Project: WikiTree Apps/Ideas

Here's a list of WikiTree Apps Project Ideas. They may be things that members of the Apps community have already started work on, or may be considering, or that others want to suggest in the hopes an apps developer will run with it.

Feel free to add ideas below, and comment or ask questions about any of the ideas already listed. If it's more than a quick question or comment, post in G2G and link to it from here. If code starts to be written, link to that.


Mobile App

What would it to do? One idea would be to make it easy to simply take pictures and upload them to profiles.

What about a mobile site? There are approximately 70 million users accessing the web with mobile devices. I've heard a few complaints from users who aren't able to access or use their mobile device on WikiTree. Using my phone to access wikitree is difficult.The bigger buttons that mobile sites use would help mobile users navigate the site easily.
It was suggested that a mobile app could notify the user when they were near the locations that their ancestors lived. See this.

Tree Browser

A more advanced tree browser (think Web 2.0: AJAX, JavaScript display libraries, etc.) We're very interested in adapting whatever is done to main WikiTree code base. It would be a high priority.

Wider Tree View

This has been suggested multiple times in G2G. See here, here, here, here, and here.

A tree view similar to the "Family View" on Ancestry or MyHeritage's tree view. It would be similar to the dynamic view that WikiTree already has, but would include spouses and be horizontal.

Advanced Visualization for Larger Trees

Tools for selecting profiles & viz

A few quick power tools for tag-based editing (find-and-replace as a data tagging mechanism, operations over tagged selections, pluggable selection filters such as tree shape differences) to be coupled with 3D visualization (ex: webGL or possibly oculus) for faster comprehension and operations in large branch-laden trees/bushes with complex (see #6, below) relationships. May become a front end GUI to merge complex and/or large trees, and to create presentation quality videos, in temporary sandboxes that drive manual updates.

Issues and solutions

1) merging trees from non-wikiTree sources into wikiTree, WITHOUT having to preview each profile. I propose a two-step entry: mass tree matching (for links between profiles) followed by verification of that sub-tree. EXAMPLE: we see 19 "William Bostocks" profiles throughout 19 generations of the lineage, but no birth dates (or even decades), HOWEVER, we know each child's name, and can approximately match a subtree based on several generations, then back-fill in the approximate decade of birth based on historical data (battles, for example).

2) comparing wikiTree to other sources when merging data FROM wikiTree into myHeritage/Geni, etc. This helps to find missing parts, in large trees, without massive manual comparisons.

3) trimming down large trees for the purposes of animations, exploration, and pattern recognition.

4) large-tree posters, to give as gifts, to host a family party (each person signs their entry) or for teaching/classroom use. Poster printing service (ex, thru Staples)

5) dense-tree rendering, ex, 8 profiles per vertical inch using small fonts and smart text placement that takes advantage of unused white space.

6) complex relationships, such as:
  • step children
  • multiple spouses: divorce, polygamy, sperm/egg donations, 3-parent babies
  • adoptions
  • children of incest
  • in-vitro fertilization

EXAMPLE: when grandparents are first cousins, an aunt may ALSO be a cousin, so how should we draw this dual relationship?

7) time-based renderings

8) displaced and/or dotted-connection sub-trees that use white space more effectively when the number of relatives is unbalanced. Why draw a very tall tree from one parent and a very short tree from another? Instead, split the tall tree and use some of the white space below the short tree, to shorten the entire display.

Visualization for Categories

The concept is to visually display the relationships between people in a category. The original concept was for use on cemetery categories where the app would should the relationships of everyone buried in that particular cemetery. However, the concept could be expanded to other categories as well.

Tools to make it easier to pull from FamilySearch or other online resources

We have wanted to work on a FindMatches-like tool based on APIs that enables a WikiTreer to find matching profiles on other websites and easily create deep links from the WikiTree profiles to the profiles or information on the other sites. The user would just be doing a few clicks; no HTML or mark-up. Maybe they'd have the opportunity to add notes or at least the anchor text. Essentially, the user would just be going through a list of possible matches on other sites and evaluating whether they're the same person as the person profiled on WikiTree.

This was done for FamilySearch (see the FamilySearch Matches app).

This could also be done with Geni, WeRelate, Wikidata, etc.

Michel is (slowly) working on an external one for WieWasWie sources (Sept 2020).


Family migration

Might use Google Maps.

A thought - this would probably depend on the standard place name issue and also the ability to translate those place names to lat-long for the mapping tool. I believe there is such a facility in the Google toolkit, maybe there are others. Having done a small proof-of-concept, see, I think that is the biggest hurdle to overcome.

Google Maps is a really cool way of showing migration. This has been painfully slow for me, but to be able to take advantage of sharing (docs, maps, sheets, etc.) and layers I've been saving each individual person along with their maps. You can then make the map of the person a layer in a generational map, use the generational map to see if certain families migrated together, use the maps however you'd like to work with religion, different wars, so many things. If anybody wants to brainstorm - (Skeen - 210)

Another option is to implement the wikidata objects for places or use Openstreetmap as an open source map with LAT/LON data. That will also prevent people having to open up a google account and login to see data (and have the action being logged by Google).

