Biography Builders

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Biography Builders

It is easy to get in a groove creating profiles, tracing ancestries, adding sources, and making connections on WikiTree, and in that groove, forget to build a profile to its fullest. Many profiles on WikiTree, even from our best members, have sources but no substance-what do those sources tell us? What has your research revealed? Who was this person? That's what the biography section is for and this challenge is a personal growth challenge to encourage members to create biographies for the profiles they work on, not just find connections and sources.

Each month, we'll set a theme to the challenge, asking participants to create biographies for different people in their family tree or from certain projects and categories.

Those who participate can challenge themselves to do a little more on each profile by working through our checklist of what makes a profile "complete." We know no person will ever be completely researched, and so no profile will ever be completely done, but there are certain points in building a profile where you hit logical stopping points and can "call it" at least for awhile. Each time you do this, you can share that profile in that month's thread as an example for the community as well as have a chance to get thoughtful feedback on other things that might make nice additions.

Each time you hit a milestone in your participation you'll get a template for your profile to show others you've been making WikiTree a better place to share family history. The first template is placed when you've completed 10 profiles for Bio-Builder challenges. The numbers are cumulative, so it could be the first month you participate that you hit that mark, or it could be 5 months later. It's up to you.

Special Notes

How to Join

  • Check the G2G post to determine the current theme (see list in upper right side of page)
  • Write a biography (or several) that fit the theme
  • Answer the G2G post and create a list of the profiles you worked on
  • Add biobuilders to your tags
  • (optional) Join the Profile Improvement Project

The List

Data Section.

birth date/place
names of parents
marriage date/place and spouse name
names of children, if any
death date/place

Biography Section:

  • Written sentences stating the facts above, adding inline sources to each fact.
  • As a general rule, biographies should be in your own words. Paraphrase and rewrite, don't copy/paste.
  • Is the profile Genealogically Defined?
  • Baptism, burial, military, and other life events with inline sources.
  • Something to "humanize" the person, such as career or avocation with sources.
  • List of children with at least one pertinent fact.
  • Explanatory remarks, if needed (i.e. Disputed persons sections, Research Notes, whatever needs extra explaining).
  • Photos or pictures. Not a must, but nice (you own the copyright, or photos must be in the public domain).
  • Categories.
  • Connection to the Global Tree.
  • All duplicates merged or initiated.
  • Links to persons and events, perhaps from Wikipedia.
  • Historical context as related to the person's life.
  • Sources, Sources, Sources.

Places you might look for information

Family Search; Find-a-grave;; google search for the person and their spouse together; look for a genealogy on the family; check for a town or county history to see if the person is mentioned; from the profile ID drop down menu use "Research"; if you have subscriptions to pay sites check those; check for printed ancient town records in the place where the subject lived. Of course if they are related to you, you may have even better information, like birth, death, probate, land, bible records etc.

