Project: Profile Improvement

Categories: Profile Improvement Project



This project exists to bring together WikiTreers who love to make profiles beautiful! We clean up messy biography sections and sources, and try to set standards for attractive, useful, and well-written biographies.

How to Join

Are you interested in the Profile Improvement Project?profiles.gif

In addition:

  1. Add your name to the "Progress Reports" (this page below) and update it periodically. Tell us in general what you're doing.
  2. You may also add [[Category:Profile Improvement Project]] to your profile page. That will put you on the list on the Project Category page.
  3. If you need guidance on improving profiles, please contact Debi Hoag, or Anne B

For a full list of participants, see the badge report.


  1. Clean up and make "pretty" the rash of "ugly" profile pages on wikitree that are generated by GEDCOM uploads, merged duplicates and even some manually entered ones.
  2. Help implement the style guidelines for what makes a good narrative. For example, see Biographies and Sources_Style_Guide.
  3. Add, where possible, estimated birth years to profiles with empty birth dates, the {{Estimated Date}} template is recommended.
  4. Mark any unsourced facts with a citation needed template {{Citation needed}} so people know the 'fact' is only conjecture until proven.

Use G2G conversations to discuss topics related to the Profile Improvement Project. When you do, be sure to add "profiles" as a tag.

What do Profile Improvement Project Members do?

Initially many members work on improving their own profiles then move onto Profiles connected with Projects that interest them, with or without a direct ancestral connection.

Eventually many people move into more general work with WikiTree, as a break from their own research or brickwalls or for the fun of doing new research or just to give something back to the community. This is where the maintenance categories come in handy.

For those that like the research there are thousands of profiles listed with no sources, searching out sources can be fun, adding them following the Sources_Style_Guide then removing the Category link is rewarding.

Or the profiles that are excessively long and need to be organised better. Using the Biographies page as a guide, then dive in to help clean these profiles. When finished removing the Category link from the edited profile page.

  • Many of the long profiles and some short ones have large areas of "copy/pastes" from books and other websites (they frequently travel in with gedcoms from our personal databases). When you find them, whether it's from copyrighted work or even public-domain text, best practice is to summarize the key points and LINK to the source where you can. Short quotes are okay. Quotes should always have a source and quotation marks " ".

Another part of Profile Improvement is educating other members to do the same improvements on their own Profiles. One way to do this is by showcasing good profiles in G2G and by helping new members who ask for help.

WikiTree Live Cast - Profile Improvement Project

Examples of nice profiles

See Category:Examples for a list pages that have been identified as examples of good profiles.

Steps toward Improved Profiles

There are steps or stages to improving Profiles, it is possible to do several in one go but it is also possible to do a step at a time, each step produces something better than before. If you are not comfortable with working on one step collaborate with someone who enjoys that aspect.

  1. Rearrange the Bio into a logical order, remove the gedcom cruft after import or tidy the sections after merging. Even manually entered profiles can benefit from some organisation. This should be done by everyone who adds or merges profiles as a matter of course.
  2. Checking that all facts have a source, preferably a checkable primary source, or several sources. Vague online and unsourced family trees should be marked as suspect until proven or replaced.
  3. Identify and highlight disputed information and/or common mixups for a person.
  4. Layout a preliminary narrative and/or timeline of the persons life, getting the key facts in order will help later.
  5. See if you can add photographs, pictures, maps or other visual items.
  6. Add categories, project templates and succession boxes if appropriate.
  7. Fill out the narrative with appropriate background stories and links to other information like wikipedia or family websites


Related Projects

To Do List

Maintenance Categories

  • Maintenance Categories - Categories created to group profiles in need of specific improvements. Some can be done in a short amount of time, others require more time. There's something for everyone at Profile Improvement.


Click on the links to see what the template looks like in use.

