User talk:Dallan/Archive 2008



Image Notes [12 January 2008]

Dallan, How long has this been available? I just stumbled upon it this morning and I LOVE it!! Thanks!! Walt 07:50, 12 January 2008 (EST)

Thanks! (It's been available for awhile; we need to advertise it more.)--Dallan 14:57, 14 January 2008 (EST)

we're related facebook application [13 January 2008]


Paul Allen selected a name amazingly similar to WeRelate for his facebook application; We're related. --Beth 08:20, 13 January 2008 (EST)

Pretty funny. Paul knew about WeRelate long before he named his facebook application. I take it as his acknowledgement that he knows WeRelate is the #1 community genealogy website, and he wants to name his new facebook application accordingly.  :-) --Dallan 14:57, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Bug Report: User Pages [13 January 2008]

Hi Dallan... there appears to be a bug when creating a new user page. After naming the new page, it gets "hung" and all we get is a blank page that is stuck. BTW, are you and Solveig receiving my emails? I'm starting to get paranoid. <g> --Ronni 23:04, 13 January 2008 (EST)

Hi Ronni, Sorry about that. I'll fix this right away. I got an email from you on Friday, but went camping over the weekend and am just now getting back to my email. I'll give you a call.--Dallan 14:57, 14 January 2008 (EST)

map location as a link [16 January 2008]

Sir -

Left a message on the watercooler, but it didn't generate a response. Perhaps you can suggest something.

I'm finding it common to want to refer to places like an old homestead, a former home site, store site, etc. Unless such locations have general importance, significance, or history, they are not going to justify a place page of their own. What I would really like is the ability to create a link that opens a map location for a set of coordinates. Now I could create such a thing anyway, making direct use of a link produced by a view of a google map, but that's a pretty obscure looking bit of html, and I would rather make that sort of reference indirectly - using whatever the default mapping support for werelate might be. I would love to have something like \[\[map_site <lat> <long> (optional width) | <label>\]\].

Thanks...--Jrm03063 12:23, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Hi, (first of all, the name is Dallan :-). I just added Template:Googlemap. You can use it by adding {{googlemap|latitude|longitude}} to your page. Clicking on the resulting link brings up a google map of that location. There are some additional parameters that you can read about at Template:Googlemap. Does this give you what you're looking for?--Dallan 14:57, 14 January 2008 (EST)

That's definitely the idea. I'm trying it out on my Grandfather (he won't mind!), and while it does what I expect mostly, I'm getting some line breaks that don't belong there. I'm not very extensively wiki-hip, so I was wondering why we would sometimes choose a "template" (is this really sort of a macro?) versus using one of the werelate-specific square-bracket forms?--Jrm03063 18:35, 14 January 2008 (EST)

I think I fixed the extra line-breaking problem. And yes, templates are wiki macros. If you edit the google maps template page you can see how the google map link is constructed from the passed-in parameters.--Dallan 20:33, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Cool. Thanks!--Jrm03063 20:55, 14 January 2008 (EST)

Thanks again for the template and suggestions.

Not that development needs any more work, but in thinking about the map links, it might be sort of cool to have a "light-weight place". It would not take up a place in the place-page space, but would really only consist of the lat/long coordinates and a label. Maybe they could be at the same level as a "note" on a person page. The reason to do this (beyond simply using the template) would be that pedi-maps could get some additional features, without every location needing a place.

It's a thought anyway...--Jrm03063 11:14, 15 January 2008 (EST)

How about putting the googlemap template in the "Description" field next to the place of an event? I'm re-doing Pedi-Maps this week, and it wouldn't be difficult to pick up the lat+lng for an event from the googlemap template if it's in the description field.--Dallan 18:21, 15 January 2008 (EST)

I think you're onto something there...scanning for a special case string like the map template seems a touch weird though. On the other hand, creating some special lat/long fields that are only rarely populated would be even more weird....

As I reflect on this a little more, I like it more. All the life facts/events that we're interested in - residence, employment, birth, death, etc. - can easily have a more refined location than just town or even township. Community names, considering how political boundaries change and evolve over time, can induce as much confusion as help. If we get to the point of knowing an event by its coordinates however - then (allowing for tectonic drift), you've really got a place on the globe.--Jrm03063 21:26, 15 January 2008 (EST)

Sounds good. I'll look for the googlemap template in the description field then.--Dallan 23:19, 15 January 2008 (EST)

Hi Dallan, could you delete a couple images for me? I deleted the tree they were used for. Thanks! T.K.

No problem. I deleted them.--Dallan 23:18, 16 January 2008 (EST)

Problem trying to add a new source page [21 January 2008]

I just attempted to add a new source page and after entering all the information and hitting "save Page" I got a window that opened saying:

A database query syntax error has occurred. This may indicate a bug in the software. The last attempted database query was:

   (SQL query hidden)

from within function "RecentChange::save". MySQL returned error "1205: Lock wait timeout exceeded; try restarting transaction (localhost)".

I hit the "back" key and I see that all the "places" I had entered are now GONE, but all the other information remained. So I saved and added only three places and it worked fine --Msscarlet1957 09:42, 19 January 2008 (EST)

I'm really sorry about that. I'm afraid that starting over is all that can be done. I assume this happened after you edited the Surname:Powell page? I'll look into this problem on Monday to see if I can fix it.--Dallan 03:11, 20 January 2008 (EST)

This happened while creating the Powell book source I was attempting to enter several "places" that the book covered. It "seems" that adding more than three places on the initial set-up page is what the wiki did not like, as once I cut it down from four to three it worked fine. and there are a lot more that four places covered in that book, I am glad I had not taken the time to enter all of them and then loose all that effort! --Msscarlet1957 10:01, 20 January 2008 (EST)

I'll do some tests tomorrow adding a source with a lot of places. In case it's caused by a different problem, could you answer a few questions for me to help me locate it?

  • Do you remember about when this happened? Did it happen between the time that you edited the Surname:Powell page and the time that you left me the message? If not, about how much time transpired between when it happened and when you left me the message?
    • I would say it happened at 9:40, as I very quickly left you the message about the error, so about 2-3 minutes passed from when the error occurred and when I left you the message.--Msscarlet1957 11:51, 20 January 2008 (EST)

  • When you pressed the "save" button on the source page, was there a long (say around one minute) delay before you got the error page in response, or did you get it right away?

--Dallan 10:35, 20 January 2008 (EST)

    • I am going to guess the error occurred in about a minute. You usually don't have these questions! ha ha I will have to pay more attention to these things in the future, so I have good answers! I was multi-tasking at the time. I had my software (TMG) creating an updated Gedcom to upload in the background, and was looking for the scans/files of the Powell book that I was going to be uploading for that source. --Msscarlet1957 11:51, 20 January 2008 (EST)

Thanks! This is very helpful. It helps me identify in the server logs what else was going on at the time.--Dallan 16:25, 21 January 2008 (EST)

Overcoming objections, whining [27 January 2008]

I love the concept of this site! But I am envisioning problems that trouble me if/when I upload my GEDCOM. I have over 18,000 individuals in the database that I would love to share and collaborate on.

But I think about all of my sources would need to be edited to fit into the conventions and I just shake my head.

And what about the dates that start with 'abt'? I use this extensively when birth dates are estimated from census records. What about Quaker dates, that is, 1701/1702? Or locations that begin with 'probably'. The words 'abt' and 'prob' are merely my best guestimates, which I've been told is better than nothing. Some dates are ddmmmyyyy, some are just mmmyyyy and some are only yyyy; just depending on what the source has.

Where the names of some locations have changed over time, I have as: Gilmer (now Calhoun) Co., VA (now West Virginia). Gilmer did not change it's name to Calhoun; just the area of Gilmer that my ancestor lived in later became a new county called Calhoun. So my record is explanatory, but I don't know how this would be placed on WeRelate. And because many cities and counties have the same name, I have put 'Co.' on every county name to be sure to differentiate.

I've not saved census images, but have carefully transcribed the record into the notes of individuals, and see now that they will show on WeRelate as all run together; nearly undecipherable. No way am I going back into every note to put html code 'br' on every census line.

Is there any hope for my records to show up on WeRelate in usable form? Should I wait until WeRelate is more mature? I can never go back to edit all those source records. I am wiki-challenged as most of us older genealogists are going to be. But I want this to work! Should I wait? Or upload and leave this mess for somebody else to hassle with? Or just walk away? There will always be folks that don't participate; maybe I should just leave this to younger, more knowledgeable folks. Any recommendations?

After all this whining, I hesitate to even leave my name! But maybe some of these questions are legitimate things to think about.--Janiejac 13:20, 20 January 2008 (EST)

Hi Janiejac, first off one of our goals is that people don't have to do anything special with their GEDCOM's to upload them.

  • Regarding sources, we create a "MySource" page for each source in the GEDCOM. The MySource page titles start with your user name, so you're guaranteed that they won't be overwritten when someone else uploads a GEDCOM with the same title for a source. This is in contrast to Source pages, which are meant to be shared by multiple people and are created by hand. Later this year (or early next year), I plan to try to match MySource pages to the corresponding Source page (if one is found). In the meantime you're welcome to just use MySource pages. That's what most people are doing.
  • Regarding dates, whatever format you have is fine. We store the date exactly as you entered it. And we have a pretty flexible date parser that we'll use for matching Person pages.
  • Regarding places, again whatever format you have is fine. We store the place exactly as you entered it. We have a placename parser that tries to match the place you entered with a Place page. If it finds a match, it creates a link to that place page. If not, it creates a "red" link, and if you click on the link you can create a new Place page if you want. You could even link (redirect) the page you created to the current Place page for the place. Currently, the placename parser needs work. It gets confused too easily by words like Twp and Co. Improving the placename parser is on the schedule for February, as that's needed before we do match+merge. Once we've improved the placename parser we'll go through all of the people and families that have been uploaded so far and re-parse their placenames to match more of them.
  • Regarding notes, I've thought about doing this before, but it's never come up to the top of the ToDo list: It's not too difficult to automatically add line breaks in the HTML output where you have them in the note. I'll just go ahead and do this at the end of this week and see what people say.

I think the "wiki way" is to put up what you have and then make it better over time (or let others make it better over time). How about if you wait until the end of the week to give me time to fix the note issue, then upload your GEDCOM. If you don't like what you see you can delete it.--Dallan 16:25, 21 January 2008 (EST)

I've just changed how notes and source texts are displayed so that any carriage returns in them show up as line breaks in the display.--Dallan 10:51, 27 January 2008 (EST)

Delete image file [21 January 2008]

Please delete this file: Image:Kane_family-abt_1892_labeled.jpg I wish to do more editing and repost later. Thanks

Done.--Dallan 16:25, 21 January 2008 (EST)

Dashboard bug [22 January 2008]

I assume this is a bug anyway. The dashboard presentation of the trees shows "(list)" next to each tree. I assume this should yield the list of pages in the tree, but instead, it seems to be yielding the entire list of trees. I'm assuming it's a bug, since very nearly the same UI presentation on the manage trees page does indeed list the contents of the tree, and we probably don't need a list of trees for each of the user's trees!--Jrm03063 11:40, 22 January 2008 (EST)

Thanks for reporting this! It will be fixed when I put out the next set of changes at the end of the week.--Dallan 11:55, 22 January 2008 (EST)

What happened to the Family Tree page? [22 January 2008]

Dallan = somehow i cant seem to find page that lists FAMILY TREE in the heading? I wish to enter several persons? cagorske--Cagorske 14:46, 22 January 2008 (EST)

Sorry about that. We changed the menu structure and haven't had a chance to change all the help files and tutorials yet. (We're working on that now.) The "Family Tree" page has generally been replaced by the "Add" menu. So if you want to add a person page, click on "Add" in the blue menu bar, then on "Person". Then enter the name of the person you want to add.--Dallan 20:47, 22 January 2008 (EST)

Events [24 January 2008]

I am a long time genealogist, a software engineer, and a new user. I have long struggled with the best way to present information electrnically. The normal tree structure with a list of events always left me cold. I have always wanted a way bring e-life to the persons I was documenting beyond the standard genealogical data dump. The new Wiki technology made me wonder if that would finally be the answer. WeRelate proved to me that it was. Person pages let you bring folks to life. Images and sources are managed as separate objects of their own and are linked to persons. I especially like the way sources are managed. This is a tool for real genealogists! I surfed some of the other Genealogy Wikis and sources seemed to be missing.

Plus the whole purpose of the website is one person <> one entry instead of a database of GEDCOM files. The Ancestry OneWorldTree tried to make this work. It was great but there wasn't a way for the community to correct and improve the tree. The Wiki-managed collaboration of WeRelate was everything I hoped for plus a few things I hadn't thought of (like sources!).

Best of all, I live in Fort Wayne and love the Allen County Public Library. I fear spending a lot of time creating pages only to have the website die. The ACPL connection gives me hope that this won't happen.

A couple of things ...

1) Events = I use "The Master Genealogist" (TMG). My database has numerous facts/events beyond birth, death and relationships. Most often they are census events, but I also have residence events, just plain notes, and a couple of stray tags. Q) What will happen to these events when I upload my GEDCOM file? They represent a lot of work. I wish to build on them when I perform the Person edits, I do not relish the thought of re-entering the data. I am hoping they will end up somewhere in the Person file, where I can build on them later.

They will end up on the person page, under the birth/christening/death/burial events. We support over 60 different types of events. Other events are uploaded as an "Other" event, and the type of event is put into the "Description" field. If you have event types that are getting put into "Other" that you think should be added to the list of event types, just let me know and I'll add them.

2) I have followed as best I can the threads on merging. A merge process or tool was mentioned in the thread but it was unclear what the latest functionality on merging is. I have a moderately large file with about 2-3K people. I am certain to duplicate existing people and I'd like to be able to understand the merging process. I'd obviously prefer as much automation in the process as possible. Is there a FAQ describing the current state of the art?

We're still working on merge. There's been some thought and discussion, but no coding yet. Coding will begin next month, and I hope to have a first-cut at match+merge ready sometime in May. The general idea is initially to present the trees that likely overlap yours, then when you click on one of the trees to present the pairs of people within the two trees (yours and the one that you clicked on) that are likely to match, and to give you a chance to check whether you want to merge each pair. Merging two pages will append the (unique) pieces of information from one page onto the other. Every piece of information (except gender) can have multiple values, so nothing will be lost. After the merge, you or the other contributors could go into the pages and edit them to remove bad data. That's it in a nutshell, but as they say the devil is in the details.

3) Suggestion for deconflicting Multiple People - I have a Van Stone line that was in love with the name Samuel. I must have a dozen Samuel Van Stones in my file. TMG reports keep them straight wherever possible by extending their identification to name/birth year/death year. It's easy to separate Samuel Van Stone 1755-1807 from Samuel Van Stone 1777-1826, etc.

Of course you're still going to have a hundred John Smith (no years) in the WeRelate database but this approach should cut down on the number of duplicates significantly (if it is feasible). It should also make an automated merge process more precise, cutting down on the number of spurious merge candidates.

Although there's not a lot of academic research in how to best merge two trees, there is a fair amount of research in how to best match individuals. State of the art in matching is to use a variety of "features": name, birth date, birth place, names of relatives, etc. A total score is generated based upon the features that match and the ones that don't. The candidate pair is presented to the user if the total score lies above some threshold.

Sorry if this isn't the best way to make these suggestions. I just started this evening and I wasn't sure of the best way to make suggestions. --Srblac 21:45, 23 January 2008 (EST)

Leaving a message on my talk page or (perhaps even better) on the WeRelate talk:Merging and downloading trees is the best way to make suggestions on this topic. Glad you like the site!--Dallan 15:40, 24 January 2008 (EST)

Hello, I too use TMG and my file has over 56k folks in it. Here at WeRelate they do not accept files that large as it slows down the functionality. So I break it down and upload smaller GEDCOMS. I have been a user here at WeRelate a while and wanted to assure you that all the "added" tags that we can create with TMG do get imported when you upload. However the name of the tag gets changed to "other" and then the "real name" of the tag is put under the date and place, for mine anyway. You can see an example at one of my Powell family pages.

The Merge thingy here has not been perfected and I will let Dallan answer you on that issue. For now I am just uploading a new GEDCOM every once in a while if I have done a lot of updating on my database here at home, to keep what I have at WeRelate current. The problem with that is that I can not do any editing of my own Wiki pages or those changes will be lost when I update. Right now the only way to update is to totally delete your GEDCOM from WeRelate and then upload the new one. So I do no work on my Wiki pages for that reason. I was uploading photos, but realized all links to those would be lost when I do an update, so I stopped. But I think it is a great idea to be able to upload and link photos. I have high hopes for the Merge to be implemented (late this year) and then be able to upload updates and not loose photo links in the process. At the present time, as long as you only build a database here at WeRelate, page by page, all is groovy! But folks wanting to upload GEDCOMS and then add photo links are left in the dust (if you ever want to update with a new GEDCOM). This site is developing and improving daily, but just now it is very difficult to learn, and once you learn how to navigate it is easy to forget if you aren't back here on a regular basis to use those skills! But I feel the potential for it being a great collaboration site is worth waiting for... So I keep returning. --Msscarlet1957 09:03, 24 January 2008 (EST)

That's true. I think the first "match+merge" functionality we need to implement is to match your new tree with your old one so that you can re-upload without losing your online edits! Hopefully the new drop-down menus made the site a bit easier to use. The new search functionality should help as well. Thanks for hanging in there! :-) --Dallan 15:40, 24 January 2008 (EST)

That would be great Dallan if I could not loose My edits I could begin actually playing with the wiki pages and uploading photos! Right now as it is I am stalled dead in the water... But I am hanging in there and hoping and waiting for it to be working properly! :-) --Msscarlet1957 22:22, 24 January 2008 (EST)

Not receiving change notice emails [25 January 2008]

I thought things had been awfully quiet on WeRelate; I haven't received a "change" email on any of the pages on my watch list (including this page and the Watercooler) in 3 or 4 weeks. I've checked my spam filter, but they're not there, either. Any ideas? --Ajcrow 17:50, 24 January 2008 (EST)

I just check my dashboard and don't rely on the notifications anymore. They seem to be rather sporadic. --Beth 21:57, 24 January 2008 (EST)

When you do get a notice you have to visit the page via the link that is within the email or you will no longer get notices.

Go to an old email notice and read you will find this line: There will be no other notifications in case of further changes unless you visit this page.

so I always click on the link and view the page and then after that delete the email so I know for sure I have "visited" the page. So far so good, I get all the notices! hope this helps ya --Msscarlet1957 22:19, 24 January 2008 (EST)

Thanks for the heads-up on the notification. Is there a setting somewhere that we could opt to be notified daily if there are changes -- in other words, a daily email of "here are the changes that have happened on your watchlist in the last 24 hours"? If I no longer receive notification if I don't visit the site means that I will miss pages being changed (as has already happened.) With the volume of mail that I get, it is impossible for me to click on the link just to go there so I'll receive future notices. Or maybe instead of a daily "here are the changes that happened on your Watchlist today" email, there could be an option for a weekly "here are the changes on your Watchlist this week" email. As it is, if you don't click it, you've effectively turned off that page from your watchlist. --Ajcrow 07:59, 25 January 2008 (EST)

Ajcrow, This is already in place "sort of" if you go to the drop down menus up at the top right on each page. click on "My Relate" and drop down to "Watchlist" and click on that. A window will open that shows you:

Recently-changed pages

   * Show all pages changed since last visited

Below are the last 32 changes in the last 7 days, as of 09:50, 25 January 2008.

Show last 1 | 2 | 6 | 12 hours 1 | 3 | 7 days

(on the real page the above options are actual links that do something) Check it out, I think this is what you are looking for. But it does not arrive in an email. You have to return to WeRelate on occasion and check out your watchlist page. --Msscarlet1957 08:58, 25 January 2008 (EST)

I'm aware of that feature. But the email notification is really nice, too. I just wish it wouldn't effectively turn itself off if I don't view the page before the next change is made. --Ajcrow 15:45, 25 January 2008 (EST)

I've experienced this too. Re-notifying people of further changes to a page after a day has passed if they didn't visit the page after they got the last email is on the todo list right after improving search, which should be done in the next two weeks.--Dallan 10:44, 27 January 2008 (EST)

Problem with redirecting person page and tree index [27 January 2008]

Hi Dallan,

Don't know if I caused this or if it is a bug. Somehow I ended up with too many Mansel Cokers. I have Mansel Coker (1). I added a second Mansel Coker but he was Mansel Coker (3). But the page for Mansel Coker (2) had not been edited. I redirected #3 to #2. Not today. But when I added a third Mansel, that one was Mansel Coker (4). So I now have redirected Mansel Coker (4) to Mansel Coker (3)today.