Monthly Themes

  • Alphabetical given/surnames
  • School masters/mistresses/teachers
  • The Great Depression era (10/29/1929 - 12/7/1941)
  • Families with 10+ children Nov/Dec 2018
  • Various specific occupations
  • Veterans of any conflict Nov 2020
  • Veterans from specific conflicts
  • People
    • Popes Oct/Nov 2018
    • People born in the 1600's May/Jun 2018
    • People born in the 1700's May/Jun 2017
    • People born in the 1800's June 2016
    • People born in the 1900's Mar 2021
    • People who died before their 18th birthday (Remember the Children Project) Apr 2023
    • People who never married Aug 2021
    • People who were immigrants Apr/May 2018
    • People whose name (first, middle, or surname) begins with Q, U, X, or Z Jan 2023
    • People whose last name is the same as a currency or coin Feb 2023
    • Men named Charles and women named Elizabeth May 2023
  • specific relatives, i.e. your third great grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.
  • Specific Categories
  • specific G2G tags to make profiles for answers to questions
  • People with an unknown parent ie Brickwalls Mar/Apr 2018
  • For February - people who have same last name as any president. Feb 2020
  • For March - Women who've made a mark in history Feb/Mar 2017
  • For May - Any mother Apr/May 2017
  • For June - Any father Jun/July 2017
  • For August - All things Massachusetts Aug 2023
  • For October - People named Christopher/Christine Oct 2023
  • People who emigrated (born in one country, died in another) Hat trick - Married in a third country. Dec 2022
  • People with a Specific Occupation: Miner, Farmer, fisherman, welder, etc.
  • People whose surname is an occupation: Farmer, Fisher, etc Jan/Feb 2018 Apr 2022
  • Names that have a 'son': Johnson, Anderson, Myerson. Nov 2022
  • Pick someone/s who was born in the same place as you (could be town, city, state/county, or country) and write their biography. Might be interesting to compare their life with yours, what has changed and what is the same? Jun/Jul 2018 Jun 2022
  • Colors; White, Brown(e), Black, Green(e), Gray/Grey, Gold etc. Oct 2019 May 2022
  • Profiles in certain projects
  • Holiday Inspired themes
  • People with multiple marriages May 2021
  • People with multiple births in the family. Twins, Triplets, etc. First sets if triplets and above in a county or city. Dec 2019
  • Maybe use this project to highlight the great work being done in some other WikiTree projects? I was thinking of:
    • People who should be added to WikiTree's Roll of Honor
    • People who are adopted, or who have adopted children (doesn't directly fit with the Adoption Angels, but we could still bring attention to that project) Apr 2019
    • People who are in, or could be added to, an existing One Name Study Mar 2019
    • Profiles that include DNA research
    • People who have an interesting tombstone or story related to their death or burial (tie in with the Global Cemeteries Project)
    • People who are Notables, or who were named after a Notable
    • People who emigrated from/immigrated to another country (not a project, but the Immigration category has a template that we could advertise, and we could document these stories)
  • People born, married, or died in a specific month
  • Place of Birth
    • Letter ‘W’ Place of Birth Jan 2021
  • Place of Marriage
    • Letter ‘S’ Place of Marriage Sep 2021
  • Place of Death
    • Letter ‘L’ Place of Death Aug 2022
  • People born in ? (a particular country)
  • Source-a-thon sourced profiles Oct/Nov 2016 Nov 2021
  • Unsourced profiles Oct/Nov 2017
  • Grandparents Sept 2016
  • Great Grandparents May 2020
  • Great Great Grandparents Jul/Aug 2017
  • Great Great Great Grandparents Aug/Sep 2018
  • People from one town. (One Place Studies) Nov/Dec 2017 Oct 2020 Jul 2023


See our Google Sheet for participant data and totals.

Achievement "Stickers"

Fountain Pen
... has written and improved ten profiles for the Biography Builders Challenge.
Fountain Pen
... has written and improved fifty profiles for the Biography Builders Challenge.
Fountain Pen
... has written and improved one hundred profiles for the Biography Builders Challenge.
Fountain Pen
... has written and improved 200 profiles for the Biography Builders Challenge.
Fountain Pen
... has written and improved 300 profiles for the Biography Builders Challenge.
Fountain Pen
... has written and improved 400 profiles for the Biography Builders Challenge.
Fountain Pen
... has written and improved 500 profiles for the Biography Builders Challenge and is now a Master Builder.

  • Login to request to the join the Trusted List so that you can edit and add images.
  • Private Messages: Contact the Profile Managers privately: Bob Keniston and Anne B. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)
  • Public Q&A: These will appear above and in the Genealogist-to-Genealogist (G2G) Forum. (Best for anything directed to the wider genealogy community.)
Comments: 56