Templates that don't add a profile to a category
Estimated Date Template {{Estimated Date}} Replaces old {{DateGuess}} Template. See also Estimated Dates help page.
Citation needed {{Citation needed}}

Adding Maintenance Categories to Profiles

LongProfiles {{LongProfiles}} or you can add [[Category:Long Profiles in Need of Cleanup]]
More footnotes {{More footnotes}} adds profiles to the [[Category: Profiles Lacking Inline Citations]]
Unsourced See the category to break this into countries and regions.{{Unsourced|Country}} {{Unsourced}}

These Categories don't have templates but to add the Category to a profile in need of improvement:
Use [[Category:Gedcom cleanup required]] to add this category to a profile.
Use [[Category:Needs Merging]] to add this category to a profile.
Use [[Category: Needs Biography]] to add this category to a profile.
Use [[Category: Profile style review requested]] to add this category to a profile.
Use [[Category:Serious Data Problems]] to add this category to a profile.

G2G Tag & Useful pages

The G2G tag for profile improvement Q&A is now "profiles". Some discussions of interest from the old tag (improvement):

Personal Goals & Challenges

If you enjoy having a goal or a little friendly competition, consider joining one of the Challenge series. The challenges aren't under the direction of the Profile Improvements Project but each results in improved profiles. Read more about the challenges and follow the joining instructions if something interests you.

Progress Reports

Beside your name below, please keep track of what you're currently working on for this project. This is both for your own reference, and to aid collaboration amongst the project participants. If you are going to be temporarily inactive in the project (eg. on vacation), please note that here. Thanks!

