Help:Surname Contributions

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This page describes a feature that is still being tested. See the discussion in G2G. -- Chris Whitten 18:33, 3 April 2020 (UTC)

Our Surname Contributions page enables you to browse:

  1. top surnames — the surnames with the most activity — for every month and year
  2. top contributors for every month and year
  3. top contributors to any given surname e.g. Top Smith Contributors
  4. top surnames for any given member e.g. Top Surname Contributions for Abby Glann


What are Surname Contributions?

Elsewhere on WikiTree your "contribution count" — the one you see on your profile — is simply the sum of all your recorded contributions. Every tracked change that appears in activity feeds is one contribution. We use these simple counts to award monthly Club 100/1000 badges.

The way we count "surname contributions" is different. This is the number of profiles with a given surname to which you have contributed during a given month or year.

For example, let's say you made:

  • 10 contributions to Alex Smith's profile,
  • 10 contributions to Beverly (Smith) Jones' profile, and
  • 10 contributions to Chris Smith's profile.

The count here would be three, not 30. Contributing to three Smith profiles over the course of a month equals three Smith contributions for the month.

Contributing to these same three Smith profiles over the course of a year, even if you edit them hundreds of times, equals three Smith contributions for the year.

Why are contributions counted?

This almost goes without saying: contribution counts are not a measure of value. There is no objective way to count the true value of what members contribute to our shared family history. Some members make thousands of small but worthwhile contributions to lots of different profiles. Some members focus on hard research and creative writing and make fewer edits.

Everything contributed by our members is appreciated. So why count anything?

Although imperfect, we think that counting contributions can encourage participation and community collaboration. It may bring your attention to other members who are contributing to the same surnames as you.

Not all members will be interested in contribution counts. If they don't interest you, please try to ignore them.

The fine print on how they are counted

To clarify which surname for which a contribution is counted:

  • Edits count for the Last Name at Birth. For example, an edit to Mary (Smith) Jones will count for Smith only. Current Last Names and Other Last Names are not considered.
  • Edits to relationships between two profiles count for the surname of the profile on which the relationship was edited. For example, if you add Mary Smith as the wife of John Jones it will count for Jones. But if you add John Jones as the husband of Mary Smith it will count for Smith.

Profile merges and Last Name at Birth changes add some special complications:

  • Edits count for the Last Name at Birth that a profile had at the time it was edited.
  • Until two profiles are merged, edits are counted as edits to two separate profiles.
  • Proposing merges and merging profiles count as edits to two separate profiles.
  • When a member merges their account profile into an existing profile or changes their Last Name at Birth the counts made under their previous account will be transferred to their current account.

There are some exceptions to what we count. The following are tracked in activity feeds but not counted as surname contributions:

  • Adding, editing, or removing comments on profiles.
  • Asking and answering questions about a person in our G2G forum.
  • Changes to the profile manager (adding or removing a manager).
  • Creating unmerged matches and rejecting or removing matches.

Also note:

  • Editing your own profile is counted the same as any other edit.
  • Creating a new profile is counted once, the same as any other edit. However, when you create a new person as a family member of another person this can count as two edits: one for the new profile, and one for the relationship edit to the existing profile.
  • Edits made by Project Accounts and other WikiTree administration accounts are not counted.
  • Edits made to free-space profiles are not counted, even when they are tagged with surnames.
  • Edits to profiles with the surname placeholder "Unknown" are counted but Unknown will not appear in the main Top Surnames view. Unknown will appear in all other views, and no other surnames (Anonymous, X, etc.) are skipped anywhere.

Year-to-date counts

We are counting by month and year, and we are also doing year-to-date (YTD) counts.

YTD counts are recalculated at the beginning of every month. On February 1, the January and YTD counts are the same. On March 1, the YTD counts encompass January and February. On April 1, the counts encompass January to March, etc. The final counts for a year are calculated on January 1 of the following year.

Note that YTD counts are not the same as the sum of the monthly counts. The YTD counts are calculated in the same way that yearly counts are calculated. Edits to the same profiles in different months are only counted once.

Beta Testing

These contribution counts are new. The first release was in March 2020.

For the next few months we will be calling this feature a "beta test." This means that the feature is almost finished, but not quite. There may be bugs that need to be fixed and we may make changes based on member feedback.

It's important to note that during this testing period the numbers you see may change. We may find bugs in our counting method, or the community may want changes in the method. During this testing period it's not just future numbers that may change. We may recount past months and years. After the beta testing period the historical numbers should be stable.

For more information or to give input please join the conversation in G2G.

How to View Surname Contributions

To see the surnames with the most contributions in the previous month, click to Special:SurnameContributions.

You can also access surname contribution lists from:

On the various Surname Contributions views, you will see tabs near the top of the page for "By Year" and "By Month" to switch between annual and monthly views.

The top surnames will appear with their top contributors for the period. If you click the list icon top-list.png next to a member's name you will see their top surname contributions.

If you click a number next to a members' name you will see their contributions to the surname. Note that you may see contributions which were not counted. This activity feed does not filter out contributions that don't count as surname contributions (see the exceptions to what is counted above) or edits to the same profiles.

This page was last modified 19:22, 14 May 2020. This page has been accessed 1,393 times.