Please Leaders, we need a template {{Uncertain Sources}} for better categorization of profiles with source improvements.

+36 votes
For those profiles not covered by the {{Unsourced}} template and without any other sources than derivative sources, can we use a {{Uncertain Sources}} template please.
in Policy and Style by Louis Heyman G2G6 Mach 9 (97.6k points)
retagged by Louis Heyman
Uncertain sources infers that perhaps the source is not legitimate or cannot be found.  Maybe something like {{Primary Sources Needed}}.  How about {{Unsourced|Primary Source Needed}}.

Also a good idea. I am going to give you the same reply as I did to Jillian. Uncertain is already a familiar term to the members on wikitree and it is very well defined on the Help:Uncertain page. You can have a look there. That means that it would require minimal effort to integrate the new template on WikiTree.

While I think that Uncertain Sources would be better, the alternative of adding some kind of tagging to Unsourced as Lucy suggests would work. I think we would need some documented arguments in order to make the box consistent in messaging although nearly all the time it would be "Primary Sources Needed." There is also the case where people don't understand what primary sources are needed so probably also need something to say "unsourced Ancestry and other personal trees are not sufficient sources"

Hi Doug,

The page Help: Uncertain that I provided a link for in my answer to Lucy, does just that. It provides the documented examples. 

The Unsourced Template page links to the Help: Sources page where the definition of Sources are 

A source is the identification of where you obtained information.

Now that definition eliminates the possibility of adding a tag with sources to the main unsourced which has been defined as absolutely no sources at all. 

Edit: Here is the exact wording on the Unsourced template page
{{Unsourced}} is a Research Note Box. It should be placed on any profile that has no sources.

I agree with you. As several genealogy teachers have said, an unsourced genealogy isn't a genealogy, it is fiction. A great many Ancestry trees are fiction. They might have the information correct but who can tell without doing real research. They are technically sources in the strictest sense but are definitely in the "uncertain" category at best. There are also some good ones but the bad way outnumber the good.
Thank you Doug

It does not really matter what name WikiTree decides to use, as long as there is a commitment to a template with the purpose of identifying the profiles that have an Unproven Existence. We normally refer to them as the profiles with Junk Sources when we talk about,it but I thought WikiTree would not like to be so blunt. Maybe just use Unproven Existence. After all the purpose of why we require at least one credible source on a profile is to prove that the person was real.

Better still, replace {{Unsourced}} with {{Unproven Existence}} and we will have one collective phrase for the profiles that have no sources as well as uncertain sources.

This way we won.t need to identify all the different sources. I can see that in the past there has been numerous opinions about what to use as defining sources.

As I said, there needs to happen something Truly. Please.
Would this not fall under the Needs Research category?
No it would not. The needs research category was defined for profiles with credible competing or contrasting  sources. It is not to be confused with unsourced profiles (At the time including garbage sourced profiles under unsourced).


Unfortunately, it has the remark: 

Note: Please do not apply this tag to any profile unless you are a Profile Manager for that profile. The goal of this tag is to let Sourcerers know that they have a Profile Manager's permission to add sources to a profile without checking with them first. If you think that a profile needs more sources, you can ask the Profile Manager if they're willing to add the tag, but don't add it to profiles you don't manage.

12 Answers

+17 votes
It is a good idea.

How would it be policed to ensure that only the profiles with actual uncertain sources are put into the category?

An example may be a citation for an USA census done by I look for a corresponding citation in Familysearch as I don't have easy access to I can't find a source in Familysearch. Now some people may consider that an Uncertain source but others may be fine with it.
by Darren Kellett G2G6 Pilot (470k points)
Perhaps in that instance, "Paywall Source" would be another good alternative, for when a source requires you to pay in order to see it. :)
I just leave the source and don't do anything. I know that Familysearch can misplace some profiles because of transcription errors so not finding a "Free" source isn't a make or break scenario for me.

Hi Darren, 

What an interesting choice of words. I expected someone to ask how we would define the term Uncertain, and my answer would be that WikiTree has a comprehensive help guide about the term here, but not how to police it. I am not sure anything is policed apart from vandalism and spamming on Wikitree.

