Project: US Presidents/Talk archive

This is an archive of the talk page for the US Presidents Project. We are no longer using the talk pages, and are using G2G instead. Do not edit the contents of this page. If you wish to start a new discussion or revive an old one, please do so on G2G.

This archive was created on 24 April 2013.


The Task at Hand

Since there are no US Presidents in the over 300 group, and really not all that many US Presidents in the over 200 range - this project may be a little less problematic that some of the others being tackled. But it is no less important.

Understandably, newcomers to the WikiTree often load profiles without checking for existing ones they may link to or collaborate on. The result is an unnecessary number of profiles for the same individuals and often undocumented data. US Presidents seem to draw a large number of extraneous profiles for the obvious reason of their celebrity and familiarity.

Our goal in this group will be to reduce redundant profiles thru carefully merging them all into one designated HSA (Historically Significant Ancestor) profile which would then (ideally) have the lowest WikiTree ID number of all those with the same name. The next step will be to clean up and document all such profiles. Keith Baker 18:34, 7 September 2012 (EDT)

Please sign in by adding your name to the main project page and let's get this ball rolling.

Where to Start

Any thoughts on where to start? Do we each want to take a president and start merging profiles, or to do want to pool our resources on one - like Lincoln - and see what problems we run into and then try to develop a process and style for how to do these? Excited either way and could totally see this branching off into the founding fathers, etc.Brian Chelton 16:29, 8 September 2012 (EDT)
I'm in favor of everyone looking at and working on Abe Lincoln for several reasons. Brian, your suggestion and enthusiasm seem 'spot on' to me. Keith Baker 19:25, 8 September 2012 (EDT)

I've been plowing through the presidential list and trying to be as methodical and consistent as possible. I'm really only looking at the president and then encouraging owners of relations to make their own changes. Can someone please merge Zachary Taylor we haven't been able to get response out of one of the profile owners. If someone will look at the project page you should see where profiles are still needed. This really means profiles haven't been checked yet. I've also not checked the status of the HSA badge. Burke-1008 21:50, 2 October 2012 (EDT)