Person movement

There are always 2 places every dead person must have (of course can be unknown) - place of birth and death. Other places can be addresses of houses person lived. (requires WikiTree to introduce those fields, because they are not present now, therefore cannot be obtained via API)

Last name occurrence

Useful for last name studies. Marks in the map show presence of the last name in specified time range.

AJAX descendant lists

The reason we don't include more generations in the current descendant lists is to save resources. The right way to do it is AJAX.

More easily shareable trees, ancestor lists, etc.

Facebook/Open ID login and integration?

Find oldest ancestor or earliest unknown ancestor

It might be fun to have an app that would walk through a person's tree and tell them their earliest/oldest known ancestor, and their latest/youngest unknown ancestor.

G. Bartomeo: This is a possibility via recursion, though I'm not sure how to use the API yet to do it, the logic for it is present. You get the parents for the ID in question. If the ancestor has at least one parent ("Father" or "Mother" field do not have a value of null), then you add the parent to the end of a list, let's call it ancestor_list. Then perform the function again on ancestor_list. If you find an ancestor with no parents, you add their information to a variable that stores their WikiTree ID, their First Name, Last Name, when and where of birth, when and where of death. When going through ancestor_list, after looking at an individual's parents, remove them from ancestor_list. If the ancestor is already in ancestor_list, they shouldn't be added a second time. If you hit another ancestor without parents, compare their birth date with thank t of the one stored in our variable previously. If the year of the one in the variable is more recent than this new parentless ancestor, replace the information in the variable with said new parentless ancestor. Ad infinitum until there's nothing left to search through.

I.Hunter: keeping track of how many recurses would allow you to label someone as a Nth great-grandparent, which would be a nice figure to have.

Bots to handle automating programmatic changes

There are a number of MediaWiki bot libraries. They could be used to automatically add categories to pages (Location categories, Are is the etc) based on agreed-upon criteria, standardize location formats, etc.

Create stub bio / timelines

There is a bit of a blank page syndrome when you're trying to add sources or extra information to a profile that does not have a bio yet. This could be overcome by making it easy to insert a stub bio based on the structured information (date of birth, marriages, et cetera). In the same way, a timeline could be generated that is easy to expand.

Automatic Source Linking

When I have a source document and attach two dozen people from my tree, it is currently tedious to go into each person's profile and copy/paste the same text to each in their profile's source list. Maybe for each source document uploaded, the user could specify how it is added to each profile that is attached to it. Then when new people are attached to that source, their profiles automatically have the same standard text/links displayed the same way.

Tool to Automate Creation of a GEDCOM File

I am a new WikiTree member and have some data stored in my own database. I asked a question about the GEDCOM file format specifications and got plenty of answers. In addition to the answer to my question, several answers indicated that users have been frustrated by having manually to correct many errors after uploading/importing GED files. Some advised me to enter data manually because it takes less effort! I would like to create a set of tools, starting with one that would allow people to create a text or spreadsheet file that they could upload and then automatically convert their data to a GED file that meets WikiTree's formatting expectations so that it will import correctly. After that is accomplished, I would like to tackle the GED files that are exported from genealogy programs and other genealogy websites and develop a process to make whatever modifications are needed to make them match WikiTree's formatting expectations. I encourage collaborators on this and am open to all suggestions - I am at the very beginning of what I expect will be a large learning curve! Please contact me with any thoughts on this topic .... THANX! Gaile Connolly

9/27/2014 UPDATE:
I have started work on this tool. I have set up a development workspace and I am building the tool in classic ASP and an Access database. I have created a demo account for all interested WikiTree members to use during development.

    URL: ~ Broken Link
    User Name: team
    Password: wikitree

Please add/change/delete data freely, Please share the access information with any WikiTree members who would be interested in providing user input on what this tool should do and user friendliness.

I hope for input from experienced genealogists, as well as people with technical knowledge of WikiTree's GEDCOM import function. If anybody would rather see it implemented in something other than ASP and is willing to port it there, please let me know!

Automatically calculate ethnic background

To calculate the ethnic background automatically by starting at the oldest ancestors, looking at the place they were born (or skip if no info is given) and then work down to nowadays through all descendants. It will then utilize the template Template:User_Ethnicity to insert/update it automatically to all ancestors until it finally comes back to all descendants (it has to start with one profile, usually the profile manager). It would built on the project Bots to handle automating programmatic changes Andreas West

Automatic Tagging

Very similar to how you can search for people by surname and the idea above to identify all dead end ancestors in a profile, this could even help with calculating ethnic background. If you could add a relative's occupation, cause of death, ethnicity, family country of origin, war fought in, etc. you would be able to hit that tag and see everyone in your tree with that tag. And not to get too wild with this idea, but you could even matrix it. How many Scots in my tree were here before 1700? Now I know.

