Categories: WikiTree Help
What is "Cousin Bait"?
"Cousin bait" is a term that genealogists use for luring cousins who can share and collaborate with them.
Why WikiTree Makes Such Good Cousin Bait
WikiTree has become known as one of the best cousin bait tools in the world.
Unlike many genealogy sites, WikiTree does not restrict information so that only members can access it. The only restrictions on WikiTree are for privacy. This means that we maximize the amount of information that can be public, linked from social networks, and indexed by Google.
Google is where many genealogists start their searches. We work hard to make sure that WikiTree profiles are accessible to Google, and WikiTree members send signals to Google that profiles should be highly ranked in search results by clicking +1 buttons, "liking" pages on Facebook, etc.
Sharing links to WikiTree profiles on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc., is an especially powerful signal. It tells Google that the page is worth sharing.
Baiting the Hook: Cousin Bait Tool Kits
Members can help their own profiles be found by using the handy lists of customized, easy-to-follow action items on a profile's "cousin bait tool kit."
Click the "Cousin Bait" link on the person's profile pull-down menu in the upper-right corner of a profile.
Facebook is where everybody shares family information these days. It can present very rich opportunities.
If you share what you're working on at WikiTree you may inspire family members on your Friends list to add information, share photos you didn't have, etc.
To dive deeper, consider searching for a Facebook Group for the surname or the local area in which your ancestors lived.
Here is more about the shareable images you can create for Facebook posts.
Fish with Family Mystery Pages
Here's a way to throw additional lines in the water: start a family mysteries page.
Write out all the questions that are on your mind. Be sure to enter as much information as you know. The more you enter, the easier it will be for others to fill in the blanks. For example, you might write:
"I know Elsie Jones was from Nova Scotia, but does anybody know exactly where her family lived? Was it Halifax? I found this one photo that has 'Halifax, NS, 1901' written on the back and I think it's a Jones family member. But who?".
Keep in mind that the words you enter on a public page will get indexed in Google. Your words are the bait on your fishing expedition.
The more you enter, the more likely that someone out there will be searching for those words. People search for millions of keyword combinations on Google every day. For example, someone might be searching for "Jones family Nova Scotia" or "Elsie Jones Halifax".
You can upload photos to your mysteries page or tag existing photos. It's common to have some people identified but include the Mysteries page to help identify others.
Add comments to the photos with specific questions. For example, you might write:
"Was this taken in Halifax? Does anybody know? Some other photos in the box had Halifax written on them and the ships in the background could be the Halifax harbor."
After you've started the page, be sure to add your relatives the Trusted List. You might also e-mail family members something like:
"I found a shoebox with some really neat old photos at Gramma's house and scanned them. I can't figure out who's who in some of these. Could you click to https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Whitten_Family_Mysteries and take a quick look?"
Don't forget to share the page on whatever social networks you use, e.g. Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Remember, you're not just showing the link to your friends and family, you're showing it to the world.
This page was last modified 10:15, 14 December 2017. This page has been accessed 3,126 times.