Also I did put an "advertisement" on one of the major homeschooling boards. Have had quite a few people look at it and a couple comment on it so will have to see.Brian Chelton 16:32, 8 September 2012 (EDT)
That's another good idea! Please also consider whether we should invite WikiTree'rs from the other Special Projects for their experience/expertise in the areas of process and style.Keith Baker 19:25, 8 September 2012 (EDT)
You guys are awesome. I'll make sure the other Supervisors know. One of us should also post to the old Google Groups for EuroAristo and Mayflower. Lianne, maybe you could do that. Whitten-1 16:38, 10 September 2012 (EDT)
So by my count after looking through all the Lincolns i get 14 duplicate profiles. 3of which Keith has already initiated merges on. Chelton-4 22:47, 10 September 2012 (EDT)
That looks about right. I'm hoping others here (wink, wink; nudge, nudge) will go ahead and initiate other Lincoln merges. BTW, I'm going to be away from the 'net for a few days and thus may not reply with my customary lightning speed. * ;o) * Keith Baker 09:36, 11 September 2012 (EDT)
These are the "uninitiated" profiles I found: Lincoln-234, 291, 352, 470, 888, 1120, 1204, 1206, 1223, 1239, and 1297. Keith it appears has already initiated merges on 1278 and 1415. (If anyone finds any others please add them.) The "base" profile all merges should be directed towards is 103. So I guess the next thing to be done is when anyone has time is attempt to be added to the trusted list for some of the remaining 11 profiles and then initiate merges. It should be obvious when it happens but if you do initiate a merge please record it here so we know which ones have been completed. Thanks.Chelton-4 09:57, 11 September 2012 (EDT)
Just as a side note I made a mistake up above. We need to be added as profile managers not just to the trusted list. Not sure where my head was thing morning.Chelton-4 14:06, 11 September 2012 (EDT)
Okay so I can see one question already that I have for any of you that have done merges before. Once you initiate a merge it potentially creates duplicates for the persons children, spouses, parents, etc. So where do you stop? I can understand reconciling the duplicates for the profile you are working on but how far back to do you go reconciling duplicates. I know the ideal answer is all the way as that is one of the tenants of WikiTree, but is that what the other user groups are doing in actuality? Just trying to get some perspective on this as each merge has the potential for a lot of work - worthwhile work - but you get the picture. Thoughts? Suggestions? I will probably post this on the G2G page as well.Chelton-4 15:37, 11 September 2012 (EDT)
As of Wednesday all of the necessary merges for Abraham Lincoln have been made. We are still waiting on eight to either complete the merges or add one of us to the trusted list. Hopefully that will be done over the weekend. So probably one of the next things to be done is to start cleaning up the profile, but I am wondering if it makes sense to start that before we have all the merges completed. Thoughts?Chelton-4 10:44, 14 September 2012 (EDT)
Thanks, Brian! If those merges don't get done, let Lianne or I know and we can take care of them. Whitten-1 08:31, 17 September 2012 (EDT)
I forgot to post but late last week I think I initiated all the merges necessary for Lincoln. I am still waiting on eight of them to be processed. I will probably get in touch with Lianne or Chris mid week if they do not get taken care of on their own. I also initiated merges to try to address the duplicate parents and wives of Lincoln. There will obviously be more of those once the remaining merges are made. There is also a need to deal with the duplicate siblings and children of Lincoln. If anyone wants to work on those feel free. I should have more time to apply to this mid-week.Chelton-4 06:52, 18 September 2012 (EDT)
So just to update things... As of today I have gone through the parents, siblings, spouse, and children of Abraham Lincoln and either rejected or initiated all the necessary merges. We may need more help from either Chris or Lianne to finish those at some point. I guess the next step is to start working on the profile. I have a copy of the profile as it exists right now so we will always have that to fall back on. Thanks.Chelton-4 13:14, 21 September 2012 (EDT)
I completed the merges of Lincoln's wife and their two oldest sons. I noticed that there are three profiles for a daughter named Mary Todd Lincoln. Since Lincoln never had a daughter, what should we do with these? I could merge them into Lincoln's wife's profile, since she has the same name, so that might be where they came from in the first place. Lavoie-74 13:07, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
I honestly do not know what to do with them. I looked around for awhile today and I could find several family trees that had this Mary Lincoln added as a Daughter for Abraham and Mary but none of them provided any sources besides other trees on ancestry. It honestly looks like one person added her to their tree on ancestry and then when people did matches it just furthered the "error" into others trees and eventually here. The thing is there were lots of kids who did at birth. And there is time between the birth of Robert in 1843 and the birth of Edward in 1846 for Mary to be born, die, and the Lincoln's to get pregnant again with Edward. So is Mary just something they never talked about and she would have been born before Abraham was much in the spotlight so it might be possible, but then again his history is so well researched you would have thought it would have come out. Wish there was a way to flag her as potential but no legitimate source for her existence. Chelton-4 23:25, 22 September 2012 (EDT)
Have some feelers out looking for supporting documentation on the daughter. Have had one person contact me so far and am waiting to see what they have. Once I receive anything I will pass it along for group evaluation.Chelton-4 11:21, 24 September 2012 (EDT)

Wiki Etiquette

I thought I'd add this topic to get opinions on how we should be approaching owners of duplicate presidential profiles. I've started off with a message to profile managers with the following.

As part of the US Presidents Special Project team could you please grant trusted access to me so that we may merge President Zachary Taylor into a single profile. To learn more about the special project click here. Project:US_Presidents Ed Burke

I've gotten pretty good response from some within a couple days granting trusted access and I've started the merging and editing process from there.

But.. what if we get no response at all? How long should we wait? Is it polite to just do a merge?

Any feedback? Burke-1008 08:02, 27 September 2012 (EDT)

As an example I just receive this nice reply from a person on a potential merge.