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I just checked the Google Spreadsheet and it hasn't been updated at all in 2023. Will it be soon? Or is there a newer link?
posted by Alicia (Bonner) Taylor
I’ve been a little distracted. I’ll start updating now.
posted by Bob Keniston Jr.
I'm very interested in creating good bios for my ancestors, but is following the monthly theme the only way I can get credit for one?
posted by Michael Kerstetter
In a word, yes. The themes, over the course of a year, cover a lot of ground. Also, you aren’t limited to profiles on your Watchlist. If you have a group of profiles that you would like to bio, and if they have a common characteristic, suggest that to me as a possible theme. Maybe we can work on it .
posted by Bob Keniston Jr.
Thanks for the reply. I'm just a few months into WT and have WAY too much of my own tree to put into WT and write bios for than to spend time on unrelated bios so probably won't join.
posted by Michael Kerstetter
Add Biobuilders to your tags, and checkout each monthly theme. Profiles in your Watchlist might fit. If you have any WT questions, or need help, feel free to ask.
posted by Bob Keniston Jr.
Hi Bob and Ann,

Hi guys Could this page please be updated and the comments either answered or archieved?

The spreadsheet is also in need of updating as not been done since January this year!! Once that is done stickers can be awarded.

Please note this page is linked to other pages from which folk, are directed each month, can all the challenges be done from this page so they are easier for folk to find.

Many Thanks


England Profile Improvement Team Coordinator

posted by Janet (Langridge) Wild
Janet, Sorry about the spreadsheet. I’ve had some distractions due to some health concerns of wife. All is well now, so I hope to get back on track.

All of the challenges are listed on this page. Bob

posted by Bob Keniston Jr.
I'm back for the most part!!! I'm going to start with next month. Just thought I'd warn you, lol.
posted by T Counce
Can they be new? My list are 20 relatives, I just didn't realize they are not on Wiki yet. If I do 2 a day, they will all be on here by the end of the month.
posted by Sue Townsend
Sue, there are no restrictions on how “old” a profile is. If there is no profile for someone you can write a bio for, create one. And if you can connect them to an existing profile(s), more power to you because you’ll have expanded our World Tree. Happy bio writing.


posted by Bob Keniston Jr.
Do the profiles have to come from your watchlist?
posted by Leila Keller
Leila, you aren’t limited to profiles on your Watchlist.


posted by Bob Keniston Jr.
Thanks. I wasn't sure because on the g2g post, there were people talking about how it would be easy because they have lots of England profiles on their watchlist, or hard because they don’t have many.
posted by Leila Keller
Do I have to complete a challenge in that month? or can I take longer due to needing to find resources to verify everything ? I am not quick at writing as I am dyslexic and need to check things very carefully

Thank you

posted by Anon (Cormack) Sharkey
I have done over 100 but have not received any stickers? Do I add them myself? If so where do I find them? I also think I did the most in last months challenge.
posted by Pam (Dale) Fraley
Having been awarded a sticker, how do I add it to my profile?
I have reached over 100 now and added the sticker, but if I should not do it myself please tell me and I will remove it.
I have been doing the biobuilders challenge since November and added 23 so far but have not received the sticker for 10 yet. Have the stickers been discontinued?

Should I register anywhere else as a biobuilder other than doing the challenges?

Hi, can I join this challenge? If so, what's the challenge for December 2019? I don't see it on the google sheet linked on this post. Thanks!
posted by Nicole Kelly
Name Valentine in Feb?

April showers - water names? bring May flowers - flower names?

posted by Patricia Roche
Do you think it would pe possible to have themes that go with like victorian, Edwardian, Colonia periods? I know there are those for the 1800's and 1900's but it would look at a certain time period. IE The Great Depression era (10/29/1929 - 12/7/1941).
posted by Jennifer Robins
I think a "sticker" is an excellent idea! It would allow us to "show off" our efforts for the monthly challenge.
posted by Caryl (Short) Ruckert
Is there a sticker that can be placed on profiles to show that they were improved as a result of a monthly Bio Builder challenge? If not, is it just because it hadn't been thought of yet? If so, I think it would be a swimming idea. When folks come to a beautiful bio and they see the sticker, it may draw attention and new members to the project.


The biography of this profile was improved through the Biography Builders Project.
posted by SJ Baty
May I use your sticker on the profiles I do for BioBuilders?
posted by Pam (Dale) Fraley