over and over. Plus the 2nd edition is a pretty hefty book.
The 3rd edition is a little thicker and added quite a bit. We only recently got it after taking a writing course from Tom Jones and seeing citations with waypoints. A number of things have changed but the older versions are still valid and it is a pricey book. Also agree that it has to be a physical book. An ebook is fine as a second copy so you can take it with you but nothing beats paper.
If a person comes across a profile and sees a source but than finds a PRIMARY source - well that is better because it was created when the event happened so should be more accurate - Secondary sources are easier to read because they are usually in language that is more modern than how the older primary ones use - but Primary are best if they can be had.

Paid site references I can not see so I am never sure if they are good or junk tree stuff so I just pass those by -
Primary sources are always best. I would never remove a non-primary source as some apparently do. If there is something close to a proper citation, it would be obvious if a source behind a pay wall was to a record or to a tree.
+13 votes
I go on all kinds of editing sprees on profiles not on my watchlist.  Profiles with no manager, or an inactive manager, that haven't been touched in months/years, often can be improved with a quick rummage on familysearch and cleaning out some gedcom clutter.

I'm likely to be even bolder and maybe strange if I wrap up a profile cleanup-and-sourcing edit by checking for duplicates for possible merges.  If that search returns family lines with no dates/locations, I try to check at least a few of them for easy sourceable edits that will help exclude those profiles from future duplicate searches.  

In my contribution history those edits could look like a spurt of cleaning randomly hitting profiles and expanding citations that were already on the profiles.  I do try to leave clear change notes about what I'm contributing, and welcome feedback from PMs and Trusted List members about those edits.
by E. Compton G2G6 Pilot (175k points)
+11 votes
Since I am one of those who does not have an Ancestry subscription, I know not to remove the Ancestry link, but I would certainly try and find a source from Family search or elsewehere that does not require any payment to see.

I often see profiles with nothing but Ancestry sources and since I cannot access Ancestry - to me that profile is literally UNSOURCED. There are no sources that I can check for myself. So I always try and find at least one source from Family Search or elsewehere.
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+6 votes
When I'm tired of my family, I visit the neighbors' messy profiles.  One PM doesn't capitalize!  and that's just lazy.  There are profiles without asterisks to separate sources.  Profiles with 2 names in the given name field.  So I fix 'em.  I collaborate frequently (don't tell my grandparents). teehee
by Jo Gill G2G6 Pilot (129k points)
I've been doing exactly that. Another member's profiles regularly appear on my Suggestions. I've been having a lovely tidy up, finding marriages and connecting to existing parents etc. Sometimes I do improve on the existing source by adding a clickable link or copying the source itself. (I like to show the whole of a birth record not just give the reference number.) I thought this was what collaboration was all about, too.
I've started adding === Record Abstracts === as well.

It helps with the data without having to open the source doc.

G2G thread on the subject:

Sometimes I combine source and record abstract, especially for census records.

I've started adding === Record Abstracts === as well. 

Jo, this is a nice formatting solution for dropping data extracts on the profile where they can be found easily without interrupting the traditional biography narrative and bibliography.  I'm going to start using it!

Here's another method that solves the same problem of having too many tabs open.  Hmmmm ... which one is it?
Definitely.  I do mine with a swanky table:

It's super-easy with an online wiki table tool like this one

Copy-paste the extract into the form, and I uncheck the "First element..." and "Sortable" options, and hit "Do It" and it formats the data for you!
I am so using the table!  Thanks
+3 votes
I usually don't mind the clean up groups working on my profiles, but last month I was furious with the person who worked on over a dozen of the profiles I had created, and not from GEDCOM's.  This person went in and added "UNSOURCED" to each profile, apparently not bothering to look at the sources that were listed, such as 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 census and these census' were properly sourced.  I also had sourced marriage records on the profiles, and NONE of the sources were from Ancestry.

It took time to remove all of the Unsourced tags from each profile which was un-necessary work.  I sent the individual a private message telling them I had removed the unscourced tags and ask what they saw wrong with the census' and marriage record sources that were on the profiles when they added the unsourced tags.  Needless to say I never heard back from the person.  I will be a little more leary in the future of the "Clean Up" work.
by Carol Wilder G2G6 Mach 6 (60.5k points)
Carolyn, point me to one the profiles and I'll try to determine what they thought the problem was.  They might need some schoolin'.
I must admit at times some people tend to use Unsourced as a punishment.  A sort of telling off. I felt it was extrememly unfriendly when I started on Wikitree.. I was working on a small number of profiles with joint census information and unsourced appeared before I got there.  But things do seem to have calmed down. I have a rule now to see if I can find a source before I add Unsourced to anyones profile. I won't waste a lot of time but a couple of minutes usually finds something. But obviously the profiles with just a name do tend to receive Unsourced pretty damn quickly.

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