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How to Search for Existing Profiles

Privacy Level: Open (White)
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People who lived a long time ago have many shared descendants. It is quite possible that the profile already exists on WikiTree. If you are adding members of your family tree or from any source, it's important to search for those older ancestors FIRST, before you attempt to create the profile.

Covering a little WikiTree ground here, you already know from the Honor Code that we Collaborate and work on shared ancestor profiles together. What does that mean? Each person has just one profile on WikiTree. Everyone who descends from that person shares them on WikiTree. And anyone can edit an Open profile. So you don't have your "own" tree as other sites do. You can see your ancestor tree, but each person does not have a separate profile kept by only you.

The cool thing about this is that you get help from many people and don't have to do it all yourself.
Plus when you connect to an older ancestor, much of the tree above them is often built so you have an immediate view of those ancestors.

On a practical level, duplicate profiles must be merged. That means extra computer resources are used everytime that profile is accessed (called redirects). We want to avoid this as much as possible, so WikiTree can remain a free-to-all site.

What is the best way to search for someone before creating a new profile?

  • There are two ways, and the BEST is using the search at the top of the page. This is described in step by step instructions below.

  • Not recommended is using the possible matches that WikiTree provides when you are already in the profile creation process. Why? Often those potential profiles don't include the target profile you need (especially for estimated dates), and many of the entries that are listed may be not very close to the parameters of the one you want. It can take a long time to check them all. Duplicates are often missed if you use this process. See these at the bottom of the page.

A little time invested now will save YOU and OTHERS time not handling merges, and will make WikiTree a more accurate place for everyone.

The BEST way to SEARCH is described below.

1. Open any Wikitree Page. Use the Search boxes at the top to enter the name of your target person.

2. Get the Search Results and sort it by birthdate

3. Highlight the name to see parents and spouse information

4. Click on the spouse to see the name

5. Get information from an external site if needed for verification

5a. Find Reliable Sources here. We particularly like Karen Theriot Reader and Marcel Landry, professional genealogists who have wide family trees, often with sources.

6. When to add the new profile Once you've searched for the person, the spouse, and parents and haven't found anyone, then a new profile is warranted. If you find the parents and they don't have this child yet, it's pretty easy to add this child starting with the father to add a child. You can also add a spouse to an existing spouse profile, but still check to make sure there isn't a profile for the new person yet. Sometimes the spouse will already have this new spouse and you are done!

If you are in the process of creating a profile, have entered some information, the WikiTree tool will come up and give you some choices. This is not recommended as the best option as frequently duplicated profiles are created using this technique. But if you are here, this is what to look for:

A. Adding a child of an existing parent, father is best due to the carry forward of the name. Names can be edited before saving.

B. Adding an unrelated person - you couldn't fine the person, parents, a spouse so they are going to stand alone with no connections.

  • Login to edit this profile and add images.
  • Private Messages: Contact the Profile Managers privately: Gisèle Cormier and Cindy Cooper. (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.)
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This is a great resource for members and mentors! Thank you!!
posted by Traci Thiessen