The following was sent via the private messaging system on Hello Ed, I contacted the manager of those profiles and requested access to merge the files. Out of 5-6 of them they granted partial access only to 2 of the profiles. This creates a mess when only some of the profiles are merged and the others are not. If she initiates the merges then I can complete them. Until then, they are on hold. Sorry, Mike

I think I need someone to make a decision on how to handle unresponsive profile owners. Is it better to force a merge or better to create a new profile?

My vote is new profile even though it may have a high number. We just need to monitor people adding their own profile to the category. If people decide they want to merge we can accept as needed. I also noticed a site with some comments in regards to slavery that I wouldn't want on anything sanctioned by this group.

Burke-1008 16:34, 27 September 2012 (EDT)

Generally Ed what I have been doing is contacting people much as you have been doing and also encouraging them to add me to the descendants - at least - of the Historically Significant person. I generally give them a week then talk to Chris or Lianne about the next steps. Since we are trying to move this project forward I feel like a week is more than adequate for people to respond. As for forcing a merge or creating a new profile I believe - especially due to the numbering issue - that "forcing" the merge has been the preferred action. I know I thought about whether this was the most appropriate way to handle things at first but I ultimately came back to two things. First the person is - usually - not really losing any of their previous access to the profile it just now a more collaborative thing, and that is the second and more important point. If a person has signed off on the Honor Code then they have acknowledge that WikiTree is a collaborative effort - if they did not realize it before - and as such there are times - while respecting the originator's efforts - when collaboration has to be "encouraged". This is my opinion obviously.
As for the content issue, I will have to give that some thought and will be interested in what others have to say. My first question is whether what is written is a person's personal views or is it a reiteration of documented information. And if it is based on documented information what is the point of it being added to the biography, especially if it is offensive or inflammatory. I recognize that there are going to be topics that you will never make everyone happy over no matter how respectfully you handle them - slavery being one of them. That is why I think - in general - we should avoid talking about the right or wrong of an act and just say they were a participant. For instance, "John Doe was a known slaveholder who had 13 slaves..." From there I think we are back to the question I had asked previously - and you as well - as to what is the level of content we wish to include for each biography as that will help us to decide some of these questions.Chelton-4 06:42, 1 October 2012 (EDT)

Good sources

I was just thinking, I know there's a lot of debate about whether or not to keep Ancestry sources around, but I think this is less of an issue for famous people like the presidents. There are ample sources, both books and websites, for info about the presidents, so can we agree to just delete all the Ancestry tree links? Looking at Lincoln's profile, for example, there's quite a pile of them. If you can think of a reason why we shouldn't do this, please reply! Lavoie-74 09:46, 18 September 2012 (EDT)

Okay so I will freely admit - for good or bad - to be a complete newbie when it comes to the sources discussion on profiles. I can see giving people credit for having created a tree in the first place and collecting whatever data they did but I guess I do not see why that data has to be repeated over and over. For me it seems like it would be simpler to present the record/source - this is how I have started doing it on my profiles Harriet Brown - and then have a section at the end noting all the people who "trees" helped to create this "final" tree. Am I missing something in terms of the process? Or am I just being naive again and thinking this less of a problem than it really is. Any help or guidance anyone can provide would be appreciated as this looks like the next task to tackle, and I would really like to have my head better wrapped around all of this. Chelton-4 15:12, 18 September 2012 (EDT)
Good point, Lianne. I only leave in Ancestry trees when there are no better sources available. Brian, my philosophy is that "credit for contributors" is given on the Changes page. After I do merges I do sometimes leave in notes about what information came from which profile created by which contributor, but it's intended as a way to help the next person understand and sort through things. For example, I might include "Note: Birth date of 1860 is from the Lincoln-X profile contributed by Y. No sources given." My hope is that in the future someone who has a real source for the date will cite it and delete the note. Whitten-1 08:14, 19 September 2012 (EDT)
For the presidents I'm relying on a consistent 3 sources. First the White House Biographies which also is the source for the prime photo I'm using (I like it because it has the presidential sequence on it). Secondly wikipedia since it's so well documented and lastly findagrave for death and burial information. I usually pull the first paragraph from wikipedia for the bio. My feeling is that we aren't doing a history page as much as a genealogy one so I try to focus on those facts which are most interesting to genealogists. Where they lived. Who they married, were children involved. etc... I've also started createing a second section for personal details which I pull from these same sources. Take a look at this Millard Fillmore page as an example Millard Fillmore.