So there should be #4 floating around somewhere.

But after all this, which I am sure is not very clear; in my tree index I now have Mansel Coker (1) and Mansel Coker (2) which are correct. But I have duplicates for #3, 2 with the exact same entries for Mansel Coker (3).

Help! --Beth 19:54, 26 January 2008 (EST)

Hi Dallan,

This morning I no longer have the duplicate Mansel Coker (3) in the tree index. I guess the problem fixed itself. Have a great day. --Beth 09:41, 27 January 2008 (EST)

It looks like there's a Person:Mansel Coker (4) page that redirects to Person:Mansel Coker (3). Your tree includes just Mansel Coker (1), (2), and (3). If you redirect a page while the Family Tree Explorer is open, it removes the redirected page from your tree and adds the redirect target to your tree (if it's not already in your tree), but there may be a bug where both pages show up temporarily in the Family Tree Explorer until you shut it down and start it up again.--Dallan 10:44, 27 January 2008 (EST)

Adding pages to tree automatically not working [28 January 2008]

Hi Dallan,

This seems to be broken again. I found a page purely by accident this morning when I decided to check under what links here on a place page. That page is just out there in la la land somewhere. The edits are not on my watch list because one of my research assistants added several new pages in the tree and because they were not automatically added to the tree, I am not watching pages in the tree that I am primarily working on.

I presently have 2 other users editing the main tree which is great but I need to edit their pages until they understand how WeRelate works. How can I make sure that I am watching all of the pages that they edit? --Beth 08:25, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Hi Beth, If one of your research assistants adds a page, it's not going to be added to your tree and it's not going to be added to your watchlist, so that's a problem. I can think of three ways to solve this:

  1. Give your research assistants your WeRelate password so that he/she can log on as you. It's alright to be logged in on multiple machines simultaneously. If you want, you can change your password beforehand by clicking on "Preferences" in the "MyRelate" menu. This is the easiest solution.
  2. Alternatively, at the end of each day/week you can go to your research assistants' user profile pages, and click on "Contributions" in the "more" menu. There you will see a list of pages that they have edited. Click on each page and add it to your tree.
  3. Finally, if you can afford to not worry about whether pages added by your research assistants are in your tree for the next few months, you can wait for a new screen that will be available this Spring. As part of implementing match+merge, we will have to create a screen that will list everyone that is linked to someone in your tree but is not personally in your tree. This screen will give you a chance to add them to your tree if you want, so you could add them once this screen has been developed.
  4. Or if you want, every once in awhile you can give me the user names of your research assistants and I'll add all of the pages in the trees to your tree :-).

--Dallan 15:45, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Delete person [6 February 2008]

Hi Dallan,

Sorry I got carried away and forgot that I had not established this person's death yet.

Please delete Person: Osie Stewart (1).

Thanks. --Beth 21:29, 5 February 2008 (EST)

That page doesn't appear to exist. Any ideas? (Also, you can delete the page yourself if you're the only person watching it by clicking on the "More" menu in the upper right-hand corner.)--Dallan 23:48, 5 February 2008 (EST)

Hmm! Well, Dallan, that person did have a red link and I removed the child from the family page, so I assume that deleted the page. I do not find a selection under the More menu for deleting a page; which selection is it? --Beth 00:57, 6 February 2008 (EST)

Hi Dallan, I found delete; the More menu changes depending on which type of page one is on in WeRelate. I did not realize that. --Beth 07:09, 6 February 2008 (EST)

Family Page video tutorial [12 February 2008]

Dallan -- I love the new video tutorials! I noticed, however, that the link to the "Adding Family Pages" video brings up a blank page (just the WeRelate header and page title at the top.) --Ajcrow 07:39, 7 February 2008 (EST)

That happened to me once as well, but I thought it was just me. I've sent a support request to, who hosts the videos. Could you do me a favor to help me to track this down? Could you try going to the video again, and

  1. wait about 60 seconds to see if it's just because their servers are slow, and if it still doesn't show up,
  2. go to the Adobe Flash website and install the latest version of Flash.

When it happened to me, I installed the latest version of flash and that fixed the problem, but it may have just been a coincidence. If it fixes the problem for you as well, then I'll know that that's the "fix". Thanks.--Dallan 19:33, 7 February 2008 (EST)

Just a quick update. I called the TechSmith people yesterday who said that this was a known problem with their current infrastructure, and that they were moving everything over to a different hosting center last night to hopefully resolve the problem. They also mentioned that occasionally people have problems when they install an upgrade of Flash in IE7 that the old version isn't completely removed, which can cause problems. But since you could view some videos, it doesn't sound like an old version of Flash was the problem for you. I'll research this Flash version problem more and add a help message about how to re-install Flash if you're not seeing the video. If you notice videos not showing up again, please let me know. (I've tried several times today and the all show up.) Thanks!--Dallan 22:54, 9 February 2008 (EST)

Dallan -- sorry for not responding sooner. A project for history class was calling. :-) All of the videos seem to be working for me now. FWIW, I'm using Firefox 2.0; I'm not sure what version of Flash I have installed. --Ajcrow 21:40, 11 February 2008 (EST)

No problem. Thanks for checking that they're working now. The fact that they're all working for you now points to the cause of the problem being TechSmith's old infrastructure, which I'm glad they've fixed!--Dallan 22:14, 11 February 2008 (EST)

Gedcom glitch [18 February 2008]

Hi Dallan, should I send a message to the users that signed up after the glitch regarding gedcom uploads, or just wait to hear from the user if they have questions. --Beth 08:47, 17 February 2008 (EST)

In reviewing the log files it appears that since the bug was introduced, 7 people tried to upload GEDCOM's between 5MB and 10MB in size that didn't get processed due to the bug. I can identify 4 of them and I'll send them email messages. For the other three that I can't identify, I think we can just wait to hear if they have questions. I'm glad that User:Bmarkjones reported the problem.--Dallan 10:59, 18 February 2008 (EST)

Okay, great and thanks.--Beth 17:53, 18 February 2008 (EST)

Digital Library [25 February 2008]

In order to be a werelate good citizen, I've had to cut down the size of a number of images. I assume the digital library will allow for higher-resolution scans? I have a number of images that I would like to see kept at higher resolution than werelate encourages. I think I would like to take a swing at the digital library. Thanks.--Jrm03063 10:13, 23 February 2008 (EST)

Thanks! I'll let you know as soon as it's up and running.--Dallan 20:50, 25 February 2008 (EST)

Digital library alpha testing [19 March 2008]

re your recent message

By the way, I'm thinking that in the future we'll encourage people to add source transcriptions and images not on the source pages themselves but in the digital library, and then add links from the Source pages to the digital library items. Anyone interested in trying out the alpha-launch (means really, really early version) of the digital library for the purpose of providing feedback, please let me know.--Dallan 01:30, 23 February 2008 (EST)

I'd be happy to alpha test this. I'm looking forward to haveing the digital library functionality, as I think it solves some of my basic problems with current sourcing. Bill 15:36, 23 February 2008 (EST)

Thanks! I'll let you know as soon as it's up and running.--Dallan 20:50, 25 February 2008 (EST)

Hi Dallan,

Add me for the alpha testing of the digital library. This is fantastic; creating the Afriquest database. I just sent several documents to them today. Will one be able to upload documents directly to the database when this is completed? --Beth 20:02, 19 March 2008 (EDT)

Thank-you! I've left a message on your talk page with a few instructions. Yes, you'll be able to upload documents directly to the digital library.--Dallan 02:35, 20 March 2008 (EDT)

Getting my Gedcom to upload [29 February 2008]


I want to thank you and WeRelate for successfully uploading my Gedcom. Frankly, I was quite surprised at the follow-through to get this to work. And I didn't even know it worked until I started getting email suggesting that I review edits already being made to my pages. I really like what I see so far and will now read the tutorials to better understand how to respond to those making edits etc. Some folks are for example adding parents to my line but without sources, something I have always tried to avoid.

Keep up the great work on this.


Jeff from Concord, MA.--Jbernard 17:42, 28 February 2008 (EST)

Hi Jeff, thanks for the comment! And I agree - asking people to provide sources is a good idea.--Dallan 08:57, 29 February 2008 (EST)


I received the following error when clicking on one of my family members in the Pedigree and Descendants view of FTE:

 A runtime error has occurred.
 Do you wish to debug?
 Line 73
 Error: ‘Chosen’ is null or not an object

This error occured at Person: Living Buckley (38)

Any ideas?

Jeff--Jbernard 12:34, 29 February 2008 (EST)

Thanks for letting me know about this. It was an error in the script that displayed amazon ads. I've fixed it now.--Dallan 19:09, 1 March 2008 (EST)

Remove image [3 March 2008]


Please remove this image; Image:Mrs. J. R. Coker funeral home record.jpg. I don't think this is covered under fair use; I believe that I need permission which I have not acquired. Thanks. --Beth 00:42, 4 March 2008 (EST)

I took care of it.--Dallan 01:05, 4 March 2008 (EST)

Pedi-map error [14 March 2008]

Hi Dallan. A new user is reporting a problem viewing the pedi-map. Could you check out the following message on my talk page please? Thanks! :) --Ronni 10:40, 14 March 2008 (EDT)

Deleting test gedcom and related pages [17 March 2008]

On Friday I uploaded a test GEDCOM to see how everything works here and was greatly impressed. In preparation for uploading my real GEDCOM, I deleted the tree for the gedcom I loaded up. When I loaded it up I didn't realise that the generated pages wouldn't be deleted automatically if the tree gets deleted. Unfortunately my test gedcom had a bunch of people in it with information I didn't really want to put up. Do I have to delete them all individually or is there some easier way than going through all the person pages and all of the family pages?

Sorry to be a pest - is there any way to get rid of the pages where I (pfred60) is flagged as the contributor (in Person and family area anyway).

Thanks Peter--Pfred60 08:41, 16 March 2008 (EDT)

Sorry about that - they do get deleted by a background process, but it looks like the background process crashed yesterday. I restarted it and they're gone now.--Dallan 22:19, 16 March 2008 (EDT)

To clarify what you have stated: If a tree (created from a gedcom) is deleted, the person and family pages for entries generated by the gedcom load will automatically be removed (via a background task). What happens if someone else is watching it or additional content has been added? Does it still get deleted? Thanks--Pfred60 22:34, 16 March 2008 (EDT)

That's right -- person and family (and MySource) pages in your tree are removed by a background task that normally runs within a few minutes of your deleting the tree -- unless someone else is watching the page. In that case the page doesn't get removed. If someone else has edited the page but isn't watching it, then it does get removed. Once we get match+merge working, the plan is to have a screen that will show you a list of people/families not in your tree that are linked to people/families that are in your tree, so that you can decide which of those pages (if any) you want to add to your watchlist.--Dallan 23:27, 16 March 2008 (EDT)

Digital Library alpha testing [18 March 2008]

Hi Dallan

What kind of format do you want to use for bug reports? And how do you want bug reports submitted

How about if you send them by email (, since there will probably be a number of them and they're not going to be interesting to most people watching this page.

For starters:

Sign in worked fine.

On the page to modify my profile:

my given name appeared in the text box for last name, along with my last name. The given name text box was empty. System seemed to accept my modifications of the preference page.

Yes, DSpace has separate fields for given and surname, but MediaWiki just has a single full-name field. I'll combine the given and surname fields into a fullname field in DSpace to be compatible.

I did a little browsing just to get a feel for the site. Took a look at page ""; I was able to read it fine. Navigated away, and came back via back button on my browser. Now the page appeared blank. When I browsed backwards from there, every page I'd been to was blank.

I went back to your invitation and used the link you provided, and came to the same page as I initially reached (based on the address) but now it appeared blank.

So that pretty much stops me from doing any more with this tonight.

I just tried it now and it worked ok. I had to take the site down several times last night; perhaps you caught it during one of those times? Does the same problem happen today?

Bill--Q 23:08, 18 March 2008 (EDT)

test [19 March 2008]


A. Third "button" from left says "Describe". So does the fourth.

B. Button's look like they should be clickable, but are obviously not intended to be clickable---possibly need a different design so folks aren't confused. The "Buttons" are much larger than the "next" button below, which may be a bit confusing to some. (After you figure out how it works, though, it shouldn't be a problem.

Good point. I'll address both A and B in the next couple of weeks.

C. Tried a submission of a fairly lengthy title, and the system hung, and eventually gave a message asking to try again, and if the problem peristed, submit a description. I tried again, Same thing.

Title was "Records of the First church in Huntington, Long Island, 1723-1779. Being the record kept by the Rev. Ebenezer Prime, the pastor during those years ; Containing lists of members of the church, and of baptisms and of marriages, a confession of faith, accounts of trials of members, and various other matters pertaining to the affairs of the church, with full index of names"

Message was "Internal System Error

The system has experienced an internal error. Please try to do what you were doing again, and if the problem persists, please contact us so we can fix the problem."

D. Tried a submission of a short title and the system gave a message "Error reading the source page (please try again later)"

Bill--Q 09:10, 19 March 2008 (EDT)

I can see both C and D errors in the log and I think I've addressed them now. The internal system error isn't due to the long title but to a Source wiki page with an unexpected format. I've written a work-around, but can you tell me the title of the Source wiki page you had entered? The "error reading the source page" is due to the Source wiki page not being found - I fixed this so that the system tells you so instead of giving an error.
I'll email this and future comments.
Thank-you! And sorry for all the bugs. I really have submitted several test files successfully. It seems whenever someone else tests software they always find things that you overlooked.--Dallan 13:26, 19 March 2008 (EDT)

You're welcome, but I believe you made it clear this was an alpha test, so I was pretty much expecting issues to crop up quickly. I'll send future bug reports directly, in similar format, unless you have something specific. Don't know how tight you want to be with the formalisms. Sometimes the requirements for things like this get fairly heavy. But that doesn't appear to be the case here (thankfully!). Much nice to just do the work, with out all the fiddle faddle. Q 14:07, 19 March 2008 (EDT)
No formalisms :-) thanks for finding the bugs!--Dallan 02:35, 20 March 2008 (EDT)

Multiple uploads [8 April 2008]

Dallan. User Jrm3063 has been editing some of my pages so his/her talk page is on my watch list. I noticed that he/she had started merging pages for Richard,I of Normandy and Gunnora. This piqued my interest so I took a look at them and I discovered that a user, Tjlamb had uploaded a Gedcom including this family some 80 times during a 3 hour period on Nov 14,2007. Is there some way to remove this stuff in one fell swoop rather than merging thousands of articles? In addition to this, the information is badly flawed. I believe the genealogy of ancient and/or historical persons should be restricted to scholarly constructed data, if it is to be included at all on this site. What is your opinion on including mythical genealogies such as that from the Anglo Saxon Chronicles, Merovingian descents and descents from Adam and Eve, etc.? I firmly believe they should be excluded or relegated to their own site. Rather than repeat the work of others more capable than we, I would for example, simply include a source reference. A wonderful example is Steward Baldwins "Henry Project" at this is a competently researched and well documented work. Rather than copy it or compete with it, it seems better to reference it. It might be worth archiving it just in case something happens to Stewarts site.--Scot 18:17, 6 April 2008 (EDT)

Hi, I tried searching WeRelate for user "Tjlamb", but the only reference I could find to tjlamb was on this page. Could you check the spelling and let me know? We're supposed to detect and stop a single user from uploading overlapping GEDCOM's, so I'm interested to check into this. If it turns out that we didn't detect the overlap in this case, I can delete entire trees at a time pretty easily.

Good, this is the sort of thing that could cause this site to end up a jumble of misinformation like most of the the other online databases. I am hopeful that doesn't happen, and that it becomes a data base of constant improvement.--Scot 12:50, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
If I could jump in for a sec. The "Tjlamb" being referred to (not sure of the spelling either) is the user that had a large gedcom (17.5 mb) that wouldn't upload and you had to increase the size limit for him. That could be part of the problem perhaps. He uploaded his gedcom and haven't seen him online since. --Ronni 12:19, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
Sorry it's Thomasjlamb, somehow I shortened it in my mind. He uploaded every few minutes for over 3 hours on that one afternoon.--Scot 12:26, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
I think rather than uploading every few minutes, you're seeing different timestamps on the pages because it took the GEDCOM uploader several hours to import the GEDCOM.--Dallan 12:33, 7 April 2008 (EDT)

I don't think so,user jrm03063 commented "How could 4 submitters generate 70 pages for a single family?, arrgh" I then looked at a single person, "Gonnor De Crepon" (properly Gunnora) and found 88 pages for her, 80 of them submiited by thomasjlamb with time stamps spread over the 3 hour period. I noticed several othe individuals with lots of duplicates as well, but didn't delve into them. I see that jrm03063 has already redirected alot of them, but I am not sure if he/she realizes the magnitude of the task before him/her. If you look at the page Family:William Longsword and Sporte De Bretagne (3) ( Guillaume/William I "of Normandy" Sprota) you will see multiple alternates for each family member all submitted by Mr. lamb.--Scot 13:18, 7 April 2008 (EDT)

User name is User:Thomasjlamb --Ronni 12:20, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
Ok, I see this now, but it looks like he uploaded just one GEDCOM. Is the issue that there are a lot of duplicate pages for the same individual within this GEDCOM, or that the GEDCOM contains one duplicate page for a lot of different individuals? Could you give some example duplicate page titles?--Dallan 12:29, 7 April 2008 (EDT)

As far as including mythical or biblical genealogies, I like to let the community discuss questions about content. Perhaps you could initiate a discussion on this topic on the watercooler?

Regarding including well-documented early genealogies, I'm all for that, although I'd prefer to create wiki pages for them so that people could link their genealogies to those wiki pages. There are a number of possible options. I know that the LDS Church has/had a "Medieval Unit" whose responsibility was to come up with a "gold standard" for pre-1600 genealogies for certain European countries. If there's a way to get a hold of that and generate wiki pages based upon that information, or generate wiki pages based upon other well-documented sources so that people could merge/replace the early genealogies that they upload with well-documented wiki pages for those people, that seems ideal. We could possibly even mark those pages as "protected" so that they couldn't be edited except by system administrators if there was a group of people willing to manage these pages.--Dallan 11:15, 7 April 2008 (EDT)

The only way I know how to access the data from the Medieval families Committee is from the Ancestral File submitters info which is buried in the AF. They provided no source documentation when they uploaded the data. I know that Paul Reed resigned over the"Gold Standard" issue. Some Committee members were willing to include anthing that could be found in a book, and we all know that a lot of spurious information has been published. Paul insisted that that criterion was not good enough. Perhaps someone there in Salt Lake knows how to get a hold of their work and the source documentation for it. I have seen a lot of data in the AF on Medieval Portugal submitted by a Pat Ward of the "MDC" As far as creating Wiki pages from sources such as Stewart Baldwin's site, I'm not certain how that would work due to copyright issues. How much is fair use?--Scot 12:50, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
It looks like all of Thomasjlamb's duplicates were all part of the same GEDCOM upload. He only uploaded the GEDCOM once, and we don't check for duplicates within a GEDCOM. Based upon the large number of duplicates within the GEDCOM, I'd be ok with removing the GEDCOM. I'd just need to let Thomasjlamb know what I'm doing and why.
Regarding creating pages from other sites, you can't copyright facts, so I don't think it's a matter of copyright. We ought to get permission though, and we would want to provide a link to where we got the information from. Regarding the Medieval Unit, I'll try to contact someone in that group.--18:56, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

Norman genealogy and the lamb upload fiasco... [15 April 2008]

I meant well, in trying to merge all this junk down, but I'm afraid it's a total beast. I've certainly merged over a 1000 pages already, and there seem to be plenty left. It looks to me like what the user in question did, was to fully duplicate Norman genealogy for a number of his ancestors that may have gone back that far.

I'm afraid that my efforts at merging may actually get in the way of you clearing things away. I don't want to "unwatch" my complete set of stuff, but if you wanted to unwatch any page of mine that was in a lamb tree (so the delete would go through) that would be just fine.