Built-in fields & functionality for adoptees

Wikitree guidelines request that adoptees be associated with their genetic relatives (if known) instead of their adoptive relatives. This method understandably favors genetic relationships and best facilitates DNA matching, but also presents technical difficulty in trying to accurately portray real-world family relationships. Adoptees are placed apart from their real-world family, often with families/relatives which they never knew or lived with. In turn, accessing a version of their family tree which shows them in the context of their real-world family is essentially impossible. Currently, this is addressed with advice to write adoptive relationship information into the biography text, but the approach lacks uniformity and doesn't offer sufficient use of built-in tools which are otherwise available for genetic relationships. Thus, instead of one set of fields for parents, there could be built-in fields for both biological and non-biological parents, perhaps eventually with functionality to toggle the adoptee's profile/tree view. In addition, adoptees could be listed as a child of their adoptive parents, distinguished from biological children using some sort of "adoptive indicator" (maybe a superscript 'a', italics or grayed font). Wikitree could thereby continue with biological relationships as default/preferred, while still offering built-in functionality for modeling/evaluating an adoptee's adoptive relationships.

Tree Seek Integration

The mission of the project is to integrate WikiTree and TreeSeek using Wikitree data to expand on TreeSeeks Fan charts functionality.


  • August 5, 2016 - Fan Chart Functionality is live for testing. Enter WikiTree ID in place of Gaulden-10
  • August 5, 2016 - Fan chart only works with open profiles...need to get some information on how our security settings work so he can work around this issue
  • March 29, 2019 - broken link or doesn't work

Goals and Ideas

  • Integrate WikiTree and TreeSeek
  • Work-in Hover over to display specific information on the Person to include but not limited to WikiTreers who connect to profile who are DNA Descendants.
  • Add a feature which would populate a fan chart showing auDNA inheritance, X DNA Inheritance, mtDNA Inheritance and Y-DNA Inheritance
  • A Feature which would populate a fan chart with auDNA probability ranges for auDNA inheritance based on known DNA matches, incorporating user entered information based on Phased DNA data, Chromosome # and segment overlaps

Customizable Watchlist View

Suggested in G2G:

I am searching for a table view of my watchlist, showing selectable data (e.g. birth place). This printable table view helps to find missing data or estimated data, which need to be checked.

Interface Between Desktop Genealogy Software and WikiTree

Suggested in G2G.

The ability to transfer data between WikiTree and RootsMagic, Legacy, Gramps, etc.

Category Suggestor

In a G2G post about a bot automatically adding categories, a user made the suggestion that a program could suggest categories for a single profile or for a user's watchlist.

Maybe an app could scan a profile's biography and data and suggest categories to the user, the user could select which categories they wanted to be added to the profile, and then the categories could be merged into the profile's biography.

Split descendant trees by inserting children under appropriate spouse

At the moment, the spouses are bundled with their partner and often separated from their children. It would be better if they all happened in chronological order, thus H married W1, ch 1, 2, 3. H married W2, ch 4, 5.

List Veteran Ancestors

A post in G2G asked if there was a way to get a list of their ancestors who fought in the Civil War.

This could be extended to find all veteran ancestors in a person's tree.

List Living Cousins

One user thought it would be nice if a sortable list could be generated of all living descendants of a profile. Since living non-member profiles are Unlisted, the list would focus on members of WikiTree. Or the list could show t6e the manned and dates of people to the profile managers and those on the trusted list. It would be good if the list cluded duplicates where person is doubly related through other ancestors.

show the names and dates of living people

When they occur in a list being shown to a profile manager or person on t he trusted list. it is frustrating when, on entering a new profile, one gets asked to check it isn’t one of the followng and there follows a list of people one normally as access to, but in this case cannot be told whose profile it is.

Reporting Database

A periodic extract of public information from WikiTree, imported into a read-only SQL reporting database, which would allow SQL queries to answer specific questions, data analysis, etc. This could also be integrated into an analysis application. For example - because relationships to distant ancestors (which I may be managing) are often disconnected - I want to know which people in my watchlist I am not related to by either blood or marriage, including siblings and spouses (so that I can remove myself); and also want to know which of the same relations (going back to some reasonable year like 1500) I am related to but who are not in my watchlist.

Importing Data from WikiPedia and WikiData

For the Notables project qualification, a new profile must have a Wikipedia page. There are many many missing notables in WikiTree. An application that could parse the page in WikiPedia and WikiData to fill in basic data, including photo image and some biography which is genealogically relevant, would be wonderful.

Enhanced Edit Screen to Build Citation/Source

The latest addition of templates for FAG is good allowing edit of one page when DB web url's are updated; but, who can remember all the formats options for the different types of Templates.

The enhanced edit window just added highlights for the in-line sources which is nice. How about expanding the citation button (in-line or under Sources heading) to ask what type template and then prompt me for the data that is required to complete the template citation/source.

The more WikiTree can automate the largely manual entry process, the more we can offer the general general, attract more and keep more active members. I expect we would also cut the number of DD error suggestions and updates.

Enhanced Sources Screen when Adding Profile

Currently only options are: personal recollection, unsourced tree, and will be added. Absolute first option should be RootsSearch and it should function BEFORE the profile is saved.

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