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How To: Qualify for Pre-1500 Certification

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Pre-1500 Certification Help Aid

Why do I have to Qualify ?

Many WikiTree genealogists in the process of adding their family tree want to add the profiles of their early ancestors to their WIkiTree family tree. They may feel frustrated when they discover that they can't add to or make changes to older profiles because of Pre-1500 certification requirements which they may feel impedes their progress. Because these distant ancestors often have many other descendants a real possibility is that ancestor will likely be shared by several other WikiTree members which raises the probability that conflict over "facts" or relationships may occur. Additionally, these distant ancestors and their associated lineages are often plagued by error, mistake or even fabrication, especially as we sometimes find in unsourced or poorly sourced, online trees. To mitigate the occurrences of conflict and to help prevent errors being passed on a requirement that quality sourcing by members and the demonstration of a familiarity with working Pre-1700 and older profiles was put in place. To add, edit or make changes to a Pre-1500 (based on date of birth) profile members must have met Pre-1500 qualification requirements and be certified through a vetting process which requires the member to apply and demonstrate their readiness for certification. Once certified the member is then permitted to make changes to Pre-1500 profiles.

Current Requirements

The badge and certification is awarded to members who demonstrate they are ready to make high-level contributions and who:
First Meet these preliminary requirements:
  1. Confirmed WikiTree account more than one month ago.
  2. Signed our community's Honor Code.
  3. Have made 200 or more (non-GEDCOM) contributions.
  4. Have made two or more postings in G2G.
  5. Active participation in a WikiTree Project.
  6. Have obtained Pre-1700 Self-Certification.
Second Have made contributions to pre-1700 or project-protected profiles that demonstrate a practical understanding of the principles behind our Honor Code and Pre-1700 Self-Certification, especially regarding sources and collaboration in high-conflict areas.

Meeting the Requirements

1. Demonstrating your Skills

The best way to demonstrate your skills is to join a WIkiTree Project and be involved in developing, sourcing (using reliable, quality sources), and improving profiles. When you add a profile make sure that you also add a quality source that supports the facts. Likewise, when you make a change or edit make sure that you add a quality source to support the changes. Make sure that Pre-1700 profiles you add or edit are sourced and that the sources are properly cited. Citing a repository such as or is not considered an adequate source for Pre-1700 profiles.

Key Point: It is necessary to demonstrate your understanding of WikiTree style and standards, proper sourcing of Pre-1700 profiles and your ability to collaborate constructively with others on shared ancestral profiles.

2. The Importance of sources

Reliable sources are what defines the difference between good and poor genealogy. When accurate sources are given you have provided or been provided evidence that the facts and relationships documented can be relied upon to be true and accurate.
In genealogy one of the most fundamental concepts to understand and apply is the necessity of establishing the correct parents by "proving" their parent-child relationships. This is only possible when reliable (primary) sources are used to support those relationships.

Key Point: Using reliable sources that support the given facts is fundamental to accurate Genealogy. It is the accepted way to establish Parent-Child relationships and resolve conflicts of fact.

3. Presentation Profile

When you apply for Pre-1500 certification you will be asked to provide a "proud of" profile to demonstrate your readiness for certificaton. Choose a demonstration profile that you have been careful to resolve any discrepancies between the facts in the data fields and elsewhere in the biography, make certain that each fact is supported by a reliable sources The use of in-line source citations are preferable, and the documentation should be clear and concise. Do not copy-paste sections of text from source material and present it as your own work. This may constitute copy right infringement.
The reviewer may also select random profiles in your watchlist so try to have as few unsourced, or poorly sourced profiles as you can.

Key Point: Present your best work. Double check it for any errors or inconsistencies.

4. G2G Participation

This one is easy. Simply use G2G to pose questions to the WIkiTree community that you need help with and help others by answering or commenting on other's questions that you can help with or that may interest you. This shows collaborative effort on your part and a willingness to help others when you can.

Key Point: At least meet the minimum requirement

5. WikiTree Project Participation

It is important to join and actively participate in a Wikitree Project, particularly one that routinely requires that members work on Pre-1700 and older profiles. There are a number of reasons why this is important but among the several reasons is that as a member you will gain experience in collaborating on developing and improving profiles in accordance with WikiTree source and style requirements. You will also be exposed to quality sources and documentation standards that encourage the use of reliable sources and clear documentation which helps to reduce errors and increase accuracy. It is also important to have a platform where you can demonstrate your understanding of WikiTree style and standards and that you understand how to properly source a profile.

:Key Point: Active participation in a WikiTree Project

6. Collaboration

You need to demonstrate an ability and willingness to collaborate by joining others in improving the quality and accuracy of WIkiTree profiles. Communication, politeness and working with others on common goals is the key here. Removing or changing the work of others without communication and consensus can be a cause of conflict that can result in a lack of cooperative effort or destructive behavior. Remember that the "open" profiles of shared ancestors are not our exclusive property and we share the work on these commonly shared ancestors with others who may be just as interested in them as we are. Sometimes conflicts may arise due to disagreement over facts or mistakes. There are processes outlined in WikiTree policy for handing these disagreements.

Key Point: Collaborate - Engage others in cooperative efforts. If disagreements occur follow WikiTree policies that are in place for resolving issues.

7. Watch your Watchlist

Although not something you may use a great deal your watchlist is a valuable tool, both to you and the certification team. The certification team will be looking at random profiles for evidence of your readiness (or lack thereof) for Pre-1500 certification. If your watchlist contains many poorly sourced or unsourced profiles, merges left unfinished (not cleaned after merging) or signs that you do not understand WikiTree style and standards those things will impact the certification teams evaluation of your readiness for certification.

Key Point: Watch your Watchlist - Make sure your profiles are sourced and that documentation is clear and concise. Don't write biographies that are overly long, or that look cluttered. Members get certified because they demonstrate an understanding of WIkiTree style and standards, they support their profile adds and changes with quality sources, they don't leave profiles in an unfinished state after merging, they work to clear open suggestions, they collaborate with others, they use G2G both to help and get help, and they strive to do quality work that they can be proud of.

8. Leader Endorsement

You will be asked to name a Leader with whom you have worked with in a team effort. That Leader will provide feedback to the certification team as to your readiness for Pre-1500 certification. This is an important aspect of the process but keep in mind that this one factor alone will not decide whether you are certified or not. Leaders do not have the ability to "pull strings" to get anyone certified.

Key Point: A positive endorsement as to your skill set and readiness for certification can help you in the review process and certification decision.

Applying for Certification

Follow the link below and provide the requested information. Allow several days for a response to your request. If you are not certified the first time try again after correcting any areas needing improvement.

Pre-1500 Certification Request Form

Helpful Resources

Pre-1700 Projects
List of Pre-1700 Projects
Reliable Sources
Reliable sources for Pre-1700 Projects



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