Spanish Orphan Trail How To Page

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This is a page to document the Orphan Trail process for training as a Spanish Orphan Trail Team Member. Sample emails for sending at each stage are documented here.

The Orphaned Profiles Team lasts about 2 weeks (or more, if you want). It consists of WikiTreers at all stages, all ages, all levels of education - everyone begins here before going on into being more involved in the Spain Project.

Members work on orphaned profiles (that is to say, profiles without a profile manager), doing whatever is needed on that particular profile: sourcing, researching, gathering census data, tidying up the data in the biography box and removing unnecessary GEDCOM clutter - anything that needs doing, really. By working on an orphaned profile, nobody can jump in and say that they are messing up 'their' profile! and while they work, they are learning WikiTree styles and standards. Members work in three time periods:

  • 1838-1917
  • 1700-1837
  • 1500-1699, progressing slowly backwards from the most recent.

The key to working a successful Trail is the personal touch. Get to know your Trailers, whether they have health issues or computer issues or live in another country. Don't just send them the standard sample emails. Personalise them with comments which show you read their emails. Maybe even share a joke (but only if they have made a joke first!) Make them feel that they are receiving one-on-one help and guidance and are not just part of a larger group.


Daily Maintenance

Keep all your Orphan Trail emails! as you will need to refer back to them when posting about graduates, resolving disputes etc.
After you have answered all your Orphan Trail emails, go to the spreadsheet.

  1. Note in red any who will be due for a nudge email after 2 weeks of no response
  2. Cast your eye down the list for any due for a nudge
  3. Check the date which is two weeks ago, then archive any entries which correspond to this date. If they look as though they may be working on a profile, check the profile's "Changes" tab to see when they were last on it.

It is essential that you keep on top of this. Multiple Trailers at multiple stages of the Trail need a tight hold on the reins. If you let this go by over a day, it will take longer to cover the backlog and some Trailers may get anxious at not receiving a reply.

Before They Begin

  1. Person signs up to the Spain Project via G2G. The acknowledgment and initial welcome email are dealt with by the Welcome and Integration Team, although you might want to keep an eye on the G2G thread so you recognise the name when it comes through!
  2. You will receive a 'triage' email from the Welcome and Integration Profile Coordinator, who will give you a brief overview of what their profiles look like, whether they will need TLC (four or more profiles per group), or whether they are good enough to be called Fast Track (they will probably only need to do 3 profiles per group)

What to do if...the person does not respond

'Nudge' him/her via PM after 14 days (are they still interested?); one nudge only. You then give them another 14 days to respond. It is important to send this via PM so they cannot maintain they never got an email.

Wendy checks after 6 weeks to see if person is still interested in Spain Project

Enter the Orphan Trail

The person will be sent an email telling them to contact you. They will do so, and you send them this email, which gives them a welcome, a brief explanation of what the Orphan Trail is all about, and a link (repeated) to get them to the Orphaned Profiles Team page.

  1. The page tells them to click on the first of three groups:
  • 1838-1917
  • 1700-1837
  • 1500-1699
  1. They click through to the (need space page here: Space:Spain_Resources_1838-1917|Resources page) for the first group. They read through it, and click on the link at the top, which takes them to the (need space page here: Space:Spain_Resources_1838-1917|Resources page) of their chosen group.
  2. They read through it (possibly even including the example profiles, but that isn't guaranteed!), and click on the link which takes them to the preformatted search for an orphaned profile within Spain within the time period.
  3. There is also a checklist on each Sandbox page:
  • Does it already have a profile manager?
  • Are ALL dates within 1838-1917? (or 1700-1837, or 1500-1699)
  • Are all locations within Spain?
  • Are there family links (parents AND spouse, children are a bonus) so you can use them as clues to narrow down a guess and find them in censuses?
  • Are there enough family links so you are going to be able to write a narrative biography of more than one sentence?

Sandbox page of their chosen group.

  1. They read through it (possibly even including the example profiles, but that isn't guaranteed!), and click on the link which takes them to the preformatted search for an orphaned profile within England within the time period.
  2. There is also a checklist on each Sandbox page:
  • Does it already have a profile manager?
  • Are ALL dates within 1838-1917? (or 1700-1837, or 1500-1699)
  • Are all locations within England?
  • Are there family links (parents AND spouse, children are a bonus) so you can use them as clues to narrow down a guess and find them in censuses?
  • Are there enough family links so you are going to be able to write a narrative biography of more than one sentence?
  • Are there (any) sources already?

so that is what you are looking for as well. You are also checking that nobody else on the Orphan Trail is already working on that particular orphan they have selected. If the profile does not meet all the requirements in the checklist, then email back and ask them to choose again. If all is OK, then...

First Steps

  1. You adopt the profile. This is to prevent the profile from being picked up by bulk-adopters who only tick boxes and do not check the actual profile to see if it has particular needs. There have also been instances of bulk-adopters changing the privacy level, thus elbowing out the Trailer.
  2. You go to the Edit page and add the large red-and-black graphic which says 'Please do not Edit'

Need to create a graphic here. This is to discourage well-intentioned passers-by from editing/adding sources etc while your Trailer is working on it. It is surrounded by an invisible comment because Trailers were deleting part of it by mistake.