How about if I delete the pages in his GEDCOM that you are not watching? That should remove all of the pages you haven't already merged, right?--Dallan 18:56, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
Well, it couldn't make things worse...
The tree is being deleted right now. Please let me know if there's anything else I can do. I hope to have "match" and "merge" buttons for individual people and families (not for entire trees - that will take longer) by the end of the month.--Dallan 13:38, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Any chance we can leverage the code that detects whether a person is living to detect whether they have a pre-1600 birthdate? I don't think we need to preclude pre-1600 genealogy altogether, or require a committee all the time, but purging it from any inbound GEDCOM seems pretty reasonable (unless by special arrangement).--Jrm03063 17:39, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

We could do this, although rather than precluding people from creating pre-1600 pages, I think it would be a better experience if a user's pre-1600 pages that matched existing pages were merged into those pages as part of the GEDCOM upload. The match/merge code should be implemented sometime in the summer; if we felt that we had a pretty complete set of pre-1600 pages for a particular country, we could automatically merge pre-1600 pages for that country in GEDCOM uploads. (This would be an exception to the usual policy of not automatically-merging pages, but if we felt our existing set of pages was already pretty complete, I think the exception would be justified in this case.)--Dallan 18:56, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
Whatever you're comfortable with. I wish there was some way to ask folks not to upload data they really aren't seriously working on.
I agree. Once I get match/merge working as part of the upload process, I think that extra step will help filter out non-serious users.--Dallan 20:07, 8 April 2008 (EDT)
I just wrote a long response here and somehow lost it upon saving the edit. I am afraid the problem is much greater than that created by Mr Lamb. I found a page for Richard Normandy (126) one for unknown Richard I, one for Richard Gunnora and so forth. Because surnames were not in use at those times but people feel compelled to put something in the surname field.This invites any number of variations for a single person even more for a family making match merge virtually impossible. Perhaps all data for persons prior to 1600 should be purged and entries be limited to single articles with source documentation, thereby avoiding massive uploads of junk genealogy gleaned from questionable sources and making it easy for a monitor to evaluate the quality of the entry.
If we had a group of people who were committed to create a "gold standard" of pre-1600 genealogy I could see doing that, but without such a group I think I'd rather see how good we can get at matching+merging them first. If we realize that there are records for only a few people before 1600 and that names for these people tend to vary, we can relax the match threshold for pre-1600 data. I'm not saying I'm unwilling to block pre-1600 genealogy; it's just that we haven't even tried to match them yet and deciding to block at this point seems premature.--Dallan 13:38, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Similarly I sense a problem with source entry. the default seems to be mysource which I interpret to be private papers in the possession of the submitter. For example there are 75 entries for Savage under mysource. I had problems with this at first. Also for a Source entry if there is the slightest change in the title it appears a new source is created. Sometimes when entering a source reference, a drop down list appears and if I am quick, I can select from the list, but usually it rapidly vanishes and I can't get it to return. Even so often when I test the link, I am taken to an unedited page.--Scot 20:26, 8 April 2008 (EDT)--Scot 20:20, 8 April 2008 (EDT)

MySource's are created for private papers and also for the sources in GEDCOM uploads because most of them are nearly devoid of citation information and attempting to match sources in GEDCOM files to Source pages is a task for next year. Regarding duplicate Source pages though, I realize this is a problem. Once I get the new search functionality working, I'll be able to add a function to check for near-duplicate existing Source titles when you're about to add a new Source page and ask you if one of the existing Source pages is what you're looking for. But the existing search functionality doesn't allow that.
What browser and OS are you using? The drop-down list isn't supposed to disappear, although I've heard that others have had problems with this as well.--Dallan 13:38, 10 April 2008 (EDT)
I am using Firefox and windows XP.
If I enter a source on a person page it sometimes creates a new source even when the source exists. I've even tried visiting the source first, copying the name and pasting to the webpage and it still created a new source. I have tried renaming a Mysource changing to a Source and a duplicate My source is created. If I try placing a redirect in the notes field as you suggested, It givs the errror message about being outside of the Namespace.--Scot 13:34, 11 April 2008 (EDT)
I wish I could peer over your shoulder to see what's going on. Could you give me an example of a Person/Family page that you've saved where you've copied the title of a Source page into a source citation and it doesn't link to the Source page? Also, when you redirect a MySource page to a Source page, are you sure to include the "Source:" part of the source title within the brackets after the #redirect?--Dallan 18:01, 15 April 2008 (EDT)
That's it, I left off the "Source:" from the redirect.--Scot 19:55, 15 April 2008 (EDT)

Just a note on the pre-1600 genealogy -- If we're going to do something to limit gedcoms with people before standard sources are generally available, I think a better "flag" date is 1550 or 1500. There are lots of parish registers and other information that's revealed births and parents for Great Migration era immigrants; that data shouldn't be lumped in with the medieval line problem. Many of those registers started sometime in the 1500s.--Amelia 22:39, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Thanks. I knew the "cutoff" date was in 1500-1600, but wasn't sure exactly where. If we do something to limit GEDCOM's, I'll make it 1500, not 1600. Another thing is I'm not sure the limit would apply equally to all countries. I've heard that extended genealogies are more common in Asian countries, but I'm not sure how well documented they are.--Dallan 22:48, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Source problems [10 April 2008]

My data base was created in PAF over a 16 year period. because, PAF(and I)changed the way sources are entered thru the many iterations of PAF, when I uploaded my GEDCOM many if not all sources are entered as mysources and most should be sources. Is there a way to list all pages that list a particular mysource so the source reference can be edited?--Scot 20:13, 9 April 2008 (EDT)

There are two things you can do:
  • Erase everything in the big edit box at the bottom of the MySource page and replace it with "#redirect [[Source:title of the source page]]" (without the quotes). That redirects the MySource page to a Source page so that every time you click on a link to that MySource page you'll be automatically directed to the proper Source page. If you do this, please note that Source pages are generally for entire collections, not individual records. So you wouldn't create a Source page for a single individual's birth record. You would create a Source page for the collection of birth records available at a county courthouse and record the birth certificate number as part of the source citation on the Person page. This way Source pages can be re-used by others.
  • You can get a list of all pages that link to the MySource page by clicking on the More menu for the MySource page, then on "What links here". This works for any page.--Dallan 13:38, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

When I do the procedure #1 I get an error message that says redirect outside of namespace--Scot 16:53, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Are you sure you're redirecting a MySource page to a Source page? I just redirected MySource:Scot/Ancestral File (R) to Source:Ancestral File as an example. Being able to redirect MySource pages to Source pages is an exception to the general rule that you can't redirect a page to another namespace.
When I did the redirect, I didn't copy everything over. If you want to unredirect it, click here, click on the "edit" link next to the revision on the left, and press "Save". Otherwise, feel free to edit the Source page and add the additional information. You can also click on that link to see exactly how I redirected the page.--Dallan 17:29, 10 April 2008 (EDT)

Redirect problems [18 April 2008]

Never mind, I figured it out. sorry.--Scot 16:51, 18 April 2008 (EDT) Sometimes when I try to do a redirect it won't work eg I entered the following: "#redirect Person:Joanna Blessing (1)" when I previewed the page I get this error message "Redirect is outside of namespace" What am I doing wrong?--Scot 16:48, 18 April 2008 (EDT)

Hi again [23 April 2008]

Been a long time; I wanted to reach out and say hi, and see how you are doing! -- Brad Patrick 01:58, 23 April 2008 (EDT)

Hi Brad! I keep thinking about you. I always plan to contact you once "X" is done, but then it seems like there's always another "X" to be done before the website is ready to show you. Since we last spoke,
  • A group of volunteers spent several months reviewing and correcting the place wiki pages. We now have pretty good wiki pages for places.
  • We created a few video tutorials, and volunteers reviewed and corrected the text help pages.
  • We greatly improved the pedigree maps (example).
  • The website has undergone various usability enhancements.
  • We've decided upon and partially implemented a better approach to source pages.
  • We just launched a limited early-release digital library.
  • We're now at just under 2 million person and family pages.
Still to do,
  • I'm in the middle of re-doing search.
  • Matching and merging pages for duplicate individuals and families.
  • Match needs to be integrated in with add, so that when you add a person/family page you're presented with a list of possible existing matches.
  • Gedcom re-upload needs to update the wiki pages with any changes made in the GEDCOM file, and notify the uploader of conflicts with online edits.
  • We need to review and correct the source pages just like we reviewed and corrected the place pages last fall.
Search should be done in the next couple of weeks. The rest are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. I'll send you an email with further details.--Dallan 16:21, 24 April 2008 (EDT)

(waiting to be cached) [27 April 2008]

I see this on all persons in my tree except for the home person and I can't seem to find out what it means (waiting to be cached)--Davrchy 18:07, 26 April 2008 (EDT)

That message is displayed while the system is trying to cache the pages locally on your hard drive for improved performance. Normally it's displayed for only a few seconds while the page is downloaded, so I'm not sure why it's not going away in your case. Do you see a dialog box pop up asking to use some hard disk space? Answering "yes" to that should address the issue.--Dallan 10:06, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

Problem went away when I closed Mozilla Firefox and used Microsoft Explorer.--Davrchy 11:52, 27 April 2008 (EDT)

That's very odd. I'm not sure what would cause it to work in one browser and not in another, since the Flash player (the family tree explorer runs in flash) should be the same for both.--Dallan 14:34, 28 April 2008 (EDT)

FTE caching problem [3 May 2008]

Hi there Dallan... I seem to be having a caching problem with the FTE. I'm using Firefox. New pages that I add to my Tree don't seem to want to stay. I'll see the colored box in the left side frame, but when I click on it, it turns grey and says the page is not part of the tree. The only way for me to get it to stay is to clear my cache. But the next page I add will do the same thing and I'll have to clear my cache again. This problem has been occurring for a couple of days now. In the meantime, I'm still enjoying WeRelate! Hope you are too. <g> --Ronni 10:46, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

Argh. You're right. There does seem to be a problem. I'll fix this tomorrow.--Dallan 20:01, 3 May 2008 (EDT)

Notifications [28 May 2008]

Nope i havent received any notifications yet to changes bye email. I know my provider doesnt have reverse lookup set up so could this be causing a problem on the email?--Jeffjahn 11:08, 28 May 2008 (EDT)

I just sent you a separate email on this. I think the problem is due (at least in part) because your "Email me when..." options in Preferences are unchecked. You can turn them back on by clicking on Preferences in the MyRelate menu, then checking the boxes in the "E-mail" section and saving the page. Please let me know if you're still not getting emails after you do this.--Dallan 12:52, 28 May 2008 (EDT)

Place Deleted [30 May 2008]

I need to have this place page deleted. Had it listed in the wrong township. Place:St. Martin Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, Van Buren, Keokuk, Iowa, United States Thanks--Jeffjahn 15:05, 30 May 2008 (EDT)

done.--Dallan 19:03, 30 May 2008 (EDT)

nFS [19 June 2008]

Dallan, I just heard about nFS today, can you tell me how this will affect what you are doing? It seems that they are proposing to create another database with massive amounts of misinformation. I am being told it will render all other Wiki sites obsolete. Why are they re-inventing the wheel? We will be having our Austin Family convention in SLC July 25 thru the 27th, [[1]]. Is there a chance you or someone fro your organization could speak to our group about your project?--Scot 15:17, 30 May 2008 (EDT)

nFS is an interesting project. Here are some differences:

  • Their metaphor is that every person is a "folder" and every contributor writes to a separate page in the folder. There are two views: a details view and a summary view. In the details view you see all of the possible values for each field that have been contributed by any contributor. In the summary view you see one value for each field. As of the latest version, anyone can change the values that appear on the summary view. But a history of changes over time is not kept.
  • It's not collaborative. You don't get notified when someone adds information to one of the folders you have a page in, or when someone changes the summary view for that person. So if your cousin changes the birthdate you've entered on the summary view for your grandfather, or merges him with someone else, you won't find out about it unless you happen to notice it the next time you look at your grandfather. Also, there's no place for you and your cousin to carry on a conversation on the page. You have to communicate by email, so others coming along later won't see the reasoning that led you and your cousin to the conclusion that you did.
  • It's missing features that are useful for sourcing: You can't upload document images (or any pictures for that matter). Sources cannot be shared among multiple people, which means you have to re-enter the source title, author, publication information, etc. every time you reference the source. There's no concept of a separate "source" page like there is in WeRelate and desktop genealogy programs.
  • It's not a desktop replacement. You can't alphabetically list the people in your "tree" or search on just the people in your "tree" because there's no concept of "your tree". This makes navigating a large tree difficult because all navigation has to be done from the pedigree view.
  • It's one-way. Once you upload a GEDCOM you cannot remove it, even if it has errors and you'd like to start over. You have to delete people you uploaded one at a time. Also, there's currently no way to export information.

So I wouldn't say nFS will render wiki sites obsolete. They're taking a different approach. I think that the recently-added ability for anyone to change the information that appears in the summary view without notifying other contributors of the change or keeping a history of changes could be a problem. We'll have to wait and see what develops.--Dallan 13:39, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

BTW, one of us might be able to come to Austin; would you be willing to pay for airfare from Minneapolis? Send me an email and we can talk further.

Bug in FTE [31 May 2008]

Hi Dallan, I am not able to add a page to my tree by selecting the + sign in the FTE window. I can however still add a page by selecting the tree and + on the menu bar. --Beth 17:02, 31 May 2008 (EDT)

Sorry about that. I'll fix it on Monday.--Dallan 21:37, 31 May 2008 (EDT)

Children showing up in red [7 June 2008]

Am I doing something wrong? When I make a new person page and add them as a child to an existing family, the new person shows up in red on the family page even though that person has a page. For example, on Family:Henry Kingery and Nancy Dillon (1), McCager Kingery is showing up in red even though he has a person page. When I'm creating the person page I choose the family page rather than typing in the title of the family page. I've also had it happen that the link to the family page from the child's page shows up in red although the family page exists. I've refreshed my browser (Firefox) but it has not had any effect. Any ideas? Thanks! --Ajcrow 10:55, 6 June 2008 (EDT)

The red links happen every once in awhile. I believe the problem is that the old version of the page (the one with the red link) stays in the server's cache even after you've created the other page. Eventually the red links "turn blue" once the old version of the page stops being cached by the server. It's an annoyance but doesn't cause any real problems, which is why it hasn't made its way to the top of the ToDo list yet. Someday after search is complete I promise I'll fix it.--Dallan 23:47, 6 June 2008 (EDT)

Thanks, Dallan. I was afraid I was messing something up! --Ajcrow 06:24, 7 June 2008 (EDT)

Location in the wrong county [9 June 2008]

If you look at the Google map on the Place:Franklin, Ohio, United States page, you'll see an arrow way to the east. It's Rock Haven Park, which is in Licking County (almost to Muskingum County). It's listed incorrectly in the Getty Thesaurus. I went to edit its page, but couldn't find a way to take it out of Franklin and into Licking other than putting a reference in the "Also located in" field. --Ajcrow 22:00, 7 June 2008 (EDT)

You can change the place a place is located in by renaming it (click the "Rename" link at the top of the page). So you'd probably want to rename it to "Rock Haven Park, Licking, Ohio, United States". Thanks for finding the problem.--Dallan 11:06, 9 June 2008 (EDT)
Thanks, Dallan. I knew I was making it harder than it needed to be! --Ajcrow 15:45, 9 June 2008 (EDT)

WeRelate Software Distribution [11 June 2008]

Wondering if I can get a copy of the mods for mediawiki that you made so I can run a genealogy wiki on my home web site? Just thought that I would ask. This would, of course, open up a whole weird and wonderful world of distributed genealogy wikis, some with better reputations than others. Dunning 03:37, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

Perhaps someday, but not now. The purpose of WeRelate is to encourage people to work together on their genealogy. Having a large number of online genealogy wiki's before there is a mechanism in place to interconnect them would defeat that purpose.--Dallan 09:44, 10 June 2008 (EDT)
Come on! Step up the pace! I need the distributed wiki software now. I am sure you can just slip it into one of your many free moments when you are doing unimportant things. Meanwhile, if I embed PhpGedView inside of PhpBB and add Gallery... But then compatibility would go out the window completely. I sure am glad you are a software architect. Takes a burden off my mind. Dunning 02:44, 11 June 2008 (EDT)
 :-) --Dallan 10:26, 11 June 2008 (EDT)

adding new spouse when the spouse already has an existing page on WeRelate [10 June 2008]

Hi Dallan,

If you are around I could use some help here. I have a question from a user on my talk page. The spouse window does not have an option to select existing person. I can give a work around or do it for her but would like your input. --Beth 20:41, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

I'm around this evening. I'll check out your talk page and answer as best as I can.--Dallan 22:15, 10 June 2008 (EDT)
Thanks, Ronni replied and we have not heard from her so you can relax and wait until later. Enjoy the B game and your family. --Beth 22:19, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

Family Search [18 August 2008]

Hi Dallan,

I assume from the following that we can upload images from FamilySearch. But wanted to check with you first. --Beth 21:01, 14 June 2008 (EDT)

FamilySearch Licenses. This site is owned and operated by Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), a nonprofit organization created by The Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the "Church"). GSU is dedicated to family history and genealogical research. All material on this site (including text, images, databases and other information) is owned or licensed by GSU. You may view, download, and print material from this site only for your personal, noncommercial use unless we specifically indicate that other uses are permitted. You may not use this site or information found at this site (including the names and addresses of those who submit information) for selling or promoting products or services, soliciting clients, or any other commercial purpose.

Here's another quote from their Conditions of Use page:

This site is owned and operated by the Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All material found at this site is owned or licensed by us. You may view, download, and print material from this site only for your personal, noncommercial use or, if you are a professional genealogist, for use by a current client. You may not post material from this site on another web site or on a computer network without our permission. You may not transmit or distribute material from this site to others. You may not use this site or information found at this site (including the names and addresses of those who submitted information) for selling or promoting products or services, soliciting clients, or any other commercial purpose. If you have questions or desire permission to post information, send e-mail to:

I think based upon this second quote, you'd be better off uploading either a small portion or scaled-down version of the image so that you can upload it under fair use.--Dallan 13:39, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

Okay and thanks. --Beth 17:35, 19 June 2008 (EDT)
Dallan your quote is not from the conditions of use for the pilot Family Search Records Search. This is from the original site, correct. In any event I have used the fair use and reduced the image size and resolution. --Beth 20:31, 19 June 2008 (EDT)
Ah, I see now. I didn't realize the terms were different on the pilot search site. I'm glad to see that FamilySearch has relaxed the terms of use on the pilot search site.--Dallan 23:58, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

Hello Dallan,

I am still a bit confused. How or could we cite a source on the new Family Search (pilot) Labs website on WeRelate? I am finding some good information on the new MI databases. I would like to cite them as sources. Could you supply an example for us to follow?

Debbie Freeman--DFree 15:12, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

The best thing to do is to create a source for the underlying collection; for example, if I wanted to cite records from their "Michigan Births 1867-1902" collection, I would try to add a source for "Births 1867-1902" in Michigan. In the process of adding that source I would be shown a list of possible matching sources and I'd see that it already exists: Source:Birth records, 1867-1902. This is a horrible title, but we're going to automatically rename the source titles in the Fall, so I'd go ahead and use this Source page. I would then edit the page and add "" as a new repository URL (you can leave the repository name blank). The idea is that as more and more records go online, rather than creating new Source pages for them we want to just add new URL's where they can be found.--Dallan 16:03, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Hello Dallan,

Thank You for the input. I will try it out.