Burke-1008 09:01, 5 October 2012 (EDT)

Lincoln-103 Tasks

So besides finishing up some merges I can see at least two tasks that remain to be done and hopefully by breaking them down it will make it easier for others to find ways to contribute. I am willing to start slogging through the source stuff and try to bring some order to that chaos - will welcome any help with that - but the other task that needs tackled is a review of the biographical section. There is already a lot of good stuff there so really someone would just have to look at it and determine if it needs expanded or not. I would also suggest making sure it makes sense grammatically and most important tracking down and adding any necessary references for what is presented. I am sure Wikipedia would be a good starting point for tracking down some of these references. I am not sure what our stance - process - should be if we are unable to source any of the text that already exists so that is something that may need to be considered. Thanks.Chelton-4 13:57, 21 September 2012 (EDT)
Lincoln's children are all cleaned up now. I just took a look at his siblings, and it looks like we've got a bunch more junk profiles. I don't know where they came from. Lincoln only had a brother named Thomas and a sister named Sarah. There are profiles for them, as well as John, Margaret, Elizabeth, David, George, Catherine, Nancy, and Hannah. Where do people come up with this stuff?! Lavoie-74 20:55, 26 September 2012 (EDT)
Oh, looks like I can answer myself on this one. All the erroneous siblings have a different Thomas Lincoln as a father. So this is a case of two guys with the same name getting mixed up somewhere along the way. So I just need to disconnect them all from Nancy Hanks to fix things up. Lavoie-74 21:26, 26 September 2012 (EDT)
So right now I believe the Sources section is good to go and I know all the merges have been taken care of - thanks Lianne. I could really use some feedback on the format for the sources section. I do not believe it violates any rules and provides people with access to the facts in as brief and clear format as possible. Really all that remains now is some final decisions and updates on the Biography section. So check it out when you get a chance and let me know what you think. I promise not to cry too much if you do not like it.Chelton-4 07:43, 11 October 2012 (EDT)

Presidential Project Page

Team, in working with a group of people it sometimes helps to have a shared checklist. I've created a document for that purpose available here: Space:Presidential_Project_Page.

What I'm hoping is that team members can check the page and take on small tasks such as updating HSAs or requesting merged records and that others will see the progress. I also took a swag at what I thought should be the key deliverables which I think we should all discuss and agree to.

I know I'm new to the team but I'm extremely interested in this project. I appreciate any feedback. I know editing tables can be a pain so if people just post comments on the page I'll update the table as soon as possible.

--Ed Burke

Bravo, Ed! That's awesome. (By the way, I edited the links above and removed what was duplicative so that people can keep the free-space page updated instead of editing it here.) Whitten-1 19:00, 25 September 2012 (EDT)
Thanks Abby and Brian for jumping in on Presidents Adams and Washington

