How much information should be cited?

+5 votes
How much information, beyond biography, should be included in a profile? One of mine is getting quite full of secondary information, i.e. articles written by other researchers (added in an effort to explain my sources, and allow others to come to their own, possibly separate, conclusions), but it seems overloaded to me.

It seems to me that there's "too much information", and that it will make others not want to read it all.

What do others think? Please take a look at [[Winchester-961]]
WikiTree profile: Thomas Winchester
in Policy and Style by Terry Winchester G2G2 (2.6k points)

3 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer
Hi Terry!  You have done a lot of work!  I find it very interesting!

I think having a table of contents and breaking the information into sections as you have done really helps the reader.

I do think it is a little too much, but not because it is too long.  It is only too much where it no longer is telling us about Thomas, but instead is telling us about a city back in England that Thomas himself has no direct connection to other than his name, or Winchester families other than Thomas's own family. (I do think this is both interesting and useful to your research, but not to the profile of Thomas.)  It is also a little too much where it goes into detail about descendants - better to have profiles for each of the descendants, as you mostly have, and thus the WikiTree tools will work - for instance, the descendants button.  If you do decide to keep all the descendants in Thomas's profile, please hyperlink them to their own profile by using the [[Winchester-34|Douglas Winchester]] method.  

I had a question while i was reading: When was this tribute by the Hon J N Price written and delivered?  I didn't get a sense of when this celebration occurred.  

I would also like to leave you with a little thought: sometimes the family name is an indication of where the family was from just before surnames were established, which was a long time ago and beyond the genealogical horizon for most of us.  For example, if a person's last name is French, that is an indication that he is no longer among French people.  If they all were French, it would be useless for distinguishing him.  It is only useful if he is the only French person, or one of only a few.  Likewise with geographical names such as cities.  It is not useful to differentiate all the residents of a town by giving them the name of the town.  It is only useful once they have moved away from the town and can be identified as having come from that town.  Just something to keep in mind.


by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (109k points)
selected by Pip Sheppard

Thanks so much Shirlea and Pip, this is a great answer.  I was part of this profile and it was very difficult.  You have taught me that there is such a thing  as "too much".  Now life  will be easier. enlightenedwink

+5 votes

My personal opinion is that you can never have too much information about an individual in their profile, as long as it is relevant to telling their story and/or explaining conflicting info. But I'd suggest trying to keep the bio to a reasonable size with citations that allow the reader to jump down to further explanations, if desired.

While I don't believe that "==Notes==" and "==Evidence==" are recognized as standard headings, I believe that "==Research Notes==" is recognized as a standard heading. See Help:Biographies. I use "==Research Notes==" for any info that I believe is pertinent to help bridge the gap between the descriptive biography and the (possibly conflicting) sources. Your evidence could fall into that section.

Also it's probably best not to use the term "I" or "my" in a profile unless it is your own member profile that represents you. The rest of the profiles will hopefully all be collaborative profiles. You can always link back to your own profile for info/docs that you may have in your personal possession.

by Rick Peterson G2G6 Pilot (117k points)
edited by Rick Peterson
Last paragraph: excellent point, Rick.
+7 votes

I think you have written a good treatise on the Winchesters but while doing so you've lost the person you are writing about. I think I would move the history of Winchester to a Space page that you can link other profiles to since it will be applicable to other profiles in the line. 

When I took a recent genealogy writing class, we were advised when writing about an individual to avoid the travelog through the sources approach and let the story of the individual stand out and put the details of the sources into the footnotes or in a sidebar (a Space page can serve as that). You have a lot of great material here. As Rick Peterson said, try to remove the "I" from the narrative. This should be Thomas's story.

by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (375k points)
Thank you folks. As Rick said, I totally lost my subject. I have updated, and thank you all.

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