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Source-a-Thon 2020

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The 2020 Source-a-Thon is now over. Thank you to everyone who participated. Together we improved an amazing 57,577 profiles!



This is our fifth annual 72-hour sourcing marathon. The previous four Source-a-Thons have been great fun and very productive. Last year we did almost 60,000. Join us this year to beat that record!

The goal of the event is to clear out the Unsourced Profiles category on WikiTree. Although including sources is in our community's Honor Code, inexperienced genealogists don't always record them. Sometimes the source is "Aunt Mabel." This doesn't mean the information isn't worth preserving or sharing. It's a starting point — information waiting to be confirmed.

Like a marathon, this is a competition, but most participants won't be serious competitors. Most of us will be doing it for the challenge of sourcing as many profiles as they can, for the mission, and for the fun of it.

We will be hosting live video chats throughout the weekend to cheer each other on. During every chat we will draw a winner for a door prize. Every participant who is online and adding sources during that time will be eligible.

All the details are below. But if it sounds cool already, register now and get your unique race number.



Source-a-Thon "Race Bib"

You need to register in advance. You'll be given the Source-a-Thon badge and assigned a race number. We'll use that number to draw the random winners for the many door prizes.

Registration is free. Like everything on WikiTree.

Who can register?

If you're a genealogist who knows what sources are and why they're important please join us!

To register you do need to be a WikiTree member who has signed the Honor Code.

If you're not already a member, login now. There are a few steps involved to being a Wiki Genealogist, but it's all just about verifying that you understand what WikiTree is about and aren't just in it to get free stuff.

How to register

To register simply post an answer here: register.

Just say "Sign me up!" or whatever and include a few words about your location or genealogical interests. A WikiTree Leader will award the badge and give you a race number. If you're already part of a team from a previous challenge, mention that.

For more help with registration, see the Source-a-Thon Tutorial, and if you have any trouble or questions, contact Eowyn at eowyn@wikitree.com.


Everyone who participates in the Source-a-Thon will be on a team.

Teams are just groups of people working together and encouraging each other. Many teams are having fun with this and will be sourcing profiles in the same area, cheering each other on, and otherwise helping each other.

Joining a Team

Any participant can join any existing team. All teams welcome any members who are interested.

Current teams are listed here. When you register you can state in your answer what team you'd like to join. Anyone not on a specific team when registration closes will be assigned to one before the Source-a-Thon begins.

Current teams

New Teams


US states

Non-regional teams

Organizing a Team

Would you like to put together a team? Anyone can.

Teams can be organized around anything. It might be a genealogical research interest or a source you like to use. Or a team can be local. We have participants from all over the world. Coordinating with others from your area can be fun.

You might associate a team with a WikiTree project, such as the US Southern Colonies. Or it could be something completely unrelated to family history, like Mac Users.

Feel free to choose a fun team name. Create a free-space page for your team.

E-mail eowyn@wikitree.com once this is done so she can add you to the list.

You're encouraged to recruit for your team. You might review the G2G posts where members have registered to see if anyone mentioned an interest or locality that might fit your team. You could reach out to project e-mail lists or even outside genealogical groups that fit the team's topic. Posting on Facebook would be great. (Tag it @WikiTreers.) Any outreach you do will be helping raise awareness about the Source-a-Thon so it's much appreciated. We do ask that you do not start recruitment posts in G2G separate from the main registration threads. That has led to a lot of confusion in the past.

Team leadership during the Source-a-Thon

Free-space pages are for team coordination, e.g. to list potential sources in their research area and coordinate who will be searching for what, as well as where Aleš will include tables of unsourced profiles specific to your team (if possible).

Teams also have "cheer" posts in the G2G where your team members can encourage and cheer each other on.

Team members may be able to help each other claim prizes. The way we're doing these drawings, every participant has a good chance to win, but you have to be online when your number is drawn. Team members might want to watch for each other's numbers.

During our periodic video chats during the Source-a-Thon we will be talking about how the teams are doing.

There will be bragging rights for the most productive teams!


Over $2,000 in genealogy prizes will be given away!

Winners will be drawn at random in Livecasts that we will be hosting every four hours during the weekend. See Source-a-Thon Hangouts for the scheduled times. Note that you don't need to video chat to participate, you can just watch and post comments if you like.

To be eligible to win you need to:

  1. register in advance, so you have a race number, and
  2. be online during the drawing and actively participating by adding sources to Unsourced Profiles (see below).

We know that many participants won't be online when their number is drawn. The Source-a-Thon is running 24-hours a day for 72 hours straight. If you're online for 72 hours we'll be worried about you!

If you're not present when you're number is drawn, you'll have until the next LIveCast starts to claim your prize. Winners will be posted in this G2G message.

If your number is drawn you get to pick from available prizes. You make your selection by posting a reply on the above G2G thread.

If you don't claim your prize before the next drawing, your number will go back in the hat.

After someone wins and claims a prize, their number will come out of the hat. In other words, you can't win more than one prize.

With so many prizes, the odds of winning are good. And the more active you are in the Source-a-Thon, the better your odds become.

Here's the current list of door prizes. This list is growing every day!