  1. You add the profile's Wiki-ID to the spreadsheet against the Trailer's entry, and link it to the profile.
  2. You email the Trailer, telling them that the profile is ready for them now. If this is their first profile in the first group, add the "Don't be alarmed..." paragraph.

Note: If they get stuck, remind them that on the Sandbox page is a blue-edged table with example profiles inside, so they can check their work.

The Trailer works on the profile, then emails you to say they have finished. You go to their chosen profile and review it.

  • If a married female - have they inserted a married surname?
  • Do all the places finish with the name of the country?
  • If they are in the third group, have they used categories?
  • Is there a narrative biography? (probably not, in the first group)
  • Have they used sources and formatted them correctly?
  • Should any of their sources actually be See Also: or in an ==Acknowledgments== section?
  • Have they left in ==Footnotes==?
  • Are there any typos/spelling mistakes?
  • Are they still using abbreviations?

Turn to the Edit tab and view their wiki markup code. Watch for incorrect coding which means the item is red in the final output (typos etc). Most of the Trailers won't even have noticed or don't bother to check.

  • Have they used inline sourcing?
  • Have they used internal links?
  • Is there a <references/> tag?
  • Does the Acknowledgments section have the correct number of = signs around it?

Email them back with a list of the things they need to tweak. Here is a sample list:
1. Click the radio button just below the box for her middle name, to show you don't know it (yet): 'no middle name'
2. The birth location needs 'England' at the end
3. The marriage location needs completing. Even if all you have is a registration district, that's better than nothing!
4. 'England' in the death location needs a capital letter
5. When we do an internal link for the mother, we use both her maiden AND married surname, so her link looks like this: [[Deakin-169|Ann (Deakin) Rowbotham]].
6. When you are writing out birth/marriage/death registrations, do not use abbreviations. This is to help those whose first language is not English. So the M of her death registration becomes March, and 'Vol' becomes 'Volume' (her birth and marriage registrations will need the same attention)

As you see them struggling or progressing, you will introduce the concept of internal links and requiring them to use inline sourcing (which they were supposed to have learned in the 1838-1917 group). It is up to you to decide when they are ready. Categories are introduced in the third and final group, and there is a basic 'how-to' here.

What to do if...the person responds, but doesn't start

Or does not pick a profile, or picks one and then doesn't work on it
PM them 14 days after last contact/last time they touched the profile: can you help? are they still interested?
Wait 14 days for them to reply; if no reply, then they are off the Orphans Team list. Mark the 'Members' tab of the spreadsheet that they have been removed; go to the 'Orphans' tab and move their entry down from the current Trailers down to the 'Removed' section.

When you are satisfied

  1. When you are satisfied that they have improved the profile and made all the tweaks/amendments you suggested, email them, congratulate them on having done that, and ask them to choose another profile. Check with the spreadsheet as to which group they are in.
  2. Remove the 'Please do not edit' graphic, and add the following sticker directly under the ==Biography==heading:
    {{England Orphaned Profile Sticker}} - which shows that the profile has been improved by a member of the England Project Orphaned Profiles Team.
  3. Remember to remove yourself as the Profile Manager!

Leaps and Bounds (Moving On)

When the Trailer has improved a minimum of four profiles (three if they have been triaged as Fast Track), it is time for them to move to the next group. Only get them to do up to six profiles if they have had big struggles, have not progressed very far very fast, or their contributions to the Orphans Trail are spaced rather far apart (so they may have forgotten what they already learned).

Send them an email which says
'It is time for you to move to the next group'; or even
'It is time for you to move to the third and final group'

The week before they are due to graduate, when you ask them to choose their final profile, also ask if they wouldn't mind putting together a couple of sentences of feedback: which era they liked/hated the most, if they have discovered in themself a love for sourcing, or biography-writing, 16th century research etc.


If they are a regular Orphan Trailer, they will have done:
1838-1917 group - 4 profiles
1700-1837 group - 4 profiles
1500-1699 group - 4 profiles
'Fast Track' Trailers will have done 3 profiles in each group. Struggling Trailers may have done up to 6 profiles in any or all of the groups.

When they have finished their final profile,

  1. Send them the Congratulations! email
  2. Post to the England Project Leaders google group, introducing the latest graduate and giving their feedback
  3. Make sure the Trailer would have received their Congratulations email first, then post to the England Project google group, introducing the latest graduate. This is to continue the 'personal touch' and ensure they don't read about it in a google group first!
  4. Mark the spreadsheet 'Members' tab that they have graduated, and add the date
  5. Mark the spreadsheet 'Orphans' tab that they have graduated and move them out of the current list down into the 'Graduates' list

The Trailer will be contacted within a few days by the Leader for Integration to discuss future Project involvement.


Special thanks to Ros Haywood for creating the template for this page.

This is an "orphaned" profile — there's no Profile Manager to watch over it. Please adopt this profile.

Images: 1
Spain Orphan Trail
Spain Orphan Trail

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