WeRelate talk:Watercooler

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Crowdsourcing the family tree of Elizabeth Warren [27 jul 2016]

Yes, I went there. I've put a link to my blog post about how to work together to learn about the genealogy of US Senator Elizabeth Warren on the front page of WeRelate. (Look on the lower right side.) This is my effort to generate new members for WeRelate by getting people interested in a subject. I hope you join in - this one should be interesting! --cthrnvl 15:47, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

I'll join in by removing your link. In my opinion a link to an external website is inappropriate and much too much like stealing advertising space. Further, such a project should cover all candidates. --Jrich 16:16, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

Jrich I linked directly to my blog to save time since I have about 5 extra minutes a day to spend on things like this because I am the full time, only, caretaker of my partner who is paralyzed from a stroke. Thanks for asking! And the reason I blog is not because anyone reads my blog, they don't, but I have 9.5 thousand Pinterest followers. so I blog and then pin it in hopes that I can get more users of WeRelate. I thought that was our goal.--cthrnvl 01:07, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

wow ! how do you play these numbers? i have 18k+ connections on linkedin if that helps? thx Ron (woepwoep on just about every social media site) woepwoep 05:04, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
cthrnvl's link has been there for a long time, and has always had just one person, usually a person who has been in the news recently. Elizabeth Warren's family history has become an issue recently. Why not let genealogists try to sort it out, rather than leave it to politicians? And why does everything have to be so negative? Gayel --GayelKnott 18:14, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

I see no harm in researching Ms. Warren's ancestry. And by the way, Elizabeth Warren isn't a vice-presidential candidate yet. If and when that happens, we can give equal time to the opposition {;>) Neal--SkippyG 19:04, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

I do think that there should be an obvious way to get from the homepage to her person page here on WR (which is allowed to exist since she is an exempt well-known person). (Maybe the word "crowdsourcing" could point to the crowdsource project page and then "Elizabeth Warren" could point to her page.) (n.b. her parents do not qualify as well-known persons, so if living, they should not have WR pages.) --pkeegstra 19:49, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

that's very helpful and I will use a new format from now on. --cthrnvl 01:07, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

Creating a Bot [15 July 2016]

I'm interested in creating a bot that works a bit like what we currently have for Wikipedia. While I know WHAT that bot does pretty well - I'm weak on the specifics of how to get it done.

Would like to hear from someone who can help.... Thanks!

--jrm03063 17:26, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

Removing Derivative ("Secondary") Source citations [21 July 2016]

In the highly commendable effort to improve the quality of information found on WeRelate pages, there apparently is a move afoot to remove source citations that reference someone else's tree rather than an actual source. This action is understandable when the actual (i.e., original) source is cited on the page, although some researchers may want to maintain the derivative source (the reference to another tree) as a measure of respect for another researcher's work. (In this time period, when the human attention span seems to be atrophying rapidly, probably irrelevant.)

However, removing a derivative source, however bad it may be, when no other source is attached, does other researchers a major disservice. It may also be based on a misunderstanding of the rationale for source citations.

The first, and most important, reason for citing a source is to try to keep us honest -- or more formally, the Principle of Replicability. If another researcher can get the same results you got by following the same research procedure you followed (i.e., go to the same resource you cited), then you are being honest in your reporting. Whether or not the source you are citing is wrong is a different issue, and needs to be addressed through discussion and/or explanation, not deletion.

The second reason for source citations is that they are a form of communication between researchers. A reasonably structured source citation will not only tell other researchers how to find the specific source being cited, but will also give some indication of it's quality. If the source citation is "cousin Suzy's gedcom", or "Ancestry Trees", or whatever, then it's a huge red flag that this is not a reliable source, and this is something that other researchers need to see. If having it on a page without other sources bothers you, then you can always flag the source in any number of ways -- rate it as questionable, add a red flag symbol, add the Citations Needed 1 template, or simply provide your own comment.

Please, do not remove these derivate sources unless you are willing to replace them with original sources yourself. If this apparent tendency to remove them without replacement in the name of quality control becomes widespread, it seems to me that it puts WeRelate in the position not only of snobbish puritanicalism, but also works to shut down potential collaboration. Quite frankly, when I get to adding information on the mother-in-law of a mother-in-law, I'm quite willing to rely on derivate sources, with the hope, since this is a wiki site, that someone with more information and a greater concern will add more/better information. (There are other reasons for adding individuals based on derivative sources, that's just one.) If people are going to go around stripping those pages of source citations, then there really is no incentive to add them in the first place. And if other people also stop adding these speculative individuals, then I'm losing the possibility/opportunity of finding connections I probably would not have found otherwise.

I understand and appreciate the concern and effort of many WeRelate contributors to improving data quality, but it seems to me that it really needs to be more balanced, more nuanced, than simply deleting derivative sources.

My apologies for what may seem to some to be a rant, but I think we need to all be clear about the WeRelate policy here. Gayel--GayelKnott 19:46, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

I don't recall an articulated policy - but I do recall that we had a practice of leaving that sort of thing unless someone was going to actually replace it with better content.
Still - if someone was trying to remove worthless/pathologically weak sources of a given type - it might be easiest to start at source/mysource page - then work through all the person pages found to link there. They may not want to remove the originating mysource/source until everything it pointed to was removed.
On the other hand - it might be better to NOT try to clean up that kind of page content by hand. Maybe the better approach here would be to collect together the weak sources/mysources - then we put together a bot to work back through all the sources/mysources thus designated - handling the removals more safely and systematically?  ???
--jrm03063 20:11, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Before we get too excited about arbitrarily removing family trees as sources, from what I understand as a member of the OC, we are discussing the possibility of removing the Quality selection field in the Source Citations listing of Person & Family pages while in edit mode (among other minor improvements). There apparently are many pages with multiple uses of the same source citation for events and facts listed on Person & Family pages, and that seems to be part of the problem (e.g. listing a death record as a primary source for death and burial, and a secondary or questionable source for birth of the individual and the residence for the parents as examples), among other reasons unknown to me. The Quality field in source citation area for events for many persons and families are not used at all. So we have discussed removing that field (encouraging users to add their own freeform quality citation in Notes), and adding possibly one or two other fields (like two date fields, one for the actual date of source creation and a separate date field reflecting the accession or retrieval date the user found or entered the source data in WeRelate).
I too am against removing the ability of using family trees of people in other website or in printed form as sources (as long as they are identified appropriately as derivative, questionable, unreliable, discredited, or negative). There are many good family trees out there (published and on-line) that can and should be used as sources of data, especially in the discovery stage; on the other hand, there is a lot of junk genealogy out there that should be appropriately identified as such. In many cases, family trees are a starting point, containing information that should be improved upon and researched further to verify the data or substantiate errors in the data. I am against removing sources once used as well, but identifying them accurately for what they are and for the quality of the information they contain. Even identifying, citing and qualifying junk genealogy in source citations helps future researchers in their own research.
Hope that clarifies the matter (from what I understand). If others can contribute further information, please add it. I am certainly not the final word, and you may be privy to conversations and talk in other pages that I am not watching. --BobC 21:08, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Why don't genealogists use the simple terms 'primary source' and 'secondary source'?
The experience level at WeRelate varies too much to expect any consistent identification of source quality. Some people use primary because it was their chief source of information, etc. More upfront statement of standards desired by posters, some considered required, others desired as goals, is needed plus more emphasis on giving users feedback when they violate those. For example, it might be nice if when certain Source Pages were flagged, use of those sources would create a popup that says "This source is generally unreliable. Can you provide a better alternative source? For more information see here." Same type of mechanism when pages are saved that have no sources (or perhaps even if any single fact on the page has no source), or no location, or no date. This might actually solve some of the problem before hand instead of having problems later. Plus educate users from people that don't realize into useful contributors.
In general, fixing these problems (the right way, meaning providing the documentation the original poster didn't) can take hours, if possible at all. So the extent that these problems can be avoided, that is obviously better than fixing them later. But formulaic approaches such as simply deleting all of this source or all of that source disrespect the small percentage of those that are valuable. (If that approach is desired, it would be far more consistent, impersonal, and effective to use a bot, anyways.) But bottom line, if you can change a page without consulting a source, you probably aren't really making an important or necessary change that couldn't wait for a better informed or more interested editor to come along. --Jrich 00:01, 19 July 2016
The information in the link you posted above illustrates specifically why the Quality field in the Source Citation function is not adequate. I understand the intent of the existing Quality field, but it does not follow or support the Genealogical Proof Standard. As formatted now, it is an incomplete analysis element in assessing a source's quality as evidence for most any fact event listed. In an ideal environment, I would rather see the source Quality determination expanded rather than eliminated; I would like to see a more detailed analysis for each source that would include the SOURCE TYPE (Original, Derivative, Authored), the INFORMATION DATA that makes up the source (Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Undetermined), and EVIDENCE QUALITY reflecting the relevancy of the source to the fact event (Direct, Indirect, Negative).
Unfortunately there seems to be little interest in adding those elements here in WeRelate as separate additional fields to the source citation block. If the present Quality field is not being used (or is being used incorrectly as stated by Jrich above), then would expanding the quality analysis into three fields provide any better or more accurate information? For those of us who want to cite that evidence analysis (i.e. Quality) features, we can do that using the Notes feature to each source citation. And if another researcher analyzes a source differently, then they can add another Note to reflect their own analysis.
That's my point of view. --BobC 12:24, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, Bob, for your input. I'm one of an obvious minority who actually likes having a quality selection box for sources, since many of the source citations used at WeRelate are not structured in way that allows them to be read for quality. The biggest problem I have is that the terminology is incorrect, but I can still use the existing terminology to tell me, when I go back and look at something I did several years ago, what kind of source I was using without having to chase it down for another look. I've argued before that the source quality terminology should be changed to reflect currently accepted usage (Original, Derivative, Authored), but that doesn't seem to go over well. As for adding fields for information quality, that would have to be done for each event/relationship, rather than for the source, and even I'm willing to concede that's probably not going to work, for a whole lot of reasons. I could live with your suggestion of putting a quality notation somewhere in the text box for the source, but I also see wiki sites as potential educational opportunities. I know I've learned a lot from using a wiki (actually, I use three.) Getting people to recognize and deal with the difference in source quality would be one potential benefit of retaining some form of quality statement.
I like the idea of having both a Date of Record and a Date Accessed (for web sites). I'm not so sure about adding "link" to the Vol/Pg box -- I tend to add links wherever it seems appropriate to me. If the link is quite long, I usually format it in the Text box, preview, and then copy/cut and paste.
I'm not sure how practical Jrich's suggestion for a PopUp box for some sources is, but if it could be implemented, it might be useful. I can see it being used for "Ancestry Trees", for example, or for one of my bete noires, Ramon Tingley Meyers. Some of the more unreliable sources have comments (sometimes extensive) on the source page itself, but who reads them? Then again, we would probably get involved in long "discussions" as to whether or not something should be labelled "unreliable". Gayel

@Gayel pray tell the incident that made you post this issue. i would like to learn. thx Ron woepwoep 01:45, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

Ron, I think the original action was well-intentioned, and then discussion degenerated. Some things are better left alone, although I often share your curiosity with regard to other matters.

