WeRelate talk:Watercooler

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Possible dupicated entry [28 January 2018]

In checking out placenames needing correcting, I spotted Person:Bryan Stapleton (1) and Person:Brian Stapleton (1) who are probably one and the same man. The birthplace of Wighill, Wiltshire for Bryan did not exist. There is a Wighill in the West Riding of Yorkshire. This error will probably lead to sorting out at the next generation as well. Can someone have a look at it, please? --Goldenoldie 22:14, 27 January 2018 (UTC)

They were actually 2 different people (grandfather and grandson). I added a source to each and corrected the birth place of the elder and cleaned up the marriages of the younger. Thanks for drawing this to our attention.--DataAnalyst 23:48, 27 January 2018 (UTC)

Thanks for quick work. The Stapleton-Constable family had too many red places in it at "close of play" last night. I couldn't think straight enough to check the dates. --Goldenoldie 07:45, 28 January 2018 (UTC)


No info RE the upload I did last night [4 February 2018]

I uploaded a small 56 person gedcom last night abt 10pm. Did it arrive? Haven't heard anything about it yet. So thought maybe I need to try again but get the msg: "Before importing a new GEDCOM you need to wait for your earlier GEDCOM to finish importing". So the gedcom is there; just needs a kick to the server! --janiejac 17:52, 30 January 2018 (UTC)

Maybe the server needs a reboot, as that cured a similar situation in March (above, topic "uploaded GEDCOM taking a long time"). There are a dozen other gedcoms in "Waiting for analysis" state as well. --robert.shaw 19:04, 30 January 2018 (UTC)
Well, there are now 15 GEDCOMs on hold and "waiting for analysis," stretching back three weeks. Did anyone actually notify Dallan of the problem? The last time this happened, I shot him off an email about it and the issue was resolved by the following day.--MikeTalk 01:07, 4 February 2018 (UTC)
Yes. Please do contact Dallan directly for issues related to file import. The GEDCOM review queue requires active monitoring every day or two. There is no way (that I know of) to set up a notification that there are files waiting to be processed. Someone just has to keep checking on it. I realized about 18 mos ago that no one had really been paying attention to the queue since Sep 2015, with the exception of admins importing their own files, so I processed all of the files to bring it up to date and began doing the regular monitoring thereafter (logged here). Last month, I notified [1] the GEDCOM review committee that I wanted a break from this task, but as you can see there was no response. It is what it is... I am willing to check in on the queue occasionally, but I really do want a break from that daily/weekly responsibility. The new year came in with some bumps in the road for me, so I can no longer give WR as much time as I used to. --cos1776 01:53, 4 February 2018 (UTC)
I did email him directly earlier this evening. We'll will miss you cos1776 and hope that road smooths out quickly. --janiejac 04:14, 4 February 2018 (UTC)
Would anyone be willing to help monitor GEDCOM uploads?--Dallan 07:49, 4 February 2018 (UTC)
I restarted the GEDCOM uploader. The GEDCOMs have been processed and are ready for review.--Dallan 20:23, 4 February 2018 (UTC)

Sources Usage Tip [3 February 2018]

On every WR source page is the usage tip: "May be ordered through the nearest Family History Center."

This has changed. Now that FamilySearch has all their records online, records are no longer available on microfilm at Family History Libraries (and you are very lucky if you have a local one!). Can we think of an appropriate replacement for the present tip? --Goldenoldie 12:14, 2 February 2018 (UTC)

It should be noted that some of them are locked and only available online from a Family History Center or other associated library. Personally, I am quite lucky to have a big genealogy-focused library in the Kansas City area which was granted access to it all. -Moverton 16:51, 2 February 2018 (UTC)
Too bad the text isn't in a template where it can be changed once. It probably could be deleted, or something like "Consult familysearch.org catalog for availability." I assume this message isn't used on sources that weren't derived from the catalog. --Jrich 22:52, 2 February 2018 (UTC)

I had assumed it was a template. I don't think I have ever seen a non-FS Library Catalog source to notice if it's omitted there. But it should have been a template..... I do a lot of copying and pasting from note-holding software, but there's many a time when something on the note-holder gets converted into a WR template.

