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Connections 101

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Hints and Tips

The following are copied from Connectors Chat.[1]

Here are Carol's tips:

  1. When adding new profiles to bridge a gap between a connected and unconnected profile, always start at the connected profile and work towards the unconnected. If you find that you can't complete the connection then you'll not be left with any unconnected on your watchlist.
  2. Looking for a profile to connect to:
    • Sort the relevant surname list by birth first, then (if over 1,000), select the 'show all' or up to 5,000 option
    • Search Ctrl-F, for the town, village, state, county you are looking for, check for profiles created by a different manager.
    • Sometimes doing a search within a surname list using the profile manager's name, might identify some of their profiles that are already connected, you then just need to join them up.
    • Find your unconnected person in another on-line tree. Make a note of the more unusual surnames that married siblings, cousins or children. Check for these names on WikiTree, remembering that all sources have to be verified.
  3. I run a query on Wikitree+ to get all unconnected profiles from a specific area. (e.g. just put 'unconnected kent maidstone') into the text search box. Once I've connected a branch, I run another text search to see if the profile manager has created any more unconnected profiles for the same area. To do this you enter their wiki-id with an underscore rather than a hyphen followed by unconnected and the location (e.g. for me it would be 'winton_239 unconnected kent maidstone'). (Maidstone is the county town of Kent in England)

Here are Greg's tips:

  1. The first thing I'd do is look at your own profile. If the bottom of the page has a block of text which says something like: "Greg is 30 degrees from Rosa Parks, 19 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 18 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Check your connections or find your genealogical relationship with Greg.", then you are connected to the main tree on WikiTree, and it's only isolated groups in your watchlist which need to be connected. If that block of text isn't there, then your branch isn't connected, so the first step would be to connect your branch, at which point most (if not all) of the entries should disappear from your unconnected list.
  2. I have had unconnected profiles in my watch list for all three reasons:
    • First, I updated some GEDCOMs before the current GEDCOM importing system was put into place. At that time, we were told to skip importing profiles if a profile for the same person already existed on WikiTree. What I didn't realise until later was that, sometimes, the profile that I skipped was the only link between other profiles and the rest of the branch I was importing, so I ended up with lots of isolated profiles or small groups of profiles. Once I realised what had happened, it took me a few weeks to work through all the profiles I had imported, and search for the existing profile on WikiTree which had prompted me to skip importing the linking protocol. So, for instance, an unconnected profile might refer to a spouse, a parent, or a child, but there isn't a link to that person's profile from the profile on my watchlist. In that case, I'd search for the "missing" person on WikiTree, sort through the resulting hits and check to make sure that I had found the right one, and, once I did find the right one, I'd link my the profile in my watchlist to the profile I found. For example, if a wife had somehow gotten disconnected from her husband, then, once I found him again, I'd edit her profile to add a husband, put his WikiTree ID into the box that says, "If the spouse has an existing WikiTree profile Help enter their WikiTree ID here:", then click on the "Add Spouse of..." button. Once I do that, then she'd be connected.
    • Second, I have a bad habit of getting interested in notable people. I'll read about somebody in the news, or on Wikipedia, or wherever, get all interested in them, and create a profile for them. But then, it often takes me forever to build out their branch far enough that I make a connection to the main tree. Some people have memberships on paid sites which can help them trace out connections much faster, but I'm not on any paid sites, so I just end up following whatever leads I can turn up until I make a connection. (A couple of times, it has taken over a year of on-and-off effort to get a notable connected.) So these days, I try to restrain myself from creating profiles for notables anymore. (Not always successfully, I'm afraid.)
    • Third, there have also been times that I have come across abandoned profiles for people with a family name that's in my family tree, so I sometimes adopt those, try to source them, and see if they're related to the people in my family with the same name.
  3. In each of those cases, I work out the branch, following leads as I find them. If I find a marriage record for somebody, and the person they married doesn't have a profile connected to theirs, I search WikiTree to see if they already have a profile, and create a new one if they don't. The same thing if I find a census record listing parents, a spouse, or children of that person. In some jurisdictions, death records include the names (and sometimes even place of birth) of the person's parents, the name of their spouse if they were married, and sometimes the name of a child if they were an "informant" for the death registration. (I love the death records in British Columbia: they contain so much useful information like that!)
  4. Then, once I've add all the parents, siblings, spouses, and children of the person I started with, and see if I can work out farther still: parents and/or siblings of the parents, spouses and children of the siblings, parents and siblings of the spouses, spouses and children of the children, and outward in all directions. It's tedious, but every new sourced and documented profile added to WikiTree makes that whole tree better and more useful, and eventually, I find that final connection to connect the whole branch to the main tree. Then, I go try and find somebody to pat me on the back for my accomplishment.
  5. If you want to work on a branch from one of the unconnected branches tables:
    • The "Linked Profile" in the table is frequently (not always) for the WikiTreer who created that branch in the first place, and will therefore have a privacy setting of Public or higher. But that doesn't mean that none of the profiles in that branch are Open. To find the open profiles in a branch:
    • Go to the Linked Profile for that branch.
    • Click on the WikiTree ID for that profile in the upper right corner of the window.
    • Select "Family List" from the drop-down menu.
  6. To see the maximum number of Open profiles, set the "Showing 10 generations of" picklist to 15, click on the "both" radio button, click on the "with" radio button, set the "sorted by" picklist to "Birth Date", and then click the "Go" button. The list will probably get longer, and will be sorted with the oldest profiles (and thus the ones most likely to be open) at the top. </ul>
  7. If you are working on profiles from a GEDCOM upload which have become disconnected:
    • Check the Lost and Found Project page to see if that GEDCOM is already listed (and add it if it isn't).
    • For each profile in the GEDCOM, check the profiles before and after it to see if they came from the same GEDCOM, even if they're not connected. (So if you're looking at Example-137, check Example-136 and Example-138.) You may find that the GEDCOM extends to dozens of profiles with the same last name, and because they come from the same GEDCOM, they'll have consecutive numbers except for those which have been deleted or merged away.
    • You may also find that, while most other connections have been lost, at least some spouses from disconnected GEDCOMs are still connected to one another, so that can lead you to more last names that you can check for consecutive profiles.
    • If you find multiple profiles with the same first and last names, and the same (or close) birth dates and places, you may be tempted to merge them, but check first to make sure that you aren't dealing with cousins who have been given the same name to honour a grandparent, or (at least in some places at some times) siblings where the older sibling died before the younger sibling was born, and then the younger sibling was given the same name.
    • The person who uploaded the GEDCOM may have been working on that tree for weeks, months, or even years before uploading it, and in my own reconnecting work, I have sometimes made changes on the basis of a first pass at the sources, and then had to go back and restore the original data after checking further.