Could an additional box titled "Link" be added to the 'Source' in addition to the "Vol/Pa" box ? instead of squeezing a long link into the Vol/Pa box ? --SkippyG 02:17, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

As you know, a source citation link can be added to both the Title and the Record Name fields and imbedded within the text using brackets in both fields. I frequently include links within both, so the primary advantage of adding the link to the Vol/Page field would be to show the actual link within the referenced source citation on the main page. That may have the side benefit of having citations more accurately follow the Chicago Manual of Style Online or the APA Style Guide for website citations.
Since the subject has been brought up here, the following graphic illustratively reflects the discussion between the OC and Dallan related to the discussion of modifications to the source citation block for Person & Family pages (while working in edit mode). Your comments are invited. --BobC 13:20, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

I don't want to throw an obstacle in the way of progress, but I think this discussion about quality is one of the least important changes that are needed to the source system. If it disappeared, I don't think it would change the value of WeRelate to me in the least. It is a potential for argument when in 99% of the case, the value of sources is a matter of simple common sense. I don't want source quality to become a shortcut for finding evidence. In the hard cases, the analysis is lengthy, makes your head hurt, and cannot be contained in a check box or a rating system.

I would really like to see more help given to people that don't understand the source system. Mostly in my mind, this involves adding more source types, and based on the type, having the boxes labelled differently (even if they go to the same field behind the covers) so that people are guided into constructing more uniform citations. A type for US Census, would be nice that prompted for the information needed to cite a census record, because very few newbies and not all experienced users cite them to the county level. A type for Find a Grave that prompts for the information needed to cite a Find A Grave memorial so that the link to the memorial uses the fgravemem template and is stored in a consistent spot in the citation, not sometimes the record, sometimes the page number, sometimes in the text field. Etc. Let's get the features that are there used correctly. --Jrich 20:14, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

I very much agree with several of the sentiments above. The quality field is almost never of interest. Images and Notes are sometimes of interest - but that's rare. Most of the time - they're noisy consumers of screen real estate. On the other hand - I think the source editing presentation is driven by the expressive capabilities of GEDCOM - which we probably don't want to give up.
This may be one of the few times where we could have it both ways:
* The pool of potential fields is defined by GEDCOM - consisting presumably of what we know as "Title", "Record name", "Volume / Pages", "Date", "Quality", "Images", "Notes", and "Text"
* We could add new fields to each source, to designate which of the source fields are of primary importance to a source of that type, sequence of appearance, lines to allow, etc. (perhaps even, adding specific prompt information - or even a link "?" - taking someone to information on conventions for the fields of a source of that type).
* When editing a person, selection of a particular source would bring up the set of fields listed in the source - in whatever sequence - with whatever added prompt information.
* If any of the full set of GEDCOM source fields are omitted for a Source, then the editing display would also include a check box. Selection of the check box would cause editing entries to appear for any fields not normally present for that source (or something like that). Thus, every field remains accessible for edit - just not by default.
* Another - perhaps easier way to do this - adding an entry to the source pull down. Presently, "Citation only", "Source", or "MySource". Make it instead "Citation only", "Source", "GEDCOM Source", "MySource". "Source" would provide a presentation of fields customized for the specified source. "GEDCOM Source" would provide an unspecified presentation of all fields.
--jrm03063 15:17, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

With respect to the original question about removing weak/derivative/whatever sources. I think the better practice may be to nominate the originating "Source" or "MySource" for speedy delete. We should create a bot that would look for pages that reference the source page - handling those individual deletes - finishing with delete of the "Source" or "MySource" page proper.

Removal of such content would still be legitimate in the context of other edits for a particular person or family page - but editing solely to remove such references wouldn't be a preferred practice.

--jrm03063 15:31, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

I would be strongly opposed to removing Rootsweb and similar sites as sources. There are a number of family stories in my family for which the most obvious place to point is Rootsweb (the alternative being "Personal Communication"), and where the tree in question is by a direct relative whose genealogical competence is known to me. Just because a source can be misused is no reason not to allow its use legitimately.
As for removing sources, my opinion is that "clutter" only applies to the free-text box on a person page, and sources and notes don't count as "clutter". Since storing plain text is cheap, that means there is no reason ever to delete a source unless it is so bad as to be incoherent. --pkeegstra 23:48, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
I think my suggestion probably addresses specific items to keep - a source/mysource nominated for removal would presumably be subject to extended review before action. --jrm03063 23:55, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
If that's the intent, then "speedy delete" won't accomplish that. Even if I'm watching hundreds of person pages referencing a specific source page, slap "speedy delete" on that source page and I won't see a thing. I'd need to watch every source page I ever add, and that sounds too much like an excuse to inflate the size of my watchlist so I can be charged extra to clear it of ads. (My single highest development priority is a way to pay to clear ads from all the pages on my watchlist for everybody, signed in or not.) --pkeegstra 11:05, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Defining clutter is an issue that I don't believe has been answered, and I suspect it going to be in the eyes of the beholder. My approach always starts with the idea that the reader is either discovering the displayed information for the first time, or disagrees. So the essential question they want answered first and foremost is going to be, how do you know? Now some people may think this requires documenting every source that mentions a person, but that is my definition of clutter. I would prefer some distillation else I must wade through a lot of stuff that isn't important. If I need to disprove something or show something different, tell me the strongest source that for the other case. This is the one I need to disprove or overcome, and all the people who copied it don't matter. The number of sources parroting a fact does not make it right, it only makes it harder to discern what is actually known.
Defining clutter is not a simple issue (it affects other things such as how to document probate files: when to use a transcription giving all the real estate boundaries and religious testaments, when to use an abstract just providing the relationships expressed in the will, etc.) But in the case of sources I think Robert Charles Anderson's Great Migration Study has provided a good model. When he gives a fact, he cites the best source he knows of for that fact. If it is not clearly known, then he usually provides a discussion in the comments. The problem is, that as a single editor, he can easily apply a consistent standard, but this is something that is difficult when there are many posters.
"nominate the originating 'Source' or 'MySource' for speedy delete" sounds to me like exactly the type of approach that is being complained about: mass deletion without even investigating if something of value is deleted. Such an approach should not be used until there is nothing in the What Links Here for the page. Anybody that has ever stumbled across the obscure document that broke open a brick wall for them would cringe at the thought of throwing away such potential without checking first. --Jrich 14:59, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
I suggested "speedy delete" because it's the thing most like what I'm thinking. It wouldn't really be a speedy delete though. The candidates would be looked at to see what they add in various Person and Family pages down stream. If they seem pointless - then there would need to be some kind of public comment period. If substantive objections don't arise - then the actual delete would be handled by a bot that walked all the back-links to the source/mysource - then delete the source/mysource page in question.
It's a process/mechanism - not a policy. --jrm03063 16:57, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Just like the original issue, this suggestion is attempting to get to a preconceived result, without verifying that it is appropriate. This process is backwards, avoiding the hard part of the process. In genealogy, each person deserves to be investigated as an individual. Just because a source is wrong about one person does not make that source wrong about another (Savage offers plenty of examples of this). The evidence for each person must be painstakingly collected, analyzed, and a result arrived at for that individual. It will have little effect on another individual mentioned in the same source unless they happen to have some relationship and some of the data carries over to them. Everything is done in the context of the individual, not the context of a source. Source citations shouldn't be deleted until each use is replaced by citation of a higher-quality, more authoritative source, making the original citation no longer necessary (even if it is wrong, a citation may be necessary in order to refute what it says, if it has enough of a following). When all the citations are deleted, then maybe the source can be deleted.
Even as a mechanism to signal people to reinvestigate their source citations, it suffers from the shortcomings brought up by pkeegstra, in that most people citing a source usually are not watching the source page of that source. --Jrich 19:00, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Please LISTEN. I'm saying HOW to do a global remove IF WE AGREED TO DO SUCH A THING. The claim that it shouldn't ever be done ought to be considered in light of some real examples. --jrm03063 19:56, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Thank you all for the lively discussion of Sources and some of the potential solutions, "fixes" and alternatives to maintenance issues associated with quality and use factors. I can assure you that as slow as things move around here, there will be no change to the Speedy Delete policy or to the process in the foreseeable near-term future. I think we have far too many other maintenance issues and blank (unused, unwatched, unlinked, uncategorized) page space existing now that would be higher priority than tackling such a clean-up function as you describe in subjectively deciding what source citations are worthy to be included for possible removal and what citations are not. I'm grateful to see any source citation for facts and events on person and family pages, and if they contain a Quality analysis, I'm absolutely overjoyed!
Would I delete a reference or link to a source with Quality labeled as Unreliable? Absolutely not! I'd be thankful the person who input the source citation made that evaluation and took the time and consideration to post that. And to delete or remove that source on the basis of its lack of reliability or its failure to prove a fact beyond doubt would be foolish in my opinion, because another researcher a year from now may find it somewhere and not be able to evaluate its reliability and think it a perfectly acceptable source for the fact or verification of the event. That's part of the reason why I hesitate in supporting removal of the Quality analysis field, but would rather see it expanded to meet the Genealogical Proof Standard. But I suspect I'm in the minority in that viewpoint.
I'll ensure that this thread is discussed further within the OC channel. Thanks again for the productive discussion. --BobC 21:14, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Removing records and talk pages [28 July 2016]

