Welcome to the Orphan Trail Part Three (pre-1500 Preparation)
Team Leader: Elizabeth Viney
What is Orphan Trail Part Three?
Orphan Trail Part Three is intended for members of the England Project who are seriously interested in getting Pre-1500 Certification so that they can work on pre-1500 profiles. You can read about pre-1500 certification on Help:Pre-1500 Profiles. The aim is to help participants to build up their research and bio-writing skills and to position themselves so that they have a good chance of their application for Certification being accepted.
This program is an initiative of the England Project and there is no affiliation with the pre-1500 certification panel. There is therefore no guarantee that, if you complete the trail, you will get certification.
Who can join Orphan Trail Three?
Participation is by recommendation only. This is partly to keep the numbers to a manageable number: trailblazers for Orphan Trail Three need to be pre-1500 certified themselves, and there are relatively few people available to act as trailblazers. But it is also so that we can do our best to ensure that participants are ready to undertake what is quite a challenging programme.
All participants will
- have successfully completed Orphan Trail Two or
- be active members of Team B of the England Project Managed Profiles Team - the team that works on 1500-1700 profiles.
Working with a Trailblazer
As with Orphan Trail Parts One and Two, you will be working with a trailblazer. You will collaborate with your trailblazer by, for instance,
- asking for advice
- discussing issues that arise
- setting out the sources that you plan to use and discussing the reliability of some of them
- working through research
- showing your trailblazer drafts of what you plan to put on profiles
When you first start, your trailblazer may ask you to list a few pre-1700 profiles on which you have already done some work, so as to gain more of a feel for how they may best be able to assist you. It will also help them if you indicate anything on which you would like particular support and guidance from your Trailblazer.
Medieval genealogy is often hard - but can also be extremely satisfying if you enjoy research and are able to deal with uncertainties. If you work on medievals, you cannot rely on there being the range of obvious sources, such as parish records. The available evidence may be conflicting, or susceptible to different interpretations. Firm dates for key life events are often absent. So you have to be able to hunt out information sometimes in unusual places, and to weigh up evidence carefully. This is where your trailblazer is likely to give you most help. But your trailblazer will also be looking at how you write up and structure biographies, paying close attention to WikiTree styles and standards, especially those for pre-1700 profiles.
Communication with your Trailblazer
We ask you to let your trailblazer know if you decide you do not want to continue on Orphan Trail Three, or if you need to take a break for any reason.
If you apply for pre-1500 certification, you will be asked to identify some pre-1700 or Project Protected Profiles where you have made significant contributions as a practical demonstration of your knowledge of sources and WikiTree style. This profile should demonstrate your ability to go beyond obvious standard sources.
The core of Orphan Trail Three is to develop some pre-1700 profiles which can show that you have the sort of skills needed for medieval genealogy. Your trailblazer will help you develop those skills, which also stand you in very good stead for the more difficult later profiles as well. These profiles can become your "demo" profiles if you decide to apply for pre-1500 certification.
The profiles you work on need to be chosen with care. They should be ones where
- a range of sources going beyond standard ones is likely to be available: that means the person is probably moderately prominent
- a bio is largely missing.
Your trailblazer will agree the choice of profiles with you. You may have suitable profiles in your own family tree - if so, this is a good opportunity for you to develop a good profile for them. At least one of the profiles will be either
- a profile managed by the England Project which needs substantial work or
- from a list of suitable profiles maintained by OT3 Team Leader, Elizabeth Viney
In the course of working on the profiles, your trailblazer will help you develop the research skills needed to find information outside the usual places, to weigh up evidence, and to consider whether Research Notes would be helpful. The trailblazer may also give advice on how to improve your bio-writing skills. As you continue on Orphan Trail Three, the hope is that you will come to need less guidance, but the trailblazer will still be there to look over what you do and to give hints and advice. By the time you start on your third profile, relatively little oversight may be needed.
Once you have developed your profiles, your trailblazer will be able to help you decide which are the best ones to choose as your "demo" profiles, if you decide to apply for pre-1500 certification.
What else do you need to do before they apply for pre-1500 Certification?
There are three other things you should do.
- You should make sure that all the profiles you manage are sourced. For pre-1700 profiles, you should check that the sources are reliable sources. Your trailblazer will be able to give advice if you need it.
- You should clear any significant database errors (Suggestions) for profiles you manage. Do not worry about Wikidata suggestions.
- You should try to participate in some obvious collaboration on pre-1700 profiles, either through the Discord server, G2G, by leaving appropriate comments on profiles you do not manage or in Project or Wikitree challenges.
- 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, Maureen Wilkins, Ann Browning, Francesca Murphy, Jo Fitz-Henry, 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.)