  • Ron Johnson - starting to clean up the profiles on my Watchlist, in addition to working o others as I come across them. My primary database currently has well over 40,000 names, and only a couple hundred on Wikitree, that I know of. I've got a LOT of work ahead of me!
  • Leo Barhorst - Started with cleaning up the profiles I manage. Clean up Gedcom's and adding bio's for my nearest relatives from first hand. When merging I mostly directly clan up the profiles. Added Oct 11, 2017.
  • Darrell Abbey - I am working on cleaning up my Gedcom files and looking for standards in writing biographies. I would be happy to help where ever needed.
  • Marj Adams - If I come across it, I do it. Working mainly on Greens (who could possibly be my husband's line where we have a wall at 1820 in OH). I check my Wiki Genealogy Feed daily and almost always find profiles to improve. Also do Adams, my maiden name, when it appears (often) on the suggestion pages.
  • Marty Acks - Trying to cleanup gedcom crud and source the Porterfield surnames (200+) and other Scottish surnames. This lead me into Dal Riada and old Scottish and Irish royalty. Did hundreds of merges in this area. The area was ripe for duplicate elimination.
  • Martin Allen - I'm currently tidying up my own Gedcom and sources prior to adding more. The profiles I have at the moment are created by Family Historian. When I have the basics done I shall start adding more features.
  • Roland Arsenault - writing tools to help find profiles needing attention.
  • Anne B - I just keep finding profiles and whole families that need help, everywhere I turn. Doing double duty, I spend a lot of my time improving Puritan Great Migration profiles, Founders of Hartford and the Signers of the New Haven Covenant plus there wives and children. I'm also working on my ancestors who are already present on Wikitree. Sep. 2017
  • Gerald Baraboo de Barbeau dit Boisdore - I am studying the WikiTree rules, style and standards for profile protocol. I have finished my first goals to implement the WikiTree protocols. I am continuing to improve profiles within my watch list. I am improving merges and using our protocols when helping other profiles find sources. I have finished adding sources to all my gedcom profiles. I have sourced more then 400 unsourced profiles during October. I have corrected all d b errors on the 1783 profiles I have the privilege to take care of. Baraboo-1 15:28, 24 October 2016 (EDT)
  • Dorothy Barry - Cleaning up and adding sources to Barry profiles especially those that are a part of the Barry_Name_Study and those Barry profiles that have no manager.
  • Richard Belcher - Fixing typos and things like that when I see them.
  • John Bentley I'm working on many Bentley profiles as part of the Bentley Name Study.. Currently, I am trying to clean up the profiles of the first Bentleys in America.
  • Michele Bergin - Currently working on profiles from England
  • Summer Orman - currently focusing on GEDCOM clean ups; sourcing as able; Particular focus is on Surnames Binkley, Shotwell, Stover, Mayo, Hudson, all of which I have name studies.
  • Joop van Belzen, Working on profiles in my watch list, improve and add sources to unsourced Dutch profiles.
  • Tom Bredehoft - Since completing the entering of the Pettibone Registry, I've been merging (and cleaning up) random merges from the 'ready to be merged' pile. Also rejecting some of same and reducing my overly-large watch list. (30 Sep 2015)
  • Erin Breen
  • Dale Byers - I am working on the Dyer GEDCOM that was uploaded in 2010 and not touched after that.
  • Joanne Coombs - Tidying profiles on my watch list, adding estimated date templates where needed, cleaning up profiles as I adopt them and adding sources to unsourced profiles as I come across them.
  • Sarah Rojas - I am going through my Wiki Genealogy Feed daily finding profiles that need some help and I'm also working on 'Callis' profiles.
  • Peter Cameron - Currently working on any profiles thrown up by the DD error lists for England and Scotland.
  • Guy Constantineau Working on profiles from Quebec, in french and english. Also trying to connect Quebec profiles with families from New England
  • Laurie Cruthers - For now have switched from the Barron Family GEDCOM in England to working on unsourced profiles of the sarah roblin2.ged in Ontario, Canada.
  • Diane Darcy - Working on Australian profiles, adding Sources and Biographies, Data Doctor, Monthly Sourcerers
  • Elyse Doerflinger - I'm especially interested in working on profiles for ancestors from Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina.
  • Bob Fields -
  • Julie Ricketts
    • Adding the Unsourced category when I find a profile that needs it
    • Adding estimated birth dates where needed
    • Identifying duplicates and proposing merges
    • Cleaning up flotsam-filled biographies after aforementioned merges
    • Working on my own watch list to add sources and connect the Unconnected
    • Adding sources to Unsourced Profiles as I find them when I have time
    • Tracking down last names of the Unknowns (Very satisfying ... if you haven't tried it, you should!!)
  • Sue Fitzpatrick - I'd like to help since I know that some of mine have the garbled info from my GEDCOM import
  • John Floyd-Working on profiles in my watch list, any thing that needs cleaning up, and anything during merger. Finished Jabez Crippen any comments? Be sure to add dates if you have them, thank you for your hard work.
  • Pat Credit - I am trying to clean up profiles made by GEDCOM from Ancestry starting with my watchlist, my ancestors, any orphaned profiles I notice.
  • Martyn Grifhorst - 44