Is WeRelate now exactly as other (french) wiki sites ? ... I am "furious" ! Please, recreate ALL THAT I WROTE ... Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 03:53, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

I wrongly thought no one would care as these were lines that only traced to me, however I have undeleted most of what I hastely deleted and will undelete the rest tomorrow.Daniel Maxwell 04:24, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

Surname in place pages [25 August 2016]

I am about to create a few "surname in place" pages, as I think they will be useful for research I am doing, and I have found them useful in the past. Not having done it in a while, I went to the Help:Surname_in_Place page and figured I'd follow the directions. Perhaps I am confused, but the directions appear to be broken. I'm suspecting that some of the mechanisms that construct my user profile page may have changed? Here are the specifics of my difficulty: Under the subheading "How do I create a Surname in Place page?", I followed steps 1-3. Step 4 is where it breaks down. Having entered a "surname" and "place" as described in steps 1-3, it suggests that on the left-hand margin there should be a heading "Research", and under that, a link to the appropriate surname-in-place page, which may or may not be created yet. What I see instead on the left-hand margin is a new heading "Browse", under which is an entry for "Chatt in Northumberland". That entry, however, is not a single link to the desired surname-in-place page. Rather, the surname and the place are two separate links to pre-populated searches. At the bottom of the page, I also see that my user page now belongs to "Category:Northumberland, England", and on the right-hand margin, under a new heading of "Users Researching", there is a link labeled "Chatt" which is a different kind of prepopulated search. But nowhere do I find the promised link to my surname-in-place page. Am I just missing it? Or was it lost with the addition of these other features? --TomChatt 19:47, 14 August 2016 (UTC)

There was discussion of "surnames in place" in Watercooler back in May 2013. This may lead to some answers to your questions on the instructions on the Help Pages. You might also have to check the History of the Help Pages in question. --Goldenoldie 08:14, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
Hi Tom. You are correct. The directions on that Help page no longer work the same way as before our Search function was upgraded, and they do need to be updated (along with many other Help pages). Updating the Help pages is on the very long To Do list of Maintenance Tasks :)
I am not too sure that many users create Surname in Place (Article) pages any longer, but it can still be done. I can walk you through it if you still want to do that. However, many users prefer to simply use our Search function to locate pages linked to a specific Place or to place notes relevant to specific persons or families directly on their pages. Some use the Surname in Place (Category) pages as well which have Talk pages that can be used for messages. The best solution for you depends on what you wish to accomplish. hth, --cos1776 17:06, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

Citing in the narrative body [20 August 2016]

Can someone remind me of the syntax for referencing enumerated Source entries in the body of a narrative?

Roland very kindly added sources for James Heard, but they the simple wiki style (not using our Source: pages). I added the Source: pages - but I'm not sure how to hook up the narrative locations with the WR style references...


--jrm03063 22:29, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

There are at least a two or three ways to do what I think you are referring to (in order of my favorite or most used methods):
(1) Create a source reference at the end of a text line like this: <ref>Footnote or source reference</ref>. Then be sure the </references> tag is used at the end of the narrative. (Example[1])
(2) Create a reference tag within or at the end of the narrative like this <ref name="S2"/> and/or as further described here. (Example[2]) This is normally used when multiple use of a previously used citation is needed.
(3) Use the citation template method by using something to the effect of {{cite|S1}} or {{cite|S1|1880 Census}} (which produces S1 and 1880 Census).
  1. Footnote or source reference
There may be other methods that can be used as well. Good luck. --BobC 04:41, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
Wow - Thanks for the Extreme answer! I couldn't remember the <ref name="S2"/> syntax. --jrm03063 14:43, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

Fact Sorting Improvements? [25 August 2016]

I was wondering if the fact list sort might be revisited the next time that the software is touched? Some facts - for example - "reference number" or "AFN" - can't have a sensible date. Such facts should be sorted to the end of the list - and perhaps - shouldn't even accept a date.

Is there a location where such matters are undergoing active discussion? The pages I've found do not seem to be active lately.

--jrm03063 00:44, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

Agree. Please log this requested improvement at WeRelate:Suggestions and hopefully it will be given some attention soon. Regards, --cos1776 15:39, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

A Bit About Bots [14 September 2016]

A proposal is being floated around to use a bot to post data from a book automatically to pages on WeRelate [1].

I believe there are both larger and smaller issues involved here that need to be discussed. --Jrich 15:33, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

I hope you don't mind that I've added your WR handle to each of the sub-entries you made below. I think it important to view the author in each section, as each may be subject to separate responses.
As I understand, yes, it is a proposal made by a single user who sees value in it, but no action has been taken on it. IMHO, I really doubt any wide-spread approval or even serious consideration will be made for doing so. I believe even select usage, if approved, should and would be severely limited to specific functions subject to trial evaluation and review. With the limited activity here at WR now and noticeable absence of active management oversight, I really doubt any such proposal will be acted upon in the near future. It might be otherwise if we experienced an extensive surge of long-lasting activity, but I think the handful of us experienced active users now compose the bulk of activity here. I'd be curious to see an updated use/growth-chart from AndrewRT. --BobC 22:56, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
I have been tracking the number of person pages (less person:talk pages) since the beginning of July. We added a net of 8,254 person pages between Jul 1 and today. The rate of growth in July times 12 months gives an annualized growth rate of about 1.86% (or about 51,000 pages/year).--DataAnalyst 02:42, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

Administration of Bots

Bots have pretty much been a tool used by Dallan to automate some changes having to do with naming and formatting. As long as their use was limited to that, there was not much to worry about. I am not sure how much that has changed, but have heard that at one time, at least one other user was reputed to have bot privileges.,

I have already argued against GEDCOM since automating any process allows bad work to be done faster than manual cleanup can correct it, as, for example, illustrated by Data Quality Improvement.

Hopefully, at a minimum, any bot would require submission of a detailed proposal, extensive testing including running it in the Sandbox, and ideally, execution by a special administrators, so that it is not something any administrator or user can do. --Jrich 15:33, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

I think I addressed most of this topic above.
I too agree that the GEDCOM function should be limited, both by numbers of individuals in the file uploaded, by usage and time between submissions, and by experience level of individual users. I argued that point years ago for the GEDCOM import feature and lost it. I think use should be considered an earned privilege and the number of names imported should be graduated as an incentive and based upon time and experience of the user. IOW, I feel a new user should only be able to import a small file, say up to 50 individuals which would be closely reviewed; a moderate user (based upon number of edits during the past 90 days) with a positive experience level of previous imports would be authorized a larger file import; and an experienced user with repeated previous successful imports would have unlimited import ability.
I also argued against the GEDCOM export feature, and having lost that viewpoint, also argued for a graduated approach to it as well, and once again lost that argument. I feared exports would be used to immediately load the data (via auto-bot or human-being) to subscription-based bulk family tree collection services such as Ancestry and MyHeritage. --BobC 22:56, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

About Savage

Many users at WeRelate who don't work in the New England area may be unfamiliar with Dr. Savage and his Genealogical Dictionary. But it is believed all the issues discussed here could well be proposed for various other works as well so they probably should be interested in this discussion.

In 1860 Savage published a 4 volume dictionary attempting to provide the current state of knowledge (as of 1860) for all persons living in New England by 1692. A sample entry might be found under surname ATWATER (transcript page here):

JONATHAN, New Haven, s. of David of the same, m. 1 June 1681, Ruth, eldest d. of Rev. Jeremiah Peck, first min. of Greenwich, had Joshua, b. 21 Feb. 1682, d. in few days; David, 5 Aug. 1683; Jeremiah, 31 Jan. 1685; Mary, 31 Dec. 1686; Ruth, 31 Dec. 1688; Jonathan, 1 Nov. 1690; Lydia, 18 Apr. 1693, d. next yr.; Joseph, 9 Dec. 1694; Stephen, 4 Dec. 1696; and Damaris, 9 Oct. 1698; Lydia, again, 31 July 1701.

The question is whether Savage is important enough that he should be posted on the page of every person he mentions.

To this specific question, personally I would argue no.