Historically Significant Biographies

As part of working on the profiles of the Presidents a discussion is arising as to how detailed the Biography section of the profile should be. There seem to be two basic schools of thought: First - people are likely more interested in whether They are related to a Historically Significant Person rather than reading a bio about that person especially when there are usually other sources for good bios on the person. The second school is more along the lines of doing both the genealogical research and the Biography in as much detail as possible - within reason.
I am not really sure where I stand on this as I can see both arguments as being valid. To me the issue is more about scope regardless of which biography school you subscribe to.
Thoughts?Chelton-4 12:17, 26 September 2012 (EDT)
My feelings are probably already known but maybe to help persuade others. In studying historical documents and biographies they typically only focus on historically significant events and therefore they do a good job of that. What nobody else does is the nuts and bolts of genealogy. What are the person's moving patterns. Where did they live? Who did they live with? What were their relationships. All interesting to a genealogist but irrelevant to a historian. I think on WikiTree we have a chance to be a group that truly is focused on those genealogical events. Where did Lincoln live during the war? Which I doubt many know instead of his famous speech I think it would set WikiTree apart and help encourage greater usage. I think a good site to see what I'm speaking of is over at the archives site here Their opening paragraph may be something we may want to use as inspiration. Burke-1008 18:00, 26 September 2012 (EDT)
I am not at all against Ed's approach and can see some benefits to it. My preference will always be to do as much as possible but I guess what I really have to consider is what is the point. As Ed pointed out, WikiTree is a genealogy site so people are probably not coming here looking for biographical information, generally speaking. So what will people be looking for? Obviously a family tree and whether they are connected to a particular Historically Significant Person (HSP). If I think about genealogy and remove the need to collect biographical information what is the value in genealogy? I think primarily it makes connections across time on the macro and micro level so how do we reflect that for a HSP? I think the discussion on how to track and call out known descendants of a HSP is one way that would definitely work on a macro level in addition to the family tree. On micro level, maybe we should focus less on a biography and more on a timeline of significant events in the person's life, maybe a lifeline showing how a person moved through their life, and - not exactly sure how to do this - use these profiles as a kind of teaching tool highlighting some of the resources and records that genealogists use to track down connections and how people can try to see if they are connected to a HSP. For instance focusing sources and references on census records, church records, grave stones, obits, where a person resided, etc. Like I said not sure what that would look like. I think Ed is on to something in terms of looking at how is what we are doing with HSP being true to the mission of WikiTree of growing the world's family tree and the needs of the people who come here.Chelton-4 07:11, 1 October 2012 (EDT)
So Michael made an interesting comment on this subject in the G2G that I thought worth posting here. Basically his thought was that you have an introductory paragraph describing why the person is historically significant - even if it is just because they are managed by one of the project groups. And then use the biography to flesh out genealogically significant points along a timeline, lifeline or in the sources. I kind of like that approach as a base for our efforts and if someone felt compelled to do more they would be able to obviously.Chelton-4 07:12, 1 October 2012 (EDT)
I agree we really are always going to have people modifying biographies and therefore probably should make sure we focus more on quality than quantity. Burke-1008 00:44, 6 October 2012 (EDT)

I had thought we need something to link the presidents together. I put together something on William Henry Harrison's Harrison-912 page which will appear at the top before content and biography. I would like some feedback including hell no. It just seems to me that something like the old web rings might be nice which would help people move through the presidents.

  • Here is is as well.

WikiTree Presidential Project Navigator

You are at the 9th President of the United States William Henry Harrison
  • To go forward to the 10th President click here
  • To go backwards to the 8th President click here
  • To see the US Presidents category click category:US_Presidents
  • To visit the WikiTree Genealogy Guide to the US Presidents click here

I like it Ed. It is definitely a good start and will be really useful. It will have to probably be something we check pretty regular during the initial stages of working on all the profiles as the reference number for a given president may change but so far you seem to have collected most if not all of the lowest numbers.Chelton-4 12:22, 10 October 2012 (EDT)

Where to Start II

Okay so after talking it over I think we can make it a little easier to get everyone involved who wishes to be. Ed has been kind enough to create a tracking page for this group. You can find it at Space:Presidential_Project_Page. Please select an open president (just one to start with) and then Note in this thread which president you have selected and we will get the page updated. You can also request Ed add you to the trusted list so you can add your name directly to a president.

