Is a link to a Rootsweb family tree a source?

+4 votes
In the course of fixing some ref tag errors on the data doctors challenge, I came across about 17 profiles, all by same manager, that have as their only source a link to a page for the person in the profile on a Rootsweb tree . There are no sources mentioned that i could see on the Rootsweb tree.

Basically, I wondered if I should be putting an unsourced template on these profiles, what would other Wikitreers be doing?

As a side issue, there was an extra ref tag and the aforementioned link to Rootsweb was between the Sources heading and the references tag, so looked pretty weird on the profile. Fixed all that, but my instinct tells me these are unsourced profiles, according to what i understand to be sources, and why we are spending so much time to get our sources to support the names and dates.

When to put on the template? In my mind it just means, the profile needs sources to back up the facts. I did put it on one of them that only had a source saying "Information given by XXX", the profile died in late 1800's and nothing to say how XXX knew the person.

I know similar questions have been asked in the past, but I would like to hear what others would do.
asked in The Tree House by Margaret Haining G2G6 (9.8k points)

2 Answers

+9 votes
Best answer
Hi Margaret,

As I understand it, another family tree, such as in Rootsweb, or a stand-alone web site, or an Ancestry Family Tree, or a family tree in, or other information on Find A Grave, are secondary sources at best. They could be correct. Or they could be incorrect. A lot depends on if there are primary sources that are attached to those other family trees.

Ideally, we would like to have links to primary source documents in WikiTree profiles. I understand, though, that when profiles are first entered in WikiTree, sometimes these secondary sources are all that is currently available. I know that sometimes that's all I have to go on in the beginning.

I would do two things: leave the references to the secondary sources on the profile, and add the {{Unsourced}} template as a notice to others that primary sources still need to be found.

If there are other primary sources that are attached to these other family trees, at least make a note of it in the WikiTree profile. I usually put a sub-bullet underneath saying that there are other sources at the link.
answered by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (157k points)
selected by David Hughey
Eric, that's the way I was thinking, to my mind there was nothing on there that showed the person existed, and nothing on the Rootsweb trees either, just the same facts, and that was how I understood sourcing, supporting the existence of the person.

I think I will go back and add the Unsourced template, because the profiles do need more to support the facts. I'll definitely leave the rootsweb links.
Find A Grave Memorials with burial stones can be primary sources for burial information, but they do not necessarily provide clues to birth or marriages, etc.  Sometimes, the burial stone or the cemetery records will provide age at death, which gives a clue to year or date or birth.
Actually David a couple of them did have Find A Grave memorials also, so I call that a source as you say, for the burial and death, it shows the person did exist. They wouldn't need to be unscourced, but they didn't have the actual source citation from FindAGrave, so I might go back & add those.
I personally am not quick to add unsourced designation on profiles. I would suggest using Maintenance Categories after looking into the primary purpose behind that category.
Is it within WikiTree guidelines for me to add the caption "Secondary Sources" on a profile, if adding such sources, in addition to Primary Sources ?

I believe the standard is to use "See also:" below references. In any case, that is what I use. I generally place links to online trees there or other less reliable "sources."
@David: Thanks for the best answer!

In addition to your excellent advice on Find A Grave about gravestones, occasionally people have posted photographs of primary documents on Find A Grave memorials, such as death certificates, birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.

The main thing is to use common sense about it all. Constantly ask yourself: where did this information come from?
@Deb: I learned something new. I never liked the "See also:" section in the sources. I always thought it was redundant. Now it makes a little more sense.
I have also used "see Also" under the references, as Deb said. My reasoning for the Unsourced template is that by adding it where no sources show the existence of the person, it gives someone doing Sourceathon or sourcing challenges an opprtunity to look for a source. Otherwise these profiles woul "slip throgh the cracks" and maybe not get a chance for someone to find a source.

I am currently slowly adding my tree after uploading a gedcom from ancestry, where I had names and dates but very few sources, although I have records of the sources existing. So now I'm adding one by one and adding the sources as I go. I found matches with existing WT profiles, 2 particular families in my direct line that the profiles have no sources and multiple duplicates. So most of the merges have been done, and I'm gradually adding the sources to those also. Other ones that matched were really good profiles which was great, learnt a lot from those.

Learning more and more every day.
+3 votes
How about a great grandson who puts birth and death of ggf in bio and gives source

As witnessed by me.
answered by Marion Poole G2G6 Pilot (191k points)
He either has a Tardis or has been reincarnated!!

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