  • Michelle Gerard Hartley - Working on Gerard, Hansen, Kool, Westfall, Straw, surnames presently.
  • Gaile Connolly - Adding my husband's family as a surprise Christmas gift for him and concentrating on Holocaust victims in my "adopted" gedcom family
  • Eric Hoffman - Primarily working my own GEDCOM import and family lines, committing random acts of Improvement along the way (bios, inline citations, replacing import sources, etc.)
  • Chris Hoyt - Trying to source and clean up some early profiles b. ca 1600-1650, often PGM or their descendants in New England, mostly concentrating on MA, but sometimes neighboring states.
  • Bill Jennings - Encouraging cited sources. Encouraging dialogue on conflicting information in primary and secondary sources.
  • Merissa Jensen - Just adopted a few profiles of distant relatives, gaining new information, adding some and cleaning up the auto-generated ged-com that it was created from.
  • Lena Svensson - Cleaning up members of the Swedish royal families, Swedish nobility and my own ancestors.
  • Lundie Pinner - Cleaning up my own GEDCOM and a distant relative's merge, as well as seek out duplicates that resulted.
  • Bob Keniston - Working mainly on pre-1850 profiles in Massachusetts, also
    • Doing Sourcerers Challenge
    • Doing Connectors Challenge
    • Doing Biography Builders
    • Working as a Data Doctor
  • Virgil M. Kester III
    • Cleaning up Profiles - for any and all issues ... GEDCOM, Merge, No Bio's ...
    • Sourcing
    • Connecting
    • Merging and proposing merges
  • Star Kline
    • Adding the Unsourced category to Orphaned (and other) profiles as appropriate
    • Adding the specific region to Unsourced categories to encourage Sourcerers to work on those profiles
    • Adding sources to Unsourced Profiles as part of the Sourcerers project
    • Asking questions in the G2G forum to encourage others to look at and improve profiles
    • Adding project templates to appropriate profiles
    • Identifying duplicates and proposing merges
    • Merging profiles and cleaning up the merged biographies
    • Cleaning up the profiles in my own watch list
  • Nan Lambert - In addition to my own watchlist, working with orphan profiles primarily in gedcom cleanup, current last names, and estimating birth dates.
  • Eowyn Langholf - I'm in the process of cleaning up my own Gedcom and will help correcting typos and other such things.
  • Kerry Larson - Working on sourcing and formatting for any profile in my ancestry, or any others needing help I come across.
  • Ashley Lloyd - I'm adding sources and formatting bios in my tree and also ones that I come across.
  • Emma MacBeath
    • Database Errors project
    • Biobuilding my own managed profiles
    • Adding unsourced template and maintenance categories to any profiles needed as I come across them in my work
    • Working to make sure names are in the correct fields and location names are correct for the time period.
    • Suggesting merges on duplicates and completing said merges when they go into default
    • Cleaning up gedcom gook on profiles I come across in my work
    • Adding estimated birth or death dates based on Biography info when possible
    • Working on finding duplicates for the Davis Surname. Currently on 7000 of 36,000ish
    • Working on finding duplicates for the Moon Surname About 2/3 finished
    • Suggesting to PM how to correct surnames when gedcom uploads have made a mistake or when surname has multiple names and should only be one. Updated 29 Nov 2017.
  • BK McDonald - Interested in improving profiles if I can help, but am also interested in making wikitree more open. I would rather have someone add a daughter or second husband to one of my relatives and be wrong than for them to say, "screw it, I will just make a duplicate." I guess the reason for the restrictions is in how irreversible some merges are, but I believe fewer padlocks is an important goal.
  • Debi McGee Hoag - Cleaning up my regrettably large GEDCOM import, all sourced in some manner thank the PTB. Comparing every name on every source to existing WikiTree profiles, adding sources where appropriate. Adding the Unsourced template and GEDCOM Cleanup Needed category as needed on any profile that is open or whose manager has not been active in 2016. Cleaning up easy GEDCOM imports. Initiating merges and cleaning up the resulting profiles.
  • David Loring Currently working on early Lorings 1600+
  • Maggie N - Anything that floats my way !
  • Vicki Norman - Working on adding sources and cleaning up Coffey family gedcoms and merges. 11/23/2015. Will try to work on one long profile every couple of days.
  • J. Salsbery - I am currently working on the Magna Carta Project and I am also trying to clean up any other needy profiles I find along the way.
    • I haven't been real active lately, as I am working hard at writing a family history book. But I pop into Wikitree at least once or twice a day to see if anything needs my attention. I work quietly with several projects, making additions and improvements wherever I find the need, adopting, merging and improving profiles.
  • David Peter - Started with my family list: Daniel W Allen improved!; 14 March 2017, profiles for Elizabeth Van Houten, Marshall Allen, Edward Augustus Allen, and George Henry Allen.
  • Katie Pyle - I am trying to clean up profiles I either created or am involved with. Currently working on the Baldwin family originating in and around Buckinghamshire, England, and emigrating to the US in the 16th century.
  • Lynden Raber Castle Rodriguez - Currently on long-term work on the Magna Carta Project; Have been doing more work on improvement on these and my own family profiles.