A source tells where the information came from, it doesn't have to be accessible to everyone.  If I quote from a book, you may not have the book.  And your library may not have the book.  But I have the book.  That's what counts.  Now, it is a kindness to include in the citation that this is a paywall source, but anyone who follows the link and didn't pay will find that out quite soon!
+12 votes
Perhaps {{Better Sources Sought}} instead of Uncertain.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (928k points)


Hi Jillian 

Perhaps, but better does not necessarily mean the source is certain or credible. I chose the phrase because "uncertain" is a;ready familiar and pretty well defined on the Help:Uncertain page with reference to sources as such it would require a minimum effort to integrate. 

I think a source can be credible.  But I object to the use of the word "certain".  The best sources can contain a mistake.  If you give me 100 citations for something I have some familiarity with, I can probably rank the 100 in terms of credibility from top to bottom.  Credibility is not binary, an either/or sort of thing.
Please object. I don't mind objections when they are accompanied with a suggestion of a better word. I'm not English, so I'm really trying to give you my best translation in a language I rarely speak.
+10 votes
A source should be cited to the degree that anyone can find it no matter where they look.   This means putting the page number, date, place, name as it appears, etc. in the citation.   The problem is that Ancestry citations don't usually contain this detail.  The actual Census data comes from the US Government Census.  Ancestry and FamilySearch don't own the Census.  They just have copies of the Microfilm from the Government and have indexed it.  If you can't find the source in, then the Ancestry source citation is not complete enough.  I did find one case where missed indexing a few pages in the 1790 Census, but when I looked at the microfilm image file it was there.
by G. Moore G2G6 Mach 3 (39.4k points)

That's why an Ancestry source should not be simply copy/paste.  It should be switched around so that the actual source is first and Ancestry is just the provider:

  • 1870 U.S. census, population schedules. NARA microfilm publication M593, 1,761 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.; database and digital images; “1870 United States Federal Census,” Operations, Inc., 2010 ( : accessed 21 July 2018); Year: 1870; Census Place: Dogwood Neck, Horry, South Carolina; Roll: M593_1499; Page: 67B; Family History Library Film: 552998.
I would be more concerned with sources that do not have sufficient info to find the source (e,g.,,, 1860 census (with no other details), auntie’s research). There are thousands of these. Typically if you add the name as indexed combined with the Ancestry citation, that enables someone to find the source.

On edit... the name is a critical piece of information. Here’s an example...George Emmett was known as both George and Emmett. To find his 1925 census, you need to know that he was recorded as Emmett G and his surname Sands was misindexed as Sando.

Yes, those profiles with a sources section that is just

  • 1850 Census
  • My personal knowledge
Those are hints that there might be a source somewhere but aren't they  actually source citations. A citation should be a roadmap to the specific piece of evidence which Lucy's example is -- a good example of the ideal.
Many reliable sources ask you not to link directly as that link might change to be honest as long all  the details required to search are there then the data provider main link should be enough. Tough if someone can't find it from that !  I certaiinly agree that an indication it can't be checked because of a paywall is a good idea.
There doesn't need to be an indication that something is behind a paywall. A source that follows the recommended form in the Style Guide would include the full details of where the citation was created plus all the info about it and also which repository (,,, etc.). Go back to Lucy Selvaggion-Diaz's comment that includes a proper citation for evidence found in a census. It contains all the information you would need to find it at any repository that has the census records but it also says that it was accessed at A proper citation lets you find it anywhere a copy of the records are kept. The problem is when there is an insufficient citation (e.g. just a link, or just the name of a repository)
Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz,

I love the way your source looks, but isn't a rose a rose, no matter how it looks.

Whether I take the source from ancestry and make it look pretty like yours, or copy it

1850 United States Federal Census (and then add the https://www.ancestry . . .)

mine will take you to ancestry to get the information.

The way yours is listed, I am not sure that I will actually receive any information, but I may be wrong, and I apologize ahead of time if I am.

I am confused about sourcing from ancestry, and know that a lot of their information is correct, because I check it, but just don't know how to transfer it to WikiTree to make it a valid source.