Oh well, nice thought. Regards, --Goldenoldie 08:28, 3 February 2018 (UTC)


Donations [11 feb 2018]

I have updated the Donate page to add that grants can be made from a Donor-Advised Fund. They seem to be very popular and some users may have them. I did some formatting to keep the options from running together. --Judy (jlanoux) 17:29, 10 February 2018 (UTC)


Nice ! Thank you @Judy--woepwoep 15:13, 11 February 2018 (UTC)


Email Change [27 February 2018]

I have changed my e-mail address & it was confirmed on 13:46, 6 November 2017. However I still get messages sent to my old address. How can I make sure that all e-mail's are sent to my new address?--Pippy Oak 11:40, 27 February 2018 (UTC)


Hello, Dallan, is at RootsTech this week. He'll be able to take care this when he gets back. Thanks for your patience.--sq 17:17, 27 February 2018 (UTC)


Missing but not gone [3 March 2018]

Hey everybody. Just wanted to let everyone know - I've been missing from WR because my laptop decided to stop functioning, and the weather in my part of Ohio has been particularly unpredictable for a walk to the library. Should be back to consistent contributions by April. Neal--SkippyG 19:02, 3 March 2018 (UTC)

Just hope you don't suffer major withdrawal symptons with no computer! Gayel--GayelKnott 02:10, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

Objectionable ads [3 April 2018]

If you've been paying to eliminate ads from your pages, you don't see what the general public sees. My donation 'ran out' and I haven't re-upped so I'm seeing those ads now. Really we should have a button to push to let Dallan know when ads are 'objectionable'. The one I just saw was gross. I know we have to have ads but really . . .I know I gross out easily but I don't want any intestines or blood on 'our' site. --janiejac 21:39, 11 August 2017 (UTC)

Most of the ads (other than MyHeritage), are chosen by Google -- and based on what other sites you have used and what they think you might be interested in (which is often a bit bizare). If you don't like a particular ad, in the upper right corner of the ad are a grey triangle, and a grey X. Click the triangle to tell Google what you think; click the X to delete that particular ad. Not sure, but this might actually affect the income for WeRelate. --GayelKnott 16:52, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

I X'd out of another ad this morning that I thought was inaccurate and inappropriate for this site! But that ad said it was a warning that private information about living people was on the site which is not true or appropriate for a genealogy site. And it didn't even have the APPEARANCE of an ad. If I hadn't known the site well, I would have thought that it was legit warning about the site. Yikes! Just what WeRelate doesn't need - a warning against the site. --janiejac 15:47, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

Since contributors don't see those offensive or suspicious ads, you may want to screen/print those pages, crop and save the ad portion, and post it here or send it to Dallan or Cos1776 for further review and action as appropriate at their level to see if anything can be done.
Remember that Google targets ads based on personalized search history and other marketing algorithm parameters in their effort to target markets. so be wary. --BobC 23:25, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

Study on building online communities [2 May 2018]

Thought I would just leave this here in case it was of interest to anyone: Building Successful Online Communities: Evidence-based Social Design--Jonmcrawford 14:47, 2 May 2018 (UTC)

I found it interesting. Thank you for sharing. --cos1776 18:34, 2 May 2018 (UTC)

WeRelate's Place in Top 100 Genealogy Websites [25 June 2018]

Just as an update to previous observations in the Watercooler archives (re "2014 Watercooler: Werelate on the rise" and "2015 Watercooler: Top 100 websites") of WeRelate's ranking in GenealogyInTime magazine's ranking of the Top 100 Genealogy Websites, here are the rankings for the last five years of available statistics:

  • 2012: 85th
  • 2013: 54th (noted that year for being one of the "Top Rising Genealogy Stars")
  • 2014: 86th
  • 2015: 79th
  • 2016: 100th

Wonder where we stand in 2017 and this year...

Do any of the number trackers or analysts have anything to add? --BobC 14:53, 23 June 2018 (UTC)

We're on the bubble at 100th of 100, which suggests a decline of visibility may accelerate. --robert.shaw 19:29, 23 June 2018 (UTC)
It looks like GiT has discontinued their annual survey - which is a shame given it was always so interesting! They haven't published any new records since March, so they may be facing similar issues to WeRelate! AndrewRT 21:25, 25 June 2018 (UTC)

Having trouble downloading GedCom [26 July 2018]

I'm trying to download a gedcom for one of my trees, but it doesn't seem to be working. Two different genealogy programs have said the downloaded files are not gedcoms. Can someone check to see what is happening? Thanks, Gayel --GayelKnott 19:53, 26 July 2018 (UTC)

If you'll email the GEDCOM file to me, I'll take a look at it.--Dallan 02:13, 27 July 2018 (UTC)

New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers — Volumes in a large government series [12 August 2018]

I'm wondering how to cite the volumes of the New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers. In WeRelate, the entire series has a source HERE. There are 40 volumes in the series. However, groups of volumes (EXAMPLE) and individual volumes (EXAMPLE) also have source pages on WeRelate. The Secretary of State of New Hampshire website has a page for all 40 volumes. On the other hand the University of New Hampshire library seems to treat them separately, although it does list them as part of the New Hampshire provincial and state papers (EXAMPLE). How should I treat a large govenmental series like this as a source? Are there precedents in other source pages? — Parsa 04:13, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

