Help:Pre-1700 Profiles

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Categories: WikiTree Help | Profile Creation Help | Profile Editing Help | Pre-1700 Projects

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Before creating or editing profiles of people born before 1700 you need to ...

  1. Read and understand this page.
  2. Coordinate with a pre-1700 project.
  3. Sign the Wiki Genealogist Honor Code.
  4. Participate as a member for at least one week.
  5. Make at least 50 WikiTree contributions.
  6. Answer the pre-1700 self-certification questions.


Creating Pre-1700 Profiles

Make sure there isn't already a profile

For people who lived hundreds of years ago:

  1. There is a high probability a profile already exists, and
  2. the profile may not appear in search results because of the variety of naming conventions and the uncertainty of dates.

Therefore, before creating a new pre-1700 profile, find out if there is a project that covers the family and then ask the project members if the person might already be on WikiTree. This could be done through private communication or on G2G using the project tag.

Carefully observe style rules

Once you know you're not creating a duplicate, you need to make sure you understand the style rules, most especially naming conventions for the Last Name at Birth.

The WikiTree community has evolved a variety of styles and standards. For modern family members, these rules don't usually matter much. As you go back further in time, style rules become more and more important because more members have to collaborate on the same profiles. Agreed-upon standards are essential for productive and enjoyable collaboration. They are how we avoid and resolve conflicts.

Projects are the forums for working out the finer points of style rules as they apply to various time periods and locations.

The style rules that the projects have established should be published. As long as you're aware of them, you may only need to contact others when you have a question about applying them. (You will have questions. Style rules can be complex, and new style rules are added as you and others raise new issues.)

Cite reliable sources

Second-hand information such as a family tree that was handed down to you or found on another website may be used to create a profile of a modern person. (Even with modern family members it should be a priority to find and cite original sources.) We have a higher standard for deep genealogy. You must never create a pre-1700 profile without citing a reliable source.

A family tree on Geni, Ancestry, MyHeritage, Family Search, or any other user-generated tree (like WikiTree itself) is not a sufficient source for creating a pre-1700 profile. They may be valuable resources and may help you find original, reliable sources, but they must never be the only source.

Project members help each other determine if a source is reliable. Do not create a pre-1700 profile unless the source you are using is on the appropriate project's list of reliable sources.

If your source does not appear on the appropriate project's list, contact project members or ask in G2G using the tag pre-1700 and the project's tag before creating the profile. After your question is answered, the source will be added to the list of reliable sources or the list of unreliable sources for the community's future reference.

If you don't understand why a source is considered reliable or not, or if you want to dispute where it appears on a list, please ask. We discuss these questions as a community and make decisions together.

Editing Pre-1700 Profiles

If there is a project

If you are managing or editing a profile that fits neatly under the umbrella of a project you are participating in the project. You do not need to be a project member. However, it's important to understand that the profile is part of the project. The profile may be project protected or project managed.

Although you may be the first person to create a pre-1700 profile, you won't be the last to edit it. Others will want to collaborate. The project is the forum for collaborating on the big decisions.

Communicating about changes

Minor changes and clear improvements in accordance with style rules generally don't need to be discussed.

Major changes are usually discussed in G2G using the project tag or in the project's e-mail list, if the members use one.

See Communication Before Editing for tips.

If there is no project ... yet

If the person you're adding or editing doesn't fit within an existing WikiTree project there may be nobody to communicate with. This is unfortunate. You want people to help you. We all do. Collaboration is what WikiTree is all about.

Eventually, people will be collaborating on the profiles you are creating and editing. You will have been the trailblazer that led the way. As a trailblazer, you will do things that later need to be changed. Issues will come up when others try to build on what you have started. New style rules and standards will need to be worked out. Eventually, a project will be created and the profiles you have created will become a part of it.

Even though others aren't working on the exact same profiles, don't hesitate to reach out for help. G2G is open for questions of any sort. One of the best things about WikiTree is the generous cadre of members who want to help each other.

Merging pre-1700 profiles

Never hesitate to propose a merge when you see duplicates. However, don't complete a merge or significantly edit a merged profile without knowing whether or not the person fits within a project, and if they do, without being familiar with the project's naming conventions.

This is especially important on pre-1700 people if the two profiles don't have the same Last Name at Birth. If you're unsure about naming conventions or other issues, ask in G2G using the project tag.


Please proceed to pre-1700 self-certification if you have read and understood all of the above.

If you have questions, please ask in G2G before proceeding. Thank you!

See also:

This page was last modified 14:36, 11 January 2024. This page has been accessed 71,570 times.