I think you may be confused about sourcing. It doesn't need a link directly to the data since that link can be broken at any time. A source citation provides all of the information to find the source in ANY repository that it exists in but you are also supposed to indicate which repository you did find it in. Lucy's example goes to Ancestry as a repository but the rest of the source citation does tell you complete information and would allow you to go to the National Archives and find it there, or go to Salt Lake City and find it on the rolls of film there, or go to a large local library that has census films and find it there, and so on. All the information necessary to do a search on Ancestry is there.

In any case, the example that Lucy provided is what is expected of a professional genealogist. It is a well documented syntax and methodology. It comes from the Chicago Manual of Style as expressed in great detail in Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Thank you Doug - that is exactly what I am looking for. I have several excellent sources, but am just not sure how to source them here.  You have just verified for me how I need to do that.

I have been reading a lot of threads to find out what I need to make the material that I contribute accurate.

Bless you.

Good source citation is an art. I'm not as good as I should be but I keep working at it and going back to fix sources. Along with Evidence Explained, Tom Jones's Mastering Genealogical Documentation is a workbook approach to citing sources and is quite good.

Thank you very much.
You hit the nail on the head Doug.  Back in the late 1980's, a few of my college instructors spent way to much time trying to explain just this topic.  Reading this thread, reminded me of the discussions in class.  I picked up on it right off, enough to pass class Q&A and written tests.  

It was very close to what I had been doing for years at work, investigation and evidence collection, and the dreaded documentation of it all.  (What is it? Where was it found? Where is it now? Chain of custody stuff, etc.)  Days, Weeks, Months, & Years later, could someone pick up your documentation, and know what your talking about, retrace your steps, and track down all the evidence.

Several years later, in the late 1990's ... I was sitting in a college classroom, the class was a new one, not AJ, not Law, not History.  It fit between the cracks of them all ... it was Genealogy.  The instructor had two requirements, so as not to waste any class time, by the next class you had to have in your hands and have read it ...  Evidence! by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Doug, since our last conversation on here, I purchased Evidence Explained, and have read that along with some government samples that I goodled

You are so right. It is an art work, and it will take me years to get it down. But I am trying. I was a compliance officer in my former life, so I am used to tracking information down, and making sure it is correct. I even had to keep track of where I found it. But not even close to what I am reading the elements of citations should include.

Basically, I am just writing this to express my sincere appreciation to you for getting me started on the right track - and for unconfusing my poor brain about sourcing.

You are terrific, and I appreciate your help very much!

Have a very blessed day! smiley

While I wholeheartedly agree with the complete citation bit can I add another point of view.? The only reason most of us are able to do our research is because a large number of websites have done major transcription work. These free sites rely on advertising, donations etc to pay the costs. I only include what I use in my profile and biography. In my sourcing in the case of the census the rest of the family to aid comparison. I exclude everything else. Pages, reference numbers etc. I use their citation to make sure somebody who wants additional information visits the site that I got the information from. I often use only the home page. There is or should be enough information for someone to repeat the search or indeed search elsewhere.. Why should I do that work for someone who won't do their own research and more importantly it generates revenue for the donor site to survive. I try not to rip these services off! Complete copies of the information is not helping this process. 

Chris, a link to the home page is acceptable by what is called out in Evidence Explained. For the census, only including what you are using is acceptable. You can add other information but in many cases that can confuse the issue and make a citation less clear. It sounds like you are doing things properly.
+10 votes
I would stick with ''unsourced'' only, some profiles have a ''source'' cited that is not sufficient to verify independently.  Many profiles for example use Nos Origines as a source, it is free and accessible to all, but is in fact contributed to by loads of people, and sources are often not cited.  It's just another tree site.  Putting ''uncertain source'' seems redundant in my view, either there is a valid source or there isn't.