There are many examples of such series, and most have multiple sources, either because somebody, not realizing they are part of a series, have created individual entries, or else an individual source was created and then the series added later. (The somebody is sometimes the WeRelate agent because the family search catalog used for guidance did not distinguish properly.) For example there is a source called Source:Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States. Early Records of the Town of Dedham, Massachusetts, of which
A separate example is the Boston Record Commissioners Reports, which I think are each done individually, and the series is handled as a Category, i.e., Category:Record Commissioners Reports.
I think the Mayflower Families Through 5 Generations is handled as a single source Source:General Society of Mayflower Descendants. Mayflower Families through Five Generations.
I suspect in all these cases, cleanup will be hard because the source page title and the volume number are interelated and must both be cleaned up. While I might suggest not adding too many new source pages and complicating things, I don't think it matters that much which source version of existing candidates you choose to use. --Jrich 05:47, 12 August 2018 (UTC)


In most cases like this, I suggest citing the most specific source. One reason for this is that some repository catalogs (or web pages available by internet searches) may only identify the work by the specific title, omitting the series name. Thus having the more specific work information will allow the reader the greatest chance of finding the work for access. Additionally, being more specific often gives the citation reader a better feel for that nature of the referenced information, e.g. Dedham church records vs. Dedham records.

Ideally the citation will also identify the series as well, as that may provide an access path (as via the N.H. Secretary of State above). Series identification can lead to confusion, though, especially as to volumes. For example, volume XXVII of the New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers mentioned above, is also volume IV of the Town Charters subseries, and volume I of the Masonian Papers subseries. Care in citation can help with that. Another thing to note is that some volumes of a "series" may in some contexts not even mention or be identified with the series. For instance, the first volume of the Dedham series Jrich mentions does not mention any series on the original title page (and confusingly mentions "Volumes 1 & 2", probably referring to the physical volumes of the original Town Records). Similarly, "volume 2", church records, does not have any series or volume reference on the title page. The last of the five volumes of this "series" was published fifty years after the first. The term "series" can be used very loosely. --robert.shaw 19:10, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

Search Google books for "Early Records of Dedham" and you get volume 1 (at least I do, perhaps google knows what I want based on my past history). WorldCat also has several entries for Early Records of the Town of Dedham, Massachusetts ([2]). Series may be defined loosely but unless someone defines hard and fast objective criteria for what a series is, it will be a series to some even if not a series to you.
It is true that the title of Volume 1 does indeed refer to volume 1 and volume 2 of the original town record. Film of the original record appear to be online, (p. 1 of Vol. 1), but only a copy of the second book seems to be available (here). Use of the originals should be cited as Source:Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States. Births, Intentions, Marriages, Deaths, 1635-1853, partly necessitated because it implies a different page numbering, the one used by the original town records, as opposed to the published version.
It is probably generally true that the specific titles tend to be more descriptive. This is one of the reasons the Boston Commissioner Reports were set up as a category as a way to collect existing sources into a series. It is also generally true that a person citing a source may not be familiar enough with it to know much more than is on the title page, i.e., they may not understand it is part of a series. All they know if they have one book (physically or virtually) in front of them and generally the title page is the official description. But you also have problems like above where the Source Title isn't long enough to include the distinguishing part of the title (Book 3 or Book 5) and so ends up being ambiguous. It is also true that there are many references to sources via existing Source pages that treat the whole series as one source and use the appropriate volume numbers so two different citations could actually refer to the same thing if specific titles are now used.
Both styles probably describe a source well enough to enable someone to find it and verify the contents. The question is whether this is ever-going to get cleaned up and what should be done in the meantime that might not make that cleanup worse. --Jrich 20:09, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

Even looking at some of the sub-series in the New Hampshire State Papers one sometimes sees quite different titles on the title pages. The situation seems pretty similar to the Boston Record Commissioners Reports, so I'll probably follow that format and create a category. A few of the sub-series should naturally go together as a source such as the Probate Records sub-series. — Parsa 05:16, 13 August 2018 (UTC)


I'm back (more or less) [20 August 2018]

Hi fellow WeRelaters ! Though I don't have my new laptop yet (any day now), technically I'm back on a nearly day to day basis. Since I took my leave, I've moved to the center of the Ohio city where I reside; 1 block from the county courthouse, 2 blocks from the county Archives and 4 or 5 from the library with a good-sized genealogy collection. Luckily my apartment building, an old converted Hotel built in the late 1800s with a rich history, has a computer room with few users. Glad to be back contributing, making discoveries and errors from which I usually learn something. Regards to all... Neal --SkippyG 21:46, 20 August 2018 (UTC)(SkippyG)

Welcome back, Neal!--DataAnalyst 00:20, 21 August 2018 (UTC)

Excessive Commas [9 September 2018]

When typing a placename, why do so many users add two commas between the parts of the name (sometimes with a space in between, sometimes without)? (i.e. “Exeter,,Devon,England” or “Manchester, , Lancashire, England” or “Dover, Kent, , England” or ",,,England") What did they expect to put between the commas? Or is this some quirk of a particular family tree software program?