  • Mary Richardson when I find time, I just pick up a profile that needs work.
  • Patt Roche - Currently staying busy merging profiles, weekly data_doctor challenges, monthly Biography Builders challenge, and the annual improvement review of the profiles on my Watchlist, but am year behind on that task :(
  • Astrid Spaargaren - I am recycling and finding Dutch "unknowns" profiles that needs sources, biographies, and clean ups.
  • John Schmeeckle - I'm not formally a member of this project, but I am currently working on improving profiles from my family tree to be submitted to the "Profile of the Week" contest as models of clear writing and good use of sources. My goal is to submit one or two profiles per month.
  • Teresa Shinn - working on sourcing my ancestors and other pages, also sourcing etc. I believe that wikitree can be a legacy rather than just pages of facts.
  • Jillaine Smith - Working at the intersection of this project and the Puritan Great Migration project-- cleaning up profiles of early colonial New England settlers.
  • Weldon Smith - Working on my own newly-imported profiles (hundreds of them), checking evidence and standardizing style. Also collaborating on the connecting profiles, where my lineages meet the global tree, assisting with merging.
  • Christina Spiker - Working on building the biographies and completing profiles within my own tree while also contributing to other profiles with similar surnames in the Polish Roots Project. My goal is to write at least 10 new biographies a month.
  • Andrea Pack I have been working on profiles for such a long time wherever I see that needs it and adding sources and correct headings as well adding unsourced to a profile when I see one and couldn't find a source. I never thought to ask for the Profiles Badge!!!
  • Steinbach-86 I am currently working on adding complete profiles with bios and sources for my family tree as well as adding sources to unsourced profiles I come across, and adding "unsourced" to appropriate profiles.
  • Michael Stills - Working on American Founding Fathers and Early New England Families
  • Sally Stovall - Working on any profiles cleaning the merging, bio cleanup, categorizing, along with Mentoring.
  • Shirley Dalton Working here, there, and everywhere. Working on Unknowns, Womack, Luttrell, Dills. In between trying to add more of my own Strutton line. Also check into profiles needing sources 2 or 3 times a week.
  • Sara Thibault
    • Adding Unsourced, Unknown and other maintenance categories as needed when I come across profiles in need
    • Cleaning up GEDCOM messes as well as long profiles and post-merge duplications
    • Finding and proposing merges
    • Building bios for profiles I manage
    • Cleaning up data field errors, particularly in profiles on my watchlist and in my primary surnames, Québécois project, as well as profiles in the New England area
    • Adding sources where they are needed, as well as appropriate categories such as cemetery categories once sources are found
  • Traci Thiessen - I'm adding sources, writing or expanding bios, cleaning up gedcom and merged profiles and fixing data errors when I find them.
  • Maryann Hurt - adding sources and formatting bios following current style guide.
  • Bea Wijma - Still working on sourcing and improving profiles (for the Dutch Roots and other projects) , trying to find names for the many Dutch and other Unknowns, cleaning up gedcom or merged ones, cleaning up and straightening out very long , many times merged ones for different projects and so on. Also adopting abandoned Gedcom ones for the project so these will get some attention soon as well, working on my own and the projects watchlist . So might take some time but we'll get there ! :P
  • Susan DeFoe Continuing to source profiles in my tree, participating in weekly DD challenges, Clean-a-Thon, and other challenges
  • Terry Welshans
    • Cleaning up GEDCOM entries for PGM profiles
    • Created a category page for members of the Rev. Hull company
    • Adopting orphaned profiles and linking them in as I find them
  • Amy Kelly - working on cleaning up my GEDCOM import as well profiles related to the 5/15/17-6/15/17 Military Challenge.
  • Julie Guthrie
    • Adding biographies and sources to profiles on my own watchlist
    • Adding Guthrie family members to the Guthrie Clan pages
    • Attempting to link the de la Corneille and Guthrie profiles
    • Adopting orphaned profiles with no biography or source
  • Iain Old Adding biographies and sources to profiles on my own watchlist including Old, Oal, McAusand, Scott, Bingham, Selkirk, Kidd, Watt, Drysdale etc. Adding biographical details for profiles who should be in the Category: Members of Parliament, Scotland
  • Joan Whitaker I have a lot of my profiles that need improving, but, thankfully I added them onto wikitree the hard way rather than using gedcom. I think all my profiles have at least one source, but most of them need more work and biographies adding. Loving the Biography Builders challenge, just what I need to keep me motivated. Still doing Saturday Sourcing Sprints. Just discovered the estimated dates template and adding them all over the place. I do bits of work on other people's profiles and try to correct errors when I find them.
  • Russ Gunther - I clean up profiles as I come across them, and like learning to use the tricks to make profiles more informative and look attractive, especially recognizing our veterans.
    • adding links
    • adding Categories
  • Alex Elliott - I am currently working my way through my 2000+ Family profiles cleaning up the Gedcom junk and adding biographies.