The point of having the unsourced template to my mind is so sourcerers and like-minded people can see in one place what profiles need work, and to alert profile managers that they should find something more substantial than ''ancestry family tree''.  Don't think we need another category to do the same thing.
by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (692k points)
ugh, FindAGrave?  Please, they are at best a secondary source for most profiles older than a century or so, they've become a family tree repository now.
I know, considered joining the mini source sprint but saw it was fag and thought noooooo
Please note that many of the Sprinters work on 20th century profile for which FiindAGrave can be valid sources. The Sprint does not focus on what kind of source gets used in any week and Sprinters often place numerous citations on profiles. The goal of the tip is to teach how to cite, not what source to use.

On that note, I would welcome tips for citing other kinds of sources. Read what I wrote for the first one, please, for an idea if what I’m trying to achieve.

Debi, you say The Sourcerers page definition of what can be included in the tally was recently revised for just this reason.    Where is this sourcerers' page please?  The only page I can find on sources is , which is the page that gives the sentence A source is the identification of where you obtained information.  It goes on to describe various ways to enter them, and gives examples of actual sources.  None of which is a family tree that I can see.  Something is simply not computing here in my mind.


I think Debi was refering to the wording for the Sourcerers help page and the monthly G2G post.

I can't answer as to where the decision was made that an online family tree was considered a source. I was told "it was decided by the community." I apparently missed that discussion.

The Sourcerers page that I was referring to is the Sourcerers Project page and specifically Challenge Guideline point 4.  The Sourcerers project didn't get updated (my mistake) as it has never indicated, since its inception in Aug 2015, that profiles with just an online family tree are Unsourced 

It was the Saturday Sourcing Sprint rules section point 2 that I recently updated as follows:

  • If the only source is a link to a profile is a profile or search results page from another genealogy website or the words "Ancestry tree," "," "Pedigree Resource Files" from FamilySearch, and the like, the profile is considered unsourced
Now it says:
  • *If the only source is a link to a profile is a profile or search results page from another genealogy website or the words "Ancestry tree," "," "Pedigree Resource Files" from FamilySearch, and the like, adding a better source will be a valid update for the Sourcing Sprints.
Note the removal of the reference to the profile being unsourced.
There still seems to be some confusion.  It's specifically regarding the Unsourced template.  There was a lot of discussion when the template was first being used as to what profiles it should go on. Should it be profiles that don't have primary sources? What if it's just secondary? What if it is just an online tree? What if someone just names a book? It was decided by the community that only for defining the purpose of the Unsourced Template usage, unsourced meant nothing listed as a ource.  Otherwise there couldn't be clear agreement on when to use or not use it.
hmm, what about spurious sources Eowyn?  I have really come across profiles that had a single name listed as the source, I forget who was PM on them, when I asked that person what this source was, I got an answer to the effect that it wasn't a book or any other document.  Not even a tree.  This is not a frequent occurence, obviously, but it does exist.  A word put in to stand in lieu of a source when a source is asked for.

And some of the family trees used as ''sources'' are erroneous in the extreme, they are a conflation of different people, particularly in older profiles.  Keep finding them, working with French Roots project on some of them, sorting the junk from the valid data.

I understand this was in regards to the template now, but we really need to align template usage with definition of a source, otherwise it leaves things confused.

It does not really matter what name WikiTree decides to use, as long as there is a commitment to a template with the purpose of identifying the profiles that have an Unproven Existence. We normally refer to them as the profiles with Junk Sources when we talk about,it but I thought WikiTree would not like to be so blunt. Maybe just use Unproven Existence. After all the purpose of why we require at least one credible source on a profile is to prove that the person was real.

Better still, replace {{Unsourced}} with {{Unproven Existence}} and we will have one collective phrase for the profiles that have no sources as well as uncertain sources.

This way we won.t need to identify all the different sources. I can see that in the past there has been numerous opinions about what to use as defining sources.

As I said, there needs to happen something Truly. Please.
unproven existence actually exists,  but that doesn't solve the problem with unsourced profiles.  Lots of people are real people with no sources attached.  Different problem.
+15 votes

I have been feeling like a voice in the wilderness for my opposition to the binary notion that there any place you got information can be labelled either sourced or not sourced, and if it passes the source test, the information must be 100% reliable.  The quote from the sources page is correct:  A source is the identification of where you obtained information.  So <ref> It came to jack day in a dream last night </ref> is a source.  it really is.  And it's garbage.

