Is this pre-1500s profile acceptable?

+13 votes
As a recent recipient of the pre-1500s certificate I’d like to check that it’s ok to add profiles like this one that have only an online genealogy as its source.

Wikipedia has listed her as the mother of Pope Sixtus IV. His Wikipedia profile details a lot about his ancestry. When I searched for details about his mother I came across an online genealogy which I’ve detailed in her Research Notes.  

Should I add profiles for parents of Popes etc when all that is immediately available is an online genealogy or should I just leave the names in the child’s biography.

If I continue to add parents in this manner I will add the research notes that the source is unreliable online genealogy.

Is this acceptable practice?
WikiTree profile: Luchina Monleoni
in The Tree House by Deborah Talbot G2G6 Mach 7 (72.4k points)

I see that you have received plenty of answers. I didn't see anyone suggest adding her son's Wikipedia article as a source on her profile, linked directly to the paragraph which mentions her. That would save someone a bit of time if they wanted to review the biography for cited sources.

I reviewed the footnoted source in that paragraph. The cited website no longer exists but can still be found in's Wayback Machine. That page is long with many biographies so I searched for "della Rovere." The article on Francesco has a bibliography, webgraphy (new word to me and my spellchecker LOL), and footnotes which included an alternate spelling for her surname which might help.

5 Answers

+14 votes

Deborah it's great you have taken on adding profiles for all the Popes to WikiTree, but sorry I take a really hard line when it comes to pre-1500 profiles and maybe you will get a more temperate view from other people.

But because there are already too many pre-1500 profiles that have poor sources or no sources and because I think those of us who are given permission to undertake work on pre-1500 profiles have a much greater responsibility for the health of WikiTree, I personally think we should never create a pre-1500 profile just based on unsourced online genealogies.

I do realise that for most of us, myself included, if we want to work on a profile for someone from a non-English speaking background that Wikipedia is the ideal place to start, though I would encourage the use of the Wikipedia article in the language of the person.  Most web browsers have an inbuilt translation function these days and they are often better sourced.

For instance the Italian version of the Wikipedia article for her son Sixtus IV has an article (again in Italian) that looks really well-sourced and does state that Luchina Monleone is his mother and also has details about siblings, including some extra sisters not mentioned in the online genealogies.

While I'm still on my soapbox I realise it isn't well-known, but every Wikipedia article has a Cite this page function (under Tools on the right of the screen) and it's really easy to just copy and paste the Chicago style, which is the WikiTree recommended one.

OK off the soapbox. cool

by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (641k points)
edited by John Atkinson
Thank you, That is exactly why I asked the question.

The reason I did this profile was because it came up in my suggestions as unconnected parents.  I have not created any other Pope’s parents profiles, though others had.

I don’t want to add profiles that are not properly sourced but I had to start somewhere. I will be going to proper sources to complete this profile. I am aware of some quality research on the Pope’s and have access to the Catholic Library where there is good source material.

I won’t add any more parents until I have quality sources.  I’ll add their names in the child’s biography.  However for the Pope’s project I’m adding each Pope’s profile with the Wikipedia source and the Vatican source as the Vatican archives are well documented.  Once each profile is created with the succession box I will be undertaking quality researched genealogy for the biographies.

Hi Deborah,

WikiTree can be defined on how we evaluate our sources. The official position held by management is that a source as defined on the sources help page is simply the generic definition of sources.
A source is the identification of where you obtained information.

Unlike the credible standard in Genealogy, there is nothing in the definition about credible sources are to be used on WikiTree. In fact anything can be a source.

I can see that you are trying your best and the hardlined Genealogists (me included) can do nothing until WikiTree decides to change it's policy.  

+9 votes
Probably not. If you cannot find any proper online history of this family, then is there any book out there about them that you can cite?

The online tree you have linked to, is like geni, where anyone can add anything it, with no sources.

Once you go back this far (pre-1500) you have to be VERY CAREFUL with your sources.

It is better to cite journals and books rather than online genealogical trees.
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Thank you, see my response above. I will be going to quality sources, just wanted to know if it was ok to start the profile with unsourced genealogy tree info.  As per above response I won’t create any more until I have a quality source.  For the Pope’s I’m creating the profile with dates from the Vatican website as that is reliable, adding a succession box and categories and then coming back to build the biographies with quality research when that is completed.
+8 votes
Deborah, I have to give you credit for at least taking a stab at it and  asking for input. Like John said, some of the pre-1500 profiles are a mess because in the early days of WT, folks just uploaded Gedcoms that were unsourced and sometimes even based on assumptions of other, equally unsourced research.

Keep at it and keep asking! The advice you get here is invaluable for creating truly great profiles that have the sources that make them solid research.
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.8m points)
Thank you. I do try to put in quality sourced data. I am also a stickler for clean biographies.  That is why I added the research note to warn people that the profile wasn’t sourced and no better than someone else’s unsourced genealogy.  Once I have quality sources for the data I’ll delete the links to the unsourced genealogies.
Deborah, the profile looks good and clean. The note on “needs validation” is just right. Well done. Keep up the good work.
+2 votes
Deborah, as others have said, we're making it a high bar in terms of sourcing to justify creating a pre-1500 profile.   One approach you can take, from the perspective that all genealogy and all profiles are always "in process" is to start the profile of the parent under ==Research Notes== on the profile of the son.  Put your material with in-line sources, there in the form you would eventually wish to have it on the parent's own profile.  That way, when you can justify creating the profile, a lot of the work will be done;  in the meantime, you have added documentation of the pope's parent.
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (478k points)
+2 votes

Deborah because we know how hard it is to find good sources we have assembled a resource page for doing pre-1500 research.  I would suggest looking in sources listed here:

  • Medieval Lands by Charles Cawley. An in-depth study which attempts to provide a narrative biography of all of the noble house of Europe cross-referenced to original sources. searchable [1]

would be a good place to start.

Adding this to my original answer.  Another source for Pope research are the Vatican Archives.  They have recently been going online with some of it and you can contact an archivist as well.

by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (854k points)
edited by Laura Bozzay
Thank you Laura.  I have been using the Vatican Archives as they are the most reliable source for the Pope’s project.  I am a professional archivist so understand research strategy and quality sources etc.  That is why I add Research Notes to all my profiles with questionable data so that others who look at the profile will see that further research is necessary before a conclusion relating to the statement can be agreed upon.  I keep a documented research strategy so I know what I have to work on and which profiles I need to go back to if I get way laid going down a different track.
Great!  I am glad that you are familiar with the Archive.  So many people do not seem to know about it or how to access it.

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