  • Leigh Adams - I am currently working on the profiles within my watchlist which are part of my The Irish Settlement mini-project, cleaning them up, and adding biographies and sources. The majority of these profiles are part of the Irish Roots project as well.
  • Becky Syphers I keep a list of profiles that need work. I am also working through my watch list.
  • Jacqueli Finley I am currently working on abandoned profiles, as well as well sourcing my watch list profiles.
  • Natalie Trott Gedcom I'm currently working on: Wordens For Sure.ged.
  • A O'Brien Working on improving profiles of my own direct ancestors.
  • Jessica Burgoyne I'm working on sourcing and cleaning the Owens family from Cameron, NY during the 1700s and 1800s.
  • Linda BarnettWhatever that needs cleaning up on profiles.
  • Rankin-3121 I am merging my profiles. I am adding sources where needed.
  • John Rosser Working on building, sourcing and categorising the profiles on my watchlist (mainly Australia, but growing numbers for England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland). I am comfortable with merging and cleaning as required. I also get caught in 'rabbit holes' from time to time and improve small stuff as I find them.
  • R Teschner I am mostly cleaning up Norwegian stuff (database errors, unsourced profiles, merge hunting, bad spellings, the drill) and building my family.
  • Dallace Moore Learning how to improve my profiles.
  • Langridge-71 Working with family to expand and improve our tree branches.
    • Database Errors project - Leading the England Data Doctor Team, working on the Surrey County Team sourcing from unsourced categories generally and at county level
    • Biobuilding my own managed profiles
    • Adding unsourced template, Country Sticker, location and maintenance categories to any profiles needing these, as I come across them in my work
    • Working to make sure location names are correct for the time period.
    • Cleaning up GEDcom and merge left overs on profiles I come across in my work
    • Taking part in Data Doctor, Sourcerer and Bio building Challenges
  • N.Gauther Working on general profile improvements such as ...
    • Adding & resolving Unsourced templates
    • Finding and proposing merges & followup
    • Cleaning up GEDCOM and post-merge duplications
    • Adjusting bio info chronologically
    • Adding inline citations for sources
    • Suggesting LNAB improvements.
  • Unsourced Profiles
    • Pick your home state or country, or a state or country where you have a lot of ancestors
  • (jones-67005) also learning to improve profiles
  • Steff Mandarino - while participating in weekly data doctor challenges I look at the entire profile and fix everything that I can, often including adding sources and citing them in the bio. This means a lower number of challenge errors fixed, but more overall improvement. My hope is that profile managers will be inspired to both add to what has been done and use the improved profile as a model for their own watchlists, much as I was inspired early on by Vickie Norman!
  • Joyce Rivette - I've been participating with the Biography Builders challenges, and really enjoy creating nice, coherent bios. I'm also a big believer in using in-line citations for sourcing each data point, and proposing merges whenever I run into duplicates. I'm slowly working on importing more ancestors, and use the Bio Builders challenges to focus the cleanup work needed on my profiles and others.
  • Sherry Wells - I read through my daily emails and if I find an Unknown LNAB, I add the category, if it's unsourced and there is a profile manager I add the Unsourced category, if it's unsourced and there is no profile manager, I will try to add some sources, I also add the married last names because I'm hoping that it will help with some of the duplicates from the Unknowns. I also will also fix database errors that I see when I'm already in a profile as I'm a data doctor as well. I also update my profiles by going to my watchlist and sorting it according to the oldest edit date and update sources or fix the gedcom.
  • Joelle Hello there. I keep finding ways to improve my own watchlist, going back to profiles I did earlier and adding census sources for example. For the Civil War Project, I like go through the large category and try to put them in their specific regiments if I can, and also beef up the profile while I'm there if I can. I like to use a narrative style. I have a subscription to Geneology bank so I use obituaries when they are available. I'm also on the Illinois history project so again, when I go through Winnebago County (My area of study) category I try to beef up the profiles. I'm also making a cemetery free space Gulford-Union Cemetery and making sure everyone buried there as a nice biography and well sourced profile.
  • Liat - I've been cleaning up messy profiles whenever I come across them, mostly by adding inline citations and paring down copy-pasted bios. I also add a brief biography when I find profiles that are completely empty, even if it's just a date of death and burial information. I mostly focus on profiles connected to Maine; lately I've been editing a lot of Chutes, Mayberrys, Libbys, Larrabees, Foggs, Harmons, and Quinbys.
  • Leif Biberg Kristensen - I'm mostly working with my own One Place Study of Solum, Telemark, Norway. But I'm of course running into already existing profiles all the time, most of them apparently abandoned Gedcom imports.
  • P I'm working on cleaning up my earliest profiles, and enjoy working on profiles that are in need of help.

This page was last modified 03:23, 14 December 2018. This page has been accessed 11,509 times.