Website Subscriptions

DNA Tests

  • AncestryDNA kit (courtesy of Ancestry.com)
  • Family Finder test from FTDNA from a generous WikiTreer (must be a male winner)

Gift Certificates/Cards

  • $25 gift card (courtesy of Carol Baldwin)
  • "Lunch on Liz" - $25 gift card (She'll join you if you are local to her! Details here) (courtesy of Liz Shifflett)


  • Legacy Family Tree software
  • RootsMagic 7.0 (plus free upgrade to 8.0 when it is released soon)

Research Assistance


  • Evidence Explained (current version courtesy of Doug McCallum)
  • Genealogy Standards, 2nd Edition, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 4th Edition, and QuickSheet: Your Stripped-Bare Guide to Citing Sources (see full details here, shipping to the US only) (courtesy of Edison Williams)
  • It's All Relative by A.J. Jacobs (courtesy of Richard Hill)
  • Genealogy Brick Wall Busters (115 pg E-book) plus two smaller e-books about surname searches to find ancestors regionally (courtesy of Sheryl Moore)(she has e-books from all major regions around the world)


  • One "American Mutt" t-shirt, sweatshirt, or any other item from the WikiTees store, up to $40 in value (courtesy of Chris Whitten)
  • One "Enjoy Genealogy" t-shirt, sweatshirt, or any other item from the WikiTees store, up to $40 in value (courtesy of Chris Whitten)
  • One "I Love WikiTree" t-shirt, sweatshirt, or any other item from the WikiTees store, up to $40 in value (courtesy of Chris Whitten)
  • "Up All Night to Get This WikiTree Tee" t-shirt (courtesy of Jackie Prentice)
  • Keep Calm and Source On t-shirt (courtesy of Greg Slade)


  • Artisan necklace (3) (courtesy of Cindy Cooper)
  • Phone Charging Station courtesy of Shop the Hound (winner gets to choose from the two designs)
  • 3 digital scrapbooking pages on genealogy topics chosen by winner (courtesy of Robynne Lozier)
  • 3 digital scrapbook pages (courtesy of Alice Glassen)
  • Hand sewn sunglasses/phone case (courtesy of SJ Baty's wife)
  • Gardening/landscaping advice from the Master Gardner (see details here) (courtesy of M Ross)
  • Hand quilted table runner (courtesy of Mary Thomas)

Donate a Prize

Prizes are donated by individuals and organizations in the genealogy community.

Will you donate a prize? It can be anything that would be fun or valuable to genealogists, as long as it as a $25+ face value. If it's a physical object you need to be willing to ship it to the winner, who could be anywhere in the world.

E-mail Eowyn at eowyn@wikitree.com or post here.

Participation: Adding Sources and Counting Sourced Profiles

Participating means removing profiles from the Unsourced Profiles category. They cannot be new profiles that you create.

Select an Open (white) profile from anywhere in the category or one of its subcategories and search for sources to back up the facts of the person's life.

Valid sources include census records, BMD records/index references, military documents, land documents, wills, etc. A source cannot be another user-generated family tree, such as Geni or an Ancestry Member Tree.

If you find a valid source:
  1. Edit the profile to add the source, according to our Sources guide.
  2. Remove the {{Unsourced}} Research Note Box tag.
  3. Save the profile and click the Challenge Tracker button.
  4. On the Challenge Tracker, select the Source-a-Thon checkbox.
Visit the Source-a-Thon Instruction Video
for a step-by-step walkthrough of these instructions.

If you don't find a source after searching, please add a Research Notes section to the profile. Say where you have looked and sign your comment with four tildes (~~~~) so it is dated. For example: "Looked for John in the US Census records for 1900-1940 and couldn't find him on FamilySearch or Ancestry." This way the next researcher knows where to start.

For more details:

Alternatively, see the Source-a-Thon Tutorial.


By Team and User

Badges source_a_thon_2020.gif source_a_thon_winner_2020.gif

Every registered participant will get this year's Source-a-Thon badge.

The 10 participants who remove the most profiles from the Unsourced categories over the 72-hour period will get a Source-a-Thon Winner badge, as will all the participants of the winning team (both by team total and by team average). There are no prizes for winning — just the badge, bragging rights, and the community's appreciation.

There will also be a Profile Sticker that you can put on your profile after the race is over to show your race number, number of sourced profiles, and final ranking.

Official Rules, Terms and Conditions

In addition to WikiTree's main Terms of Service:

No purchase is necessary for the prizes. Void where prohibited.

Door prize donors are independent and not officially affiliated with WikiTree. Prize winners will be put into contact with prize donors for delivery. WikiTree is not responsible for prizes that are not delivered or otherwise unsatisfactory.

WikiTree is not responsible for technical outages or problems that may prevent an individual from participating or claiming a prize.

By participating, you agree to release and hold WikiTree harmless from any and all losses, damages, rights, claims, and actions of any kind in connection with or resulting from acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize.

By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of WikiTree and waive any right to claim ambiguity in the rules. All decisions regarding the Source-a-Thon, including, but not limited to, selecting winners, will be made by WikiTree whose decisions shall be final.

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Categories: Source-a-Thon