Help:WikiTree Challenge

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The WikiTree Challenge is our biggest ongoing community event. Every other week, volunteers collaborate to grow seven degrees of connections for seven starting people chosen by a partner organization.


How to Participate

Join us! Anyone can participate. If you are not already a WikiTree member, register now.

Challenges run every other week. A challenge week is Thursday to Thursday. Each challenge has a G2G discussion forum thread for registration, announcements and discussions.

Advance registration

Although registration is not required — everyone is invited to participate — only those who register will have their points counted. Registration also helps team captains coordinate.

Registration is by week. It opens in G2G a few weeks before the start of the challenge. It will be "pinned" to the top of the G2G question list.

Awards and badges

This is a collaborative and competitive challenge. The participants in each challenge week form a team. Awards go to the top-scoring individuals in each challenge week, and to each member of the top-scoring team for the year.

  • Everyone who participates gets a 2023 WikiTree Challenge participation badge.
  • Anyone who collects a point bounty gets a "Bounty Hunter" badge.
  • Every week's highest-scoring member gets a "Team MVP" badge. The team captain cannot be MVP.
  • Every participant in the highest-scoring week for the year gets a "WikiTree Challenge Winner" badge.

challenge_bounty_23.gif challenge_mvp_23.gif challenge_winner_23.gif

Objective: 7x7 connections

During the week we race to grow seven degrees of connections for seven starting people chosen by the partner organization.

Connections can go up, down, and out in every direction, and include relationships through marriage. Nuclear relatives (parents, siblings, spouses, and children) are one degree from the starting person. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, in-laws, and grandchildren are two degrees, etc.

The ideal starting people:

  • Are not already well-connected on WikiTree. Their genealogy may or may not be well-documented elsewhere, but it should not already be well-documented on WikiTree.
  • Are not closely related to each other, but have something in common. Usually this commonality relates to the focus or mission of the partner organization, e.g. a regional genealogy society might choose seven historically-significant people from the region.

The challenge coordinator and team captain will create the seven starting profiles if they don't already exist.

The partner organization will share any information they have readily available about the starting people's genealogy. For example, there may be family trees on other websites. Challenge participants can use these as starting points, but original research must always be done, and a primary or reliable source needs to be cited for every profile.


Privacy is very important on WikiTree. This challenge is no exception.

  • Do not add any information about living people.
  • Don't hesitate to add family relationships and basic birth, death, and marriage data obtained from public sources for any non-living people.
  • Biographical information on people who lived within the past 100 years should only be added with strict adherence to WikiTree's policy on Help:Recently Deceased Strangers.

Team communication

Participants can choose to work independently, but frequent communication can make things more fun and collaborative.

The G2G post for the week will list the starting people. You can comment under the line you are working on and let others know what you are working on, or ask questions.

There is a "Discord" live chat channel. Many of us use this. It's active almost 24 hours a day during the challenge.

There are five live Zoom video chats. You are invited to be in the room or just watch with your camera off.

  1. Mindy and the captain (when available) host two kick-off chats at the start of the week. The first is at kick-off which is noon EST (5pm UTC). The second is at 8pm EST (1am UTC). There may be announcements about interesting leads to pursue.
  2. Donna Baumann hosts the weekend check-in. This is when the brick walls are announced for bounty points. You can chat about how the research is going, or ask questions, here. This will always be at noon EST (5pm UTC)
  3. Mindy hosts two wrap-up chats at the end of the week. These are at noon EST (5pm UTC) and 8pm EST (1am UTC). We share our discoveries with each other and bounty points are awarded or announced for the most interesting ones.


Points for new profiles

One point is awarded for each sourced profile created within seven degrees of a starting person.

Scoring is automatic. You do not need to track the profiles you create.

Fine print:

  • Scores are recalculated every hour.
  • Points will be removed if they were awarded for a profile that is later disconnected. That is, if points were awarded for adding profiles who are later shown to be unrelated, those points will not be counted when scores are recalculated. This could result in dramatic changes to scores. Similarly, points will be removed if they were awarded for a profile that is later merged into a profile that existed previously.

Bounty points

In addition to the points for creating profiles, participants can claim special 10-point bounties in the following three categories.

General notes:

  • To collect a bounty, post what you have found in the G2G thread for the week's challenge under the appropriate starting person. After it is verified, a notice will be posted there that says the point bounty has been claimed.
  • Decisions about whether to award points are made by the team captain. They can be appealed to the challenge coordinator if there is any controversy.
  • Bounty points may be split if members worked together.
  • Bounty points may not immediately appear on the scoresheet since they are added manually.

Bounties for connections

A 10-point bounty can be claimed for the first unique connection to the global family tree for each of the seven starting people if they were not already connected before the start of the week.

If the connection path has a very weak link, e.g. an unsourced relationship, it may be disqualified.

Bounties for brick walls broken

At the mid-week check-in on Zoom, the team captain will announce a "brick wall" — a stubborn research problem — for each of the seven starting people. After the Zoom chat, the brick walls will be posted on the G2G thread for each of the starting people.

The first participant to find a relative beyond each brick wall will get a 10-point bounty.

Only one 10-point bounty can be awarded for each brick wall. This is in addition to the automatic points for adding relatives.

Bounties for interesting discoveries

Participants who hunt for interesting stories can earn bounty points too.

Twenty-four hours before the end of the challenge, the team captain will compile a list of up to 21 interesting discoveries made by participants. To make sure your discovery is considered, report it on the G2G thread for the starting person, or on the Space page for the week.

This list will then be sent to all participants. Each participant can vote for up to seven favorites. The top seven vote-getters will earn 10-point bounties. These seven do not need to correspond to the seven starting people, i.e. there may be no interesting stories for some people, and multiple stories for others.

Unscored statistics

The true value of genealogy contributions is impossible to measure. Scores are for fun. They are not meant to be comprehensive summaries of participants' contributions.

In order to show a wider range of contributions, everyone who has edited a profile within seven degrees of a starting person during the challenge is listed on the table. These are the columns for "Profiles Edited" and "Total Edits." The former shows the number of unique profiles that were edited by the participant while the latter shows the total number of edits.

Challenge Leadership

Team captains

Each week's team is led by a team captain or co-captains.


The team captain role is very important in this challenge. Captains:

  • Work with the challenge coordinator, Mindy Silva, before the challenge to prepare the starting profiles.
  • Participate in the kick-off event to introduce participants to what is already known about the starting people.
  • Lead the collaboration during the week so that researchers are coordinating their work.
  • Monitor progress and provide gentle guidance if they notice participants getting off track, e.g. creating profiles without sources.
  • Work with Mindy to verify bounty point awards.
  • Participate in the check-ins and wrap-up event at the end of the week.

Like all genealogists on WikiTree, team captains are volunteers. Although they are not compensated, we can offer:

  • The sincere appreciation of our community.
  • A "Team Captain" badge.
  • A "WikiTree Challenge Team Captain" t-shirt or item of their choice.

The current team captain list:

  • Cheryl Hess
  • Donna Baumann
  • Heather Jenkinson
  • Jay Menchaca
  • Karen Lowe
  • Kathy Nava
  • Tabatha Steele
  • Thomas Koehnline


(See the whole 2023 schedule)

Challenge coordinator

The challenge is administered by Mindy Silva. Mindy coordinates with team captains, helps with registration, and represents the WikiTree Team. If you have any questions or problems regarding the challenge, contact Mindy.

This page was last modified 13:04, 19 April 2023. This page has been accessed 64,418 times.