Once you have selected your president here are some first steps. First I would suggest visiting wikipedia or some other source and getting some basic information on the individual: birth date, death date, spouse, children, parents, etc. Collecting some basic information will really help you as you are trying to track down all the duplicate files. My suggestion would be to not start looking for the duplicates of the president but start with his parents. This is just a better place to start from an organizational standpoint as it will help to collect many of the duplicates for you, amongst other reasons. Now you can enter the name into the search window at the top of every profile page and locate individuals that way. Personally - even though it is more cumbersome - I find doing a surname search and looking through the entire list more effective. For instance if you search for "Abraham Lincoln" you will miss "A Lincoln", "Abe Lincoln", or any other combination - last name misspellings are a whole other beast. Also note that when you are looking for "females" it is often a good idea to not only search for their maiden name but also their married name as some people enter it that way especially if they do not know a maiden name. As you start to merge records you will hopefully see a lot of the connections right away, that is why I would suggest always starting with the "male" profile first.

After you have a list of profiles you will want to look for the profile with the lowest number. For example if I have Lincoln-1004, Lincoln-245, Lincoln-687, and Lincoln-103 I will want to merge all the profiles into Lincoln-103. DO NOT initiate merges as you find the duplicates wait until you believe you have found ALL the duplicates before initiating merges and then it should only be into the lowest numbered profile. If you initiate merges as you find profiles it can lead to some potentially big problems - mostly on the programming/processing end - so PLEASE do not do that. Initiate all the merges into the lowest profile and I would suggest requesting to not only be added to the trusted list but also being made a profile manager. Most people if they are at all involved with WikiTree will not have a problem if you tell them you are working on the Presidents Project and that is why you are initiating merges and asking to be added to the trusted list. You will also find many who either do not visit the site that often or just do not respond. Any of these profiles you run into wait several days to a week then get in touch with me - I can send you my email if you do not have it - and I will contact the appropriate people to get the merges taken care of for you.

So do the parents first, then the president and his spouse, then either the presidents siblings or children it is really your choice. Now you will notice as you make merges duplicates will show up in the linked profiles, kind of like ripples on a pond. How far you want to chase duplicates and initiate merges is entirely up to you but I suggest at the least you do those categories of profiles I just noted. This will take a little time so let us start here and then as people wrap up their merges we will talk further about next steps. If you have any questions about anything I have written please either respond to me here or contact me directly. thanks for all your help and good luck with your searches.Chelton-4 21:38, 5 October 2012 (EDT)

John AdamsChelton-4 21:55, 5 October 2012 (EDT)
Just realized it is foolish of me not to do John Quincy as well Chelton-4 13:21, 9 October 2012 (EDT)
Friends, please check out the project page and if you see a president with my name as the project lead you may happily take that person over. My name in that column means I've started doing some minor house keeping. Don't be shy ;) Burke-1008 15:00, 6 October 2012 (EDT)
Thanks to Sue and Arik for jumping in and taking some presidents, er still lots of opportunities ;) Burke-1008 08:59, 7 October 2012 (EDT)

Who should be included?

I know we are still working through just getting the presidents taken care of but as I am doing that a question keeps coming up that I wanted to place here for discussion. Besides the President who - if anyone - else should be considered part of this group. There are three criteria for being designated HSA: notability (several secondary publications about individual), falls under the umbrella of a user group, and is the lowest profile number for that individual. So say you have someone like Abigail Adams - John Adams' wife - who numerous books have been written about, she was the wife of a president, the mother of a president, and an amazing strong willed and politically active female for her era. It seems she has the notable thing down, and it is relatively easy to locate the lowest profile number so the only remaining criteria is does she belong to a user group. That is what led me to ask who should be included in this group as the obvious answer would be she belongs in this group if the scope of this group is individuals with a strong presidential connection, instead of only the presidents. Just something to discuss and think about as we move forward.Chelton-4 07:51, 15 October 2012 (EDT)

