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Magna Carta Project Checklist

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Updated Checklist (1 May 2018)

Before starting

Post a comment to the profile so that profile managers and visitors to the profile know that it’s being developed as part of a trail identified by the Magna Carta Project.

Read the profile’s biography, posted comments, and any G2G discussions connected to the profile.


  • Duplicate profiles searched for/merged (or pending).[1]
  • Rearrange order of elements if needed (categories, project box[es], sticker[s]).[2]
  • Genealogical information - Parents, Birth, Marriage(s), Child(ren), Death - if included, is easily located and has an inline citation to source(s), preferably Richardson or a primary source.[3] At minimum, the text should include the parent and child on the trail between Gateway Ancestor and Surety Baron, sourced to Richardson or a primary source (for help locating pre-1500 primary sources, see the resources listed on this page; see also the project's Reliable Sources Page).
  • Include additional sources as needed. Derived Sources, in order of authority (e.g., if a fact in Burke's Peerage and Richardson's Royal Ancestry disagree, go with Richardson):[4]
    • Richardson's Royal Ancestry
    • Richardson's Magna Carta Ancestry (the two works have much the same information, but Royal Ancestry is more recent [2013] and Magna Carta Ancestry is specific to the project as well as Google Books having a copy available in snippit view online)
    • Anderson's The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III
    • History of Parliament Online
    • Cawley's MedLands
    • Lewis's database (mostly based on Richardson's works, but facts from Lewis need to be confirmed against source because of format for citing source [at end of sentence; sometimes only the person’s name is from Richardson, yet birth date and place are in the sentence, so it seems – erroneously – that Richardson had that information also])
    • Burke's Peerage (which the EuroAristo Project lists as an Unreliable Source; see Space:Magna Carta Project Reliable Sources)
    • (mostly based on Burke's, but facts should be confirmed against another source)
Note – TudorPlace is not recommended as a source; Ancestry is not a source.
  • Suggestions resolved (click “Suggestions” in the dropdown menu under the WikiTree ID in the mini-menu at upper right of profile page).
  • Names, dates, and locations included in the datafields are included in text with inline citations.
  • Profiles attached as parents/spouse(s)/child(ren) are named in text, with inline citations. (Basics on family members can be included, but extensive details are generally better on the family member’s profile.)
    • For parents/children whose relationship is clearly supported by a primary source (and noted as such in text), set the relationship as “Confident”. Note that this is a change - trails can be badged based on Richardson, but need primary source for "Confident" relationship between parent and child. See details at Magna Carta Project Policy and Procedures
    • Profiles for children that have support but which are not listed by Richardson or a primary source can be included in the list of children (with appropriate citations/notes) or can be discussed in a "Disputed Children" section under the 2nd-level heading "Research Notes". Profiles for children that have no support should be detached after discussing with the profile managers and posting to G2G (a relationship change is considered a major change, so should be discussed first: see Communication Before Editing for details).
  • Consider creating a profile for a parent named by Richardson or in a primary source if one does not exist. It is not necessary for every child to have a profile (for example, profiles for children who died young or died without issue need not be created), but if all known children do have a profile attached, click “No more children” under the list of children in Edit view.
  • Irrelevant GEDCOM-imported information should be deleted.[5]


  • Check on duplicate profiles.
  • Check Suggestions.
  • Check that Headings are correct level/2nd-level headings are in correct order.
  • Check on order of elements (categories, project box[es], sticker[s]), and update or add "top of profile" text. See Order of Elements & examples on the Magna Carta Project Section page.
  • Check that narrative in Magna Carta Project section is correct and current (update with review/re-review date & your name).
  • Check that genealogical information has inline citations/appropriate source(s).
  • Check that datafield information & attached profiles match text.
  • Check any links in the profile (that they still work/go where intended).
  • Read the biography (as expressed in the previous checklist: "Narrative is minimally coherent”).