Debbie Freeman--DFree 16:23, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Footnote re LDS. It is unfortunate that the LDS church somehow believes it owns the copyright on material that was submitted to them by church members and others over the years. When I was a member years ago, I submitted people, but today, I search and they do not show in their database, even though I have records from them re the submissions. - Doug Couch

Footnote system [19 June 2008]

Hi Dallan,

I have discovered a problem with the footnote system; it is one directional. I noticed this when entering deaths on the Coleman Deaths page for Texas. My list is alphabetical by given name. For now it is correct; but the initial entry must be the first one; so if a contributor edits the page and tries to add a footnote with the shortcut above the initial entry; that does not work. --Beth 22:37, 18 June 2008 (EDT)

That's true unfortunately. You could re-enter the footnote content for every reference, but that's kind of a pain. The footnote extension is from Wikipedia; I haven't looked to see how difficult it would be to change.--Dallan 13:39, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

Okay, Dallan, I am going to enter the earliest person in the alphabet on that page and try and get around the problem that way. --Beth 17:36, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

terminal tags [18 August 2008]


I notice that you modified template:Speedy Delete by adding terminating line tags in the table e.g. </td></tr> I know that's proper form for formal HTML tables, but I also think believe those ending tags are unnecessary. Ditto </br> or </ br> Is there a reason for including these terminators beyond "good form"? Q 11:43, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

Belay that question. I now see that its necessary to make the table-within-a-table trick work. That's helpful, as I can make use of this to simplify table organization---Ie, I think I can use it to group entries by column rather than by rows---much easier to see where things belong this way. Thanks. Q 12:02, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

RE [Ditto </br> or </ br> Is there a reason for including these terminators beyond "good form"?] Although the table terminators mentioned earlier are very necessary, I do not know of any </br> terminator. The modern XHTML version of <br> is <br />, which is not a terminator per se, but does indicate closure...kind of nutty in my opinion. Both <br> and <br /> are currently correct, depending on the page coding with which they are used. I use <br> only, and if the HTML editor insists on converting any of them, so be it.--Dougcouch 21:34, 17 August 2008 (EDT)

Re Price 1904-1913 [19 June 2008]

I'm probably particularly bad about filling in those text boxes. My personal preference is for a card layout such as you see with Price, but I've certainly no objection to someone else filling in the text boxes. Eventually, I'm going to have to go back in and do text boxes all the way around, but since I'm focusing on specific individuals at a certain time and place, the longitudinal relations (grandparents, parents, children, etc) are less important to me,so the text boxes don't come into play as much in person articles---so unfortuantely, I tend to ignore them. One of the reasons I focus on the article itself, and including information in a "Personal Data" Table, is because I'm trying to explicitly show the rationale for everything that's said. That's where the "Comment" area in the Personal Data table comes into play. Here I've tried the text boxes, but didn't like the way they worked for me, so went back to my long term approach of the Personal Data table. A philosophical thing I guess. Q 17:04, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

That's fine.--Dallan 23:58, 19 June 2008 (EDT)

GEDCOM upload warning page [20 June 2008]

You've probably already seen the changes on your watch list, but I've revised my draft GEDCOM upload warning page along the lines you suggested. I'm not at all sure that a warning will be enough, but it's definitely a good start. I added a comment about using the digital library, which I presume could be revised with an appropriate link. Maybe there's a standard and free GEDCOM to PDF report tool that we could suggest so that people can put a PDF file out there next to their GEDCOM. Or maybe we just mention that there are such tools.

Anyway, onward and upward...--Jrm03063 13:41, 20 June 2008 (EDT)

The warning is looking pretty good. Please give me a few days to finish up the search code and I'll work on this change and the others that we talked about. I'll need to defer recommending the digital library until we get that better integrated later this year. But the expectations paragraph and trial paragraph are good.--Dallan 22:54, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

Roots Magic 4 [22 June 2008]

Hi Dallan,

This is interesting.

RootsMagic version 4 will be released later this fall with full capabilitie to seamlessly interact with the new FamilySearch website to share your family tree with others. YOu will be able to retrieve content that you don't have from new FamilySearch as well as upload data you want to share. You will can receive notices that alert you to any changes or additions to your family tree members linked to new FamilySearch. RootsMagic 4 will also allow you to do things not possible with the new FamilySearch website alone such as print charts and books, keep private information that you do not want to share, and more.

From here: [2].

--Beth 14:29, 22 June 2008 (EDT)

Yes, I believe that this is the future of genealogy - a desktop program coupled with an online website. Eventually we'll get there. It will be interesting to see how well RootsMagic works.--Dallan 22:54, 24 June 2008 (EDT)

Places - need help with questions from new user [8 July 2008]

Hi Dallan,

Please answer Mary's questions on Taylor's talk page about Place:Campbell, Virginia, United States and Place:Campbell, Albemarle, Virginia, United States. --Beth 08:28, 8 July 2008 (EDT)

Got it - thank-you for pointing it out. Places are a bit of a mess right now due to the mistakes I made when titling them originally. But hopefully it will all be behind us by the end of the Summer.--Dallan 14:58, 8 July 2008 (EDT)

Josh's pages [26 July 2008]

Hi Dallan, I need some assistance. I changed some of Josh's pages; but it looks like maybe he has used the permanet link feature on the pages. Anyway whatever is the problem; I have no idea how to fix this. I cannot view the current revision without going to the page history. --Beth 10:04, 10 July 2008 (EDT)

Link to pages [3]

Ok, I see what's going on. The page that lists family trees has two links for some pages: one to an earlier version (without changes by someone other than the owner of the tree), and one to the latest version. I need to change the link to point to a search results page that lists the latest version of each page. Thanks for letting me know.--Dallan 16:09, 26 July 2008 (EDT)

New Search Engine [1 August 2008]

Hi Dallan,

Will we be able to hide the redirects with the new search engine? --Beth 11:55, 10 July 2008 (EDT)

Yes, redirects will not show up under the new search engine, except for Place redirects. I made an exception for Place redirects because I want to use Place redirects for cases where place X is now located in county Y but used to be located in county Z, so we'll let people create a Place page for X,Z that redirects to X,Y. The X,Z page will show up in search results, with a line showing that it redirects to X,Y.--Dallan 16:48, 11 July 2008 (EDT)
I should add that redirects will still show up on the browse screen. But with the new search engine I expect that most people will use the search function, and that using the browse function will be something that you do only rarely (like when you want to see all page titles including redirects).--Dallan 16:51, 11 July 2008 (EDT)

Great. --Beth 20:20, 11 July 2008 (EDT)

I just saw this explanation, and I have to disagree with your assumption. Even with the new search, starting to type a name or source is still faster if you know what it starts with (and you should after all the work setting source name rules). Seeing, for example, three versions of Savage (created when we were unclear about quotes) just seems sloppy and unhelpful. As would, for example, seeing a dozen Thomas Holcombes instead of one. Even if I'm in the minority, though, is it possible to only have the new names for the FHC sources when those are renamed en masse? That would get rid of most of the junk.--Amelia 22:09, 31 July 2008 (EDT)

I'm going to delete the old source titles once we get them renamed, so only the new titles will show up. As for showing redirects, are you talking about the Browse screen or the drop-down lists? It might be possible to remove redirects for sources, people, and families from the drop-down lists, but I'd like to keep them in the Browse screen so I have a way to list them (although I could mark them as redirects in the browse results).--Dallan 23:09, 31 July 2008 (EDT)

I forgot the Browse screens exist, actually, so, yes, I was talking about the dropdowns.--Amelia 13:38, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

I just checked and it won't be difficult to filter out redirected pages from the drop-down lists. I'll add it to my ToDo list.--Dallan 17:00, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

Orphaned tree? [17 July 2008]

Dallan, I was doing some merging of my HELLER family for several hours today and came to realize that something was "not quite right"... Apparently my "old" HELLER gedcom uploaded on November 10, 2007, which I had deleted a while back is still available on WeRelate.. and Here all the merging I Have done has probably really caused a mess now... as you can not now go in and delete that gedcom since part of it is now merged into the new Heller Gedcom which I uploaded on Feb 21, 2008. The old one does not show up in my list of Trees page.. but it is still "out there" for some reason. I wish I had figured this out BEFORE I did all the editing and merging that I spent this whole day working on, cause then I could maybe have just had you delete the Old November file from your end and be done with it. Not sure what to do now! Please advise... --Msscarlet1957 21:59, 17 July 2008 (EDT)

Sorry about that. If you give me a link to one of the pages in your old tree I'll try to delete the un-merged pages. After that I'll figure out why your tree didn't get deleted.--Dallan 23:54, 19 July 2008 (EDT)

Portuguese placenames [9 August 2008]


I have discovered what seems to be a major problem with place hierarchy in Portugal. My wife is of Portuguese descent and her ancestors hail from the Madeira and the Açores Islands both of which are autonomous districts with their own governments.

I have uploaded her genealogy and started to show her how to edit it. The root person in her tree is her late brother, Gilbert Gomes. I brought up the PedMap on him and clicked on Birth places. 27 of 31 could not be plotted presumably because the place names cannot be found. When I search on place names most of them have errors of some sort or another. Church and Civil jurisdictions are confused, many cities are listed as National Districts, Islands are omitted entirely, etc.

Examples: Her paternal grandfather was born in Calheta, Madeira, Portugal which appears as Calheta, Funchal, Madeira Portugal. Funchal is the Capital of Madeira and home to the Cathedral. Calheta is outside of Funchal but the parish church is under the diocese of Funchal.

Her maternal g-grandparents are from Ribeirinha, Sâo Miguel, Açores, Portugal. In this case, the Diocese is Angra do Heroismo which is on the Island of Terceira and Angra is the princpal city. Ponta Delgada, Angra, Madelena and Horta, are all listed as National Districts but are actually the largest cities on the Islands of Sâo Miguel, Terceira, Pico and Faial Respectively. Other Islands in the Açores are Santa Maria, Sâo Jorge, Graciosa, Corvo and Flores.

All of the Azores are in th Diocese of Angra but I find Lajes do Pico, Horta, Azores, Portugal. Lajes is on Pico, Horta is on Faial, a different Island. Wikipedia correctly identifies Horta as a municipality.

The Getty Thesaurus from which these place names must have been generated seems terribly inconsistant when it comes to Portugal.

To top it all off the Portuguese system of surnames seems to be "anything goes". so it can be a nightmare itself.--Scot 20:32, 18 July 2008 (EDT)

To create the place wiki I merged places from Getty, Wikipedia, and the Family History Library Catalog. Unfortunately sometimes the merging didn't go correctly, and often the information was pretty sparse. Last Fall we held a major effort to clean up the place wiki and a lot of the countries are now in pretty good shape. Unfortunately nobody took a special interest in Portugal so we focused only on the major country divisions. If you're interested in helping to clean up the lower Portuguese divisions, I'd be very grateful. You can see a hierarchical list of Portuguese places here, and an alphabetical list of places here. These two files are re-generated from the wiki every morning. If you're interested in working on Portugal, please let me know. I'd be happy to answer any questions that come up.--Dallan 23:54, 19 July 2008 (EDT)

I believe I have finished data entry for Madeira, I think I have included every village. Now there are a lot of duplicate entries. How should I go about merging them? For example the old page for Arco da Calheta is [[4]] and the new one at [[5]]. Should I redirect the old to the new?
I don't know what the status of your match/merge utility is, but I have found difficulty transferring data from the page to be redirected to the surviving page. PAF has a nice feature in their m/m utility. The two pages are displayed side by side with the left hand page as the survivor. Every line item on the right has a check box. This allows easy selection of any data from the merged page to override or be included in the surviving page, without necessitating coping it over.--Scot 12:06, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

That's terrific! Please do redirect the old pages to the new pages. Please also copy-and-paste any text that you want to keep from the old page onto the new page. In particular, please copy the source-fhlc template if one exists on the old page onto the new page -- this will help ensure that the LDS microfilms will get associated with the new page when we re-do them in the next few weeks.

In your example, Place:Arco da Calheta, Portugal currently redirects to Place:Arco da Calheta, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. So you would want to redirect Place:Arco da Calheta, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal to Place:Arco da Calheta, Calheta, Madeira, Portugal, and also copy the source-fhlc line from the old page onto the new page.

When you talk about match-merge, are you talking about merging people and families, or also about merging places? I'm planning to start work on match-merge next week (been fixing some bugs in search this week). I had envisioned creating a screen like you mention for merging people and families. I hadn't considered allowing it to be used also for merging places, but it seems it could be useful. Were you thinking about a merge screen for places?--Dallan 18:54, 7 August 2008 (EDT)

Dallan, when redirecting one place to another, do the "contained places" cause any problems? In other words, if one place has several places it contains and then that place gets redirected, do the contained places follow it? --Ronni 01:56, 8 August 2008 (EDT)

Thank-you for reminding me. Yes, you have to rename/redirect the contained places first, then redirect the (now empty) containing place. If you can give me a list of the places that need to be merged, I can have my sons do the merge work. As long as it's mainly repetitive and doesn't require knowledge of Portuguese geography, they can do that pretty quickly (computer game skills :-).--Dallan 11:05, 8 August 2008 (EDT)

Dallan, I've been working all morning adding FHL and Wikipedia sources and coordinates and then redirecting the old pages. I have finished the concelhos of Calheta, Camara de Lobos and Machico. Remaining are: Ponta do Sol, Porto Moniz, Porto Santo, Ribeira Brava, Santa Cruz, Santana, São Vicente and the city of Funchal along with their contained freguesias and/or parishes. I have learned more geography of Madeira than I could have imagined, certainly more than when we visitd there. A couple of freguesias did not appear in Wikipedia nor in Geonames. If your sons could do this, I could move on, let me know.--Scot 13:55, 8 August 2008 (EDT)

That's one interesting side-effect of working on the place database -- you learn a lot about geography! :-) My sons should be able to take over from here. Let me make sure I understand what's needed. To handle Ponta do Sol, for example, they would

As well as the other 9 Concelhos including Funchal: Calheta, Câmara de Lobos, Machico, Porto Moniz, Porto Santo, Ribeira Brava, Santa Cruz, Santana and São Vicente--Scot 16:16, 9 August 2008 (EDT)
  • see if there is another place of the same name listed under Funchal (or under anywhere in Madeira?)
  • if they find one, copy the contents and merge it into the corresponding place listed under Ponta do Sol.

Is this right? Is there anything else?--Dallan 17:53, 8 August 2008 (EDT)

I just realized that and haven't been getting updated recently. I'm sorry about that. I had turned off the daily regeneration of the place lists and then forgot to turn it back on. I've turned it back on now, and it should update these files to reflect all of the changes you've been making.--Dallan 17:57, 8 August 2008 (EDT)
In addition to the steps you describe, I have been checking Wikipedia for each place and adding a source reference, and checking Geo names for coordinates. Generally when the Wikipedia article had coordinates, they landed me in the ocean, Geonames seems to have them right.--Scot 18:06, 8 August 2008 (EDT)

Sounds good. I'll have them start on Monday. Are there any other major changes that need to be done to Portugal? I'd like to start the program to update the FHLC Source pages to point to the correct places, so if this is the only remaining set of changes to Portugal then I'll start updating the Source pages as soon as they're finished.--Dallan 23:56, 8 August 2008 (EDT)

I have finished the island of Sâo Miguel and entered the 5 Concelhos in Santa Maria both in the Açores. I hav'nt found a source to identify the parishes or freguesias in Santa Maria. There are seven more islands to be done. I am not sure how long that will take. Mainland Portugal is another story, there are hundreds of place names and the heiarchy is changing, They have done away with the provinces and divided the country into many smaller districts. They had a referendum on what to do and it failed. I am not very familiar with mainland Portugal either. I will continue on the Azores though, but may not finish any time soon. I just discovered some places in Sâo Miguel that I didn't redirect.--Scot 15:37, 9 August 2008 (EDT)

Ok, I'll have Taylor start working on Madeira today. Once he's done I'll start the program to edit the Source pages since I'd like to get that started sooner rather than later, and you can work on the rest of Portugal at your leisure.

I think I've asked this question before, but just to be sure: Are you naming places in Portugal according to the place hierarchy (districts and regions) the places were in about 1900, or the place hierarchy they are in today? We've used 1900 generally for the rest of Europe because that's what most genealogical records people will come across use and that's what the LDS Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) uses. An exception is France, which uses around 1960, because that's the date the FHLC chose for France. Another exception is the US, again because the FHLC uses a more recent date for the US. Using the place hierarchy around the turn of the century for Portugal would be preferred since that's consistent with most of the rest of Europe, but if you've already started using a later date, I'm not sure how much work it would be to change at this point.--Dallan 13:37, 11 August 2008 (EDT)

Repositories in search [4 August 2008]

Hi Dallan,

I have a suggestion on the search menu. When you choose "repository" as the namespace, the fields come up as "Place," "Title" and "Keyword." In being consistent with other screens, I would suggest "Title" become "Name". I think this would make it a little more intuitive as to what you're really asking for. --Ajcrow 17:36, 4 August 2008 (EDT)

Good suggestion. I'll add that to my ToDo list.--Dallan 21:33, 4 August 2008 (EDT)

Person George Teater [9 August 2008]

moved to Person:George Teater (1). Please add future posts about George to this page.

Portugal places [12 August 2008]

Dallan, I finished the Madeira and Açores Islands place names and was checking my work and discovered I had what appeared to be two islands with identical names (Sao Miguel) I studied them and discovered that one had an a with a tilde and the other had a circumflex and I had to look very closely to see the difference. I checked the charmap and realized I had been using the wrong code, alt0226 instead of alt0227 through all my editing. I hope there is some quick fix other than renaming all those pages. I did a search of places in Portugal with Keywords: Sao, Sâo and São and got the same result for all three. Help! I've been doing some searches and it seems to be transparent to the search engine. I found entries without any diacritical marks that still came up when I searched.--Scot 20:18, 10 August 2008 (EDT)

The search engine removes diacritics so that when searching you don't have to worry about having exactly the right diacritical marks. Same thing goes for the drop-down autocomplete lists for places. The process that generates the alphabetical and hierarchic place lists for each country also reports when it finds two place pages that have the same title when diacritics are removed. It started reporting two "duplicate" places in Portugal:

I'll merge these and also have Taylor rename the Portugese places containing an â to one containing an ã.--Dallan 13:37, 11 August 2008 (EDT)

Super, I thought there must be an easier way. If one is searching ARM,(the vital record db for Madeira) and omits the diacritics, it yields no results. I had visions of sorting thru all my edits looking for circumflexes.--Scot 13:47, 11 August 2008 (EDT)

Dallan, I've been cleaning up Funchal all morning, it seemed easier than explaining what to do. I am having some sort of problem, though, in removing Porto Santo from Funchal, I redirected Place:Vila Baleira, Porto Santo, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal to Place:Vila Baleira, Porto Santo, Madeira, Portugal and then tried Redirecting Place:Porto Santo, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal to Place:Porto Santo, Madeira, Portugal and get an error message that it contains an inhabited place. I have noticed that when I do a redirect the resulting page does not always look the same. It seems it comes up in at least 3 different formats. Much of the places showing up in Funchal that should not be there had already been redirected but stil appear on the list. I see Mike Silva has been adding some great content. I'm glad to see someone else interested in Madeira.--Scot 14:12, 12 August 2008 (EDT)

It looks like Vila Baleira had "Redirect[[..." instead of "#redirect[[..." (missing the pound sign). (If the redirect page doesn't have an arrow pointing to the target, there's probably a problem with the redirect directive.) Anyway, I added the pound sign and then was able to redirect Porto Santo.

Thank you for doing this work. Please keep letting me know as problems come up or if there are mechanical things that Taylor can do.--Dallan 15:27, 12 August 2008 (EDT)

I keep finding places that haven't been merged because they appear under other hierarchies. I have been merging them as I go, but keep fining more. for example, I have found several parishes liste under Horta, Açores, Portugal; Horta Faial, Portugal that shoud be under Horta, Faial, Açores, Portugal; or on the islands of Corvo, Flores or Pico. Maybe Taylor can find them andfigure it out,I'm not sure. I'll keep checking.--Scot 18:37, 12 August 2008 (EDT)

I'll have Taylor look around for them today. I'll have him check for possible duplicates.--Dallan 12:02, 13 August 2008 (EDT)

Hi Dallan [13 August 2008]

I can single out the source pages that I feel you should keep and not delete, but as for filling in the source information and renaming it into a Repository, that goes a bit over my head, have not been trained in this. If there is anything more you and Solveig would like me to do, let me know. So as for now, I will pull out the sources for you to save. Thank you for an opportunity to serve.

~Lisa--Lisamd 22:58, 12 August 2008 (EDT)

Hi Lisa, Solveig or I will contact you later today.--Dallan 12:02, 13 August 2008 (EDT)

Pages Update Wizard? [18 August 2008]

Hi Dallan,

I was wondering if it is feasible to create a wizard for updating certain known lineages which keep coming up. For those pages which are already known to be properly researched and documented lineages, one (on staff) could enter those pages into a wizard database. Then when people upload GEDCOMs, automated names comparisons could put certain of the new pages in a review queue, where the reviewer could peek to see if it is the same person as matched, and one-click update these pages. It is potentially possible to even have the wizard do the review based on certain multiple criteria, since the old page is saved for future reference anyway.