Given that, I really like the template {{uncertain source}}.  It acknowledges that I did cite where the information came from.  And "uncertain", conveys what needs to be conveyed very politely.  Much nicer than {{garbage}}. (Although, come to think of it, a satisfying way to honor peoples' emotions would be to set it up so that you could actually type in {{garbage}} and it would display Uncertain Source...)

by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (473k points)

laugh  funny man Jack.  But then, didn't the program formerly put ''personal knowledge'' on profiles created with no other sources?  Even on profiles centuries old?

Yes, it did -- equivalent to {{garbage}}!  But it added that to the whole profile of Melvin the King, not to each fact.  If I were to begin working on that profile, I'd copy <ref> personal knowledge of John Smith </ref> to each of those facts.  Then I'd start researching Melvin the King to see what I could find out about him.  The first thing I'd probably find is a Geni profile with half of those facts, and a few more, and I'd add them.  Now I know some source other than John Smith. Now with some of the more specific Geni material Google Advanced Search might get me back to some more primary materials that I can add.  As I get better and better sources for the same facts, I can delete the inferior source;  if I can source a birth date to a baptismal certificate, why retain that it was reported in George's college term paper?  That in turn might help get even more specific.  Each time, the source of each line gets added.  Now, I look at Sources at the bottom.  There's some fairly reliable stuff there.  And still a couple of things sourced to the personal knowledge of John Smith, and I have to make a judgment call.  Do I retain John Smith's recollection that Melvin the King of Norway made a surprise trip to Mexico in 1347?  I could, but by now I have a pretty good biography of Melvin, and Mexico, for a number of reasons, shows up as nonsense.  I delete it completely.  OK, so this is a bit whimsical, but it's a research process, and everybody will agree that the objective is to get better and better.  Where the disagreements seem to come in is whether we stifle the process of getting from A to B to C to D, and simply say that if you can't start with D, which everyone agrees is the best, you shouldn't do anything.

But the whole point of putting the unsourced tag is to remind people to add proper sources that support the facts being affirmed on the profile.  It's not something that is branded in stone, once there are sources added it gets taken out.  It's a profile improvement operation really.  Like, hey friend, I know you went and built a tree someplace else and then brought it here, but can you add the info on where the data for it came from more explicity?

+10 votes

Using the word uncertain is probably not what is needed here.

Requires additional sources or source clarification is what is needed.

I may have interviewed a person and used that as a source but I would later want to add documents to back this up.

Adding an interview is reasonable as the interviewee may have been a witness but it should be part of a proof and not used alone.

Proof statements and arguments backed up by reliable sources are what is needed rather than attaching 1 source to an event. Ideally, we should be using a free space profile to gather the sources and enable us to add a well thought out discussion where needed. I doubt that many WikiTreers would do this. Having a research notes section shows that sources are still being assembled to support the profile.

Should poor unclear sources just be moved to research notes. This would make it clear that more research needs to be done and active PMs will be able to have more control whilst others can just add anything they find to this section for evaluation.

by Hilary Gadsby G2G6 Pilot (324k points)
edited by Hilary Gadsby

I agree that proof statements would be nice to have but I suspect only a small percentage of people here even no what that means. The problem with just using a Research Notes section is that you may have good documentation on the names/dates required but there is work on other details. The purpose of the question, in my mind, is two-fold:

  1. make it obvious that the source(s) provided don't provide sufficient information (e.g. points to an unsourced Ancestry or other tree) to support the names/dates.
  2. make is easier to find the profiles that might have "some" sources but need need work.
Research Notes are too broad for that. For example, I use research notes to indicate that I know there are more family members that could have profiles created but I don't have time to do it right now. I also use it to acknowledge that there are family legends that either need to be further researched or have been completely debunked.
As to moving poor sources, I wouldn't want to see that. A poor source may be better than no source. What is needed is to make it clear that better sources are needed.
As to proof statements, there isn't anything preventing the use of those right now. If short, they would work in the current inline source format. Longer ones probably go into Research Notes to explain the research. Some GPS can be quite involved. I have one that has about a dozen sources to prove that there was an unrecorded name change. That wouldn't work will in a source citation but will eventually go into a Research Notes section.
This may be off topic but I am increasingly disturbed by having six to 8 profile managers on my primary ancestors that I introduced to Wikitree.