  • In 1860, writing about people that were in New England at least 168 years or more before the writing, Savage is clearly merely reporting what various records say, and thus, like any secondary source, somewhat expendable once the primary source of the information is identified. Further, many articles have been written correcting Savage's errors, and citing those articles, again, tends to make citing of Savage pointless.
  • Savage rarely identifies where he found his data, and based on researching several of his errors over the years, it is clear in many cases he simply copied from manuscripts available to him. Often these sources were things like Bond, Deane, or others (e.g., here where he mentions having relied on a "memo. slightly confusing"). This means that Savage does not really give much help in discovering how things are known. You either believe him blindly or you are left trying to confirm his data with very few pointers telling where it came from.
  • Savage made errors. Over 400 have been documented in the WeRelate transcript, coming from the fraction of Savage sketches that have independent research in WeRelate. These aren't simply misspelling or errors of omission. These are errors where something is asserted that simply is false. Example errors may be viewed here, or here, or by searching the Transcript namespace with keywords "Defect 1". --Jrich 15:33, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
Although I haven't really needed or used the Savage transcripts, I think I have to disagree with you strongly on this point. I feel that the transcribing user is doing an extremely valuable service here at WR in adding those transcription uploads. I myself have thought I would like to do a transcription of Emmett Starr's History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folk Lore and his Genealogy of the Cherokee Indians, and while they also are not perfect, are difficult to understand and follow, and some of the data too may be guess-work or even incorrect, they are extremely valuable aids in researching families and ancestries connected to the original Cherokee Nation. So no, Starr's work cannot be considered a "Primary" source, but it comes as close to a "Secondary" source as ever was recorded. --BobC 22:56, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Questions of Execution

The proposal advanced merely shows excerpts culled from Savage, with no details on how these would be applied to WeRelate pages. This raises several questions:

  1. Why excerpts? Savage is already abbreviated enough, so why not the whole entry? Some Savage entries can be as long as a page, but most are similar to the example shown above.
  2. In the sketch for Jonathan Atwater, it names his father, a wife, the wife's father, and 11 children. How many people in this sketch should have Savage posted to their page. Will the same sketch be repeated verbatim on all 15 Person pages and 2 Family pages.
  3. The data in Savage is very sparse. If a page must be created for each of the 11 children of Jonathan Atwater, should it be name and birthdate only? Should New Haven be assumed as their birth location even though that location may not be where they were born. In some sketches a child is mentioned with no birthdate. Should pages be created that are simply a name and parents with no dates, no location, no details?
  4. How should pages be handled when the WeRelate page already has data on it. The pages may have the same data but supported by higher quality (primary, or more modern, more academic) sources than Savage. The pages may have different data than Savage because either Savage is wrong, or they are wrong, or one or the other source is simply more precise (e.g. 23 Apr 1689 versus 1689). Should Savage be entered as alternates? Certainly, a bot is not capable of resolving such discrepancies. Pages may already have Savage cited in different ways, or cited to explain why Savage made an error. How will the bot avoid overwriting or duplicating those entries?
  5. For the documented defects in the Savage Transcript, how will those entries be presented on the page? The meat of the defect is to be found on the Talk page, not on the Transcript itself. For somebody that wants to know more, because it is their ancestor, saying something is wrong without the explanation is frustratingly unhelpful.

Manual editing will be able to apply common sense in melding disparate sources into a coherent page. Bot edits are likely to end up with contradiction, clutter, and repetition in complicated situations. --Jrich 15:33, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Beyond Savage [23 August 2016]

Beyond this specific proposal, there is the question of how this sets a precedent that will be applied to other sources. What determines when a source is important enough to push pertinent content to every page it discusses? There are many encyclopedic/dictionary type sources out there (e.g., Montgomery in Berks, PA to name one I have used a lot, even Bond and Deane mentioned above, others). What about family genealogies? Past users have shown themselves very partial to Wheeler Family in America or Eddy Family in America. Another user wanted to include the descendant number found in their favorite family genealogy as a fact on every page. What happens when one of these want to use a bot to post the information from their favorite family genealogy on every person they cover? What about the wikidata tags that JRM03063 is adding to pages? A future proposal might well be forthcoming to import genealogical data from wikipedia using that mechanism.

I believe if Savage, or any of these other sources, need to be cited, excerpted or quoted on a page, it should be done by manual edit so that it fits in with the other data on the page, because it contributes to the usefulness of the page, and hopefully so that it is combined with additional research and analysis needed to overcome its deficiencies. I don't believe blindly copying any secondary source is a good genealogical practice. --Jrich 15:33, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

If properly cited as a "secondary source" or even "questionable source," I believe it has value. I think these citations even have value when superceded by a "primary source," because it creates a relative genealogical value for another user to evaluate and scrutinize. I myself have no problem citing "questionable sources," or even sources I might consider as "unreliable," and I do identify them as such. Part of the reason I think it important to add them and evaluate them is to aid future researchers who can independently see how I came up with the conclusions I did and encourage them to find and add other more accurate sources. If you delete the secondary source when you find and add a source considered primary, what's to stop another more inexperienced user down the road from adding that secondary source because he or she thinks it's more accurate? Had you added a comment to show why the secondary source was not totally accurate or complete, then the new user would see how you came to that conclusion and save him some work, or invite a discussion of the data or information. --BobC 22:56, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
Like Savage or don't - it's in every library and new copies are still available for sale. Folks are going to continue using it for the lifetime of anyone on this thread. The best way to address its limitations is to explicitly lay them bare. So it would be for any prevalent source. --jrm03063 23:35, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Response from the presumed target of the above... [14 September 2016]

The previous commentary is more than a little bizarre - the author provides specifics of a proposal that has not been made (and may never be made) - with specifics that have not even been established. Plainly he fears the potential of "bot" software in the WR context. To those inclined to share that fear - I would offer that anything done by a bot - can be recognized and reverted at a later point if desired. In any case - bots don't get created and cut loose without agreement at very high levels and lots of discussion.

It is true that I am actively interested in making WeRelate users a lot more productive. I have some ideas on a novel approach to genealogy which is made possible by a common shared tree. Orthodox genealogy is exquisitely slow, focusing on individuals and then moving to an unbounded search for widely scattered reference materials which may or may not exist. Practitioners need to develop a lot of knowledge on different references to become even modestly effective. It can be an effort of years in the pursuit of limited results - and it's fine if you're satisfied with that.

I am intrigued by the possibility of focusing not on the things we don't yet have - but instead - focusing explicitly on the reference materials that we do have. Focus instead on the distribution of known reference materials. Depending on the reference in question, software could be used to make distribution of the material to Person pages quicker and more consistent - perhaps even automatic. Keep this in mind though - automatic DOES NOT mean unpredictable. Indeed - a program is absolutely predictable.

I have reached out to a handful of folks on a preliminary basis - making use of our transcript of Savage to explore and demonstrate some possibilities. I would be happy to hear from anyone with interest in developing this idea toward a community proposal using Savage or any other transcription. That said - until a specific proposal is made - I reserve the right to confine my discussions on this subject to those with an open mind. Such folks are welcome to reach out to me on my talk page.

--jrm03063 23:21, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

I only hope BobC is right and this will never go anywhere. The original commentary was not bizarre. It was a logical addressing of the issues of having a bot update genealogical information, and one would think the points could be answered logically, without resorting to such a characterization. The "fear" you sense is a reasonable fear that a poorly-written bot could easily damage hundreds or thousands of pages that I have spent hours and hours working on before it could be aborted. Your own proposal talks about programs pushing citations out from Transcripts, and one would assume also data based on the formats of your Savage excerpts, and the questions I asked are issues I believe should be addressed based on logical inferences from your own presentation, to see if such a thing is even feasible or desirable. You and I have different views on how this website can or does provide value, and what you somewhat rudely imply as not an open mind, simply reflects that difference. My overarching concern is that we make accuracy of our genealogy the most important goal, and that we make collaboration next most by providing enough information and sources to enable others to review, verify and build on our work. Your choice of Savage for this project, and the absence of sources on most pages you create, suggests your goals are different. --Jrich 07:31, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Whether or not I have an open mind is perhaps debatable 8-). Nevertheless I will add my comments here which you are free to consider or ignore.
1) I have actually added a couple of links to the Savage transcripts on the pages of a few of my early NE ancestors where appropriate. I will be VERY upset if some BOT wipes-out my work.
2) In my opinion some of the Savage citations are better placed on Family pages rather than Person pages (eg I submit that lists of children in the Savage transcripts rightly belong on Family pages).
3) Acknowledging the problem of zero citations on some of the early "drive-by" GEDCOM uploads, I have some concrete suggestions.
a) BOT-generated suggestions for changes to a Person or Family page rightly belong on the associated Talk page. Only after a human has investigated them, should they be incorporated on the Person or Family page. And then they can be properly linked to other information.
b) If nobody responds to the Talk page after some reasonable amount of time (eg 3 to 6 months) then someone on a "cleanup" crew could go ahead and edit them properly into the Person or Family pages.
c) Under almost all circumstances (absent egregious errors) the person doing the "cleanup" should defer to existing citations and explanations where these have already been supplied by other contributors.
--Jhamstra 01:27, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

Not how to do genealogy [17 September 2016]

Well I have tried to discuss this with the user, but my posts are simply deleted - poor etiquette if you ask me. So the next place is here. It's not like I'm calling him names, there are specific points to be addressed. I am going to make one final comment, then the resolution is up to how other people respond. If nobody else says anything or if you are wishy-washy, you are going to get more than the 64 postings that seem to have occurred so far. If, like me, you think this is not how to improve the genealogical quality of these pages, then you have to speak up, as I am done after this post. You can now see the results for yourself.