Here are Abby's tips for working on Unconnected:

  1. Use other tree sites for hints (NOT AS A SOURCE!). I do this by either searching for unique names I might find in the branch I'm working on then trying to find another name that isn't too terribly common in WikiTree on the tree I find the first person on, then trying to figure out how they're connected. Then, I start to look into sources to see if I can connect them the same way on WikiTree.
  2. I make the bulk of my connections by working "sideways". If I'm lucky, I'll be able to trace a line straight back into Colonial America or something, but most of the time I use marriage records and birth records to find spouses then trace their family, adding all the siblings I can and their spouses and just keep following sources as I can find them, rather than dwelling too long on one, direct ancestry.
  3. This one is important-if you get stuck, ask for help! Enlist other projects. Did you work a line back to Scotland and cannot get any further? Post in G2G and tag the Scotland project. Same with if you find someone was Quaker (which would be lucky because they keep AMAZING records). Post in G2G and tag the Quakers project to see if they can help.
  4. Go back to the beginning. I often make so many additions and feel like I'm going nowhere that I get discouraged. I step back and go back to my starting person and start to look at whether I left a possible connection line unresearched. Sometimes that line produces just what I need in far less time than I spent looking at all the other lines I already built out.

Here are B.W.J.'s tips for working on Unconnected:

  1. Use marriage records of parents and siblings to find more surnames in the village/area they live.
  2. Then I use WikiTreePlus to find all surnames in that village/area (sorting by surname), looking for profiles with a different manager and trying to connect to those profiles where the surname matches.
  3. The period 1811-1917 can be searched with two surnames in a lot of Dutch archives, using "father & mother" for marriages, this results in a lot of possible names.
  4. I keep track of name-combinations that I have looked into in a simple Notepad file.

Sources

  1. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Connectors_Chat#Hints_and_Tips




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