Project: Unknowns

Categories: Profile Improvement Project

Welcome to the Unknowns Project, a sub-project of the Profile Improvement Project focused on gathering Unknowns to be used elsewhere or to help in finding identities for them.



To improve the integrity of WikiTree by identifying and managing profiles without valid names.

How to Join

The Project Coordinator for this sub-project is Esmé (Pieterse) van der Westhuizen. Please contact her for guidance on tasks of the Unknowns Project. If Project Leader support is needed, please contact the Profile Improvements Project Leader Debi Hoag

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

If you would like to be involved in the Unknowns project, please do the following:

  1. Add profiles and unknowns to your list of followed tags. That way you'll see all of our discussions in your G2G Feed.
  2. Ask Debi Hoag to add the Profile Improvement Project Member badge to your profile.
  3. Add your name to the "Progress Reports" (this page below) and update it periodically.
  4. You may also add [[Category:Profile Improvement Project]] to your profile page. That will put you on the list on the Project Category page.
  5. We use WikiTree's Unknowns Project Google Group for communication.


  1. Identify all profiles without valid names according to the naming standards at Name Fields.
  2. Remove or reuse profiles with aliases such as Unknown, Unk, etc., which have no data, are orphaned and have no connections with any other profile.

To Do List

  1. Locate profiles using an alias for either Preferred First Name (PFN) or Last Name at Birth (LNAB). Use the Surname Search to find the list for an alias.
    1. Examples of aliases are: Unknown/UNKNOWN, Uk, Unk, Anonymous, FNU, LNU, N, NN, X, XX, XXX, ??, Not sure, Wife, Daughter, Son, etc.
  2. Use Name Fields to determine if alias is being used correctly. See especially the sections: "Use their conventions instead of ours" and "Specific Rules for Individual Name Fields."
  3. Add appropriate categories to profiles as needed. See Task List for steps to follow in determining category.

Maintenance Categories

Maintenance categories group profiles in need of some particular type of work. They serve as site-wide to-do lists. See Personal Categories for how to make your own to-do lists with categories.

Unknowns Maintenance Categories

  • Recycle Unknowns [[Category: Recycle Unknowns]] This is a temporary place to keep profiles that have no useful information and should be converted to a real profile with sources. Only use this if there are NO other identifying qualities to the profile (not attached to any other profiles, no dates, no places, no sources, only one name) and nothing is in the change history that should be restored.
  • Unknowns [[Category:Unknowns]] Profiles added here need to have more research done.
  • Needs LNAB [[Category: Needs LNAB]] Profiles with a Profile Manager who are lacking a Last Name at Birth (LNAB) or having Unknown or a variant as LNAB. Leave a comment for PM to attempt to find LNAB for profile.
  • Unlocated Profiles [[Category: Unlocated Profiles]] This category is for those profiles which have no location information at all: not in the birth field, not in the death field, not in the marriage field(s), and not in the biography.

Research Note Boxes

Estimated Date: {{Estimated Date}} is a Research Note Box. For use whenever a rough estimate is used for a birth, death, and/or marriage date. {{Estimated Date}} will add a category for any/all estimated dates and add the profile to one of the Maintenance Categories -- Estimated Date Categories. By adding a variable, the estimated date can be specific to all, birth, death, or combination of these. For example, {{Estimated Date|Death}} will specify the Death date is estimated.
Unsourced: {{Unsourced}} is a Research Note Box. It should be placed on any profile that has no sources. You can enter {{Unsourced}} without a modifier, but it's best to enter a country, state, province or other place name. For example, {{Unsourced|France}}, will add the profile to the list of Unsourced profiles in France.


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

Unknowns Template {{Unknowns}}

Citation Needed {{Citation Needed}}

Slave {{Unknowns|slave}}

G2G Tag & Useful pages

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

The G2G tag for Unknowns Project Q&A is unknowns.

Project Members

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 (e.g. on vacation), please note that here. Thanks!

  • Name, report/update/interest
  • Esmé van der Westhuizen As Coordinator I keep an overall eye on All the Unknowns and I mainly work on Orphaned Profiles to find sources for the correct LNAB
  • Shirley Dalton working on Unknown/UNKNOWN 1600's
  • Kelly Bartlett
  • Maggie N working on "uk" or "UK" and "Unsure"
  • Nan Lambert mostly working on orphans
  • Star Kline
  • D. Ellis working on "Unk"
  • Gerri Bartholomew
  • Astrid Spaargaren working on recycling and finding unknown, orphans from the Netherlands
  • Ros Haywood working on Unsourced Profiles, paying special attention to Unknowns
  • Betty Tindle Work on "Unknowns", "Unsourced", and Recycle unknowns
  • Jeanne Howell Work on "Unknowns", and Identifying Orphaned profiles with Incorrect or Unknown Last names at birth
  • Susan Hughes- will work on orphans and Unknown
  • Sherry Wells - I will clean up and add research to any orphans or unknown.
  • Susan McNamee Working on Unkonwns
  • Dallace Moore- Working on unknowns
  • John Morgan - Stumbling about with unknowns and orphans.
  • Amy Utting — I'm working on both general unknowns, and removing the "unknown" category from profiles which have already been improved and given names.
  • Juha Soini - Fixing everything I can research. Please send any profiles with Finland (or Suomi) and Sweden my way.
  • Wendy Sullivan - Trying to find proper LNAB for married women.
  • Jo Gill - working on Unknown Gill
  • Cassie Miles - working on New Zealand & Australia "Unknown" profiles.
  • Roger Davey - Australia concentrating unknown orphans
  • Terry McClintock- working on all Unknowns. I do use Ancestry, but spell out everything pretty well, as well as other free sites.
  • Paula Hawkins working on all profiles with Unknown in their names.
  • Susan Keil I have a habit of adopting orphans, and they often have ambiguous LNABs. I'll try to focus on those first.
  • Carolyn Martin
  • Deborah Pate I'm looking at at 19th-20th century unknowns, chiefly in the UK
  • Anne Guglik I'm just getting my feet under me, but I think I'll start by looking to see if there are any profiles for Inconnu, which is French for Unknown, since I'm also in the filles_du_roi project, and I don't see anyone else working on that.
  • Karen Wells - working on any profiles with Unknown in a name field, with a focus on finding LNAB for married women.
  • P Roche - working on finding LNAB for women with no last name.
  • Peggy Watkins I am going to work on these, starting in my home province of British Columbia.
  • Tommy Buch - working on the profiles under the BUCH surname (1 solved)
  • Karen Butler - recycle unknowns and find LNABs
  • Kaylinn Stormo - I primarily work on Minnesota unknowns.
  • Karen Lorenz - I like working on orphan Unknowns.

This page was last modified 06:06, 2 July 2020. This page has been accessed 4,555 times.