Apologies for using only examples in England, but these are the types I see most of the time. Would we manage to prevent it by a paragraph in the Help>Places section?

--Goldenoldie 09:28, 9 September 2018 (UTC)

I don't think users are manually entering places that way. The "problem" of how to structure place names has been around in genealogy software for a long time. The extra commas are usually the result of a software programs that inserts them in an attempt to keep some sort of "town, county, state, country" structure, especially if there are separate data entry fields for each part of the place name. If a user leaves a field blank, the program has no value to place between the commas, so it appears as a double comma. This place name format then comes into WeRelate when the user uploads their gedcom file. Hope that makes sense. Regards, --cos1776 11:34, 9 September 2018 (UTC)


Long, long ago this way of formatting places was recommended (by LDS church, originators of the GEDCOM standard and the de facto authority at the time). Early software I seem to remember had four fields for places (one jurisdiction each), each one recommended to be used for a particular type of jurisdiction, e.g. the third one for state or province. Usage recommendations and software have pretty much moved on from that style, but data has remained in this format.
A comma directly after another comma represents a jurisdiction level where either the name of the jurisdiction wasn't known or there is no jurisdiction at that level for a particular place. The latter case looks to me to be the case in some of your examples in England, as I don't know of any legal jurisdiction between city and shire/county. On the other hand, ",,,England" simply represents that a more specific place wasn't known.
I checked the last version of the now discontinued PAF program, and although it supports more flexible (and ambiguous) place grouping, I see that its search function allows searching by place level (1-4), and parenthetically gives the description of the levels as "City, County, State, Country". Thus both "Chicago, , Illinois, USA" and "Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA" represent the same place. Note however, that in common usage today "Los Angeles, California" is ambiguous, as it could refer to the city or the county of Los Angeles (which has many cities). In the old style, these could be distinguished, respectively, as "Los Angeles, , California" and ", Los Angeles, California". In both usages "Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California" is unambiguous, but without the structured level approach one must use "Los Angeles County" for the county (if that is the most specific known place) and always use "Los Angeles, Los Angeles" for the city.
There's more discussion of the issues at https://genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/1975/how-should-place-names-be-recorded --robert.shaw 18:53, 9 September 2018 (UTC)

fyi - FREE access New York State Birth Index, 1881-1942 [17 September 2018]

Reclaim The Records wins the New York State Birth Index, 1881-1942
Enjoy! --cos1776 11:18, 16 September 2018 (UTC)

I took the liberty of adding Source:New York, United States. Birth Index, 1881-1942. -Moverton 18:47, 17 September 2018 (UTC)



Domesday Book alt names [9 November 2018]

Name Kenninghall

Alt namesChenighehalasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 191
Chenikehalasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 191
Cheninchalasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 191
Cheninghalasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 191
Cheninkenhalasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 191
Kenehalasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 191
Kenichalasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 191
Keninchalasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 191
Keninghalasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 191
Keninghehalasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 191
Kenmohalasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 191

Is anyone ever going to find it useful to know all these variations for a parish so small that in the 11 years that WeRelate has existed no one has ever provided a description? Few of us attempt to trace their family history back to 1500 and even fewer can do so with accuracy. Why list a series like this from a condensed reproduction of a book originally written in 1086?

--Goldenoldie 06:35, 9 October 2018 (UTC)


On a related note....I see that the various misspellings for "Massachusetts" have been added as "Alt". Doesn't this mean that all these incorrect spellings will be displayed "as if" correct ? Really don't think WR should promote spelling errors. Neal--SkippyG 19:01, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

One of the uses of the alternate names on place pages is to match places in imported GEDCOMs to the correct place page. It's not an ideal situation, but common misspellings help us match GEDCOM places place pages. The alternate names are listed as "common misspellings"; any thoughts on how we can satisfy both goals?--Dallan 05:41, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
Does the GEDCOM import system not take advantage of redirects to find the correct place page? If it did, they could be redirects instead of alt names. -Moverton 16:37, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
In updating English place pages I always consider whether alt names should be made into redirects. It is very frustrating when this leads to discovering two (or more) places in one county with identical or nearly identical names. At this point I rename both places, relating them to another place nearby--Alphington, Devon, England, now Alphington (by Exeter), Devon, England has just come up. I also add a warning note at the top of each renamed place page. --Goldenoldie 20:32, 9 November 2018 (UTC)