Some of the predictable problems have occurred:

Nobody is proof reading how these edits go as evidenced by the Sources Needed banners remaining even after sources are being added, so nobody is checking to see if edits are appropriate and well-integrated. A more troubling aspect of this below.
Incorrect links in the Savage transcript have caused postings to be added to inappropriate pages, e.g., on page, two Savage sketches were linked to the same person, apparently due to a misreading of one of the sketches causing it to be linked to the wrong place. Also see the next item.
Existing Savage entries are being wholly deleted and replaced by the new entries. In this diff an existing entry crafted by a previous user is replaced by a new entry that deletes the potion about who his father was (another instance of a bad link in the Savage transcript in this case, no link, so the entire passage was missed). I don't believe an automated entry should ever replace a human crafted on. But hey, my perspective may be different, because I have actually spent hours creating some of them instead of a indiscriminate bot.
The previous example also shows how very peripheral information is being added by the wholesale addition of any entry mentioning the person. So the largest addition in the previous example was a paragraph describing the family of the maternal grandfather. Often pages have six or more paragraphs mostly focused on children, in-laws, ex-husbands or subsequent husbands, in the ever useful alphabetical order, because a bot can't be expected to be able to present any useful organization like relevance (.e.g, here, here). An extreme example may be the middle paragraph about Elizabeth Mayo where a paragraph from her brother-in-law's sketch is pulled in out of context and requires several readings to figure out it is calculating how many grandchildren the father-in-law had.
The bot, of course, does not know if or how the information ties into the facts listed on the page, so the inserted source can never be attached to a fact by the bot. In fact, because old entries are being removed, it is causing facts to be left sourceless that originally weren't ([2], death date of 29 Nov loses its source, leaving it sourceless, and apparently delete-able, since the alternate death appears to be the only sourced death date on the page). It will require a human to process this data to see that it actually gets integrated into the fact list. The Savage extract could completely contradict what is on the page, and there will be no awareness, no comment, no explanation, etc. ...Because human processing is what is (wrongly in my opinion) trying to be avoided.
This is from 64 postings. Imagine if you scale this to the thousands of sketches in Savage... --Jrich 00:17, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

@Jrich i sense some deep frustration. My story: i started couple years ago on WR using my MyHeritage gedcom, which was not accepted for several reasons. I then decided to key in each and every single occurrence. Am now at 18K+ pages. I think bots have no place in WR. Not if we are serious about the quality of each page. My 2 cents, Ron woepwoep 00:24, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

Likewise I am highly sympathetic to the BOT-generated problems related here. I am highly skeptical that using BOTs to actively contribute information, will result in a higher-quality web site. Lower quality is far more likely. However, rather than "Just say NO" I have offered some specific suggestions above, that might actually promote improved quality. --Jhamstra 01:33, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

As noted elsewhere on this page, I remain glad to discuss what I've been doing and contemplating with Savage (or anything else), with anyone capable of civil discourse. So far, that's everyone in the WeRelate community with but one exception.
Please keep the following facts in mind: 1) no bot has been deployed. 2) there are many possible specifics of how a bot might work which have yet to be determined. 3) I have reached out specifically to a number of people for their thoughts on the matter. 4) I have previously made it clear that I would be glad to hear from folks with opinions (provided they can manage civility). --jrm03063 03:34, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
jrm asked me to review his proposal, which I have just gotten around to doing. I have posted a response on the Talk page of his proposal (and I just realized that I did not address all concerns, but I have to run, so I'd like to do that later). I would ask others to read what I have written with an open mind. I realize that there have been tensions over this and other topics in the past, but I would ask you to put those behind you and see if we can come to a compromise that everyone concerned can live with. I would be shocked if everyone agreed wholeheartedly with my suggestions, but please ask yourself "could I live with this?" and if you find parts you could not live with, please request a rethink or suggest an alternative. As an IT person, I can come up with any number of proposals - so let's please neither go ahead without alignment, nor shut down the whole thing. Thanks in advance for your open-minded consideration.--DataAnalyst 20:07, 17 September 2016 (UTC)

Cohabitation without marriage formalities [31 August 2016]

I've moved this discussion to the project talk page. That seems a more suitable location for discussion of specifics of any of the assertion templates.

This project began in late 2012. As the project developed, the OC committee's guidance (13 Jan 2013) was to create help pages and place them as they are presently found. It had generally reached its present form by the middle of 2013.

--jrm03063 19:28, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

The expansion of the Cohabitation to, what is it? 10 varieties? seems to show someone completely enamored with the technology who has lost sight of the original goals. In the case of the "cohabitation" and refuted parents, of course, it is to alert people to potential genealogical errors if they, like many, practice genealogy by assumption or reliance on single secondary sources. As in assuming one spouse is dead because the other spouse remarries, or making similar assumptions when determining which parents a child goes to, etc. Now it seems like the templates are becoming judgemental, instead of merely being an objective warning that normal conventions don't apply for the current case. Plus the number of times it can be proven *by actual evidence* which of the many cases is appropriate is getting smaller and smaller as distinctions get finer and finer. A simple "Not married" in the description field accomplishes much the same thing. If you're interested, then read the sources and narrative to find out more.
A related discussion on another page listing other similar templates for combat roles and other historical events seem me to tread all over the purpose of categories, and seem to be an unnecessary cluttering up of pages, much like various banners popular in some circles. These appear to be important to one person but perhaps not to others. A true descendant may well rather write about some of these things in some detail in the narrative, and a category is like to provide all the necessary grouping functionality needed. Then on top of that is the realization that not a single page that comes in by GEDCOM will have these templates, nor is there a mechanism to automatically insert them, plus the fact that any number past say 7 (e.g. telephone number length) are likely to be too many for uninterested people to remember easily, and all the templates being so gleefully discussed will end up being implemented by one person only, because they are his creation, and will end up being useless because they are not used by a critical mass. Not to mention that "facts" needs sources and proof so suggest that even more thorough documentation may be required.
A question was asked on yet another page related to this topic about data management. Well, most data management starts with a central data dictionary that ensures data use is consistent across an organization and meshes with the corporate purposes, i.e, reflects how the whole organization uses the data. Then good data management will have active enforcement so that these definitions can be counted on. How weighty of a source has to propose an incorrect set of parents to justify adding a Refuted Parents template? Surely some random website wrongly identifying the parents would not justify a RefutedParents template? Any book in print? Any error printed in at least 2,3, or some number of books? If the purpose is to warn of errors, how do we warn of errors that give parents not in WeRelate so that the RefutedParents can't link to anything? What about parents that never existed because they were erroneous themselves? Do we need to provide the sources and explanations on both RefutedParents and RefutedChild, or can we assume RefutedParents will link to a Family page that provides the sources? Will a bot be developed to find unmatched Refutes? How much evidence is necessary before SpeculativeParents become RefutedParents? Will the presence of a RefutedParents block some GEDCOM from reattaching that child to the wrong parents, much the way the nomerge template is able to prevent merges? --Jrich 18:14, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

Autosomal DNA [31 August 2016]

Is there a format for using autosomal DNA as a source? How would one cite autosomal DNA without disclosing the details and identities of the living persons involved?--HLJ411 20:21, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

I'm not really DNA hip - but it seems more like a fact than a source. Is this a situation where you have DNA from living descendants - and you want to say something about the DNA of ancestors on that basis? --jrm03063 00:12, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Maybe it's a MySource? Perhaps you give it a Vanilla name permuted from the nearest generation deceased ancestors to him it applies? Then in the MySource note how the living person - who's DNA was tested - is related to the people who have passed on? Regrettably though - determined folks could probably determine who the living person was by knowing how they're related to the deceased ancestors. But anyway - put in whatever data you can scrubbed of identifiers that make the living person absolutely obvious. Hmm... --jrm03063 00:21, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
I'm not really DNA hip - but it seems more like a fact than a source. Is this a situation where you have DNA from living descendants - and you want to say something about the DNA of ancestors on that basis? --jrm03063 00:12, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Interestingly enough, I created a source entitled, "Source:Yates, Donald. Nomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in the Cherokee," for relaying information and data on a sampling of 52 individuals of Cherokee lineage who purchased mitochondrial DNA testing to determine their female lineage. I wanted to record and save the test results because I suspected the original source page would be a temporary, short-lived link, and my guess was correct, as it no longer connects to the original site. My WeRelate source page is more of a general haplogroup analysis rather than by-name listing, but I suspect you could post something similar as long as it did not include living individuals. Or you could create a site for results from living individuals at RootsWeb or another free hosting site, and then summarize your results or analysis here at WeRelate to connect with ancestral lines or to collaborate with others with related lines. Does that make sense?
There are a number of other DNA projects posted as sources here that you could review and see if they might be able to provide inspiration or insight to what you may be thinking of developing.
And Jim has a point above, maybe an Article or MySource would be a better format for your data rather than a Source, which ideally should be a readily accessible public site that can be viewed or resourced by anyone."
Good luck. It will be interesting to see what you come up with. --BobC 00:36, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

I'm assuming that you want to cite triangulated matches as a source of proof of a shared common ancestor. A proper reference would include the kit numbers for the three (or more) tests (with the name of the site where they are located), and the names of the test takers. GedMatch kit numbers are about as anonymous as you are going to get, and you would still need permission from the other test takers. That information could be posted on the MRCA page as a MySource, but would still be a very "soft" source, since it would not include the despondency information. The bottom line for using autosomal DNA is that it isn't and probably won't ever be supported by WeRelate -- I've been told that the programming needed to support use of DNA information is outside the bounds of reasonable. This is unfortunate, as DNA is becoming a significant source, and will eventually become an essential source for establishing "proof". If you are really serious about using DNA as a source, the site you want to look at is WikiTree.

Sorry about the negativity, but this has been an irritant for some time. Gayel --GayelKnott 15:42, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Forgot to add, the proper citation would also include chromosome number(s) and segment start and stop points for each kit. --GayelKnott 15:53, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
"Significant" and "essential" may be overstating it. I took a couple of DNA tests just to see what I could get out of it, and I didn't get much. I would say it was informative and put me in touch with a very distant cousin (and I'm still not sure how we are related). But it hasn't helped me with any of my family genealogy. The biggest help for me was having an internet full of millions of bits of data that are easy to get to that researchers didn't have a generation ago.
Out of curiosity I took a look at some of those source links above, and it appears they are mainly being used to reference second-hand genealogical data. I don't see any need to change WeRelate for that type of sourcing. -Moverton 19:35, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for the comments. I have a 3rd great-grandfather that, as far as I know, is only documented in a book published just before 1900 - “soft” evidence. I have an autosomal DNA match with a descendent of the brother of my 3rd g-grandfather - also “soft” evidence. Until something better or contradictory appears, I would like to remove some of the ambiguity on 3rd g-grandfather’s WR site.