This is another good point. From a mostly Genealogical viewpoint (of my own manufacture), I would like to agree with Brian by suggesting that all 'First Ladies' (Presidential wives) who bore children to their Presidential husbands be included in this group. The obvious reason being the potential for descendents surviving to present day and beyond. Keith Baker 12:31, 17 October 2012 (EDT)


We're all working to ensure that we have a consistent set of categories for the presidents. At present here is the list of most common. Here is a link to the top level of categories Categories

Presidential Families The following categories should be used:

Category:Spouses of US Presidents Category:Siblings of US Presidents Category:Children of US Presidents Category:Parents of US Presidents

Political offices

Category:US Presidents Category:US Vice Presidents Category:US Secretaries of State US Secretaries of State, War, Commerce, etc... Category:US Ambassadors to France US Ambassadors to Country Name This category if includes other official categories such Minister of France etc..

Congress Please list under the state elected.

Category:US Senators from Virginia for senators if you create the category it should be under Category:US Senators and state politics page

Category:US Representatives from Virginia this is under Category:US Congressional Representatives and the state politics page.

Governors Category:New York Governors This should be listed under the appropriate state politics page and the Category Category:US State Governors

Try to list Counties of birth death and residence the correct form is County, State as in Category:Cocke County, Tennessee

For death and burial please list the Cemetery name on a free space page and place that page in the proper location. Check Hollywood Cemetery Your Cemetery page should have a link back to your president. Be sure the cemetery is listed as a sub category under the county and the state cemetery listing as in Category: Iowa, Cemeteries

If you don't know the cemetery you can always look on FindAGrave 100% of the presidents are listed there eventually we'll get all the presidents placed appropriately

Alma Mater Colleges and University's should have their own free space pages that you may link your president to. The colleges should be place by location check out the College of William and Mary

Political Parties

Category:Democratic Political Party Category:Whig Political Party etc...

Feedback is needed and appreciated. Ed Burke 07:53, 3 December 2012 (EST)

Ed - All this is great work for categorizing the US Presidents and their families. "Damn the Torpedoes, man, full speed ahead!" And thanks for all you have done, including the Political Parties. It sure looks great to me. Keith Baker 16:49, 3 December 2012 (EST)

Proposed Presidential Project Guidelines

The purpose of this document is to outline the operating guidelines for the Presidential project team. These guidelines are meant to ensure that the presidential project has a clear set of rules from which members can take on tasks within the scope of the project. The goal of the Presidential project team is for WikiTree to offer the best genealogy source of presidents on the Internet which is free to access. The project team is the Genealogy of the president (not the politics). Biographies that are sourced, well written, clear and fact based are the desired. This is not a site to discuss partisan political views or opinions. Members of the presidential project team will serve in the following roles.

Project Genealogist: There shall be a single leader of the WikiTree project which will be agreed upon by simple majority of the members. [1] This leader will be referred to as the Project Genealogist. The Project Genealogist position shall be held for the period of one year. A new leader will be designated each year by the team there are no term limits. The role of the leader will be to arbitrate any differences relating to the project. This leader will be the primary interface to the WikiTree administrators and the only person that can approve merges or the adopting of profiles. The project leader will be responsible for designating roles.

  • The Project Genealogist is responsible for maintaining and revising this document.
  • The Project Genealogist may designate other roles as needed.
  • Project Genealogist will ensure that team members will follow ethical guidelines and may make changes to biographies as needed including deleting offensive or un-sourced content.

Arborist: The role of the Arborist is the pruning, grafting and the overall health of the presidential profiles. Arborists are concerned with the overall look and consistency of the presidents.