Doug Couch--Dougcouch 20:57, 17 August 2008 (EDT)

This is a very good idea. The plan for the future is that when someone uploads a GEDCOM, the system compares the GEDCOM with the existing pages to see if there are potential matches, and before new wiki pages are created for the people in their GEDCOM, the user has a chance to merge with the exisitng pages. See WeRelate talk:Merging and downloading trees for more information. We've also talked about the possibility of creating entering well-researched, documented genealogies for medieval lines. Once we get the match-merge working, I think it would be a good idea to issue a request for volunteers to enter well-researched old lines.--Dallan 12:11, 18 August 2008 (EDT)

Regarding Place Names Convention [18 August 2008]

Perhaps a good way to work with place names over time, to provide consistency is to create an array style place name, with the variations (as known) in chronological order in the array. Then a choice could be made about which of these would be the default display place name. Then it is potentially possible to make a "year-sensitive" request, and the year requested would be compared to the array data, and display the place name appropriate for that year. This would also make it potentially possible to do various side-by-side scenarios between now and then, or between different time periods along the paper trail, etc. Easier said than done, I'm sure, but I would think it could provide a less arbitrary and more comprehensive and useful convention overall once established. A year-select link with a tool tip message by a place name could be used to indicate that such a comparison is available.

The current approach is to use redirects (so if X,Y,Z is now X,W,Z, we have a page X,Y,Z that redirects to X,W,Z). We could conceivably add year-range information in the redirect page and display it in the drop-down list. This seems like a good idea. I'll add it to the ToDo list.--Dallan 12:11, 18 August 2008 (EDT)

Doug Couch

RE "I think I've asked this question before, but just to be sure: Are you naming places in Portugal according to the place hierarchy (districts and regions) the places were in about 1900, or the place hierarchy they are in today? We've used 1900 generally for the rest of Europe because that's what most genealogical records people will come across use and that's what the LDS Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) uses. An exception is France, which uses around 1960, because that's the date the FHLC chose for France. Another exception is the US, again because the FHLC uses a more recent date for the US. Using the place hierarchy around the turn of the century for Portugal would be preferred since that's consistent with most of the rest of Europe, but if you've already started using a later date, I'm not sure how much work it would be to change at this point.--Dallan 13:37, 11 August 2008"--Dougcouch 21:16, 17 August 2008 (EDT)

User:Scot is working on Portugal, and is using the place hierarchy that was in use throughout most of 1900-2000. (He's adding provinces as also-located-in places but not as part of the place titles, since provinces were an official level in the portugal hierarchy for a relatively short period of time.--Dallan 12:11, 18 August 2008 (EDT)

Actually the Provinces seem to have never been an official place designation, but were (and are) used in one form or another to identify regions. There is no agreement as to how many and what exactly the boundaries were. Algarve, Tras os Montes, Extremadura, Ribatejo for sure. Alentejo and Beira are sometimes divided into Alto and Baixa, Minho or Entre Minho e Douro sometimes includes Douro and sometimes not. I think immigrants generally and traditionally refer to their place of origin by some form of the province name. But it seems that Portuguese place names are as fluid as Portuguese surnames which are a nightmare in and of themselves. We are using, for the mainland, the districts established in 1936 by the Salazar regime as they are the only divisions that were ever official. However they do not conform to EU standard (NUTS) and will be replaced, we chose them because they are identifiable. The hierachy is then: Country, District, Concelho, Fregusia. Concelho usually translates as county or municipality and Freguesia as village. I have also seen the term, Civil Parish. In the case of Cities, there may be further subdivisions by Parish. This is valuable for locating Baptismal and marriage records within larger cities.--Scot 13:01, 18 August 2008 (EDT)

Search Item Select Checkboxes [25 August 2008]

In addition to opting to watch pages, it would be helpful on the search results pages, to have a checkbox available for each result. Checking the box would add that item to a session searches results interest list (array). After searching perhaps many names, many pages of search results from many searches, this list would not simply save your searches, but save a refined and editable list of those results pages items you were interested in exploring further...perhaps for various purposes. If this list could then be saved in a saved interests list of lists, it could be brought up later to choose to explore a few, set some to watch, edit, and so on...or delete from the list by unchecking the checkbox which would travel with the item from search results page to grab list. So...

  • Session One might be a fast-moving "search and grab".
  • Session Two might be a "review & revise grabs list" and set a few to "watch".
  • Session Three might be a "further grabs review" and launching off into editing a few pages in others' trees, etc.

...all arising from the initial single search session.--Dougcouch 18:00, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

I've been thinking about adding a bookmarks menu this Fall. I could add a "bookmark this" button to search results. How does that sound?--Dallan 11:20, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

Sounds fine...if that means bookmark-per-result-item, rather than marking the results or results page.

Right--Dallan 22:38, 25 August 2008 (EDT)

Make Views More Obvious [25 August 2008]

Someone asked me how to view the trees of others, and it occurred to me I did not know. So, I reviewed help and set out to master the basics...not a simple straightforward task (compared to typical genealogy sites's trees). It would be helpful to have some links and controls related to how a typical genealogy snoop and search person would approach these pages.

  1. Non-dropdown link to FTE
  2. Obvious link to FTE right pane Tree View
  3. Vertical pane separator label to let people know panes are resizable (with hover popup mentioning that resizing makes left pane objects resize as well)...many people have not worked with web pages with resizable panes
  4. Multi-combobox for finding/selecting others' trees to view...perhaps by surname, region, date range, etc.
  5. Obvious link to adopt a tree (with hover popup describing what adopting a tree is)
  6. Hover popup describing what using the "Tree +" link actually does

It took me until today to even begin to realize the flexibility and functionality built into the tree views/text view setup...and to even realize that the right pane tree view existed (but I have not used WeRelate much yet). I'm sending people here, but after sign-up, they're having difficulty figuring out what to do once here.--Dougcouch 18:27, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

The FTE in its current state is problematic because the browser URL is always the URL of the FTE application, rather than the page you're looking at. This has caused some confusion. Also, as you say, it's difficult for people to know that it's available, and unless you open someone's tree, you can't use it to navigate. I've been thinking about making the following changes this Fall:

  1. Show the ancestors+descendants view in an embedded iframe on every person and family page.
  2. Add a "maximize" button to the iframe that will make it full-page. Double-clicking on people when the ancestors+descendents view is maximized will bring up the person and family pages in new windows.
  3. Remove the other views from the FTE, so it's just an ancestors+descendants view.

I'm also thinking of removing the notion of a "tree" and doing everything with watchlists instead. I think having both trees and watchlists is a bit confusing. This would involve the following changes:

  1. Instead of using the FTE to view a particular tree, you view someone in that tree and then use the ancestors+descendants view to navigate around. You could do this for your or others trees.
  2. When you uploaded a new GEDCOM, we would create a bookmark for the primary person in that GEDCOM, and give a link to that primary person in the "GEDCOM successfully uploaded" message.
  3. In place of copying someone else's tree, we would have an option to watch N generations of ancestors and/or descendants of the chosen page when you clicked on "Watch" for that page.
  4. You could get an alphabetical list of all pages watched by another user by following a link on their user page.
  5. We would also have an option to add to your watchlist all of the pages watched by someone else.

I think this approach addresses your points. Any thoughts on this approach?--Dallan 11:20, 22 August 2008 (EDT)

I can't say that I understand FTE well enough to comment in depth. After my more recent exploration of FTE left-right pane & right pane text-tree configurations, I began to realize how really flexible and cool it is. In some ways, I guess there is redundancy between the two tree views. The left pane tree is more full-featured than anything I've seen, while the right pane tree is what more people on the net are accustomed to bumping I think it makes more sense to them.

As to the FTE URL situation, I see how that could be problematic, and yet it isn't any more problematic than one finds in a site built with frames, where the URL is always the default file. While I haven't seen such a thing, I think it would be possible to have an intelligent bookmarking system which when activated on a page, would bookmark each frame window/page and create a cookie-bookmark of some kind. I'm speaking of HTML and similar, but the same principle could be adapted into any kind of save configuration coding. It might be more headache than peach pie, and yet, if the algorithms were straightforward, lending to stable operation, it would seem worth the effort...and perhaps be a rather ground-breaking way of dealing with that old problem. It has always bothered me that people with great minds design things like frames and iframes, and then when there's a problem, instead of truly resolving the problem, they will deprecate good browsing features (i.e.-web programmers' rule of thumb: never program in frames, it has URL problems, it has (antiquated) search engine problems, etc.). I guess I'm ranting about a subject only peripherally related.

Perhaps capturing the Ctrl+D or other bookmark request and redirecting it to a dialog allowing saving the person(s) desired to their My Relate page either as a watch, or simply a link to return to that person in that tree. "Person(s)" plural meant bookmark would ask which people in the visible tree and allow you to check each you wanted to save, then OK would save a link or whatever capable of returning to each with that person the focused person. Of course, that is still not traditional "bookmark page" function, but one could get used to better bookmarking features over time...especially if a set of plug-ins were created for the various modern browsers, making a better bookmarking system available with standard bookmarking incorporated into the newer approach. That's kind of getting way out there from just being WeRelate, takes ages to catch on, join the ranks of the "standards", etc.

I'm not sure how you were meaning "In place of copying someone else's tree", but regarding watch vs. tree, I think it would be a mistake to minimalize trees in favor of watching pages. I'm not well-versed in the watch function, but I'm guessing you can watch with or without email alerts. If that is so, being able to look at a graphic multi-generation tree, and click click click each person in the tree you want to watch would be great (if not already available)...choosing whether to watch them by email or only on the web. I appreciate your responses, however, do not feel it necessary to go to huge lengths to educate me on things I just haven't taken the time learn on WeRelate yet. It's just kinda cool to be able to have input into the ideas which may shape what you're doing. At some point, I may want to get involved in other ways.

Yes, putting the FTE in a frame is a really good use of frames, but I think even if we come up with our own bookmarking system the frames will still confuse people, and I think that a full-screen ancestors+descendants view with person/family pages in popup windows has a good chance of being just as useful. I was thinking that the bookmarking feature would be pretty basic, especially to begin.

Watching a page means you get an email alert whenever someone changes the page. Currently you have to watch each page one at a time (although when you upload a GEDCOM, all generated pages are added to your watchlist, and when you create/edit a page, it is added to your watchlist by default). In the future I need to add "include N generations of ancestors" and "include N generations of descendents" options. Clicking people in a multi-generational tree is a very good idea -- I'll add that to the ToDo list.

I'm happy to talk with you. WeRelate has come a long way in the past couple of years, and it's largely due to comments made by various people on how they would like to see it improved. I can't promise that I'll implement everything that people want, but I do appreciate the suggestions. :-) --Dallan 22:38, 25 August 2008 (EDT)

Gatherer-Style Research Tool [26 August 2008]

Since my online genealogy for the last 12 years has mostly been a "gather, store, compare, and search a little more," and a rather sporadic process, I tend to think of genealogy research in terms of that process. Accordingly, it would be useful (to myself and other "gatherers") to have a tool which allowed gathering (checkboxes) pages and/or trees in WeRelate into an easy to compare/contrast environment. (The checkbox system could be as described in an earlier topic.) I am unclear what such an environment would look like, but for now I'll call it a "tentative tree-building research comparison tool."

I would be interested in browsing around from tree to tree and gathering people, trees and versions thereof...but thereafter specifically have a way to review data fields side-by-side, and to be able to construct a tree from the most fully documented people. These people might be copies of people in my original tree (such as happens with the volunteer editing) and versions of those people, or might simply be a construction of a tree I was interested in...drawing from multiple trees for any of the people in the new construction. After making decisions about which version of each person goes into my construction, I could discard the others, or save them to a file which identifies them as less reliable versions for future reference.

This resembles what I have done all around the web without such a tool. By using the checkbox system within the tool/page, I could do sort of tree scenarios, to see the particular people versions together, to see how congruent the data is. Perhaps the tool could even have BIRTH/MARRIAGE/DEATH date calculation, regional name-specific and other cemeteries to research, spelling variation history data, cuing for known documentation for well-researched people add that person to the tool, or to add copies of the documentation, or simply to contrast the data/documentation to what any person version already has.

RootsMagic genealogy software allows multiple databases open at one time (as inner windows), for side-by-side comparisons, drag-n-drop additions, etc.; however, such a setup is tree-to-tree in nature. I'm envisioning a tool similar perhaps to budget projection and analysis or similar, where you can plug in this data and test, that data and retest, potentially over a wide selection of versions of people and/or their related trees. It might even make sense to allow multiple saved tentative tree scenarios, which could also be compared side-by-side.

Even a little more far out, if data on other sites could be copied and pasted into a box on WeRelate, and that data be interrogated and automatically arranged into an editable, suggested field-by-field format, auto-populating its best guess for which fields seemed to have data available for them, but letting the user make final adjustments. The formatted data could then be converted into a mini-tree for use within the gatherer's comparison tool. No telling right off what tree ownership problems might prevent such an idea...from people grabbing no-nos and bringing them in, etc. I tend to think in terms like "no one should or does own ordinary information about people, available on the web"...but then, clearly that is but one opinion.

Well, maybe all this is more like a completely separate and other web site, but I thought I'd toss the pizza toppings in the air and see if any of them land on the shell. (By the way, I discovered very recently. It is a little like Yahoo and MSN groups, but seems to have more potential, offers unlimited space, unlimited members, is available for any purpose, completely without ads, is free, resumes the chat capability that MSN and Yahoo abandoned from their free has more modern programming underlying the pages. I am mentioning it simply because the spirit and modern context of what this guy is doing, on his own, reminded me of what's going on here at weRelate in a number of ways. Check it out if you haven't.)--Dougcouch 01:46, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

There are some interesting ideas here. Thanks for the link to OfficeZilla -- I hadn't heard of it before.

One thing that we plan to do this Fall is to provide matching and merging tools. The ultimate goal of WeRelate is that there be one page per real-world individual. As you create/upload your genealogy, you add to these existing pages. The plan is to develop a tool to allow side-by-side comparing and possibly merging two Person or Family pages. Having a "research assistant" that points you to possible sources of additional information on people is also a long-term goal: see Werelate:Source review.--Dallan 13:07, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

Legacy 7 gedcom upload [28 August 2008]

Hi Dallan,

The gedcom upload results on WeRelate do not include the master source information; the gedcom was created using Legacy 7. A list of some of the master sources is below. Don't worry, I can easily add the information because I need to change the my source to source.--Beth 17:58, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

0 @S221@ SOUR

1 MEDI Bible

1 ABBR Bible-Coker-NewtonHorry

1 TITL Newton Horry Coker Family Bible



0 @S110@ SOUR

1 MEDI Book

1 ABBR Bk-Ga-Walker-Cem-North-Vol2

1 TITL Walker County Georgia Cemeteries Volume II North Walker Cou

2 CONC nty

1 PUBL Walker County Historical Society, 1991



0 @S226@ SOUR

1 MEDI Book

1 ABBR Bk-Ga-Walker-Cem-South-Vol1

1 TITL Walker County Georgia Cemeteries Volume I South Walker Coun

2 CONC ty

1 PUBL Walker County Historical Society, 1987



0 @S225@ SOUR

1 MEDI Book

1 ABBR Bk-Ga-Walker-Griffith

1 TITL Marriages, Births, Deaths, Legal Notices Walker County, Geo

2 CONC rgia 1883 -1887

1 AUTH Jessie June Brandon Griffith



0 @S107@ SOUR

1 MEDI Book

1 ABBR Bk-Ga-Walker-Obits-Bk4-Wallis-Wilbanks-FuneralHome

1 TITL Obituaries Book 4 Wallis-Wilbanks Funeral Home

1 REPO @R15@



Hi Beth,

Can you give me an example of information that is being omitted? I just checked MySource:Beth/Walker County Georgia Cemeteries Volume I South Walker County for example (S226 in your list above), and it appears to have all of the information you had listed. MySource:Beth/Marriages, Births, Deaths, Legal Notices Walker County, Georgia 1883 -1887 (source S225 above) also seems to have all of the information.--Dallan 18:08, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

My bad Dallan; I must be losing it. Sorry to bother you. I only looked at the citation and forgot about the my source page. Everything appears to be in order. Hmm! I also forgot to delete the MySources when I redirected my pages. Am I supposed to delete them?--Beth 19:31, 27 August 2008 (EDT)
Thinking about deleting the MySources. I cannot do that because they may still be sourced on another duplicate page. How does one eventually get rid of them or does it matter?--Beth 20:25, 27 August 2008 (EDT)
Deleting unused MySources is like cleaning the attic. It's something that probably should be done, but it's not a high priority because it doesn't affect much. At some point I may write a program to delete unused MySources, but it will be awhile. By the way, if you ever want to see if a page is linked to by any other page, click on "More" in the upper right-hand corner, then on "What links here".--Dallan 13:20, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Re Volunteering [28 August 2008]

I read the page, not necessarily every example link. However, I am basically unclear how to volunteer some time or what I would be doing. The conversations back and forth and shifting decisions about how things are to be done leaves me a bit ancy about whether I want to launch into doing things only to change them later.--Dougcouch 05:07, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Can I assume you're talking about the WeRelate:Source review? If so, thank you! The best way to get started is to edit that page and put your signature next to one of the numbers under the RootsWeb section. It looks like 13 hasn't been taken yet. Then save the Source review page and click on the "13" link and start reviewing the source URLs.

I'll add "Resolutions" to summarize some of the more recent discussion topics on the talk page. I haven't done that for awhile and there are several topics that need summary resolutions written. If you have any questions, just ask on the talk page. We're refining the process as we go.--Dallan 13:20, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Copyright Question [28 August 2008]

Dallan - Someone left me a message about a copyright problem.... I'm not sure if they want me to delete it or what. Can you help me?


I'll leave a response on your talk page--Dallan 13:20, 28 August 2008 (EDT)

Person page: Tutorial help [30 August 2008]

Hello Dallan,

Could you or someone create a tutorial for the person pages regarding the most common mistakes please?

I looked and did not find the answer to my common mistake.

My mistake as an example is:

The page in question is best found by looking for his wife Lucinda Sumpter, James T Hatfield spouse.

I forgot when I created a Person page for James T Hatfield and added the middle initial. That created the person page with the whole name in the first name area. James unknown page. I then edited the page I thought, and added the last name, and I thought I had fixed the problem. When I searched under James Hatfield for the page he does not show up. So I finally figured out I need to rename the page (I think).

How do I do that without making the problem worse?

Thanks, Debbie Freeman --DFree 14:14, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

Hi Debbie,

I just looked at Person:James T Hatfield (1) and it looks fine. You can rename the page if you want (click on the "Rename" link at the top of the page), but it's not essential. Eventually I'll automatically rename pages when the name changes so you don't have to.

Probably the confusion stems from the fact that it takes about an hour from the time that a page is created until it shows up in search results. Your recently-changed (unindexed) pages are listed down the left-hand side of the search screen in case you need to find them. I just searched for James Hatfield and Person:James T Hatfield (1) showed up in the results.

Now that you know it's not a big deal, I'm not sure if it's worth adding to a help page, but Help:Person pages would probably be the best page to add it to if you wanted.--Dallan 19:22, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

Netherlands Place Names [16 September 2008]

Thank you for your response to my Netherlands place name questions. I would be interested in doing what I can to update the place names. My research has been limited to the province of Friesland, for which municipalities are important. I have done some preliminary research to locate internet resources to help identify the municipalities for the rest of the country. I must say, that I cannot claim to be an expert on this subject.


§ (is all in Dutch, but clearly defines which municipality (gemeente) a “town” is currently in. It also will say whether a “town” is a buurtshap (few houses, smaller than a hamlet), gehuct (hamlet), dorp (village), or a stad (city).

§] (a list of over 4800 towns, their current municipality, and province they are located in)


§ - 1868 atlas of the Netherlands – shows the historical municipalities.

The Netherlands currently has 12 provinces – which are listed correctly as such in WeRelate. The province of Flevoland is the newest, founded only in 1986. One point to note, FHLC used the Netherlands Gazetteer Van Goor's aardrijkskundig woordenboek van Nederland c1968 for their place names.

