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Respoking the Wheel

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For revisiting the OT project in 2 part Format.

Intro page largely remains the same, see this link for the existing page: England Orphaned Profiles Team

except in the Goals (with an English flavour)

  • To familiarise new WikiTreers with various processes within WikiTree's England Project
  • To provide help and support in connection with English profiles
  • To encourage the use of best practices with sourcing and formatting

addition to the very top of the process steps.


The Process

There are two parts to the Orphan Trail, which are simply referred to as Orphan Trail Part One and Orphan Trail Part Two. Conversational language may refer to them as OT I and OT II.

Orphan Trail Part One (OT I)

This part of the Orphan Trail focuses on 1700-1957 profiles and is split into two sections.

  • 1838-1918 profiles (the birth years covered by GRO)
  • Inline citation tutorial as needed
  • 1700-1837 profiles

What you will learn:

  • Where English resources are and how to utilize the information to support, question, or disprove a relationship.
  • If you're new to Wikitree, and/or personal research or have formerly conducted genealogical research on research-assisted sites like Ancestry, My Heritage etc, you will become familiar with free resources and conduct your own research, rather than simply accepting that what is put in front of you to be fact.
  • Formatting inline references (inline citations); wikilinks (internal links); utilizing categories and the usage of county stickers.
  • Tips to avoid producing errors that you may, or may not see.
  • Julian to Gregorian Calendar dates

Upon graduation of the Orphan Trail (OT I), you will be asked to choose an English county you would like to participate in. You can choose other teams and projects, but you need to be part of a county team.

You are strongly encouraged to join Orphan Trail II, if you wish to work on Pre-1700 profiles, join the Managed Profiles team, or wish to become pre-1500 certified.

Orphan Trail Part Two (OT II)

A prerequisite for OT II is you must have first completed OT I. You may have a different Trail Blazer, or you may have the same one. This is a good way to get to know people in the England project as we all like to support each other. This includes you!

This part of the Orphan Trail focuses on 1500-1699 profiles and is also split into two sections.

  • 1600-1699 profiles
  • 1550-1599 profiles
  • 1500-1549 profiles
  • Differentiating between sources, citations and repositories.
  • You will be building on your previously learned skills and working with parish registers, manorial records, wills, court and chancery records, land records etc.
  • Ensuring that all profiles worked have reliable sources, inline references and a complete narrative.
  • Understanding templates, when to use them, what to use.
  • Learning where to look for less common records, utilizing free publications as primary sources, unless all said sources, or proof of life are behind subscription pay walls. If so, you will learn to follow the protocols for dealing with resources from subscription websites.
  • Learning advanced inline citations (how to use the same citation more than once without repeating the entire citation in the biography).

How the Orphan Trail Works

  1. You will be emailed a link to a page where you will pick a profile to work on.
  2. You pick the Orphaned Profile you wish to work on - just one, not a family.
  3. You email your Trailblazer to let him/her know that is the one you want to do.
  4. We check that nobody else is already doing it, and give you the OK.
  5. When you begin, you go to the Sandbox page of the 1838-1957 group (linked above)
  6. You work on the profile, using ONLY the sources listed for your group.
  7. Remember that the example profiles (bottom of the Sandbox page in a blue box) are there for you to check your work against, to see that your formatting is OK.
  • If there is something you cannot find, you write in the bio that you couldn't find it.
  1. When you are finished, you send your Trailblazer an email to let us know.
  2. We review the profile in case there is something you have missed (formatting etc).
  3. We send you an email saying it's OK, choose another one, and you go back to step 1.
  4. When we judge that you are comfortable with the time period in that group (usually about 2 profiles), we give the OK to move on to the next group.

Please ask your trailblazer if there is something you don't understand or find something you don't know the answer to. If you cannot find anything out about an individual, please let us know. We are here to help!



Project Coordinator:

Team Leader for OT I
OT I Trailers: Can Stay the same or someone can choose to blaze one trail instead of both.
Team Leader for OT II
OT II Trailers: Some existing Trail Blazers and some pre-1500, or Managed Profile Team Members?

Procedure for new Trail

  1. Trailer will sign up for the Trail (either one).
  2. Project Coordinator will email team leader for OT 1 or OT II and forward information relevant to the trailer. Name, Wikitree ID, email address.
  3. Team leader will look and see who is available via the spreadsheet - note that sometimes members have no trailers but they are not available. You need to keep a note of this, because life happens.
  4. Team Leader will email Trail Blazer and assign them a new Trailer.