It is understandable that DNA is suspect, especially for distant relatives, however I can confirm that I was shocked to find that a near relative, although family by association, was shown by a zero DNA match not to be in anyway related. Now when I ask a genealogist if they have tried DNA and they reply “I don’t need it, I already know my ancestors”, I smile and reply that they may be in for a surprise. I haven’t yet read the book The Stranger in My Genes: A Memoir by Bill Griffeth but it appears he experienced the jarring effects of a DNA test. HLJ411.

Reply to Moverton -- No, I don't think the words I used are over-stating. A growing number of genealogists are using DNA to "confirm" or "prove" their paper trail evidence. While I have problems with the term "proof", DNA is an independent source of information about one's ancestry that is unique -- and cannot be falsified. That, alone, makes it significant. As more people are tested and actually explore and use the information from their DNA tests, the more it is becoming clear that most, if not all, of us have somewhere in our ancestry biological links that differ from what the historical records say. As for it's becoming essential in the future, the discussion is already out there among some of the most experienced genealogists, although admittedly the time frame is most likely well in the future. The biggest problem is learning how to use and work with DNA information -- and it does take a lot of work (sort of like doing good paper trail research can take a lot of work, or at least used to.)
Reply to HLJ411 -- Thanks for the example. I still haven't worked out how a really strong, triangulated match to a neighbour shows up on one of my lines -- nor have the other two test takers involved, both of whom are certified genealogists. Unfortunately, the ancestors were living on the frontier, with very few records, but it's certainly a reminder that, ahem, parents may not always be who they are reported to be. Gayel --GayelKnott 16:01, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

Savage Transcript Status [22 September 2016]

The effort to annotate our transcription of Savage's Dictionary has reached a significant milestone. Savage's work contains about 22,400 individual person sketches. The subjects of about half of those sketches are now associated with WeRelate Person pages (via ordinary wiki annotation of the transcript text).

An interesting additional finding is the number of times that Savage apparently created two (or more) sketches for the same person. The initial count of such cases being 149 - which may seem like a lot - except that 11156 Person pages are subject of a sketch (so 99% of the assignments are unique). While those duplicates will be further reviewed and marked in due course, the number seems remarkably small in light of the research limitations Savage worked under - and the lack of precision he faced in old records.

Current statistics on the effort may be found here. --jrm03063 16:03, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

WeRelate down for 8 hours [27 September 2016]

The WeRelate server crashed today (26 Sep 2016) and WeRelate was down for about 8 hours while the data was copied over to a new server. It is back up now. I apologize for the inconvenience. All of the data should be preserved.--Dallan 03:08, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

Thanks. Glad it's back. --Goldenoldie 07:54, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

Beta on RootsCity available [8 October 2016]

As you may know, I've been working on a website to help people share their genealogy with their non-genealogist relatives. The goal is to make it easy for people to capture the records, stories, and photos about their ancestors and present them in a way that is accessible to non-genealogists. It looks as much like a social-media site as a genealogy site. Hopefully many people will be interested in putting their genealogy on this site, and eventually we can help them connect their trees with the trees on wiki-based sites like WeRelate, WikiTree, and FamilySearch.

This is a freemium site, meaning that it is free for basic use, and will charge $2, $4, or $6/mo for access to premium services. We have or will soon have a number of features that I haven't found in any other online trees. I've been working on this site for about two years now and I'm pretty excited. I hope it will eventually attract sufficient users to support full-time employees so it can continue to improve over time.

I'm looking for people who are interested in helping to beta-test the site before we go live early next year: help find bugs, offer suggestions for improving the features, etc. To show my appreciation, I'm giving all beta testers a 1-year subscription at the $6/mo level. I really value your help and feedback.

You can sign up to be involved in the beta by going to RootsCity and entering your email address. This will subscribe you to the newsletter, which will contain periodic announcements and tips throughout the beta period. You will then receive instructions for accessing the beta site.

Let me know if you have any questions.--Dallan 23:47, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

Dallan - how exciting for you. I'd love to help out as a means of giving something back; I'll sign up straight away!--Wongers 01:33, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

Dallan - how exciting for you. As a person who has spent 8 or 9 years contributing to WeRelate, I am interested not one iota, even disappointed. It sounds like it is even further removed from source-based genealogy, and not of interest to me. --Jrich 02:25, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
Actually, I have tried it out, and it is source-based - or at least attempting to make it more natural for people to capture source information as they go. It might not be perfect, but it is source-centric, in the sense that you can capture pertinent info about multiple people from the same source, encouraging people to start with the sources. The intent was to reach an audience (particularly a younger audience, accustomed to social media) that would normally not bother with source citations - and we certainly know there are plenty of people like that. The source citation capability is too light-weight for a serious genealogist like you, but it has its place. I'm not quite sure how Dallan plans to allow RootsCity users to connect their trees with WeRelate - I hope in a way that will help WeRelate grow with trees that have sources with pertinent info (such as birth date, names of parents, etc.). I know you won't find it of personal interest, but I didn't want to let your comment go about it being so far removed from source-based genealogy, as I don't think that is fair to the design Dallan has put together.--DataAnalyst 03:03, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for pointing that out. I clearly was not interested enough from the description to even look at it. It does not read like it cares about sources. Not that any professional genealogist is going to give away their data on WeRelate, but targeting a website at "non-genealogist" certainly does not seem to imply a high degree of quality expectations, and it is not encouraging to those of us concerned in the first place about the viability of WeRelate that the creator is using WeRelate to advertise his interest in a different website, while development here languishes. At least leave us alone, or suggest a transition plan to show that the efforts of people like yourself aren't going to be abandoned. --Jrich 03:33, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
To clarify, RootsCity's goal is to help genealogists share their work with their non-genealogist relatives by making genealogy more accessible/interesting to non-genealogists, and also to be a site where non-genealogists can be encouraged from the beginning to enter sources along with their facts. I think sources, especially when they include document scans or transcriptions, make genealogy more interesting for non-genealogists.
Regarding being source-centric, when you enter an event, you first enter the event details, then you can enter document scans and a transcription, you can choose a source by an auto-complete over the sources on WeRelate, and the most interesting part: you can enter the names of all of the people listed in the event record, along with their relationships to each other and additional facts about them listed in the record. So if you had a marriage record for example, you would enter the marriage date and place, an image and/or transcription, then the source of the record, then the names of the bride and groom along with their ages (if given) and the names of their parents (if given) and maybe even the minister. When you save that record, new people listed in the record would be added to your tree, families would be created or updated, and marriage and approximate birth dates would be added (if the ages were given). All of those events would show the marriage record that you entered as the supporting evidence. We have a video explaining the process.
If it seems that most people won't go to all the trouble to write down all of the information on the record, I agree. To address this problem at the end of the month we will launch a chrome browser extension to make it easy for you to copy information from various webpages into your tree. That is, if you are looking at a record on Ancestry or one of the other major genealogy websites, clicking this extension will bring up a popup window with the RootsFinder event data-entry form, which will be pre-populated with the information from the record you are looking at. You can review the information before saving the record to your tree. No copying and pasting.
Regarding how WeRelate and RootsCity could possibly interact in the future, one possibility would be to create a side-by-side comparison screen, where people would be able to compare an ancestor in their tree to a matching ancestor in WeRelate and copy information back and forth between them. If there was enough interest, it might be possible to go further and allow RootsCity users to check a box that says "I want to automatically copy all events for people in my tree to WeRelate, and automatically copy all events for the matching people in WeRelate into my tree", thus implementing the "wiki" editing model between RootsCity and WeRelate. Whether these ideas (or other integration ideas) get implemented someday depends upon how much interest WeRelate users have in the integration. I'm also ok with the "leave us alone" option if that's what people prefer. WeRelate ad revenue pays for hosting costs so it's not going away. Also, the WeRelate source and place pages are now benefitting RootsCity users as well. And RootsCity links to WeRelate place and source pages.--Dallan 06:06, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the video link. It explains a lot more. But the video looks good because somebody already did the hard work of finding the primary source, the marriage certificate. It wouldn't be so impressive watching somebody enter data from one of those Ancestry indexes like the Edmund West Family Data collection. Like canning fruit, you have to start with the best available material, because it doesn't improve during the citation process, no matter how easy you make it.
Also sounds like there is no single tree? Which removes one of the big quality checks. But I'd be surprised if people paying a "fremium" would be happy having their data overwritten, even if it is to correct an error. --Jrich 19:26, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
There is no plan to have a wiki-based tree on RootsCity. Enabling collaboration between distant family members is a goal for 2017. I'm thinking of two approaches: First, make it possible for people to compare the people in their individual trees to people in wiki-based trees on other websites like FamilySearch, and maybe WikiTree and WeRelate if there is sufficient interest, and copy information back and forth. I don't believe the world needs another wiki-based family tree; better to interact with the ones that already exist. Second, we will rate individual users' trees based upon the number of sources, date inconsistencies, etc., and we'll allow people to see how the people in their trees compare with matching people in others' trees including how those trees are rated.--Dallan 06:06, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

Do you expect to add a "Search and Synchronize" Feature with a researcher's Ancestry data to export inbedded and linked sources to individual and family data at Ancestry to RootsCity?? --BobC 15:52, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