This brings me to another question. In your post you said, “For Europe we tend to title places according to the hierarchy they were in around 1900-1930, and earlier/later hierarchies are listed as also-located-in places. The Netherlands seems to have been relatively stable for the past 100 years, so this won't be an issue for Netherlands.” Unfortunately, the number of municipalities has changed considerably, decreasing “from 1,014 in 1948 to 840 in 1976 and 572 in 1997.” If we look at Place:Anlo, Drenthe, Netherlands, Place:Gieten, Drenthe, Netherlands, Place:Gasselte, Drenthe, Netherlands, and Place:Rolde, Drenthe, Netherlands, they were each individual municipalities until being absorbed into Aa en Hunze around 1998.

One great resource for historical placenames is It is an atlas of the Netherlands from 1868. Under each Province (of which there were 11 at the time), are lists of each Province’s Municipalities (Gemeente).

So, I guess the question is, where to begin! What time frame would you like to focus on for place naming? You mentioned not starting this project until the end of next week. In the meantime, would it be beneficial to add in the coordinates for towns in the Netherlands?--JBS66 16:13, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

Where to begin is a good question. I think the three most important considerations are:

  1. We want to be consistent as much as we can with a certain "baseline" point in time. What we don't want is to have some places titled according to their municipality in 1968 and others titled according to their municipality in 1868.
  2. Most people just starting out are researching 50-150 years ago. We want to make things as easy as possible for newcomers (more experienced genealogists have an easier time handling the fact that places changed hierarchies over time), so we want to choose a baseline year between say 1858-1958.
  3. Choose a source (atlas, gazetteer) that is fairly comprehensive, respected, and easily available that describes how places were organized in the baseline year. looks like a great website (to this non-Dutch reader). You could use that as your source, or the gazetteer that the FHLC used if you have access to that. The only thing is I hope it's not too difficult to figure out which towns are located in each municipality from the maps provided.

Since Flevoland was established so recently, ideally we wouldn't list anything under it. For those places now in Flevoland, we would add Flevoland as an "also-located-in" place to indicate the current hierarchy.

If you would go through and start adding lat+lng to places, that would be great! In case you don't know, clicking on "View larger map" for a province should give you a list of all of the contained places that we don't currently have lat+lng for. If you can find one of them on the google map and click on that spot on the map, you should see the lat+lng of the point where you clicked, so you can edit the place and add that lat+lng.--Dallan 19:22, 30 August 2008 (EDT)

Thank you for the tip about finding places without coordinates using the larger map view. I went through and did the province of Drenthe (a couple left to research) and am finishing up on Friesland. I found that I averaged 1 minute per page update. The remaining provinces have a total of 1646 locations that have no coordinates. This would mean at least 28 hours just to add long & lat. So… not sure if this is possible, but can the coordinate data be obtained using a Geonames database dump I looked at the Netherlands ZIP file, and it does contain coordinate info. I have no idea on the logistics on getting that into WeRelate.

As far as place name changes, I would like to focus my efforts on the province of Friesland. I noticed that FHLC does already contain the municipality info for the locations, and is another huge help. I can organize it according to a historical time period and then add current locations as “also located in”. When would it be ok to start? How do I change the name of the Place page to include the municipality info – do I just “Rename” page?

Thank you.--JBS66 22:31, 4 September 2008 (EDT)

Geonames is a good resource. At some point (probably not until next year though) I'll incorporate this, so you don't have to worry about adding lat+lng by hand.

Focusing on Friesland would be great. Including the municipality just involves (1) creating a page for the municipality, and (2) renaming the city/town page to include the municipality level.

I'm still working on updating the Source pages (ran across some bugs that took several days to find and fix), so it's going to be another week before you can start renaming pages unfortunately. I'll let you know as soon as it's finished.--Dallan 11:43, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

The automated FHLC source page update is finished! So you can start updating Netherlands place pages if you'd like now.--Dallan 17:31, 16 September 2008 (EDT)

Searching with place only for sources does not seem to work [2 September 2008]

Hi Dallan,

When I select search on the blue bar and then select namespace:Source and search for only the place with nothing else checked I get no results. I know there are sources in this place because I created them. Try United States, Georgia, Walker or just Walker, Georgia etc.--Beth 20:33, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

I just tried searching for "Walker, Georgia" and got 11,909 hits. The problem appears to be that there are so many sources for Georgia or United States, that the sources for Walker get lost in the noise. If I click on "Exact matches only" in the search dialog I get back just the 52 sources for Walker. What I need to do is rank the search results so that those sources appear at the top of the list. That's a big problem that I overlooked so I'm glad you pointed it out. I'll fix it later this week. In the meantime, try searching on exact matches only when you're searching Source pages by place.--Dallan 14:08, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

Find/Add for Sources [2 September 2008]

Hi Dallan,

When I am on the find/add window and wish to checkout a source before I select the source; I click on the source and get the source page. However, there is no way to get back to the find/add window, at least I cannot find it. I have to start over.--Beth 20:54, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

You have to use the back-button on your browser; alternatively, control-click on the link to open it in a new window.--Dallan 14:08, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

Merging Trees [11 November 2008]

Dallan, I have a gedcom called "clark" and after uploading it I got a break and found a lot of information on two of the family lines. Instead of deleting CLARK and re-uploading it, I uploaded small segments containing just the new information and then merged overlapping people. What I would like is to have the following gedcoms all in one folder or in one tree or whatever the terminology is that I need to use...

  1. BenClark1842
  2. LydiaClark
  3. Clark

I have had the same situation happen with my Shuff family. Originally I uploaded gedcom "Shuff" and then updates came in, so I uploaded those within my uploaded "WmShuff1835" gedcom. Those two gedcoms should be in one tree together.

So tell me, in the future, can I upload multiple gedcoms into one tree, as I have updates?? --Msscarlet1957 14:51, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

I've added all of the pages in BenClark1842 and LydiaClark into the Clark tree, and I've added the pages in WmShuff1835 into Shuff.
Instead of uploading new GEDCOM's into new trees, you could upload the new GEDCOM's into the existing Clark or Shuff trees if you want. You can do that now by selecting the existing tree on the GEDCOM import screen.
In the future though (once we get GEDCOM re-upload working), I'm planning to do away with the notion of trees altogether. They seem to be more trouble than they're worth. In the future you'll upload a new GEDCOM without uploading it into a particular tree. You'll have a bookmark that will take you to the root person in that GEDCOM and you'll be able to navigate from there.--Dallan 15:41, 5 September 2008 (EDT)
Dallan, I am a bit confused by your last paragraph. What will happen with the 7+ gedcoms which I currently have online, and future ones, since I do not upload my whole database, it is too huge, 60,000+ folks. I just carefully edit small groups and upload those in individual gedcoms.
Oh! and thank you for moving the above mentioned files. --Msscarlet1957 15:49, 5 September 2008 (EDT)
Sorry for the confusion. The GEDCOM's will all still be there; it's just that in the future you probably won't create trees to load your GEDCOM into. You won't have to worry about some pages being in one tree and some in another tree. You'll just upload your GEDCOM's and the pages will be created for you.--Dallan 21:26, 5 September 2008 (EDT)
Hi Dallan, working without trees is definitely a new concept. Are you saying that my pages will no longer be grouped together by a tree name? Will all of the pages that I am watching be in one index? That will make for a rather lengthy index to wade through. One of the trees that I am watching has over 5000 people in the tree. How will this work when one wishes to download a gedcom of one family group? --Beth 08:02, 6 September 2008 (EDT)
That's what I'm thinking -- that pages will no longer be grouped by tree. Trees seem to cause confusion, and lately I've been thinking that they're more trouble than they're worth. I'm thinking that when you download a GEDCOM you'll pick someone as a starting point and choose whether to download everyone related to that person or limit it in some way, perhaps to just those you are watching. We've talked before about a desktop genealogy program that synchronized with WeRelate. I'm thinking that trees would be handled by the desktop program -- you could have multiple files, each syncronizing with a different set of WeRelate pages.--Dallan 22:58, 6 September 2008 (EDT)

Can I just say that the Merge tool you developed, Dallan, is absolutely PHENOMENAL!!!

I am really impressed with it. When I think about all the pieces it has to look up and merge, well, heck: it's one beauty of a little program. Is there an award for this kind of coding? If so, you should get it.

Jillaine 22:02, 10 November 2008 (EST)

Thanks :-)

Repeating of sources in gedcom upload [14 October 2008]

Hi Dallan,

Why are the same sources repeated on a person or family page in a gedcom upload? It is not a problem for me to delete the repeated sources; but we have numerous gedcoms that are not updated by users after uploading. It seems to me that we are creating clutter that is not necessary. --Beth 23:03, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

It's possible that the original GEDCOM had the source cited multiple times for different events - do you have an example I could look at?--Dallan 09:57, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

Hi Dallan, yes it is my gedcom; and I do have the same source cited for multiple events; but on WeRelate I assign the same source one number i.e. S1 for the multiple events. I guess it cannot work that way for gedcom upload?--Beth 10:22, 23 September 2008 (EDT)
What we'd have to do is determine that all of the fields in the source citation were the same, and if they were, then merge the citations. That seems like a good idea. I'll add it to the todo list (which is getting long lately!).--Dallan 14:39, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

Hi Dallan, I am sorry that your list is so long but it is a minor nuisance to have every citation listed as a separate source when there is no difference in the citations; but I understand that this should not be at the top of the list. Thanks. --Beth 23:20, 14 October 2008 (EDT)

I've added that to the todo list, not at the top :-)--Dallan 17:28, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

em dash [24 September 2008]

Hi Dallan,

Is there a way to type an em dash in the text section? My keyboard shortcut does not work. In my gedcom upload; I had people with unknown surnames designated with em dash?em dash. It appears that WeRelate converted that to the person's name and 2 em dashes. However I am not able to create a hyperlink for the person. I can rename the person to name and unknown. --Beth 11:43, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

You could try &#8212; which results in —, although it's probably better to rename the person (since "Unknown" is the convention here since as you say, typing an em dash in a browser is not obvious :-).--Dallan 14:39, 23 September 2008 (EDT)
For some reason I was notified of your reply. I will rename the page; but perhaps you should consider just converting this in the gedcom upload to Unknown.--Beth 20:31, 23 September 2008 (EDT)
Yes.--Dallan 09:01, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

Hi Dallan, I was trying to say that I was not notified of your reponse via email, but I did receive an email regarding your latest response; so it is working now. No need to reply and thanks.--Beth 09:26, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

adding a child with the new feature find/add [24 September 2008]

Hi Dallan,

This feature allowed me to add a child with a birth date of 1899 without a death date.--Beth 20:28, 23 September 2008 (EDT)

Sorry, I just thought it did. When I edit the page; the reminder about the death date is on the page.--Beth 08:14, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

View edits page- fomat messed up? [25 September 2008]

Hello Dallan,

I received notice of a change to a page and when I went to view the page

  • View changes since your last visit:

the format was all messed up! There used to be two columns to easily view changes, but now all I see is one column and it extends about the width of two monitors!! Something has gone wacky I think... --Msscarlet1957 20:04, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

Yes, I noticed that too. I'm not sure what to do about it. It's caused by a 500-character URL (with no spaces of course) that someone entered a few months ago. I moved the URL to the archive page, so in the differences view it shows up in the "old" column. Since it doesn't have any spaces, the browser tries to display it all on one line, which leaves almost no room for the "new" column.

There's nothing I can think of to influence the browser to leave more room for the "new" column in this case. The good news is people don't enter 500-character URLs very often so it happens rarely. By the way, the new material in the watercooler that day was in the last three or four sections.--Dallan 23:15, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

OK, well I feel better at least knowing the answer. Thanks for your rapid response! --Msscarlet1957 08:06, 25 September 2008 (EDT)

Places and redirecting places with contained places [9 October 2008]

Hi Dallan,

Place:Liverpool, Lancashire, England should be in the county of Merseyside. Lancashire is the historical place. However; I cannot redirect it to the new place Place:Liverpool, Merseyside, England. Help. Thanks. --Beth 15:37, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

Well, darn it; I see there is something new going on that I missed. What is the baseline year for England; the United States, etc.? --Beth 15:51, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

You could list Merseyside as an also-located-in place of Liverpool. And yes, you can't redirect a place with contained places; you have to redirect/rename all of the contained places first.

Last Fall we had a big push to clean up the place pages, just like we're doing this Fall with the source pages. Before then we had the same place listed multiple times under different hierarchies, because the sources I used to create the place pages had the places according to different years and I hadn't merged all of the duplicates when I initially created the place pages. The Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) tends to list places according to the way they were around 1900, Getty lists them according to they way they were in the 1990's, and Wikipedia lists them the way they are currently. Since the FHLC contributed more places than the other two sources, we generally standardized on the same year that the FHLC used. Most european countries, e.g., Place:England have a section on their country page that explains the standard for organizing places in that country. An exception to the 1900 rule is the US. As far as I can tell, the FHLC lists places in the US according to their current hierarchy, or at least according to the way they were in the 1990's, same as Getty. So for the US we list places according to their current (or recent) hierarchy.

Organizing places into a meaningful hierarchy and attaching latitudes and longitudes a huge task that I really underestimated when we started out. We still have people working on improving various countries. For example, User:Scot continues to work on the places in Portugal.--Dallan 20:13, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

Québec Place Names [16 October 2008]

I would like to work on Quebec place names. I haven't forgotten about Friesland, Netherlands though - but I believe that tackling Quebec first would be more widely beneficial. I've done some preliminary research, and what I've found is:

  • Currently, Quebec is divided into 17 administrative regions (Région administrative). These are further divided into regional county municipalities (RCM) (or municipalités régionales de comté MRC). Wikipedia and some RootsWeb pages reflect this current type of division.
  • Example: ~1900, the parish of Sainte-Philomène was in Châteauguay, Quebec, Canada. So, my place name title would reflect this historical location Place:Sainte-Philomène, Châteauguay, Quebec, Canada.
    • Sainte-Philomène was renamed Mercier in 1968, so I just put Mercier in the Alternate names field.
    • Currently, Mercier is in the MRC of Roussillon which is in the administrative region of Montérégie - thus, would the Located in field then contain Roussillon, Montérégie, Quebec, Canada? (after I've created a new page for this location)
    • I just want to make sure I have this concept right - We title pages according to their historical (~1900) location, but "also locate" them in their current spot. So, on this page [Canada Index], each town would appear under multiple hierarchies, and we would be creating multiple additional pages?
    • Is there a standard for the type field? If a location was first a parish, then a village, and is now a city, what would you recommend putting in that field?
    • I know I'm being picky here, but if we're titling pages according to their local spelling, the province of Quebec should be spelled Québec (none of the pages currently are). How should I handle this?

Thank you so much for your help.--JBS66 12:21, 12 October 2008 (EDT)


The village of Place:Aalsum, Oostdongeradeel, Friesland, Netherlands looks good. The only thing I would suggest is that since Oostdongeradeel was never a subordinate (contained) place of Dongeradeel but instead was merged with another place to form Dongeradeel, I would list Dongeradeel as a "See-also" place of Oostdongeradeel (and vice-versa), rather than listing Dongeradeel as an also-located-in place of Oostdongeradeel. The question to ask is does "Oostdongeradeel, Dongeradeel, Friesland, Netherlands" make sense? If it does, then list Dongeradeel as an also-located-in place for Oostdongeradeel. Otherwise list it as a see-also place.

Thanks for your input on this - makes complete sense. I went ahead and moved Oostdongeradeel and Westdongeradeel from a located-in place to a see-also place.--JBS66 19:34, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

Regarding Quebec, I think the first question to ask is which administrative levels are significant from a genealogical standpoint. That is, which levels would appear in records. Most of Canada is "town, municipality/county, province, Canada" or just "town, province, Canada". I've had some people tell me that the municipality/county level is not significant, but others say that it's useful for finding genealogical societies. We could make places in Quebec conform to a more detailed "town, RCM, administrative region, Quebec, Canada", but unless there's some genealigcal value in knowing what RCM or administrative region a town is located in, it would simplify the initial cleanup and the long-term maintenance to drop one of the levels.

You're absolutely right that we "title" places according to where they were historically: 1905-1930 seems like a good timeframe for Canada - Alberta and Saskatchewan were created in 1905, so we'd probably want to organize places the way they were just after that change happened. And we add also-located-in places for the current places that a place is in. Adding current also-located-in places probably isn't quite as important as getting the historical place hierarchy cleaned up though.

In Place:Sainte-Philomène, Châteauguay, Quebec, Canada, is Place:Châteauguay, Quebec, Canada an administrative region or an RCM? Or did Quebec not have two administrative levels back in the early 1900's?

Châteauguay would be the historical county. I want to title the pages village/parish, county, Quebec, Canada. I wasn't really clear earlier, but RCMs are pretty new ~1980-1990. So, the titles will reflect the historical county hierarchy.
I've put some notes and a basic plan-of-action onto Place talk:Quebec, Canada. Let me know your thoughts.--JBS66 19:34, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

Regarding the Québec vs Quebec spelling, I've gone back and forth on this. Québec is the correct spelling, but many people don't know how to enter accented characters. How about if you leave it as Quebec while you clean things up, and when you get done I'll write a program to automatically rename everything to the Québec spelling. That sounds like the least amount of work overall.

Thank-you for doing this!--Dallan 19:02, 14 October 2008 (EDT)

To Do List and order of importance [29 October 2008]

Hi Dallan,

Just wondering what is next on your to do list for WeRelate. My choices would be (I know you didn't ask. <g>)

  • (1) download a gedcom
  • (2) ordering events in the order that I select
  • (3) having a genie program that interacts with WeRelate

--Beth 23:41, 14 October 2008 (EDT)

Well, here are the big items on the ToDo list:

By the end of this year

  • download a gedcom
  • re-upload a gedcom without having to delete the prior upload
  • make the FTE part of every page, and get rid of the "Tree" complexities
  • show the talk page comments at the bottom of the main page, and make it easy for people to leave comments (like a blog)
  • make adding people and families more intuitive
  • ordering events by date (doesn't allow you to put them in any order, but ordering by date could be done without you having to explicitly rearrange the events - is this ok?)

By early next year

  • merge most of the current duplicates
  • require that new gedcom uploads review and merge into existing pages instead of creating more duplicates
  • finish the source review project

By mid next year

  • a desktop genealogy program that interacts with WeRelate
  • a "Source recommender" that reviews what you know and don't know about a person/family and suggests where you should look next, using the reviewed sources

--Dallan 17:28, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

The following is a biggie on my wish list

I have a file of over 20,000 folks I have hesitated to upload because so many of my notes are formatted to have spaces and line breaks, esp when I have transcribed census records into the notes. I know I would not spend the time to go back to each individual to 'clean up' those notes so I am just waiting until that won't be necessary.

Next, ordering events by date is high on my wish list. I would hope that will become automatic; but even after children are ordered by date, I would hope to be able to insert a child out of date; that is I know xyz is the 3rd son but don't know his birth date. If undated children are uploaded by GEDCOM, will their order stay the same? I was surprised when children I input manually to WeRelate, carefully inputting them in their proper order, got scrambled and now are all out of order. (I didn't put them in a named tree, if that makes any difference.) --Janiejac 15:57, 26 October 2008 (EDT)

I've added better note display to the todo list. Someone else has asked for this as well.

Regarding child ordering, I'll try to automatically sort by birthdate and also keep unknown-date children where they are in the list.--Dallan 16:42, 29 October 2008 (EDT)

Digital Library and cemetery transcriptions [15 October 2008]

From reading about the Digital Library beta, I believe that pages like Interments in Lombardy Cemetery, Bellefonte, New Castle, Delaware, United States and Interments in Gracelawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Wilmington Manor, New Castle, Delaware, United States would aspirationally consist of information about and analysis of a cemetery transcription(s) but leave the holding of the data now found in tables in those mentioned articles to the Digital Library repository. Is that correct?--ceyockey 13:10, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

I would say that if you're uploading something that's finished, and that you don't want others to change, that it could be uploaded into the digital library. Looking at the two articles you mentioned, I would say that yes, they would both be candidates for the digital library.--Dallan 17:28, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

Wikisource, Wikimedia Commons and WeRelate Digital Library [27 October 2008]

Have you considered the suitability of Wikisource as a repository for the textual content and Wikimedia Commons as a repository for the image content that the WeRelate Digital Library is intended to house? I suppose the deeper question is that of "what were the drivers for creating a WeRelate-managed repository?" --ceyockey 13:17, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

The main driver for the digital library was as a place where genealogy societies could house images that they wanted to post online, where each society could esablish and manage their own collections. That's what Africana Heritage is doing. Eventually I'd like to modify and integrate software from Distributed Proofreaders to help societies manage the transcription of images in their collections.