Note: For OT I - Fran is still the first point of contact (as these are new EP members). OT II sign-ups should go directly to either PC or OT II Team Leader. If contact made with TL, copy in the PC and Fran on the email you send to Trail Blazer. (Fran, let me know if you'd rather not be copied in on this particular message and we can work something else out).

Extra page / pages on Existing OT spreadsheet will need to be added OT I and OT II. Removals/Inactives for either can go on the same page - a new column can be added to determine which trail they are in. A color can simply be used to highlight if they've completed the first Trail.

New area added to Contacts page on spreadsheet listing all Trail Blazers for both teams and whether available or not and for how long they are expected to be away or unavailable. Please check you are not emailing a TB that is unavailable to be a TB at that time.


We will need new stickers made: OT 1 and OT 2 - ....has successfully completed Orphan Trail I ...has successfully completed Orphan Trail II - etc etc.

Existing "Improved by member of Orphan Trail" sticker for profile can remain the same, unless there are objections. It shows we're all in it together, regardless of what time period we're following.

EP Badges

I earnestly request we withhold badging new members until they have CHOSEN their FIRST profile in OT I. I know this question has kind of been approached before and shot down in a ball of flames. But this is a compromise versus making them wait until they've completed the Orphan Trail and should go with the convention that once they've chosen a profile, they're committing to the project and therefore they should be badged. It might save a little time at check-in? Just a thought.


Recently Added Documentation to existing Trail, which will be included in OT 1

Inline Citations Optional Email

After completing the first time period of OT1 Stage 1, if you notice your trailer is using bullet-point citations under the sources heading, deviate for a bit. Take some time with your trailer to teach them inline referencing. Typically, if someone knows how to create them, they will already be using them.

Feel free to copy and paste this in an email, or create your own message:

Time to learn a little on-screen magic :)

Before we move on to the next stage of the Orphan Trail, I'm going to teach you a little on-screen magic. It will not only get you more familiar with an important aspect of Wikitree, but will bring your citations up to the 'gold standard', which will become important soon.

What you're about to learn is inline citation, also referred to as inline referencing and sometimes embedded citations. They all refer to the act of putting the citation directly into the biography next to the part of the narrative that they are intended to support (such as birth, marriage, occupation, death etc) .

Formatted correctly, the citation will show up below the "Sources" heading and underneath this bit of scripting language <references /> ,and will generate a number in the biography, and the corresponding number will generate beside the citation in the sources section.

It is important to note that without either the "Sources" heading, or the <references /> tag underneath, the inline reference will remain hidden from view.


Go here: and click edit, but don't change anything. You will see how an inline citation may look behind the scenes. This is a profile that is actually managed by someone else, but a single sentence and an added GRO registration citation have been added so you can see how it should look in the biography. Note, it doesn't have to be at the end of a sentence, just at the end of the passage, sentence, event, or paragraph you are trying to support.

How to:

For convenience, if you go to your last profile: ( PROFILE ID) and convert the bullet point citations into inline citations by utilizing the example in the first link and observing the edit screen of the profile I just added a GRO registration to, then it should be fairly straight forward.

Having said that, everything is always easy once you know how to do it. If you don't add this <ref> before the start of the citation and </ref> to the end of the citation, it won't show up in the sources section.

  • My recommendation is to work on one citation at a time and hit preview to see if the citation is showing correctly. If it appears to show correctly, hit save, and then repeat with the next one and the next one.
  • I strongly suggest that you don't 'cut' your citation, in order to paste it, but copy it instead (CTRL key and C letter [on your keyboard] held down at the same time). It won't matter if you have a bunch of numbered citations above the bullet-pointed ones. The bullet-pointed citations can be deleted after you've completed the inline referencing of them.
This way if something doesn't work out the way you want, you can always cancel your edit and you still have the information handy.

Take your time and if you find you would prefer a step-by-step method, please let me know and I will be happy to walk you through it.

When you've completed converting your bullet-point citations on your 1838-1957 profiles, please let me know.


Orphan Trail II

Welcome back to the Orphaned Profiles Team and good luck on your second journey as you trace your way back in time through Orphan Trail II.

This Trail is highly recommended:

  • If you intend on creating or working on pre-1700 profiles.
  • If you would like to go for pre-1500 certification
  • If you want to get a better handle on what types of records to look for
  • If you would like to join the Managed Profiles Team

This trail is a bit different to the first one.

  • You may have a different Trail Blazer to the one who guided you through Orphan Trail I.
  • There are three time periods we will focus on:



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