I have worked hard for many years to amass the information and do not like having it appropriated. The reason that this happens is when someone puts in incomplete information on a person, it is not linked so then they request a merge and they become another profile manager for that  person . Some of them are adding descendants who do not belong to that family and cannot or will not be dissuaded from adding it. I am tired of having to spend time arguing with these people and having inaccurate , unsourced information added to my profiles. I understand that collaboration and one big tree are the goals of Wikitree but I think you need to remind Wikitreers to perhaps widen their search for links by removing some of the criteria such as exact dates  of birth or whatever so they find the link to their ancestor's parents and are able to add the child without becoming a profile manager of the parents. There is enough inaccurate information out there already published and we do nor need to add it to Wikitree making it another unreliable source.
+7 votes
What about "Primary sources needed" or "Lacks primary sources"?

by Living Prickett G2G6 Mach 9 (98.2k points)
Also not  a bad idea,

Do you agree that there is a problem on WikiTree regarding the Identification and categorization of profiles with Junk Sources and that this has to be addressed?
Someone suggested the category Needs Research. Isn't that essentially what we are saying?
Absolutely not Eowyn. Needs research are for properly sourced profiles that needs advanced research.
I think "needs research" and "needs primary sources" mean somewhat different things.

+6 votes
I read on this forum not long ago of a satisfactory way (to me) to deal with the problem as I come across it: primary and secondary sources are cited; anything less is not cited, but listed in a separate sub-heading below <references /> like so

'''See Also:'''

*Ancestry Family Tree (Provo, UT) ($) and the link, if provided

*Family Resource File, etc.

If these inferior sources are cited for important details I usually replace the citation with {{citation needed}}. If some vague description such as "census records," or "family bible" is listed, I add {{citation needed}} and a link to how to cite the bible. If nothing better than a family tree is offered, I add {{Unsourced}}
by Stephanie Ward G2G6 Pilot (121k points)
Hi Stephanie,

That is where the problem starts with the Unsourced that you add for "nothing better than a Family tree:" According to WikiTree you are not allowed to add Unsourced to a profile that has any type of source on it. That is what prompted this request.
Seems to be a rule for the sourcerers challenge more than a Wikitree rule Louis.  That is where there is conflicting direction.
Hi Danielle,

No it is the actual position on WikiTree that you may not add {{Unsourced}} to a profile which contains a source of any kind.
Louis, where do I find that please?  Depending on how it is written, then it might apply to the silly stuff like ''personal knowledge'' applied to profiles centuries old, entered as a ''source''.

Hi Danielle

The Unsourced Template page links to the Help: Sources page where the definition of Sources are 

A source is the identification of where you obtained information.

Now that definition eliminates the possibility of adding a tag to a profile with sources because the main {{unsourced}} has been defined as absolutely no sources at all. 

Here is the exact wording on the Unsourced template page
{{Unsourced}} is a Research Note Box. It should be placed on any profile that has no sources.

right, round-robin we go.  We need the definition of source to be more explicit.  ''Where you found it'' was well illustrated by Jack Day in another answer here as leaving things open to wild fantasies.

The sources page gives examples of sources.  Not a one that is a family tree.

The Help:Uncertain page has I think what you need

Now why is that information not in the sources description?  It should be.  Most people will not go looking for ''uncertain'', but will go look at the sources page.  I know i never even thought of looking there.

We have to make things more user friendly here, which means that criteria for what is a ''source'' should be on the sources page itself.  I strongly suggest that this be amended so people can find the data easily.
+5 votes

We should be using the {{Unsourced}} template. A profile whose source can not be defined, such as a "Family Tree" or a generically named web site, "", or any other unspecific "hint" is not a source. It could be called all sorts of "nice" names, but it's not a source. A source is specific, hopefully reliable, and points the researcher to the actual data they are citing.