Setting up personal digital libraries for individuals was more of a "that would be pretty cool too and not too difficult to implement". Several people have asked about using it to preserve their gedcom files. Also, long-term I'd like to make it easy for people to take screenshots of what they're looking at in their browser and store them in the digital library.

The reason for not using Wikisource or Wikimedia Commons is I didn't want to limit materials contributed to the library to things that could be licensed under an open-content license. I anticipate that a lot of material uploaded by individuals will be uploaded under "fair use", and material uploaded by genealogy societies might have more restrictive licenses. Having said that, I'd like to make it easier to integrate with Commons and Wikisource more, but I'm not quite sure of the best way to do that. Any thoughts?--Dallan 17:28, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for your thoughts on the matter. I think you are quite right to have set up an alternative based on mismatch between existing and needed licensing models.

  • About thoughts related to Commons/Wikisource integration — There are some tools available for uploading files to these resources enumerated at . I have used an earlier version of the Commonplace tool. It would be useful to develop a variant on one of these tools that would allow one to choose to upload to either the Digital Library, Commons or Wikisource, providing a decision tree to help users decide where best to put their material.
  • About screenshots of what folks are looking at — I think what you mean is, for instance, taking a screenshot of a digital picture (or digital book page) rather than dealing with converting and uploading the original, yes? If you are speaking to capturing web screenshots, I think the first choice would be to utilize the Internet Archive or another similar resource (see for a treatment of this topic from Jan 2008).
--ceyockey 20:21, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

These are good suggestions. I've put a desktop uploader and linking to the internet archive on the todo list for next year. Thanks!--Dallan 10:55, 19 October 2008 (EDT)

Here is an example of using a screen capture. The Internet Archive is fascinating option as well. I didn't know you could do that. However, that wouldn't have worked for my example because it was the result of query and not a permanent web page.--Srblac 20:11, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

Could you explain the advantage of doing a screen capture has you've illustrated vs. converting the comment to delimited text so it can be searched and otherwise manipulated? Or were you using the particular screen capture here as merely an example of what one would look like? Thanks --ceyockey 22:10, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

Place name interpretation of gedcom [16 October 2008]

HI Dallan,

In my gedcom upload, my location was Montgomery County, Alabama Territory and the bot interpreted the place as Montgomeryshire, Wales.

I changed my place to Montgomery, Alabama Territory, United States and it was redirected to Montgomery, Iowa, United States

Similarly my place was Montgomery, Mississippi Territory, United States and that was redirected to Montgomery, Iowa, United States.

Some strange things happening with places. --Beth 16:23, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

The problem is the word "Territory". The system doesn't understand where "Alabama Territory" or "Mississippi Territory" are, so it skips down to the next level and looks for "Montgomery County" or "Montgomery" and finds the matching place with the shortest title and links to it. Not a great behavior in this case. Would you mind adding "Statename Territory" as an alternate name for the US States that were territories before they became states? For example, add "Alabama Territory" as an alternate name for Alabama? That would solve the problem. It takes about six hours for alternate place name changes to take effect, but after the 6-hour wait, "Alabama Territory" should resolve to Alabama, and "Montgomery, Alabama Territory" should resolve to "Montgomery, Alabama, United States".--Dallan 17:28, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

Hi Dallan, I can add the Alabama and Mississipi Territory now; but am at a religious feast but will be happy to check into the other U. S. territories if I have time this week or when I return home next week. I have no idea of how many more there are but there are more territories in the historical place names for the United States.--Beth 23:28, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

It's no rush. Hopefully I'll have that other problem solved by the time you get back. Have a terrific week! And thanks again!--Dallan 00:38, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

Dallan, I added some of the alternate names tonight; I did not take the time to enter the sources; but all of my data was from Wikipedia.--Beth 01:00, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

Search results not as expected [15 October 2008]

Hi Dallan,

While adding the alternate names for the states the search function does not seem to work as it should.

Searching for place Ohio in the United States is #15. Searching for same with exact match checked is #21.

?? --Beth 23:58, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

Hmm. I thought I had that problem licked. I guess not. Thank-you for pointing it out. I'll take care of it. Ohio should be the first result.--Dallan 00:35, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

Edit Page - Watch this Page checkbox [17 October 2008]

Not sure if this is a known issue, or if perhaps it's an issue with the browser I'm using (Firefox or Google Chrome).

  • I edit a page, click the Watch this Page checkbox, and Save Page.
  • The newly saved page does not show that I am watching it. I have to go to the top of the page, choose Unwatch and then choose Watch again in order for it to work.
  • Watching a page appears to work fine when I add topics to the Watercooler or talk pages.--JBS66 10:32, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

This is a known bug that won't be fixed for 2-3 months (sorry). The problem is the page gets cached after you edit it but before you're added as a watcher, and you're looking at the cached page. If the top menu says "Unwatch" instead of "Watch", you can be certain that you are indeed watching the page. You don't need to do anything else; after awhile the cache gets updated and you're displayed as a watcher.--Dallan 18:56, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

I decided to go on ahead and fix this bug today. You should see yourself as a watcher now after you edit a page and check the "Watch this PAge" checkbox.--Dallan 19:33, 17 October 2008 (EDT)

Bug report - Capitalization in Source Titles [16 October 2008]

Hi Dallan... I just created a new source where the AHSGR was not capitalized properly in the title. On the side panel it should correctly, but it didn't carry over to the title. WeRelate first saved it as Ahsgr. I renamed it, but I think this is probably a bug. Thanks. --Ronni 10:43, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

I noticed the same thing when I created Source:Crossby, Peter Alfred. Lovell'S Gazetteer of British North America. The page title shows Lovell'S Gazetteer, the name on the left shows the correct title (Lovell's gazetteer of British North America).--JBS66 11:01, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

The first bug is actually a feature :-) (it's discussed on the WeRelate talk:Source Committee page somewhere). The reasoning is that since page titles are case-sensitive, in order to avoid problems with people accidentally creating duplicate pages due to differences in capitalization we would automatically capitalize the first letter of each word in a Source page title. Unfortunately this means that sometimes page titles get created with the wrong capitalization. Hopefully this doesn't happen too often, and renaming the page to have the correct capitalization isn't too much trouble.

The second title (Lovell'S) is a bug. I fixed the auto-capitalization to not capitalize after an apostrophe.--Dallan 18:56, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

Problem with merging [20 October 2008]

Hi Dallan,

This merge did not work correctly; James Allen and Anna Guild (1) James Allen and Anna Guild (2) James Allen and Anna Guild (3) James Allen and Anna Guild (4) James Allen and Anna Guild (5) .

I merged 2 with one. #2 did not have a birth date for Anna Guild and the merge completed. When I merged #3 with #2; I noticed a birth date for Anna Guild of 1816 which seemed more logical than the marriage date so I dumped the marriage-birth date. Same with merging #4 to #3; both birth dates of 1815 and 1816 were added.

Note that the birth dates show as I selected on Anna's person page but the family page still reflects the date that I dumped; the one that is the same as the marriage date. I have not merged #5. --Beth 23:42, 19 October 2008 (EDT)

Thank-you for pointing out this bug! The updated dates weren't getting copied to the family pages. I fixed the bug so it won't happen in the future. Pages that have already been merged are going to continue to show the old dates on the family pages; I'll have to write a program to update them. In the meantime, if you want to see the updated dates you can edit the person page, delete the date and save the page, then re-add the date and save the page again. This will cause the family page to be updated with the correct date. Thanks again for pointing out this problem.--Dallan 10:47, 20 October 2008 (EDT)

You are welcome. I will correct James Allen and Anna Guild. --Beth 16:46, 20 October 2008 (EDT)

Welsh patronymic naming system [20 October 2008]

Hi Dallan,

I just noticed that the Welsh names on the duplicate list are alphabetized by ap which is a contraction for the Welsh word mab which means son. If I understand this system correctly; the surname is the name after ap. Example: Rys ap Gruffyd. Rys is the given name, ap is son of, and Gruffyd is the given name of the father which is also the son's surname.

This doesn't make any diffence as far as the duplicate list but may need to be corrected in the search results.--Beth 16:44, 20 October 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for letting me know. It will be fixed sometime in the next couple of weeks.--Dallan 17:53, 20 October 2008 (EDT)

What do the different colors mean? [22 October 2008]

On the "Merge pages - Experimental" what do the colors mean,

  1. some items are GREEN in one column with no checkbox and on opposite side is a plain column with a check box; Does this mean the green items WILL NOT be saved?
  2. some items are YELLOW with a checkbox on one side and plain with a check box on the other side.
  3. some items are PINK --Kristy 14:16, 22 October 2008 (EDT)

Good question. I've just added a "color key" to the pages. Essentially, green means exact match on a complete date or place or name, yellow means the information matched but some pieces are missing (e.g., the date is a year only, or the place is just a country or a US state), or the information is a "partial-match" (e.g., the name sounds similar but is spelled differently, or one place is a county but the other one includes the town also). Red means that the information differs.--Dallan 14:43, 22 October 2008 (EDT)

Lost children in merge [24 October 2008]

Dallan, on the compare page, I was having one column with say 4 kids.. and the other column with one child. It correctly matched up the one child. and I left the option at "don't merge" for the other 3 kids, as there was no child to merge them with. I thought this would just carry over those three children, but they appear now to be "lost in cyber space"

Was I supposed to do a drop down for the second child and and choose "child two" and have it merge into a blank space? I guess so... hmmm --Kristy 21:45, 22 October 2008 (EDT)

It should have carried over the other three. Can you tell me the title of the family that was merged incorrectly so that I can take a look at it? Thanks.--Dallan 10:32, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

Well I should have wrote that family down! I was busy merging from 10am until near midnight yesterday, and now can not remember who it was. Maybe what I will do is try to duplicate the problem with another page.. and then give you that info. Of course that means I have permanently "lost" those kids from that other family, (DUH on my part!). I guess I was getting pretty delirious as the merge marathon progressed last night. I am at it again this morning. Maybe somehow I can find that page using the time I posted the message to you and comparing it with the time on my contributions pages... that might work, will get back to ya on this. --Kristy 11:10, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

  • Dallan, I have made too many contributions! Even if I hit the show "500" on my contributions page, at the very end it does not show enough of my work from yesterday to find the page with the lost kids. So I am not sure what to do from here. --Kristy 12:44, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

You sure had a lot of contributions yesterday! Look for the "Older 500" link near the top of your Contributions page. You can press that to see your earlier contributions. Let me know if you can find those missing children and I'll see what went wrong.

  • Dallan, there is no "older 500" page link, there is only "older 50" and the ones I am looking for are probably now somewhere over 600 contributions or more back... so maybe someday I will run across those folks again...--Kristy 15:27, 24 October 2008 (EDT)

Here's a question for you: Are you sure they didn't get added to the target family? If they didn't show up in the list of merged pages after the merge, that's ok -- only pages that were actually merged show up on that list; children that don't need to be merged don't show on that list, but should still be added to the target family. If you looked at the target family and they weren't there, that's a problem though.--Dallan 13:23, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

  • Dallan, I have been unable to duplicate the above mentioned incident in current merges, and unable to find the past page with the problem, so I guess it was all a figment of my imagination. These things occur under stress, such as Marathon Merge Sessions of which I have been a part of for three days and counting... ;-) --Kristy 15:27, 24 October 2008 (EDT)

Ok, just for future reference if you ever want to see your really-old contributions you can go to your Contributions page, click on the "500" link at the top, wait for it to show your most-recent 500 contributions, then click on the "Older 500" link to see your older 500 contributions.--Dallan 19:38, 24 October 2008 (EDT)

Boroughs within towns & towns on islands [24 October 2008]

What is your preference for titling towns that contain boroughs? One example is Place:Danielson, Windham, Connecticut, United States, this is a borough within the town of Place:Killingly, Windham, Connecticut, United States. So, should Danielson be titled: Place:Danielson, Killingly, Windham, Connecticut, United States? Also, what about towns located on islands such as Place:Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts, United States? This town is located on the island of Place:Martha's Vineyard, Dukes, Massachusetts, United States, so would this be named Place:Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Dukes, Massachusetts, United States?

I’m trying to understand this better to help make decisions for Québec and whether or not I should include another level for those historical counties that have an extra level of hierarchy like Place:Cushing, Chatham, Argenteuil, Quebec, Canada.

Thank You!--JBS66 09:19, 24 October 2008 (EDT)

These are both really good questions. My opinion is that if the town kept records about people living in the borough (which I assume is probably true), then the title of the borough should include the name of the town as you say. For countries in the South Pacific for example we have tried to make island part of the title because it's such an important identifier of where people lived. I'd say that if people tend to think of themselves as being from the island as much as from a particular town on the island (like they do in Hawaii for example), then include the island as part of the town's title. It's your call.--Dallan 19:38, 24 October 2008 (EDT)

Contained Places list on county pages [10 November 2008]

Quick question...

When I edit the type field of a town page (say from unknown to either Parish, Municipalité, Canton), it will reflect immediately on its county page. However, when I change the type to Village, it reflects on the county page as Inhabited Place (see Place:McMasterville, Verchères, Quebec, Canada). I thought maybe it was a cache issue, but here's an example I did yesterday Place:Brownsburg, Argenteuil, Quebec, Canada. I know it's got to be something simple!--JBS66 14:50, 24 October 2008 (EDT)

This is "fix" to deal with a quirk in the data: a lot of places are currently identified as "City", "Town", "Village", "Community", "City or Town", "Town or Villiage", or "Inhabited place" because that's how they were identified in the sources where we got the place data from. Often the distinction isn't that important, but sometimes it is. We used to display them under separate headings for each type, but that got confusing (too many headings). Rather than try to change the type on these pages, we now display these types all together under the "Inhabited place" heading. It's not the best solution, and I'm open to alternatives.--Dallan 19:38, 24 October 2008 (EDT)

I like the idea of having all of these places classifed under the 'Inhabited place" heading. Simplifies entering data. Perhaps one could add their own identifier in parenthesis after the designation if they desire.--Beth 21:53, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

As I'm editing the pages for Québec, I'm finding some examples where the procedure for displaying contained places is confusing. Example: Place:Rouville, Quebec, Canada.

  1. Under Inhabited Place, Saint-Hilaire is listed twice. This is because it was first designated a village, then changed to a city. I have both of these types listed on Saint-Hilaire's page.
  2. Saint-Hilaire-de-Rouville is also listed twice, but its designation changed from parish to city, so it appears under different headings.
  • I know I could get around this by entering only one designation in the type field. Then, however, I'm limiting the info I enter based on how it might sort on another page.
  • Perhaps we don't need to sort by type at all, maybe alphabetical would work. Pros: would be easier to find what you want, places wouldn't appear twice. Cons: territories would be sorted with states, cemeteries would not be grouped together.--JBS66 09:15, 10 November 2008 (EST)

We've gone back and forth with this. Early on some people wanted them alphabetized, others wanted them categorized. Combining cities-villiages-towns-etc. was a compromise. I kind of prefer this to listing everything alphabetically. Listing a place twice under the same heading is certainly a bug that could be fixed. What would you suggest for listing (or not listing) a place under two different headings?--Dallan 00:11, 11 November 2008 (EST)

WeRelate abbreviation and St. vs Saint. [29 October 2008]

Can you explain what the item "WeRelate abbreviation" is? It's in the alternate names field on place pages, and is often exactly the same as the page's title. Can I discard this text if it does match the title? Also, I noticed that when searching for a place with Saint/Sainte/Saints in the title, a search for the common abbreviation of St./Ste./Sts. will not work. Don't know if this is an easy fix, or an item for a future update - just thought I would pass it along.--JBS66 17:48, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

"WeRelate abbreviation" was an attempt to try to automatically come up with various abbreviations that people might use for a place to help with matching places on gedcom uploads. It attempts to solve the Saint/Sainte/Saints problem you mention. But for very common abbreviations like st/ste/sts, it's probably better to expand them in the search engine rather than rely upon alternate names. I'll add that to the todo list.--Dallan 16:42, 29 October 2008 (EDT)

Renaming source pages; the title is not updated [29 October 2008]

Hi Dallan,

I don't know if this by design or a bug; but when I rename a source page the new title must be manually updated on the edit page to reflect the new name. If I rename a census title from 1850 census, population schedule to 1850 U.S. Census Population Schedule; the title does not reflect the change.--Beth 18:05, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

I had noticed this as well and presumed that it was to allow a distinction between the WeRelate page title and the actual source title as these two values may differ, particularly if there is a need for disambiguation. It would be useful, though, to pre-populate the source title value with the page title value when conducting a rename as a match between the two values is much more common than not. --ceyockey 20:05, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

Ceyockey, Would you give me an example of how the title and source differ? In the census the source title is parsed between the place and title on the page. Are these the 2 values that you referenced?--Beth 21:39, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

For example, there is a titling guideline for Newspapers that has been applied to Source:Canada, Manitoba, Altona. Red River Valley Echo.; the title in the source-article is Altona Red River Valley Echo, but probably should be simply Red River Valley Echo ... but the point of this example is that the source-article-title and source-title would necessarily differ for all newspaper sources. Likewise for Repositories for which the location is not obvious from the title, as in the case of Repository:Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository (Alaska) for instance. --ceyockey 22:15, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

Ceyockey, Okay, first I am only referring to sources. I changed the title of the newspaper you referenced to "Red River Valley Echo". The same defaults should apply. In the add/find field to add sources you would enter the title of the newspaper in the title field and then enter the place; although the place is entered in reverse order than what actually appears in the title; another possibly confusing issue to new users.--Beth 23:20, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

The problem is that since the Source page title sometimes includes the place, and for books may include the author's name, when you rename the Source page title it's not easy to automatically rename the title field in the source to match the renamed title portion of the Source page title. I'll add it to the todo list, but I don't know how well I could automate this.--Dallan 16:42, 29 October 2008 (EDT)

Census templates and categories - automatically added [29 October 2008]

Hi Dallan,

I know you have too much to do; but I believe that it would be most helpful to new users and even oldtimers if some of the templates and categories were automated. How many new users are going to know that they need to add the category year state census to their census page? Also I have recently discovered that someone has created a template for the 1900 census; but for me to remember that every time I create a new 1900 census page is difficult.--Beth 21:31, 27 October 2008 (EDT)

This falls under a general request to select from a drop-down list of templates when I create/edit a page. It's not trivial, but I agree it would be worthwhile. I'll add it.--Dallan 16:42, 29 October 2008 (EDT)

Error message during merge process [29 October 2008]

What I did:

1. Logged in.

2. went to my profile page.

3. Under My Relate, selected show duplicates

4. Long list appears. Selected the first one: Benjamin Cooley NEW WINDOW

5. Search window appears with a number of fields filled in.

6. Underneath the search fields is a message in read that reads:

org.apache.lucene.queryParser.ParseException: Cannot parse 'HusbandGivenname:Benjamin HusbandSurname:COOLEY WifeG

7. Clicked on SEARCH button anyway, and got the same results (#6 and #7 above).

I'm using a mac OS 10 Leopard. Updated version of Flash. Using Firefox as my browser. v2.0.0.11

Jillaine 17:51, 29 October 2008 (EDT)

Thank-you for pointing this out! The problem is due to the question mark after COLTON. If you remove it, everything should be fine. I'll fix the search screen so it doesn't give an error on this in the future.--Dallan 17:57, 29 October 2008 (EDT)

Québec Place Name questions [31 October 2008]

Yesterday, I entered all of Québec's current Administrative Regions and their Regional County Municipalities. I did that so I can enter the also located in info later on. Many of these new pages share names with towns and/or historical counties in Québec. One such example is Place:Arthabaska, Centre-du-Québec, Québec, Canada and Place:Arthabaska, Quebec, Canada. We want people using the historical town/county when entering data, and I don't want people to become confused with the current AR and RCM. Also, I don't know how the Gedcom place matching works, but this could also be a potential source for confusion. What are your thoughts?--JBS66 17:54, 29 October 2008 (EDT)

The GEDCOM place matcher prefers places at higher levels (fewer commas in the title). So as long as the dis-preferred place is further down in the hierarchy than the preferred place, you're ok. If both places are at the same level, then the the matcher prefers places with shorter names (the part of the title before the first comma). What we've done sometimes in the past is to add the type in parentheses to the end of the dis-preferred name to make it longer than the name of the preferred place. For example, "Arthabaska (Regional County Munipality), Quebec, Canada" if they were both at the same level.