I know you can export a gedcom from Ancestry, and we have spent a fair amount of time making sure that Ancestry-exported gedcoms, including source bibliographic information, import well into RootsCity, but I'm not aware of any way to "Search and Synchronize" with your ancestry sources so you could get the images for example. Are you familiar with other software that does this? If there is a better way to get data out of Ancestry, I'd be very interesting in learning about it.--Dallan 05:35, 7 October 2016 (UTC)
I religiously download my Ancestry GEDCOM monthly, but that is only the bare data file of facts and events, and does not include the supporting and connecting sources, photos, stories and media files associated with those people and that data. The all that is held captive by Ancestry.
According to an Ancestry blog for former Family Tree Maker users, there are two options to preserve their data:
  1. Software MacKiev, has acquiring the Family Tree Maker software line as publisher for both Mac and Windows versions, and
  2. RootsMagic, a desktop genealogy program, has made an agreement with Ancestry to connect the two programs.
According to the RootsMagic site summarizing this agreement, it will allow users to do three interrelated functions between RootsMagic and Ancestry:
  1. Search - Search Ancestry’s extensive collections of historical records from around the world and let you download those records into a user's separate file.
  2. Sync - Share data between your RootsMagic files on your computer with your personal Ancestry online trees. You’ll also be able to download people, events, and even pictures from Ancestry onto your computer through RootsMagic.
  3. Import - Import your Family Tree Maker files, without having to go through an intermediate GEDCOM file, giving you the cleanest, most complete transfer of your data. RootsMagic will also be able to download your online trees from Ancestry.
Can anyone else think of another option to get my data? --BobC 22:10, 7 October 2016 (UTC)
In general - that's a pretty hard problem. Maybe someone could write a cute workstation app that would let you open the same Person in two different windows on two different systems - then coordinate moves to spouses, children, parents, etc. between both displays. --jrm03063 17:07, 7 October 2016 (UTC)
I could probably do that now on my two monitors having both programs open side-by-side, but I seriously couldn't imaging moving 4330 people, 1377 photos, 470 stories, and 4829 records (in just the largest of my two databases) from Ancestry screen-by-screen in that manner. Not sure I have enough years left to even attempt that. I hate knowing that I'm caught up in the Ancestry trap, that is, having my data held hostage for payment of a hefty annual subscription to them, but I have only myself to blame. And they make it so darn easy to get into that trap, don't they? Anyone else share my frustration? --BobC 22:10, 7 October 2016 (UTC)
That Ancestry trap is a main reason I've avoided using Ancestry, the other being their attempts to dominate internet genealogy. Before I started using WeRelate, I made sure I could retrieve my contributions should I need or want to. --robert.shaw 02:04, 8 October 2016 (UTC)
Bob, I'm not sure what you mean when you say you did not get the supporting sources. I downloaded a small file from Ancestry, and the citations to sources came through fine, with notes re: relevant data on those sources. The images and links did not come through, but those are only "loaned" to your pages by permission from Ancestry. (Judy Russell wrote a blog about this which, unfortunately, I can't seem to find). Since most of what shows up in a "Gallery" is images from those sources, that's probably why any stories you added didn't get downloaded either. I recently uploaded GedComs from WeRelate to Ancestry for DNA matches, but consider data at Ancestry a "core dump". To be honest, will probably end up doing the same at RootsCity when it is further along, as it is non-wiki. As someone who is well along in the so-called "golden years", I can understand the frustration of where to leave your research when your kids and grandkids aren't interested.--GayelKnott 15:31, 8 October 2016 (UTC)

Towns [6 October 2016]

Is there any way to separate the Towns of states like New York from the Inhabited Place list in the Contained Places box? I would prefer to have these county subdivisions broken out from the larger list of incorporated and unincorporated places. I don't know if that box is hard coded to perform certain groupings. I don't think this would be as simple as grouping Towns with Townships because in some countries towns are actually inhabited places. Thoughts? -Moverton 16:41, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

Coming from experience with the UK part of our database, I heartily agree. Towns, cities, villages all fall automatically into "inhabited places" along with others which simply have the sentence "--- is an inhabited place." Towns, cities and villages have no definition as to size in the UK--they are just as people "see" them. On the other hand, "civil parishes" take the place of "incorporated places". And we should always remember people who lived on farms within a township or parish who may have lived several miles from the nearest built-up place. --Goldenoldie 07:00, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

Quality Field [17 October 2016]

Judging from the behavior a couple of us just observed on the page Antje Minnolts Dijkstra it looks like one may specify without difficulty the quality field when one first constructs a source entry, but any edit to that source entry will cause the quality field to be dropped. Is that the intended behavior? --pkeegstra 00:40, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

There is something going on with several of the source citation fields (see the Support page). We are waiting for a report from Dallan. Hopefully we will hear back soon. --cos1776 01:04, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
Many thanks! I thought that might be the case but wanted to mention it so it wouldn't be overlooked. --pkeegstra 01:06, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

Free Access this week (Oct 18-25) to Early New England Resources at NEHGS [19 October 2016]

[from NEHGS, reprinted here as a courtesy to our users:]
"Discover your early New England ancestors with free access to some of our premier databases. From October 18 to 25, NEHGS is making all early New England resources and databases available to Guest Members. (These resources are always available to our Paid Members.) Guest Users can search nearly 300,000 records in our exclusive early New England databases: the Great Migration Study Project; Early New England Families, 1641-1700; and Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700. Also check out our how-to guides and webinars for research tips, information on location resources, and advice from the experts at NEHGS. Click here to open the door to your early New England ancestors. Login is required, but registration is free."
--cos1776 14:29, 19 October 2016 (UTC)

Estimating Birth Year [26 October 2016]

I'm looking for discussion/opinions on the advisability of estimating birth years. Here are my thoughts:

  • PRO: WeRelate is getting larger, and when you add a new person with a common name (e.g., James White), there are a lot of names to go through to see if you have a hit. If 10-20% of them don't have any indication of when the person was born, it can be laborious to check each one to ensure you are not adding a duplicate. By estimating a birth year when no source for an exact or approximate birth year is available, you at least have an idea of which century the person belongs to.
  • PRO: Estimating birth years in older records, where exact or approximate birth years might be missing for a few generations, can help to find errors (e.g., too few or too many generations between person X and his/her supposed ancestor person Y).
  • PRO: I am currently looking through old GEDCOM's to ensure we do not have pages for living persons - and I start by filtering on unknown birth century. I'm sure there will be other tasks in the future where filtering by birth century or having an idea of birth year will be useful (e.g., an automated edit that looks for children born to parents who are too young).
  • CON: An estimated birth year that is wrong by 20+ years (which is the nature of an estimate) can bias future attempts to find the actual birth year (or parents, etc.) to the extent that correct information is overlooked or worse, incorrect information is accepted because it "matches" the estimate.
  • CON: An estimated birth year that is wrong by 20+ years might cause someone to discard it when determining if they are creating a duplicate. A missing birth year might cause them to look more carefully.

I just started filling in estimates for my own trees where they were missing, but the CON's above have me thinking twice. E.g., for person Abijah Estes, I would estimate the birth year to be about 1745 (very likely accurate within 10 years). However, for this person, neither of the first 2 PRO's above applies, and I am concerned that the CON's might outweigh the PRO's.

BTW: I am not a fan of WFT estimates that have a broad range of years. Besides being rather ugly, I find them next to useless for finding errors, and very difficult to build on.

Anyone have any advice or protocol that they follow? Are there WeRelate guidelines on this? Should we set some? Thanks.--DataAnalyst 19:55, 23 October 2016 (UTC)

I use estimated birth dates very sparingly. I only offer an approximate date if I think it is accurate to within a couple years. Otherwise if I give an estimate, I simply say "before xxx" or "after xxx", and that only when I can bound the date either before or after, with rather high degree of certainty. I have simply found too many estimates that were way-off when I was able to check them.
For example, in the family of Dr John Bowers, it is possible from his will and some other surviving legal documents (eg assignments and releases of conservatorship) to reconstruct the birth order of his children, and for some their dates of majority. So I was able to provide a combination of estimated dates with "before" and "after" dates. I consider my reconstruction and how I chose to specify the birth and marriage dates, to be reasonably accurate, resoanbly precise, and above all, not misleading regarding what is know vs what is not known. --Jhamstra 20:44, 23 October 2016 (UTC)
Ditto, big time, the comment about WFT estimates. Of course, the ability to provide good estimates is limited by what you know. I prefer not-wrong expressions of the actual constraint, like Bef 1760, rather than estimates that may not be close, such as Abt 1755. But the most important thing is to explain the basis so others can realize their estimate is better (or not) and replace it. Pages with no dates are often a waste of my time when scanning search results, and commonly lead to duplicates since they are harder to recognize for who they are, and usually don't show up near the top of search results since they don't match a targeted search well. --Jrich 00:18, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
Agree as well re:WFT estimates being mostly useless. Otherwise, I actually think the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to adding birth estimates.
Re:duplicates, I've had good luck finding them by using keywords (such a parent, spouse or child names) when dates are not present. I also tend to believe that as we keep adding data and sources, the duplicates will eventually reveal themselves, so it is not the end of the world if they occasionally slip in during this process.
As to my method, if there are no solid clues, it is hard to narrow down the formula I use, since it depends on the era, what I might already know about the family and the source(s) from which I am working.
Re:policy - I don't think there is a specific one now, but I'll report back if I come across something hidden somewhere. I don't think that I would be in favor of creating another internal policy or Help page in this instance, but I would support the addition of Helpful links to external resources for estimating dates to the existing Dates section of the WR Help:Style guide, such as FamilySearch, Family education, etc. These are just some quick examples. --cos1776 23:31, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

Free access this weekend (Nov 12 & 13) to Swedish church records [10 November 2016]

[from ArkivDigital, reprinted here as a courtesy to our users:]
ArkivDigital is the largest private provider of Swedish Church Records and other Historical Records online! All images are newly photographed images of the original document. This upcoming weekend they are granting free access to their database. Details
Enjoy! --cos1776 22:00, 10 November 2016 (UTC)

A Crazy Idea [20 December 2016]

I haven't been active here for a while, and feel a bit guilty for posting anything, but I'm doing it anyway. :)

It seems like things have been quiet here for a while, and that we've reached a stable point - money from ads keeps the site running, but it isn't enough to make improvements or fix any but the most egregious bugs and issues. The core set of users are content with things as they are, and are effectively using WeRelate for their purposes, and are doing good work.