Arborists Functions:

  1. Lowest profile number is utilized
  2. Merges of duplicates for both presidents and first generations of descendents and ancestors are completed
  3. Consistent categorization across all presidents
  4. Consistent navigation between all presidents
  5. Consistent structure of headings (this means in terms of titles; all profiles should have the following main sections Biography Sources References all other sections will be as sub sections under these main (this needs to be agreed upon)
  6. Members of this team need to be automatically added as trusted members (but not profile owners) of each president and the 1st generations on either side
    1. Arborists will interact with the rest of the WikiTree as needed to perform their function. Whenever possible arborist will request access to conflicting profiles. If at the end of (2 weeks? 30 days?) if a profile owner is unresponsive the issue will be escalated to Project Genealogist for admin resolution
  7. Arborists will not be responsible for content or sourcing. As merges occur they will not combine or edit data.
  8. As profiles are merged arborists will identify any new duplications and work with other WikiTree owners to continue the merging process
  9. Arborists will not add content to presidential profiles except for categories, HSAs, navigation and consistent section titles.
  10. Arborists may also be utilized for pruning of invalid sources such as or links that are no longer functioning. A single section may be added to biographies called outdated or inactive data based on team requirements per Project Genealogist’s instructions.
The role of the arborist is to ensure that when visitors to WikiTree view presidents they see a consistency of structure and ease of navigation. The arborist will use the presidential project page as a check list for others so as to reduce duplication of effort and maintain a common look and feel.

Biographer: The role of the Biographer is the actual content of the presidential pages. The Biographer will be designated as the profile owner. A secondary biographer may also be assigned. Biographers are responsible for the content within the presidential page including pictures.

Biographer Functions:

  1. A primary biographer will be listed on the presidential project page. This person will be listed as the profile owner for their designated president.
  2. The primary biographer may invite others to add content to their president however the biographer is responsible for all content and only those individuals approved by the biographer may edit a profile. For content purposes.
  3. If individuals (arborists or other non approved biographers) with to propose content they should do so via the personal memories or comment section of the profile.
  4. Biographers shall be responsible for ethical sourcing of all material.
  5. Biographies need not be consistent. As presidents had different hallmarks of their administration their profiles may be changed to reflect that. For instance: the JFK profile may focus on the Kennedy family, assassination or the missile crisis, Roosevelt may be focused on depression, Eisenhower the interstate highway system or his WW2 record. It is this diversity of presidents that makes America great therefore these biographies may be quite diverse and creative.
  6. Biographers shall not add un-sourced facts as facts. A biographer may want to add a section on presidential rumors or secrets such as JFK’s love life, slave ownership etc… but these sections should be clear that these are un-sourced rumors.
    1. It has no been proven through DNA testing the Thomas Jefferson had children with a slave. This is completely appropriate to be listed on WikiTree as it concerns itself with Genealogy
    2. It is only rumor that JFK may have slept with Marilyn Monroe or father children with others. This topic should only be discussed on a biography page under a heading such as Presidential Rumors.
    3. Biographers is not a lifetime role. Primary biographers are designated for a specific calendar year by Project Genealogist.
    4. New biographers may change content based on their preference all previously approved content must be preserved.

I strongly encourage feedback to this document. The goal is to have fun on this project and to be respectful of each members input. Burke-1008

It is obvious to me, Ed, that you have given this a good deal of thought. Good thoughts at that. My first impression of this suggested approach is that it is very, very good. I can find no fault with what you propose. But before giving it a blanket endorsement, I'd like to read it 1 or 2 more times and think on it for a little while. Meanwhile, GREAT WORK and a sincere thank you for it! Keith Baker 11:59, 24 October 2012 (EDT)
I think this is a good foundation and I would hate to lose it, but I am wondering whether it is too detailed for our needs at this point. For instance given the work load we have and the number of participants do have a need to for Arborists and Biographers. I think they are good distinctions I am just not sure we are at a point to need that distinction. To me that is secondary to reaching some kind of consensus on how we interact with each other in our collaborations and some kind of general format for how the profiles are to be presented. This is definitely a good start in both those directions.Chelton-4 15:40, 29 October 2012 (EDT)
An area I am trying to address in these rules is some best practices when you have more than one person working on a single profile. An Arborist may make changes to categories, navigation and merging issues. An Arborist should not be making any content changes to a profile. I believe by clearly stating this that we will avoid worries about credit or previous bio information being lost.

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