  1. Help:Merging
  2. See Order of Elements on the Magna Carta Project Section page
  3. Visitations can be considered a primary source, depending. See the Comment on this page with links to G2G discussions. One answer about the reliability of Visitations is repeated in full here:

    "Sometimes the informant would tell the herald what he remembered, but memories were faulty. Sometimes he might have a pedigree written out on a fancy scroll, but the process of producing those things wasn't too scrupulous. Available data would be used, but could be misinterpreted. Then blemishes would be removed, gaps filled, extensions grafted on.

    "Sometimes the herald went prepared with a pedigree drafted from previous information, intending only to update it. Those trees contained errors as well.

    "At the end of all that, there might be two or three copies of the report, not identical. Further copies would be made. Copies went into circulation, and people made additions and alterations. The copy at the College - if there was one - wasn't immune. The heralds would doctor their records to supply ancestries for the newly-ennobled nouveau-riche.

    "Sometimes the editors of the books complicate things by making their own combinations from different sources. They often add extra pedigrees that didn't come from visitations at all.

    "So as with all "primary" sources you have to use them judiciously, bearing in mind the ways that errors creep in, and the fact that people don't always want the truth recorded in the first place."

    Thanks RJ!
  4. Project:Magna_Carta#Project_Sources,
  5. Help:Biographies: "Always feel free to eliminate data that does not add information about, or specific context to, the profiled individual..." For Magna Carta profiles, this will probably include GEDCOM-imported sources, which should have been replaced by one of the sources listed above. However, if not, the source for the information needs to be retained. For guidance on formatting GEDCOM-imported sources, see Help:GEDCOM-Created_Biographies.

Previous Checklist (24 August 2015)

Still good, but it is a touch outdated (e.g., Magna Carta Project section & Suggestions are relatively new, as is WikiTree's guideline for only four 2nd-level headings) and was intended for use by experienced project members in their review of trails. The Updated Checklist covers Developing a profile also, and provides details that may be useful for newer members. Also, we now select Confident for relationship with parents only when supported by primary source(s).

Previous (Review) Checklist
Please follow current guidance. This "Previous Checklist" section is provided as reference.

The "Style Standards for Acknowledgement" mentioned in the previous checklist was a standard paragraph for inclusion in the Acknowledgements section:

This page has been edited according to January 2014 Style Standards. See the Changes tab for descriptions of imported gedcoms.

Considering Category:Styles_and_Standards have changed since 2014, that statement is no longer recommended. Use instead something like "See the Changes tab for details of edits to this profile. Thanks to everyone who contributed."

This is an active Magna Carta Project page with up-to-date information (linked pages may not be current).
Reviewed: Noland-165 05:23, 5 August 2019 (UTC)


On 21 Jan 2019 at 14:44 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

Note: Cockayne's Complete Peerage, available here, is a source frequently used by Richardson. If Richardson and CP disagree, the difference should be discussed (post to the profile and/or to G2G & the Magna Carta Google Group).

update - Be mindful of the edition used, per a note posted to a project profile by John A. (co-leader, EuroAristo Project):

Please don't use the volumes of the 1st edition of Cokayne's The Complete Peerage as a source, they have been totally superseded by the second edition, which are all available from FamilySearch Catalog and probably other places. The Verdun barons are in Vol 12, pt 2.

On 19 Jan 2019 at 21:50 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

Development of a Magna Carta Project Reliable Sources page is underway.

Please see Magna Carta Project Reliable Sources.

On 4 Jan 2019 at 09:18 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

A question came up about Visitations being more authoritative than Richardson... it depends, but generally the answer is no.

See specifically the following comments in G2G discussions:

"The books themselves are compilations from the original manuscript(s), and they will have an extensive introduction discussing these sort of issues, and will often draw on other documentation. If you ever need to use the genealogies from a Visitation you must read the introduction to get a full understanding." (click here for full comment)

"As for the veracity of the visitations, they were what was reported at the time of the visitation. So one in 1565 should be OK for the previous couple generations but not necessarily for earlier." (click here for full answer)