This is an argument I've made before, but personally, I think that the real benefits of a shared tree result from having lots of people working together and sharing / arguing. I just don't see any real possibility that our current situation leads us to the large userbase which I think is ideal.

To me, the clearest path forward is what was proposed long ago - letting Wikimedia take the reins of WeRelate. This was not met with a lot of support, and there were a lot of great reasons given. While I still think that would be the best solution, I thought of another option which I don't think was discussed at that time. What if we "forked" the WeRelate project? WeRelate would continue to run as it is, supporting itself through ads. The community would give permission to Wikimedia to use the content that we have created in a new site, created and run by them. In some ways, this seems like the best of both worlds. Those worried about the quality declining would be able to stay on WeRelate, while those who think a larger community would be worth the risk to quality could move to the other site. Thoughts?--Jdfoote1 16:11, 17 November 2016 (UTC)

I agree with your assessment; things are quiet and drifting here, hardly ideal for developing a unified tree. A significant problem I see with your suggestion, though, is that there is noticeable resistance (as well as some support) on Wikimedia to having a genealogy project, whether WeRelate based or otherwise. That is probably a bigger difficulty to overcome than the issues here on WeRelate (which might not even be important since the material here has Creative Commons licensing). --robert.shaw 17:54, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
I'm actively working on an alternative. Explicit alignment with Wikimedia via Wikidata references (and presumably, a reciprocal Wikidata "WeRelate" property). Wikitree is already heading down this path... --jrm03063 20:00, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
What is the alternative that you are working on? --Jdfoote1 20:55, 20 November 2016 (UTC)
Wikidata has a bunch of genealogical properties for "Humans". Relationships for Mother, Father, Brothers and Sisters can be explicitly established. Something beyond 3500 WeRelate Person pages have been given a Reference Number fact - described by a Wikidata ID. Programs should be able to compare and contrast the relationships described by Wikidata and WeRelate - finding content missing from each - providing a basis to expand the coverage of both. If full developed, part of such an effort would be to start adding WeRelate references to Wikidata people. --jrm03063 02:35, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

Since two years i have been working with Odoo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odoo This is an open source project, changing directions to open core model.

Odoo introduces the Python programming language and Postgres as their database. Difference with Wikimedia is that we can have, and share, our own module within the Odoo community.

We'd have to start from scratch, but i see a next generation support today's tools easier than yesterday's tools. My 2 cents, Ron woepwoep 09:53, 18 November 2016 (UTC)

I've been pondering similar thoughts as I try to envision what the next 1-5 or 5-10 years will look like for WR. I am not against the idea of an offshoot, leaving a version of WR as is for those who insist on remaining the same, and venturing onward with a slimmed down, more flexible version that can be easily upgraded when necessary. I'm not sure becoming a WM project is the route I would choose, however, and I remember their final thoughts on partnering with us the same as @Robert.shaw. I still believe the WR collaborative model is one of the best out here, but have no illusions that anything close to the Pando ideal will be realized in our lifetimes. And that is ok!!! Chasing Pando causes decisions to be made that significantly compromise data quality, and the results are often a mirage. Think of the ongoing maintenance headaches we are still dealing with ten years after initially opening the floodgates. I would much prefer a smaller, better trained user base entering higher quality data into a more stable and secure program that will still be here tomorrow, even if that means slower growth today. So I guess, I am open to an offshoot idea, but with a different primary goal than quickly broadening the user base. --cos1776 14:52, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
Forking isn't the worst idea - but I would want to try just about everything I could before going there. Then again - we're still waiting to see if an oversight committee will reform... --jrm03063 20:05, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
Cos1776 - Very good points. But I don't think that user growth necessarily has to be combined with tons of terrible work. I think that only allowing N people to be uploaded by GEDCOM at a time, or not allowing uploads for new users, etc. could all help to stop the problem. But I do think that growth is necessary. With a lot more people, the site would be much more useful for all of us. Whether that happens through Wikimedia or through some other means, I do see community growth as a primary goal. -- Jdfoote1 20:55, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

"I think that the real benefits of a shared tree result from having lots of people working together and sharing / arguing."

Personally I agree, and also think whilst WeRelate is sustainable (and valuable) as it is, but is very unlikely to ever get to that stage. For this, I would recommend WikiTree (https://www.wikitree.com). It shares much of the same philosophy of WeRelate - eg the wiki, the "pando", the free licencing, being freely accessible. The main difference is that the operators are a for-profit company but I haven't found that getting in the way. On the contrary, having seven paid staff means they have the human and monetary resources to be able to invest in maintaining and developing the site. They are now up to 12.5 million pages, some four times the number on WeRelate. I would certainly recommend everyone who wants to join a volume site to give it a try. AndrewRT 21:21, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

I haven't been over for a while - but last I knew - it didn't preserve GEDCOM source/note structure. If you work there and then try to export your data - I think you'll get a lot of unstructured globs back. WeRelate does a reasonable - if not perfect - job retaining the GEDCOM structure for later export. I also had a lot of trouble getting attention to merges that I needed - such that I wound up with a lot of duplicates that I couldn't clear. I gave up on most all of them - just deleting everything except the most recent bits of my immediate family. I hope they're doing a better job with that sort of thing now.
Even if Wikitree has reached a greater genuine population than WR - they're also looking at alignment with Wikimedia via Wikidata. They may be doing that as a way to de-duplicate their tree (which is part of what I did via references to english Wikipedia). The way to a really large database going forward - could be a collection of different databases - with common Wikidata IDs providing alignment between different databases. --jrm03063 02:15, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

I'm relatively new to WeRelate and make limited postings, but I think it is the best of the wiki-type genealogy sites. It has the cleanest looking layout for each person, though I do find the data entry process a bit awkward. I especially like having sources given.

It seems to me that many of the other genealogy sites often give just names and dates with little if real data or documentation. So my concern is that WeRelate would become just another commercial site trying to suck people in without providing worthwhile information.

I primarily post to WeRelate to correct known misinformation or to share data not found elsewhere and to make it public—hopefully for the long term. I would add more if the process was easier.--KayS 22:48, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

Kay, I am curious to know what you find particularly awkward about the data entry process. Thanks.--DataAnalyst 02:59, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

WeRelate Page Growth Statistics [21 January 2017]

For anyone who is interested, WeRelate has grown from 2,750,000 Person pages in early July 2016 to over 2,790,000 Person pages by mid Jan 2017. This is at the same time that a few of us have been improving data quality by deleting pages for a few hundred living persons and merging duplicates.

Image:WeRelate Stats.png

Due to the efforts of people working on improving the quality of data, the percentage of Person pages with first name Unknown has been reduced from 2.02% to 1.91% over the same time period.

Image:WeRelate First Name Unknown.png

As well, in the last month, the percentage of Person pages with no birth country has been reduced from 36.99% to 36.90%.

Image:WeRelate No Birth Country.png

--DataAnalyst 02:54, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

I applaud the efforts of people working in the Data Quality Improvement project. This is the single best chance for WeRelate to make a difference in my opinion. Every time I investigate other sites, spoken highly of by various people, I continue to find inferior quality, and decide to stay right here at WeRelate. This particular project is the one that I think most adds value to WeRelate, and hope that at some time, the percentage of quality data might make this the site the one primary place where people will go to share new discoveries for review, to correct long-standing myths by providing evidence, and where we can build a culture that says what you know is not as important as how you know it. --Jrich 03:25, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. I agree that quality has become somewhat of a focus of the collaboration efforts at WeRelate, and I'd like to see us fit that niche of where you go to find trustworthy data. We're still a long way from there for some of the old GEDCOM data, but where there is a high degree of interest in data (e.g., early New England and New Netherlands), I think we've got some pretty good quality. And where we're fixing up the old GEDCOMs, I know that we are ending up with parts of trees that are better researched than anywhere else available online.--DataAnalyst 13:11, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

Excellent ! Thx, Ron woepwoep 08:45, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

how to find template [24 December 2016]

I found a GEDCOM with what appears to be no sources, but I didn't know where/how to find a template to mark it 'needs sources'. Even if you tell me where to find it, I may not remember it. (Memory NOT improving with age!) So is there a way to easily locate this kind of thing? Where it is hiding? Maybe we need a link at the top of pages to an index of sorts. That might help lots of folks. --janiejac 02:20, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

Hi, Janie. I think the template you want is Template:Sources needed. You can find any template by searching the Template Namespace (Select Search from the top menu, then All, then Template). I entered "Sources" in the title and found the template, although I did have to look a bit because there are a few that are similar. Take your pick.
I agree about making it easier to find these things. I'm hoping that this is one of the things that will come out of Overview Committee work over the next year.--DataAnalyst 02:43, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
I believe {{Sources needed 1}} is better as it includes a message that encourages referencing contemporary documents and not just copying from other unsourced items (i.e., passing the buck). --Jrich 03:22, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

If there's one thing I have used more than any other this year on WeRelate, it's #redirect. It's absolutely vital in working on Places, but it would probably be just as useful for bringing together Templates and Sources that really ought to be together. Merry Christmas! --Goldenoldie 16:48, 24 December 2016 (UTC)

Seasons greetings from the Overview Committee [24 December 2016]

On behalf of the Overview Committee:

Seasons Greetings! The Overview Committee is back in action after a few bumps this year. Getting ourselves organized is taking a while, but in the meantime, 2 members (Cos1776 and DataAnalyst) have initiated a refresh of WeRelate Help.

We've put a considerable amount of thought into how to organize Help, but we need to do some more work before it is ready to share (hopefully by the end of January). In the meantime, I have requested further community discussion on a couple of date conventions so that they can be included in Help pages (and hopefully even automated). Bear with us. While this is a slow time for one of us (off work for 2 weeks), it is a busy time for the other (lots of Christmas activity and travel).

Best wishes for 2017 from the Overview Committee!--DataAnalyst 14:33, 24 December 2016 (UTC)