I do have a few instances where a match would exist on the same hierarchical level.
Would you suggest that I rename the new places to include (Administrative Region) and (Regional County Municipality) in the title? (~105 pages)
Actually, for the above two examples you don't need to worry about it, because if someone enters "Portneuf, Quebec, Canada" they're going to match the historical county (since it's at level 3), and if they enter "L'Assomption, Quebec, Canada" they'll also match the historical county. The only way they would match the RCM is if they entered a fully-qualified place name: "Portneuf, Capitale-Nationale, Québec, Canada" or "L'Assomption, Lanaudière, Québec, Canada", in which case presumably they'd want to match the RCM.--Dallan 15:17, 31 October 2008 (EDT)

And as long as we're on the subject :-), if two matching places are at the same level, the place matcher prefers matching the name in the title to matching one of the alternate names.

When verifying this I noticed that Place:Arthabaska (regional county municipality), Quebec, Canada currently redirects to Place:Arthabaska, Quebec, Canada. Do you think it should redirect instead to Place:Arthabaska, Centre-du-Québec, Québec, Canada?--Dallan 18:21, 30 October 2008 (EDT)

Yes, it should indeed redirect to Place:Arthabaska, Centre-du-Québec, Québec, Canada. This does open a small can of worms. The places for Québec are/were very inconsistent. There was a mix of towns in historical counties, towns in current RCM's, and towns with both historical county and RCM in the title! So, I've been merging, renaming, and changing types for many of the places. You'll see above, the strikethroughed Place:Portneuf, Portneuf, Quebec, Canada, this is currently a merge of Wikipedia info on the RCM of Portneuf, and FHLC info on the town of Portneuf. I'll end up moving the wiki template to the new RCM page, and change the type field on this page. So... I've done a few of these and never thought to look at what links here! What is the most efficient way for me to clean this up? Is there a way to see a list of redirects without going to each page (like Special:DoubleRedirects)?

I wouldn't worry about it; it's not that important. I know Québec wasn't merged very well when it was set up initially (so I'm really glad you're fixing it up now!). Just change or redirect these mis-merged pages to the place that makes the most sense. Early next year I plan to re-match the places in the person/family pages to have them link to better places. Then I plan to delete all of the place redirects that aren't being used anymore. So making sure that redirects point to the correct places won't matter that much in the long term because hopefully most of the redirects will be deleted.--Dallan 15:17, 31 October 2008 (EDT)

Watches not carrying over [1 November 2008]

Dallan, I just merged Susan Clapper Watched by Jonjay into Susanna Clapper watched by me. Now I am the only one watching that page, JonJay is left off. --Kristy 11:57, 1 November 2008 (EDT)

Wow. I can't believe I missed that one. It's due to a similar bug as the one that caused merged pages not to be put into the right trees. I just fixed the bug so it won't happen in the future, and I'll write a program to update everyone's watchlists (and trees) with the merge targets on Monday. Thank-you for pointing that one out.--Dallan 19:30, 1 November 2008 (EDT)

adding spouse is not adding to appropriate tree [2 November 2008]

When working a family page (which is already in a certain tree of mine) I click to add a spouse. When I do this it searches for matches first, that is fine. Then when there is no match I can now "create page." The problem is that the checkmark is in the "FIRST" tree among my list of trees by default, instead of defaulting to the tree into which the spouse shall be added. I don't remember it being that way in the past. I thought sure it used automatically put a check mark to be added to the same tree as the family page to which you are adding the spouse to. --Kristy 12:31, 1 November 2008 (EDT)

If you have the Family Tree Explorer open, the system should automatically put a check mark next to the tree that you have open, but if you don't have the Family Tree Explorer it puts a checkmark next to the first tree by default.--Dallan 19:30, 1 November 2008 (EDT)

OK, I am not working from FTE, I am working from the "show duplicates" window and updating where one spouse is known and the other has a name of "unknown" and trying to add pages for the Unknown spouse, so they wont show up on the "show duplicates" page anymore. --Kristy 01:05, 2 November 2008 (EST)

I'm sorry - you'll have to check the correct tree yourself in that case.--Dallan 10:42, 2 November 2008 (EST)

Image Upload Error [10 November 2008]

All attempts to upload images are generating the following error

"The file you uploaded seems to be empty. This might be due to a typo in the file name. Please check whether you really want to upload this file."

The problem is not with the individual file as I have also tried to upload one that previously worked. The lates upload shown in the new images gallery was yesterday.--Btomp 19:46, 4 November 2008 (EST)

I'm not sure what to do; I just tried uploading an image and it worked ok. Could you email me the image and I'll try uploading it? If I try uploading that specific image I'm hoping I can figure out what the problem is. You can send it to I appreciate your bringing this to my attention.--Dallan 06:48, 5 November 2008 (EST)

I was able to get around the problem using a different browser. The original combination was IE7 on Vista (x64), although several reboots later that has now magicallyy started working again--Btomp 21:05, 9 November 2008 (EST)

That's very weird. It sounds like a problem with something in the browser cache, but right now I can't think of what would be getting cached that would cause this problem. Would you please let me know if you see it again?--Dallan 00:11, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Ugh! Living People Uploaded! [19 December 2008]

I thought I'd privatized my GEDCOM prior to uploading it last year, but my review of duplicates has revealed that all my living people are in my tree. Ugh ugh ugh.

Deleting them manually is a pain in the b&**. Do any other options exist?


Jillaine 19:26, 10 November 2008 (EST)

Hi Jillaine,

I just reviewed some of the people in your tree; it looks like maybe the GEDCOM privatization worked at cross-purposes with our algorithm to remove living people. By changing the birthdates to "Private" and including them in the GEDCOM, our algorithm didn't realize that they were born recently because it didn't recognize a birthdate in the past 110 years. I'm sorry about that.

Here's one suggestion: You can search for everyone on your tree with an empty death date. This will at least show only the people who are likely to be living. But you'll still need to delete these people and their families by hand.

Another thing you could do would be to view a list of everyone in your trees: here or here and email me a list of people and families to delete. I can then have them all deleted.

A third approach: if you could tell who needs to be deleted from the page titles alone, I could email you a list of page titles of everyone in your tree, and you could email me back a list of people that needed to be deleted. Or if you were pretty sure that every person or family who needed to be deleted had a birth or marriage date of "Private", I could go ahead and delete those people/families.--Dallan 00:11, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Dallan, Thanks for all the suggestions (and the nifty clues for using search more powerfully). I would say that the safest (and easiest) bet for me would be delete anyone with PRIVATE in their birth or marriage. I might lose a few dead people, but the bulk should be living. Not sure how "PRIVATE" got into those fields. I wonder if that's what FTM's "privatize" function did? It's not a word I use in my own work, although I know that years ago I imported a cousin's branch where she used that. But the names where I found living people were "mine" not hers. Thanks again. I hope it's not too much work. If it is, don't do it; you have better things to do. Jillaine 09:10, 11 November 2008 (EST)

If you don't need it right away then I'll wait until the end of the month to do it, but I will delete anyone in your tree with "private" as a birth or marriage date.--Dallan 17:13, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Dallan, it likes you got started on this. Thank you. I'm finding a couple of oddities:
1. Orphaned spouses who are still alive. Example:
2. Orphaned families without spouses (i.e., both spouses have been deleted but the "family" still hangs on). Example:

I started deleting a bunch of these (examine delete logs), but it got really tedious. Please update me on status, and what if anything I should do. Thanks.
jillaine 19:43, 17 December 2008 (EST)

Taylor is about halfway through this. He should be done by the end of the day Saturday. Let's see what things look like after he's done. BTW, what he's doing is deleting everyone matching this search, then he'll delete families matching this search --Dallan 16:32, 18 December 2008 (EST)

Thanks, Dallan (and Taylor whoever you are). Much appreciated. I'll wait and see how this looks after Saturday. It's generating a lot of changes to my Watchlist, which I presume is normal. jillaine 19:37, 18 December 2008 (EST)

Taylor (my son :-) finished up yesterday. Hopefully all of the privatized pages have been deleted now.--Dallan 16:10, 19 December 2008 (EST)

Glitch in adding new source [11 November 2008]

Hi Dallan,

I may have lost all my marbles, for the moment, hopefully not permanently, but there seems to be a glitch in adding new sources on the person page, at least. On Person:Russell Nance (1) I added a new source for his burial. The source was United States, Texas, Comanche. Board Church Cemetery. The find/add screen did not appear that I recall. I just typed in the name and expected the new source to be in red on the person page; however the new source is in black ink. I have since added the new source but have not yet adjusted the person page. The new place for the cemetery is in red; as it should be. Hoping this is clearer than it sounds to me.--Beth 19:35, 10 November 2008 (EST)

You probably just need to change the Namespace to "Source". The default is to not assign a namespace, since a lot of people want to enter a citation without creating a Source page.--Dallan 00:11, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Aha! Thanks Dallan; I knew I had something wrong but could not find it. I forgot to select the namespace.--Beth 08:09, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Last updated dates of posts incorrect for 2 entries on this page [11 November 2008]

Why does Jillaine's post on this page show a date of 11 Nov in the header and the post by Btomp also has an erroneous date in the header?--Beth 19:53, 10 November 2008 (EST)

It has to do with what their timezone is set to in their user preferences. If you're in the US posting late at night and you haven't changed your timezone from the default of "Greenwich Time" in your preferences, then the system thinks you're posting from Europe where it's already the next day.--Dallan 00:11, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Ooops! When Beth first asked the question, I figured it was a timezone thing, but i could not initially find where to change the setting. I now have, and I'm now in the right timezone. Wow, Beth, you're something! jillaine 09:13, 11 November 2008 (EST)

Deleting Trees [16 November 2008]

Dallan -- Can you take a look at the post from Marr794 on my UserTalk page and explain to us what's going on? I agree with Jillaine - please don't delete that tree -- it's one of the best that's been uploaded.--Amelia 23:02, 16 November 2008 (EST)

Dallan, it's at the very bottom of Amelia's talk page. jillaine 23:09, 16 November 2008 (EST)

Impressions from a wiki challenged genealogist [22 November 2008]

Hi Dallan, So far, I think the only thing that has got easier in WeRelate since I wrote last is the merge function. And right now I'm seeing articles that that use words I've never even heard of. . .

I've transcribed a 1949 57-page research paper of Leonardo Andrea on Jacksons mostly in South Carolina but some of the families either originated or moved elsewhere. I'm looking for a good place to post it. But it has LOTS of formatting and spacing so until WeRelate starts retaining formatting, this is not the place for it.

The same lack of formatting keeps me from uploading my Jackson data base (20,000+). There is NO WAY I'm going to go into all my notes to put lines breaks on all the notes; my notes are full of transcribed census records that I don't like to see all run together. I sure would like to see you move 'formatting notes' higher on the todo list!

And I'm reading about how much work it will be (for me or somebody!) to edit a lot of my sources to the WeRelate conventions and it just overwhelms me. Even if I broke my data base down into branches to stay under the limit of number of folks uploaded at one time, I'm unsure if I would go back to oversee that every one of those folks looked right. I was hoping for a place for collaboration but it's going to be a while yet before it is easy enough for the average genealogist to use. OK, enough whining! I'll keep coming back now and then, because I can't seem to stay away. --Janiejac 22:04, 20 November 2008 (EST)

Hi Janiejac,

I'll keep your vote for "formatting notes" high in my mind. As for sources, I don't think there's any reason why you should feel the need to edit your sources to use WeRelate conventions. That's what the MySource namespace is for. You can keep your sources as MySources and be perfectly fine.

As for making it easier to use, I agree that it's still difficult. We keep plugging away at it, but it takes time. We plan to come out of beta in Feb/Mar next year. The merging has gotten me sidetracked a bit (quite a bit actually) from the usability enhancements I planned to make this Fall, but they should be in place by then.--Dallan 15:30, 22 November 2008 (EST)

Pictures [29 November 2008]

Hi Dallan &/or Solveig ~~ I know I downloaded pictures and now they are not there. What do I do???

Jennifer Lieder--Theliederacademy 01:23, 23 November 2008 (EST)


Try clicking on "Contributions" in the "MyRelate" menu, then set the Namespace to "Image" and press "go". This should show you a list of all of the images you have uploaded. I just did this and saw about 20 images. Are these what you're looking for?--Dallan 20:07, 29 November 2008 (EST)

Merging Glitch [29 November 2008]

FYI - From the compare pages to merge screen, I compared 2 families Family:Thomas Lelaboureur and Marguerite Bardin (2) and Family:Thomas Lelaboureur and Marguerite Bardin (1). I believe there was a space character before the word Family in one of the two fields. I didn't notice the difference on the merge screen, but when it performed the merge, one family went onto the other's talk page instead. Now, I'll attempt to unmerge...--JBS66 07:45, 25 November 2008 (EST)

That's really odd. Thank-you for pointing it out. I've put in some checks so hopefully this won't happen again. It looks like you were able to unmerge and re-merge successfully.--Dallan 20:07, 29 November 2008 (EST)

Should I upload another GEDCOM? [3 December 2008]

Dallan (and others),

The more I get back into WeRelate, the more I wonder if I should add one more GEDCOM that I have.

It's currently housed over at WorldConnect and I'll likely keep it there also.

But it's a "special project" of mine that is turning into a town genealogy for a specific small town in southern Germany. It also tracks the emigrating ancestors from that town, and connects researchers with each other.

You can see it and read about it here:

[the Schwenningen GEDCOM]

It's about 80% complete. Despite what the about page says, it's actually now up to 8290 individuals. There may be a few duplicates in it, but I've been pretty good about that.

I had initially thought I'd wait until it was 100% complete before copying it over here (or at least 95% complete). But I'm hearing rumors of stopping the uploading of GEDCOMs so I wonder if I should upload it before you close the door on more GEDCOMs.

Advice? Thanks.

-- jillaine 20:42, 29 November 2008 (EST)

P.S., There will be a bunch of required merges because a portion of my current "Jillaine" GEDCOM (already here) overlaps with a set of branches in the "Schwenningen" GEDCOM. I.e., I have a bunch of Schwenningen folks in my own database, but the Schwenningen database is MUCH larger. If I do a search for Schwenningen in werelate, there are 147 records; 146 of them are "mine". So there are at lest 146 merges that I'd need to do. jillaine 20:48, 29 November 2008 (EST)

I don't plan to stop GEDCOM uploads. Some people would like me to, but I think what's needed instead is a review step that happens before the pages are created. In the review step we would ask the uploader to merge with existing matching pages among other things. An administrator might be required to review large GEDCOM's. How about if you wait until the review step is in place before uploading your GEDCOM, and you can help test it by merging with your existing tree? I'm hoping to have the review step implemented in the next couple of months.

Your Schwenningen GEDCOM is a terrific idea by the way!--Dallan 23:35, 2 December 2008 (EST)

I can wait! I think it's a great idea to use this as a test of whatever new review procedure you establish. We can also refine the "before you upload" instructions, and I can "test" those as well. jillaine 02:41, 3 December 2008 (EST)

Source pages with links [4 December 2008]

Hi Dallan,

I noticed on my watched pages that Taylor was able to delete a source that evidently had links. I would like a safeguard established to prevent the deletion of any namespace with links unless the user that created the link is notified.--Beth 22:32, 3 December 2008 (EST)

I'll add this to WeRelate:ToDo List. (This page is editable so you can add things directly to this page as well.)--Dallan 12:27, 4 December 2008 (EST)

Can not add new source page [14 December 2008]

Hi Dallan. I'm having trouble creating new source pages. After putting in the title and when it goes to search for possible matches, I click on "Add Page" and nothing happens. Other types of pages are apparently able to be created per the change log (I just tried to create a new person page and didn't have any trouble). --Ronni 13:06, 6 December 2008 (EST)

Update: The source page I was trying to create was Deaths and Marriages as Reported by the "Long Islander" (with the quotation marks). I took out the quotes and was able to create the page. The quotation marks shouldn't have really been in there to begin with I suppose, so perhaps this is feature and not a bug? :) --Ronni 13:58, 6 December 2008 (EST)

Thanks for reporting this - it's a bug. I'll work on it.--Dallan 00:19, 15 December 2008 (EST)

Acadie Place Name Matching [18 July 2017]

In going through some of my Acadian ancestors, I've noticed a particular place name that has been incorrectly matched. Port Royal, Annapolis County, NS has been matched as Place:Port Royal, Annapolis County, Slovyansk, Donetsk, Ukraine. I know that Acadie place names need some work, but I couldn't figure out why it's matching to the Ukraine! They appear to all originate from User:Jbernard's GEDCOM upload.--Jennifer 08:47, 8 December 2008 (EST)

The problem is that the system didn't know that NS is an abbreviation for Nova Scotia. It tries to match places right-to-left, so it looked around the world to find some place that matched NS, and because of a problem with special characters in Ukranian place names, it matched Place:Slov'i︠a︡ns′k, Donet︠s︡′k, Ukraine, which redirects to the English version: Place:Slovyansk, Donetsk, Ukraine. It couldn't find a further match for Annapolis County or Port Royal under Slovyansk, so it just added them as sub-places under Slovyansk.

The problem is solved by adding NS as an alternate names for Nova Scotia. I just added NS to Nova Scotia, and I'll add the postal abbrevs to the other Canadian provinces tomorrow. Next time someone uploads a gedcom with Port Royal, Annapolis County, NS, it should be matched correctly. But this won't automatically fix places that have already been matched. Eventually (within a few months I hope) we'll re-match all of the places in gedcom-uploaded person and family pages and update them with corrected links.--Dallan 00:19, 15 December 2008 (EST)

Thank-you for pointing this out by the way; matching places correctly turns out to be a really hard problem. It's good to know about places that aren't currently being matched correctly.

2017 Follow up - all links to Place:Port Royal, Annapolis County, Slovyansk, Donetsk, Ukraine have been corrected. Link removed from comment above. --cos1776 17:25, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

Member reports IE shutting down [14 December 2008]

Hi Dallan... when you have a moment, take a look at my user page for a message from Mark (Dec 13) where he's reporting IE suddenly closing on him while editing pages. Thanks! --Ronni 19:25, 13 December 2008 (EST)

I'll take a look at it first thing in the morning.--Dallan 00:19, 15 December 2008 (EST)

Took a couple of weeks off from WeRelate, but I'm back now [15 December 2008]

I apologize for not being very active on WeRelate the past couple of weeks. I took some time off to work on another project. I'm back to working on WeRelate now.--Dallan 00:19, 15 December 2008 (EST)

Welcome back. The sign of a good machine is that it doesn't blow up when left unattended - I think you've built a good machine here, Dallan. --ceyockey 00:27, 15 December 2008 (EST)

Thank-you, but really: it's the people that make WR such a nice place to work and keep it going when I'm not around (not the machine :-) --Dallan 16:00, 15 December 2008 (EST)

Broken Links [22 December 2008]

By googling a part of my old web site URL, I came upon a list of many URLs on WeRalate, which all were a part of AOL's Hometown, which was shut down by AOL at the end of October. I would like to correct the link to my web site, but I can't figure out how.

The link you have is Source:Ray Nicklas' Genealogy

The corrected link is Source:Ray Nicklas' Genealogy

Thanks, Ray Nicklas--RayNicklas 09:56, 21 December 2008 (EST)

I updated the link on Source:Ray Nicklas' Genealogy to point to the new website.--Dallan 20:02, 22 December 2008 (EST)

tree too big........Sigh merry Xmas [23 December 2008]

--Philheaphy 18:07, 23 December 2008 (EST)

Try limiting the people in your GEDCOM. If you find that you enjoy the 'wiki way' of doing genealogy I can remove the size limit later.--Dallan 21:20, 23 December 2008 (EST)