England Project | Orphan Trail Team
Welcome to the England Project's Orphan Trail!
Trailblazers: Heather Brannon | Ann Browning |Michael Christmas | Chris Colwell | Brad Cunningham | Nic Donnelly |Laura Enomoto| Jo Fitz-Henry | Graham Farmer | Leandra Ford | Hilary Gadsby |Sarah Grimaldi| Owen Lake | Gillian Loake | Pamela Lohbeck | Elaine Mattsen|Susan Officer|Rob Pavey|Paul Shepard | Ian Speed | Stephen Trueblood | Elizabeth Viney | Joan Whitaker | Steve Whitfield
What is the Orphan Trail?
The Orphan Trail (OT) is a team that focuses on improving orphaned profiles of people who lived in England. An "orphaned profile" is a profile that doesn't have a Profile Manager and needs someone to care for it.
All new England Project members begin in the Orphan Trail team. You will be paired with a Trailblazer to show you the ropes, as you learn how to find English sources and edit English profiles.
What will you learn?
The Orphan Trail focuses on the core skills needed to contribute the England Project's goals – which are to make every English profile the best it can be. You will learn about:
- finding and citing reliable sources
- editing the data fields of profiles according to the England Profile Standards and Wikitree's Style Rules
- giving structure to profiles
You will improve up to 3 orphaned profiles for each stage of the Trail, depending on your skill level and how quickly you learn. After each profile, your Trailblazer will give you feedback on your work before you move on to another profile or progress to the next stage of the Trail.
The Orphan Trail focuses on freely-available research resources, as many people don't have access to subscription services such as Ancestry and FindMyPast.
How long does the Trail take?
It depends. If you are well-organised and give it priority, you can finish Orphan Trail Part One (OT1) in about 2 weeks.
If you are busy with other things, it will take longer. We strongly encourage new members to get the Trail finished as soon as possible.
The Trail is popular and we sometimes have a waiting list before new members can begin. Once you are offered a place on the Trail, we will expect you to start straight away and to show a commitment to completing it. If you know you won't be able to dedicate yourself to the Trail over the next month or so, please wait until you have more time.
Do you need to complete the Trail?
Yes, new project members are asked to complete Orphan Trail Part One (OT1). OT1 covers more recent English profiles and sources for the period 1700-1957.
After you finish OT1, you can choose to either:
OT2 is optional. It covers earlier English sources for the period 1500-1699. There is sometimes a waiting list to begin OT2, so we may ask you to join another project team whilst you are waiting.
If you are not going to be working on pre-1700 profiles, then you are welcome to stop after OT1 and use the skills you have learnt to improve your own family's profiles and in your England Project team. If you find later that you want to continue onto OT2, then talk to one of the Orphan Trail leadership team.
Orphan Trail Part Three (OT3) is an invitation only component for project members applying for certification to work on pre-1500 profiles.
What will your Trailblazer do?
The Orphan Trail is mostly self-directed. You will be paired with a Trailblazer to help you with the tricky bits. Your Trailblazer will give you tips on where to look for sources and feedback on the content and presentation of the profiles you work on.
Our Trailblazers are friendly volunteers who like helping our new project members. They have been through the Trail themselves and are knowledgeable about English research and editing English profiles.
Don't expect your Trailblazer to do your research for you – the Trail is designed to empower you to do your own family history research and to show you how to improve the countless English profiles that need some TLC.
What happens if you don't stay in touch with your Trailblazer or don't complete the Trail?
It's important to stay in regular contact with your Trailblazer.
If your Trailblazer hasn't heard from you for more than 2 weeks, we may email you to let you know your participation in the Trail has been paused and who to contact when you are ready to resume. Please understand that, when you resume, you may need to wait until a new Trailblazer is available,
The Orphan Trail is not open ended. If you do not resume the Trail within 3 months, we will assume you no longer wish to participate in the Trail. If you haven't completed OT1, your name will be removed from the list of England Project members.
Where to find out more?
Follow the links to your current stage of the Trail:
- Orphan Trail Part One - general overview
- Orphan Trail Part Two - general overview
- 1500-1699 resources continuing with parish registers; other reliable sources such as visitations and probate records; using templates, categories, stickers and named inline citations; the genealogical proof standard.
England Project | Orphan Trail Team
- Login to request to the join the Trusted List so that you can edit and add images.
- Private Messages: Contact the Profile Managers privately: Michael Christmas and England Project WikiTree. (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.)