The validity of any piece of evidence cannot be analyzed if its source is unknown. Citing a worthless source is an effort that produces worthless results. ~~ Elizabeth Shown Mills.

by Bobbie Hall G2G6 Pilot (358k points)
Again, though, when the Unsourced Template was created, the community determined that it would be used on profiles that had nothing listed for sources at all.  So the definition for the Unsourced Template became that.  That's why Louis is running into this issue.

But note that she (Elizabeth Shown Mills) referred to a "worthless source".  They are still sources even if they aren't good ones.

... which will produce worthless results.
Hi Bobbie,

Don't worry about it. Although I too do not agree with such a literal translation of sources for Genealogy, we have to accept it the way it has been implemented and just move on.
I'm so glad Louis brought up this topic-- it's been very enlightening, speaking for myself. I have to admit as a data doctor I've added {{Unsourced}} to hundreds of profiles that listed vague sources such as "unsourced family tree" or "MyHeritage" or "" Bobbie, I think you and I are on the same page-- looking for citations, really, or primary and secondary sources that could be readily converted to citations. Now that I think about it, there aren't so very many profiles that are completely blank under == Sources ==, relatively speaking.

So Louis is right: if a profile based solely on derivative sources such as  "unsourced family tree" etc. doesn't qualify for {{Unsourced}}, it certainly needs something to show  {{Profile in Need of Work}}.
Thank you Stephanie.

I'm in agreement with Stephanie's idea...

How about {{Profile in Need of Source Work}}. 

+5 votes
Maybe {{Alternative Primary source needed}} or {{Alternative sources needed}}.

Hopefully encourage people to find a free source.
by Wendy Sullivan G2G6 Pilot (161k points)

Hi Wendy, thank you for your support, What did you find wrong with the term Uncertain Sources and how Uncertain has been defined on the Help: Uncertain page of WikiTree. 

Hi Louis, you are most welcome :)

I don't find anything specifically wrong with the term but in this instance it just doesn't sound right.

In that help page one part says:

  • A family tree found online, including GEDCOMs, LDS ancestral files, World Family Tree, RootsWeb, Geni, Ancestry Member Trees, etc.. If the tree cites reliable proofs, find the proofs and cite them.

To me that says find an alternative source that proves the one listed.

We all know online member trees can be a myriad of false information, by accident or design, and for whatever reason. Some however have been made with extreme care and diligence, but will still hold the general "online tree source" when added via gedcom. That doesn't mean its not reliable (Uncertain), just that finding an alternative to prove that, is needed.

Just my thoughts :)



Yes that is how I understand it as well, to find the real source of the information. Until then, the information is uncertain.
+5 votes
I find value in using {{Uncertain Source}} or {{Secondary Source Only}}.  For the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Viriginia, especially in the colonial era, primary sources are at a minimum.  In spite of this, much good work has been done by a few people, using land records, diaries, and other non-governmental sources.  These few people provide the best sources we have.  I wouldn't, however, call them primary sources, and would like a separate category under which to place them.  Maybe even {{Provided by Trusted Researchers}} or something like that.
by Robin Anderson G2G6 Mach 4 (43.9k points)
Hi Robyn,

I can't see what you see but of the bat, land records are primary sources in their own right and a profile needs only one primary source to be considered sourced.
+5 votes
Louis, are you proposing a new rule?
by Stephanie Ward G2G6 Pilot (121k points)
Please explain Stephanie. I have not seen the page with rules. Maybe you can send me a link please

Hi Stephanie,

I think I found the Rule page you are referring to. Would that then be the next step to draft it according to guidelines laid out on that page? 

Yes, that's it. I'm pretty green here, but that's my take on what I read. I think you have the support. There is a definite need. If we can't add {{Unsourced}} to profiles that make no sense and have nothing but family trees as sources, soon the Source-a-thons will have little to work on and WikiTree will lose credibility. I thought WikiTree was making headway by requiring sources with new profiles, but as you pointed out, there is no "policing"-- the source requirement is easily defeated, and I just came across over 600 by one new member who did just that.

So, step 1: draft the rule. (Happy to help if I can.)
Thank you Stephanie☺

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